Graco Nautilus 3-in-1 Review

9.5 Total Score

  • It has some of the best safety characteristics on the market
  • It can be converted to three distinct car seat types
  • Easy to install and use due to innovative features
  • Comfortable padding with soft cushioning
  • Larger and heavier than we expected
  • Requires additional assembly
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Sturdy and cute, the Nautilus 3-in-1 is currently one of the best convertible car seats on the market. Just like all other car seats manufactured by Graco, this one also comes with some stellar features that make it stand out from the competition.

It offers durability, safety, and versatility, and is probably the last car seat that a parent will ever have to purchase since it can fit kids up to 120 pounds of weight. We’ll take a look at all of its advantages and flaws, and find out if it’s really worth the money. Read on!


  • Car Seat Type – Convertible Car Seat

  • Weight – 20.5 pounds

  • Weight Recommendation – 22-120 pounds

  • Dimensions – 18″ x 20″ x 28″

  • Maximum Height Limit – 57″

  • Material Type– Plastic, Polyester

Features of Graco Nautilus 3-in-1

  • The Design

In our opinion, the convertible car seats made by Graco are the best-designed products of this type on the market. The Nautilus 3-in-1 only continues that tradition – it’s a beautiful seat that will surely look inviting to any child.

One can purchase it in several color combinations – we had the “Sylvia” version on the test, which is of gray color with some lovely pink and red shades thrown in.

  • The Comfort

Comfort is guaranteed with this seat since it sports a padding that’s a lot more comfortable than your vehicle’s regular seats. The cushioning is very soft and feels quite pleasant to the touch, ensuring snug rides and a very satisfying riding experience for the kid. This is something we totally expected from Graco, but we were still left surprised with the seat’s overall convenience.

The cover can be easily removed and washed in the washing machine by using the cold, delicate cycle. We advise you to avoid putting the cover into the dryer – it could shrink and become warped, which will make putting it back onto the seat almost impossible.

We were pleased to find a convenient pre-installed cup holder, allowing the kid to keep his favorite drink or snack at hand. You won’t have to worry about spillage – the holder is secure enough to prevent that from happening.

  • The Safety

This model is intended for kids who weigh between 20 and 100lbs. When used in your traditional car seat configuration, it’s designed for kids between 20 and 65lbs of weight. Once you convert it into a high-back booster, it can be used with children weighing between 30 and 100lbs, and for the kids between 40 and 100lbs as the backless booster.

The thing that makes Nautilus 3-in-1 a champion of safety is the presence of its steel-reinforced frame, as well as of the energy-absorbing foam which absorbs impacts that could occur during a car crash. There’s also the belt guide that allows the parent to use the vehicle’s seat belt and provide his child with some additional safety.

  • FAA Approval & the User Manual

This seat bears the FAA approval, but only in the harnessed mode. It can’t be used on an airplane in the booster mode since the boosters need a shoulder belt, and the airplanes usually don’t have those.

The user manual is well-written and will provide you with all the necessary information concerning installation and use. In it, you’ll also find the seat’s expiration date – it’s ten years from the date of manufacture.

Ease of Installation

Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

Fortunately, this convertible car seat comes with several features that are bound to make installation a little bit easier. Let’s have a look at them:

  • No rethreading

Those who spent a lot of time trying to rethread the straps into a larger slot for their growing kids will find this feature invaluable. With just one simple movement, you will be able to easily adjust the straps as your child keeps growing up.

There will be no need to disassemble the whole model – just take the handle and pull up the shoulder straps and the headrest. This is a pretty innovative idea, and we hope to see it on the models of other manufacturers.

  • Easy to loosen straps

With this car seat, adjusting the 5-point harness is an extremely easy process. Due to the way in which the harness is connected to the seat, it might be challenging to get the belts tight enough, but we’re sure you’ll manage in the end.

  • The bottom buckle

Since the guys and girls working at Graco wanted this model to accommodate growing children, they included a bottom buckle that’s outward-adjustable. Making more room for a bigger child is a bit easier thanks to this feature.

What’s wrong with the product?

  • A bit bigger than we expected

This is one of the bulkiest convertible car seats we’ve tested so far, and that’s probably the biggest flaw of the Graco Nautilus 3-in-1. Owners of small, compact cars will have to look elsewhere.

  • Doesn’t come pre-assembled

This model doesn’t come fully assembled, which means that the buyer has to sit down with the user manual and take some time to put it together. This is not a big issue due to the well-written manual that’s filled with helpful pictures, but it’s still something we’d like to see removed in the next revision.


In our opinion, this model is a pretty solid choice for all those parents looking for a seat that they will be able to use for several years. This is allowed by the fact that Nautilus 3-in-1 can be used in a couple of different modes, such as the backless booster mode or the high-back booster mode.

This makes the model very versatile, but we also shouldn’t forget about its excellent safety features or the amount of comfort that it provides. It’s a well-made and reasonably-priced seat that deserves our recommendation!

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