In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Graco SnugRider Elite Review

Poor mover with difficult car seat attachment
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Price:   $100 List | Check Price at Amazon
Pros:  Lightest, easy fold
Cons:  Poor car seat attachment, hard to push and turn
Manufacturer:   Graco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team  ⋅  Apr 23, 2019
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66
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#13 of 26
  • Ease Of Attaching Car Seat - 35% 6
  • Weight/Folded Size - 30% 9
  • Maneuverability - 10% 4
  • Safety - 10% 6
  • Ease Of Use - 5% 3
  • Quality - 5% 4
  • Ease Of Set Up - 5% 9

The Skinny

The Graco SnugRider Elite strolls in the middle of the pack with a performance that fails to impress. While it scored above average in the review, it wasn't a stand out in any metric, and we expected more from a Graco-brand frame stroller that only works with Graco car seats. It offers a hard to use storage bin, shallow cup holders that present a potential safety concern, and car seat attachment that requires more effort than it probably should for a product specifically designed with its brand car seats in mind. Overall, this Graco product has limitations including Graco only compatibility, poor maneuverability, and low scores for ease of use and quality. We feel even if you already own a Graco car seat, you would be better off with another stroller and Graco adapter.


Compare to Similar Products

 
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Price $100.00 List
Check Price at Amazon
$500.00 List$120.00 List
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$360.00 List
$359.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Lightest, easy foldSuper easy car to strolling transition, easy to push and turnParent tray, compact fold, budget-friendlyEasy car seat attachment, lightweight, compact foldEasy car seat attachment, compact with easy fold, easy to maneuver
Cons Poor car seat attachment, hard to push and turnLimited lifespan of 6-9 monthsLimited to Chicco car seats, short lifespanDual action brakes, harder to push and turnSmaller storage, small front wheel
Bottom Line Poor mover with difficult car seat attachmentBest for city dwellers looking for a safe, quick transition from taxi to on-the-go adventuresEasy to use dedicated to car seat attachment onlyBest frame stroller with easy car seat attachment and parent consoleCompact Britax that works well with car seats and is easy to push and turn
Rating Categories Graco SnugRider... Doona Combo Chicco Shuttle Chicco KeyFit Caddy Britax B-Free Combo
Ease Of Attaching Car Seat (35%)
10
0
6
10
0
10
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
8
Weight Folded Size (30%)
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
0
7
Maneuverability (10%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
4
10
0
7
Safety (10%)
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (5%)
10
0
3
10
0
1
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
6
Quality (5%)
10
0
4
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
3
10
0
7
Ease Of Set Up (5%)
10
0
9
10
0
10
10
0
7
10
0
6
10
0
8
Specs Graco SnugRider... Doona Combo Chicco Shuttle Chicco KeyFit Caddy Britax B-Free Combo
Weight 13.3 lbs 16.8 lbs 15 lbs 11.7 lbs 22.6 lbs
Folded Dimensions 19.7"W x 10.3"H x 31.9"L 18"W x 16"H x 28.3"L 20.1"W x 11.3"H x 28"L 19.8"W x 11.5"H x 33.5"L 24"W x 10.3"H x 27"L
Capacity Limits Minimum: Birth

Maximum: Max allowable weight/height for the car seat.
Minimum: Birth

Maximum: 35 lbs/32"
Minimum: Birth

Maximum: Infants that are within the size and weight limitations of the infant car seat.
Minimum: Birth

Maximum: Max allowable weight/height for the car seat.
Minimum: Birth
Maximum: 65 lbs/45"
Included Car Seat Compatibility Graco
all SnugRide Classic Connect seats, all SnugRide Click Connect seats, Infant SafeSeat
Doona Chicco
KeyFit, KeyFit 30, Fit2
Chicco
KeyFit, KeyFit 30, Fit2
Britax All Britax Seats
Click-in Car Seat Adapters Graco
all SnugRide Classic Connect seats, all SnugRide Click Connect seats, Infant SafeSeat
Doona Chicco
KeyFit, KeyFit 30, Fit2
Chicco
KeyFit, KeyFit 30, Fit2
Britax All Britax Seats
Strap-in Car Seat Adapters None None None None None
One-handed Fold Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Locking Fold Auto Auto None Auto Auto
Self-standing Fold Yes n/a Yes Yes Yes
Handlebar Height - Min/Max 37.25"/41" 32.5"/39" 42" 36"/42" 32"/44.5"
Sandal-friendly Brake Yes Yes Yes Yes
Storage Basket Size Large n/a Large Large Medium
Included Accessories None Infant Car Seat and Stroller In One None None None
Setup Time 5:59 n/a 7:45 8:28 6:45

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Graco SnugRider Elite  shown here with the Graco Snugride Classic Connect 30 attached  did not perform well in our tests for quality.
The Graco SnugRider Elite, shown here with the Graco Snugride Classic Connect 30 attached, did not perform well in our tests for quality.

In 1942 Philadelphia, Russell Gray and Robert Cone launched a car part fabrication shop known as Graco. Later, Gray left and Cone hired David Saint, an engineer, to design a line of baby-centric products. The first item was a swing for infants inspired by the use of an outdoor glider to soothe a coworker's newborn. The unique swing sold millions and put Graco on the map as one of the world's leading manufacturers of baby gear.

Performance Comparison


This comparison chart includes the overall scores for the combination of products we tested.


The information in the sections below include details on how the Graco (above in blue) compared to other products.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


The SnugRider earned a 6 of 10 for ease of car seat attachment, which is the average for the group. For a product specifically designed for its brand of car seat, you'd think attaching a Graco seat to the Graco SnugRider would be easier.

The car seat attaches to the SnugRide Elite in a similar fashion to the car seat base.
The car seat attaches to the SnugRide Elite in a similar fashion to the car seat base.

We tested our SnugRider with the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 and the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35. Both seats should click into place when put onto the frame with a little pressure. We had similar problems with both appearing to be properly latched, but not actually being connected when we tugged on the handle. The back portion of the carrier installs easily leaving parents to think it is secure, but in our tests, we had to apply more pressure to the foot portion of the carrier to get the bottom to latch. Even when we heard the audible click, it wasn't always attached so we recommend parents give the carrier handle a tug to determine if the installation is complete.

The Click Connect 35 attaches to the SnugRider in the same manner it attaches to the car seat base.
The Click Connect 35 attaches to the SnugRider in the same manner it attaches to the car seat base.

Because this product is made for a car seat, it is unfortunate that the carriers are so difficult to attach. We had some similar problems with other strollers, but the cause was usually a conflicting canopy or seat fabric mucking up the connection. Given that these aren't issues here, it ends up feeling like the two products weren't designed with each other in mind.

The Snugrider Elite weighs 13.3 pounds which is on the heavy side for a frame product and only 1 pound less than the larger and more versatile UPPAbaby Cruz.
The Snugrider Elite weighs 13.3 pounds which is on the heavy side for a frame product and only 1 pound less than the larger and more versatile UPPAbaby Cruz.

Weight and Folded Size


Given that new moms are often limited on how much they are allowed to lift, we feel the weight and size are what makes the frame strollers so useful. With a score of 9 of 10, the SnugRider is one of the best in the bunch for this metric. The Elite weighs 13.3 lbs, one of the lightest in the group. The SnugRide measures about 6,473 cubic inches when folded making it the smallest option in the review.

We prefer the single front wheel design on the SnugRider compared to the dual wheel design found on many cheaper stroller options.
We prefer the single front wheel design on the SnugRider compared to the dual wheel design found on many cheaper stroller options.

Maneuverability


This Graco earns a 4 of 10 for maneuverability. Most strollers with plastic wheels suffer when it comes to maneuverability. We like that Graco has ditched the dual front wheel design but it didn't improve maneuverability enough to score well.

The Graco has significant flex in the frame which lifts the front wheels off the ground when pushing. This product negotiates hard flat surfaces fairly well and can make tight turns and move through narrow doorways. It can push off-road, but turning is a chore and not something we recommend.

The SnugRider has an adjustable handlebar that pivots on a hinge to increase height which puts taller users closer to the stroller and results in kicking of the rear axle.
The SnugRider has an adjustable handlebar that pivots on a hinge to increase height which puts taller users closer to the stroller and results in kicking of the rear axle.

The handlebar is adjustable at a pivot point. The bar itself is flat with a rubber cover that feels difficult to clean and easy to get dirty. We didn't like the way the handle feels when pushing and the flat bar will be uncomfortable on longer trips.

The wheels on this stroller are foam filled plastic. They are larger than those found on the other frame products and they feel dense and sturdy. The wheels spin freely with little resistance and no visible wobble. The larger size looks more substantial and eludes to better maneuverability it doesn't deliver. It has all-wheel suspension that when coupled with the larger wheels and flexing frame potentially offer a more comfortable ride for baby.

The storage bin on the SnugRider is fairly large  but has poor access from pretty much all angles but the top with no car seat attached.
The storage bin on the SnugRider is fairly large, but has poor access from pretty much all angles but the top with no car seat attached.

Ease of Use


The Graco earned a 3 of 10 for ease of use. It is a tough category for a product that by design is lacking some of the key features and performance this metric looks for.

Folding the SnugRider starts with the release button on the handlebar.
Folding the SnugRider starts with the release button on the handlebar.

Fold and Unfold


The Graco has a one-handed fold that is fairly easy. It has two steps, auto-locks, self-stands and has a carry strap. The stroller rolls like luggage once folded. Unfolding the Graco is also easy with two steps.

The SnugRider has double action brakes which require more steps to set than single action options making them more of a risk in our opinion if parents forget to set both sides or choose not to.
The SnugRider has double action brakes which require more steps to set than single action options making them more of a risk in our opinion if parents forget to set both sides or choose not to.

Brakes


The SnugRider brakes are double action which requires pushing two pedals to engage. Our concern is parents might get distracted and forget the second pedal or choose not to engage it falsely thinking it isn't 100% necessary. The brakes are easy to set, average to release, and are sandal foot friendly.

Storage


The storage bin on the Graco is fairly large, but thanks to poor access we were only able to fit our medium size diaper bag inside. It offers access to the bin from the front and back, but neither are good with the carrier on board. It has a 10 lb allowance, but we suspect you will have to place items in the bin one at a time rather than inside a bag. This could be a problem if you need to fold the stroller to take the bus and are left with random supplies to hold. It has a zippered pocket in the storage bin for carrying keys, phones, and a wallet without fear of them falling out or being swiped.

The parents console on the SnugRider has 2 shallow cup holders and a small storage tray that didn't fit several smartphones we tried.
The parents console on the SnugRider has 2 shallow cup holders and a small storage tray that didn't fit several smartphones we tried.

The Graco has dual cup holders located high and behind the baby on the parent console. The holders are 2.25 inches deep and multiple items fell out during our tests. We think the cup holders are too shallow to use for fear they will topple onto the baby.

The Graco is easy to assemble and earned the second highest score in the group for ease of setup.
The Graco is easy to assemble and earned the second highest score in the group for ease of setup.

Ease of Setup


The SnugRider doesn't require much assembly and its few parts earn a 9 of 10 for ease of setup. Unlike some frame products, this one comes somewhat assembled. It took us under 6 minutes to get it ready to use. The documentation is average and far less complicated than the Chicco Keyfit Caddy with color-coded directions that make finding your language easier. We think it would be easier to make different sections for each language, but color coding is better than nothing.

This Graco frame product had several rough edged plastic components with curled pieces of unfinished parts.
This Graco frame product had several rough edged plastic components with curled pieces of unfinished parts.

Quality


The Graco earned a 4 of 10, which is better than the Chicco Keyfit Caddy with the low score of only 3.

The material used on the SnugRider storage bin  looks like it might tear easily.
The material used on the SnugRider storage bin looks like it might tear easily.

The Graco frame has a lot of plastic components that disrupt the overall fit and finish. Even though the plastic parts feel sturdy, the excessive connection points seem to create a lot of flex in the frame that makes it feel like the whole thing could fall apart. There are a lot of open holes where parts connect and some of the plastic pieces still had plastic shavings attached when we put it together indicating poor attention to detail in manufacturing.

The basket fabric feels flimsy and collects dirt easily. The mesh sides are nice for visibility, but they are flimsy. The fabric does not fit nicely and looks like laundry that sat in the hamper too long.

Manufacturer Video




Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team