All of our rear-mount picks are available in either a frame-mount version (the seat attaches to your bike’s frame) or rack-mount version (the seat attaches to a bike rack you’re already using on your bike). Generally, anyone who already has a rack will want a rack-mount seat, which requires less hardware so usually costs a little less than a frame-mount version. Once you decide what kind of seat you’re looking for, before buying new you may want to search for a used one (on Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, or local online parents’ groups, for example). Many kids bike seats see only light, seasonal use, and even with frequent use, a high-quality used seat can feel close to new.

Our pick

Durability, easy installation, and stability in motion make this the best kids bike seat we’ve tested. The adjustable straps are comfortable against little shoulders, easy to click into place, and impossible for tiny hands to open.

If you ride a bike with a rear rack, you’ll probably prefer to get the rack-mount version of our favorite bike seat. It weighs a little less than the frame-mount version (since there’s less mounting hardware) and usually costs a little less.

Like many kids bike seats, the Thule Yepp Maxi comes in both frame-mount and rack-mount versions, both of which provide a stable, dependable feel while the bike is in motion. The 10.1-pound seat (the rack-mount version weighs 8.4 pounds) never swayed or bounced, whether we were cruising over paved speed bumps or veering onto bumpy trails. Adjusting the seat’s angle and position (to make it closer to or farther from the rider) is a cinch. And kids found the Yepp Maxi to be comfortable, due to the shock-absorbing rubber seat material with light padding, a harness system that doesn’t dig into shoulders or involve wrestling over a helmet, and a seat purposefully angled back to allow space for that helmet. The Yepp Maxi is designed to accommodate kids from 12 months, and up to 40 pounds. And it has an excellent resale value.

Runner-up

This model features an exceptional mounting system, which allows you to easily transfer the seat between bikes. But the safety buckle is harder to operate while balancing a bike, and the seat angle is more apt to interfere with a child’s helmet.

This rack-mount version weighs a little less than the frame-mount version and generally costs a little less. But since it’s mounted to your rack, it lacks the convenient quick release that’s one of our favorite things about the Thule Yepp Nexxt Maxi overall.

The Yepp Nexxt Maxi (a similar seat from the same parent company) has a quick-release frame-mount system; we think the Nexxt Maxi’s frame-mount system is preferable to our top pick’s because it’s simpler to attach and easier to transfer from bike to bike. If you’re planning to frequently alternate between riding with and without the seat, we’d recommend this model over the Yepp Maxi. However, the seat itself has a few small design flaws that place it in runner-up status. The styrofoam-like seat material is less forgiving—and thus less comfortable for young passengers—than that of our pick. And the upright seat angle is more apt to interfere with the back of a child’s helmet. Even though it’s cool, the Nexxt Maxi’s new magnetic harness system seemed a little over-designed and more difficult to unlatch than the straps on the Yepp Maxi. The wide-set positioning of its buckle also made it feel less secure for kids under 18 months or those with narrow shoulders. Overall, though, the seat felt safe and secure during rides—and it maintained a similarly stable ride to the Yepp Maxi. Like our top pick, the frame-mount version of the Nexxt Maxi weighs 10.1 pounds; the rack-mount model is lighter, at 6.6 pounds. This bike seat also accommodates kids from 12 months, and up to 40 pounds. And it’s easy to sell used.

Budget pick

This lightweight, easy-to-install bike seat was the best of the under-$200 models we tested, but it wasn’t quite as stable-feeling as the Thule seats. Little riders gave it bonus points for its armrests and a rear snack compartment.

If you ride a bike with a rear rack, you’ll probably prefer to get the rack-mount version of this seat. It weighs a couple of pounds less than the frame-mount version (because there’s less hardware), but it is otherwise the same.

The Burley Dash is the lightest rear-mount seat we tested (8.7 pounds for the frame-mount system and 6.4 pounds for the rack-mount system). The frame-mount system is simple and intuitive. The five-point harness adjusts in three places (including at the bottom buckle strap, a feature that gave it an edge over our Thule picks) to snugly fit babies and preschoolers of all sizes. The unique rear-storage compartment is useful for stashing small extras, like snacks and a wallet. Our mini passengers enjoyed the comfortable, lightly cushioned seat and the handholds inside the armrest (a feature the Thule seats lack). However, the seat shifted ever so slightly during rides, and it never felt as secure and stable as the Thule seats did. Like the other rear-mount seats we recommend, the Burley Dash accommodates kids from 12 months, and up to 40 pounds.

Also great

Ultra-lightweight and easy to mount to the front of your bike, the Thule Yepp Nexxt Mini won over our youngest testers with its secure, cozy seat and looped handlebar.

At 4.2 pounds, the Thule Yepp Nexxt Mini is the lightest front-mount bike seat you can buy, and it feels stable and secure in motion. The mounting bracket is easy to install on a wide variety of bike headsets; once it’s installed, you can remove or reattach it in seconds using its quick-release system. The seat’s five-point harness system adjusts easily to fit babies and toddlers securely, with a magnetic buckle system that tiny fingers won’t pull open. The straps are less adjustable than those on the rear-mount seats we tested, though, and the Nexxt Mini has a lower weight rating, so it’s better suited to babies and younger toddlers. Our 10-month-old tester loved the view up front and having the security of a looped handlebar to hold onto. The Yepp Nexxt Mini is designed to fit kids from about 9 months, up to 33 pounds.

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