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Cosco APT 50 vs Cosco Scenera Next – Which is Better?


Cosco offers several car seat options for children and we will discuss their two most popular convertible car seat options – the APT 50 and the Scenera Next. The old Scenera did not rate well on crash protection, so the company returned to the drawing board and created the newer version certified to keep your baby safe. 

Both options are budget-friendly, cost-effective, and simple in both use and function.

Which is the better option depends on your family needs. The Cosco Scenera Next takes up less space width wise, making multiple car seats in the backseat an option. The Cosco APT 50 can hold 50 lbs as opposed to 40 lbs meaning it will last longer than its counterpart.

Overall, the APT 50 offers a better value for longevity. 

Differences Between the Cosco APT 50 and Cosco Scenera Next

APT 50 Specifications

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat (Black Arrows)

  • Weight Capacity 5-50 lbs
  • Rear-Facing Weight Allowance 5-40 lbs
  • Forward-Facing Weight Allowance 22-50 lbs
  • Rear-Facing Height Allowance 19-40 inches
  • Forward-Facing Height Allowance 29-43
  • Car Seat Weight 7 lbs
  • Forward or Rear Facing
  • Washable Fabric
  • 2 Built-in Cup Holders
  • 3 Buckle Slots
  • 6 Height Positions for Harness
  • Width 22 inches at widest point
  • Height 24 Inches
  • Expiration – 8 Years From Manufacture Date 
  • 7 Color Options
  • One Piece Car Seat
  • Side Impact Protection
  • 5-Point Harness
  • LATCH Equipped
  • Meets all Federal and ASTM Safety Standards 

Scenera Next Specifications

Cosco Scenera Next Convertible Car Seat with Cup Holder (Moon Mist Grey)

  • Weight capacity 5-40 lbs
  • Rear-Facing Weight Allowance 5-40 lbs
  • Forward-Facing Weight Allowance 22-40 lbs
  • Rear-Facing Height Allowance 19-40 inches
  • Forward-Facing Height Allowance 29-43
  • Car Seat Weight 6.8 lbs
  • Forward or Rear Facing
  • Washable Fabric
  • 1 Detachable Cupholder 
  • 3 Buckle Slots
  • 5 Height Positions for Harness
  • Width 17 inches at widest point
  • Height 23 Inches
  • Expiration – 8 Years From Manufacture Date 
  • 12+ Color Options
  • One Piece Car Seat
  • Side Impact Protection
  • 5-Point Harness
  • LATCH Equipped
  • Meets all Federal and ASTM Safety Standards 
  • Can Install with Either Seatbelt or Lower Anchors in Rear Facing

Features Comparison

While both convertible car seats are quite similar, they do differ in some ways. Overall, you will see the seats compare well with a lot of similarities. 

Price

The price difference between the two prices is minimal. Both prices already offer an economic car seat option compared to other brands.

The Scenera Next costs just a little less than the APT 50, but not enough to ever worry about on any budget. With the low cost of both seats, the price will hardly determine which option works best for your family. Focus more on the seat positions and width instead. 

Both car seats prices are so affordable you can buy one for each car. If you have two cars but also need one for grandma or the babysitter, you could easily afford three and still have only spent about the same price as one car seat by name brands.

Either car seat offers the benefit of affordability. If you end up in a fender bender and need a new seat on a tight budget, either would serve the purpose. 

Cup Holders

The APT 50 offers two cup holders integrated into the design of the car seat. That’s one for a sippy cup and another for a little a bag of goldfish. Mind you, your child will end up sitting on more crackers than she puts in her mouth. 

Cosco Apt 50 Convertible Car Seat (Black Arrows)

The Scenera Next has a cup holder too, but it’s detachable and there is only one. This also has advantages.

First, if you need to fit multiple car seats across the back seat of your car, the detachable cupholder removes inches allowing for more seats in the back. As a matter of fact, the Scenera Next is five inches smaller at its largest width than the APT 50 meaning you can actually fit three car seats in the back seat of a mid-sized sedan. That’s a good deal smaller. 

Cosco Scenera NEXT Convertible Car Seat (Candy Apple)

Weight and Height

Both of the seats are about seven pounds, there is a slight one-inch difference in height. Again the difference will not work as a major distinguishing factor between the two seats.

However, that one-inch difference allows the APT 50 an extra year of use. If your family tends to be taller you also may want to consider the APT 50 as well. 

Rear and Forward Facing

The only difference with the rear and forward facing is the weight and height requirements as the APT 50 goes up to 5o pounds instead of only 40 pounds like the Scenera Next.

Both seats convert from forward facing for infants and very small children before switching to forward-facing for longer use. The next step from both would be to move to a booster or convertible booster seat.

With the APT 50, your child stays in a regular car seat longer which is safer and preferable to a lot of families. 

Appearance 

Both seats are one integrated seat with no extra parts beyond the Scenera’s cupholder. Both offer a variety of fabrics.

Neither car seat adds extra padding for comfort. As a matter of fact, the lack of padding may be the worst aspect of both seats.

Although, both car seats offer a variety of patterns and colors to appeal to every taste. The base of each is a solid black with the cloth separate and removable for easy washing. Mind you, the seat belts need to come out to remove the cloth cover to wash them.

Even better, toss the pads in the dryer on low so you can get it back on the seat faster. 

Harness and Buckle Positions

The APT 50 wins on the harness position because it offers six positions at 5, 7, 9, 11,13, and 16 inches to stay over the shoulders of infants all the way to four years old or fifty pounds.

The Scenera Next only has five harness positions stopping at 13 inches meaning the car seat only works for shorter children. 

The buckle on the APT 50 includes four buckle strap positions at 2, 3, 4.5, and 6 inches from the back of the seat. These are the straps around the crotch.

While the cost of the Scenera is lower, one of the losses with the price is an extra buckle position. The 6-inch position isn’t included, which is something to consider especially with cute chubby baby thighs. 

Airplane Use

Both seats can go on the airplane! The FAA approves of both seats on the plane.

Although, with the Scenera Next offering a removable cup holder and only 17 inches in width is by far the better option for ease of moving on the plane, around the airport, and sitting next to other people on the airplane. 

If you want to stroll easily through the airport, you may want to get a Go-Go Babz to turn your car seat into a rolling seat! Trust me, wheels are so much easier than trying to carry the car seat on top of your suitcase. Forget a stroller and a  car seat! Now you have a two in one deal! 

Comfort

Babies and children alike will agree, neither seat cradles their tushie comfortably. The padding leaves a lot to be desired as it’s not even yoga mat thick or made of anything beyond a flimsy bit of foam and some fabric.

If you travel often or spend a lot of time in the car, consider getting a more cushioned seat like the Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat or the Cosco Easy Elite, both of which have padding galore and are sure to soothe your baby into a cozy nap every time you drive. 

Finally, both car seats are so basic they do not include harness covers to prevent little double chins or neck rolls from getting pinched. Not to mention, seat belts can just plain be uncomfortable. Of course, you can purchase harness covers separately, but most infant and child seats include these.

When you pay bargain basement prices, you get fewer extras. 

Installing

The APT 50 wins hands down for positioning the car seat in the car. With color-coded stickers, it’s easy to see where the seat goes. 

On the flip side, the Scenera Next does not apply the color-coded sticker method but with the instruction manual or instructions on the side will help. 

Make sure to read the instruction manual carefully before installing. Your baby’s safety depends on how the car seat sits in the car. Take the time to make sure everything is tight and flush with the seat.

Also, make sure to take the time to learn how to correctly position your baby’s seat belt. The car seat can only function properly when used properly. 

Check out the videos below for easy to follow instructions and tips for installing both of the seats. 

APT 50 – Rear Facing 

APT 50 – Forward Facing 

Scenera Next – Rear Facing

Scenera Next – Forward Facing

Issues 

The Scenera Next reviewed better among the majority of parents than the APT 50. Some of the issues that stem from both seats is the seats still move when buckled. This is not a car seat issue but a seat belt problem.

When installing the car seat make sure to pull the seat belt all the way out until you feel it tug back a bit, this means it will automatically lock in the tightest position. Doing this should prevent the seat from moving around.

Also, make sure to lock the seat in the back with the LATCH system.  Check the stickers to see if the seat is lined up the way it should be for forward or rear facing. 

That being said, I did have issues with this car seat when my children were little. Some cars are not designed for every car seat.

Do try it out but keep the tags and the box so you can return the sat if it doesn’t fit. Sometimes a rolled up towel can help to properly position a seat as each car backseat offers different seat angles. 

Final Thoughts 

Neither car seat offers tons of bells or whistles. Nor does either seat offer an extremely comfortable ride for your children.

Each does offer advantages over the other. The Cosco APT 50 works longer as it can hold more weight and also offers addition harness and buckle options. It does, however, take up more space than the other option by five inches in width. This would be a great choice for families with only one or two children.

The Cosco Scenera Next costs a little less and takes up less space in the backseat. This allows more room for more children or other items or even dogs. It has less buckle and harness options. This would be the better option for larger families who need to squeeze three or more kids in the back rows.

If neither of these car seats suits your family’s needs, check out this article on convertible car seats

Adrina Palmer
Adrina Palmer
Adrina Palmer is a stay-at-home-mom to three wonderful children and a wife to an amazing husband. She has a bachelors degree in Religion from Liberty University and works as a blogger, copywriter, and reviewer. Adrina is a Christian hoping to help other stay-at-home moms find the joy and simplicity as a mother and wife. In her free time she enjoys many crafts, writing, spending time with family, and reading. She would love to hear from you!

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