The best car seat is the one that fits your child, vehicle, budget, and lifestyle and has the features important to you. The safest car seat is the one you can install correctly and use properly on every ride! Let us know in the comment section what questions you have about this review of the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad car seat.
Graco 4Ever DLX Grad Car Seat Review (USA)
In the past, we have made it known that the 4Ever seats are not SITS favorites due to the bulky backless booster mode. But now, with their 4Ever DLX Grad, Graco has added a 5th mode, with a seat belt trainer that’s very similar to the Graco Right Guide. This is a very low-profile backless booster that we really like. This version also features SnugLock, which makes the installation in the rear and forward-facing harness modes very simple.
A 5-in-1 car seat that can be used rear-facing, forward-facing, in high back booster mode, in backless booster mode, and in belt trainer mode
From birth or after you’ve used an infant seat for a few months
Our recommendation: Newborn until the seat is outgrown (average 10-12 years old)
What you need to know before you go.
Rear-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 49″ (USA)
- weight limit: 4-40#
- head height rules: at least 1″ below the top of the headrest
- newborn fit: often works
Forward-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 49″ (USA)
- weight limit: 22-65#
- head height rules: ears must be below the top of the headrest
Booster Seat Stats
- high back height limit: 43-57″
- high back weight limit: 40-100#
- high back head height rules: ears must be below the top of the headrest
- backless limits: 40-120#/43-57″
- belt trainer limits: 50-120#/43-60″
Other Seat Stats
- width of seat: 18”
- weight of seat: 24#
- crash replacement policy: replace after any crash
- expiration limits: 10 years
- harness: no rethread
- lock-off: yes
✅ Seat is good for you if:
✅ You have tall front-seat passengers and/or a vehicle with limited back seat space.
The Graco 4Ever DLX Grad is a fairly compact option front to back when you have it as upright as possible. If you are using it from birth, it will take up more space, though, since it has to be more reclined.
✅ You travel internationally with your children.
A car seat must be locked in place for safe installation, and outside of the US and Canada, vehicle seatbelts typically don’t have the same locking mechanism as US and Canadian vehicles do. But the great thing about the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad is that it has a built-in seat belt lock-off! This means you don’t need to worry about using a locking clip when traveling internationally. This seat will easily install in any vehicle that has seat belts! Contact the car seat manufacturer for a free locking clip.
✅ You want to skip an infant seat.
We’ve found this seat fits newborns pretty well! If you are expecting a smaller-than-average baby or a preemie, we would still recommend an infant seat instead, as that will have a better fit.
✅ You want a multimode seat.
If you buy this after your child has outgrown an infant seat, you might be able to get away without buying any other car seats. After the harness modes are outgrown, this seat has 3 more modes! The high back mode can accommodate a child with a torso height of up to 20.5″ if you remove the belt trainer and up to 19″ if you leave it in. The backless booster mode is very bulky and not our favorite of the modes. But the seat belt trainer is great for older kids. It’s very low profile and easy to carry around if they are carpooling.
🚩 Use Caution If:
🚩 You need to fit 3 people in one row of the vehicle.
The Graco 4Ever DLX Grad seat is 18″ wide. Many vehicles cannot accommodate a car seat this size in a 3-across configuration. Plus, once you get to the high back and backless modes, it would be difficult for the child to buckle themselves in. The seat belt trainer mode, however, does fit very well in most 3-across situations.
🚩 You want to use just one seat from birth until the child fits properly in the seat belt.
If you use this seat from birth, there is a chance that it will expire before your child fits into the adult seat belt without a booster since it only lasts 10 years. Most of the time, the seat is a few months old already when you buy it. Kids need a booster until 10-12, depending on when they pass the 5-Step Test. This means that if you use it from birth and your child does not fit properly in the seat belt when it expires, you will need to buy a backless booster. The good news is that a backless booster is very inexpensive.
️ Stand Out Features:
Easy installation with the SnugLock lock-off
This is an easy car seat to install. All you have to do is open the SnugLock lock-off, thread the vehicle seatbelt through the correct belt path, gently remove any obvious slack, and close the SnugLock lock-off. And that’s it!
Seat Belt Trainer
This is a very unique feature. Graco has previously sold this separately as the Graco RightGuide. It’s made for older kids who still need a booster, but it looks more grown-up. It’s far better than the 4Ever’s bulky backless booster mode. It has a 50-pound minimum, so it’s definitely geared towards older kids, and the 60″ height maximum is the highest that Graco has ever had. We love to see this as, in reality, we have found that only around 50% of kids pass the 5-Step Test at 57″.
Rapid Remove Cover
It’s very easy to take off the cover without even uninstalling the seat, thanks to the Rapid Remove Cover feature. Great for quick clean-ups!
▶️ YouTube Videos:
⚠️ Quirks to be Aware Of:
⚠️The cupholders are required.
Once the cupholders are clicked into place correctly, they can’t easily be removed! They must always be attached when the car seat is in use.
⚠️ It has some unusual rules for forward-facing
For kids under 25# who are forward-facing, you must use recline 4, AND you must use the lumbar support cushion. Hopefully, none of you are planning on forward-facing a 25-pound child, though, since the seat does have a 40 pound rear-facing limit. When your forward-facing child is above 50 pounds, the seat must be installed with recline 6, so make sure you pay attention to this rule when your child is getting close to that weight!
⚠️ Rear-facing insert limit
Unlike most of the inserts found on other Graco convertible car seats, the inserts on this seat have a limit. The head and back support can only be used until the child is 20 pounds. The lumbar support can be used anytime rear-facing but must be used forward-facing until the child is over 25 pounds, at which point it must be removed.
✈️ Airplane Use
The Graco 4Ever DLX Grad is an FAA-approved car seat. At 24 pounds, it is not the lightest option available if you want a seat that has a seat belt lock-off, but it would work for international travel. For help with all things airplane travel and car seats, check out our Wheels Up Course and private Facebook group.
SITS Bottom Line
If you want a seat that will last for most of the time your child needs a car seat, the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad could be a good option. We recommend either starting with an infant seat or keeping in mind that you will likely need a backless booster for your child once this seat is outgrown. Out of the 4Ever versions, this would be our favorite, thanks to the seat belt trainer. We do still think that the backless booster mode is very bulky, and we don’t care for that mode of use, though it’s a perfectly safe option. Depending on your child’s weight, you may be able to skip that mode anyway and go straight from the high-back booster to the seat belt trainer.
What About Seats We Don’t Recommend?
Just like anyone, we have preferences! This goes for car seats, too. If we don’t recommend a car seat, it’s not because it’s unsafe for your little one. All car seats are safe if they’re installed and used properly, are not expired or damaged, and when they’re made and sold by a reputable manufacturer and/or retailer. Click here for our full list of car seats that we do not recommend.
Other Versions of this seat:
- Graco 4Ever DLX (US) – does not have the seat belt trainer, only has a forward-facing lock-off, 19″ wide
- Graco 4Ever DLX SnugLock (US) – does not have the seat belt trainer, 19″ wide
- Graco Premier 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit featuring anti-rebound bar (US) – 50-pound rear-facing limit, anti-rebound bar, extension panel for rear-facing, no seat belt trainer, only has a forward-facing lock-off, 19″ wide
- Graco 4Ever DLX SnugLock Grow (US) – no seat belt trainer, 19″ wide
Compare Car Seats
Looking to compare car seats and narrow down the best car seat for your family? The Convertible Car Seat Buying Kit walks you through our 7Cs of selection, then on to an interactive quiz, and finally, a recommended car seat list is generated just for you! If you are overwhelmed and sick of spending hours researching and reading car seat reviews like this one, the Buying Kit will guide you to Safe in the Seat’s recommended car seats for you in under 30 minutes!
Check out this Amazon Live for more convertible seats we recommend and the standout features we love.
A note about crash-tests
How does the Graco 4Ever DLX Grad perform in crash tests?
Well, that’s a great question. We know it passes the strict federally required testing for all car seats sold in the United States. But we don’t know exactly how it performs. That data isn’t released by any official sources in the US — not by car seat manufacturers, not by government agencies like NHTSA, not anywhere!
There are a few third-party websites that claim to offer objective crash test data that compares car seats. But we at Safe in the Seat ignore that data for a few big reasons. First of all, third-party car seat crash tests don’t actually give us meaningful data! Car seat manufacturers crash-test their products hundreds, even upwards of a thousand times. They crash test the finished product in every single installation configuration using every applicable-sized crash test dummy, not to mention a whole lot of testing at each stage of the development process, too. So, one or two crash tests completed by another organization just can’t give the same level of information! One or two crash tests aren’t going to represent the overall average performance of any car seat across its lifespan.
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