Graco Atlas vs Nautilus – Which One is the Best in 2024?

graco atlas vs nautilus comparison

Can it be the best between two similar car seats?

The market is filled with lookalike products. What’s the difference between the Graco Atlans 65 and the Nautilus 65? Which one should you get?

This is the reason why I’ve created the Graco Atlas vs Nautilus 65. By reading this article, you will find out what the differences are and which the best fit is for you.

As you know, Graco made a name for itself for being safe. No wonder they hold so many top positions on Consumer Reports.

Many of my readers requested this comparison. So I’m here to deliver.


Here’s the bird’s eye view of the Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat. It gives the best safety possible. Plus, it’s 3 in 1, so this will be the last seat that you will ever buy.

Here’s the bird’s eye view of the Graco Atlas 65 Harness Booster Car Seat. It’s an excellent lightweight car seat for the growing child. It helps relieve motion sickness.

Direct Comparison Graco Atlas vs Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

  Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat Graco Atlas 65 Harness Booster Car Seat
Safety Steel Reinforced Frame

ProtectPlus Engineered

5-point harness

Steel-Reinforced Frame

Side Impact Protection

5-point harness

Size Limits Harness 22-65

Booster: 40-100


Harness: 22-65

High Back Booster: 30-100


Installation SnugLock Latch and Seatbelt
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Bonuses and Features    
Cup Holder 2 Built In 2 Built In
Recline Position 4 2
Adjustable Headrest Position 6 10
Rethread Harness No No
Extended Use Yes Yes

Breaking it down

What you have seen above is my checklist when I’m looking at a new car seat. The list is prioritized, and the most important item is on top, and the least is on the bottom.

I always look at safety first. A child’s life is the most precious thing in this world. As a rule of thumb, get the best security that you can afford.

Next on the list is the size limits. Here I’ve managed to find a money-saving tip. And I will share it with you in a bit.

After this comes to the installation, if you have seen the few reviews, you know how difficult it is for some to get that tight fit. We will dive deep into this section. It’s important to know how much time it takes.

And the last important item on the list is the cover material. Kids will always spill something or make a mess, so you have to know how easy it is to clean it.

Finally, I check the secondary features. Sometimes the comparison ends in a draw, and this section tends to be the tiebreaker.


child car seat safety 4From infancy to young adulthood, your child will need protection while traveling. Here’s something that not many talk about. Here’s the truth. Every car seat is safe on the market. If there are issues, the recall is immediate.

On the other hand, there are minimum government laws. There are a few cheap brands that barely pass those. So would you trust the safety of your child in the hands of those brands or stick to the one that has gone the extra mile.

Graco Atlas 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Atlas 65 caters to older kids. So anti-rebound bar and other safety features are removed. Even though they don’t advertise it, but the Atlas went through rigorous crash testing. If not, it wouldn’t be on the market.

It offers everything that you will ever need. Your young one is protected form front and rear collisions and even side impact as well.

If you’re using the harness mode, your little one is protected by the 5-point harness. This is the safest one on the market. Slowly it’s getting to be the standard.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Nautilus 65 comes packed with safety features. First of all, the frames are reinforced with steel, which will give strong support in case of a crash.

The ProtectPlus safety feature is unique to Graco. Besides the usual front rear and side protection, it offers rollover protection as well. You probably know that rollover crashes are the deadliest of them all.

And of course, your little one is kept safe thanks to the 5-point harness.


The Graco Nautilus 65 Booster seat offers a bigger set of safety features, so the point goes there.

Size Limits

These car seats are expensive, and they have a short expiration date. It’s such a waste to switch car seats every half a year or yearly. Here’s a secret way to save some money in the long run. Choose car seats that are 2 in 1, 3 in 1, or all in 1. By buying one seat, you are saving money, and you only have to learn one car seat installation tricks.

I typically break this down, but I don’t want to bore you by repeating myself.

The Graco Atlas 65 offers a 2 in 1 solution. This car seat has the function of forwarding facing harness mode and high back booster mode. As you have seen, this car seat caters to older kids.

Now it’s true that you can put a 22-pound child in it. And many officials recommend using the forward-facing only after your child turned the age of two. Many countries in the EU recommend switching only after the child reached four years of age. In forward-facing harness mode the weight limit is between 22 and 65 pounds (22-65 lbs). The weight range for high back booster mode is 30 to 100 pounds.

The main difference between the two car seats is that you can transform in booster mode with the Atlas earlier.

For both car seats, the top weight limit is 100 pounds or 57” (30-100 lbs).


It’s a tie


child car seat installation 6It’s funny when you read those reviews; some people have such a hard time with the install. There’s the manual, and there are tons of installation videos on YouTube. I read a review for a different car seat that on the highway, the seat has fallen over. I don’t think that the seat was at fault there.

Luckily Graco went the extra mile to make the install as easy as possible.

Graco Atlas 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Atlas 65 uses the old installation technology. Before you get started, you should put your child in the car seat first and adjust the harness. After that, you can start with the installation.

Now the first thing you have to do is remove the back cover. Because you have to route the seat belt or the latch system behind the cover, it’s a straight forward procedure. You follow the belt guides, and you’re done.

Compared to the Nautilus, it seems that the Atlas relies on older technology. Also, when you’re making the seat tight, it’s a good idea to push either your hand or your knee to get a better fit.

Also, make sure after the installation that the wiggle room is less than an inch.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Nautilus 65 uses a newer technology called the Snuglock. You have to remove the back cover here as well. Then you will have to pop the back because that’s where you’re going to route the seat belt or the latch.

The procedure is the same as above. For the tightening process, the easiest way was to sit in it and then pull the straps.

Also, it’s a good idea to remove the cover from the side and pull the strap through the hole towards you.

Once it’s snug close the back door and put the back material in place, and you’re done.


It’s a tie.

Fabric/Material for these Booster seats

Kids can get in the funniest accidents. This means cleaning time for the parents. This is why you have to know in advance how easy it is to remove and wash the material.

Again the material is almost the same. So I will go through it in one go.

The material is easy to remove. If you have to adjust the car seat frequently, you will get the hang of it fast. Washing is quite simple. All you have to do is pop it in the washing machine. It’s a good idea to use cold water and a gentle program, so your cover lasts a long time.

Now, as for drying, the safest thing is letting it air dry.


It’s a tie.

Bonuses and Features

In this section, I check out the smaller secondary features. Sometimes they are very useful and sometimes they are a deal-breaker. Let’s see how the Graco car seats perform.

Both the Nautilus and the Atlas have two cup holders. They are built in and easy to clean. For older kids, this is a must-have.

To get the most out of safety, all car seats have to have some kind of reclined feature. The Graco Nautilus has 4 options to choose from, and the Graco Atlas only has two.

On the other hand, the Graco Atlas makes up with the multiple headrest options. You’re getting ten options while the Graco Nautilus only offers 6.

The biggest issue with cheaper car seats is that you have to manually rethread the harness. Luckily that’s not the case with either of these Graco seats. When you adjust the headrest, the harness is adjusted as well.

I hate rethreading with a passion. I could never get it done, and I always had to ask for my husband to help.


It’s a tie again.

Graco Nautilus 65 Backless Booster Car Seat

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3 in 1 Harness Booster Car SeatPros:

It’s super easy to install just listen to the “Click” sound

It’s top-rated on Consumer Reports

Padded side protection for older kids not many car seats offer this


The material stitched on by elastic that par won’t last

There’s no leveling guide, so you have to guess

Graco Atlas 65 Backless Booster Car Seat

Graco Atlas 65 2 in 1 Harness Booster SeatPros:

It offers all-around protection for the sides as well (head and torso protection)

The fabric is easy to remove and wash very important if you have a child with motion sickness

Most parents reported that kids fall asleep fast


It’s harder to install in older cars

It’s huge both vertically, and it takes up a lot of space

Final Recount

Graco Atlas 65 Backless Booster Car Seat won with one point (1/5)

Graco Nautilus 65 Backless Booster Car Seat lost (0/5)

The other categories were a draw.

Graco Atlas vs Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat Verdict

At first glimpse, these Graco car seats look the same. When we started to check out the differences, we saw that there are some benefits for the Graco Nautilus.

The biggest difference was in the safety section. It offers more options than the Graco Atlas 65. Rollover crashes are the deadliest, and the Graco Nautilus protects from that as well.

In other categories, it was the same. Even though the Graco Nautilus 65 relies on newer tech, the installation is just as simple as with the older one. The only bothersome is that they both use the older version of the latch system. It’s time to upgrade.

Every other category was the same. So if you value the extra safety, then Graco Nautilus 65 Backless booster seat is the winner.

We have reached the end of the Graco Atlas vs Nautilus Backless booster seat comparison. I hope you’ve learned a lot from this article. By now you should know which the best fit is for you. Get the one that suits you best fast because stocks are running low.

If you have ideas or tips on this comparison, please share them below.

Catch you next time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Does the Graco Nautilus 65 or the Atlas 65 have a cup holder?

Yes as a matter fact both of them have two cup holders. The dual cup holders come handy when your little ones want to store both drinks and toys.

Related: Graco Tranzitions Review – Safety and Comfort Without Breaking The Bank

Who is an expert with car seat installation?

The experts are who have the child passenger safety technicians license.

What are the safety features Graco Atlas 65 vs Nautilus 65 car seat?

Both car seats have strict safety standards. Both car seats have a steel reinforced frame. As you know this is the critical component for most car seats the steel reinforced frame will keep your little one protected from no matter what. These combination seats have a wide weight range 30-100 lbs for forward facing booster mode. And 22-65 lbs for simply safe adjust harness system (belt-positioning booster). Graco has set the car seat standard for many in the industry. There’s more than enough side impact protection.

How comfortable are compared to each other Atlas 65 vs Graco Nautilus 65?

Make sure you adjust the crotch buckle on the size of your child on each combination seat. With the Graco Nautilus 65 you’re getting 6 position adjustable head rest while with the Atlas 65 you’re getting 10 position adjustable head rest. To get the most comfort out of these seats make sure you use the best recline positions possible. The Atlas 65 only offer two recline positions while with the Graco Nautilus 65 you’re getting 4 recline positions. The harness car seat was designed for older kids so it’s not an infant car seat. Now the nautilus features are long so if you want to read the full car seat review you can read it here.

What are the most important features for these car seats?

Here are the features: adjust harness system, simply safe adjust harness, harness storage compartment, car seat harness booster, seat pad, recline feature.

What so special about the harness system?

Because it’s simply safe adjust harness it’s easy to install. For installation you can use the shoulder belt just make sure that the latch strap parallel. The harness height is 25 to 28 inches. The simple adjust harness system make moving kids in out a breeze.

Which one should I buy Tranzitions or Nautilus?

Both the Tranzitions and Nautilus car seats are great.

Graco or Evenflo car seats, which is the right choice?

Graco car seats are better for most parents.

Last Updated on November 7, 2023 by Brian Beasley

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!