Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip

Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. KeyFit 30 Magic vs. KeyFit 30 Zip–What’s the Difference?

by Sarah Stockett |

I recommend the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip over the KeyFit 30 and KeyFit 30 Magic because the Zip version is only slightly more expensive, but it has a lot of useful extra features.

Choosing the perfect car seat for your baby can be confusing enough as it is. With so many brands and numerous models, all the details can run together. That’s why I’m comparing the Chicco KeyFit 30 vs. the KeyFit 30 Magic vs. the KeyFit 30 Zip. For information above and beyond what I provide about the KeyFit 30 car seats, click on this link to the Chicco website. It will take you right to the page that describes all the KeyFit 30 car seats.

The difference in a nutshell: The KeyFit 30 is the most basic of these three models. The KeyFit 30 Magic comes with a “boot” for weather protection and a couple of additional features. And the KeyFit 30 Zip includes everything from the other models plus a seat pad, a zip-on sun visor and more color options than the Magic.

KeyFit 30 Zip

Image of the Chicco KeyFit 30 Zip Infant Car Seat, Eclipse The KeyFit 30 Zip is the car seat that is the next step up from the KeyFit 30 Magic.

In my mind, the KeyFit 30 Zip is the perfect car seat for an active parent. With the extended shade, screen, and zip-able leg cover; this seems like a fantastic car seat to pop on a stroller and go for a walk. I love the idea of keeping my little one so protected from the elements.

Wind takes hats, and kids kick off socks and blankets. I have sometimes spent more time chasing baby clothes on a breezy day than I care to remember. The idea that all of this could stay contained within the car seat, allowing me to completely enjoy my time outside is exciting.

If you’re interested in more information (and a different opinion) on the KeyFit 30 Zip, we previously compared it to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35. Click here for that post.

Technical Information:

  • Item Weight:  17 lbs.
  • Item Dimensions:  17 x 27.5 x 24 inches
  • Minimum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  4 lbs.
  • Maximum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  30 lbs.
  • Maximum Child Height:  30 inches

KeyFit 30 Magic

Image of the Chicco Keyfit 30 Magic Infant Car Seat, Black/Grey In terms of price, the KeyFit 30 Magic is a step down from the Zip. In my opinion, the KeyFit 30 Magic is the least desirable of the three car seats. Here are some of my reasons for why it received the lowest rank from me.

First of all, there aren’t very many color options. I’m not a really superficial person, but if I spend a lot of money on something (even if it is just a car seat), I want it to be visually appealing. With the number of car seats available, you can shop within a certain price range and find very comparable seats. You might as well find something you think looks good.

Second, I’m not entirely convinced that the leg cover in this model is helpful. I don’t think I want to physically move something every time I want to put my child in the carrier. And, you probably don’t want to leave it pealed back because then it could stretch out the fabric.

Third, some of the features remind me of the problems and unused features we had with our first car seat. For example,  the “suede” on the car seat seemed really reluctant to release any stains. Other areas would wipe up with a wet cloth or even a diaper wipe, but the combination of the “suede” and water made the stain shine like a beacon.

Also, our old car seat had a cover over the feet that we never used. This cover was definitely not as nice as the ones they have now (it was secured with bungee loops), but I remember being really excited about the feature when I registered for the car seat. Unfortunately, our long-legged boy was too big for such confinement once he was a couple months old.

However, I know that things have changed. Technology has changed. Car seat fabrics have changed. But, for some reason, I don’t buy that the KeyFit 30 Magic is a better choice than the KeyFit 30 or KeyFit 30 Zip.

Technical Information:

  • Item Weight:  21.1 lbs.
  • Item Dimensions:  28.4 x 17.3 x 15.5 inches
  • Minimum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  4 lbs.
  • Maximum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  30 lbs.
  • Maximum Child Height:  30 inches

Regular KeyFit 30

Image of the Chicco KeyFit 30 Infant Car Seat, Orion

I love that the KeyFit 30 is safe and easy to use. Part of my positive feelings might also be because it reminds me of the car seat that we got for my first child, which I really liked.

This basic, budget model will get you everything that you need for your child–safety and comfort. Plus, this car seat is just as easy to install and use as the others.

Technical Information:

  • Item Weight:  17 lbs.
  • Item Dimensions:  17 x 27.5 x 24 inches
  • Minimum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  4 lbs.
  • Maximum Manufacturer Recommended Weight:  30 lbs.
  • Maximum Child Height:  30 inches

Installation

All three car seats have the same base. This base can be installed with the LATCH system. Here is a video on how to install your car seat using the LATCH system.

If your vehicle doesn’t offer the LATCH system, you can install your car seat base with a seat belt. Here is a video explaining how.

Now, let’s say you buy your car seat and set up your base in your main vehicle. Then, the time comes where your baby needs to travel in an automobile that doesn’t have the base. That’s okay. You can still safely secure your baby by using a seat belt to anchor the baby carrier. Here’s a video that explains how.

For another source of information about the ease of correct installation, check out the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). They issue ease of use ratings for car seats. The idea is that the easier the instructions for use and installation of your car seat, the more likely it is that your child will be safely secured. The KeyFit 30 Zip, which has the same base as the KeyFit 30 Magic and the Keyfit 30, received 4 out of 5 stars.

Here’s what the NHTSA wrote:

Chicco Keyfit 30 results from the NHTSA

Features of the KeyFit 30, Magic and Zip Compared

KeyFit 30KeyFit 30 MagicKeyFit 30 Zip
  • Car seat fabric is machine washable.
  • The stay-in-car base features a leveling foot and two bubble indicators to ensure the proper angle of the car seat.
  • LATCH connectors with a SuperCinch one-pull tightener anchor the car seat base.
  • Easy belt routing and lock-offs accommodate installation with a seat belt.
  • The enclosed underside prevents damage to automobile upholstery.
  • Removable newborn head and body supports keep your baby safe now and can be removed later.
  • The 5-point harness with one tightening strap quickly and easily secures your child in the seat.
  • EPS energy-absorbing foam inside the shell of the carrier provides protection in case of impact.
  • An adjustable sun shade canopy protects your baby’s eyes from bright lights.
  • The one handle car seat release allows you to remove your car seat in a snap.
  • The two-position ergonomic carrying handle ensures you will safely and comfortably carry the car seat.
  • This car seat is compatible with Chicco strollers.
  • There are 7 color options.
  • The KeyFit 30 Magic has all of the features of the KeyFit 30, except that there appear to only be 3 color options.
  • Additional features are listed below.

  • The KeyFit 30 Zip has all of the features of the KeyFit 30 Magic, except that there are 7 color options.
  • Additional features are listed below.
  • This car seat comes with a reversible (suede-or-mesh) infant insert.
  • There is a zip-out, extendable mesh panel in the canopy that allows breezes and keeps out debris.
  • An all-weather boot keeps your child’s legs covered while in use and easily unfolds for quick access to your child.
  • This car seat comes with a reversible (suede-or-mesh) infant insert.
  • There is a zip-out, extendable mesh panel in the canopy that allows breezes and keeps out debris.
  • An all-weather boot keeps your child’s legs covered while in use and easily unzips (in this model) for quick access to your child.
  • An easily removable, machine washable seat pad allows for quick cleanup.
  • A zip-on visor provides additional shade.

Reviews

KeyFit 30

  • 4.75 out of 5 stars, 216 reviews–Target.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 114 reviews–BuyBuy Baby.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 173 reviews–BabiesRUs.com

KeyFit 30 Magic

  • 4.25 out of 5 stars, 30 reviews–Target.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 84 reviews–BuyBuy Baby.com
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars, 15 reviews–BabiesRUs.com

KeyFit 30 Zip

  • 4 out of 5 stars, 28 reviews–Target.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 63 reviews–BuyBuy Baby.com
  • 5 out of 5 stars, 468 reviews–BabiesRUs.com

My Recommendation

Any of these three car seats are great choices. In the end, it comes down to your opinion about what you think you’ll value and what you think you’ll use. The KeyFit Magic and KeyFit Zip have fun features, but the KeyFit 30 is a top pick for best infant car seat for multiples.

The Conflict

Personally, I have a little bit of an internal conflict over my choice. The minimalist within me wants to choose the regular KeyFit 30 and the outdoor enthusiast wants the KeyFit 30 Zip.

My Choice

With the KeyFit 30 models, there’s not much difference in price between the base model and the top model. Although the additional money doesn’t buy you extra safety, it buys you additional features for your car seat. The extra money gets you a reversible mesh-or-suede infant insert, a zip-out mesh panel in the canopy, an all-weather zippable boot, a machine washable seat pad, and a visor that zips on to the canopy.

If you are someone who plans to take your car seat outdoors on a stroller, I think you should spend the little bit extra and get the KeyFit 30 Zip. Sure, it’s possible that you may spend the extra money and never use the additional features. However, it’s better to have them and not use them than it is to not have them and decide later that you want them.

Now that you know how the Chicco car seats all stack up, why not take a look at an infant car seat comparison between the Chicco Keyfit 30 and a best-selling Graco seat? Click to read more.

Sarah Stockett
After graduating from TCU with a degree in English, I took a break from writing. After accumulating some life experiences and children, I returned because I finally had something to say. I'm passionate about helping people be their best. Whether it's giving advice for success in parenting or information about how to improve your personal health, my top priority is to give you the best information possible.

Comments 1

  1. Hi! Thank you for such a detailed review! I do have a quick question, I’ve seen the Keyfit 30 and Keyfit 30 Zip in person, but have yet to find the Keyfit 30 Magic. Is there a difference in the material between the Zip and the Magic? The regular seat does have material that I think would get the baby extra hot, it feels a bit more plastic-like to me. I was actually considering the Fit2, but the seat does seem to be a bit more deep than the other seats in the market, it gives me the impression that it would be somewhat uncomfortable for the baby to sit in. But I did like the look of the seat, the material used is nice, and the fact that it’s not made in China is a plus I might add, but that angle the seat has just did not do it for me. Completely went off my initial topic 🙂 Apologies! LOL!
    Thank you for your help!

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