Clek released an updated version of the Foonf convertible seat for 2017. Read more on the changes down below.
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Hands-on Gear Review
Clek Foonf Review
Price: $450.00 List | $449.99 at Amazon
Pros: Anti-Rebound Bar, easy to install, steel frame
Cons: Higher price, heavy, rethread harness
Bottom line: Innovative seat with unique features that looks cool and is easy to install
The Clek Foonf is a really cool seat that has some nice innovative design features that make it a winner in our book. With a third place finish in this review and features like an anti-rebound bar, steel magnesium frame, GreenGuard Select certified Crypton fabric, it isn't hard to see why this seat performed so well in testing and won the hearts of more than one tester. The Foonf has a ridiculously easy to install rigid LATCH system for the forward facing configuration, and almost equally trouble free LATCH anchors for rear facing that make installation almost completely foolproof. We loved that the seat has additional features for safety, is made with quality materials, and is one of the sharpest looking seats around. If you can afford this high end seat, it might just be the different kind of seat you've been looking for. We really liked this seat and gave it a Top Pick for Innovation award.
Update — April 2017
Clek released an updated version of the Foonf convertible seat for 2017. Read more on the changes down below.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Convertible Car Seats of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
New Foonf for 2017
The updated version of the Clek Foonf has better padding and protection around the crotch strap. This new padding is available for purchase separately from the seat in order bring an older Clek Foonf up to date. We tested the seat with the new buckle pad and found that scoring is remains the same for the seat. Below are photos of the buckle padding on the newer Foonf (left) and the older version (right).
The Clek is shown on this comparison chart in blue. This chart includes all the convertible seats we tested for this review.
The sections below include performance details for each metric on how the Clek performed during testing. Individual metric scores were used to determine the overall score and rank.
The Clek Foonf has a mixed bag of crash test data. The important thing to understand is that this seat, like all the others in the review and on the market, meet or exceed the Federal safety guidelines outlined in the FMVSS 213, and so therefore, are considered safe.
Data from sled crash testing is recorded from the head and chest sensors in the crash test dummies used in each seat during testing. Our testing was designed to the same specifications as those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in their testing for a true side-by-side comparison. Some seats have test results that seem to indicate that the seat offers an additional margin of protection with less G forces than the average values recorded. Clek has G-force data for the chest sensor that is lower than all of the other seats we reviewed, and chest sensor data that is second to the highest in this review, but is still half of the maximum allowable amount.
The chart below show the test data from the sensors in the test dummy for the Clek (shown in black). The charts also include the crash test data for the seat that has the least amount of G forces recorded in the head sensor for comparison (shown in green).
Evenflo Tribute LX head sensor recorded a lower amount of G forces in crash testing than any of the other seats in this review. The Clek has the lowest recorded G forces for the chest sensor.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Clek earned the high score for ease of installation with a perfect 10 of 10 in this metric, tying with the Britax Boulevard ClickTight.
It has a relatively unique (for the group) rigid LATCH anchor system that is ridiculously easy to use because it doesn't require any tightening. The Britax Roundabout, Britax Marathon and the Chicco NextFit all earned 9s for this test.
Forward facing is simpler and doesn't require any extra steps while rear facing requires the addition of a base recliner and an anti-rebound bar, but either direction will leave you feeling like it was too easy and you must have missed a step, only you didn't. Rear facing does not offer rigid LATCH but is still easier than most seats in this review. With the rigid LATCH anchors, there is almost no movement at all in the seat, and it always feels secure no matter what car we tested it in (4 various models). The anti-rebound bar adds to the feeling of security, and it is the only seat in this review that did not tip toward the vehicle seat back when pushed because the bar makes this virtually impossible. Overall, we can't imagine a seat being easier to install.
Ease of Install - Belt
The Clek continued to impress in the ease of installation using the vehicle belt by once again earning the second highest score of 9 of 10. The high for the group is a 10 for the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB and the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB.
The LATCH system was created to make installation easier and more foolproof, but with the Clek even the belt installation is fairly foolproof and hard to mess up.
The downside to this seat is similar to some of the others in that the belt path is under the seat bottom and somewhat requires the seat to be dismantled. The pathway is in a different location depending on if it is forward or rear facing, but both require moving seat part around to thread the belt. Installing rear facing is done by pulling up on the seat bottom to thread the belt and access the belt lock off. This is fairly easy, and the bottom stays up, so you have a clear view and don't have any parts in your way. The belt lock-off is one of the easiest in the group to use, and our only caution is you will need to double check that you have the belt as tight as it will go before you close the lock-off or you will have to start over. If you get the belt too tight the lock off won't close. Rear facing is once again a little more convoluted, and it requires the putting on additional parts, so you'll need to allow time and space for that.
Ease of Use
Ease of use is the one category where the Clek didn't shine as much as the competition.
It only earned a 5 of 10 in our tests, which puts it below average for the group, tying for the lowest score with the Britax Roundabout, Maxi-Cosi Pria 70, Diono Radian RXT, and Safety 1st. The high score in this metric is an 8 earned by the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB and the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB.
The Clek does not have a non-rethread adjustment option. This feature is a shame given that the seat costs so much and has an adjustable headrest like those models that do have a non-rethread harness. The harness rethreads with a double hook in the back and threads through slots in the back of the seat shell. It is a little harder than the some of the other rethread seats because the shell is thick and the seat is heavy. The shoulder straps have six height positions and two crotch positions to help ensure a proper fit. Alternatively, the Britax Boulevard and Britax Advocate both have 14 height options and easy to use non-rethread height adjustment.
The forward-facing LATCH is rigid and retracts into the seat base when not in use. The rear-facing anchors store under the seat bottom cushion which pops up. The tether clips to the back of the seat, and the strap rolls up and comes together with hook and loop closure. The LATCH storage does keep the straps and clips out of the way.
The fabric on this seat is not supposed to be removed and is spot clean only. While the fabric fits the seat bottom and seat back nicely in a look we liked, it is unfortunate that it cannot be laundered in some way. The fabric is made from materials that Clek says is resistant to spills and stains, but it remains to be seen how well this will wear over time.
The Clek scored an 8 of 10 in the metric for comfort and quality and impressed us with how well it was put together and the innovative design features that help make it a unique seat.
The Chicco NextFit, Britax Advocate Clicktight ARB and the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB earned the high score for the review with 9s, thanks in part to thick padding, soft fabric, and overall attention to detail.
The fabric on the Foonf is like none other in the group. It is soft and plush, and it seems like the passenger would be less likely to sweat in this seat as the fabric seems breathable. The fabric is made with GreenGuard Select Certified Crypton fabric that Clek claims provide permanent protection against stains, moisture, and odor causing bacteria. It is also the only seat to claim free of brominated and chlorinated flame retardants. The padding under the fabric is a very firm foam covered in thick fabric. The foam is not cushy and comfortable in a traditional sense, but it still feels like it would be comfortable in a similar way to a high-quality mattress. We could not feel any bumps or ridges under the seat, and there is no infant insert with the Foonf.
The Clek has a very nice overall fit and finish that looks good compared to the majority of seats. It has the look of a tailored piece of furniture as opposed to a slipcover look shared by much of the competition. The fabric is somewhat fuzzy by design, and we wonder how well this will wear over time, but it looks nice when new. The seat bottom has no protruding edges or sharp corners that could potentially damage the vehicle seat.
The Clek is the heaviest monster in the group. As much as we love this seat, we can't help but remark honestly on how stupidly heavy this seat is. With the angled bottom and anti-rebound bar attached for rear-facing installation, this seat is over 38 pounds.
For forward-facing, it is a bit lighter at just under 34 pounds. None of the other seats in the review come close to being this heavy with the next closest option being the Britax Advocate ClickTight at over 30 pounds for rear-facing. The Foonf is one of the narrowest in the group at 17 inches wide. This width somewhat makes up for the heft of this seat, but on the bright side you shouldn't have to move it often. You probably don't want to travel with this seat or carry it very far.
The best application for this seat is for parents looking for an innovative seat with additional nods to safety. If you have any concerns or fears at all over installing a seat properly it is a good bet you can't mess it up with the Foonf. If money's no object and you simply want one of the coolest seats around that performed well in our tests, it is hard to find another option like the Foonf. We also think this seat is a good choice for keeping baby rear facing for longer given its wider range for rear-facing weight and height limits.
With a list price of $450, it is sort of hard to call this product a good value. However, sometimes you do get what you pay for, and we can see the design features that have likely led to this higher than average price. This seat has a quality frame and materials that are like none other in this review. The components are put together in a way that indicates they can withstand the test of time and some minor every day expected abuse without batting an eye. The rigid LATCH anchor system for forward facing installation is almost worth its weight in gold and the anti-rebound bar might just become the standard in the future if it does decrease injuries the way manufacturers claim. So while it is hard to say that anyone needs a $450 car seat, we can certainly see why this one fetches a higher price.
The Clek Foonf is the 3rd highest scoring seat in our review flanked by several Britax products that also won awards. The Foonf earned a Top Pick for Innovations award thanks to its use of quality materials, rigid LATCH system, and anti-rebound bar to name a few. Unlike the majority of products we looked at, this one offers something different in a product category that is almost yawn-worthy in its design similarities. The Clek is an expensive yet impressive product that is sure to make parents and children happy.
Other Versions and Accessories
Clek makes other kinds of car seats like boosters both full back and backless, but it only makes one other convertible style seat, the Clek fllo. Clek calls the fllo a compact convertible seat which is sort of interesting given that the Foonf is the narrowest seat in our review. Clek describes the seat as having a " compact design sits lower in the vehicle for improved visibility and ingress/egress". We did not review this seat, but can't help but wonder if a smaller version of the Foonf would be better given its considerable heft. The fllo has a list price of $380 (significantly cheaper than the Foonf) and seems to work for the same range for height and weight. Given that one of our cons with the Foonf is price, we are very curious indeed about this cheaper, smaller seat that seems to bring the best of the Foonf to the table without some of the baggage.
Clek offers the "infant thingy" and "weelee bag" as accessories for both seats. Interestingly enough it also offers a fabric cleaning and stain removal kit even though the fabric is supposed to be stain resistant. Because we all know kids are messy, and we suspect you will need it, we suggest the Clek cleaning kit for those just in case moments.
Back Seat Mirror that is a great accessory for parents to keep an eye on baby. The mirror is attached to a flat base that straps onto the backseat headrest. It has a convex shape that offers a wider field of view. Once it's in just the right spot, the pivot point can be secured so that the mirror can't be bumped out of position. This mirror requires an adjustable headrest to attach properly, so it may not work in all cars, particularly older ones. According to Amazon users, this mirror provides a much clearer reflection than many other back seat mirrors.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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