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Best Graco Car Seats

Updated November 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
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How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 16 Models Considered
  • 23 Hours Researched
  • 2 Experts Interviewed
  • 298 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Why trust BestReviews?
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
    BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

    Shopping guide for best graco car seats

    Last Updated November 2018

    Your child is your most precious cargo, so it's important to buy her a high-quality car seat that will keep her safe should an accident happen.

    The good news is, you don't have to empty your checking account to get a high-quality car seat for your little one. Graco car seats are well made, meet all relevant safety standards, and are surprisingly affordable – you can't get much better than that.

    But which Graco car seat do you need? That depends on a whole range of factors, including your child's age, whether your car features LATCH tether points, and if you want a car seat you can adjust as your baby grows.

    At BestReviews, we’ve done extensive research on Graco car seats to bring you this in-depth shopping guide that should answer any questions you have on the subject. If you’re ready to buy, look at our top picks in the product list above.

    All Graco car seats meet or exceed U.S. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS). You can check with the Consumer Products Safety Commission to see if your chosen car seat has ever had any recalls.

    Types of Graco car seats

    Graco offers four main varieties of car seats: infant car seats, travel systems, convertible car seats, and booster car seats.

    Infant car seats

    These are rear-facing seats suitable for babies from birth up to when they reach the maximum weight limit or get too tall for the seat (this could be anywhere between 9 and 24 months of age, depending on your child's size). Graco's infant car seat lines include Click Connect and SnugLock.

    Pros:

    • Infant car seats have handles, making them easy to carry to and from your vehicle, so you don't have to wake your baby if he's sleeping.

    • Graco infant car seats come with a convenient base that can be installed and stay in one car, letting you simply click the car seat into the base, saving time and effort.

    • You can also use Graco infant car seats without the base, which is convenient when you're traveling with a friend or relative who doesn't have the car seat base installed.

    • Infant car seats tend to be less expensive than convertible models.

       

    Cons:

    • An infant car seat can be heavy to carry with an older baby in it.

    • Depending on your child's size, you may have to replace an infant car seat with a larger model after less than a year.

    Travel systems

    A travel system is essentially an infant car seat that fits onto a stroller frame. Popular Graco travel system lines include FastAction and Modes.

    Pros:

    • Travel systems make it easy to transition from car seat to stroller – perfect for sleeping babies or little ones who fuss when you move them.

    • You may find a travel system is more affordable than buying a separate infant car seat and stroller.

    • The stroller part of a travel system has other seats, so you can still use it after your baby outgrows the car seat element.
       

    Cons:

    • Travel systems tend to be bulky, so most people switch to a more compact and lightweight stroller once their baby is sitting up.

    Children in rear-facing car seats are much less likely to suffer serious injury in a car accident. We recommend keeping your child in the rear-facing position for as long as possible. Many children are comfortable in rear-facing seats up to age five or older.

    Convertible car seats

    These seats are designed to grow with your child. They start off as rear-facing seats, but they can be switched to forward-facing seats once your little one is not so little. Some of Graco's convertible car seat lines include 4Ever and Extend2Fit.

    Pros:

    • Some of Graco's convertible car seats can fit kids who weigh up to 120 pounds, meaning you'll only ever have to buy one car seat.

    • Convertible car seats allow your child to sit in the rear-facing position for longer.
       

    Cons:

    • While you might save money in the long run by not having to buy other car seats, convertible models are more expensive to purchase.

    • Some small newborns – especially preemies – might be too small for a convertible car seat.

    Booster car seats

    These are either full-backed or backless car seats designed for children up to around age ten (adult seat belts don't provide enough protection for kids shorter than 4 feet 9 inches). Graco's booster seat lines include TurboBooster and Atlas.

    Pros:

    • Booster seats provide protection for older children who have outgrown standard car seats but aren't yet tall enough to go without a seat.

    • Full-backed models provide additional support and protection in case of a car accident.

    • Some of Graco's booster seats provide five-point harnesses, though most allow you to remove the harness and use a seat belt for older children.
       

    Cons:

    • Booster seats aren't suitable for babies and toddlers, so you'll need to get a different kind of seat for the early years.

    • Some booster seats can be bulky.

    EXPERT TIP

    Check your local laws regarding child car seats. Some states dictate children must remain in booster seats until they are between 9 and 11 years old.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Graco car seat features to consider

    LATCH System

    The Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) system is a method of installing car seats without using seat belts. The vast majority of Graco car seats feature LATCH straps, which attach to LATCH anchors in the seats of newer cars. All cars manufactured in the U.S. after September 1, 2002, feature LATCH anchors, though some older vehicles do, too. It's also possible to fit Graco car seats using your car's seat belt, if you prefer or if your car isn't LATCH compatible.

    Harness

    The harness is what keeps your child safe and secure in her car seat. The harness should be easy to adjust, so that it's not a big hassle trying to get the correct fit. The top of the harness straps should be at or below the shoulders in a rear-facing car seat and at or above the shoulders in a forward-facing car seat.

    Weight

    Take a look at the weight of your chosen Graco car seat. This is particularly important for infant car seats, which you could be carrying around with your child inside. Make sure it's not going to be too heavy for you to manage once you've factored in the weight of your baby.

    Padding

    All Graco car seats come with some padding, usually made of EVA foam. The padding provides comfort and extra protection in case of a car accident. It can also be used to help younger babies get a good fit in a convertible car seat. The extra padding helps position young children, but it can be removed to give your kid more space as he grows.

    FOR YOUR SAFETY

    If you're involved in any sort of car accident or collision – no matter how minor – you should replace your car seat. Even if it's not visibly damaged, it may have lost structural integrity.

    Graco car seat prices

    The price you pay for a Graco car seat will vary due to a range of factors, including type of seat, size and weight limit, amount and quality of the padding, and even the color and pattern.

    Expect to pay between $25 and $450.

    • Basic backless booster seats can cost as little as $25. Larger full-backed models can cost over $200.

    • Infant car seats cost roughly $75 to $200.

    • Convertible car seats cost as little as $100 and up to $400 for high-end models.

    • Travel systems start at around $150 and go up to $450.
    DID YOU KNOW?

    Some Graco car seats feature a recline indicator (a bit like a built-in mini spirit level) that shows you the correct angle at which to fit it in your car.

    Tips

    • Make sure your chosen car seat is easy to keep clean. You should be able to remove the fabric part of the seat and wash it in your machine.

    • Consider buying a second set of car seat covers. This means you've got a spare if one set is in the wash.

    • Check that your Graco car seat is installed tightly. It shouldn't move more than one inch forward, backward, or side to side.

    • Select a car seat that fits in your car. While Graco car seats fit in the vast majority of cars, there may be some exceptions, so be sure to check before you buy.
    Graco car seats come in a wide range of colors and patterns, so you're sure to find one that's stylish as well as safe.

    FAQ

    Q. How will I know when my baby's getting too big for her current car seat?

    A. If your little one appears cramped but is still well within the maximum weight and height limits, you may simply need to adjust the harness or take out some of the removable padding.

    Q. What's the best position in which to install my Graco car seat?

    A. The safest place to install a car seat is in the rear middle seat of a vehicle. However, it's not always possible to install a car seat there because some vehicles don't have LATCH anchors or proper seat belts in the center seat. In that case, either the rear left or rear right is the next safest option. Never install your baby's car seat in the front passenger seat because that is the least safe position.

    Q. How do I know that I've safely installed my child's Graco car seat?

    A. The first step to correctly and safely installing your Graco car seat is carefully reading the manual and following the installation instructions to the letter. If you have any trouble, or you simply want someone in the know to double-check the installation, you can find child passenger safety technicians all over the U.S. who have received training from the National Child Passenger Safety Certification Program.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bronwyn
      Bronwyn
      Editor
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Jennifer
      Jennifer
      Writer
    • Lauren
      Lauren
      Writer
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor

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