Choosing a car seat for your baby is a big decision, and it’s a purchase you will need to make before your little one has even arrived. Most hospitals won’t let you leave after giving birth without a car seat to take your baby home in, so it’s a good idea to buy your car seat as early as 6 months into your pregnancy, and no later than 8 months, just incase your little one decides to make an early arrival!
As a parent, safety is likely to be a top priority for you when choosing a car seat, but luckily there are strict safety standards for infant car seats now, and car seats these days can’t even be sold unless they exceed the high standards that have been set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Today we are going to compare two of the leading Convertible car seats; Chicco NextFit vs Graco Extend2Fit, to help you decide which is the right one for you. We will compare the price, safety features, style and ease of installation and use of both these models, so you can see which will suit your lifestyle best. There are different types of car seats available, and each type has its own benefits, depending on how you intend to use it.
- 1 Types of Car Seats Available
- 2 The Main Differences Between the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit
- 3 Chicco NextFit vs Graco Extend2Fit – Which one should you choose?
- 4 Chicco NextFit Car Seat
- 5 Graco Extend2Fit Car Seat
- 6 FAQ’s About the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit
- 6.1 What is the maximum height for forward facing use of the Chicco NextFit car seat?
- 6.2 Is the Chicco NextFit suitable for use on an Airplane?
- 6.3 Do I need to replace my Graco Extend2Fit car seat after an accident?
- 6.4 Where do I find the expiration date of the car seat?
- 6.5 Does the Chicco NextFit come with a base?
- 6.6 Does the Chicco NextFit fit onto a stroller?
- 7 The Verdict
Types of Car Seats Available
Baby or ‘Infant Only’ Car Seats
Baby car seats are suitable from birth to around 35lbs, depending on which model you decide to choose. The main advantage of infant-only car seats is that they can easily be removed from the car and carried around, as they have a handle. They are also usually compatible with most strollers to create a travel system (adaptors are sometimes required, but you can buy these from you stroller manufacturer).
Convertible Car Seats
These are suitable for both babies and toddlers, as they come with inserts that can be removed as the child grows. Convertible car seats can be used in both a rear-facing position for babies and a forward facing position for toddlers once they have reached the required weight limit. Convertible car seats are more economical, as a child can use them for a lot longer, however they cannot be easily removed and carried around like a baby car seat.
These forward facing seats are for older children, who are too old for a baby/toddler car seat, but not yet big enough to sit in a car without a seat. The NHTSA recommends that children over 40 lbs. and up to 80 lbs. should be seated in the back of a car, in a belt-positioning booster seat with both lap and shoulder belt.
The Main Differences Between the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit
- The Graco Extend2Fit can be used in a rear-facing position up to 50lbs
- Graco Extend2Fit weighs 23.9lbs, Chicco NextFit is 25lbs
- Graco Extend2fit can be used from 4lbs and the Chicco NextFit can be used from 5lbs
The biggest difference between the Chicco NextFit vs Graco Extend2Fit is the price, depending on the style and color you choose. The Graco Extend2Fit also has a higher rear facing weight limit of 50lb, meaning a child can stay in the safer rear facing position for much longer. Parents who are likely to have smaller babies may also prefer the Graco Extend2Fit, due to the fact that is can carry babies from as small as 4lb.
Chicco NextFit vs Graco Extend2Fit – Which one should you choose?
Both the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit are convertible car seats made by well-known brands, that can be used for babies and toddlers up to the weight of 65lb. The fact that they are convertible from baby to a toddler means you will get a lot more for your money in the long run, as you won’t need to buy a new car seat once your little one has outgrown their baby seat.
The Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit are designed to stay in the vehicle, and cannot be fitted to a stroller. They are, however, both approved for use on an airplane, so you can take them on holiday with you, and you would also be able to use them in a hire car once you are at your destination, however they are quite bulky, so you may want to consider how you will carry them through the airport.
Today we are going to weigh up the pros and cons of the Chicco NextFit vs the Graco Extend2Fit. We will compare the price, safety features, style, comfort, quality and ease of use for both these car seats, as well as looking at reviews from parents to give you an all-round view of which model will be best for you and your family.
Chicco NextFit Car Seat
The NextFit is the #1 rated convertible car seat in America, created by the popular baby brand, Chicco. The Chicco NextFit is suitable for 5-65lb making is suitable for both babies and toddlers. For a baby, the car seat must be placed in the rear facing position, and the newborn insert can be used. The insert provides a secure and comfortable fit for babies from 5-11lbs. After the baby has reached 11lbs the insert can be removed and the seat can be gradually adjusted until the child has reached the maximum weight limit of 65lbs.
Installation is remarkably easy and can be done either using the LATCH system or the vehicle seat belt. It’s also easy to remove and reinstall in another car with a simple push-button release, perfect for families with more than one car. The seat can easily be leveled and tightened with the SuperCinch force-multiplying tightener and the ReclineSure system, offering 9 different levels of recline for ultimate comfort, and the no-rethread harness ensures a secure and comfortable fit as the child grows.
The seat shell is reinforced with a steel frame for maximum strength, and DuoGuard provides two layers of protection in case of a side impact, with EPS energy-absorbing foam and a deep rigid shell for maximum protection. For hygiene, the seat fabric can be removed and either hand washed, or machine washed on a delicate cycle at a low temperature which is handy for accidents and spills!
The Chicco NextFit has different style options available, that vary in price. The current options apart from the Original NextFit are the NextFit Zip and the NextFit Air. They are all very similar, they only differences are that the seat cover zips off with the NextFit Zip, for easy washing, and the NextFit Air has both the Zip off seat covers, a padded ComfortFlex Harness and a breathable 3D AirMesh backrest.
Features of the Chicco NextFit
- Suitable from birth or 5lbs
- Forward and rear facing seat positions
- Rear-facing weight limit 40lbs
- Forward facing position suitable from 22-65lbs
- 9 Position ReclineSure Levelling System
- SuperCinch Tightening System
- LockSecure Belt System
- Washable seat pad
- Steel-Reinforced Frame
- 9 Position Headrest
- Padded no-rethread harness
- Removable newborn insert
- Dishwasher-safe cup holder
- Steel Frame offers extra protection in case of an accident
- Easy to fit and remove
- Simple to use
- Machine washable fabric
- Dishwasher-safe cup holder
- Good value for money as it lasts a long time
- Airplane Compliant
- Easy to adjust head support
- 8-year lifespan before the seat expired
- At 25lbs. it’s quite heavy, which could be a problem if you need to frequently move it between two cars
- Fabric isn’t very breathable, so baby might sweat in the hotter months
- Quite expensive
- High sides can make it difficult to get the baby in
We’ve been checking out the reviews to find out what parents think of the Chicco NextFit:
- Suitable for a big baby in a small car, as it is one of the narrowest car seats available, but doesn’t compromise on space for the child
- The straps are super easy to adjust
- Very sturdy
- Very Comfortable
- Very good quality
- Definitely worth the price
- The belt is able to be adjusted to accommodate children on any size
- Easy to install and adjust as needed
- Very streamlined and easy to look at
There were a couple of comments about the straps being difficult to tighten, but an overwhelming majority of the reviews (4.4 Stars out of 5 out of 660 reviews) were positive, so it’s a clear favorite with parents!
Graco Extend2Fit Car Seat
One of the most unique things about the Graco Extend2Fit Car seat is that a child can remain rear-facing until they reach 50lbs! This is the highest we have seen so far, and a whopping 10lbs more than the Chicco NextFit. It is advantageous to remain rear-facing for as long as possible as this is the safest position for a child to be in, in the event of a car accident as it offers the best support for the child’s head, neck, and spine.
Installation of the Graco Extend2Fit uses the LATCH system, so it’s very easy to install and remove from your vehicle. The seat features a ‘Simply Safe Adjust’ harness system so you can be sure the height of the headrest and harness is perfect for your child as they grow. There is also a ‘Fuss Free’ harness storage system, which holds the harness out of the way as you are putting your child into the car seat giving you one less thing to worry about.
In addition to being able to keep your child rear-facing for longer, the Graco Extend2Fit also features a steel reinforced frame for added strength and durability and has been rigorously side impact tested for retention with its five-point harness system. The comfortable seat pad is removable and machine washable for convenience, and the rest of the seat can be cleaned with a damp cloth.
- Suitable from birth or 4lbs
- Very affordable price
- Baby can remain rear-facing up to 50lbs
- Forward facing position from 22-65lbs
- 6-position recline to keep baby comfortable
- 10-position headrest
- Comfortable, Washable Seat Pad
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System
- Fuss Free Harness Storage
- InRight LATCH system for easy installation
- Easy to read level indicator
- Integrated dual cup holders
- Adjusts to provide an extra 5 inches of legroom so a child can stay in the safer rear-facing position for longer
- Suitable for use from just 4lbs
- Can be used rear facing up until the child reached 50lbs- longer than most car seats
- Easy LATCH installation
- Dual Integrated Cup Holders
- Comfortable seat pad
- 6 Recline Positions
- 10 headrest positions
- Adjustable leg extension to give toddlers extra rear facing leg room
- Simple to use
- Airplane Compliant
- Heavy at 23.9lbs
- Warning labels are printed onto the fabric and can get very hot in the Sun
We’ve looked at the reviews to see what parents are saying about the Graco Extend2Fit:
- Big seat that fits in small spaces
- Easy and intuitive to use
- Warning labels heat up quickly
- Lots of leg-room
- Very affordable, budget friendly
- Easy to Install
- A great investment
- The fabric allows a lot of breathing room for hot days
- Perfect for very small babies coming home from the hospital
- The cover is quite difficult to remove for washing
The Graco Extend2Fit received a huge 4.6 stars out of 5 from over 3000 amazon reviews, and we can definitely see why parents love it so much!
FAQ’s About the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit
What is the maximum height for forward facing use of the Chicco NextFit car seat?
The maximum height for use of the car seat in either the rear facing or forward facing position is 49 inches.
Is the Chicco NextFit suitable for use on an Airplane?
Yes, all NextFit car seats are suitable for use on an Airplane. All the information you need can be found in the white information sticker on the side of the car seat.
Do I need to replace my Graco Extend2Fit car seat after an accident?
Yes, Graco recommends that all car seats are replaced following an accident, even if the car seat does not have visible damage. This is because the force of an impact can cause internal structural damage that may not be visible, but could still cause weakness in the car seat.
Where do I find the expiration date of the car seat?
You can find the expiration date of your car seat printed on the base.
Does the Chicco NextFit come with a base?
The Chicco NextFit is one piece, with an integrated reclining base, so the whole item will stay in the car
Does the Chicco NextFit fit onto a stroller?
No, the NextFit car seats are not compatible with any strollers, they are designed to stay in a vehicle.
Both the Chicco NextFit and the Graco Extend2Fit are both excellent car seats, that exceed the high safety standards set by the NHTSA. They are both easy to install with the secure LATCH system, and both have a maximum weight limit of 65lb, meaning you really do get good value for money with either option, as there is no need to buy an infant car seat and a separate toddler seat, as this seat will grow with your child. However, there are a few differences between the two that have made it easy for us to choose a winner.
Firstly the price is a big difference for two relatively similar car seats. The Graco Extend2Fit can take a child in the rear-facing position until they reach the weight limit of 50lb, which is 10lb more than the Chicco NextFit, and parents who want to keep their child rear facing for as long as possible for safety reasons will see this as a big advantage.
The Graco Extend2Fit adjusts as your child grows, with a clever 4 position extension panel to give your toddler an extra five inches of legroom in the rear facing position, meaning not only will they be safe in the rear facing position, but they will also be very comfortable.
The Graco Extend2Fit can also take babies from just 4lb, whereas the Chicco NextFit starts from 5lb. This may not sound like a lot, but it could really matter if you have had a premature or tiny baby. Taking all this into account we have decided that the winner is the Graco Extend2Fit, due to its excellent value for money, and high rear-facing weight limit.
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