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All-in-one car seats are quite compelling since they are able to accommodate infants, toddles, and children alike. If you’re looking at all-in-ones, the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a great option. Below is our Graco 4Ever Car Seat Review, which goes through all the pluses and minuses to help you make an informed decision.
Things To Consider When Buying An All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
There are lots of different all-in-one car seats out there, and some are better than others. Here are a few things to consider to help you think through your options.
With all of the different features that car seats come with these days, it’s easy to overlook the fact that safety is really the primary purpose. In general, as long you purchase a car seat from a reputable manufacturer, and check for any recall announcements, you should be fine.
By the way, it’s worth pointing out that this is one product that you should plan to buy new. There are a couple reasons I say this. First, car seats come with an expiration date. So, a used car seat might not have a long useful life ahead of it. Second, it’s difficult to evaluate how much wear and tear a car seat has been through. If a used car seat has been through a couple fender benders, it might not be functioning at 100%.
Modes Of Operation
Not every all-in-one car seat will come with the same travel modes. They will generally all have a rear facing mode, a forward facing mode, and a booster mode. However, some will come with a high-back booster mode, some will come with a backless booster mode, and some will come with both.
Generally speaking, backless booster modes have a higher weight limit than high-back booster modes.
You will want to check out the weight limit for each mode. However, I suggest you pay particularly close attention to the lower and upper limits for the car seat’s rear facing mode.
You will want to check the lower weight limit in rear facing mode to make sure that your little one weighs enough to ride safely in the car seat. Then, you will want to check the upper limit to see how long your child will be able to ride in rear facing mode.
Riding in a rear facing car seat is the safest way for young children to travel. So, the higher the weight limit in rear facing mode, the better.
Beyond that, it’s good to check to see what the upper limit is on an all-in-one car seat in booster mode. This will give you a good idea of when your child will outgrow the car seat.
Ease Of Installation And Conversion
While most car seats are at least somewhat difficult to install, it seems that some manufacturers prioritize ease of installation more than others. If you plan to install the car seat in one vehicle and keep it there for good, this might not be your highest priority. But, if you plan to switch the car seat back and forth between cars, this is pretty important.
When you’re looking at an all-in-one, you will also want to check to see how easy it is to convert the car seat into different modes, since that is something you will have to do at least a few times. In general, car seats that are easy to install tend to be easy to convert as well.
Depending on your particular situation, size may or may not be an important consideration. If you drive a massive SUV, you probably couldn’t care less about the size of your car seat. On the other hand, if you drive a small car, you will want to get a compact car seat. Size is also an important factor for anyone that wants to fit 3 car seats across in the back seat.
Other Bells And Whistles
There are a few other features to consider when evaluating car seats. Check out the adjustable recline options in rear facing and forward facing modes. These will go a long way toward helping your little passenger stay comfortable.
Cup holders are another feature that is pretty important, but easy to overlook. A cup holder or two will help ensure that your little one always has drinks, snacks and toys within reach.
What Is A Graco 4Ever 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat?
The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a high quality car seat that comes with rear facing, forward facing, high-back booster, and backless booster modes. As an all-in-one, this could be the only car seat you will ever need to buy.
Graco is really well known for making high quality baby gear, and this car seat lives up to the Company’s great reputation. It’s easy to install, well made, and durable enough to last for 10 years.
It’s a bit on the expensive side. So, if you are really on a tight budget, there are probably better options out there.
Graco 4Ever 4-In-1 Convertible Car Seat Review
This car seat is well designed, and well made. While it does have a couple of drawbacks, they are far outweighed by the benefits that it brings to the table. So, it should come as no surprise that this one is quite popular.
Installation And Conversion Are A Breeze
This car seat can be installed with a seat belt or with Graco’s InRight LATCH system. Either way, installing it is remarkably easy. Since installing the car seat is the first thing you will do with it, this one makes a great first impression.
It also happens to be quite easy to convert between modes. Whether you’re going from rear facing to forward facing, or converting to one of the booster modes, it will generally take no more than a few minutes.
Performs Well In Safety Tests
This car seat has been engineered and tested to meet or exceed all applicable safety standards in the US. It has also been side impact tested, and performed quite well. In the end, of all of the different things to look at when it comes to selecting a car seat, safety is at the very top of the list.
It’s not easy to design a car seat that can accommodate newborns, toddlers, and older children. A lot of of convertible car seats handle one or two modes well, but fall short in the third or fourth. The Graco 4Ever on the other hand functions really well across the board.
Keeps Little Passengers Comfortable For The Most Part
With an adjustable recline that can be set to 6 different positions, your little passenger should be comfortable sitting upright or more horizontally. There is a bubble level indicator, which lets you confirm that the car seat is set to a safe position with a quick glance.
The no-rethread harness makes it easy to keep the straps at the right level, and the headrest can be set to 10 different positions. So, as your passenger grows, the car seat can easily be adjusted for safety and comfort. It also comes with a removable insert that keeps infants snug and secure.
The car seat’s two cup holders mean that your little one will always have easy access to drinks, snacks and toys. That can be a really nice thing on a long car ride, so you aren’t continuously passing things back and forth.
The only issue from a comfort perspective is that the fabric is not really breathable. So, in hot weather, passengers might start to feel a little warm.
A Little Bulky
With a depth of 20 inches, a width of 21.5 inches and a height of 24 inches, this car seat is on the bulkier end of the spectrum. Most convertible car seats tend to be fairly bulky in general, but there are some that are fairly compact and suited to small cars.
Some parents report that when this one is in rear facing mode, it takes up a lot of space from front to back. As a result, anyone sitting in the seat directly in front of this one might be a little cramped.
If you drive a large or mid-size vehicle, you shouldn’t have any issues. However, if you drive a small car or want to try and fit 3 car seats across in the back, you might want to look at other options.
Cover Is Easy To Remove And Machine Washable
If you’re going to use the same car seat for several years, you’re going to want to clean in from time to time. The cover on this one comes off easily, and can be thrown into the wash. So, cleaning it is no big deal.
On The Expensive Side
All-in-one car seats tend to be a bit more expensive than regular car seats. However, the versatility that they offer means that if you buy an all-in-one car seat, it might be the only one that you ever need to purchase. So, while you pay more upfront, you might save money in the long run.
The Graco 4Ever is on the expensive end of the range. However, given the fact that it can support children weighing anywhere from 4 pounds to 120 pounds, it delivers a tremendous amount of value.
- Easy to install
- Steel reinforced frame provides strength and durability
- No-rethread harness is easy to adjust
- 6 position adjustable recline
- 10 headrest positions
- All-in-one convertible car seat
- Washable cover is easy to remove
- Has two cup holders
- Somewhat bulky
- On the expensive side
- Fabric is not breathable
All-In-One Convertible Car Seat Comparison
The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Convertible Car Seat is a great option. But, if you’re interested in looking at some alternatives, here are a few to check out.
Diono Radian 3RXT
At 15 inches wide, and 16 inches deep, this one has a remarkably small footprint. This is a 3-in-1 that comes with rear facing, forward facing, and booster modes. It stands out for offering an extended rear facing mode, with a weight limit of 45 pounds (compared to 40 pounds for the Graco 4Ever). It’s priced on the more expensive end of the range, but it’s a very high quality product and it’s ultra stylish to boot. If you’re interested, here is our full in-depth review.
Safety 1st Grow And Go 3-In-1 Convertible Car Seat
This is an interesting option, since it’s fairly affordably priced. It’s 19 inches wide and 24.5 inches from front to back. So, it’s a little narrower than the Graco 4Ever, but takes up more space from front to back. As a 3-in-1, it offers rear facing, forward facing, and high-back booster (but no backless booster). This one offers a lot of nice features, including a three position recline, and two cup holders. The biggest drawback is that it’s somewhat difficult to install.
Graco Milestone All-In-1 Convertible Car Seat
This one is 17.5 inches wide and 21 inches from front to back. So, it’s a bit smaller and more compact than the Graco 4Ever, and a great option for people with compact cars. This is a 3-in-1 with rear facing, forward facing, and high-back booster modes (but no backless booster). It’s quite reasonably priced, making it a great option for anyone that wants to buy a Graco but doesn’t want to break the bank.
Should I Buy A Graco 4Ever Car Seat?
All in all, this is an all-in-one car seat that will keep your little one safe from infancy into childhood. It performs well in all four modes, and is durable enough to stand the test of time. It’s also really easy to install and to convert between modes.
It’s worth pointing out that this car seat is on the bulkier side. So, if you drive a small car, you might want to check out more compact convertible car seat options. Having said that, if you drive a large or mid-size vehicle, the bulkiness is probably a non-factor.
One of the biggest reasons not to buy this car seat is that it’s fairly expensive. That said, it’s a really high quality product and it’s an all-in-one. So, it might be the only car seat or booster that you need to buy for your child, and might actually save you money in the long run.