Graco’s 4 in 1 convertible car seat is one of the best sellers in its league. Does it live up to the hype?
I’ve been around babies for as long as I can remember and Graco has always been a household name in convertible car seats. The Graco 4ever All-In-One Convertible Car Seat is considered one of the best car seats on the market. After thoroughly examining it for safety, comfort, ease of installation, and extras, for the price, I absolutely agree. The Graco 4 in 1 is not a perfect car seat, but, it’s close enough.
Graco 4Ever Car Seat Gives Baby a Safe Ride
Bells and whistles are nice but, if you are like me, the first and most important aspect of a car seat is safety. The Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat absolutely delivers in the security department. In fact, when it comes to safety, I would say this is one of the best car seats you can buy.
See all our best convertible car seat options here.
Grace goes above and beyond with the 4 in 1. This convertible car seat in engineered and crash tested past federal standards and side impact tested and it performed over two times the car seat standard peak crash force as per the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), thanks in part to its 5-point harness system.
The 4ever All-in-One held up in Extreme Car Interior Temperature tests, meaning high temperatures do not have any bearing on its crash protection effectiveness. This is good news for Arizona mamas!
This Graco 4in1’s makeup exceeds many other infant car seats and newborn car seats. The convertible car seat’s frame is steel-reinforced and features energy absorbing foam (EPS), resulting in a durable, strong, impact efficient car seat.
Both the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatricians (AAP) recommend that kids ride rear facing until the age of 2 or until they reach the maximum rear-facing height or weight rating for their seat. In the Grace 4ever, your baby can ride rear-facing up to 40 pounds. To give you an idea, my two-year-old weighs 28 pounds and is in the upper percentile for height and weight. With this toddler car seat, your little one can rear face safely for a long time, maybe even four years if you so choose. If not, you’re good. Got a petite toddler? This seat is equipped to forward face starting at 20 pounds.
- Steel-reinforced frame and exterior
- Energy Absorbing Foam
- Extreme Car Interior Temperature Tested & Passed
But is it Easy to Install?
A car seat is only safe when properly installed. So, what’s it like to install the Graco 4Ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat? Well, it’s not too bad! Now, nothing compares to the easy installation of the Chicco Nextfit but, all car seats considered, this was a pretty simple install.
Graco went out of their way to make sure the 4in1 had some proper installation confirmations with their InRight system. Basically, you will hear an audible click when you have installed the car seat correctly, a feature I, as world’s most paranoid mom, appreciate. For me, personally, it took a few tries to hear a click that I trusted but, again, I am SuperCautious (my superhero name). Once I heard a confident click, I rested easy knowing my babe was safe.
The Graco 4ever has a level indicator to let you know if the baby car seat is in the right position. With the level and the click, my anxiety level dropped a bit, which is always appreciated. The one ding I will give to the Graco 4ever is that it’s bulky size makes it difficult to install in a sedan when rear facing. I had to move seats, finagle, and work for that click. I love this seat but might start with an infant seat and bring this in when baby is older.
- Clicks when properly installed
- Bubble level indicator
- Bulky size makes for inhibits installation
Comfort? This Car Seat is No Lazy Boy.
Things were looking pretty good with the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat. Super safe and easy to install. The next test was putting the kids in… here is where the Graco 4-in-one doesn’t exactly take the cake.
My four-month-old is currently riding in an infant car seat, the Chicco KeyFit, and was not amused when I tried her in the Graco 4 in 1. One disadvantage to using a convertible car seat rather than a newborn carseat or baby car seat, is the lack of recline. Many babies have reflux and like to sleep and need some reclining action to do that. The Graco 4ever does not deliver in that area. Four-month-olds may not be as comfortable as possible in this car seat. No big deal if you are taking short trips but if you are a commuter or a traveler, I would advise choosing another option.
Lucky for us, I also have a two-year-old who thinks trying out new car seats is pretty cool. She didn’t cry out or beg me to stop the car, so, essentially, that is at least a four star review from her. She is, however, still rear facing. The bulk of the car seat and the size of my sedan were not a great combo. There was not enough recline even for her. Once the infant padding is removed, the seat is pretty rough on the back. Kids are pretty tough cookies but I don’t think she would be loving a road trip having the Graco 4ever as her toddler car seat.
My number one complaint? The sweat! The material of the Graco 4ever All-in-One could be used to help people lose weight by sweating it off- I might get one to work off this baby weight! Every time we went on a longer ride, her lower half was sticky and sweaty.
No one cried or complained, so the comfort level of this Graco convertible car seat isn’t horrible, it’s just not outstanding.
- Rough ride without infant insert
- Sweaty material
- Doesn’t recline fully in sedans
The Convertible Car Seat 4 in 1 Factor
Let’s get down to brass tacks here. The coolest part about this Graco convertible car seat is that it can last you your child’s entire car-seat-sitting life. You can forgo buying a newborn car seat, an infant car seat, a toddler car seat, and a booster car seat and just buy the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat.
This seat can hold a child (kid, person) from four to 120 pounds. 120!!! College me could have taken a ride in this seat. That number blows my mind but really makes this an attractive option for families on budgets. Graco’s easy no-rethread design and harness storage make adjusting from the four modes super easy.
And you really can’t discount the fact that it’s a 4 lb car seat. It’s sooooo hard to find a convertible car seat that will work for small babies and preemies, and this is one of the few on the market that do! If you want more car seats that fit preemies, especially 4 lb car seats, check out our full Experienced Mommy breakdown of your preemie options.
From four to 40 pounds, your baby can safely rear face in the Graco 4ever. Then, from 20 to 65 pounds, your baby/toddler can forward face, rather than buying a toddler car seat. Next, when your little one is ready for a booster seat, the Graco 4 in 1 serves as a buckled in booster seat up to 100 pounds. Lastly, you can strip this baby down a bit into a backless booster seat for older kids up to 120 pounds.
- Infant car sear four to 40 pounds
- Front-facing car seat 20-65 pounds
- Booster seat to 100 pounds
- Backless booster seat option up to 120 pounds
Extras and Options
There are a couple of cool things about the Graco 4ever All-In-One that you should consider. One of them is that the whole car seat pad is machine washable. The material dries really fast and is easy to put back on. What is crazy is that Graco doesn’t advertise this more. A washable car seat that you don’t have to wrestle to put back together? This is amazing, Graco!
Another feature of note is the cup holders. My daughter’s Recaro does not have cup holders and that is sort of a bummer. We end up with sippy cups all over the car floorboards. The Graco 4ever’s cup holders actually work and hold kid cups of all size and, mom-pro-tip, work well for holding onto small toys as well.
Lastly, the buckles. Buckling in a baby is pretty straight-forward but once our little angels get dexterity, an easy to buckle convertible car seat can be a lifesaver, with both the little baby and the toddler, this car seat’s buckles were easy to work with. I have no complaints and, in fact, many accolades for the Graco buckle designers.
- Machine washable cover
- Working cup holders
- Easy to use buckles
These are some of the best review numbers of any car seat I have ever seen.
- 4.8, 1083 Reviews – Graco.com
- 4.8, 2342 Reviews – BabiesRUs
- 4.9, 1215 Reviews – Target
- 4.8, 1066 Reviews – Walmart
- Tested and passed well over federal safety standards
- Steel reinforced frame and Energy Absorbing Foam
- Fairly easy to install
- Washable padding that is easy to put back on
- 4 in 1 design, lasts from newborn car seat to booster seat, up to 100 pounds
- Not very comfortable
- Sweaty material
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 Graco 4ever received 4 stars in all 3 categories: Forward-Facing , Rear-Facing and Booster.
The Bottom Line
There is a reason, or few reasons, that the Graco 4ever All-in-One Convertible Car Seat is on of the best selling car seats on the market. This convertible car seat is super safe, durable, fairly easy to install, and machine washable. Is your baby going to be riding in the Rolls Royce of infant car seats in the Graco 4 in 1? No, not even close. But will they be protected when needed? Crash tests say yes.
If you want a separate infant seat, and are on a limited budget, you may want a bit less expensive convertible car seat, like the Evenflo Symphony. If you are comfortable using the same seat from age zero to ten, rather than buying a separate baby car seat and toddler car seat, then this Graco is a heck of a deal, coming in at well under the current price point.