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Graco 4Ever vs. Extend2Fit

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Choose the right car seat for you.

Car seats are a considerable investment, but the number of brands, models, options, and variations can be overwhelming. So we’ve decided to make it easier for you by comparing two of the top-selling car seats in the country, the Graco 4Ever and the Graco Extend2Fit.

Using a combination of personal experience, online reviews, research, and feedback from dozens of parents and experts, we list each seat’s features, pros, and cons. Then we move on to a comparison of the features, finishing up by choosing a winner in the Graco 4Ever Vs. Extend2Fit showdown.


Product Comparison Chart

Product Graco 4Ever Graco Extend2Fit
Price Check Price Check Price
Number of modes 4: Rear & forward-facing, highback & backless booster 2: Rear & forward-facing
Child wt (rear-facing) 4 – 40 lbs 4 – 50 lbs
Child wt (forward-facing) 22 – 65 lbs 22 – 65 lbs
Child wt (booster) 40 – 120 lbs No
Child ht (rear-facing) 18″ – 1″ below the red handle 18″ – 1″ below the red handle.
Child ht (forward-facing) 27″ – 49″ 27″ – 49″
Child ht (booster) Highback booster < 56″ No
Seat wd Shell: 19″, but 20″ with cup holders 19.75″
Seat ht 28″ 18.5″ – 33.5″
Seat wt 22.8 lbs 18 lbs
Recline positions 6 6
Installation system InRight LATCH or vehicle seatbelt InRight LATCH or vehicle seatbelt
Headrest positions 10 10
Footrest positions No 4-position extend
Harness type No re-thread, 10-position harness No re-thread, 10-position harness
Cover Machine washable Machine washable
Additional features Harness covers, body cushion, head support 2 cup holders, infant pad, head pad, buckle pockets
FAA approved Yes Yes

Graco Models and Styles

Before comparing the Graco 4Ever and Extend2Fit, we believe it’s important to share some extra information.

When we began our research for this Graco Extend2Fit vs. 4Ever comparison, it quickly became overwhelming. Why? Because within the Graco family of car seats, there are multiple versions of each seat. These are some of the models we found:

  • 4Ever-DLX
  • 4Ever-DLX SnugLock
  • Premier 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit
  • 4Ever Extend2Fit
  • 4Ever 4-in-1 featuring TrueShield
  • 4Ever DLX Platinum
  • 4Ever DLX featuring SnugLock
  • Premier 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit
  • 4Ever featuring SafetySurround Side Impact Protection
  • Extend2Fit
  • Extend2Fit 3-in-1
  • Extend2Fit 3-in-1 featuring TrueShield
  • Extend2Fit 3-in-1 featuring AntiRebound Bar
  • Extend2Fit Platinum
  • Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Platinum

Just to make it even more complex, you will often see an additional word such as “Fairmont” or “Zagg” at the end of a product name. These seemingly random words are the names of the different colors, patterns, and trims, which we won’t be addressing here.

Breaking Down The Graco Speak

To clear up the confusion, here is our explanation of the Graco product line, model, and style differences.

Both the 4Ever and the Extend2Fit product lines start with the basic car seat.

The basic Extend2Fit model has two modes of use, and the basic 4Ever model has four modes.

Graco then adds a descriptor such as “Premier” or “Platinum” to indicate additional features. This change from the basic model often happens so manufacturers can provide a particular retailer with an exclusive model.

4Ever 4-in-1

In some places, you will see the 4Ever referred to as the “4Ever 4-in-1.” All of the 4Ever car seats are a 4-in-1 design, but in some places, it is written that way to emphasize the four modes of use.

Extend2Fit 3-in-1

The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 has all the same features and specifications as the basic model. In addition, when your child is too big for the forward-facing car seat, it can convert into a high-back booster.

The booster is suitable for children from 40 to 100 pounds. Children are restrained using the car’s seat belt rather than the harness, while the harness fits within a storage compartment so it doesn’t get lost.

The booster is affixed to the vehicle using the lower anchor points and the top tether. The booster is held tightly in place whether or not your child is in the seat.

Product Overviews

Here we take a look at the Extend2Fit vs. 4Ever. The features we discuss apply to all the seats in each model line except for the Rapid Remove cover of the 4Ever DLX.

The only other variation is that in some model upgrades, the car seat itself may weigh more. However, the recommended child height and weight ranges remain the same.

1. Graco 4Ever

One Seat Fits All

The Graco 4Ever is promoted as “the only car seat you’ll ever need” because it has four modes:

Rear-facing: for children weighing between 4 and 40 pounds, with three rear-facing recline positions. The seat has a body cushion and a head cushion to help keep your child in the safest position possible.

Forward-facing: for children weighing between 22 and 65 pounds, with three forward-facing recline positions. You can adjust the headrest with a single button, and when the headrest is moved, the harness moves with it.

Highback booster: for children up to 56 inches tall. Graco’s instruction manual says the highback booster is for children that are “at least four years old” (1). However, the NHTSA recommends that children stay in a forward-facing car seat with a five-point harness until they reach the seat’s maximum height and weight limits (2). Therefore, it’s essential to keep your child in the forward-facing mode for as long as it is safe.

Backless booster: for children up to 120 pounds who no longer need back support.

The 4Ever eliminates the need to buy a series of car seats and boosters as your child grows.

Pros

  • Suitable for babies and children from 4 to 120 pounds.
  • Four modes of use from rear-facing to a booster seat.
  • Quick and easy to install.
  • The cover can be removed with the car seat in place.

Cons

  • May expire before your child outgrows it.
  • In backless booster mode, you cannot use the lower attachment anchors.
  • Some users report the head support can be uncomfortable in the highest setting.

Product Specs

Number of modes 4: Rear & forward-facing, highback & backless booster
Child wt (rear-facing) 4 – 40 lbs
Child wt (forward-facing) 22 – 65 lbs
Child wt (booster) 40 – 120 lbs
Child ht (rear-facing) 18″ – 1″ below the red handle.
Child ht (forward-facing) 27″ – 49″
Child ht (booster) Highback booster: < 56″
Seat wd Shell: 19″, but 20″ with cup holders
Seat ht 28″
Seat wt 22.8 lbs
Recline positions 6
Installation system InRight LATCH or vehicle seatbelt
Headrest positions 10
Footrest positions N/A
Harness type No re-thread, 10-position harness with easy button adjustment
Cover Machine-washable
Additional features Harness covers, body cushion, head support
FAA approved Yes

2. Graco Extend2Fit

Rear-Facing for Longer

The Extend2Fit car seat from Graco is designed to keep your child in the rear-facing position for longer. It has a rear-facing weight limit of 50 pounds, which is up to ten pounds more than the average rear-facing car seat.

In addition, the Extend2Fit also has a four-position foot extender panel. This provides extra support for taller babies and children while facing the rear of the vehicle. Although the panel doesn’t have any safety benefits, it does make kids more comfortable.

Pros

  • Allows your child to stay rear-facing for longer.
  • Extension provides up to five inches of additional leg room.
  • The harness has ten positions for a more comfortable, safe restraint.
  • Seat pads are removable and machine washable.

Cons

  • Takes up a lot of room in the forward-facing recline positions.
  • You must remove the car seat to adjust the foot extension.
  • It can only be used with the cup holders attached.

Product Specs

Number of modes 2: Rear & forward-facing
Child wt (rear-facing) 4 – 50 lbs
Child wt (forward-facing) 22 – 65 lbs
Child wt (booster) N/A
Child ht (rear-facing) 18″ – 1″ below the red handle
Child ht (forward-facing) 27″ – 49″
Child ht (booster) N/A
Seat wd 19.75″
Seat ht 18.5″ – 33.5″, depending on the seat position.
Seat wt 18 lbs
Recline positions 6
Installation system InRight LATCH or vehicle seatbelt
Headrest positions 10
Footrest positions 4-position extend
Harness type No re-thread, 10-position harness with easy button adjustment
Cover Machine-washable
Additional features 2 cup holders, infant pad, head pad, buckle pockets
FAA approved Yes

In-Depth Feature Comparison

Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the features of the 4Ever and Extend2Fit car seats.

Car Seat Cover

If you are shopping for your first car seat, how easy it is to clean the seat and cover may not be on your checklist. For those who have experience with kids in car seats, you know how much of a mess a tiny human can make in a vehicle.

The Graco 4Ever has a three-part car seat cover that can be removed without any need to uninstall the whole car seat. Score! The majority of the pieces are held in position by the seat’s contours, and there are a few tabs, hooks, and loops to keep it firmly in place.

The Extend2Fit car seat cover is a one-piece design, and you have to take the entire seat out of your vehicle to remove or replace the cover. Not only that, but in order to get the cover back in place, you have to thread several elastics through tiny holes on the seat. This is awkward and time-consuming and may involve the use of some colorful language.

The covers on both models can be machine washed, which is a plus, but we were disappointed to discover you must hang them to dry. If your child makes a mess that requires the cover to be washed in the evening, it won’t be dry by the next morning.

The ability to throw the covers in the dryer would be a huge plus.

Newborn Positioning

Both seats are listed as being suitable for a baby of four pounds and up. The instructions state that you should set the seat in the most reclined position to minimize the chance of a baby experiencing a potentially dangerous head slump.

Both seats also have an infant insert and head pillow to ensure smaller babies are comfortable and correctly positioned within the harness.

We found that the 4Ever provided a better, safer position for a four-pound baby than the Extend2Fit. We preferred the baby’s head position without the pillow in both seats, and a rolled-up washcloth was needed between the baby and the crotch buckle to prevent slump.

However, this is a very minor issue that may or may not affect a child before they hit the five-pound mark.

Winner

The Graco 4Ever — but only for the smallest babies and for a short while!

Rear-Facing Capacity

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies and children ride in a rear-facing car seat for as long as possible (3). However, some car seats with rear-facing capacity max out at 30 pounds, which means your child could be too large for the seat by the time they are 18 months old.

The Graco 4Ever has a maximum weight capacity of 40 pounds when rear-facing, which means your child can stay rear-facing until four years old or older.

This seems like an excellent option until you discover that the Graco Extend2Fit accommodates children in the rear-facing position until they are 50 pounds. As a result, depending on your child’s weight, they could stay rear-facing until they are eight or even nine years old.

However, when a larger child is in the rear-facing position, you might find that their legs are unsupported, hanging off the end of the seat. This can make your child uncomfortable.

The Extend2Fit also covers you and your child on this point. A retractable footrest extends from the bottom of the seat, providing support for your child’s lower legs and feet, making them more comfortable.

The footrest extends to fit your child, hence the car seat’s name: Extend2Fit.

Winner


Additional Features

In addition to the basic model name, you may have some of these features added to the product name.

1. Featuring TrueShield

Graco’s TrueShield technology provides additional side impact protection. While the exact details are a closely guarded secret, it is thought that the seat shell is shaped to direct energy away from a child in the event of a side impact.

2. SafetySurround™ Side Impact Protection

Much like the TrueShield, SafetySurround is an additional impact protection upgrade. Graco says that it “offers the best head protection at every stage.”

3. Anti-Rebound Bar

The anti-rebound bar provides an extra layer of safety. On top of the standard safety features, this addition limits the rotation of your seat and child in the event of a crash.

4. SnugLock

Snuglock is another style of installation technology. The system allows you to install your seat in one minute using either the LATCH system or your vehicle’s seat belt.

It is a great upgrade, but Graco car seats are already relatively easy to install. So, unless you are likely to be taking your seat in and out of the car regularly, it’s probably not worth upgrading your car seat for this feature alone.

5. Platinum

Graco Platinum style car seats come with the upgraded EZ Tight LATCH system. The system allows you to install the car seat in three steps. Although anything that makes life easier is a plus in our book, these seats are already pretty easy to install, so the “Platinum” upgrade would seem unnecessary if this were the only advantage.

However, the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 Platinum also features Graco’s Rapid Remove car seat cover. This cover is way easier to remove and replace, making this upgrade worthwhile.

6. DLX

DLX models also feature the Rapid Remove cover, which comes off in three parts and doesn’t require removing the seat from your vehicle. It also has a rubberized harness for easy cleaning.


Graco 4Ever Vs. Extend2Fit Conclusion

Which of the two seats would we buy?

Graco 4Ever

The Graco 4Ever lives up to the proclamation that it’s the “only car seat you will ever need.” Safe and comfortable for newborns to pre-teens, simple to install, and easy to keep clean, it’s challenging to find something we don’t like about it.

The only thing we can really complain about is that with a ten-year expiry from the date of manufacture, it’s possible the seat could expire before your child outgrows it.

Graco Extend2Fit

We adore the Graco Extend2Fit and how it keeps our kids in the rear-facing position for longer. If you have a child who is on the smaller, lighter end of the spectrum, this may not feel like a big deal, but if you have a larger child, it is helpful to have a seat that does this.

But Wait!

Graco has thrown us a curveball.

3. The Graco 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit

One Mega Car Seat

Yes, just when we thought we had it all worked out, we discovered the 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit model.

As you might expect, the 4EverDLX Extend2Fit combines features from both models to bring you one mega car seat. You can think of it as the 4Ever DLX with the four-position extension panel of the Extend2Fit.

The only reason we didn’t scrap this comparison article and just review the 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit was the price. At the time of writing, depending on the trim or colors you chose, these seats could be purchased in the following price ranges:

Extend2Fit Around $200
4Ever DLX Around $100 more than Extend2Fit
4Ever DLX Extend2Fit Around $200 more than Extend2Fit

While the 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit has all the bells and whistles, it is more than double the price of the Extend2Fit and almost 40% more than the standard 4Ever DLX.

Which Seat Will Work Best for You?

If you have an exceptionally large child, you will be better off with the Graco Extend2Fit. My oldest son was 11 pounds and 9 ounces at birth, and the Extend2Fit would have kept him rear-facing until he was almost five years old. With the Graco 4Ever, he would have outgrown the rear-facing mode before he was three.

However, if you have a child who’s closer to an average size and weight, the 4Ever will keep them safe from their newborn days to their pre-teen years without you ever having to lose your cool when removing a car seat cover.

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