Graco Tranzitions Review

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
March 1, 2020
Harness Booster Car Sea

Image source: flickr

The Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat is one of many car seat options from one of the nations most popular baby gear companies. In this Graco Tranzitions review, we’ll talk about how to decide on the right car seat for your family and give our overall impressions and recommendations.

Car seat shopping can be confusing. There are so many different models, manufacturers, and features out there that it can make a new parent’s head spin. Fortunately, we’re here to make it a little easier with our reviews of car seats from some of the most well-known brands on the market. Today we will give you our Graco Tranzitions review.

Graco is one of the best-known brands in baby gear. Their focus since they began has been on safety, especially in the car. Graco tests all of their car seats beyond the already rigorous industry standards and works hard to ensure that added safety features don’t mean the loss of convenience for parents or comfort for kids.

In this Graco Tranzitions review, we will go over the features of the car seat, talk about what to look for when you’re shopping for a car seat, and then compare Tranzitions to our buying guide to come up with some pros and cons, and ultimately give our recommendations about the product and overall impressions. When we’re done, you’ll have a thorough understanding of this car seat, and you’ll be able to decide whether or not it will work for you and your kiddo.

All About the Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Tranzitions car seat is a forward-facing car seat suitable for children 22lbs or above. Experts recommend that children stay in their infant or rear-facing car seats until they are two or they reach the height or weight limits of the seat, so we do not advocate putting your child in this seat immediately upon reaching 22lbs unless they have also met those other criteria.

The seat is lightweight and can transition between a harness booster, a high back booster, and a backless booster with ease. It features Graco’s trademarked Safe Adjust Harness System, which means you can adjust the harness and headrest with no rethreading required.

The Tranzitions seat has several great bonus features like harness covers, washable seat pad, two removable cup holders, and a body insert. Harness covers add comfort to your commute for your child, and the cup holders will help to alleviate mid-ride stress over snack and drink needs.

Regarding safety, the Tranzitions does not disappoint. It is tested beyond the standards of industry and government requirements and is also side-impact tested to ensure your child’s safety in case of any type of accident. Despite its lightweight, this seat keeps your child incredibly safe. It also features open-loop belt guides that will help you correctly position your seat belts during installation.

The specifications on the Tranzitions car seat are as follows:

  • Depth: 17.4 in.
  • Width (outside): 19 in.
  • Height: 26.5 in.
  • Weight (without base): 14.97lbs.
  • Expiration: Seven years after the manufacture date

The Tranzitions seat comes in three colors: a vibrant green and grey, a bright pink and grey, or black. All three colors have the same distinguished style and easy to use technologies, but having the options ensures that you get a seat that matches your toddler’s style or your vehicle.

You can buy it directly from Graco but you may get it cheaper through sales at local retailers or on Amazon where you won’t have to pay for shipping. We recommend shopping around if you are interested in this seat by the end of our review because the best deals are sometimes hard to find.

What to Look for in a Car Seat: A Buyer’s Guide

There are a lot of things to consider when buying a car seat, whether it’s your first one or your 10th. Standards, safety, and conveniences are continually changing, and finding the seat that will work best for your family is not always an easy task. We've created this buyer's guide to help you decide where to focus in your search for the perfect car seat for your kiddo.

Choosing the Right Type of Car Seat

Choosing the Right Type of Car Seat

Image via: Flickr

Some people don't realize that car seats are not all the same. There are a few different types that you can choose from based on your child's age and your overall needs. The three primary types of car seats are infant or rear facing, convertible, and booster. All three serve very different purposes for the consumer.

Infant or Rear Facing Car Seats

Infant or Rear Facing Car Seats

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Car seats that turn your child backward to face toward the trunk or tailgate of your vehicle are rear-facing car seats. These seats are meant for infants through two-year-olds and are often required by state and local law for children within this age range. Experts recommend using an infant car seat until your child reaches the limitations of that seat based on their height and weight or until they are two.

Some infant car seats come in travel systems, which are an excellent way for new parents to save some money. Travel systems generally come with an infant car seat, a single base, and a stroller that can transition from holding the car seat for an infant to holding an older child or multiple children later on.

Convertible Car Seats

Convertible car seats can start out as infant car seats, but most start as forward-facing seats and transition into booster seats for older kids. These seats generally start as harness boosters or with a harness system to help keep kids safely in place, much like they were in their infant seats. Once your child is old enough, you can transition the seat to a belt-positioning booster and often after that to a backless booster.

Many states require children to be in car seats until they are at least eight years old or meet certain height and weight requirements. Some states are transitioning to requirements that keep kids in car seats until they are twelve, though. Convertible seats can hold kids as heavy as 100lbs.

Booster Seats

Booster Seats

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Booster seats are for older kids who have transitioned out of their need for a five-point harness or are too tall or heavy for infant and toddler seats. These seats can fit kids up to 100lbs and are generally required for children ages eight and under. Some states require a booster seat until kids hit the height and weight limits of their seat, while others require booster seats solely based on age.

Booster seats are sometimes convertible between belt-positioning seats and backless boosters, but you can buy them individually as well. 

Safety Features

All car seats on the market have to meet some pretty rigorous safety standards, but some genuinely go above and beyond the call of duty by adding extra features that can help give parents the peace of mind they deserve when traveling with an infant. A couple of the best features to look for are FAA approval, which means a seat will work on an airplane, and side-impact testing, which isn’t currently required by US laws.

Additional safety features you’ll want to consider are whether or not it has impact protection shields, which are often made from the same type of foam as bicycle helmets to help absorb impacts better than many other materials. Performance chest pads, lateral headrests, and pitch control systems are also excellent safety features that aren’t always available on every seat.

Removable pillows that help kids fit better when they are at the smaller end of the car seat’s weight and height requirements are excellent as well, as are multiple harness holes to help your harness grow appropriately with your child. Multi-recline positioning is also a nice safety feature because it helps to ensure that children are comfortable and that the harness fits them correctly.

Bonus Features: Convenience and Comfort

Bonus Features Convenience and Comfort

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We’re often so focused on the safety of our car seats that we forget to look at other features that may help us along the way, like those that provide convenience for parents and comfort for kids. Even something as simple as a lightweight design can help give an abundance of convenience for parents.

Some features we think are essential to look out for are ergonomic handles on infant seats, natural transitions on convertible seats, harness height changes that don't require rethreading, cup holders, built-in storage, padded armrests, padded straps, and autobases. Each of these features will either add a level of convenience to your life as a parent or add an additional level of comfort to your child. Bonus features like these make long car rides much easier to deal with.

How It Compares

The Tranzitions seat is not the only one of its kind available on the market, and there is some stiff competition in its category. Although this is strictly a Graco Tranzitions review, we want to give you some specs on similar seats so you can see how Tranzitions compares to other similar seats on the market, and help you decide which is best for you.

Safety 1st Summit

The Summit high back booster car seat by Safety 1st is a transitioning car seat that works as either a forward-facing harness booster for kids 22-40lbs or a belt-positioning booster for kids 40-100lbs. Although the weight limits and budget are similar on this seat to those of the Tranzitions seat, there are a few differences as well.

The significant difference between the two seats is that the Tranzitions seat can turn into a backless booster at the end, where the Summit cannot. Both feature side impact protection, cup holders, LATCH ability, and easy to adjust harness heights, but overall the Tranzitions seat is better for parents looking for long term use.

Evenflo Evolve

The Evolve by Evenflo has a lot in common with the Graco Tranzitions car seat. Both can transition from harness booster to belt positioning booster to backless booster without much fuss. Both feature fun extras like cup holders and storage, and both have high safety ratings, including side-impact testing.

We had a hard time when we started comparing these two seats because they have so much in common and they are both excellent car seats that we could recommend without worry. However, we do like the Tranzitions seat slightly more than the Evolve because Evolve gets some reviews that claim its frame is too small to fit the size child it is recommended for, where the Tranzitions doesn’t see reviews of this type.

Overall Impressions and Recommendations

The Graco Tranzitions car seat is a reliable option for anyone looking for a booster for an older toddler or child. Although it doesn't transition as far as some other Graco models, the budget reflects the limited abilities, and the Graco team once again did not skimp on safety. We love that this seat has added features like padded armrests, built-in cup holders, and a nine-position headrest.

This is a budget-friendly option that doesn’t skimp on added features or safety. We love that it has side impact protection and exceeds US safety standards. We also love that it’s lightweight for the ease of use of parents. Transitions also come easy with this car seat, which isn’t always the case.

The Tranzitions seat does miss in a couple of areas for us, like in its difficulty to change harness positions and its cheaper materials. We think Graco was going for a budget option here, so we understand the choices, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t inconvenient for parents or uncomfortable for kids.

Overall we would recommend this car seat for parents looking for a simple, nut safe seat for their older toddlers and children. The colors, materials, conveniences, and safety features make it well worth a look if you’re in the market for this type of seat.

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