The Graco Extend2Fit is the best converter car seat under $250 – period. Compounding monstrous weight range and load-bearing capacities with a multitude of extra features – including an extension panel, fuss-free harness storage, included body insert, and a choice of five colours – the Graco Extend2Fit is just as much fun as it looks. But all that style doesn’t mean the Extend2Fit overlooks substance to grow with your child. With LATCH and seat belt installation, 10 position headrest, and 6-position reclines for both rear-facing and forward-facing, all combining for a superb riding experience for your child’s growth, the Extend2Fit delivers on all fronts. You won’t have to break the bank to get your hands on it, either.
Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat Review - 12 Things You Need to Know
1. Pros and Cons
2. Who Is It Best For?
Will the Graco Extend2Fit be a good option for your child and your family?
The Graco Extend2Fit is very budget friendly in the convertible car seat world – a machine that all parents and kids will love.
But We got the graco because we finally bought a minivan and didn’t have to fit 3 kids in the same row. Obviously this is’s a factor for smaller families or families with larger vehicles.
Sure, its 65lbs weight limit means that it’s not able to compete with all-in-one models when it comes to longevity and stage. So if you prefer a four-throughout-stage-high-limits option, you may want to opt for the Diono Radian 3R or Safety 1st Grow and Go, for more available configurations at a similar price.
Similarly, the Graco Extend2Fit – at 19 lbs – probably isn’t the right fit for parents looking for a super-portable model, nor is it made for teenagers. Don’t get me wrong, the 65lbs weight limit and 49-inch height limit provide a reasonable level of riding most kids in the preschool time, it’s just that within its maximum weight and height are where the Graco Extend2Fit do their best work.
But ultimately, the Extend2Fit excels on so many metrics – longer rear-facing, safety performance, easy installation, lifespan, and other features – that it’s impossible not to love, no matter what kind of little passenger you are traveling with. For $211.99, there’s no better convertible ar seat on the market. Clearance sales are the best time to get it on Graco’s official website.
3. Value for Money
Is the price tag worth it?
Absolutely. The Graco Extend2Fit might be the most cost-efficient convertible toddler car seat. It offers so much bang for your buck that it would be a crime against humanity for me to say it’s not worth its price tag.
The Extend2Fit is worth every cent, nickel, and dime of your money. For one, its barnstorming 4-50lbs of rear-facing weight range isn’t just the best in its class but blows many of the car seat world’s most feature-rich and expensive models out of the water. Names such as the Safety 1st, Chicco NextFit Zip, and Britax’s classic Marathon – models rarely absent from conversations about the industry’s very best models – all have rf (here means rear-facing) ranges that pale in comparison to the Extend2Fit’s.
Let’s also not forget that the Extend2Fit’s $211.99 price tag makes it one of the most affordable scooters.
Of course, there’s no sugar-coating the fact that the Graco Extend2Fit isn’t the lightest model out there. But for a convertible car seat that achieves an improbable blend of affordability, weight and height range, safety performance, and even extra features, the Graco Extend2Fit is – quite simply – the best there is.
Dimension and Width
The Graco Extend2Fit is dimensioned at 19.5 inches in width plus 21.5 inches in depth plus 23.5 inches in height. It’s a bit bulky and large in size to take up a little more space in the backseat.
The 19.5-inch width is one or two inches wider than other slim car seats and might need more than one spot for fitting. This width is too wide to do 3 across the backseat, making it difficult and impossible to fit 3 kids in the same row, even with other slimmer car seats like Diono, which comes with a narrow 17-inch width.
The 21.5-inch depth is quite acceptable in most average-sized vehicles. But it might not be that friendly for small cars, because this depth really takes up more space from front to the back. The driver or front passenger probably needs to move their seat towards the dashboard to leave more space for installing it in the left or right spot in the back seat, especially if you pull out the extension panel for a longer rear-facing period. It’s not a big deal if you’re planning to install it in the middle spot.
The Graco Extend2Fit weighs up to 19 pounds, neither heavy nor lightweight. Some moms can also carry it and switch it between different vehicles for an installation. That’s why we gave it a portability score of 7 in the product specs below.
The 19lbs is absolutely not lightweight if you compare it with lighter backless booster seats that weigh less than 10 pounds. But it’s still acceptable when compared to other heavier convertible or all-in-one car seats, like the car seats from Britax. Most parents, moms or dads or even grandparents, are able to take it between different cars or from home to the garage. Just a reminder, please do not carry the seat with your kid in it. This will add weight for taking and it’s really dangerous.
Convertible car seats are not foldable, so does the Graco Extend2Fit, so you need to take it as its shape. Actually, the majority of the car seats, no matter infant, convertible, or booster seats, don’t feature a folding design. The only foldable car seat we reviewed is the Doona infant car seat stroller. It’s an exception for its unique design – it combines an infant car seat and a stroller into one.
Two Cup Holders
It’s uncommon that a car seat with two cup holders, but it seems that most Graco car seats have two cup holders on both sides, including the Extend2Fit. The cup holders are not default installed into the car seat. There are only two cutouts and you need to attach them to the car seat by yourself.
Some parents complain that the cup holders are the hardest part to install so you may need to follow the user manual installation guide with a little ingenious. After removing the seat cover, you should line up tab on the bottom of the cupholder with a hole in the shell, then press and
snap into place, replace the cover.
The cup holders are very convenient for your child in the car seat. He or she can enjoy the time to treat themselves with drinks and snacks. But you should find water bottles of the right size. The manufacturer does not tell the dimension of the cup holders, so it’s better for you to purchase this car seat first and then purchase the bottler after measuring its width.
They are square and supposedly large enough to hold most water bottles for kids. But too small cylindrical water bottles may not fit well in these two square cup holders. That’s why a few parents gave negative feedback on Amazon.
Headrest and Harness
As a toddler car seat that grows with your child, the Graco Extend2Fit supports up to 10 positions to adjust the headrest for perfect fit. The headrest was made of plentiful padding, along with the head support, to provide two layers of side impact protection. The head support features a curved bottom to pull down to fit smaller infants, offering protection and support to the little passenger. It’s very useful especially when the kids sleep in the car seat, supporting their head and avoiding falling ahead.
This seat features the Graco’s no-rethread Simple Safe Adjust (SSA) harness system, which allows you to adjust the height of harness and headrest in one motion. This saves parent’s time and engergy as you just achieve the height adjustment at the same time without uninstalling and reinstalling the car seat. That’s a great function many parents love. You don’t want to spend much time in installing and uninstalling the car seat, even this Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat allows for easy installation.
Actually, the majority of the multi-stage car seats support this feature or similar that allows for one-motion headrest and harness adjustment, convertible, all-in-one, combination car seats. It’s not difficult to design the car seat with this type of feature anyway.
There are two harness covers on both sides to keep your child comfortable staying in the car seat. They are made of soft textile, avoiding the harness straps friction to your kid’s neck. When using them, you should make sure that harness covers do not interfere with placement of the chest clip at armpit level. If you want to remove it for washing, undo the fastening strips for easy and rapid remove.
Reclines are necessary to allow your child sit in the car seat with the most comfortable angle and position. The Graco Extend2Fit support six reclines, with four for small infants rear face and three for toddlers forward face, the 4th recline is suitable for both rear-facing and forward-facing.
How to find a proper fit recline angle?
The base recline handle is under the seat pad and is used for adjust the recline position for perfect fit of growing children. You can easily adjust it by pulling out on handle to adjust to one of the six positions.
The first four positions from 1 to 4 are for rear-facing only and they’re in blue color. The fourth position is right in the middle and can fit for both rear-facing and forward-facing, but it has weight requirement. The manufacturer recommends in the user manual that children betwwen 22-40 lb (10-18 kg) must use relcine position 4 when the parents switch the Graco Extend2Fit to forward-facing.
It’s very understandable, small toddlers still need a more flat position when the car seat transition from rear-facing to front-facing. Big kids over 40 lb (> 18.1 kg) must use the recline position 5 or 6.
No infant insert in the car seat package, but there is a body support, which was designed for small babies and infants. If you find that their shoulders are below the lowest harness setting after sitting in the car seat, you must use the body support. It addes extra height to help the littles reach the minimum height requirement to use the harness.
The body support is generally used in the rear-facing mode only for small infants and toddlers. As long as your child grows to reach the lowest harness position, you can remove it.
The body support should not bunch or fold when in use behind the child. It’s not safe and uncomfortable with folded things behind your child’s back as the same reason that you’d better not put snowsuits or bulky garments on your child when placing them in the car seat. Bulky clothing can prevent the harness straps from being tightened properly. To keep child
warm, buckle your child in the car seat and place a blanket around the child or place the child’s coat on backwards after buckling in.
The head support will give your child extra support around the head, especially when your child fall asleep in the car seat or when the vehicle turns that will cause their heads to shift. The head support will keep your child’s head steady and stable. It’s also adjustable along with harness straps, just slide it into the opening in headrest.
5. Graco Extend2Fit Safety Rating and Crash Tests
The Extend2Fit might be the safest car seat on from Graco. The manufacturer boasts that It is a Graco ProtectPlus Engineered to help protect the little passenger in every possible hurting direction: frontal, side, rear, and rollover, in the event of crashes.
The factor is that the car seat has gone through the most rigorous crash tests and standards from the US and Europe. The Graco Extend2Fit meets or exceeds the child restraint criteria for a frontal crash test under the US FMVSS 213. It’s side-impact tested for occupant retention with the built-in 5-point harness system, which is required for most car seats with a 5-point harness. Most car seats sold in the US market should undertake crash tests and pass these two crash standards.
More than that, the Graco Extend2Fit is also tested and approved by EU crash tests standards. Its rear-impact tested based on the European Rear-Impact Crash Pulses and tested to Graco’s RollSafe™ testing standard based on the European rollover testing procedure.
The all-around crash tests earn this car seat a high safety rating in protection performance.
Weight and Height Limits
The Graco Extend2Fit was designed to ride newborns as light as 4 pounds, even premature babies can stay stable in this car seat, thanks to its included body insert. The top weight limit of rear-facing is up to 50 pounds, extending rear-facing riding for big toddlers up to 4 years old.
But you should pay attention to your child’s height and make sure he or she does not exceed this car seat’s height limit of 32-inches in rear-facing. Luckily, the car seat features an extension panel for additional 5-inch legroom. That means, your kids can rear face at least after the second birthday.
The higher weight limit and extendable height limit are very useful and appealing for parents who live in those states that require children to stay rear-facing until they’re two years old, like New Jersey, California, Alabama, Illinois, etc.
Switching the Graco Extend2Fit to forward-facing, it’s capable of riding big kids between 25-65 pounds, still with the 5-point harness for safety. The 65-lbs top weight limit means that preschoolers can ride in this car seat as well, along with the 49-inch height limit of forward-facing.
With higher weight and height limits than infant car seats, the convertible car seats generally last longer, up to 6-7 years longevity. So does the Graco Extend2Fit.
With a weight range of 4-50 pounds for rear-facing, it is suitable for newborn babies from day 1, then going through infant and toddler periods around 2-4 years old. That’s a very long time for rear-facing riding and beats the majority convertible car seats or even all-in-one car seats on the market, making it the best option for parents who prefer to ride their kids rear-facing longer.
The rea-facing age is still limited by the kid’s height. They should not exceed this car seat’s 32-inch height limit plus 5-inch extension legroom. When it’s a common rule to keep your child rear-facing as long as they don’t excel the weight or height limit, you can ride them in this mode if they’re comfortable with the car seat.
The 65-pound weight limit or 49-inch height limit may happen in your child’s 6-7 years. If your child excels in any one of these two criteria, move them to the next stage for a booster. It’s more dangerous for the kids to stay in an inappropriate harness seat than in a booster.
The Graco Extend2Fit can be installed in two positions – rear-facing and forward-facing, meaning it goes through two stages – the first rear-facing and the second forward-facing. Both car seat stages require a 5-point harness for safety to keep your child steady and stable in it.
Is a Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat allowed on planes?
Absolutely yes. This Graco Extend2Fit is certified for use in aircraft, but you should use it only on forward-facing airplane seats.
No matter what positions, rear-facing or forward-facing, you can follow the user manual to install it on the plane. It’s quite the same as the installation on the vehicle. The only difference is that only lap belt installation is allowed on the plane, no LATCH connectors in the aircraft seats. And you’d better call the airline to make sure this car seat can be installed on their planes before onboarding.
This child restraint meets or exceeds all applicable requirements of Federal motor
vehicle safety standard 213 for use in motor vehicles.
How long is a Graco Extend2Fit convertible car seat good for?
It’s better not to use this Graco Extend2Fit car seat after it reaches 10 years from the date of manufacturer. You can check that date of the expiration label on back of the car seat.
10-year is the longest lifespan of the car seats, covering all types, convertible and all-in-one. Infant car seats, combination and booster seats even feature a shorter lasting time around 6-7 years.
The real usage time is absolutely less than the 10 years, as you can’t buy one car seat on the day it was manufactured. But it’s enough for a child’s growth, you can even use it for more than one kid.
Purchasing any second hand car seat is NOT recommended.
The Graco Extend2Fit does not specify its warranty on the user manual. Its warranty is in accordance with the limited warranty of all the Graco products. Typically, the warranty is at least one year for the major parts, but the manufacturer does not make this clear.
7. Graco Extend2Fit Installation
Which Installation Method Should I Use?
This car seat can be installed in your vehicle using either the vehicle seat belt or the LATCH system. Both ways are equally safe to ride your child as long as you install it properly following the Graco Extend2Fit user manual. It’s NOT allowed to use both methods at the same time.
Intall Graco Extend2Fit with LATCH
- Store Tether Strap. Attach tether hook to the plastic bar on the right side of the car seat.
- Remove Lower Anchor Connectors from Storage Location. Push in on the red buttons on the lower anchor connectors and remove them from the storage position.
- Make Sure Lower Anchor Strap is in the Rear-Facing Belt Path. Marked With a Blue Label If not, See section 7 to move lower anchor attachment.
- Recline the Car Seat. Pull out on handle on the front of child restraint and adjust to one of the four rear-facing positions.
- Place Car Seat Rear-Facing in Back Seat of the Vehicle. Place rear-facing in the vehicle seat and center the car seat between the lower anchors. The base should sit as flat as possible on the vehicle seat.
- To Keep Your Child RearFacing Longer. For additional legroom, squeeze the adjustment handle and pull the extension panel out. The extension panel has 4 positions.
- Make Sure Base is a minimum of 80% on Vehicle Seat
- Check the Level Indicator. The vehicle MUST be on level ground. The ball must be completely in the blue zone. Readjust the incline if needed. Or if needed, rolled towels may be placed under the car seat at the vehicle seat crease, until the ball is completely in the blue zone. For infants 3 months and under, the ball must completely cover the light blue circle.
- Extend the Lower Anchor Strap. For easier installation, extend the lower anchor strap to its maximum length by pressing the grey button and pulling on the strap.
- Attach Lower Anchor Connectors to Vehicle’s Lower Anchors. The lower anchor strap should lie flat and not be twisted.
- Tighten the Lower Anchor Strap. Press down firmly in the center of the car seat while tightening the lower anchor strap. You may need to tighten through the rear-facing belt path as shown.
- Test For Tightness. Grab the sides of the seat where the lower anchor strap is and slide the car seat side-to-side and front-to-back. If the seat moves less than 1” (2.5 cm), it is tight enough.
- Check the Level Indicator. The vehicle MUST be on level ground. The ball must be completely in the blue zone. Readjust if needed. For infants 3 months and under, the ball must completely cover the light blue circle. If needed, rolled towels may be placed under the car seat at the vehicle seat crease, until the ball is completely in the blue zone. Recheck level indicator with the child in the seat.
- For children 22-40 lb (10-18 kg) you MUST use recline position 4.
- For children over 40 lb (18.1 kg), you MUST use recline position 5 or 6.
- The crotch strap must be in the front most slot when forward facing.
- Place car seat forward-facing in the vehicle back seat.
- Make sure the lower anchor strap or vehicle seat belt is routed through the forward-facing belt path marked with an orange label.
- Install this car seat tightly in your vehicle. Car seat should not move at the forward-facing belt path more than 1” (2.5 cm) from side to side, front to back.
- Harness straps need to be even with or just above the top of the child’s shoulders and the chest clip is at armpit level.
- DO NOT USE the extension panel forward-facing.
How to secure your child with a 5-point harness?
- Loosen Harness Straps. Push down on the harness release lever while pulling out on the harness straps at the chest clip. Unbuckle the chest clip and the crotch buckle. Place harness straps off to the sides. On select models, place harness straps in buckle storage pockets.
- Place Your Child in the Seat. Make sure their back is flat against the car seat back. Avoid bulky or heavy clothing. Doing so will prevent the harness straps from being tightened properly. Place a blanket over the child after you have secured the child.
- Place Harness Straps Over Child’s Shoulders and Buckle. You will hear a “click” when buckle tongues are securely attached. Pull up on each buckle tongue to make sure it is securely attached.
- Be Sure the Harness Straps Are at the Proper Height. Rear-Facing: Harness straps should be at or just below the child’s shoulders. Top of head must be 1” (2.5 cm) below the headrest adjustment lever. Forward-Facing: Harness straps should be at or just above the child’s shoulders. Top of child’s ears below top of headrest.
- To Raise or Lower Headrest/ Harness Height. Squeeze the adjustment handle and move headrest for the proper harness height.
- Check the Buckle Position. The correct slot is the one that is closest to your child without being underneath them. The crotch strap must be in the front most slot when forward facing.
- To Adjust Crotch Strap. Recline the car seat and locate the metal retainer under the car seat shell.
- Rotate Metal Retainer and Insert It Up Through the Shell and Pad. From the top of the car seat, pull the crotch buckle out.
- Insert Metal Retainer in the New Crotch Buckle Slot. Reach underneath the car seat and pull the metal retainer through. The crotch strap must be in the frontmost slot when forward facing.
- Pull Up on Crotch Strap to Make Sure it is Secured
- Buckle the Chest Clip. You will hear a “click” when the chest clip is securely buckled.
- Pull All the Slack Out From Around the Waist. Pull up on the harness strap while pushing the chest clip down. Do this to both sides.
- Tighten the Harness by Pulling the Harness Adjustment Strap. When you are not able to pinch any of the harness webbing at your child’s shoulder, the harness is tight enough. A snug harness should not allow any slack. It lies in a relatively straight line without sagging. It does not press on the child’s flesh or push the child’s body into an unnatural position.
- Raise the Chest Clip to Child’s Armpit Level
Everything on how to use and maintain the Graco Extend2Fit is covered in its user manual, so it’s important for you to read it before starting to install it in your vehicle. It’s usually included in the package, but you can always find online user manual on its official website, or download the PDF here.
Sometimes, words are less powerful and clear to explain the usage and installation than the videos. More than the introduction videos from the Graco company, there are plenty of YouTube videos uploaded by parents and you can search for any type of solution, because the Graco Extend2Fit is really a popular model.
Newborns, toddlers, and preschoolers
Rear-facing and forward-facing
7. Bulky and a bit heavy
Weight limits (lb.)
4-35 for rear-facing, and 22-65 for 5-point harness
Height limit (inch)
32” with 5” extended room rf, 49” for forward-facing
19.5 (W) X 23.5 (H) X 21.5 (D) inches
Two on both sides
0-7 years old
0-7 years old
LATCH and seat belt
Extension panel, harness storage