Graco Convertible Seats, What’s The Difference?

Recently, Graco has released several new convertible seats to the market, adding a wider array of convertible and multi-use restraint options to its lineup. Several questions we’re asked are “What is the difference between these seats?” “Is this seat similar to that seat?” “How do I know which one I want?” If you’ve had any of those thoughts, you’re not alone. Sometimes when manufacturers produce many restraints, and especially when several are released to market within a shorter period, parents and caregivers can be a little caught up in a tizzy of information and options.

There are currently a grand total of 16 convertible and All-in-1 Graco seats unexpired and on the market, but several of those seats are identical versions sold under different names in different locations. Not included in that number are the Nautilus and Argos combination seats, which are sometimes sold as “3-in-1” seats, but do not have a rear facing mode. Here’s the full list of restraints, grouped together with similar or identical versions: ComfortSport and Classic Ride 50/Ready Ride, My Ride 65 and My Ride 70 (including the LX and DLX versions), Size4me 70/MySize 70 and Head Wise 70, Size4Me 65/Fit4Me 65/MySize 65 and Head Wise 65, Contender 65, Smart Seat All-in-1, Milestone All-in-1, and 4Ever All-in-1. Are you overwhelmed? Does that already seem like a lot of information? Don’t worry! We’ll go over some of the very basic features of each of these seats with links to our detailed reviews.

ComfortSport and Classic Ride 50/Ready Ride

Photo shown is the stock photo of the ComfortSport in Jette fashion

Photo shown is the stock photo of the Graco ComfortSport in Jette fashion

CSFTL Quick Stats:
  • Rear facing weight range: 5-30lbs (4-40lbs for the Classic Ride 50 and Ready Ride)
  • Rear facing height limit: 1″ below top of shell
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-40lb (20-50lb for the Classic Ride 50 and Ready Ride)
  • Forward facing height range: <40″ (45″ for the Classic Ride 50 and Ready Ride)
  • Lowest harness position: 7.5″
  • Highest harness position: 13.8″
  • Expiration: 7 years

Aside from the name and cover fashion changes, and slight changes in on-paper limits, the Classic Ride 50 and Ready Ride are essentially the same seat as the ComfortSport. While the ComfortSport and Ready Ride/Classic Ride 50 are very budget friendly and fairly small for a convertible seat, the short shell and low top harness slots mean that kids will outgrow these seats around 2 years rear facing and by around 3 years forward facing. For the price, there are a few other seats you might want to consider, but these are safe seats when used properly.

 

 

My Ride 65

CSFTL Review

Graco MyRide

A happy baby in her Graco My Ride

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 4 or 5lbs-40lbs (minimum weight limit can vary by model)
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below top of shell
  • Forward facing weight range:  20-65 lbs  (older versions may have 70 lb limit)
  • Forward facing height range: <50″
  • Shell height: 24″
  • Lowest harness position: 7″
  • Highest harness position: 16.5″
  • Expiration: 7 years

The My Ride 65 is a popular seat and has been on the market for a fairly long time. They’re available in many retail locations and are budget friendly. They fit newborns very well and will last most kids until around age 3.5 rear facing and then until around age 4 or 5 forward facing. While not the longest lasting seat on the market, the My Rides are great for average to small kids. One downside of the My Rides 65 is that they’re fairly bulky front to back and also side to side, though the reason for the width is the dual cupholders. Another issue is the deep recline of the seat, which sometimes means that the seat does not fit perfectly in certain vehicles forward facing. However, this recline makes the My Ride a good option for some special needs situations. The difference between the different versions (LX/DLX) is the inserts and padding; the Safety Surround version has Graco’s patented Safety Surround SIP foam to the seat.

 

Size4Me 65/Fit4Me 65/My Size 65 and Head Wise 65

CSFTL Review of the MySize

CSFTL Review of the Head Wise

rear facing Eibhlin 1

A happy rear facing three-year old in a Graco MySize

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-40lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below red adjuster button on headrest when fully extended
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65lbs (older versions may have a 70 lb limit)
  • Forward facing height range:  49″ for the 65lb limit seats (52″ for the 70lb limit seats)
  • Shell height: 28″
  • Lowest harness position: 7″ with infant insert
  • Highest harness position: 17.5″
  • No-rethread harness
  • Expiration: 7 years

The MySize 65 and Size4Me 65 are identical, except for the covers and retailer availability. The Head Wise 65 has Graco’s Safety Surround  in the movable headrest and also has “premium” suede-like fabrics and a different insert. Graco also introduced the Fit4Me 65, which is the “sister seat” of the MySize 65 and Size4Me 65 and is sold only at Wal-Mart. It’s very likely that these seats will get kids to an age where they can transition directly to a booster, and since they’re budget friendly, especially with sales or coupons, these seats are popular long-lasting options. All seats include premium push-button lower anchor connectors.

 

The Contender 65

CSFTL Review

Graco Contender65 fit this 8 month old model well

Graco Contender 65 fit this 8 month old model well

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-40lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below red adjuster button on headrest when fully extended
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65lbs
  • Forward facing height range: <49″
  • Shell height: 28″
  • Lowest harness position: 7″ with infant insert
  • Highest harness position: 17.5″
  • No-rethread harness
  • Expiration: 7 years

The Contender 65 is another convertible seat similar to the MySize 65, but was designed with slightly different features which make it available at a lower price point. Instead of the three-position recline mechanism, the Contender 65 has a block that flips forward as a (two position) recline mechanism. It also has the standard lower anchor connectors instead of the premium push-button lower anchor connectors. Since the Contender 65 has the same tall harness slots, many parents find that this long-lasting option has all of the features they are looking for.

 

The Smart Seat All-in-1

Photo shown is the stock photo of the Graco SmartSeat in Jemma fashion

Photo shown is the stock photo of the Graco Smart Seat in Jemma fashion

 

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 5-40lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below top of the headrest (in bottom three settings)
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65lbs
  • Forward facing height range: <50″
  • High-back booster weight range: 30-100lb
  • High-back booster height range: <57″
  • Lowest harness position: 8.5″ with infant insert
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Highest booster guide position: 19″
  • No-rethread harness
  • Expiration: 10 years

The Smart Seat has a unique feature: it has a detachable base that can be used for rear and forward facing modes. This means you can buy an extra base for another vehicle and transfer the seat separately. However, the extra bases are expensive. The Smart Seat does not fit newborns at birth and it isn’t very long-lasting in rear facing mode because only the bottom three headrest positions are usable for rear facing. The child must also have more than 1″ of headrest over his head in those three positions. Forward facing mode is fairly long-lasting compared to other convertible seats, but with the bulkiness of the seat, children may not use it until they outgrow it. The booster feature on the Smart Seat is going to be outgrown before the child is ready to stop using a booster and well before 100lbs, but it offers proper fit in booster mode. Overall, unless the detachable base feature is very important to you, this is probably going to be a seat to pass over in favor of the next two seats, the Milestone and 4Ever.

 

The Milestone All-in-1

CSFTL Review

At almost 2, she's loving her Graco Milestone

At almost 2, she’s loving her Graco Milestone

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 5-40lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below adjuster button on headrest when fully extended
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65lbs
  • Forward facing height range: <49″
  • Highback booster weight range: 30-100lbs
  • Highback booster height range: 38-57″
  • Shell height: 28″
  • Lowest harness position: 8″ with insert
  • Highest harness position: 17.5″
  • Highest booster guide position: 18.75″
  • No-rethread harness
  • Expiration: 10 years

The Milestone All-in-1 has three modes of use: rear facing, forward facing, and high-back booster. It has infant padding for newborns, fits tall children well, and works well as a high-back booster. It is more expensive than the MySize 65 and Contender 65 seats, but it has a 10 year expiration range vs. the 7 year expiration range of the others. It also has the added function of a belt positioning booster. It is generally easy to install and has four recline modes; two for rear facing and two for forward facing. Children will outgrow the Milestone before they’re ready to stop using a booster, and parents may find that they need to purchase another dedicated booster years down the road. Overall, this “little cousin” of the 4Ever All-in-1 is more compact than the MySize 65 and Contender 65 and is a very popular option both for tall children and small spaces.

 

The 4Ever All-in-One

CSFTL Review

Graco 4Ever rear facing 2 year old

Graco 4Ever with a rear facing 2-year-old.

 

CSFTL Quick Stats:

  • Rear facing weight range: 4-40lbs
  • Rear facing height range: 1″ below top of the headrest when fully extended
  • Forward facing weight range: 20-65lbs
  • Forward facing height range: <49″
  • Highback booster weight range: 30-100lbs
  • Highback booster height range: 38-57″
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-120lbs
  • Backless booster height range: 40-57″
  • Shell height: 28″
  • Lowest harness position: 6″ with infant insert
  • Highest harness position: 18″
  • Highest booster guide position: 19″
  • No-rethread harness
  • Expiration: 10 years

The 4Ever is the only 4-in-1 car seat currently on the market, which is very exciting! It can be used for Littles ranging from a small newborn to a tall preschooler in rear facing mode. The 4Ever is very compact and  yet one of the longest lasting rear facing seats on the market.  The top harness slots will be tall enough for almost all kids to get to booster ready age. There are six recline settings; three for rear facing, three for forward facing, and one for booster mode. It has a steel reinforced frame, a smooth and compact base, and a bubble level on the side for gauging recline. Unlike the Milestone, the 4Ever offers a backless booster option for when the high-back portion is outgrown.

 

Ultimately, lots of factors go into the decision to purchase a new seat. Is it something that fits your needs, budget, child, and vehicle? Is it something you’ll use correctly every time? Those are the important questions. What features are you looking for? Are “premium” options important? Graco’s wide array of convertible seats offers parents many options. When choosing a seat I’d recommend going to the store and feeling the restraint. See if you can test it out in your vehicle before you purchase it. Put your Little in the seat and see how he responds. Consider other passengers in the vehicle and possible space constraints.  You may even want to hear what other parents have to say about the different Graco convertibles.

Hopefully, this post has helped to simplify the information out there about all of these seats. Our reviews are a great resource for more in-depth information. CSFTL also offers a recommended seat list with a comparison feature, so you can see some of these seats and others side by side.