Comparing the Graco SnugRide 30 and the Graco SnugRide 35

Graco SnugRide 30 vs the Graco SnugRide 35: Reviewed and Compared

by Michelle Hand |

Is the SnugRide 35 really better and more updated than the trusty SnugRide 30?

You really can’t go wrong with a Graco car seat. They’re all safe and pretty user friendly. The downside is that between all the car seats, convertible seats, and travel systems, there’s an abundance of choices. The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 has been a bestseller for years, and then the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 came along with some nice updates and a bigger price tag. But is it really and truly better? I think that without a doubt, the SnugRide 35 is the better car seat.

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30

In order to compare, let’s take a good look at both car seats individually. The SnugRide 30 is the old standby. It supports babies from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches. It’s one of America’s top rated car seats, so we’ll start there.

Top Rated for Superb Safety

This car seat gets it praises sung by consumer publications all over the place. Why? Because it’s a very safe car seat. It has been tested to meet and exceed all US safety standards. It has unbeatable side impact protection. The EPS foam that they wrap around the plastic car seat frame absorbs impact unlike any other material, so baby stays safe and protected. The latch system on the base means that your car seat stays put no matter what. And the 5 point safety harness is easy to use and will keep your kid safe. Just a quick look at any reviews for this car seat and you’ll see that it’s kept babies safe in the worst of circumstances.

Graco’s Click Connect

One of the great things about this car seat is that it uses the Click Connect technology (hence the name). I love this because it makes is so easy to know when the car seat is safely installed in the car seat base or in the stroller. You can actually hear the sound of security. Plus, since most of Graco’s strollers utilize this technology, you can mix and match to create your own travel system. This means that if you find a steal on a nice Graco stroller at a yard sale, you could use it with a brand-new, super safe Graco car seat. This thrifty momma likes that idea!

Heavy as a Feather and Nearly as Wide

I have lugged around some heavy car seats in my day. We’re talking 10 pounds plus, and that’s without the baby in there. This car seat was given the name SnugRide because, according to Graco, it’s “super snug” and has “less to lug.” Weighing in at just 7 pounds, it’s so light and easy to carry. The car seat is just under 19 inches wide, so it fits snugly in the back of the car and takes up less room. I’m all for any car seat that’s light and compact without compromising safety.

Other Features…

Now let’s move on to the parts of this car seat that I just don’t like. And for me, that’s nearly all of the everyday user features. Here’s my list:

  • The canopy. It is horrible!! It doesn’t stretch very far at all and is made from a cheap material that feels like it’s going to rip at any second.
  • The material. The canopy isn’t the only thing with bad material. I think the fabric they used to make the SnugRide 30 feels like vinyl and isn’t very comfy. Easier to clean, but not soft for baby.
  • The buttons. This is more of an annoyance than anything, but the buttons you press to rotate the carrying handle and the button you press to release the car seat from the base are a bit hard to push. This is probably good because it means they won’t wear out as quick, but for those first few months when mom’s strength is less-than-normal, it can be aggravating.
  • The infant insert. It’s not very cushioned or very big. Seems like they threw in the cheapest insert they could find as an afterthought. Again, only a big deal for that first month or two, then you remove it anyways.

For more information on the Graco Snugride 30 infant car seat, click to read my full review.

Installation

Color Options

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35

Next comes the SnugRide 35. This car seat is designed for infants 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches, so you’ll get a few more months of use out of it compared to the SnugRide 30. The 35 still has all the same safety features, but it’s more user friendly and nicer than the 30. In fact, it’s our pick for the best Graco infant car seat.

Same SnugRide Safety

Just like the 30, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 has Graco’s SafeSeat engineering. It’s also top rated for safety because it meets or exceeds all US car seat safety standards. The side impact protection and EPS foam lining mean the 35 is just as safe as the 30. The base can be secured with the latch system for the ultimate safe ride for baby.

Same Technology as the Click Connect 30

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

Since the 30 and 35 are all part of the SnugRide Click Connect family, they both utilized the audible clicking technology for securing the car seat into the base or the stroller. You can still use the SnugRide 35 to create your own travel system with any Graco Click Connect stroller, old or new. Plus you can use it with any Click Connect car seat base, old or new (good to know for finding a used car seat base for vehicle #2).

Still Light and Compact

The SnugRide 35 weighs in at 7.5 pounds compared to the 30’s 7 pounds. A half pound of weight is hard to notice, and for a better car seat, it’s well worth it. The outside of the car seat actually measures a teensy, tiny bit smaller than the 30, so it is still compact. This makes it nice for the bucket seats found in some minivans and cars. The SnugRide 35 is still “super snug, less to lug!”

Image of the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Infant Car Seat, Gotham

The Additional Features

Thank you, Graco for listening to consumers! Nearly all of the problems that I had with the SnugRide 30 were fixed in the SnugRide 35. Let’s take a look at the 35’s features:

  • The canopy. They added a couple of inches to the canopy for this car seat. Same material, but at least a bit more coverage for baby.
  • The material. It’s not that different, still a sort of vinyl-like material, but it seems to be thicker and more durable on the 35. Plus I like the colors better!
  • The buttons. Still seem stiff and hard to push. Again, I’ll try to get over it because I think that in the long run, stiff buttons will equal longevity and will be a pro, not a con.
  • The infant insert. So much better in the 35! More cushion and larger. Feels like part of the car seat and not just an afterthought.
  • The 5 point safety harness. The harness is just as safe and is easily tightened from the front. Just pull on the release strap at baby’s feet to get the proper fit.

Wanna learn more about the Snugride Click Connect 35 infant car seat? Click to read the full review.

 

Another Option is the Snugride Click Connect 35 LX

Image of the Graco Snugride35 LX Click Connect Infant Car Seat, Studio It comes with side pillows and the harness is easier to adjust as the child grows up.

 

Comparison Recap

Since I went over a lot of features for both the 30 and 35, let’s do a quick recap of the features that are the same and those that are different.

Same Features in the 30 and 35:

  • SafeSeat engineered
  • Meet or exceed all safety standards
  • Side impact protection
  • EPS foam lining for added safety
  • Latch system for car seat base
  • Click Connect Technology
  • Lightweight and compact design
  • Canopy and 5 point safety harness

Features that were upgraded with the 35:

  • Car seat is designed for babies up to 35 pounds and 32 inches, compared the 30’s 30 pounds and 30 inches
  • Car seat base has 6 recline positions and an actual pendulum level indicator, compared to no recline and a printed line indicator on the 30
  • 35 has larger sun canopy and bigger, more cushioned infant insert
  • The 35 is available in cute, more updated colors (so it doesn’t look as dated)

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30 Customer Ratings

  • 4.2 stars, 255 reviews – Target
  • 4.4 stars, 51 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond
  • 4.5 stars, 49 reviews – JCPenney

Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 Customer Ratings

  • 4.7 stars, 324 reviews – Target
  • 4.6 stars, 297 reviews – Kohl’s
  • 4.6 stars, 295 reviews – Walmart

Ease of Use Ratings

When it comes to safety, installation and ease of use are incredibly important. While all car seats are required to pass federal safety testing, some are easier to use than others. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration computes an ease of use rating for every car seat in several categories. See the ratings below.

Overall, the SnugRide 30  received a rating of 4 stars.

NHTSA ease of use rating for the Graco Snugride 30 LX rear

Credit: NHTSA

And the SnugRide 35  also received a rating of 4 stars.

NHTSA ease of use rating for the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 rear

My Recommendation

These car seats are easy to compare because they are essentially the same seat. The SnugRide 30 is an older model that’s cute and trusty, but has some definite design flaws that totally compromise the user-friendliness. The SnugRide 35 has been updated in both design and style. It’s worth the extra $$ or so to get the better material and nice features. Plus, the ability to support bigger infants with the 35 means you’ll get more months of use. Don’t waste your time with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30. Update to the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 and you won’t be disappointed.

Michelle Hand
Michelle Hand is the mom of a very busy one-year-old and a super fun kindergartener. She splits her time between writing and hanging out with her family. She loves researching and writing to help moms find the best products. When she has some free time, she likes hiking, singing and playing the piano, reading, and taking her dog for walks.

Comments 3

  1. I own the snugride30 and the harness CAN be adjusted from the front. Not sure why you say they have to be manually tightened individually when you can clearly see the pull point in the picture.

    1. Michelle Hand Post
      Author

      Hey there! Thanks for commenting! That fact was based on adjusting the straps in the really old model. We’ve updated our article to reflect the tightening strap on the Snugride Click Connect 30. Thanks!

  2. Thank you for the quick and easy to read comparison! I know the gal above said you could adjust the 30 model from the front – but as you said I’ve read several other reviews that stated it could NOT be adjusted from the front. I especially appreciate the info on the canopy and fabric/materiel the seats are made of. It seems like many stores only have 1-2 models in store and it makes it really hard to compare them.

    Thanks for helping make this a much easier decision! I really appreciate it!

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