Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 – Best Budget and Lightweight Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35

Overall Rating
4.8/5
Face Rear

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is a great choice if you’re looking for a reliable baby car seat with some additional safety features thrown in. Its unique selling point lies in its impressive weight and height range, but its recline is also decent for newborn babies and small infants. The SnugRide SnugLock 35’s exclusive ProtectPlus Engineered feature is a neat mod-con, which takes the stress out of traveling safely in a car seat and greatly increases protection for your child from all sides. Easy installation saves life and ensures safety, you can count on Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35.

Diono Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Review - Best Lightest Infant Car Seat

1. Who Is It Best For?

Will the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 be a good option for your child and your family?

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is a budget baby seat that’s ideal if you’re looking for a child restraint system for newborn babies and small infants. With a 35-pound top weight and 32-inch top height, it’s best suited for infants younger than 1 year old

It’s designed to be friendly for busy parents. It features Graco’s unique SnugLock technology for installing the infant car seat with ease.

The easy-to-read level indicator helps eliminate installation guesswork for a proper installation, which contributes 99% to your baby’s safety in the car seat. 

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 is lightweight for easy carrying. But if you don’t want to take it in hand for a long time, you can attach it to a stroller with the Click Connect™ technology, which provides a secure one-step attachment to all Graco® Click Connect™ strollers.

2. Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

3. Value for Money

Is the price tag worth it?

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 performs well on riding a baby and the combination of a 35-pound weight limit and 32-inch height limit can last long enough until your child grows to one year of age.

However, if your baby grows a bit faster than their peers, they may quickly outgrow this car seat and you may need another car seat that will ride your infant rear-facing for a longer time.

Additional safety features add points to its value. More than passing the standard rigorous crash tests, the SnugRide SnugLock 35 is Graco ProtectPlus Engineered to safely protect your child all around – frontal, side, rear, and rollover.

Being friendly to busy parents is also a plus. It’s one of the lightest car seats. This means changing it from vehicle to vehicle is manageable and effortless. It’s better to purchase another base to install it in different cars.

4. Alternatives

What other car seats should you consider?

Doona

Why is it better than the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35?
Why its worse than the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35?
UPPAbaby MESA Infant Car Seat

UPPAbaby MESA

Why is it better than the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35?
Why its worse than the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35?

5. Design

Dimension and Width

Infant car seats are commonly compact in size. So does the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35. It measures at 17.5” (width) x 25” (height) x 16” (depth).

The 17.5-inch width is the widest among its competitors. It’s even a bit wider than the Diono Radian 3R, which is an all-in-one convertible car seat. This width might not achieve a 3-across fitting in small cars. 

The car seat depth and height are acceptable for an infant car seat, as your baby needs a lot of space in the seat for sleeping. But it may take a bit of space from the front passenger or the driver if you install it on either side of the back seat, especially in small cars.

Portability

Weighing just 7.5 pounds, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 (without the base) is the lightest infant car seat compared to its competitors.

The lightweight design is quite in accordance with the concept of the infant car seat, which can be easily taken and switched from vehicle to vehicle without waking your baby.

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 gets a high rating on the portability – up to 9, performing better than most of the baby car seats, but not as good as the Doona Infant car seat and stroller. The latter one earns the highest rating on portability among our reviewed car seats – up to 9.5.

6. Crash Tests and Safety Ratings

Is it safe to ride with a Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35?

The SnugRide SnugLock 35 might be the safest baby car seat for newborns and infants. It features Graco’s exclusive technology – it’s ProtectPlus Engineered, which is commonly used on the company’s premium models.

This child restraint meets or exceeds all applicable requirements of Federal motor vehicle safety standard 213 for use in motor vehicles. 

This is the basic crash test that is required for all the safety seats sold in the US market.

Including plenty of padding, along with the adjustable handlebar, these accessories provide extra protection support for safely riding the car seat. 

Plus, you should always follow the instructions in the user manual to install the car seat. The proper installation is the leading factor that ensures your baby’s safety in a car trip.

7. Performance

Weight and Height Limits

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 was designed for newborns and infants. It features a minimum weight of 4 pounds, which is friendly for premature babies.

The top weight is up to 35 pounds. Most infant car seats feature this weight limit, except the Chicco KeyFit 30, which only supports a 30-pound weight limit.

This combination performs well to ride an infant to 12 months of age if your baby grows at an average pace with their peers.

Then you can transfer to a forward-facing car seat.

However, if you’re living or planning to travel in a state that requires a toddler to face the front after the second birthday, this car seat type might last that long.

Age Range

As a baby car seat that comes with a 35-pound weight limit and a 32-inch height limit, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is expected to last for an average usage time.

It’s supposed to be suitable for newborns and may ride them until they outgrow the 35-pound top weight or 32-inch top height, which typically happens around the infant’s 12 months of age

This age range complies with the local rules in most US states that require the parents to ride the babies rear-facing before 1 year old. 

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 might fulfill this need in most cases, but probably not in those states that have a different rule on rear-facing. 

Some states require an infant younger than 2 years of age to keep facing the back. These states include New York, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Louisiana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington.

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Car Seat with Base

Stages

Infant car seats will last for only one stage – rear-facing which is also the first of four car seat stages. So does the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35. 

Fitting newborn babies is the only reason that the manufacturer developed this car seat.

Airplane

Is a Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat allowed on planes?

Yes. The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 is FAA approved for use in aircraft. With a lightweight body, the SnugRide SnugLock 35 is suitable for both car and air travelers.

Installing the car seat on a plane is the same as the way you install it in your car, with a lap belt, because there is no shoulder belt on the aircraft seats.

There are two important things you should pay special attention to:

  • The first is to install and use the SnugRide SnugLock 35 ONLY on forward-facing seats on the airplane.
  • The second is NOT to use the base for installation. This child restraint’s base is NOT certified for use in aircraft, where there is no LATCH connector.

Lifespan

How long is Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat good for

Up to 7-year of lifespan starting from the manufacturer date.

Kind reminder: the manufacturer date is not equal to the purchase day. The former should be earlier than the latter, meaning that the real longevity is shorter than 7 years.

You can find the expiration label on the stick on the back of the SnugRide SnugLock 35. 

The KeyFit 30 has a 6-year lifespan that is calculated from the manufacture date.

The 7-year lifespan is not long, especially compared to convertible or combination car seats that have a long 10-year lifespan.

But it’s good enough to safely ride your child through the infant age range until they outgrow the car seat.

8. How to Install Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35

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 systems are equally safe to use. But you should NOT use both at the same time.

Remove or Attach Car Seat from Base

Remove

1. To Remove Car Seat from Base From the back of the car seat, squeeze the base release handle and lift the car seat out of the base.

Attach

2. Attaching Car Seat To Base Align the locking bar at the front of the car seat with the locks in the base. Set the car seat in the base. Push down on the front of the car seat. You will hear a “click” when it is locked. Pull up on the front corners of the seat to make sure it is locked.

Install With Base Rear-Facing With LATCH Strap

1. Place Base in Back Seat of the Vehicle 

Place the base flat on the vehicle seat. Push it back until the front of the base touches the vehicle seat back. Center the base between the lower LATCH anchors. If allowed by your Vehicle Owner’s Manual, the center seating position may be used if the anchor spacing is 11” (28 cm) or greater.

2. Remove the LATCH Hooks from Storage Location 

Open the LATCH storage door and pull out the LATCH strap. Close the Door. 3. Open the SnugLock™ Arm Push in the release lever and open the lock-off.

4. Extend the LATCH Strap 

Extend the LATCH strap to its maximum length by pressing the gray button and pulling on the strap. 

5. Thread LATCH Strap Through the Rear-Facing Belt Path Marked With a Blue Label

6. Check the Level Indicator Vehicle MUST be level with the ground. 

7. Connect LATCH Hooks to Vehicle’s Lower LATCH Anchors 

LATCH strap should lay as flat as possible and not be twisted. Do not attach the hook upside down.

8. Remove the Slack 

Press down firmly in the top of the base while pulling on the free end of the LATCH strap to remove all the slack. Do not pull on the strap with excessive force.

9. Close the SnugLock™ Arm 

Shut the lock-off on top of the LATCH strap. Close the lock-off until you hear a “Click”.

10. Test For Tightness 

Grab the sides of the base at the belt path, push and pull the base from side to side and front to back. If the base moves less than 1” (2.5 cm), it is tight enough.

11. Attach Car Seat to Base 

Place car seat into the base. Push down on the front of the car seat and handle until you hear a “click”. Test to make sure the car seat is attached by pulling up on the front corners of the car seat.

12. Check the Level Indicator 

Vehicle MUST be level with the ground. Check the level indicator with the child in the child restraint. See section 4-C to secure your child.

Install With Base Rear-Facing With Vehicle Seat Belt

1. Store LATCH Strap 

Open the storage door and insert the LATCH strap as shown. 

2. Place Base in Back Seat of the Vehicle 

Place the base flat on the vehicle seat. Push it back until the front of the base touches the vehicle seat back. 

3. Open the SnugLock™ Arm 

Push in the release lever and open the lock-off.

4. Check the Level Indicator 

Vehicle MUST be level with the ground. To recline, review section 2-E.

5. Route the Vehicle Seat Belt 

Thread vehicle seat belt through the rear-facing belt path (marked with a blue label) and buckle it. The seat belt should lay as flat as possible and not be twisted.  

6. Tighten the Vehicle Seat Belt 

Press down firmly on the top of the base while pulling on the shoulder belt to remove the slack. Do not pull on the strap with excessive force.

7. Close the SnugLock™ Arm 

Push down on the arm until you hear the latch click.

8. Test For Tightness 

Grab the sides of the base where the seat belt is and push and pull the base from side to side and front to back. If the base moves less than 1” (2.5 cm), it is tight enough.

9. Attach Car Seat to Base 

Place car seat into the base. Push down on the front of the car seat and handle until you hear a “click”. Test to make sure the car seat is attached by pulling up on the front corners of the car seat.

10. Check the Level Indicator 

Vehicle MUST be level with the ground. Check the level indicator with the child in the child restraint. See section 4-C to secure your child.

Install Without Base Rear-Facing With Vehicle Seat Belt

1. Secure Child In the Car Seat See Section 4C.

2. Place Car Seat in Back Seat of the Vehicle 

Place the car seat on the vehicle seat. Push it back until the front of the car seat touches the vehicle seat back. Check the rear-facing level line. The red level line on the side of the seat MUST BE LEVEL with the ground. If needed, rolled towels may be placed under the base, at the vehicle seat crease, until the level line is level with the ground.

3. Route the Vehicle Seat Belt 

Thread vehicle seat belt through the rear-facing belt path (marked with a blue label) and buckle it. The seat belt should not be twisted. If your shoulder belt is long enough, you may route the shoulder belt behind the seat as shown. 

4. Lock the Vehicle Seat Belt 

In most vehicles today, slowly pull the shoulder belt all the way out and then let it go back in. You will hear a “clicking” sound. Slowly pull out on the belt and it should be locked. If not, review your car’s owner manual and section 6-D.

5. Tighten the Vehicle Seat Belt 

Lay your forearm across the car seat at the belt path and push down. Pull on the shoulder belt to tighten while feeding the slack back in the retractor. 6. Test For Tightness 

Grab the sides of the car seat where the seat belt is and push and pull the car seat from side to side and front to back. If the car seat moves less than 1” (2.5 cm), it is tight enough.

7. Check the Rear Facing Level Line 

The red level line on the side of the seat MUST BE LEVEL with the ground. Check the level line with the child in the child restraint when making sure the line is level with the ground.

Checklist to Ensure Proper Installation

  • Base Does Not Move More Than 1” (2.5 cm) At The Belt Path 
  • Car Seat Is Properly Attached To Base 
  • Cannot Pinch Harness Chest Clip Even 
  • With Armpits Base Does Not Move More Than 1” (2.5 cm) At The Belt Path 
  • With Vehicle On Level Ground, Check the Level Indicator

9. Comfort

Headrest and Harness

Designed to suit newborn babies, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat comes with head and body supports. They are great to help small babies keep your infant feeling cradled and comfortable.

It’s a pity that this model does not have a body pillow, which is only available in premium models.

Graco Snugride Snuglock 35 Large Canopy

Materials

Made of baby-safe textiles and washable fabrics in the seat pad and outer, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock is budget but looks great.

The inner foam and thick padding around the body and head ensure both safety and comfort. The steel-reinforced frame is strong for durability and safety in case of any crashes. 

Five different available colors for toddler girls and boys, but a few parents do not like its unisex design.

10. Care and Maintenance for Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35

Cleaning Seat Pad

1. Loosen Harness Straps Push down on the harness release lever while pulling out on the harness straps at the chest clip.

2. Remove Harness Straps from Splitter Plate

3. Pull Harness Straps Out From the Front of Car Seat

4. Pull Out the 4 Plastic Flaps from Sides of Seat

5. Pull Pad Off Shell

6. If Needed, Remove Canopy Undo the fastening strips on the sides of the canopy from the seat pad. Push the release button on the canopy arm while pulling on the canopy hoop to remove.

Repeat on the other side. Remove the canopy from from the canopy hoop. Machine wash pad and canopy in cold water on delicate cycle and drip-dry. DO NOT USE BLEACH.

Reverse the steps to reattach the pad to the shell. Make sure harness straps are not twisted.

Cleaning Buckle

Remove Buckle to Clean From the bottom of the car seat, insert the buckle’s metal clip up through the shell and pad. From the front, pull the buckle out of the pad and shell. 

To clean, place in a cup of warm water and gently agitate the buckle. Press the red button several times while in the water.

DO NOT SUBMERGE THE BUCKLE STRAP. DO NOT USE SOAPS, HOUSEHOLD DETERGENTS or LUBRICANTS.

Shake out excess water and allow the air to dry. Repeat steps as needed until it fastens with a click. Re-insert the buckle into the same slot it was removed. Pull up on the crotch buckle to make sure it is secured.

11. Specifications

Brand 
BrandGraco
Type 
Suitable forNewborns and infants
PositionsRear-facing
Design 
Portability (1-10)9. Folding car seat, adjustable handlebar
Weight (lb.)7.5
Weight limits (lb.)4-35 for rear-facing
Height limit (inch)32” for rear-facing
Dimension25 x 17.5 x 16.03 inches
HandleTwo-position adjustments
Performance 
Age Range0-1 years old
Stage1st
InstallationLATCH and seat belt
AirplaneYes
Lifespan7 Years
Extra Features

12. Warranty

Just like most car seats on the market, the Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 comes with a one-year limited warranty

To claim the warranty, you should provide necessary information like the purchase proof to their team.

It’s better to register the car seat the very first time when you receive it and confirm to keep it for riding your baby.

13. User Manual

The car seat manual should go with the car seat in the package. It’s important for parents to read and follow the manual to use and maintain the car seat. 

After all, it’s the official instructions and guides from the manufacturer, who know their product most.

The Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat manual can be also found online for easy access and viewing.

14. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 vs Elite vs LX vs SnugFit 35

Car Seats Comparison SnugRide SnugLock 35 SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite SnugRide SnugLock 35 LX SnugRide SnugFit 35
Price* $179.99 $224.99 (Check price) $219.99(Check price) $169.99 (Check price)
Weight limits (lb) 4-35 4-35 4-35 4-35
Height limits (in.) 32 32 32 32
1-Hand Adjustable Handle - - -
Easy-to-Remove Seat Pad - -
Silent Shade Canopy - -
Adjustable Recline
No-Rethread Harness - -
Energy Absorbing Base - - -
Anti-Rebound Bar - - -
LATCH LATCH-Equipped One-Second InRight LATCH One-Second InRight LATCH LATCH-Equipped
SnugLock® Installation Technology -
Belt Lock-Off -

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