Graco Milestone vs Nautilus – Which One is the Best?

graco milestone vs nautilus comparison

A deer is blocking the road, and you don’t have time to stop … what do you do?

One of the car seats has been tested in a frontal collision. A three-year-old boy was sitting in the back.

Stick with me for a bit, and you’ll find out which one was it. Also, I will tell you the whole story.

The Graco brand is well-known and trusted. They have earned many high rankings on Consumer Reports. At first glimpse, the Graco Milestone and the Graco Nautilus 65 look similar.

This is why I’ve created the Graco Milestone vs Nautilus 65 comparison. By reading this article to the end, I promise that you will know exactly which car seat best fits you.


Here’s the bird’s eye view of the Graco Nautilus 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 Milestone Convertible Car Seat. It’s made for extremely long use. It grows with the child from infancy up until they get their driver’s license.

Direct Comparison Graco Milestone vs Nautilus 65

  Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat Graco Milestone Convertible Car Seat
Safety Steel Reinforced Frame

ProtectPlus Engineered

5-point harness

Steel Reinforced Frame

ProtectPlus Engineered

5-point harness

Size Limits Harness 22-65

Booster: 40-100


Rear Facing 5-40

Front Facing: 22-65

Booster: 30-100


Installation SnugLock InRight LATCH
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Bonuses and Features    
Cup Holder 2 Built In 1 Built In
Recline Position 4 4
Headrest Position 6 10
Rethread Harness No No
Extended Use Yes Yes

Breaking it down

Whenever I’m checking out a new car seat, I go through the list above and see what they can do for my little one.

The top priority goes to safety. Let me tell you upfront that all car seats are safe, although some brands offer more than the bare minimum.

Next on my checklist is the size limits section. It’s good to know how much mileage are you getting from these seats. As we all know, car seats don’t come cheap.

Installation takes the most time. If you have multiple cars, then you have to know if it’s easy to swap or you just buy a second seat.

The last important element is material. It’s a good idea to know beforehand what kind of washing it offers and how easy it to remove it. You really want to avoid spot cleaning after your little one has thrown up.

Lastly, I do look at the secondary features. Sometimes you can find hidden gems or nuisances. Let’s see what’s hidden with these Graco car seats.

Let’s get this Graco Nautilus vs Milestone comparison started. Just one more thing…

I have something special for you in the end. I have compiled a quick pros/cons list. The things I’ve found are quite interesting.


child car seat safety 5There’s no joking around with safety. Get the most that you can afford. Some brands only do the bare minimum to keep your little one safe. Others go the extra mile. Which one will you choose?

Graco Milestone Convertible Car Seat

This incident happened with some friends of ours.

They were driving on a curvy road. All of a sudden, a deer appeared in the middle of the road as they got out of a turn.

What do you do in these situations?

Do you try to avoid it and potentially ending up in the ditch? Or worse, you could even have a rollover accident and total the car. The other choice is to hit the deer head-on and hope for the best.

This is what the father did. Pressed the brake as hard as possible and then hit the deer. Now the site wasn’t pretty. The deer died on impact. The front of the car was partially destroyed. The airbags exploded, protecting the passengers.

Meanwhile, there was a 3-year-old boy sitting in the back. The car has suffered significant damage. And the passengers were all fine.

The Graco Milestone delivers. The car seat has a steel-reinforced frame so that it will be intact no matter what. It uses the Protect Plus technology, which provides front, rear side protection, and even rollover as well.

To keep you little one in place, it has the 5-point harness. This is the safest one on the market.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

Interestingly the Graco Nautilus has the same safety items. At the moment, I don’t know anybody who has done a real live crash test.

So the Graco Nautilus has a steel-reinforced frame. It means that the car seat won’t crumble when there’s an impact. The same protection system is used.

This system provides front and rear protection. As you know, side protection is crucial since our bodies are not equipped to handle those. Plus, it offers rollover protection as well. This is the deadliest crash of them all.

Last but not least, your little one is secured to the seat with the 5-point harness. This is the safest that you can get. Plus, it’s slowly becoming the industry standard.


It’s almost a tie. Still, I will give the point to Graco Milestone because it performed well in a real crash.

Size Limits

This is my secret weapon when I want to save money on car seats. I don’t make compromises when it comes to safety. So the best way to save money is by getting the best mileage possible. Let’s face it these car seats are expensive and have a short expiration date. So it’s a good idea to invest in the future.

Graco Milestone Convertible Car Seat

The Graco Milestone comes with an all-in-one solution. When you buy this car seat, you will be able to use it from the early infant days up until they reach the young adult stage.

You will be buying just one seat, and it will be for the whole duration.

This car seat offers three modes rear-facing, front-facing (harness), and booster mode. The lower weight limit is set to 5 pounds. If you want to, you will be able to bring your newborn home from the hospital with the Graco Milestone.

It allows extended rear-facing so you can keep your little one in this mode until they reach 40 pounds. After this, you can upgrade to the front-facing mode. The upper limit for the booster mode is set to 100 pounds or 57”.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Nautilus is a different car seat. It has only a front-facing mode. You can use it as a harness and a booster seat.

Obviously, this is meant for older kids. The lower limit is set to 22 pounds. Now it’s wise to keep your little one rear-facing as long as possible.

As for the booster mode, it’s the same as the Milestone. The upper limit is set to 100 pounds or 57”.


The Graco Milestone won this because it offers more versatility.


child car seat installation 9This is the hardest thing to do with car seats. Before you get started, always look at the manual first. After that, you can find some great install videos online. Whenever I’m stuck, that’s my go-to solution. Graco has easy-to-install car seats. Let’s see how good these seats are.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat

The Graco Nautilus 65 is equipped with the Snuglock system. Since it’s front-facing, only the install is quite easy. I mean, you only need to learn it once, and there are two ways to do it. For the upcoming years, you won’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Both latch and seat belt installs is supported. You need to remove the material first and unlock the SnugLock compartment. The seat belt and the latch system work almost the same way. You will have to thread the material through the right hole. After that, you pull on tight and make sure it’s snug.

Now when you’re pulling, it’s a good idea to push down on the seat. For some people pushing with the hand is enough, and for others, they need to use the knee.

After it’s tight enough, close the Snuglock and put the cover back. Check if it’s tight enough.

Graco Milestone Convertible Car Seat

On the other hand, the Graco Milestone seems to have an older install version. It’s very similar. The only difference is that it doesn’t have a compartment. First, it’s a good idea to adjust the straps by putting your child in.

You need to pick the right position. Blue means the rear-facing mode. The Red means harness mode, and the orange means booster mode.

After that, the installation can start. You remove the cover and slide the belt or the latch through the holes. Again it’s a good idea to push down while tightening. Once it’s tight enough, you put the cover back in, and you’re done.

The only issue that I’ve found with both of these seats is that they still use the first generation latches. The new ones are a lot easier to manage.


It’s a tie.


We’re talking about kids, so it’s a safe bet that they will either spill something or have an accident. This is why it’s a must to know how friendly is the material. And of course, if you can remove it easily enough. In my opinion machine washable is very important to any parent.

This time I won’t break it down because both materials work the same way. If you have to frequently adjust the seat, then you will get experience with cover removal.

All in all, it’s easy to remove it. Then you can pop it in the washing machine. For the longest use, only wash it in cold water and on a gentle program. As for drying, air drying is the best solution.


It’s a tie.

You might also like: Graco tranzitions 3-in-1 reviews

Bonuses and Features

In this section, I look at the small things. Sometimes they can make a big difference.

Since these car seats cater to older kids, then the cup holder is a must. The Graco Nautilus comes with two built in cup holders while the Graco Milestone has one moveable cup holder. Having two is good for toddlers and smaller kids.

In one, they can hold a drink, and in the second one, they can hold their toys.

Both car seats have sufficient recline. It’s the same, and they offer six positions to choose from. As for the headrest, the Graco Milestone has more options since it caters to a younger demographic.

Last but not least, I want to touch on the harness rethreading. There’s no such thing with either of the seats. When you adjust the headrest, the straps are adjusted as well. No more manual labor. I hate that btw.


It’s a tie again.

Graco Nautilus 65 Harness 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 Milestone Convertible Car Seat

Graco Milestone 3 in 1 Convertible Car SeatPros:

Easy to get the baby in and out and it’s easy to move between cars

Great dark colors so dirt isn’t visible

It’s so safe it has probably been designed by a mom


There’s no good harness holder you will waste time strapping in

If you have large hands, it will be difficult to loosen the straps

Final Recount

Graco Milestone won with two points (2/5)

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

The other categories were a draw.

Graco Milestone vs Nautilus 65 Verdict

The Graco Nautilus and the Graco Milestone are very similar car seats. When it comes to security, they are equal. I gave the point to the Milestone because it has been tested in a real crash situation and not only in a lab.

The Graco Milestone gained more ground in the size limits section. While the Graco Nautilus only caters to older kids, the Graco Milestone caters for infants who are just 5 pounds in weight limit. The Milestone can be used for a longer time than the Graco Nautilus Harness Booster Car Seat.

In the other categories, it was a close tie. The Snuglock system is just as easy as the older version. And finally, in the secondary features, are well-balanced.

As a final verdict, the Graco Milestone won the battle. It has been tested in a real crash, and it offers more versatility.

We have reached the end of the Graco Milestone vs Nautilus comparison. I hope you have learned which car seat is the best choice. Now it’s your time to get it. The thing is that stocks are running low, so get your car seat soon.

If you have tips or ideas, drop them in the comments section below.

Catch you next time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What sets apart Graco Milestone Convertible Car Seat from the Graco Nautilus 65 Harness Booster Car Seat?

In short, the Graco Milestone car seat offers a lot more than the Nautilus 65. It has a rear-facing and forward-facing mode. The Nautilus car seat doesn’t cater to infants so there’s only forward-facing mode. In forward-facing mode the car seat can be used as a belt-positioning booster seat, backless booster, high back booster seat. Only the milestone has the infant car seat option. It caters to babies who are just 5 pounds.

Who should choose the Graco Nautilus 65 backless booster car seat?

The Nautilus 65 car seat is perfect for parents who have an older child. As you know both car seats are combination seats they can be transformed according to your child’s height. If your child is big enough then they can go with the backless booster option. With older kids, you can only use the car seat in forward-facing mode.

Graco Milestone vs Nautilus which one is an infant seat?

The Milestone car seat is the only one that has a rear-facing option thus catering to babies. With the package you’re getting and the infant insert they sit nice and snug. Of course, you’re getting the best infant padding possible.

Milestone vs Nautilus 65 what’s the height limit and the weight range?

With the Milestone car seat, the height limit is 57″ it’s the same with the Nautilus. On the other hand, the weight range is wider from 5 to 100 pounds. The other one is between 22 to 100 pounds. As you can see the weight limit is 100 pounds for both car seats and it maxes out in front-facing mode.

Graco Milestone compared to Nautilus which has the most recline positions?

They are the same these car seats both have 4 recline positions (recline angle) to choose from.

What’s the best way to install these car seats?

Hands down the inright latch system is the best solution. You see most car seat modes offer this option and it’s the easiest of them all. The latch connectors are the newest generation and they are easier to use.

What’s the difference between a high back and a backless booster seat?

It’s quite simple the high back booster seat has a back while the backless booster seat doesn’t have one it’s just a seat these can only be used in forward facing mode. Depending on the age of your child you can use the harness system or you have to go with the lap belt. There’s a harness storage compartment for the harness system and harness straps. The harness seat is the first option to go once you go forward facing. With the high back booster, you can still adjust the headrest positions.

How do the safety standards look at Nautilus vs Milestone?

They have all the best safety features that you can hope for. The safety harness position is adjustable for best comfort and protection.

Which Graco car seat is better Nautilus or Tranzitions?

Both car seats are quite good.

Graco extend2fit vs milestone which car seat is the better choice?

Graco Milestone is the better car seat if you have to choose between Graco extend2fit or milestone.

Which car seat brand is better Graco or Britax?

For most parents, the Britax car seats are better because they are easier to install.

Last Updated on October 27, 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!