Weight: 7.8 lbs
In the world of infant car seats, the Graco SnugRide is a name as recognizable as Wonderbread. It’s a favorite seat among parents and one of our favorites as well, especially in the economy department. It’s the Chevrolet of infant seats, if you will.
All of the SnugRide seats are now “Click Connect”, which means they are compatible with any Graco Click Connect stroller. A few years ago, they introduced the “SnugLock” seat belt lock feature, so now they have SnugLock and, well… non-Snug Lock.
The SnugRide models are downright confusing. Unlike Nuna Pipa and other high-end seats (where there’s just one!), there are still a zillion different Graco SnugRide models (just kidding, there are only 17). The SnugRide “SnugLock” 30 (or 35) are great picks 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. Essentially, I look for the cheapest model that still has “SnugLock”, which brings us to…
What is 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).
The next step up from the SnugRide SnugLock 30 is the SnugRide SnugLock 35 and all of its numerous variations (XT, LX, DLX, Elite and Platinum).
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.
The only reason to get the Extend2Fit, in my opinion, is if you NEED to keep your baby/young toddler in an infant seat (vs. a convertible seat) for as long as possible because you live in a city and take taxis/Ubers; therefore, you need to be able to click it into a stroller as a way of transporting the car seat once you arrive at your destination (carrying around a convertible car seat while you’re out and about is a no). If you don’t have this specific need^^, this seat is totally unnecessary because you’ll have to buy a convertible (or other rear-facing car seat) at some point anyway (i.e. you’re not going to skip from this seat directly to a booster).
Bottom line: The Graco SnugRide “SnugLock” version (and its 17 variations) are affordable, reliable, and fairly easy to install. My big complaint of the entry-level SnugRides is that they have basic “hook-style” LATCH connectors, which I detest, but this is a moot point with the SnugLock versions. It’s tried and true and compatible with many different stroller brands, except for the luxury/European brands.
*The Graco SnugRide is an American-style seat.
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, any SnugRide car seat will click firmly into place with any Graco Click Connect stroller.
So that’s good.
Your lightweight stroller options: Their basic car seat “frame stroller” is the SnugRider Elite ($99), below or the SnugRider 3 Elite ($129 — 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.
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 for an umbrella stroller, but you’re getting more use out of it (vs. just the SnugRider frame stroller). Those are your two lightweight stroller options.
Your “bigger stroller” options: Graco offers three main travel system strollers which include the Uno2Duo double stroller, the popular 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 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.