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Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Review

Price $119

Echelon$$$$

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Weight: 7.8 lbs

The Graco SnugRide is one of the all-time most popular infant car seats — and one of our favorites as well, especially in the economy department.

The SnugRide name is one everyone knows, but their models are confusing. Their base model is still the regular “Click Connect”; and a few years ago, they introduced the “SnugLock” feature and tacked it on to those models, so now they make the regular “SnugRide Click Connect” seats and the “SnugRide SnugLock”, which is quite a mouthful.

An important thing to note about all of these Graco seats (SnugLock and Click Connect) is that many stroller manufacturers don’t make adapters for it (yet?). I daresay that many stroller manufacturers will likely start making adapters for the SnugLock in the future, but for now, they’re still playing catch-up.

That said, if it’s compatible with your desired stroller, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 30 is a great value, and our Economy Pick. 

Please note that there are still a zillion different Graco SnugRide models (just kidding, there are only 17) — I picked the “SnugRide 30” (above) because… as discussed, maybe you don’t want to spend a ton of money on this item because you’ll use it for less that a year, hmmm?

But they have fancier ones, oh yes. I sort of feel like buying a fancy Graco is like buying a Kia and putting expensive rims on it, but… to each its own.

SnugLock
“SnugLock” is a self-tightening mechanism — an easy way for you to install the base with a seatbelt without having to wrestle it in place to tighten it. Parents or grandparents who have arthritis (or who aren’t very strong) — this base is for you! The SnugLock arm requires only a small amount of force to close, and it can be closed with only one hand. It’s basically a giant clasp for the seatbelt. It’s user-friendly — especially if you don’t want to mess with LATCH. Check out our video review here (or click below).


Other Models

The next step up from the SnugRide SnugLock 30 is the SnugRide SnugLock 35 and all of its variations (XT, LX, DLX, Elite and Platinum). With the SnugLock 35 Elite ($219/$129 on sale) — this model is actually a really great value — you get the higher-end LATCH connectors that won’t break your nails (they’re called “InRight Connectors”); basically, no matter if you install with a seatbelt or with LATCH, it will be easy. You also get a no-rethread harness. So essentially, you’re getting some really great usability features that you don’t get in, say, the Chicco KeyFit. This particular model is a great value, especially if you can get it for less than $200.

From there, Graco offers the SnugRide SnugLock Extend2Fit 35 and 35LX – both of which provide an extra 3.5″ of legroom for extended rear-facing and an anti-rebound bar. For an extra $20, the LX comes with some added niceties.

Bottom line: The Graco SnugRide is affordable, reliable, and fairly easy to install. My big complaint of the SnugRides is that the entry-level models have basic “hook-style” LATCH connectors, which I detest. This is that moment when you’re reminded you’re buying an economy seat. You’re guaranteed to break a nail every time with those terrible LATCH connectors. Oh well, I guess you can’t have it all!

*The Graco SnugRide is an American-style seat.

Stroller Compatibility

Graco is an economy brand, and you get what you pay for. Their strollers are okay, but generally heavier, bulkier, and more “plasticky” than others. On the plus side, the SnugRide SnugLock car seat will click firmly into place with any Graco Click Connect stroller.

Your lightweight stroller options: Their basic car seat “frame stroller” is the SnugRider Elite ($99), below or the SnugRider 3 Elite (also $99 — the 3-wheeled version which is a little bit lighter) — both of these are for use JUST with a car seat. They have a huge storage basket, are super lightweight and very easy to fold and heave into your car. They are very popular for the first year of life — and something we highly recommend, especially if your other primary stroller is quite heavy/full size.

Graco SnugRider Elite

For a stroller that can take a car seat and also be used as an umbrella stroller down the line, check out the Graco Breaze ($149). At almost 18 lbs, it’s not super lightweight, but you’re getting more use out of it (vs. just the SnugRider frame stroller). Those are your two lightweight stroller options.

Your travel system options: Graco offers three main travel system strollers which include the Uno2Duo, the Modes/Modes 3 Lite (and all of its variations) and the FastAction Fold (and all of its variations). Read more about these in “Favorite Strollers.”

Again, the benefit is that these strollers are all guaranteed to work well with the SnugRide SnugLock car seat. As previously stated, not many other stroller manufacturers make car seat adapters for the SnugLock or Click Connect (although more now than did in previous years), so if you’ve got your eye on the UPPAbaby stroller, for example, you won’t be able to use it with this car seat. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya. 😉 *Always check with the stroller manufacturer for compatibility before you buy because they change quite often.

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