The Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster in our van

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat Review

by Amy A. Sylvestre |

If you are in the market for a new car seat, you may want to check out the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat.  It is a great option if your family needs a car seat that will transition with your growing child.

Review from a Real Mom

I recently received this exact seat from the manufacturer for purposes of doing a review for fellow parents like you.

I have had several car seats over the years and I know what has worked better for our family.  Over time, I have also learned which car seats are a bit more frustrating to use.  Below I give my honest and up close opinion of this car seat as an experienced mom.

The Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat is a forward-facing only seat that is truly three seats in one.  It transitions to a 5-point harness booster, to a highback booster, to a backless booster, and then finally to a to a low profile backless booster.  Personally, I find this extremely helpful. It is simple to transition the seat as your little one grows.  It helps logistically and financially as well. You do not have to spend more money or take the time to search for and research a new seat when your child gets bigger.

The Graco Brand

If you are looking for anything for babies, the brand Graco will most certainly show up in your options.  You will find that Graco is one of the most recognized and trusted companies for baby products.  It is nice to know that they have been providing safe products for more than sixty years.

Graco Nautilus SnugLock  at A Glance

The weight and height requirements are set by fit to child and Graco follows the AAP recommendations for usage.

Seat Position Booster w/ Back: Five-point harness Booster w/ Back Booster w/out Back Booster w/out Back w/out Cup Holders
Weight 22-65 pounds 40-100 pounds 40-100 pounds 40-120 pounds
Height 27-49 inches 43-57 inches 43-57 inches 43-57 inches
Age At least 1 year old At least 4 years old At least 4 years old At least 4 years old

Safety of Graco Nautilus SnugLock

As a parent, your number one concern for your child is his or her safety.  Graco says, “Our number one priority is safety for the children who depend on our products every day. And, nowhere is safety more important than in the car. While specific and rigid government safety requirements guide the design and production of every car seat we make, we, at Graco, take extra steps to meet or exceed those standards to help protect your little one.”

The Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX is equipped with the trusted Snug Lock Technology that makes an audible click sound that assures you that the seat is securely installed.

The Simply Safe Adjust harness allows you to adjust the harness and headrest in one motion together as your child grows.  This is to ensure that your child is always properly secured and positioned.  For safety reasons, I prefer using the five-point-harness as long as possible so I certainly appreciate this seat that can be a booster also comes with this as an option. I also love the reinforced steel frame that provides strength, safety, and durability for up to ten years of regular use.

National Safety Standards

When selecting something you will be using every day for your child’s safety, you want to know for sure it will do its intended job when you purchase it and overtime.  To give you peace of mind know that Graco is a highly trusted brand.

All of their car seats must meet the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 213 that are set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In addition to these standards, Graco has set their own protocols that each car seat must either meet or exceed these national standards.  This specific seat’s weight and height requirements are following the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations.

The SnugLock technology is great for parents who are obsessed with safe installations.  I’m guessing that most all parents are very, very concerned for the safety of their little ones in the car!

Installation of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock

The Graco Nautilus Snug Lock LX is equipped with the Snug Lock Technology for a relatively hassle-free installation.  You can use either your vehicle’s seat belt or the LATCH.

In three straightforward steps, you can feel confident that the installation is secure and safe. The manufacturer says to listen for the audible “Click” sound for that assurance of proper installation.

Parents say that this seat is a better version for installation compared to some other Graco seats.  This is because they finally have a vehicle belt tensioning and lock-off method for installation.  They even say that it is easier to change between kids as far as using the high back and the booster seat.

The SnugLock installation system makes it a breeze to properly install it.  Some parents said it took less than a minute!  My husband installed our new Graco seat.  He loved that this seat was ready for install right out of the box and did not require assembly.  He said it was easier and more user-friendly than our older car seat.  Threading the harness belts is also easier due to the snug lock design and it also keeps the belts tidier and more organized than some other car seat options.

One Drawback

The only drawback my husband mentioned during the installation was changing the buckle location.  There are two options.  One closer to the back of the seat and one further away from the back of the seat.  If your child is smaller, you will likely choose to have the buckle closest to the back of the seat.  As your little one grows, it will become obvious that he or she will need more room when it becomes harder to fasten the five-point harness into the buckle.

At that point, you will need to move the buckle.  This will provide more room for your growing child.  It took my husband a while to figure out how to make that happen.  Once he knew what to do, it was not exactly easy to move.  This is not something that you will need to do regularly.  But, you will probably need to make this adjustment at least one time in the life of using the seat.  I thought it would be fair to let you know ahead of time it might take a bit of time and just a bit of work.

Overall, the installation was very straightforward and we felt that the seat was safely and properly secured in place without to much hassle on our end.

Key Features of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock

Side view of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

I really like this seat for several of the key features.  My favorite feature is the definitely the Snuglock installation system.  My little guy would say his favorite is the double cup holder feature. You do have options as you can use the low profile seat with or without the cup holders in both the highback and backless mode.

He also loves the recline feature.  This seat has a four-position recline that has been improved from other Graco seats.  Your growing child be comfortable at each stage because of this unique recline design.  The plush fabric cover is machine-washable and it can be removed without taking out the seat out of your vehicle.

The removable armrests are convenient and also make for a comfy ride for your child.  It is really nice that there is storage in the armrest as well.  The headrest is super cozy and easily adjustable.  

headrest of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

Another standout feature is how the harness can be stored away easily in booster mode.  You do not have to have unused harness straps hanging down or one sitting under the car seat.

The biggest feature of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX is that this seat transitions with your child as he or she grows up.  Because this car seat is “three-in-one,” it could very likely be the very last car seat you will ever need to purchase for your little one.

Pros of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock

  • Trusted and well-known brand
  • Passes all safety requirements with high margins
  • Cover snaps out for cleaning without even unbuckling the seat from the vehicle
  • Slender design compared to bulkier versions that take up much of the back seat; An adult can sit between two of these car seats thanks to this slim design.
  • Overall easy to use
  • Versatility and extended lifespan (up to ten years!)
  • Transitions as your child grows (three seats in one)
  • Dual cup holders
  • Straightforward installation
  • Armrests

Cons of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock

  • The harness buckle is challenging to change from the closest slot to the farthest slot on the seat. This is not a deal breaker as it should not need to be done regularly.

Lower buckle of the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster

Final Take on the Graco Nautilus SnugLock

Overall, we are very pleased with the Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX car seat for our family.  We have used other Graco seats including one of their infant seats with the Click Connect option with the stroller.  We loved that one too until our son outgrew it.

Because of the easy transitions this seat makes, you will likely appreciate it as well.  As I have mentioned, the main reason you may choose this car seat for your family is that it is truly a three in one transitional seat.  You will find this car seat to be of good quality and that can stay with your family until your child is around 120 pounds.  You could easily get ten years of use out of it! 

Parents like yourself will certainly appreciate the ease of the installation in comparison to other seats.  Don’t forget the easily removable and machine washable fabrics that will make cleaning the seat a breeze! Your little passenger will most likely love the dual cup holders and armrest storage.  My son keeps talking about his upgraded chair. He uses one cupholder for his sippy cup and the other for his toys!

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Amy A. Sylvestre
Amy is a writer, mom, and southerner living in the suburbs of Chicago. She has also worked for several large non-profit organizations. Amy is married to her hunky pilot husband, and they have two sons, Graham and Hudson. Graham is a hilarious, talkative, three and half year old. After a strong fight with congenital heart disease, Hudson passed away at eight months old. Amy is also in the process of growing her family through adoption.

Comments 1

  1. I saw this car seat in store, its very interesting the seat IS NOT guaranteed for occupant retention using the seat belt, considering most parents would purchase this car seat for that use.

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