Graco Ready2Grow LX Review
Pros: Accepts two car seats, easier to transport with self-stand
Cons: Hard to push and turn in tight spaces, limited coverage from sun
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Graco is a worldwide producer of baby products with gear ranging from strollers to highchairs. The company started in 1942 when Philadelphians Russell Gray and Robert Cone started manufacturing car parts. After Gray left the company, Cone broke out in a new avenue designing baby gear with an engineer. Their first product was a unique (at the time) infant swing inspired by a coworkers outdoor glider.
Ease of Use
The Graco Ready2Grow scored below the average for the group. While the Ready2Grow isn't the hardest to use, there are certainly easier to use options with less frustration.
Fold and Unfold
This stroller is one of the easier options to fold and unfold. The fold is a one-handed operation that auto-locks and self-stands. It requires 3-4 steps, but you need to bend to the ground to complete. You can use two hands to help support the bottom portion and sort of squeeze the two halves together, so you don't need to bend much; testers feel this is easier to do. Unfolding is very easy and requires two hands and five steps. You don't need to bend at all to unfold, but you might need to push the parts apart manually.
The brakes are single action brakes that are easy to set and release. The pedals are sandal and barefoot friendly.
The storage bin is large and fits our extra-large diaper bag with a 10 lbs limit. The bin is accessible from the rear and sides and the top if the rear seat is removed. Access is only average, but it isn't bad for a tandem stroller, and it fits a lot more than the similar competition. This stroller also has a parent's tray with two tray depressions and one cup holder. It isn't user-friendly and is one of those features that seems to check the box more so than offering a useful storage solution.
The stroller has a parent's tray (above left) and one child tray (above right) for the front passenger. This mismatch of passenger trays could leave little ones arguing. The cup holder on the parent tray is virtually useless, and it didn't accept any bottle or cup we tried. This was the only cup holder in the group like this. The cup holder is 2.5 inches deep, and in our testing, we had items fall from the holder making it a safety concern.
The sunshades are smaller and lack a peek-a-boo window. The canopies are so small you don't need a window. The shades are so small and barely cover the baby's head, so they are virtually useless against the elements. They rotate forward, but at the end of the day, it is impossible to protect from surprise rain or full sun.
The harnesses are 5-point and are hard to get on and only marginally easier to get off. They are easy to adjust the shoulder height even though it is a re-thread style. The front seat has three height adjustment levels, while the rear seat only has two. The buckle has upper and lower straps that must be connected before they can be buckled and they can easily come undone. The release button requires almost two hands worth of pressure to unbuckle and the crotch strap has is adjustable but only has one position. Adjusting the straps is easy with a dual-pull system.
This stroller does not offer a leg rest. It has a hard plastic footrest, but only some children will be able to reach it because it isn't moveable and sits low on the frame. The front seat reclines, but the rear seat does not. The recline operates with one hand and has infinite positions; it is only average for ease of use. The vast difference in the rider experience for passengers could be a problem for children who recognize the disparity. For some, the inability of the rear child to nap is a deal-breaker.
The rear seat attaches to the frame with a hook and is easily removable. It faces toward the parent and isn't the most sturdy of seats, clearly it is intended to be used only sporadically or for a limited amount of time.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Ready2Grow is only compatible with Graco brand infant car seats. We tested it with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 and the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40. This Graco accepts two car seats and doesn't require any adapters. Both seats are about the same for installation with one in the front and one in the back. It is a snug fit that requires aggressively pushing on the seat for installation. We feel like it should be easier for a native brand seat, to fit in its same brand stroller.
Ease of Setup
The Ready2Grow is hard to assemble taking over 14 minutes to put together. The instruction manual is poorly designed and hard to follow. It has a lot of parts to put together and we feel like most of these parts could come preassembled and still fit in the same box, so it feels like Graco is trying to cut corners by pushing assembly off on the buyer.
The Ready2Grow is one of the hardest strollers to push in this review. The inline strollers in this group all struggle with maneuvering.
Pushing the Ready2Grow on a hard surface is difficult, and you need to prepare and plan ahead of time if you are going to make a turn or you won't make it. It does negotiate smaller space fairly well, but the more weight it has inside, the worse it gets. The pushing gets harder when you move over grass and then stopping altogether with gravel and small bumps or curbs.
Weight and Folded Size
The Ready2Grow weighs in around 33 lbs. This weight is higher than the average for the group which is 32 lbs. While we expect double strollers to weigh more than their single counterparts, we still like the idea of finding the lightest option that also meets your needs. The folded size of the Ready2Grow is 25,625 cubic inches, making it a bigger lug than much of the competition. The average for the group is closer to 17,000 cubic inches.
Many parents think of Graco has a quality product at a reasonable price. However, in our tests, Graco struggles to keep up with the competition when compared side-by-side. The Ready2Grow earns one of the lowest in the group.
The Ready2Grow's fabric is thin, and the seat offers very little padding. The lighter accent fabric with mesh looks like it will snag and the piping on the seat is poorly placed and will likely chafe the back of the baby's legs. The frame isn't much to look at nor a feat of engineering. The overall fit and finish of this stroller are cheap; it looks rumpled, wrinkled and undone.
The wheels are made of plastic and look cheaper than the other plastic wheels in the review. It sports the dual front wheel design that cheaper strollers favor and it is wobbly when you push it with an imprinted tread that does nothing but adds bumps to the ride. The limited padding and the front wheel suspension mean a jarring ride for baby. Add to this minimal recline in front, no recline in the back, and you have a rider experience that is uncomfortable.
The handlebar is not adjustable, but the shape is fairly nice, and it is covered in sturdy foam that feels good and durable. The handle feels narrow, and the frame release for the folding mechanism is in the middle of the handlebar so it limits where you can place your hands comfortably. Overall, it has a feeling of a stroller designed on paper that was never tested in real life.
This Graco will work for twins because it can accept two Graco Click Connect infant car seats. It also has the option of two toddler seats and one seat with a sit and stand bench and platform. Because it is limited in the brand seat you can use, and the rider experience is vastly different between the front and rear passengers we don't recommend this option for twins. In our experience, twins or children close in age will want the same kind of riding experience and will likely end up fighting over the front seat. Also, only one seat offers a recline feature which means that only one child will be able to nap comfortably. This might be ok if you have a baby and an active 4-year-old who is unlikely to nap anyway, but with twins, it means one will be resting reclined while the other struggles to sleep. Strollers like this one really are a better bet with children of various ages than for twins.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team