In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX Review

Below average results in most metrics despite a promising weight
Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX
Credit: Abriah Wofford
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $100 List
Pros:  Lightweight, easy to carry, easy install without the base
Cons:  Lower crash analysis results, harder to use, not as comfy
Manufacturer:   Graco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 11, 2020
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
60
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 15
  • Crash Test - 20% 4
  • Ease of Install - LATCH - 20% 7
  • Ease of Install - Belt - 10% 7
  • Ease of Install - w/o Base - 5% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 5
  • Comfort / Quality - 15% 5
  • Weight / Size - 15% 8

The Skinny

The Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX has one of the lowest prices in the group making it a potential contender for families on a budget. It is lightweight, easy to carry, and fairly easy to install using only the carrier and the vehicle belt. These combined reasons may make it attractive to city dwellers looking for a simple carrier for taxi life. Unfortunately, this option has fairly disappointing crash test analysis results with a score below the average. It is also hard to use than most of the competition and these two things combined make it hard for the Lite LX to standout no matter what you are looking for.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Editors' Choice Award  Editors' Choice Award 
Price $100.00 List$300.00 List
$239.99 at Amazon - 20% off
$320.00 List
$279.95 at Amazon - 13% off
$350.00 List
$349.00 at Amazon
$280.00 List
Check Price at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
60
76
73
72
71
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Lightweight, easy to carry, easy install without the baseBetter crash test results, anti-rebound bar, easy installBest crash results, easy LATCH, additional safety features, comfyLoad leg, easy belt install with and without baseSuper easy LATCH install, easy to use, nice comfort and quality
Cons Lower crash analysis results, harder to use, not as comfyHeavier, harder to install LATCH system, few strollers are compatibleHigher price, hard to usePrice, heavy carrierHeavy, only compatible with limited strollers
Bottom Line Low weight can't make up for disappointing crash test resultsAn excellent quality seat with impressive crash tests, but poor stroller compatibilityBest crash score with additional safety features but it is more expensive and harder to useHigher end with a higher price but the load leg and canopy may make the extra $ worth itQuality option that is easy to use and install but works with fewer stroller choices
Rating Categories Graco SnugRide 35... Peg Perego Primo... Cybex Aton 2 Peg Perego Nido Chicco Fit2
Crash Test (20%)
4
8
9
7
7
Ease Of Install LATCH (20%)
7
7
9
7
10
Ease Of Install Belt (10%)
7
9
7
9
7
Ease Of Install W O Base (5%)
8
10
5
10
8
Ease Of Use (15%)
5
7
5
7
7
Comfort Quality (15%)
5
8
7
8
8
Weight Size (15%)
8
6
6
5
2
Specs Graco SnugRide 35... Peg Perego Primo... Cybex Aton 2 Peg Perego Nido Chicco Fit2
Minimum Passenger Weight 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs 4 lbs
Max Passenger Weight 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs 35 lbs
Max Passenger Height 32" 32" 30" 32" 35"
Belt Routing Style American European European European American
Seat Weight 7.4 lbs 9.6 lbs 9.3 lbs 10.2 lbs 12.1 lbs
Recline Positions 4 Infinite 4 Infinite 5
Shoulder Harness Positions 4 6 3 6 7
Crotch Strap Positions 2 1 1 2 2
Built in Lock Off No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Anti-rebound Device High Back Base Yes High Back Base Yes Yes
Load Leg No No Yes Yes No
Locking Handle Positions 4 5 3 5 4
Allowed Handle Positions For Auto Travel Any 1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
Carry Position 1 for Base Install (even with the top of the seat),
1 for Seat Only Install (all the way forward)
Stage 1: Any
Stage 2: Base Storage Position (behind the seat)
Head Support Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Rethread Harness No Yes No Yes Yes
Onboard Manual Storage Clips under the base. Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat. Stashes in a pocket under the bottom of the seat. Stores in a hard flip down pocket on the back of the seat. Slot in head of base
Level Indicator On Base Weighted Wheel/Dial Bubble Vial Ball In Tube Bubble Vial Bubble Indicator
Level Indicator On Seat Line On Decal Line On Decal Line On Decal Line On Decal Level Line On Seat Label

Our Analysis and Test Results

In 1942, Russell Gray and Robert Cone launched the Graco metal fabrication company. Gray decided to leave the company after 11 years of service, prompting Robert to hire engineer David Saint to help create new products. Taking inspiration from a fellow worker, Saint created a swing for soothing babies from the idea of an outdoor glider swing. The baby swing was an immediate success, and Graco sold millions and became one of the world's most successful baby product producers.

Performance Comparison



The SnugRide LX has dense EPS impact foam on the inside of the seat...
The SnugRide LX has dense EPS impact foam on the inside of the seat shell.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Crash Test


Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX earned an overall below-average result for crash test analysis with one of the group's lowest results. Its HIC score is 693, where the maximum allowed is 1000, and a lower score is better.

The chart shows a comparison of the crash test sensor data for the...
The chart shows a comparison of the crash test sensor data for the head sensor on the Lite LX vs the best result in the group earned by the Chicco Keyfit 30.
Credit: MGA, BabyGearLab Staff

The best in the bunch is the Chicco Keyfit 30 with 330, more than half the amount of forces seen in the SnugRide. The chart above shows a comparison of the two seats' HIC results from their actual test data.

This chart shows a comparison of the chest sensor results for the...
This chart shows a comparison of the chest sensor results for the Lite LX vs the best result in the group of the Cybex Aton 2.
Credit: MGA, BabyGearLab Staff

For the chest sensor (g score) (above chart), the SnugRide result is 53, where the maximum allowed is 60, and once again, a lower number is ideal. While it is better than the maximum allowed, the best in the group had a sensor reading of only 44 for the Cybex Aton 2 when using the load leg.

The combination of the HIC and chest sensor result were used to compare the SnugRide to the competition. Even when the results are combined, it fails to meet the average for the group. While it passes the federal guidelines for safety, in our opinion, it doesn't seem to offer an additional margin of safety when compared to the higher scoring options.

The rear-facing configuration of the Lite LX show installed using...
The rear-facing configuration of the Lite LX show installed using the LATCH.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX earns an average score for installation using the LATCH method. It isn't difficult, but it lacks features that could make it easier or more straightforward, such as self-ratcheting straps.

The LATCH anchors are a clip style that is easy to put on but more...
The LATCH anchors are a clip style that is easy to put on but more difficult to take off as they require significant loosening of the strap to twist the clip for removal.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The LATCH anchors are the less expensive clip kind that is easy to connect but more challenging to take off. The straps are harder to tighten, and you'll need some bodyweight or a knee in the seat to get them tight enough. Once the straps are tight, it is a beast to get them loose again for base removal. If you don't need to move the base very often, this might be less of a concern for you, but if you plan to move it from car to car regularly, take heed. In our tests, the base had some shifting and travel in the Ford truck, but it felt more stable in our sedan vehicles.

The base on the Lite LX has an angle adjustment button for...
The level on the Lite LX is a ball style level in a plastic casing.

There is a handle under the carrier on the base (above left) to adjust the angle of the seat for installation. The Graco has a level indicator on the side of the base (above right) for proper installation. None of the vehicles required a pool noodle or towel for proper installation.

The belt pathway is shown for the rear-facing installation of the...
The belt pathway is shown for the rear-facing installation of the Lite LX.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - Belt


The Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX can be installed using the vehicle belt and the base. However, it didn't score well using this method compared to the other seats in our tests. Threading the belt isn't difficult, but the seat didn't feel as stable as it did without the base, depending on the test car. The Ford truck's flat seats created a more solid combination than the Audi or Nissan Altima installation. This hurt its overall score for installation using the vehicle belt as the base's foot seemed to have more movement than the competition. There is no belt lock-off on this model, which allows the base to travel along the vehicle belt, which is why we are big fans of the belt lock-off in general.

The belt path on the Lite for installation without the base.
The belt path on the Lite for installation without the base.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Install - Without the Base


Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX can be installed without the base, and this is its easiest installation configuration. The carrier uses the American belt path across the carrier's foot, and the belt pathway is obvious. It felt very stable and solid with no movement in our three test vehicles.

The canopy on the Lite LX does not collide with the handle which is...
The canopy on the Lite LX does not collide with the handle which is a welcome change for the Graco infant seats.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX is harder to use than most of the competition, with a lower result in this metric than the average seat. While no infant car seat is truly frustrating, this option's daily use features might cause some parents' problems.

The buckle on the Lite LX is a step above past Graco buckles and is...
The buckle on the Lite LX is a step above past Graco buckles and is easier to operate with one hand.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Harness


This Graco has a better buckle than those we've seen on previous Graco options. It is easier to press and doesn't require two fingers or any cursing. The chest clip is also somewhat better with an easier to slide design.

The harness on the Lite LX is tightened by pulling the strap on the...
The harness on the Lite LX is tightened by pulling the strap on the foot of the carrier. The strap moves smoothly and doesn't take excessive strength to pull.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tightening and loosening the harness is straightforward with no problems during testing. This Lite LX has shoulder straps that use the rethread adjustment method with a T splitter in the back. The padding is minimal, so there isn't much in the way, and the holes are an adequate size to get the job done quickly. The shoulder straps have 4 available positions, while the crotch buckle has two.

The Lite LX moves on a pivot point by pressing a button on both...
The Lite LX moves on a pivot point by pressing a button on both sides at the same time.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Handle


The handle on this Graco rotates smoothly on a pivot, and we are glad to see it no longer has the canopy handle collision problem we've seen on almost every other Graco seat. It has four possible positions, and you can choose any of them while driving.

Releasing the Lite LX carrier from the base is fairly easy with a...
Releasing the Lite LX carrier from the base is fairly easy with a squeeze of the lever on the back fo the carrier which can then be used to lift the carrier up and off the base.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Carrier and Base Connection


Installing the carrier on the base is a simple process, didn't require any extra force during testing, and there was nothing in the way to cause problems. The handle on the back of the seat is easy to squeeze when ready to release the carrier.

The user manual for the Lite LX is under the base which is less than...
The user manual for the Lite LX is under the base which is less than ideal as you might need the instructions for installing it without the base when the base is elsewhere.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

LATCH Anchors and Manual Storage


The LATCH anchors clip onto small plastic slots towards the front of the base. The location keeps the straps out of the way when connecting the carrier to the base and out of passengers' reach. It is simple and uninspired, but it does the job. The manual stows on the bottom of the base, which is a bummer if you use it sans base and forget how to install it, the manual will be nowhere around.

The Lite LX gets the job of car seat done, but it doesn't spend much...
The Lite LX gets the job of car seat done, but it doesn't spend much time or thought on the comfort or quality of the materials with less padding and attention to detail compared to the competition, in our opinion.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Comfort/Quality


The price of this Graco should give you some indication of the level of comfort and quality you can expect. While it will get you through the months of infanthood suitable for a car seat of this type, it isn't going to impress you with soft fabrics and plush padding. This Graco has material that feels like a cheap kid's coat, and while it wipes clean easily, it doesn't feel breathable or skin-friendly to us. The padding is minimal, and the overall look and feel are of a bargain seat, which it is.

The Graco is one of the absolute lightest carriers we've ever tested...
The Graco is one of the absolute lightest carriers we've ever tested in the infant ar seat category.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight


The Graco SnugRide 35 Lite LX is one of the group's lightest options, with a carrier weight of only 7.44 lbs. For anyone who knows they will be carrying their little one for extended periods in the car seat carrier, this lower weight can seem ideal. We caution against making a buying decision based on this factor alone. The crash test analysis for this seat was sub-par, and there are lightweight options (though perhaps heavier than the SnugRide) with better crash results in the group.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz