Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat Review

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat Is Safe and Reliable!

Are you looking for a car seat that can serve your child for years as they continue to grow? The Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 car seat is designed to fit kids from 22 pounds all the way up to 120 pounds.

The adaptability and versatility of the 3 in 1 car seat means that once your child is ready, this one car seat can meet their (and your) needs until the they’re Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seatready for the big leagues and no longer require a booster seat of any kind.

When it comes to choosing the right car seat for your child, there are several key factors that come into play. Safety, reliability, and getting good value for the money are three important factors you may want to consider.

But the choices seem endless and it can take time to wade through the numerous options and assess them on your own.

In this article, we will take a close look at the Graco Nautilus 3 in one car seat and give you our realistic perspective. This will include the good and the bad – to help you make a more informed decision, or at least narrow the field down.

$169.99 Note: Price subject to change without notice. Check Amazon for today’s best price!

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat Design Details

The Graco 3 in 1 is a stable, well-constructed seat that weighs a substantial 20.52 pounds. It features a depth measurement of 18 inches, width of twenty inches and an overall height of twenty-eight inches.

While it’s possible to move this seat from one vehicle to another as the need arises, that’s probably something you won’t want to repeat more than you have to – unless you’ve done it so many times that it becomes second nature. This is primarily due to the weight and bulk of the whole assembly, along with the setup procedure.

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Recommended Use and Size Limits

The Graco is a front-facing car seat. For a young child weighing at least 22 pounds and up to 65 pounds, it provides a comfortable, yet structurally solid and safe seat. With it’s five-point harness system, the 3 in 1 keeps kids securely buckled in.

Graco’s harness system is designed in such a way as to enable you to adjust the harness and head set together, so you can continue to make it comfortable for children as they grow. This is stage one of the “three in one” adjustable seat settings.

Once your child outgrows this initial setting mode, you simply convert your Graco into a high-back booster seat. In this mode, it’s suitable for kids from about 30 pounds, upwards to 100 pounds. This mid-range provides maximum support, safety, and comfort (with the full backrest still accessible) for your growing child.

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1

The third setting available on the 3 in 1 converts the high-back booster into a regular booster (seat portion only). When the Graco seat is set to this mode, it’s more suited to larger kids, those weighing anywhere from 40 pounds all the way up to 120 pounds.

When you consider the wide range (from 22 pounds to 120), it means that you’re going to own a seat that will serve you and your child for years. This means you’re going to get a lot more use value out of the three on one than you could get from any single purpose/ single setting car seat.

The 3 in 1 Car Seat Safety Performance

Graco 3 in 1 car seatGraco has been in the business of making products that help us transport our kids safely for more than 60 years. From the beginning, their primary focus has been product safety. As a parent, that’s comforting to know. And nowhere is safety more of a concern than while driving.

We want to know with certainty that our kids are safe and secure, before we get behind the wheel and hit the road, whether the journey lasts just minutes or multiple hours.

Not only does Graco exceed government safety standards, but it goes the extra mile to add additional built in safety factors beyond what’s required by law.

As pioneers in the field, Graco has established its own protocols for reaching this higher level of safety. With their own crash test facility, tests are conducted throughout the development of their child seating products, including their Nautilus three in one car seat model.

Specifically, from a safety point of view, the Graco 3 in 1 car seat has:

  • A reinforced steel frame for maximum strength, stability, and durability
  • Been thoroughly tested in simulated crashes and meets or exceeds US government standards on safety
  • Also been put to the test for simulated side impact crashes and its five-point harness system has surpassed any establish standards in place
  • When tested by the New Car Assessment Program (NTAP) the Graco 3 in 1 has the ability to withstand crashes at two times the industry standard

Is The Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat Easy To Install?

In a word, No. For most Moms, this isn’t a slam dunk set up. But then again, what child’s car seat is? The whole process can test one’s patience, to say the least. But that’s a common experience with this type of thing. Maybe the second or third time around, things will go much smoother. But once it’s set up and locked in place, you may find yourself leaving it there.

I rank installing child car seats overall as one of most frustrating of all things I’ve had to set up. I’m not very handy or mechanically-inclined to begin with. If you are the handy type, you may find it a breeze to get the Graco set up just the way you want it.

What I would recommend is that you don’t try installing any car seat up 10 minutes before your scheduled to leave. Doing so will is almost certain to stress you out and you’ll probably miss your appointment too. First, watch this video, it makes installation look easier than what I found it to be, but it helps!

In hindsight, the best time to install a kid’s car seat is on the weekend, preferably. When you have a spare hour or two – without the kids hovering around asking you questions, fighting with each other, and basically getting in the way – it’s much easier to follow the instructions on the manufacture’s website step by step. With a clear mind and without the pressures of the daily grind, you’re in a much better position to successfully install your Graco car seat.

Oh and if you’ve got a large van or SUV, you’ll probably find it easier than working with a smaller, more compact car. The three in one will work pretty well anywhere. But it’s easier to set up when there’s room to spare and the three setting recline seems to work better in a larger vehicle. Check out Graco’s 3 in 1 Manual for additional installation tips.

Graco 3 in 1 Car Seat: Pro’s and Con’s

Let’s look at what things other buyers like about the Graco 3 in 1, as well as the things they didn’t like.

Pros – Key Features Parents Like

  • Safe and secure seating – so you can focus on driving without worrying about your child
  • With 3 distinct settings, it means you can keep your kids in a car seat configuration over a longer period of time, which is better for their health and safety, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics
  • Durable, sturdy construction plus the adaptable design means that this one purchase will last longer (up to 10 years in total before the seat expires) and save you money when compared to buying several seats over the same time period, as your child’s needs grow
  • Built-in cup-holder and treat tray provide comfort enhancements kids love
  • Soft, plush padding provides a higher level of comfort over a longer period of time
  • Removable covers and pads are machine washable – so keeping this child’s seat clean is much easier than those with fixed fabric and padding
  • Converts easily to a booster seat

Cons – Key Features Parents Say Need Improvement

  • The harness can feel a little too loose – that’s the biggest complain. Not being able to get your child strapped into the seat to the point where it feels comfortably tight and stable can be difficult. The company’s own video claims that movement should not exceed one inch. But in my mind, that’s a fair bit of play – too much for my liking
  • In extreme heat, some buyers reported that the plastic buckles on the 3 in 1 warped and distorted (This could be a problem when interior car temperatures exceed 100°F and it will require you to order replacement parts
  • Overall Installation process and getting the seat secured to the car
  • Recline adjustments are minimal and can be difficult to get working in tighter spaces – it’s no big deal, in most cases – but why have the feature if you can’t use it?

Customer Reviews

The Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 car seat scores a respectable 4.2 out of 5 stars on Amazon. This rating is based on more than 830 reviews at the time of writing.

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Our Verdict

Graco NautilusFor your child’s safety and overall comfort, the Graco Nautilus 3 in one car seat is an excellent choice.

Since it’s adjustable and designed to grow with your child, the 3 in 1 car seat will undoubtedly save you money in the long run, by helping you avoid additional purchases down the road.

The bottom line is that you can enjoy peace of mind traveling with a happier, more comfortable child and get more for your money at the same time. Check out our ratings and verdict for the Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat below.

Price: MEDIUM | Quality: HIGH | Safety: HIGH | Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Important 2019 Update

New and Improved: Nautilus® SnugLock® LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

You may want to consider this new and improved 3 in 1 car seat by Graco. It’s a little more expensive but new technology makes installation much quicker and easier. Below are some key features included:

CLICK! That’s the sound of a secure install. The Graco Nautilus® SnugLock® LX is equipped with SnugLock® Technology for a hassle-free installation using either vehicle seat belt or LATCH. In three easy steps you can feel confident you’ve got a secure install. The 3-in-1 Harness Booster converts from a 5-point harness booster (22-65 lb), to a highback booster (40-100 lb) and to a backless booster (40-100 lb) to a low profile backless booster (40 – 120 lb).

>> One-hand, 6-position adjustable headrest easily adapts for your growing child
>> Fuss Free harness storage to get baby in and out easily
>> Body support helps keep your child comfy
>> InRight™ LATCH system for a one-second LATCH attachment
>> Steel-reinforced frame provides strength and durability for up to 10 years of use
>> 4-position improved recline helps keep your growing child comfy
>> Contoured armrests with dual cup holders and storage compartment
>> Seat pad, body support and buckle covers are comfortable and machine-washable
>> Engineered & crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213
>> In addition to meeting or exceeding all applicable US safety standards, Nautilus® SnugLock® LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster has been side  impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system
>> EPS, energy absorbing foam for effective impact managemen
>> *Be sure to check your local and state laws, as well as AAP and NHTSA recommendations, for car seat usage.

Nautilus® SnugLock® LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

$200.99 Note: Price subject to change without notice. Check Amazon for today’s best price!

We hope this Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car Seat review has helped you choose the right car seat for your child.


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