Best Graco Car Seats Guide from a Mom Who’s Tried Them All

Whether you have one baby or four, you’ve likely heard the name Graco a thousand times. I mean, what doesn’t Graco have? At this point, I’m surprised they’re not making the hospital beds moms are giving birth on.

What makes Graco so great is they offer a wide range of car seat options for older kids, toddlers, and infants. Plus, Graco car seats are super affordable!

This is a brand you can find scattered all over the results on Amazon, but you also feel comfortable that they focus on comfort and safety for your little one. 

But, with all of the Graco car seat options out there, how do you know which is best for your baby? While I can’t tell you which exact Graco car seat is best for your own baby, Graco has something to offer for everyone and anyone looking for a car seat. 

Bottom Line Up Front

 I think the best Graco car seat is the Graco Contender Slim Convertible car seat. I’ve purchased this car seat as a gift for other first-time moms I know, which goes to show how much I love and trust this car seat!

How to Choose the Right Graco Car Seatgraco car seat

As you’re looking around at all of the different options offered by Graco, there are a few pieces of advice I would recommend you keep in the back of your head as you’re shopping around: 


I would only recommend you buy a car seat if you measure the space in your car. The last thing that you want to have to happen is you buy a car seat that’s too big for your vehicle and can’t safely sit in your car.


How strong are you? Are you looking for something that’s super lightweight, or are you okay with purchasing a heavier car seat that you can lug around?

My husband and I bought a car seat that was heavier than I anticipated, so I’m not able to help much when it comes to moving the car seat. Granted, it is a convertible car seat, but I want you to keep this in the back of your head, just in case.


Are you looking for a car seat that’s going to last your baby from the time they leave the hospital all the way up until they’re graduating from a booster seat?

Or are you just looking for a booster seat to help get your kid through the next couple of years? You should take into consideration how much time you have left for your baby to be sitting in a car seat as you’re shopping around.

For example, it doesn’t make any sense to buy A convertible car seat if your little one is ready for a backless booster seat. 

How I Chose These Amazing Graco Car Seats

kid in graco car seat

As I was shopping around online, I kept a few pieces of criteria in the back of my head. Here’s a closer look at my criteria: 

Options for Everyone

I made sure to go through and choose car seats that would be a good option for every type of family. so, no matter what your budget is or how old your little one is, you’re definitely going to find a car seat here that’ll work for you and your family. 

Price Flexibility

I’m not going to lie to you; car seats are an investment. But they are an important investment because they keep your little ones safe in the event of an accident.

However, I was conscious of pricing when selecting these car seats. Also, that’s another great reason to love Graco car seats. They are very budget-friendly, especially to a lot of other brands like Nuna car seats.

Graco Contender Slim Convertible Car SeatGraco Contender Slim Convertible Car Seat

  • 18.9-inches long
  • 16-pound weight
  • 5-40 pounds for rear-facing, 22-65 for forward facing

This is one of the most popular car seat options offered by Graco. There is a lot I love about this car seat, and it’s actually the first car seat that I purchased from Graco. This is the car seat that got me hooked, and I recommended Graco to a lot of new moms who needed a bigger budget to work with. 

Time and time again, this car seat has proven itself to be easy to use and super budget-friendly. after all, where else could you find a car seat that you could buy for less than $300 and lasts until your kid is ready to stop using car seats?

 I love the Graco Contender slim convertible car seat because it’s a great car seat for anyone that doesn’t have a lot of back seat base to work with.

Plus, slim car seats tend to be on the more expensive side because there aren’t as many available on the market. However, this slim convertible car seat is a super budget-friendly option and it’s easy to use.

 I love how easy this car seat is to install too!

There is a four-position recline available for this convertible car seat, which gives you a few options to work with to make your child more comfortable. While this has fewer reclined positions available than higher-end car seats, this is one of the areas where Graco Cuts Corners are to keep the car seat more affordable.

Graco used Graco ProtectPlus Engineering to protect any child writing in this car seat from rear, rollover, side, and frontal accidents. it’s past rigorous crash testing to ensure that you can feel safe and confident while you’re out with your babe on the road. 

Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat 

  • Weights 20 pounds
  • 18-inches long
  • A 5-point harness is safe for 22-65 pounds, the highback position is safe for 30-100 pounds, and the backless belt position is safe for 40-100 pounds.

This is a highback booster seat that has the option to convert to a backless booster for children in the appropriate weight range. The best part about this booster seat is that it allows your child to buckle themselves in without needing any help, continuing to push for Independence as your child ages.

 This booster seat is great for someone not looking to take the car seat in and out of their vehicle. It is a large and heavy car seat, but if you have the room in an SUV or minivan, it’s affordable for someone looking for a quality car seat on a budget. 

For this convertible booster seat, you’ll find three settings available for you to change the car seat into as your child grows.

There is a five-point harness mode and a belt-positioning booster available, making it easier to provide adjustments without having to worry about any rethreading. I love how the cup holder is built into this booster seat, as I’m not a big fan of the cup holders that click on car seats or booster seats.

This is a forward-facing model only, with a high back and backless booster mode available. It’s still pretty comfy for being a budget from the car seat.

There are three recline positions and contoured armrests, which will help to provide your child with an additional layer of comfort.

My favorite part about this booster seat? It comes with a convenient storage pocket that’s great for holding pencils, small toys, or any other fun thing your child wants to bring along on a car ride. 

Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 Elite Infant Car SeatGraco SnugRide SnugFit 35 Elite Infant Car Seat   

  • 18 pounds
  • 17.5-inches long
  • Safe for 4-35 pounds and up to 32-inches long

There are some people who would prefer something other than purchasing convertible car seats for a newborn or infant.

I think that there are some added benefits of using an infant car seat compared to a convertible car seat, such as the portability of an infant car seat. If you’re looking into an infant car seat, I would recommend this Graco SnugRide SnugFit 35 Elite car seat. 

 This is a rear-facing only car seat and will probably only last you up to a year, if not less time, depending on how quickly your baby grows.

There is a simple three-step process you can follow for a quick and easy install. I love the built-in bubble level indicator and the four-position adjustable base, making it a lot easier for you to safely install this car seat without worrying about possibly closing up your newborn’s airways.

 I know that many brands don’t make their infant car seats compatible with several brands of strollers. However, this car seat is made to be compatible with several models of strollers from Graco, which is another reason why I think it’s such an amazing car seat. 

As far as the safety specs on this car seat, you’ll find that it comes with the Graco SafetyCore system, which absorbs all of the energy into the base of the car seat if there is an accident. I love that the Graco also offers a LATCH system setup or a seatbelt setup, making it a lot easier to move this car seat around between vehicles. 

The best part about this infant car seat is the RapidRemove cover, which is super easy to remove from the car seat and gives a quick wash in case your infant spits up in the car seat.

Plus, I love the canopy that Graco installed on this car seat, even though it does add a little bit of extra weight to this model.

Graco Turn2Me 3-in-1 Rotating Car Seat Graco Turn2Me 3-in-1 Rotating Car Seat 

  • 30 pounds
  • 19-inches long
  • Safe for 4-40 pounds for rear-facing, 22-65 for forward-facing, and 40-100 for the highback booster mode

Rotating car seats are all the rage, right? I was always a bit skeptical of rotating car seats until I tried the Graco Turn2Me model.

If you’ve never tried rotating car seats before, let me tell you, it’s life-changing. When you’re using a rotating car seat, long gone is your back pain as you’re struggling to get a fighting baby into their car seat. This car seat turns towards you, so you don’t have to bend and contort yourself to try to get your little one safely into the car. 

Even better, this is a convertible car seat, so you can use it with your little one as soon as they’re born all the way up until they’re ready to graduate to a backless booster.

You have a rear-facing harness, a Forward-facing harness, and a highback booster mode. If you aren’t too worried about getting an infant car seat that you can carry your little one around, I would highly recommend this rotating car seat. 

This car seat is super easy to install, and I love that it comes with a no-rethread harness because that adds to the ease of use that comes with using this car seat.

It comes with 10 different position Heights located near the headrest so you can adjust the height of this car seat to be safe for your little one as they grow. It’s comfortable and well-padded, so you and your little one can stay cozy and pain-free while you’re out on the road. 

There is snug lock installation technology available for both rear and forward-facing modes. I love the easy-to-read recline angle indicator installed on this car seat, as that really took a lot of the worry out of closing my baby’s airways when I was using this car seat when he was a newborn.

The steel reinforced frame makes me feel confident in the side impact, rear impact, and Forward impact technology to keep my little one safe. 

Graco 4Ever All-in-one DLX 4-in-1 Car SeatGraco 4Ever All-in-one DLX 4-in-1 Car Seat

  • 23 pounds
  • 21.5-inches long
  • Safe for 4-40 pounds for rear-facing mode, 22-65 pounds for forward-facing, 40-100 pounds for highback booster, and 40-120 pounds for backless booster 

The Graco 4Ever All-in-One DLX car seat is one of the easiest car seats to install, thanks to the InRight LATCH system. If you invest in this car seat, there’s truly no other car seat that you’ll have to go out and purchase for your little one.

You can use this from the time they are born all the way up until they don’t need a booster seat anymore. There are four modes available with this car seat, which are a rear-facing mode, a forward-facing mode, a highback booster mode, and a backless booster mode. 

 All of the modes available with this car seat have been rigorously tested and exceed current US Safety standards for car accidents, including side impact.

For the rear-facing mode and forward-facing mode, there is a 5-point harness system that you can easily adjust to fit your child as they’re growing. The steel-enforced frame provides the additional strength and durability that most parents are looking for in the event of a car accident.

 I think one of the best parts about this car seat is the ten-position headrest that you can adjust without having to rethread the entire car seat.

Sometimes, growth spurts that kids go through happen overnight, so it’s super easy for you to adjust the height of this headrest to make sure your child is safe without having to take out the entire car seat and rethread the straps. 

In addition to the ten-position headrest offered, there is also a six-position recline that you can adjust to make your child more comfortable if you are out on a long road trip. While there are plush inserts available for newborns and infants, this plush insert is super easy to remove when your little one is too big. 

I love the versatility of this car seat, and I think it’s a great option for parents who are worried they may have a larger or heavier child as they get older.

Since it goes up to 120 pounds for the backless booster mode, I think that it’s a great choice for parents that are looking for a versatile, comfortable, and safe car seat. And, of course, Graco didn’t forget to add a harness storage compartment for you to store the harness in, offering an added convenience for you.

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat 

  • 19 pounds
  • 19.5-inches long
  • Safe for rear-facing from 4-50 pounds, forward-facing is safe from 22-65 pounds

Last but not least, we have the Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat, one of the most popular models offered by Graco.

This is one of the cheapest Graco car seats you’ll find, and it’s even cheaper if you’re able to find it on sale. It’s a very well-built car seat system with nice safety features, including the ten-position headrest offered in the other Graco car seats.

In addition, you’ll find a four-position extension panel leg rest to help keep your little one writing rear-facing longer, which is why I think it’s one of the most popular convertible car seats offered by Graco.

You’ll also find that this convertible car seat has six recline positions, helping to provide additional comfort and making it easier for your child to ride rear-facing for longer periods. 

I, along with a lot of other parents, love how easy this car seat is to install. The easier a car seat is to install, the fewer chances there are four there to be something that goes wrong during the installation process. I think the ball level indicator offered on the seat makes it could even easier for parents to install this car seat at the correct angle appropriately.

Even though this is an affordable car seat, you couldn’t really tell just by looking at the stitching and the padding available on it.

The covers are machine washable too, which is always nice. I love the harness storage pockets available, too, adding to all of the convenience offered by this car seat. 


Question: Are Graco car seats safe? 

Answer: Yes, Graco car seats are safe. Currently, all of their car seats either meet or exceed the current safety standard set in place by the US Federal Motor Vehicle Administration. Graco Prides itself on creating car seats that go above and beyond the current regulated call for safety practices in car seat manufacturing. 

Question: What is the expiration date on Graco car seats?

Answer: Graco car seats expire seven years after the manufacturing date on the car seat. You can find the label to see the manufacturing date printed on the label on the back of your Graco car seat.

Question: When should I switch my child to forward-facing?

Answer: I recommend you keep your child rear-facing until they turn four years old. However, Graco recommends keeping your child rear-facing until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for the car seat.

Once they have outgrown their rear-facing car seat, you can switch your convertible car seat or buy a front-facing car seat for your child to begin forward facing in.

Finding the Best Graco Car Seat for Your Family

I love the options Graco offers for car seats, but it can be overwhelming. All of the car seats I’ve listed above can provide safety, convenience on the road, comfort, and all of the additional needs your family may have while you’re traveling.

If you still aren’t sure if one of the car seats I’ve listed above is best for your little one, consider taking your babe to a store to try sitting in the car seat themselves. This will allow you to feel the quality and see the snug fit for the car seat you’re considering.

What Graco car seat would you recommend?