Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus – Pros, Cons & Recommendations


Welcome to the Graco Tranzitions Vs. Nautilus showdown!

graco tranzitions vs nautilus comparison

I’ve spent the last month testing these two car seats out by getting groceries with my kids, joyriding, reading reviews, investigating recalls, and checking consumer reports. Meanwhile, my husband was kicking back and relaxing — you owe me a big one, honey!


Finding the right fit for your needs between these two comes down to your car and budget.

These car seats are so similar that the only way to really evaluate them is by putting some butts in seats. I know how long it takes to find the perfect car seat since I have three kids. Therefore, I’ve decided to help you out by driving my kids around and observing their reactions.

I’m comparing these two car seats based on safety features, comfort, design, value, and ease of installation.

Whichever you choose, you will have peace of mind as they will both protect your little one’s lives, no matter what.

Let’s see which the best choice is already!


Direct Comparison: Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus 65

Graco Nautilus Graco Tranzitions
VS Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat
Safety Steel Reinforced Frame
ProtectPlus Engineered
5-point harness
Side Impact Protection
5-point harness
Size Limits Harness 22-65
Booster: 40-100
Harness: 22-65
High Back Booster: 30-100
Backless Booster: 40-100
Installation SnugLock Latch and Seatbelt
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Cup Holder 2 Built In 2 Built In
Recline Position 4
Headrest Position 6 8
Rethread Harness
Extended Use


The Winner is the Graco Tranzitions

Why did the Graco Tranzitions win?

  • The make reason why the Tranzitions won is that it gives you more mileage for your money.
  • Speaking of money, the Tranzitions car seat is a bit cheaper than the Nautilus, even though it has the same safety features.
  • The Nautilus is a big car seat that might not fit in every vehicle. On the other hand, the Tranzitions has a slim profile and will fit everywhere.
  • Even though it doesn’t have a tilt, my kid’s head never flopped thanks to the great design.

Here’s why the Graco Tranzitions is a must-buy:

  • Sturdy and comfy: Thanks to the extended use of the 5 point harness, I can see and feel my child is protected.
  • Grows with your child: From 22 to 100 lbs., it will serve your children and protect them, no matter what.
  • Super affordable:  This car seat is perfect for families who have multiple vehicles or for grandparents helping out. It’s a steal!
  • Finally, a super lightweight car seat that’s easy to transition in and out of the car!
  • It has a narrow profile, so three car seat can fit in the back.
  • The cushion gives extra comfort, which is good for long road trips.
  • The armrest feels short. You can only utilize them in backless booster mode.
  • It’s not the prettiest car seat around. It gives a cheap feeling.


Breaking it down

By running through the table below, you have seen my checklist. These are the steps that I take when I look at a new car seat. The sections are organized from the most important to the least important one.

First up is safety. Nobody can argue that the better protection you can give for your child, the safer they will be. Graco has earned his stripes. It’s one of the most decorated car seat makers on Consumer Reports.

The next item I check out is the size limit. You have to know in advance how long will you be able to use it. The more mileage you get, the more money you save.

Going down the list, we find the installation section. This is the least favorite part of any parent. I know we all seen and heard about car seats that are a two-person job, or you need the strength of Hulk.

The last important one on my checklist is the material. Kids will always make a mess or spill something. There’s no way around that. So to keep everything neat and tidy, you will have to know how easy it is to remove and clean the cover.

Finally, I dig into the secondary features. Sometimes I unearth gold nuggets and sometimes a nuisance. We’ll see what Graco will have for us.


child car seat safetyThere’s nothing more important than child safety. The forces that are at play during a crash are immense. This is why it is so important to keep them buckled up and safe. Here are some helpful reminders. Never use a car seat more than the expiration date states. And never buy car seats second hand because you don’t know the history.

Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat

This incident happened to a friend of mine.

She just stopped at the red light. Her three-year-old daughter was in the back, singing a childhood song. When all of a sudden, there was an impact.

The car jolted forward. When she looked back, the trunk has vaporized, and the backseat was deformed.

Little did she know that a drunk driver rear-ended the car while driving 50 mph.

The first reaction was to check up on her daughter. Then she saw her.

She had wide eyes, and she was scared. There was nothing wrong. There wasn’t even a scratch on her.

Yes, the Graco Tranzitions have delivered. It has kept the child safe in a rear crash.

Even though the Graco Tranzitions don’t have steel reinforcements in the frame, it did a great job. It offers side impact protection that wasn’t tested in this accident. And the 5-point harness kept the little girl safe in her seat.

Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat

So far, I didn’t hear from any of our friends that they have done a real crash test. So I can only judge the car seat by its stats.

The frame is sturdy and has been reinforced by steel. So no matter what happens, it will stay intact and keep your child safe. It has the ProtectPlus safety mechanism. This means that your kiddo is safe from the front, rear, side, and even rollover accidents. As you know, the rollover accidents are the deadliest.

Last but not least, I have to mention the 5-point harness, which is the safest one on the market. Slowly it’s getting to be the standard.


I call this a tie because even though the Tranzitions have less protection, it has done a phenomenal job protecting a child from harm.

Size Limits

This is my second most important section. And I will share with you a secret way to save money without compromising safety.

Let’s face it car seat is expensive, and they need to be replaced frequently. What if you don’t have to? You see, if you choose a 2 in 1 or 3 in 1 car seat, you will just have to buy one and not multiple ones. This is how you can save money without compromising safety.

Graco Nautilus 65 high-back booster car seat

The Graco Nautilus is a front-facing car seat with two modes. The first one is for smaller kiddo with the harness mode, and the second option is the booster mode.

The lower limit for the harness mode is 22 pounds. It’s highly recommended to do rear-facing until your child reaches two years of age. That’s the safest position for them

The upper limit for the booster mode is 100 pounds or 57”.

The car seat weighs 25.2 pounds.

Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat

On the other hand, the Graco Tranzitions have a 3 in 1 solution. This is a forwards facing car seat as well. It comes with two modes harness, high back booster, and backless booster mode.

The minimum requirements are the same, and so are the maximum.

The main difference between the two car seats is that the Tranzitions are lighter; it’s just 18 pounds.


The Graco Tranzitions won this because it offers more versatility.


child car seat installation 4We all know that there are some extremely difficult car seats to install. Now we’re in luck. These Graco car seats are all easy to get installed.

I won’t break down this because they are all too similar. So I won’t bore you by repeating myself.

First up is the Graco Tranzitions. The installation is fairly simple; it both supports latch, and seat belt install. Do remember to use the seat belt only after your child reached 45 pounds.

You have to remove the back cover and then feed the seat belt or the latch through the opening. After this comes the harder part. You either sit in the seat or pull the strap, or you push down with your knee to get a snug fit.

The Graco Nautilus is a bit different. The mechanics are quite similar. You have to remove the back cover and open the Snugtight door. Behind that compartment, you have to run the seat belt or the latch.

Now, if you use the latch system, here’s a simple trick to get the tightest install. All you have to do is remove the armrest fabric and pull the strap through the opening towards you. It’s better than pulling it the other way.

One disappointment with both latch systems is that they are the first generation. Graco, it’s time to update.


The point goes to Graco Nautilus.


As we all know, kids are clumsy sometimes, so they leave a mess behind. This is why you will need to know everything there’s to know about the fabric.

First of all, you will find out how easy it is to remove it. You will get a lot of practice if you have to adjust the seat frequently. Since both car seats are made by Greco, the whole thing is the same. The removal is super easy.

After that, you drop it in the washing machine (machine washable) on a gentle program. Also, don’t forget to use cold water. And to be long-lasting air dry it. Machine washable covers are the most convenient ones for parents.


It’s a tie.

Bonuses and Features

At the moment, the Graco Tranzitions and the Nautilus are tied. Let’s see if the secondary features will break the stalemate.

Since these car seats cater to older children, a cup holder is a must. Now both car seats have two. This is perfect since you can keep drinks in one and toy in the other one.

To get the most comfortable position, a recline position is a must. The Graco Nautilus offers two, and the Tranzitions doesn’t have one.

However, the Graco Tranzitions cover the lost ground by having more headrest options than the Nautilus.

Here’s one more important thing to know. Pick any of these car seats, and you will never have to manually rethread the harness. This is a real plus. I hate it with a passion because I could never get it right.


It’s a tie again.

Graco Nautilus 65 high-back booster car seat

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3 in 1 Harness Booster Car Seat

  • 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 Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat

  • Finally, a super lightweight car seat that’s easy to transition in and out
  • It has a narrow profile so three car seat can be fitted in the back
  • The cushion gives extra comfort, so it’s good on long road trips
  • The armrest feels short you can only utilize them in backless booster mode
  • It’s not the prettiest car seat around it gives a cheap feeling

Final Recount

Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 harness booster car seat (1/5)

Graco Nautilus 65 high-back booster car seat (1/5)

The other categories were a draw.

Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus Verdict

These two car seats are tied. This has never happened before. So who’s the winner?

Well, let’s review it a bit. First of all, in the safety department, the Graco Nautilus offers more protection than the Tranzitions. However, the Tranzitions have been tested in a real crash.

In the size limits categories, the Graco Tranzitions won because it has more versatility, and it’s lighter than the Graco Nautilus.

In the installation, the Graco Nautilus has beaten the Graco Tranzitions. In other categories, they were the same.

It’s a tough call, and I have to go back to safety. Since the Graco Nautilus offers more protection, that’s why I choose it as the winner.

We have reached the end of the Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus comparison. By now you should know which car seat is the best fit for you. Now it’s your turn. Order it as soon as possible because stocks are running low.

If you have some tricks or tips, let me know in the comments section below.

Catch you next time!

Graco Nautilus SnugLock LX 3 in 1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Codey
  • SnugLock Installation Technology – installs in less than one minute with either vehicle seat belt or LATCH
  • Converts from 5-point harness car seat (22-65 lbs.) to highback booster (40-100 lbs.) to backless booster (40-100 lbs.) to a slimmer backless booster (40-120 lbs.)
  • Removable armrests for a better fit that keeps your child protected up to 120 lbs. for longevity of use, in keeping with American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations
Graco Adjustable Baby High Chair, Booster Seat, Portable & Travel-Friendly, Essential for Infants & Toddlers, Up to 6 Months
  • Multi-Purpose: Functions as a high chair, booster seat and portable travel chair
  • Adjustable: Customizable adjustability for baby's comfort and safety
  • Portable: Designed for easy transport and setup whenever on-the-go

Related: Graco 4Ever DLX Review – The Safest and Comfiest Car Seat?

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

What is the difference between Graco WAYZ and Tranzitions?

There’s no significant difference between the Graco Wayz and Tranzitions. The only thing that I’ve managed to find is the color. The Graco Wayz only comes in red while the Graco Tranzitions has more color options.

Is Graco Tranzitions FAA approved?

Yes the Graco Tranzitions is FAA approved and airplane use ready.

How long are Graco Nautilus car seats good for?

Graco Nautilus car seat is good for 7 years after the date of manufacture.

Graco Nautilus 65 vs Graco Tranzitions what kind of car seat modes do they offer?

The Graco Nautilus 65 is a convertible car seat from harness booster car seat it can be turned to a booster seat. The Graco Tranzitions on the other hand it one of the combination seats. A combination seat means that it can be combined into multiple car seats. From harness booster car seat it can be turned into one of the back boosters and into a backless booster car seat. These two car seats can only be installed in forward facing mode. As you can see it’s not an infant car seat.

Nautilus 65 vs Tranzitions what are the weight limits?

The weight limit for the Nautilus 65 is 22 to 100 pounds. With Tranzitions the weight limit is the same. For the booster weight we can differentiate the harness which is up to 65 pounds. After that the booster weight is 100 pounds. These car seats can be used until 57 inches tall.

Nautilus 65 vs Graco Tranzitions what safety features does it have?

First of all it’s easy to install that’s a safety feature on its own. The 5 point harness will keep your child safe no matter what. There’s thigh support and full body support. There’s enough side impact protection. As you know side impact protection is getting more important nowadays. The simply safe adjust harness system is a time and lifesaver at the same time. The locking clip will keep the shoulder belt from slipping.

What is the simply safe adjust harness system?

The simply safe adjust harness makes the harness adjustment effortless by removing the manual rethreading part. The harness and headrest move at the same time. Adjusting makes it easy for any height. The harness straps will never twist. The harness covers are washable. No rethreading of the harness and headrest is genius.

Graco Nautilus 65 vs Graco Tranzitions which one is the most comfortable one?

When we’re talking about the comfort we have to talk about recline positions. The more recline positions a car seat has the more comfortable for the child. The Graco Nautilus 45 has four recline positions while the Tranzitions doesn’t have any. What about cup holders? Well, the Nautilus 65 has only one cup holder while the Graco Tranzitions has two cup holders. The headrest positions are adjustable for extra comfort.

Tranzitions vs Nautilus 65 which is the easiest to install?

Since they are front facing there’s one installation for them. For the Nautilus 65 you can choose the vehicle seat belt installation with the help of belt guides. Or there are the lower anchors the latch system. The Tranzitions vehicle seats can only be installed with the belt path. The belt guides makes the seat belt install easy. Either convertible car seat does a great job with the install. The top tether adds extra support and stability.

Last Updated on October 26, 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!