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Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat Reviews

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As the name implies, Graco’s 3-in-1 Car Seat is a versatile seat that is meant to grow with your child throughout all the time they need a car seat or a booster. The seat can be used as a forward facing car seat for toddlers starting at 20 lbs. that have outgrown their rear facing seats, then switched to a high back booster and finally, when the child gets bigger, as a backless booster seat that will hold a child up to 100 lbs.

The Nautilus has some compelling safety features that distinguish it. This is one of only a few seats that has a harness that can be used for kids up to 65 lbs., thus allowing you to keep your child in the safer harness longer than other seats. A steel reinforced frame gives the Nautilus rigidity and sturdiness, and it allows it to withstand higher peak crash forces than other car seats. The Nautilus also utilizes EPS energy absorbing foam for added safety and benefits from extensive crash testing.

The Graco Nautilus is a beautiful car seat. Graco hast used a tasteful combination of colors: black, gray, white and red in a way that gives the seat a classy, yet sporty look. The design of the cushions and the seat’s curves make it one of the most visually appealing car seats currently in the market. But, there is function apart from form on the Nautilus, too. It has a detachable and adjustable head support for bigger children with padded wings for head support while sleeping, padded shoulder straps, a convenient cup holder that is always accessible and side storage for toys and treats. You are looking for the best convertible car seat for small cars 2017.

The Nautilus 3-in-1 is the best selling and most reviewed car seat on Amazon with over 1,000 reviews. It’s huge popularity can be attributed to it’s very affordable price and complete feature set which make it one of the highest rated car seats for safety and convenience of all the seats that we reviewed. In fact, we would have to say that the Nautilus provided the best balance of price and features of all the car seats we examined and it was certainly the most popular among reviewers on Amazon with the majority of them rating the Nautilus 4 or 5 stars. Graco has been in the juvenile manufacturing industry for over fifty years and is one of the top manufacturers of child car seats.

Here are some of the top features of the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat:

  • Steel reinforced frame for safety and durability.
  • High quality construction that stands up to years of usage.
  • Peak crash force is nearly two times the Car Seat Standard.
  • Energy absorbing foam for extra safety.
  • Detachable head support.
  • Side storage and cup holders.
  • 3 position reclining angle.
  • Extended five point harness for children 20-65 lbs.
  • High back booster for children 30-100lbs.
  • Backless booster for children 40-100 lbs.

How do customers like the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1?

The Nautilus 3-in-1 had the most reviews of any unit we looked at. There were 1,036 customer reviews on Amazon at the time of this writing. 673 of those were 5 stars and 236 were 4 stars, so over 87% of Amazon customers rated the Nautilus at least 4 stars. As you might imagine, many of the reviewers had very high praises for the Nautilus, touting its versatility and ease of use.

We did find some reviewers who had complaints about the Nautilus. Chief among those were a lack of a third adjustment to the crotch strap so that bigger kids don’t have to sit on top of the strap and complaints that the seat is not padded enough to be comfortable on long trips.

Main positives of the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat according to customers:

The 12.5 inch seat width makes it compact enough to fit well in smaller cars.
Easy to use and adjust the headrest which extends far up for older or bigger kids.
Many customers loved the cup holder as well as the side storage.
Allows you to keep your child in a five point harness longer than other car seats as it can be used all the way up to 65 lbs.
The steel frame construction make the Nautilus feel sturdy and adds safety.

Chief customer complaints about the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat:

The shoulder height strap has to be rethreaded to be adjusted. This could be inconvenient if you have more than one child using the seat.
One customer complained that the wings are so padded that it may cause a younger kid’s head to slump forward while sleeping because they are so close to the child’s head while another said that her child sleeps comfortably in it without slumping over.
Several customers complained that the seat would benefit from a third adjustment for the crotch strap as the furthest adjustment makes older kids sit on the strap which could be uncomfortable.

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More than one customer said that the car seat does not seem to have enough padding to be comfortable on long trips.
One customer complained that his child has a mark on his back from the area where the latch is secured to the seat despite all the cushioning. This happened once he removed the baby insert from the seat.

Conclusion of customer reviews:

At the time of this writing, the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat had the highest customer rating of any seat we reviewed (1,022 reviews averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars). The overwhelming amount of customers gave this unit glowing reviews but we did find a common complaint in the reviewers that had issues with the Nautilus. This was the fact that the crotch strap on the Nautilus, which measures approximately 6.5 inches from the back of the unit could be troublesome for bigger or older kids. We feel this is something that any potential buyer should think about before purchasing the Nautilus but we note that the problem is only brought up by a few of the over 1,000 reviewers who have bought the unit and are extremely happy with it.

Therefore, our overall conclusion is that the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat is a feature rich and very competitively priced car seat that many of the features that buyers are looking for: safety – with it’s reinforced steel frame, high peak crash force rating and energy absorbing foam; good looks – with a sporty design and attractive color scheme; and convenience – with it’s well placed cup holder and side storage. The Graco Nautilus also has the durability and versatility to last many years as it’s sturdy construction and the ability to use it as a car seat, a high back booster and a backless booster will grow with your child from 20 lbs all the way up to 100 lbs.