Graco Nautilus 65 LX Review: Compact 3-in-1 Harness Booster

Graco Atlas 65 2-in-1 Harness Booster Seat

Graco Nautilus 65 LX

Overall Rating
Face Rear & Front

Following the Nautilus 65, Graco returns to the car seat scene with a new model that builds on its strengths and corrects some of its flaws too. Honorable to the minimal practical design that characterized the Nautilus 65, the Nautilus 65 LX opts for a more fleshed-out look that doesn’t sacrifice quality for quantity. With a higher booter weight limit and removable body support, this car seat scores on almost every plane. 

But most impressive of all is its fuss-free harness storage that makes getting the kid in and out much easier. Whilst the Graco Nautilus 65 LX would benefit from its three modes (5-point harness forward-facing, high-back booster, and backless booster) for a really long-lasting, this harnessed booster ticks all of the boxes it promises to. Graco has made practicality the priority once again with their new models and it shows. This manufacturer launched another three improved models as well. We’ll compare all five car seats in the Graco Nautilus 65 lines in this review.

*Price may change due to e-commerce platform and brand sales promotion.

Graco Nautilus 65 LX Review - A Reasonably Solid Performer

Pros & Cons

The good and the bad

What is it best for

Who we recommend it for

Value for Money

Is it worth the price tag?


Dimensions, weight, color, etc

Safety Rating

Crash tests, FMVSS213, SIP


Weight/height limits, airplane, etc


Install with LATCH or seat belt


Other car seats to consider

1. Pros and Cons



2. Who Is It Best For?

Will the Graco Nautilus 65 LX Be a Good Fit For Your Child and Family?

The Nautilus 65 LX is suited to accommodate kids weighing between 22 and 120 pounds until they reach the top 57-inch height limit. Being used only forward-facing, it’s a good step-up option after your kid outgrows their infant car seats at around 12 or 18 months old.

At a budget price under $200, the Graco Nautilus 65 LX would be a smart purchase as its average forward-facing harness size limit, 120-pound higher booster weight limit, and host of three modes make it last good years till the day when your kid can stop using a car seat. Its high seat pad may prove a slight inconvenience to kids who often climb in and out of the car seat by themselves, but this is not a biggie.

If you are wanting to invest in a toddler car seat for long-term use with safety and comfort, then the Graco Nautilus 65 LX delivers. Its durable build sports an impressive 10 years of lifespan and is also made of machine-washable fabrics, which means the most convenience and max comfort, ease of maintenance, and the option to extend the longest use indefinitely.

3. Value for Money

Is the price tag worth it?

The Nautilus 65 LX continues Graco’s notorious dedication to durability and quality. Featuring a steel-reinforced frame as well as energy-absorbing foam for effective impact management,  this harnessed booster is sturdy enough to deliver good protection, no matter the impact from which side, rear, front, or side. This upgraded model also has a range of extras such as removable body support and a higher backless booster weight limit for heavy kids to ride safely. Whilst it’s higher pricing at $189.99 may initially seem steep, it’s worth noting that you won’t have to purchase a replacement model any time soon.

But the most significant money saver that this toddler car seat boasts is its three modes. It’s able to accommodate a child as small as 22 pounds in the 5-point harness mode until he or she reaches the top 65 lbs weight limit or 49 inches height limit. The 100-lb high-back booster weight limit and 120-lb no-back booster weight limit is good for big kids at 8 years or older. This saves you staggering amounts of money in the long run, making the Nautilus 65 LX a worthwhile investment. See the comparisons and the reasons why we select the Graco Nautilus 65 LX over other models in this series.

4. Design

Dimensions and Width

The Nautilus 65 LX offers a spacious room that is suitable for growing kids. Like its predecessor (the Graco Nautilus 65) its dimensions remain the same: 

Width: 20 inches

Depth: 18 inches

Height: 28 inches

The dimensions seem to be larger than some toddler car seats. Considering its purpose of fitting kids at most 120 pounds heavy or 57 inches tall, it’s not difficult to get to know this.

However, the large size means it will take up a bit more space in the car seat. It’s obviously the Graco Nautilus 65 LX is not a car seat fit in small cars. Also, it’s not a narrow car seat, not even mention to use it for fitting three across. From this point, if you have a big family and want to install three car seats in the back seat, the Nautilus 65 LX 3 in 1 harness booster is not a good option. Actually, only Chicco MyFit is a bit slimmer (17.5″ vs 20″) and is able to fit 3 across in some large-size vehicles.

The 28-inch height is certainly good for tall kids. On the other hand, it would absolutely need more space. Luckily, the Nautilus 65 LX allows use in the forward-facing position only, even if it’s most reclined it won’t take much space from the front passenger.

The Graco Nautilus 65 2.0 version and it’s LX and SnugLock Grow siblings improve a bit in width because they move the cup holder slots to the front corner, reducing the overall width. But they are not able to fit three across, either.


The Nautilus 65 LX weighs 20.52 lbs which are on the average side of toddler car seats. But, with a metal frame and additional body support, its increased weight is to be expected.

This weight is acceptable for parents to switch the Graco Nautilus 65 LX between cars. Among its closest rivals, the Nautilus 65 LX’s weight is lighter than the Chicco MyFit and Britax Grow with You ClickTight (both 25 lbs), aligns closely with the Tranzitions (20 lbs), and is heavier than the KidsEmbrace SpiderMan (15 lbs).

However, it’s recommended to use it for road trips better than air travel, even though it’s FAA approved for use on planes (in the 5-point harness mode).

For families always on the go, getting a lightweight convertible car seat should be a better choice. Or pick up one from the foldable car seats that are designed for ease of carry and storage.

From its weight and non-folding design, the portability of the Graco Nautilus 65 LX is poor. We’ll give it a rating of 6 out of 10. See also the best car seats with great portability.

Cup Holder - One

The Graco Nautilus 65 LX continues the minimal design of its earlier model, remaining with the cup holder on the right, along with two storage compartments on both sides.

A Cup holder is good to have your kid’s drinks stored steadily without spilling out. It’s deeply and cylindrically designed to hold most types and sizes of water bottles.

While it lacks another cup holder, the Nautilus 65 LX has two storage compartments. They work instead to store your kid’s snacks or toys. Better than cup holders, they’re closer to your kid’s reach. The only down point is that this increases the total width, making the Nautilus 65 LX and its predecessor slightly wider than its premium siblings with two removable cup holders.

Can you remove the cup holder on Nautilus 65 LX for cleaning? Sorry, you can’t. The cup holder is built into the car seat pad and you can only clean it with clothes.

Headrest and Harness - 5 Positions

Designed to grow with your kids, the Graco Nautilus 65 LX comes with 5 positions for headrest and harness adjustment.

The 5-position is good for a customized fit for max comfort and optimal protection – the harness should be placed at or above the kid’s shoulders. 

But that’s a bit fewer than its competitors: 3 positions fewer than the cheaper Tranzitions (8 vs 5); 4 positions fewer than Britax Grow with You ClickTight and Chicco MyFit (9 vs 5).

I think I found the reason why Graco Tranzitions sells more (37000+ reviews vs 5500+ reviews) on Amazon. It’s cheap but features a few basic but practical features.

Reclines - 3 Positions

The Nautilus 65 LX offers a comfortable fit considering it’s reliant on 3-position reclines alone. Your kid can still feel a rich quality of ride when they’re of different ages and sizes. 

That wins back over the Graco Tranzitions (0 vs 3) and even the more expensive model Britax Grow with Your ClickTight (2 vs 3), only beaten by Chicco MyFit (4 vs 3).

Reclining the car seat to a desired position is easy. There is a recline handle on the foot (or base). You just need to pull the handle out and tilt the seat back.

Body Support

Improving on the Graco Nautilus 65, the Nautilus 65 LX adds body support. The body support is helpful to raise the kid’s upper to reach the lowest harness setting,  making this car seat better fit smaller toddlers – in case you’re planning to use the 3-in-1 harness booster for 12 or 18 months old toddlers.

The body support is removable as your kid grows bigger. You just need to unbuckle the harness system, remove the buckle cover,

then remove the body support.

An important tip to using the body support is that you should make sure it does NOT  bunch or fold behind the child. It’s not safe (there will be a lot of slack between your kid’s back and the car seat), nor comfortable.


The Graco Nautilus 65 is designed with comfort in mind, using a variety of materials and padding to keep your child cozy and safe during car rides.

The car seat’s cover is made of a soft, breathable fabric that is easy to remove and machine washable, making it simple to keep the seat clean and fresh. The seat also features an adjustable headrest that can be moved to different positions to accommodate your child’s growth and ensure a comfortable fit.

The car seat’s padding is designed to provide both comfort and safety. The seat features energy-absorbing foam that can help to protect your child in the event of a crash. The foam is strategically placed in the seat to provide extra protection for the head, neck, and torso.

Additionally, the Graco Nautilus 65 has multiple recline positions that can help your child find a comfortable position for napping or resting during car rides. The seat also has padded armrests and a built-in cup holder for added convenience.

5. Safety Rating and Crash Tests

Is it safe to use Graco Nautilus 65 LX?

Of course, you don’t worry about the performance to protect your kid in this car seat.

All car seats sold in the US are required to do crash tests under the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 213). So does the Nautilus 65 LX. It’s engineered and crash tests to meet US safety standards.

More than that, it features a strong and solid build for enhancing its protection. The frame is made of high-strength reinforced steel while there is plenty of energy-absorbing foam around the car seat. They help to reduce or distribute the crash impact when a crash happens.

Also, the Nautilus 65 LX has side impact protection. It has been side-impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built-in 5-point harness system.

The manufacturer does not specify how many layers of SIP it has. It’s still recommended to keep your kid in harness mode for as long as possible to make full use of the 5-point harness.

6. Performance

Weight and Height Limits

The weight and height limits are probably a major reason why the Graco gives the Nautilus 65 LX a higher price than its predecessor. 

It has a top 120-pound booster weight limit. That beats most of the Graco car seats, including some all-in-one models, like the SlimFit3 LX. 

The 120 lbs limit is for backless mode only, while the high-back mode still remains the average 100-pound booster weight limit.

Also, the booster height limit and size limit for the 5-point harness mode keep the same – 57 inches at most and 65 lbs/ 49 for forward-facing harness mode.

Let’s summarize the weight and height limits:

5-point harness forward-facing: 65 lbs/49″;

High-back booster: 100 lbs/57″;

Backless booster: 120 lbs/57″.

That’s the top limit for all three modes. It’s also important to note the minimum weight or height requirement, especially the weight requirement for switching to booster mode.

Graco once gave some of its booster seats a minimum 30-lb weight limit before and later improved the level to 40 pounds, which is the minimum for using a booster seat according to US car seat laws.

This aligns with the child safety experts’ suggestion that children should ride in the 5-point harness for as long as possible. When your little one approaches the 65-pound weight limit or 49-inch height limit, it definitely meets the minimum weight requirement to use a booster seat.

Stage / Modes

One of the Nautilus 65 LX’s key features is its two stages and three modes and, as promised, it lasts a few years.

It’s a booster seat with a 5-point harness system, extending the use for toddlers as small as 22 pounds. This makes the Nautilus 65 LX a good forward-facing car seat to be the successor to the infant car seats. 

As long as your kid reaches the 65-lb weight limit or 49-inch height limit, it’s time to transition it to the booster stage. That’s the last stage your kid needs a child restraint system, according to the NHTSA’s definition of four car seat stages.

The Nautilus can be used in two modes in this stage – high-back booster or no-back booster. The two modes have the same bottom line of weight requirement – 40 pounds, but at different top weight limits – 100 pounds for high-back booster and 120 pounds for backless booster, while the 57-inch top height limit still remains the same.

To make full use of the two stages and three modes, you may follow this rule:

5-point harness > high-back booster > backless booster

This is not related to safety rating, but just the best recommendations from a lot of child safety experts and the conclusion from plenty of crash cases analysis.

The smaller the kid is, the more left mode they should use.

Age Range

The age limit is not always given by the manufacturer. That’s very different from the weight and height limits. That’s easy to understand this point because children grow at different rates due to genes and parents’ size. 

All the car seat brands will give an exact age limit only for the booster seat requirements – the kid should be at least 4 years old because the state laws on child restraint use require that.

But for each stage and mode, we’ll list an approximate age range based on the weight and height limits:

Forward-facing (22-65 lbs/ 49″): 1 year to 4~5 year olds. Children under 1 year old should ride in the rear-facing position.

High-back booster (40-100 lbs/ 57″): 4-8 years old.

Backless booster (40-120 lbs/ 57″): 4-8 years old.

Why 8 years old? Because that’s the least age limit for a kid to stop using a booster seat or same-level child restraint system in car seat laws of most US states. Of course, you can use the booster for as long as possible after your kid is eight. But kids older may not like to stay in a car seat.


Is Graco Nautilus 65 LX FAA approved for use on a plane?

According to Graco, the Nautilus 65 LX is FAA approved for use on planes, only in the second stage with the 5-point harness. 

That’s the same as all car seats – can be used on a plane only with the internal harness system.

Let’s explain why. Booster seats are required to be installed and used with a lap-shoulder belt system by the laws while there is only a lap belt in the plane’s seat. That means the booster seat can’t be installed properly and tightly on planes. 

But you probably do not want to take the Graco Nautilus 65 LX for air travel. It’s a bit heavy, not slim, and not portable.


How long is Graco Nautilus LX car seat good for

Graco states that the Nautilus 65 LX can last up to 10 years from the date of manufacture.

It is worth noting here that the lifespan starts with the date of manufacture, not the day when you purchase or receive it.

Car seats have an expiration date due to wear and tear. I don’t expect the Graco Nautilus 65 LX to feature a so long 10-year lifespan. The Tranzitions is another 3-in-1 harness booster from Graco, but it has just 7 years of lifetime usage.

According to Graco, car seats with plastic frames have a shorter 7-year while those with metal frames last longer up to 10 years of time. The company improves this point after hearing what the parents say about its older models.

See also


The Graco provides a one-year limited warranty for the Nautilus 65 LX car seat, starting from the date of purchase. The warranty covers defects in materials and workmanship under normal use and service.

It is important to note that the warranty does not cover damage caused by misuse or abuse of the car seat, normal wear, and tear, or damage caused by accidents or collisions.

7. Graco Nautilus 65 LX Installation

Before starting to install the car seat, you may where to put it. The center of the back seat is probably the safest position to install a car seat.

If possible, install the car seat on that spot. If that seat is not applicable for a proper installation, for example lacking a shoulder belt, either seat on the side would be safe. You may choose any of them based on your family’s and kid’s needs.

Graco Nautilus 65 LX Installation in Forward-facing Mode

Forward-Facing: 22-65 lb (10-30 kg) and 27-49” (69-125 cm) at least one year old*

  • Place car seat forward-facing in the vehicle back seat.
  • Make sure LATCH strap or vehicle seat belt is routed through the forward-facing belt path marked with a orange label.
  • Attach and tighten top tether strap. When used properly, the top tether helps reduce injury in a sudden stop or crash.
  • 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.

Graco Nautilus 65 LX Installation as a Booster

Booster Use With Back: 40-100 lb (14-45 kg) 38-57 in. (96-145 cm) at least 4 years old* Booster Use Without Back: 40-120 lb (18.1-54 kg) 40-57 in. (101-145 cm) at least 4 years old*

You should note it here in the car seat manual. The original minimum weight requirement for the high-back booster mode is 30 pounds. But the car seat laws in the 50 US states require that booster seats can only be used for kids 40 pounds or more. 

  • Place car seat forward-facing in the vehicle back seat.
  • Make sure vehicle seat’s lap belt is adjusted snugly and lays low on the child’s hip and is routed behind the armrest in the booster’s belt path.
  • Vehicle belts MUST lie flat against child and MUST NOT be twisted.
  • Vehicle seat’s shoulder belt is adjusted snugly and should lie between child’s neck and edge of shoulder.
  • Never use a vehicle lap-only belt across front of child.

Install Graco Nautilus 65 LX in Backless Mode

1. Remove the Back Support See section 4-B for instructions on how to remove back support. Once back support is removed, store with harness straps in a safe place.

2. Attach Base Pad to the Back of Base Attach the elastic straps at the back of the seat and through the vehicle belt guide on the sides of seat as shown.

3. Place the Booster Seat ForwardFacing in the Back Seat of Vehicle Place forward-facing on a vehicle seat that has a lap/shoulder seat belt. The base should sit as flat as possible on the vehicle seat. See section 5-C to secure your child.

8. Specification and Comparison

Suitable forToddlers, and big kids
Portability (1-10)7. Bulky and a bit heavy duty
Weight (pounds)20.52
Weight limits (lb.)22-65 for forward-facing, 40-120 for booster
Height limit (inch)49” for FF, and 57″ for booster
Dimension18″D x 20″W x 28″H
Cup holderOne
Age Range1-8 years or older
Stage2nd, 3rd
InstallationLATCH and seat belt
Headrest Positions5
Recline positions4
Lifespan10 Years
Extra Features

Graco Nautilus 65 LX vs 65 vs 2.0 LX vs SnugLock

Car Seats Comparison Nautilus 65 LX Nautilus 65 Nautilus 2.0 LX Nautilus SnugLock
Price $199.97 $189.97 $189.99 $249.99
Weight limit (lb) FF:22-65 / Booster: 40-120 FF:22-65 / Booster: 40-100 FF:22-65 / Booster: 40-120 FF:22-65 / Booster: 40-120
Height limit (in) FF:49" / Boostesr: 57" FF:49" / Boostesr: 57" FF:49" / Boostesr: 57" FF:49" / Boostesr: 57"
Headrest Adjustable Positions 5 5 10 11
Reclines 3 3 4 4
Cup Holder One One Removable Two Removable Two
No-rethread harness system

*About the height limit for rear-facing: The top of the head must be 1” (2.5 cm) below the headrest adjustment lever.

9. Alternatives

What other combination car seats should you consider?

Graco Tranzitions 2-in-1 Harness Booster

Graco Tranzitions

Why is it better than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?
Why is it worse than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?
Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness 2 Booster

Britax Grow with You ClickTight

Why is it better than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?
Why is it worse than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?
Chicco MyFit Harness Booster

Chicco MyFit

Why is it better than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?
Why is it worse than the Graco Nautilus 65 LX?