If you’re looking for a higher weight combination seat without the extra bulk, the Graco Tranzitions is exactly what you need. Read our Graco Tranzitions review on to find out why.
Before we dive into this review, it’s good to point out that Graco changed the game by introducing the first higher weight combination seat back in 2007. The Nautilus offers excellent weight support as well as a booster mode, but along with it comes a lot of extra bulk.
Its faults notwithstanding, the Nautilus is still one of the best combination seats in the market. However, the Tranzitions is better, and it’s mainly for one reason: it is a slimmer, lighter version of the Nautilus.
The Graco Transitions combination seat is an improvement of the Nautilus in a number of ways. However, the fact that it is slim enough to leave room for another car seat is by far its best attribute.
Let’s take a closer look at the Tranzitions to see how Graco have improved upon Nautilus’ quirks and addressed its biggest flaw.
What You’ll Like With Your Graco Tranzition
As far as sub-$100 car seats go, the TranZitions is good value. It features a blow-molded plastic frame, which isn’t as durable as the steel frame in the Nautilus, but just as good.
Of course, there are some sacrifices to make when manufacturing quality but affordable car seats, which is why Graco does away with the EPS foam lining. In a collision or emergency stop, the TranZitions still provides adequate protection.
The Graco TranZitions car seat benefits from its plastic construction in terms of weight reduction. It is only 12.5 pounds heavy, making it extremely portable and suitable for travel.
Admittedly, not many of us consider this when buying a car seat, but its weight is especially important if you’re planning on traveling. Carrying a bulky booster seat through an airport is as bad as it sounds.
It’s easier to install, too, because you can lift it and adjust it effortlessly until it’s securely set up.
A lot of parents that admired the Nautilus couldn’t help but wish that it was just a bit narrower. Graco has addressed this concerned excellently by making the TranZitions 17.5 inches wide at its widest end.
This means you have less car seat to deal with, which is always welcome. It also means that should you need to, most cars will fit two of these. Parents can keep both their toddlers securely strapped in the front-facing combination seats.
4. Great features
Despite its smaller profile, the TranZitions can still carry up to 65 pounds and has a lower weight limit of 22 pounds. It provides full-body support for kids as tall as 27 to 49 inches and registers a back booster weight range of up to 100 pounds.
It comes with cup holders, but installing them is up to you. Out of the box, you’ll see them facing inward, and all you need to do is spin them around and into their holders until you hear a click.
The combination seat has been crash-tested severally, so don’t be daunted by the fact that it’s made from plastic. It has good energy management and can protect its occupants from injury in a collision from any direction.
5. Easy to install
The Graco Transitions car seat can be installed in a number of ways:
- Harnessed mode
You can wrap the seat belt around the back of the car seat to secure it. This won’t work for vehicles with front-anchored shoulder belts. It should be anchored at the back and beyond the seat.
- Using lower anchors
Lower anchors and top tethers can be used to secure the seat, but only for children under 45 pounds. There needs to be a tether anchor for the top tether. The lower anchors can be your usual J-hook connectors.
- Using top tether seat belt
You can also install the TranZitions using a top-tether seatbelt provided it’s tied to a tether anchor. This method can be used for kids weighing 22 to 65 pounds.
What You Won’t Like Graco Tranzitions Car Seat
1. Doesn’t recline
Granted it is cheaper than the Nautilus, which comes with three recline positions, it is still disappointing that the TranZitions doesn’t recline. It can get uncomfortable sitting in one position for long periods of time.
It makes up for this by including plenty of padding, which goes a way to make the ride less tiresome.
2. Lower impact absorption ability
It’s true that the TranZitions car seat has been tested severally, and will protect its occupants in emergency situations. However, plastic is still just plastic—it can’t be compared to steel.
The lack of EPS impact-absorbing foam lining is also mildly concerning, but there’s plenty of padding in the seat to absorb the shock from a collision.
3. No locking clip
Though it doesn’t come with a locking clip right out of the box, most vehicles later than 1996 already have this. If yours doesn’t, Graco will provide one if you call them and place an order.
Graco TranZitions vs Nautilus
They are similar, and one of them is already considered one of the best in the market, but which one is better? The Nautilus or the TranZitions?
The Nautilus is stronger, bulkier, and has slightly better protections (such as EPS foam lining and steel frame). Nevertheless, it is not the most compact car seat you’ve ever seen, and certainly won’t allow you to fit more than one in the backseat.
That’s where the TranZitions triumphs; when space is in short supply. It’s narrower profile allows it to fit in considerably smaller spaces. Plus, it comes with nearly all the excellent features of the Nautilus, some of which have been improved upon.
Despite its few shortcomings, the TranZitions is an excellent car seat. This Graco TranZitions review shows that its biggest attribute is its size and weight, which make it a slimmed-down version of the tried and tested Nautilus.
As for its price, there’s great value for money in this sub-$100 car seat, which has pretty decent features, great usability, and overall decent build quality.