The 2015 Clek Fllo is a car seat I’ve been waiting to review for a long time. I’ve been a fan of the Clek line for years, starting with the Foonf, which was the first non-Diono car seat I purchased for extended rear-facing for my own children, and when I learned from Clek that the Fllo would be coming out, I sighed, opened my wallet, and prepared to review what I expected to be one of the four best car seats in the United States for rear-facing (alongside the Foonf, Rainier, and Pacifica).
The Clek Fllo, as noted above, is the newest baby from Canadian car seat wonder Clek, and follows in the footsteps of the highly regarded Foonf. However, it stands on its own merits and is poised to be one of the most impressive seats on the market. It’s a convertible car seat, which means it can be used in two configurations, including as a rear-facing infant seat, and as a forward-facing seat. If you want to know if it’s worth it right now without reading the rest of the review, I’ll spare you the trouble: yes, it’s worth it.
Clek Fllo Limits for Weight and Height
Rear-facing: 14-50 pounds, and 25-43″ in height. Your child should be able to sit upright without assistance, which typically isn’t reached by most infants until after 6 months, and his or her head should not reach past 1″ below the top of the headrest.
Note: Using the Clek Infant-thingy infant insert reduces the rear-facing weight limit to 5 pounds and overrides the need for your infant to be able to sit upright without assistance.
Like the Foonf, the Fllo is now one of the best seats for making sure kids actually reach the useful limits of the seat, as it measures around 26.5″ in shell height when the headrest is extended to its fullest position.
Most seats top out at 23″ or 24″ in shoulder height, which means a lot of children will outgrow them by weight before doing so by height. Clek studied the competition, realized that most car seat manufacturers still hadn’t made significant strides here, and kept the Fllo’s height limit identical to that of the Foonf’s. I can’t say I blame them.
Forward-facing: 20-65 pounds, and 30-49″ in height. Your child should be at least 1, and it’s recommended that s/he is at least 2. Of course, research into car safety indicates children should remain rear-facing for as long as possible (the average is 4 years in Sweden, which posts the lowest child fatality rate on Earth), and after rear-facing, the child should remain forward-facing as long as possible.
Dimensions of the Clek Fllo
Here are where you start to see some differences when comparing the Clek Fllo to the Clek Foonf. The seat is 16.9″ wide at its widest point, which is a hair narrower than the Foonf, and only 13″ wide where installed at the base. There are even more significant differences in weight, which I love. The seat weighs 25 pounds when rear-facing. It weighs a delicious 24 pounds when installed forward-facing.
The front/back length when rear-facing is 29 inches without the anti-rebound bar and 32.5 inches with it. The seat height when rear-facing is shorter at 23.5 inches compared to 25.75 in the Foonf, and the forward-facing seat height is 26-30.5 inches, which is again shorter than the 28.25-32.5 in the Foonf.
Let’s be honest: part of why I bought the original Foonf was because of how beefy it looked. It’s a serious seat, and I wanted the best for my kids. Of course, the 50 pound ERF limit helped, as at that point, there weren’t any other options in the US that hit that point. Things are a bit better now, but the fact remains that a seat that looks solid while having the stats to back it up is going to convince more people on a gut level, and that’s the case with the Fllo.
It still has that slick fighter pilot ejection seat look that only Clek seems to conjure up, with a new palette of crazy colors and patterns. I originally ordered my seat in Drift, and then changed my mind when I was offered the chance to pick up a Fllo in ink for a bit cheaper (blue being my favorite color).
As with the Foonf, you’re going to need to devote at least a few minutes to putting it together once you get it out of the box. However, once you get it set up, it looks good. Really good. So good my daughter (not pictured) was curious enough when she saw me installing it to ask “is this my new car seat? It looks like the other one, but…cooler.”
There you have it. Kid approved. It’s not exactly what I mean when I say parents buy these seats for their kids, but it’s a nice bonus.
Speaking about my daughter, something she enjoyed about the Foonf was the height it gave her when rear-facing. She found it quite entertaining to be able to look easily out while we went on the occasional road trip. The Fllo is similar in that it offers the ability to look out and about, but Clek specifically designed it to have a lower profile so parents would have better visibility, and quite frankly, I think they made the right decision. It’s much easier to see behind it than it was with the Foonf.
As with the Foonf, when installing the Fllo, remember that you need to install it with the steel anti-rebound bar while rear-facing, and that you should use the tether only when forward-facing. The steel anti-rebound bar, as its name suggests, is designed to reduce the rebound, or rotational motion, of the seat during a collision, absorbing energy that would otherwise go into the child.
This ideally keeps your child’s head from impacting anything besides the seat of the car itself if you’re unfortunate enough to get into a collision, which is why we buy these seats to begin with. The more forces you can reduce in a crash, the better, and as with the Foonf, Clek provides a video of their seat being crash tested in a side impact. Again, it would be nice to have the numbers regarding the forces involved, since I analyze those all day long with crash test dummies when looking at car safety tests, but it’s still a nice touch to show that they actually do test these seats beyond the marginal government requirements.
Much of the basic elements between the Fllo and Foonf are the same, but the weight difference is not. This seat is so much lighter! I didn’t think 13 pounds could make such a difference, but the fact that the Fllo weighs 13 less when rear-facing than the Foonf is enough for me to recommend it over the Foonf if deciding between the two. The fact that it weighs 9 pounds less when forward-facing and is shorter in both forward and rear-facing configurations is just icing on the cake. I love, love, love the lighter weight and lower profile of the Fllo.
What else can I say? It’s a great seat. Oh, tether all the time when you’re forward-facing as recommended by Clek. Unfortunately, you still can’t tether while rear-facing, but maybe that will change someday. The seat fabrics feel softer than they do in the Foonf, and my daughter confirmed that on a few drives. We’ve only had the chance to take it on one flight so far, but it was a rather anti-climactic experience, since it basically behaved the same way as the Foonf except that it weighed less.
The airplane installation is pretty straightforward. Keep in mind that it’s not likely to fit in the X-ray systems at most terminals, so you’ll want to leave a bit of extra time for being screened manually. Similarly, in most smaller and mid-sized jets, you aren’t going to get it to fit in the aisles, so you’ll need to be prepared to hoist it above them. However, the Fllo will fit the actual airplane seat well. Don’t even bother trying to fit it in the storage compartments above; that’s just an exercise in frustration unless you’re in first class.
Why Buy the Clek Fllo?
This is, as far as I’m concerned, the most relevant part of a car seat review for me. The Fllo is just the 4th of a handful of seats in the United States that allows you to rear-face a child for up to 50 pounds. Every pound is precious, as the longer you rear-face, the safer your child is. In the US, parents tend to turn their children around into the line of fire at 1. In Sweden, this typically isn’t done until 4. Children in Sweden are far less likely to die in car crashes than children in the US. It makes that much of a difference. This alone is reason enough to buy the Fllo.
Besides that fact, the Fllo also features crumple zones through its Energy-Absorbing Crumple Technology, or EACT safety system, designed to reduce the forces in frontal collisions. There are also metal (e.g., steel) substructures and foam on the sides to reduce forces from side impacts. As I mentioned before, the anti-rebound bar is designed to keep the seat more stable in a collision by keeping the seat from rotating as much, reducing tensional forces. All of these are good things.
Something else I love about the Fllo, as I mentioned above, is the 26.5″ rear-facing shell height measurement. Many children outgrow their seats by height before weight, which means that in some seats, you don’t get as much RF time as you otherwise would expect; this is a problem with a number of Britax seats, although it is no longer going to be an issue with the newest Britax ClickTight convertible seats. Clek designed the Fllo smartly and as a result, kids actually have a better chance of reaching past 40 pounds with it than they would with several other seats.
Finally, as noted above, the Fllo is also simply an easier seat to install than most, due to its super narrow width of 16.9 inches. That means it’s actually possible to install 3 across in a number of smaller vehicles. Wider seats restrict your vehicle options, and of course, it’s much more expensive to buy a new vehicle than a new car seat.
In conclusion, just as I wouldn’t call the Foonf the best car seat ever, I’m not going to say the Fllo is the best car seat in the history of car seats, as there isn’t one seat that does everything perfectly. Once again, I wish you could RF younger infants with the Fllo; because of its lower weight limit, you do need to wait for several months until your little one reaches the lower weight limits and can also sit up unassisted. However, for what it does–provide nearly-unparalleled RF abilities by weight–it has very few equals (namely, the Foonf, the Rainier and the Pacifica). And it’s lighter than the Foonf while being easier to 3 across than the Rainier and Pacifica. In that sense, it has no equals.
The Clek Fllo is an amazingly safe seat that can be fit in just about any vehicle while reassuring you as a parent that you have literally done everything possible to transport your child safely. Along with the Rainier and Pacifica, this is one of only four seats I would unequivocally trust my children in while rear-facing. Which is why when my daughter asked if this was going to be her new car seat (at least when riding with dad), I had to say yes.
I recommend the 2015 Clek Fllo wholeheartedly. You can buy the Clek Fllo in the following colors here: “Drift“, “Ink“, “Flamingo“,”Tokidoki All-Over“, “Tokidoki Rebel“, “Thunder“, and “Tank.” Canadians can buy the Fllo here.