A car seat is legitimately one of those things that you don’t know enough about until you’re an experienced parent going through too many of them and later realizing that it all could have been avoided, had you known about some of the convertible car seats on the market. That being said, this Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 car seat review is a prime example of not knowing what you don’t have until you realize that there is so much more out there for you to utilize as a parent and for your baby to enjoy.
As in, it will hopefully give you the tools you need to not have to go through an infant car seat, and then a forward-facing seat, and then finally a booster seat with a high back. And, eventually, the plan old booster. Because what if I told you that all of these could some in one neat little package? It does exist in some car seat systems and with the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 car seat, you get the convenience of that. For some parents, though, getting the all-in-one option isn’t what they necessarily look for in a car seat, so this review of the Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 car seat should help make the decision for you. Or, at the very least, make it a little bit easier for you. Because I don’t know about you, but three years in, I’m still learning about how to be a good parent without letting the house catch on fire.
What It Says It Does
The Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seat is designed to literally grow with your baby. Ok, maybe not in the actual literal sense, but it is made to stay with your baby for every step of their physical development. It also has energy-absorbing foam cushioned around the seat for safety with a 5-point harness system. While the EPS cushion is there to soften the blow that any bumps or accidents may cause, the car seat also has a steel frame. As a 3-in1 car seat, the Nautilus claims that, through each stage, it can be used from the time your baby is 22 pounds, up until around 100 pounds. So basically, until they’re old enough to start begging you not to have to use a booster seat anymore. It also claims to be easy to adjust, without the headache of trying to figure out what harness goes where as you move through each stage of the car seat.
What It Actually Does
As far as wanting a car seat for your baby that actually holds them in without pinching them in all of the most annoying places, the Graco Nautilus is legit. It will hold them in snugly while providing ample cushion on each side. Now, this doesn’t offer much wiggle room which kind of dampens your baby’s comfort in a way, but the safety aspect is still there. It’s also easy to install in your car, especially as a base is not needed with this particular car seat. And there are indeed plenty of adjustments available to accommodate your baby and toddler as they grow, since we all know that some little ones are petite while others can grow too fast for their jeans.
- It makes it so that you really don’t need another car seat again. Now, you will likely be bringing your newborn home in a more well-suited car seat carrier for them, but once they start to grow and get to the 20-pound mark, this will be your toddler car seat until they are well out of the toddler stages.
- The fact that it grows with your baby is also a big advantage, as it makes it so you don’t have to potentially go through several different car seats as they grow as a toddler. The three position recline also ensures that your kid is comfortable too, since as they grow, one position might not be as comfortable or even as safe as another.
- If you don’t use the seat belt to buckle the car seat in, it’s still relatively simple to install in your car with the latches. Which can make a huge difference when you’re sharing the car seat with your spouse and you’re not into fighting with your car to get the car seat back.
- The live span of the Graco Nautilus is six years, which is standard, but the simple booster seat portion being good for eight years, which means that you should be good to go for the duration of your need for the car seat with your kid. And when they’re done with it and it’s time to retire the car seat, you don’t have to feel like you’re “throwing away money,” since you’ll have gotten several full years out of it.
- Having cup holders and storage pockets is kind of amazing. Have you ever been on a long car ride with your toddler and had to turn around every 10 minutes to grab something they’ve dropped? The Graco Nautilus might not totally prevent that, but it’ll certainly help. I can’t promise that you won’t habitually find goldfish crackers or fruit snacks in said cup holders, but it comes with the territory.
- The ever-lasting issue of trying to properly clean a car seat continues with this one. I know, cleaning the padding on any car seat is going to be a hassle, but it has to be noted that the Graco Nautilus Car Seat is no different when it comes to the struggle of removing the seat pads and then putting them back on.
- Although it’s made to grow with your toddler, depending on your child’s size, the crotch strap might be too close for comfort when your older toddler is sitting in the car seat. And since there is no adjustments available for this particular strap, there is almost no room to grow.
- Somehow, the headrest with the Graco Nautilus almost pushes your kid’s head forward as they sleep. My son has always loved falling asleep in the car and even though I will never understand how he sleeps slumped over almost in half, it’s a toddler thing and I get it. But the headrest with the Graco Nautilus doesn’t help in preventing that in the least.
- It does take up a lot of room. You can still fit another kid or car seat in the back seat of your car when the car seat is installed, but it does take up a decent amount of room, making it a deal breaker for some parents who have multiples. Obviously any heavily cushioned and ultra-safe car seat will take up a certain amount of room, but that doesn’t mean you have to like it.
Some Comparable Products
Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat
At $155, the Safety 1st Grow and Go 3-in-1 Car Seat is already fairly similar to the Graco Nautilus in price. (Check out the latest prices and discounts here!) But the similarities don’t stop there. The Safety 1st, like the Graco, grows with your child from around the age of 1 until they’re done with booster seats altogether. But more than that, it also features a rear-facing position that is good for babies and toddlers 5-40 pounds and adds a little extra convenience for your different baby and toddler stages. It also boasts thick padding for optimum safety on all sides, as well as those handy cup holders everyone always seems to love.
Evenflo Symphony DLX All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
Like both the Graco Nautilus and the Safety 1st Grow and Go, the Evenflp Symphony DLX All-In-One Car Seat is affordable at $157 and is made to grow with your baby. (Check out the latest discounts and prices here.) It is also good for your baby from infancy, at 5 pounds, all the way up to 110 pound and goes from rear to forward-facing as you need it to. The easy to install latch also makes it possible to have it installed in your backseat in just 60 seconds, which kind of sells the car seat on its own.
Some Final Thoughts
Honestly, there is going to be something annoying with any car seat you find within your budget. And if you have no real budget, then kudos to you for being able to afford the Cadillac of car seats for your kid. But if you’re like me and prefer to not spend thousands of dollars on car seats in one of your kids’ lifetimes, then shelling out $128 for the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Car Seatis likely going to be the going rate. Of course, you can always check out the latest discounts and prices here! And the little annoyance, like not having enough extra space once the car seat is in the backseat of your car, or dealing with the frustration of removing the pads to wash them are things you’re bound to find with other car seats too.
You really can’t beat the safety that the Graco Nautilus provides, no matter how annoying other aspects might be. And really, this isn’t about the parents, it’s about what your kid will be enjoying for literally years to come.