September 8, 2014
I bought this seat for my mom, who watches my kids and my sister's kids. When I saw it in the store I thought the infant insert looked superior to other seats on the market. The infant insert offers a great deal of support for babies without solid head/neck control. Outside of this, my review will compare this seat to the Chicco NextFit, Britax Marathon, and Britax Boulevard. I honestly REALLY like this seat. It has a built in cupholder which is so nice for toddlers. There is plenty of padding. My daughter is tall (75%) at 3 years old and there is plenty of room for her to grow in this seat. But, at the same time it is also very supportive for my 5 month old son.
One thing that is such a huge selling point for me is that the harness is very easy to tighten when rear facing. This is a major negative for the chicco next fit, which is extremely difficult to tighten to a point where my child is securely strapped in to the seat. The placement of the strap to loosen/tighten is in a much better spot on the graco than on either Britax seats or the chicco. If this is your first convertible seat, this point may not seem like a big deal,but it is a HUGE inconvenience!
In terms of padding and protection, I would say all three brands are right on par with each other. The boulevard, nextfit and headwise all offer the side impact head protection, and all are able to be adjusted as kids grow. While the headwise offers slightly less 'luxurious' padding than the chicco, it is very similar to both Britax models. The padding is more than sufficient to provide a comfortable seat for long trips.
One area where the graco falls short is ease of installation. The chicco is by far the easiest of the 3 brands to install, followed by Britax. The Graco took a bit of work. However, it isn't as if you are constantly taking these out and putting them back. Once they are in, they tend to stay in for a while!
Recline options: there are plenty on here to accomodate toddlers as well as very small babies. This seat offers a more reclined option than either Britax, but not as many options as the nextfit. But really, there is absolutely no need for 9 recline options like the nextfit has. That is just excessive!
Overall, I would highly recommend this seat, especially for the price. Had I tried both out, I probably would have opted for this seat over the much more expensive chicco nextfit.
Pros:Very easy to tighten
Plenty of padding
Cons:not as easy to install as competitors