Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
This chart is a comparison of each car seat's overall score. The Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 is shown in blue.
The sections below provide details on how the Classic Connect 30 managed during testing for each metric. Metric results ere used to determine the seat's overall score.
The crash test data we use are sled crash tests designed to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standards to determine if a seat meets the Federal safety guidelines outlined in FMVSS 213. The Graco 30 exceeds the Federal safety requirements for crash tests by a significant margin, and thus can be considered safe, but its crash test scores indicate that most competing seats we reviewed offer an additional margin of protection when compared to the Graco 30.The charts included here show the test data for the head and chest sensors of the test dummy for the Graco SnugRide 30 (shown in black). We have included the test results from the best scoring products in each test as well for comparison purposes.
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 had the best test results for the head region out of all 15 seats, while the Chicco Keyfit 30 data indicated the best results for the chest. These test results are shown in green.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Graco 30 earned its lowest installation score for the LATCH attachment. With a score of 4 of 10, it comes in 1 point higher than the lowest score for the metric, the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect with a 3. The high score is 9, earned by both the Chicco Keyfit 30 and the UPPAbaby Mesa.
This seat has the effective but more difficult to use clip style of LATCH anchors. The clip style can be harder to attach and release from the U anchors on the vehicle; it can be even more difficult if you have LATCH points that are hard to see or can only be felt during installation. The clips are hard to tighten and loosen, and we had to really put our weight behind pulling the strap with our knee or foot in the base to get it snug against the vehicle seat; even then we feel like the seat was not in tight enough. Loosening the straps is almost as difficult, but at least once it is loosened a bit, it's good to go.
The base of the seat has an adjustable foot for recline adjustment and is relatively easy to adjust compared to their other models. There is an indicator on the base that tells you the base is installed at the correct level. Using the recline foot can help you get the base into the proper position.
Ease of Install - Belt
This seat is marginally easier to install using the belt on the vehicle. It earned a score of 5 of 10 in this metric, 1 point higher than LATCH attachment. The Evenflo Embrace LX scored the lowest in this metric with a 4, while the Phil and Teds Alpha and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 tied for the high score of 9.
This Graco does not have a belt lock off or a color coded belt path. Because it lacks a lock off, the belt can be harder to tighten than those designed with a lock off. The belt itself is not the easiest to thread through the base, and we don't feel like it is a very stable install when complete. It is easier with a lap only vehicle belt, because when it is installed with a shoulder/lap belt the base tends to work up the seat belt and the car seat tips sideways. Overall, the seat is below average for the seats we looked at when installed with a belt, and we think the shoulder belt install is potentially dangerous due to the base inching up the belt and tipping on its side.
Ease of Install - Without the Base
The Graco 30 has its best install score when we didn't use the base. It earned a score of 7 of 10 for ease of install with no base. The lowest score is a 4 and is shared by the Orbit Baby G3 and the Chicco Keyfit 30, while a high score of 10 for this metric earned by the Peg Perego.
This seat uses the American belt path and, although it is not color coded, the belt threads easier than it does through the base and is better than average for the group. It is easy to attach and tighten and we didn't have any trouble achieving a secure feeling installation. We did not need to utilize any towels for this install in any of the 4 vehicles we used for testing, which is a perk because it isn't the easiest thing to lug a car seat, baby, diaper bag, and a towel when traveling about town.
Ease of Use
The Graco SnugRide 30 earned a 5 for ease of use, a score that is slightly below average. The low score for the metric of 3 goes to the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, and the Orbit Baby G3. The high score is an 8 earned by Recaro Performance Coupe and the Evenflo Embrace LX.
All of the Graco buckles are the same and they are not easy to use. They are all incredibly stiff and the buttons are hard to press. Once you do get it depressed (and it might take 2 thumbs), you will need to take each individual side out because they do not disengage on their own.
The chest or restraint clip on the Graco is not too hard to use, but not as nice as the Britax B-Safe 35 Elite or the Cybex Aton 2. It has smaller parts that are harder to squeeze and started to hurt the tips of our fingers in testing. If you squeeze one side harder than the other it will stop the latch from disengaging and you won't be able to get it apart. Unfortunately, the button is uncomfortably stiff and sliding it apart is just as difficult. Putting it together is slightly better, with two sides that are easy to mate up, but buckling it is stiffer than much of the competition.The 30 harness is easy to tighten with a pull strap at the foot of the seat. Pulling the strap is easier than some of the rest and releasing the harness is also easy. There is no padding to get in the way and the button is easy to push. The button is about 2 inches under the seat which we think is easier to use than those with the button closer to 3 inches.
The harness on this seat is a rethread harness that requires you to remove the straps from the T style splitter, pull the straps through slot holes in the back of the carrier, and insert in different slots. The straps are hard to get back through the padding and into the slots to reattach to the splitter. We think the non-rethread style is easier for adjustment because it doesn't require removing straps and can be done with baby in the seat. This seat has 4 harness shoulder height positions and 2 crotch positions.The carrier portion of the seat is relatively easy to attach to the base. It is not one we think you can accidentally do wrong, but we still think parents should give the seat a good tug after attaching to the base to ensure the seat is properly attached. There are no visual indicators that the seat is on correctly. To remove the carrier from the base you squeeze a handle on the back of the seat and lift. The squeeze detaches the connection points so you can remove it easily.
The handle on this seat has 5 positions and can be adjusted by squeezing both levers on the sides of handle near the pivot joint and rotating to desired position. The handle can be left in any position when driving, which is different than most seats in the past that required the handle to be in the down position.
The handle catches on the canopy when the canopy is down, which is annoying but not as much as it would be if it caught when up. The handle does sit close to the open canopy, which makes fitting your hand between the handle and the canopy difficult. It isn't as bad as some other products we looked at that were near impossible, but we still think it is a design flaw Graco should address sooner rather than later.
The Graco 30 has built in LACTH storage with small plastic bars located near the head of the base. They do keep the straps out of the way so there is no difficulty in properly seating the carrier onto the base.
This Graco earned a 4 for comfort and quality; it is a below average score but is still higher than 2 other Graco products in this review. The lowest score in this metric is a 2, earned by the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, with the highest score for the metric of 8 going to the Peg Perego and Phil and Teds Alpha.
The padding and fabric on this seat are about average. The padding isn't very thick and the fabric, while somewhat skin friendly, doesn't feel like it will be durable over time. The shell quality and durability is also not the best when compared to the other products in this review. It scored just 1 point higher in our comparisons than the lowest score for shell quality.
The overall fit and finish of this seat is below average compared to the competition. The fabric doesn't seem to fit the shell well and the padding is not as nice as other products we looked at. It isn't so much that it is bad, just that it really can't compete with the nicer seats like Phil and Teds or the Peg Perego.The canopy on all the Gracos is just so so. They are average in size and too tall for the height of the carry handle. The fabric sits loosely on the canopy frame and feels like an afterthought as opposed to a thoughtfully designed feature. It has no peek-a-boo window, but that isn't really a big deal because the canopy itself is too small to really necessitate one.
This seat is a reasonable size and shouldn't give most parents a problem. It weighs in at just over 8 pounds, which makes it the second lightest Graco product in this review. The lightest seat is the Graco SnugRide Classic Connect coming at 7.06 pounds, while the heaviest seat in this review is the Orbit Baby G3 at 12.5 pounds.
While overall carrier weight is an important aspect to consider when making a purchase, we don't think it should be the first thing you consider. Given that most of the seats only vary by a few pounds, and you don't know how heavy baby will be or will get over time, it seems silly to quibble over a pound or two. However, given that there is a significant difference between 7 and 12 pounds, it isn't something to ignore either. We think parents should narrow their choice using the other metrics first, and then use weight as a potential tie breaker in their buying decision.
Some parents might consider this seat because they like the Graco name or have other Graco product they enjoy. Unfortunately, none of the Graco seats did well in this review and we think most parents will be disappointed in the performance and functionality of this seat. While it might be budget friendly, the lower scores overall make it one that has no real best application from our perspective. However, for parents who must have a Graco product, we'd recommend the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 which scored highest out of the Graco seats we looked at, and also offered the best overall crash test results of any seat in this review.
With a list price of $110 this car seat might feel like a good value. However, much like the other cheaper seats in this review, it really didn't score well in most metrics or offer nice useable features that work well. While we understand that budget can be a significant restraint for many families, we still think parents should find a way to purchase a better car seat that likely costs a bit more. Our Best Value pick is the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air that costs about $60 more, but scored significantly higher overall.
The Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 came in with a below average score. It is lightweight, but it is difficult to install, and it earned low comfort and quality scores along with ease of use. In short there is not much to love about this seat. While it might not be a bad seat, and it exceeds the Federal minimum safety requirements, it doesn't stack up well against the competition in this review. Even for a friend on a tight budget, we would not recommend this seat. Other competing seats don't cost much more, such as the Safety 1st onBoard 35 Air, but deliver a lot more bang for the buck.
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