Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat Review & Video Demo

Overall Rating:

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Car SeatSkip to:

Where to Buy:

Highlights:

  • Five point harness fits 20 to 65 pounds, and 52 inches tall
  • High back booster with open-loop belt guide fits 30 to 100 pounds, and 57 in
  • Or convert it to a backless booster that fits 40 to 100 pounds, and 57 in
  • Steel-reinforced frame and structure
  • EPS energy-absorbing foam interior
  • 3 position recline
  • Cushioned seat pad – also machine washable
  • One-handed easy-adjust head support
  • Wide, contoured arm rests
  • Cup holder
  • Side storage for snacks and goodies
  • Weighs 26 lbs
  • Extensive crash testing: including Side-impact testing, New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) Compliance Standard, with a peak Crash Force approximately twice the Car Seat Standard, and Extreme Car Interior Temperature testing. This car seat meets or exceeds all the U.S. Safety Standards.

Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat Review:

Graco Nautilus 3-In-1 Booster Seat

Graco Nautilus 3-In-1 Booster Seat

Let me be frank with you. The Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat is a safe and affordable option for those that want to keep their children harnessed for as long as possible. When on sale, this combination harness to booster seat is nearly half the price of leading competitors. It’s been given the highest rating, BEST BET, by the NHTSA. It’s also America’s #1 best selling harnessed booster seat.

In terms of safety, the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 not only meets or exceeds all the U.S. Safety Standards, but it’s also been tested for Extreme Car Interior Temperatures, and has been though the NCAP (New Car Assessment Program).

It’s extremely durable, offers a steel reinforced frame, and is therefore heavy. It weighs 26 pounds, which is more than most, including the Britax Frontier 85, and the Recaro ProSport. So, if you plan on packing it around and moving it from vehicle to vehicle, keep that in mind. It also offers EPS, energy-absorbing foam throughout the interior and a cushioned seat pad for extra comfort.

The Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 will allow your child to ride forward-facing and harnessed for longer than most. It then converts to high back booster that can be used up to 100 pounds, or a backless booster up to 100 pounds as well.

I love the contoured armrests, as well as the integrated cup holder that doesn’t stick out, and the snack cubbies for extra storage.

What I Don’t Like

If you travel a lot, and you need a car seat that’s comfortable for your child to sleep in, the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 may not be the best option. It does offer a 3 position recline, but in some vehicles, it’s simply not enough to keep your child’s head from slumping forward. You see, the Graco Nautilus has a large headrest, which is great for safety, but not so much for comfort. It pushes your child’s head forward, and no matter how far back you recline the seat, your child always ends up in a slumped position.

It may also have something to do with the recline of your vehicles seat. When I scanned through the reviews on Amazon I noticed a lot people complaining about the lack of recline, while others seemed to have no problem with it. Unfortunately I don’t have a run-down of all the vehicles, so it’s kind of like rolling the dice.

Also, as I said above, you can use the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 in harness mode up to 65 pounds and 52 inches. The problem is that it doesn’t offer enough buckle adjustments for the crotch area. Chances are your child will outgrow the seat bottom before the weight or the height, and you’ll have to switch to high-back booster mode. Kind of a letdown considering that the 65 max weight is probably one of the biggest benefits.

Customer Feedback:

The Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat is the MOST popular harnessed booster seat on the market. Mainly because it’s safe, and affordable. With 1158 out of 1406 reviewers rating it 4 to 5 stars, that’s an 82% customer satisfaction rating. Not the best, but certainly not the worst.

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster Seat

Graco Nautilus 3 in 1 Booster Seat

Most of the reviewers really seemed to appreciate the quality and value. The longevity was a huge bonus. And of course, the kids really seemed to dig it too.

Also, I found very little complaints about installation. It seems, that after watching the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Installation Videos, almost everyone was successful. Another tid bit I’d like to add, you can install the Nautilus using either the LATCH system, or the vehicles seat belts. However, once your child reaches 48 pounds, you must only install it using the seat belts. The reason for this is that most vehicles only offer a 48 pound max weight limit for their LATCH systems. So, if the LATCH installation is what initially caught your eye, consider yourself warned. It won’t make a difference what car seat you buy, the max weight will stick for the LATCH no matter what.

Other Complaints:

As for complaints, most mirrored my own. The buckle position on the seat was by far the number one complaint, and the recline issue was probably number two.

There was also a few complaints regarding  the harness buckle being difficult to use. It’s extremely hard to buckle, and unbuckle, and it takes two hands. The thing is, it used to be easy, then at some point in 2011 or 2012, they changed it. Now this could be somewhat of a safety feature. They want to make sure that your child can’t unbuckle themselves while driving down the road. It makes sense, but at the same time some of us would like our children to become independent bucklers. It’s a huge plus, especially when you have 3 or 4 kids.

Conclusion:

The  Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat is not perfect, but it is safe, and it is affordable. If keeping your child harnessed for as long as possible is your main priority, I’ll tell you right now, you probably won’t make it to 65 pounds. There are other options out there, but it’s going to cost you. The Britax Frontier 85 will get you to 85 pounds, and the Recaro ProSport will take you to 90 pounds, however, both are also double the price.

If safety, durability, and longevity is your main priority, the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat is an excellent choice.

Where to Buy:

Still undecided, check out the video demo below, or check out more Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat Reviews on Amazon.

Video Demonstration:

Get the Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Car Seat @ Amazon

Comparison Reviews:

Graco Nautilus 3-In-1 Car Seat Vs. Britax Frontier 85 Booster Seat

 

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Best Car Seats – From the best infant car seats and the best convertible car seats, to the best booster seats.

 

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