Graco 4Ever DLX Review
Pros: Cup holders, easy harness adjustments, machine wash cover
Cons: Price, disappointing quality for the price
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
Graco Metal Products decided to make new products in 1953 after hiring an engineer to create new designs. With inspiration from an outdoor glider, Rex Thomas and David Saint designed the first swing for babies. The first of its kind sold millions pushing Graco into the baby gear stratosphere. Graco continues to create baby-centric products including swings, walkers, car seats, strollers, and more.
The 4ever has a higher than average crash test analysis result with sensor data significantly better than that allowed by the federal guidelines. All the products in this review meet or exceed the federal minimum safety guidelines defined in the FMVSS 213. This Graco has better than average results overall with respectable results for both the HIC and chest sensors. Both sensors recorded G forces well below the maximum allowed. We commission crash tests with the same facility National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) uses and to the same specifications. In our opinion, the test data indicates that this Graco provides an additional margin of protection over many of the competitors in this review.
The charts below show the crash test results from the chest sensors used in the Graco tests (shown in black). The crash test data for the Clek Foonf (in green) is also shown as a comparison with the least amount of G-forces. The 4ever earned a 43 where the maximum allowed is 60 and the best in the group is 33.
The Graco HIC result is 364 compared to the best result of 186 earned by the Britax Allegiance. The lower the number the better for these tests and the maximum allowable result is 1000.
Ease of Install - LATCH
Installation using LATCH isn't challenging but it isn't as easy and much for the competition turning in a below-average performance in our tests.
The connectors are the push-button style we prefer and are easy enough to clip in place and remove, but threading the straps is a pain and is a process required no matter what installation process you choose. The holes seem way too small and can be a pain if your hands are larger. Rear-facing is easier than forward-facing but it is still challenging to keep all the padding and straps out of the way to complete the installation.
This seat comes with a bubble level indicator (above left), which is easy to read and the angle of the seat can be moved for comfort (above right).
Ease of Install - Belt
Installing using the vehicle belt is so similar to the LATCH connection that it is similar in difficulty with both methods earning the same results. Forward-facing is more difficult than rear-facing, as the harness straps and the comfort padding of the seat need to be held aside to access the belt lock-off and belt path. Rear-facing is easier, but still presents the same challenges as the LATCH connection
Raising the headrest gives better access to the "behind the scenes" operations so you can both see more and fit your hands in easier. The belt lock-off (above left) and pathway are both behind the seatback padding, but the entire process would be easier if the holes (above right) were larger.
Ease of Use
This Graco has a better than average performance for ease of use, but it pales in comparison to the competition in its price range. It does have child cup holders, which is not common in our review, though their usefulness is debatable.
The 4Ever has an average buckle and chest clip; both work but are somewhat stiff and less intuitive than the competition. The harness can be tightened by pulling the strap at the foot of the seat and a lever under the fabric flap above the strap will let you loosen the strap. The lever can be pushed or pulled and isn't too deep under the flap.
The shoulder height adjustment for this harness is a non-rethread method where the headrest assembly moves up and down to change the height of the shoulder straps. The adjustment is super easy and moves smoothly up and down when you squeeze the lever on top. This process can be done with your child in the seat.
LATCH and Manual Storage
LATCH connectors can clip under the front of the seat (above left) when not in use and they are easy to access and do a good job keeping the straps out of the way. The user manual stows under the base of the seat (above right) in a designated location that looks like it will keep it secure and fairly clean.
The cover of this seat is machine washable but needs to be hung to dry. Machines washable is a best-case scenario and we applaud any seat that makes life easier. We do think hanging to dry could be a problem as this takes time and depending on your climate could cause a problem with potential seat use. Removing and replacing the cover is fairly straightforward, but threading the loops is hard.
The 4Ever doesn't have the best quality and while this may be par for the course for the budget-friendly brand, this option has a fairly high price for the quality it level it's offering. It simply can't compete with the padding, fabric, and overall attention to detail found on the similarly priced competition.
The padding is adequate but could be denser for comfort and the fabric has a relatively cares weave with piping details that could chafe bare skin of passengers. The shell is only semi-contained and there are plenty of nooks and crannies on the whole seat that will make cleaning challenging. The base bottom is smooth to protect your vehicle seat, which is a nice detail, but overall it feels more like a less expensive seat.
The 4Ever is one of the widest seats in the group with a width of 19.3 inches making it unlikely for use with multiple safety seats in a row or if you want an adult to seat between two seats. It weighs somewhat below the average with an overall weight over 21 lbs. While not the heaviest in the group which is over 30 lbs, it isn't one you'd want to carry for travel, carpooling, or public transportation. However, there are only a handful of options lighter in this review.
— Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team