Graco Extend2Fit Review
Pros: Best crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, price
Cons: Not the best quality, harder belt installation
Compare to Similar Products
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Graco company started in 1953 after Graco Metal Products decided to shift gears by hiring an engineer to design new types of products. Rex Thomas, along with David Saint, was inspired by an outdoor glider to create the first baby swing. The unique swing went on to sell millions catapulting Graco onto the baby gear scene. Over the years, Graco has continued to design and create useful gear including car seats, strollers, play yards, and more.
The Extend2Fit earned impressive crash test results which makes it the top product in this metric.
While this Graco did not earn the top results for the head sensor (HIC) or the chest clip sensor (g clip), it did have the best-combined sensor results for the group. While every car seat on the market in the US must meet or exceed the Federal guidelines outlined in FMVSS 213, some seats do a better job than others with more impressive results that indicate an additional margin of protection. The Graco is definitely one of these seats.
This Graco has a HIC result of 214 Gs where the high is 1000 and a lower result is better. The best result for this sensor is 186 earned by the Britax Allegiance. The image below shows a comparison of the Extend2Fit and the Allegiance.
The Extend2Fit chest clip sensor result is 40 where the maximum allowed is 60, and a lower result is better. This result is impressive but can't compete with the Clek Foonf and its 33.4 Gs result. The image above shows the two in comparison. Only three products earned a better result during testing.
Ease of Install - LATCH
If possible, you want to choose LATCH anchor installation for your Extend2Fit because it is easier.
This method is not only easier but for the most part, creates a more stable seat.
This Graco has the push button style of LATCH anchor which we feel is easier to use, especially when trying to remove the clip from the car. The LATCH straps use the same belt pathway you use for the vehicle belt installation, but it only has a one-sided strap pull for tightening. This can be challenging compared to options with unique tightening methods like self-ratcheting straps and center pull tightening.
The Graco has a side level that consists of a metal ball in a plastic case. This level helps parents determine when they have the seat properly installed. The angle adjustment on the Extend2Fit is simple and adjusts the angle to assist with installation.
Ease of Install - Belt
Installing the Extend2Fit using your vehicle belt is going to be your toughest challenge with this Graco with a lower performance than its LATCH installation.
In the event that your vehicle doesn't have LATCH anchors in your chosen position, or your little one has outgrown the LATCH connectors, you'll need to install your seat using the vehicle belt.
For the rear-facing configuration, which the Extend2Fit can remain up to 50 lbs, the belt pathway runs through the foot end of the seat (above left). It is easy enough to find, but you do need to navigate without seeing it. Changing the belt from front to back is also a pain unless you remove the fabric which is another degree of difficulty. This Graco doesn't have a belt lock-off which we find helps with stability, but this one wasn't as wobbly as some of the other options that lack the lock-off. We had the most difficulty getting this seat installed in the rear-facing position.
Installing forward facing uses a belt pathway on the back of the seat near the seat bottom. This method is easier with a lap-only belt but can be done with a lap/shoulder belt as well. The Extend2Fit is the most stable in the forward-facing configuration using the lap/shoulder belt.
Ease of Use
The Extend2Fit is one of the easier options to use in the group.
The features and daily functionality of this Graco make it a pleasure to use compared to much of the competition.
The Extend2Fit buckle is similar to the one found on the Britax products. It is somewhat stiff but easy to use. The chest clip n the other hand is convoluted and not as intuitive as the competition.
The padding on the shoulder straps can get in the way of adjusting and tightening the harness to fit. While they may add comfort, they can be cumbersome. The harness is tightened with a pull strap at the foot of the seat and released with a button above the strap under some fabric.
This Graco has a no-rethread harness assembly to change shoulder heights. It has 10 settings and the crotch strap has 2 for a more specialized fit. It is easy to operate with a lever squeeze (above left) and it moves smoothly up and down. The harness can be retained on each side (above right) so you don't need to search for the harness under the baby. It's a nice feature but like other similar designs, we think most parents will stop using it after a few months.
The LATCH anchors attach to the underside lip of the Graco shell on either side (above left). This storage design keeps the anchors out of the way, but also leaves them exposed for possible play by little ones. The manual stores on the base under the seat (above right) where it is easy to access but out of the way of spills and potential vomit.
The Graco cover is challenging to get off, but once you do it is machine washable in cold water. We think this is a huge advantage over hand washing or spot cleaning of car seat covers. It can't go in the drier, however, and must be line dried.
Like most Graco products we've tested the Extend2Fit is about average for quality and comfort.
While the Extend2Fit seat is a good looking option with adequate padding and friendly fabric, it doesn't feel as durable or sturdy as much of the competition. The padding could be thicker for better comfort and the fabric weave is loose indicating it will grab dirty and may not last. The fabric also doesn't cover the shell as well as the competition with the front of the cover coming untucked frequently on our seat.
The shell on the Extend2Fit is better and more self-contained (above left) than the other Gracos, so it will be easier to keep clean and has less loose straps and items. The bottom (above right) has two rubber gripping pads and it is smoother than the MyRide, but it still has "fins" and narrow sharper edges that could potentially dent or damage vehicle seats.
This Graco has an extendable leg rest (rear-facing only) that provides 5 inches of additional legroom. This feature increases comfort as little legs won't dangle or be scrunched up against the vehicle seat when sitting rear-facing. It is the only seat we reviewed with this kind of feature.
The Extend2Fit is average for weight and width measurements.
The Extend2Fit weighs 18.7 lbs, which is light compared to some options that are between 25 and 30 lbs. It isn't light enough to consider a great travel or city seat because we suspect most parents will not want to carry almost 19 lbs for very long. The width is almost 20 inches at its widest point making it a poor choice if you need to fit three safety seats in the back seat or hope to fit two and another person. The width can potentially increase comfort, but that won't mean much if you can fit all your kids in your car.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz