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 Extend2Fit convertible car seat.
Graco Extend2Fit Car Seat Review (USA)
The Graco Extend2Fit was one of the first convertible car seats with a 50-pound rear-facing limit, and it’s still a well-loved car seat today! The original Graco Extend2Fit is a relatively cheap convertible car seat for parents who want to rear-face higher-percentile children as long as possible. It’s also one of the best convertible car seats for small cars, making it a great option for tall front-seat passengers, compact vehicles, or any situation with limited front-to-back space!
A convertible car seat that can be used rear-facing and forward-facing
After you’ve used an infant seat for a few months or after the infant seat has been outgrown
Our recommendation: 2 months+ until the seat is outgrown (average 6/7 years old)
What you need to know before you go.
Rear-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 49″
- weight limit: 50 pounds
- head height rules: at least 1″ below the headrest adjustment lever
Forward-Facing Seat Stats
- height limit: 49″
- weight limit: 65 pounds
- head height rules: ears must be below the top of the headrest
Other Seat Stats
- width of seat: 20”
- weight of seat: 19 pounds
- crash replacement policy: replace after any crash
- expiration limits: 10 years
- harness: no rethread
- lock-off: no
- lower anchor limit: 45 lbs
- Washability: fabric is machine washable
✅ Seat is good for you if:
✅ You want to rear-face as long as possible.
The Graco Extend2Fit rear-faces to the maximum pounds allowed on the US market – 50 pounds. The best practice is to rear-face as long as possible (think age 4+), and with the built-in-leg extension panel, your kiddo will have 5 extra inches of leg room. Curious why rear-facing is safest? Watch this!
✅ Your back seat space is very limited.
The Graco Extend2Fit is one of the best convertible car seats for small cars. It is one of the most compact in front-to-back space!
Because the seat has numerous recline angles, it can get very upright which lessens the footprint of the seat from front to back. If you have a tall driver or passenger or are just really tight on that legroom in the second or third row of your vehicle this seat is one of your best bets.
🚩 Use Caution If:
🚩Your child is petite, and/or you won’t rear face past age 2-3.
While the Graco Extend2Fit has many standout features, Safe in the Seat grades it as a “proceed with caution” seat for one big reason: its forward-facing recline rules. Let’s get technical: The rear-facing height and weight limits of this seat are 49 inches and 50 pounds, which the average-sized child will reach when they are between 5-7 years old. While we always encourage rear-facing to the max limits of the seat, we also know that most parents will not be rear-facing their elementary school-aged kids.
Here’s why that’s an issue. When installing forward-facing, the original Extend2Fit must be installed on a specific recline setting for a child who weighs less than 40 pounds. This is a problem because this recline requirement makes it impossible to safely install the seat sometimes, usually because the bottom of the car seat hangs too far off the vehicle seat. And, in vehicles with non-removable headrests, this awkward recline can make it difficult to raise the headrest high enough for a proper harness fit, too.
So, parents of little littles, unless you plan to rear-face your child until they reach 40+ pounds (which may be when they are 5, 6 or even 7) then this is not the best seat for you. You’ll run into the weird recline rule which could make the seat awkward at best, and impossible to install safely at worst. If you like the Graco Extend2Fit series, check out the Extend2Fit 3 in 1 instead, which does not have this recline requirement.
🚩You need to fit 3 people in one row of the vehicle.
This seat is 20 inches wide. Most vehicles cannot accommodate a car seat this size in a three across configuration.
🚩You want to skip an infant seat.
We’ve found this seat fits an infant ok from 8-9 pounds. If you are expecting a smaller baby and want to start with a convertible seat, this is not the best car seat for a newborn on the tiny side. The car seat harness has to be coming from below the shoulders when rear-facing, and it’s unlikely a smaller baby will meet this requirement in this seat as the lowest harness height is about 7 inches high.
️ Stand Out Features:
️ It’s very compact rear-facing.
This seat has 4 recline options for the rear-facing installation. Once the seat is in the most upright recline position, it takes up very little space front to back. This makes it one of the best convertible car seats for small cars or for front-seat passengers who are very tall.
️ Has an optional leg panel for extra leg room in rear-facing mode only.
The leg panel has multiple settings and can give up to 5″ of extra leg room for a rear-facing child. This is optional and does not have to be used if you have a smaller vehicle or very tall passengers. This panel can never be used in forward-facing mode.
▶️ YouTube Videos:
⚠️ Quirks to be Aware Of:
⚠️The cupholders are required.
Once they’re clicked into place correctly, they can’t easily be removed! They must always be attached when the car seat is in use.
⚠️May be incompatible with the vehicle if you turn a child forward-facing before they are at least 40 pounds.
For forward-facing kids under 40 pounds, you must use recline 4 when installing the Extend2Fit. The base of the seat must be flat on the vehicle seat. Frequently, this will cause the car seat to hang off of the vehicle seat more than is allowed. This would make it incompatible until the child is above 40 pounds. If you run into this issue, you can turn the child back rear-facing until they reach at least 40 pounds.
⚠️Tightening the harness can be challenging in the rear-facing position.
We’ve heard this from numerous users and experienced it too. Because the car seat harness straps are exposed in the back, pulling them downwards while pulling up on the harness tightening strap will make getting all that slack out much easier! Here’s what it looks like!
✈️ Airplane Use
The Graco Extend2Fit is an FAA-approved car seat. Not a lightweight car seat, nor is it the heaviest car seat, so you certainly can travel with it. Just get a travel cart to maneuver through the airport! Because it can be very compact in rear-facing mode, it will fit in that direction on most airplane seats. It is wide, so you’ll need to put the airplane armrests up to fit!
If you are traveling internationally, you may be able to get away with installing with the lower anchors if the child is under 45 pounds and if the vehicles you end up in have lower anchors. But we would recommend contacting Graco for a free locking clip in case you need to do a seat belt installation since most vehicles outside of the US and Canada will not have locking seat belts. For help on how to install a car seat with a locking clip, check out our video here. For help with all things airplane travel and car seats, check out our Wheels Up Course and private Facebook group.
SITS Bottom Line
We like the Extend2Fit for parents of bigger kids or parents who know you’ll rear face to the max regardless of age: basically, anyone who isn’t in danger of running into that pesky forward-facing recline rule for smaller kids. Overall, the Graco Extend2Fit is a great car seat that is easy to install, long-lasting, great for small cars, and a relatively inexpensive car seat making it a standout!
Head over to our YouTube Channel to see the review and installation how-to of the Graco Extend2Fit.
Other Versions of this Seat:
- Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1*
- Graco Premier 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit SnugLock
- Graco Premier 4Ever DLX Extend2Fit with anti-rebound bar
*A SITS recommended seat. Recommended seats are in our Buying Kits because they have ranked high on our vehicle, child, ease of use, and features scale.
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!
We check every day for our recommended car seats on sale, and we have all the deals here for you.
A note about crash-tests
How does the Graco Extend2Fit 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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