Graco Vs Maxi Cosi: Pros, Cons & Recommendations

graco-vs-maxi-cosi-comparison

Welcome to the Graco Vs Maxi Cosi car seat showdown!

After spending the last month testing both brand’s car seats, chatting with moms, looking up recalls, checking consumer reports and taking my kids on different trips in different seats meanwhile my husband was enjoying some quiet time, honey you owe me a big one, I’m ready to reveal which brand is the best choice.

Look:

Let it be Graco or Maxi Cosi they both make great car seats, and finding the perfect fit for your needs, it can take a lot of time (weeks if not more). This is why I decided to give you a hand and speed the process up by strapping my 3 kids in the car and drive to get their feedback.

I’ve tested these seat side by side and in categories. I’ve pitted the best Graco infant seat with the best Maxi Cosi, then convertibles and finally all-in-one seats.

I’ve evaluated everything there’s from safety features, comfort, installation, how fast they fall asleep and, of course, value for the money.

Here’s some peace of mind for you; all these seats will protect your kids no matter what; you can’t go wrong with these.

Let’s just see the winning seats already!

Graco SnugRide 35 vs Maxi Cosi Mico

Direct Comparison Maxi Cosi vs Graco Infant Car Seat

Graco SnugRide 35 Maxi Cosi Mico
VS Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Seat Maxi Cosi Mico Infant Seat
Safety EPS energy-absorbing foam 5-point harness EPS energy-absorbing foam 5-point harness
Size Limits 4 to 35 pounds 32” 5 to 30 pounds 32”
Installation InRight LATCH system Latch and Seat belt
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Newborn Padding Included Built In
Stroller Compatibility
Breathable Fabric
Price

The Winner is: Graco Snugride

Why is Graco Snugride better than Maxi Cosi Mico?

  • The Graco Snugride won because you get a lot more use out of it, from 4 pounds all the way up to 35 pounds.
  • If you happen to have a preemie, then even they will be snug and safe in this infant seat.
  • It’s known that the Graco installation is one of the easiest to do; you can’t mess it up.

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

  • Love at first sight: The safety features are top of the line, and besides that, it’s comfortable. My baby didn’t make a squeak while in it
  • Head Flopping Cured: I know how ugly and potentially dangerous head flopping is, and luckily, there’s no such thing as the Graco Snugride
  • Ugly Duckling? No, the photos are not doing justice for this car seat. In reality, the carrier is a lot better. The colors are more pronounced and good to look at. It even has a luxurious feeling to it
Pros
  • If you value safety and comfort, this is the car seat for you
  • It’s easy to use even grandparent hands can adjust it
  • It’s compatible with Graco strollers no converters are needed
Cons
  • It will give you a decent workout if you have a heavy baby
  • Few people reported that the chair wiggled

Graco Extend2Fit vs Maxi Cosi Pria 85

Direct Comparison Maxi Cosi vs Graco Convertible Car Seat

Graco Extend2Fit Maxi Cosi Pria 85
VS Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car Seat Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car Seat
Safety EPS energy-absorbing foam
Steel Frame
Duo Guard Protection
5-point harness
EPS energy-absorbing foam
Steel Reinforced Frame
Air Protect
5-point harness
Size Limits Rear Facing 4-50
Front Facing: 22-65
49”
Rear Facing 14-40
Front Facing: 22-85
57”
Installation InRight LATCH Seat Belt and Latch
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Cup Holder 2 Built In 1 Built In
Recline Position 6 3
Rethread Harness
Extended Use
Price

The Winner is: Graco Extend2Fit

Why is the Graco Extend2Fit better than Maxi Cosi Pria 3-in-1?

  • Maxi Cosi has removed their dedicated convertible car seat, and this is the closest match to it. So I will be comparing it to convertible standards and ignore the 3-in-1.
  • The Extend2Fit convertible is a rare one that allows extended rear-facing up to 50 pounds
  • The Maxi Cosi is a huge car seat, and it won’t fit in many cars, while the Extend2Fit is a space saver
  • Graco is an affordable brand so that you will be saving money without any compromises.

Here’s why the Graco Extend2Fit is a must-buy:

  • Incredible safety ratings: I’ve checked on Consumer Reports, and dang, this car seat is one of the safest convertibles on the market
  • Won’t be tempted to throw it across the yard: I know we all been there when after half an hour of blood, sweat and tears, the installation isn’t good enough. This won’t happen with the Graco
  • Budget-Friendly: You’re getting both safety and comfort without breaking the bank. Plus, you can use this seat for up to 10 years talk about money-saving
Pros
  • It’s one of the easiest to install can be done in less than 5 minutes
  • There’s no manual rethreading of the straps ever
  • The fabric is easy to wash even after a vomiting incident
Cons
  • The release button is hidden, and if you have big hands it’s hard to reach
  • You need to watch videos to put the fabric back into place

Graco 4Ever vs Maxi Cosi Magellan

Direct Comparison Maxi Cosi All in One Seat vs Graco All in One Seat

Graco 4Ever Maxi Cosi Magellan
VS Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-One Car Seat Maxi Cosi Magellan All-In-One Convertible Car Seat
Safety EPS Energy-Absorbing Foam
Steel-Reinforced Frame
Protect Plus
5-point harness
Energy-Absorbing Foam
Polymer Truss System
Air Protect
5-point harness
Size Limits Rear Facing Mode: 4-40
Harness Mode: 22-65
Booster Mode: 40-120
57”
Rear Facing Mode: 5-40
Harness Mode: 25-65
Booster Mode: 40-120
57”
Installation Inright LATCH Seat Belt and Latch
Fabric/Material Machine Washable Machine Washable
Cup Holder 2 Built In 2 Removable
Recline Position 6 7
Headrest Position 10 14
Rethread Harness
Breathable
Price

The Winner is: Graco 4Ever

Why is the Graco 4Ever better than Maxi Cosi Magellan?

  • The main reason why the Graco 4Ever won was the feeling of safety because it has steel reinforcements.
  • Also, this car seat is not an elephant-like the Maxi Cosi, and it will fit in most cars.
  • It’s a budget-friendly car seat and great for bigger families with multiple vehicles.

Here’s why the Graco 4Ever is a must-buy:

  • No cursing during installation: Finally, a car seat that won’t bring the drunken sailor out of you while getting the perfect mounting
  • Super safe: This car seat is one of the best when it comes to safety. It has everything to keep that little life safe for many years to come
  • The only car seat you will ever need: This seat was meant to grow with your child. Plus, you can use it for up to 10 years, so that’s a lot of money saved on different stage car seats
Pros
  • It’s easy to install might be the easiest of them all
  • No more rethreading the straps ever
  • The fabric removal is super-fast you don’t need a photographic memory either
Cons
  • The straps tangle up too fast, and it’s a pain to undo them with a protesting child
  • The cup holders fall off way too easily

Car Seat Buyer’s Guide

At the end of the comparison, I usually help you with a quick buyer’s guide.

These are the most important elements that you have to check out when you’re buying a car seat.

First up is safety. The more it’s packing, the safer it is. All car seats are indeed safe. While some offer the bare minimum, I like to go with those who offer everything like side-impact and if it has rollover protection as well.

Next up is the size limits. It’s super important how much mileage you’re getting out of the seat. The more time you can use it, the more money you’re saving. The ultimate money-savers are the all in one solution.

The third important element is the installation. As you have seen in this comparison, some car seats are easier to install than others. It’s good to know ahead of time, so you’re not spending time in frustration.

The last important one is fabric. Kids will be kids, and they will have accidents, and they will spill stuff. So it’s good to know what kind of washing capabilities you have at your disposal.

Finally, I look at the secondary features. Sometimes there’s gold hidden amongst them.

Graco vs Maxi Cosi Infant Car Seat

The first category in which I compare these car seats is the infant car seat. This is the first stage. From birth, you will be able to use it. The infant car seat is called an infant carrier. These carriers can only be mounted in the rear-facing mode. Also, they are very easy to install, plus you can carry your little one wherever you go.

Typically you can attach them to strollers for making a travel system.

From Camp Graco, we have the SnugRide 35, and from the Maxi Cosi camp, we have the Mico.

Graco SnugRide 35 Short Review

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Platinum XT Infant Car SeatThe young family was traveling on the road. The parents were in the front, and their little one was enjoying the trip in the back. When they were crossing an intersection, they got T-boned.

The impact was so powerful that their car started rolling over. Metal bent and twisted under the huge force. The windshield exploded into a million tiny particles. The airbags deployed saving the lives of the parents.

After a few seconds, the car came to rest in the ditch. Even though the airbags did their job, the parents got hurt. They suffered severe whiplash with minor bruises. Their son, on the other hand, was perfectly safe. He wasn’t hurt a bit.

The Graco Snugride Infant Seat has everything you will ever need to protect your little one. It comes with an energy-absorbing base that protects your baby in case of a crash. This is done by absorbing impact energy and not allowing it to travel up into your little one’s body.

Here’s the good news. The infant carriers are the easiest to install. As you upgrade, they are getting harder and harder. This infant car seat can be installed with the base or without it. This means that you don’t have to buy a second base if you have multiple cars.

For the install, you can use the latch or the seat belt. The Snugarm makes the install effortless. All you have to do is guide the latch or the seat belt through the belt path and then pull down the arm. That’s it, you’re done. No force required.

The biggest difference between the Snugride and the Mico is that you get more mileage out of it. The upper limit is set to 35 pounds while the Mico only supports 30. The later you update, the more money you’re saving.

Maxi Cosi Mico Short Review

Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car SeatThe Maxi Cosi Mico is a good infant carrier to have. When it comes to security, it’s one of the few car seats that have a load leg. What’s a load leg? Well, according to their research, the load leg reduces impact energy by 40%.

Other brands use impact-absorbing foam or crumpling cells. Sadly I don’t know how efficiently do they absorb impact energy.

It seems that you can’t use the Mico Infant Seat as long as the Snugride. The upper limit is set to 30 pounds. The lower limit is a bit higher than the Snugride. So if you have a super small newborn, this might not be the right choice.

The installation is quite odd. I mean, the latch install is fast and easy. You connect and pull the end of the tail until it’s tight enough. The seat belt installation is a bit weird. You have to use the manual belt lock-off. From my experience, the latch system is much easier.

Once you have the base installed, you can easily move the carrier from it to a stroller or your hand. The carrier is lightweight so you can take it with you no matter where you’re going.

Graco vs Maxi Cosi Convertible Car Seat

These convertible car seats are for the next stage of development. They tend to cater to older kids from toddlers and above. They are called convertible because you can mount them in two different ways in rear and forwards facing mode. It’s highly recommended to keep your child in the rear-facing mode because that’s the safest for them.

From Camp Graco, we have the Extend2Fit, and from the Maxi Cosi camp, we have the Pria 85.

Graco Extend2Fit Short Review

Graco Extend2Fit Convertible Car SeatsThe family just left the grandparents’ house.

Their 11-month old was asleep in the back. It was an uneventful drive until a drunk driver slammed into them head-on.

He was speeding as well. The crash was devastating. The two cars got instantly totaled. Metal screeched and twisted under the huge pressure. The windshield broke into pieces, and the airbags deployed with a loud bang. It wasn’t over yet.

The impact had so much force that their car did a 180 and spun across two lanes. Finally, they stopped in the ditch. When they came through their first reflex was to check on their child. He was crying. Luckily there was nothing wrong with him. The car seat did its job and protected him. The parents got a few cuts and bruises, nothing serious.

These accidents could’ve gone horribly wrong. Luckily the parents thought ahead and got the right car seat. Plus, they have installed it correctly.

In the protection department, there’s no difference between the two car seats. Let’s take a look at the size limits.

It’s interesting to see that the two convertibles cater to different audiences. The Graco goes after the younger generation while the Maxi Cosi goes after the older one. The Extend to fit caters to infants and longer rear-facing mode. You will be able to take your little one home from the hospital with this car seat. This is an excellent solution for parents who want to do extended rear-facing.

As you know, rear-facing provides the most protection for kids. With the Extend2Fit, you will be able to do it until they reach 50 pounds.

The biggest issue with the convertibles is the installation part. Remember, my friends did the perfect install if they wouldn’t like who know what could’ve happened.

Here’s the truth. The seat belt installation is a lot easier than the latch system. All you have to do is put the seat belt through the right belt guide and pull it until it’s tight, and you’re done.

As for the latch system to get the perfect install, you will need to remove the cover from the cup holders. Then you have to pull the tail through the small hole. If you have small hands, then you have an advantage. After that, you have to pull the tail towards the inside of the seat. That’s the only way to get it tight.

Maxi Cosi Pria 85 Short Review

Maxi-Cosi Pria 85 Convertible Car SeatThis incident happened with some friends of ours.

They were heading out to vacation with their little one in the back sleeping.

They had not gotten far when they got rear-ended by an inattentive driver. It wasn’t any ordinary car that ran into them. It was a tractor-trailer traveling at 70 mph. You can imagine the devastation that a truck like this can cause.

The father tried it’s best to keep their car under control, but he lost it eventually. The car skidded side to side until it eventually came to rest in the ditch.

The parent’s first reaction was to check on their child. They got relieved when they saw that he wasn’t hurt. He was shaken up and wide-eyed, but there were no injuries what so ever.

The Pria did a great job of protecting the child. The steel-reinforced frame probably came handy in this accident.

Besides this, it comes with the air protect the system. This means that your child is in safety no matter what happens. The Air Protect offers safety against the rear, front side, and even rollover crash. As you know rollover crashes are the deadliest ones.

The biggest difference between the two car seats is in the size limits section. The Pria helps you keep your child safe in extended harness mode. The rear-facing mode is the safest for smaller kids. Harness mode is the safest for older kids. With the upper limit set to 85 pounds or 57” you will get a lot of mileage out of this car seat.

The installation is quite easy. You can use the latch system or seat belt. Either way, you have to feed the belts through the same hole. A bit of force is required to get it tight.

There’s a minor difference between the Pria and the Extend2Fit. The Maxi Cosi Pria 85 only comes with one cup holder. This car seat caters to older kids, so two is way better because next to drinks, they could store other things.

Graco All in One Car Seat vs Maxi Cosi All in One Car Seat

All in one car seats are a great solution if you’re looking to save money without compromising safety. This will be the first and last seat you will need. It will serve your little one from the day of birth until they get their driver’s license. These car seats cost more upfront, but you have to pay that once, and you have it for the next few years to come.

From Camp Graco, we have the 4Ever, and from the Maxi Cosi camp, we have the Magellan.

Graco 4Ever DLX All-in-One Car Seat Short Review

Graco 4Ever Best Graco Car SeatThe little girl asked her mother, “What was that big bang?”

Little did she know they just survived a horrible crash. They were heading home. Out of nowhere, another driver slammed into them. The impact came head-on.

The crash was so powerful that it deformed the engine into an unrecognizable shape. And it wasn’t over yet. The impact put the car into motion. The car has spun around flew across to oncoming traffic. To make things worse, all the tires blew out.

The mother was lucky because the airbags protected her. The little girl was lucky because she was in the Graco 4Ever car seat. The aftermath of the crash two-car totaled. The little girl went to kindergarten the next day. The mother went to the hospital with a broken nose and a few bruises.

In the safety department, there’s a small difference between the two seats. The Graco has a steel-reinforced frame while the Maxi Cosi only uses a high strength plastic. They have been tested in some serious crashes, so they work splendidly.

The installation is quite easy, and it’s similar to the models mentioned above. With the latch system you once they are connected, you have to pull the tail until it’s tight. The seat belt install it’s much easier with the 4Ever. All you have to do is guide the belt through the right hole, and you’re done.

There’s only a minimal difference between the two seats. Let’s see how the Magellan will do.

Overall the Graco 4Ever is the best Graco car seat for the money.

Maxi Cosi Magellan All-In-One Convertible Car Seat Short Review

Maxi-Cosi Magellan Best Maxi Cosi Car SeatMy brother was the one who tested this car seat’s safety features…

He took his son out for a routine shopping run. He parked and jumped into the store to buy a few things. His son was preoccupied with some toys.

Not even a minute had passed when he heard a loud crash. He couldn’t believe his eyes. A driver just T-boned his car. The impact happened on the side where his son was sitting. He dropped everything from his hands and ran to his car.

He was acting on instinct. He ripped open the car door, and then he saw his son.

He was playing with his stuffed animals as if nothing has happened. He only started crying when he saw his dad’s panic.

These car seats are the ultimate money savers. You buy them once, and they will serve you for the years to come. From infancy up to young adulthood these car seats will keep your kids safe.

The only difference in the safety department is that the Maxi Cosi is made out of a strong polymer, and it doesn’t have steel reinforcements. It did its job perfectly in the crash above.

These car seats are truly one size feats all from 5 pounds up to 120 pounds. They can be used. There’s not much difference between them.

Let’s take a look at the installation. With the Maxi Cosi Magellan, the seat belt installation is the easiest. All you have to do is feed the seatbelt through the right hole and pull it tight. The latch install is super complicated. You have to remove the cup holders and the fabric to get access to the latch system.

You almost have to completely disassemble the car seat. It doesn’t matter that you’re doing a front or rear installation. You have to do the procedure both times.

Conclusions

We have reached the end of the Graco and Maxi Cosi comparison. Both brands came out strong. Each of them won one round, and the second came down to your preference.

By now you should know which car seat is the right fit for you. Now it’s your turn to take action. Last time I’ve checked, the stocks were running low, so get them fast.

I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions, please drop a comment below.

Catch you next time!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):

Is Maxi Cosi better than Graco?

Maxi Cosi makes the most comfortable car seats. If that’s the most important thing then yes the Maxi Cosi is better.

What is the safest car seat on the market?

The safest car seat is made by Britax. It’s called Britax Advocate.

Is Maxi Cosi a good brand?

Maxi Cosi is an excellent brand. They have won multiple awards in the comfort department.

Maxi-Cosi vs Graco which is bet if you have smaller babies?

As a first-time new parent I know how much life changes with a child. If you have smaller babies then the infant insert is required. All Maxi cosi and Graco seats come with it by default. Don’t forget to keep your little one in rear-facing position as long as possible because that’s the safest. It’s good to keep your child in rear facing mode until their second birthday. For extended rear-facing weight limit go with the one that offers 40 pounds or even 50 pounds rear facing. Most car seats can do both rear-facing forward-facing. A typical weight limit for rear facing is 4 to 40 pounds (45 pounds).

Maxi Cosi seats vs Graco seats what is the weight range?

Make sure you keep in mind that the higher weight range the more use you’re getting out of these car seats. If you have an infant carrier look at the seat weight because that has to be carrier around. The maximum weight with car seats is 120 pounds or 100 pounds and the minimum weight limit is 4 pounds or 5 pounds. The weight and height limit goes hand in hand. The typical expiration date is set 10 years from the date of manufacturing. 20 pounds forward-facing is the first level for an upgrade. There’s forward facing standards as well. For a forward-facing car seat the weight limit is 20 to 65 pounds.

Graco car seats vs Maxi Cosi which one has the highest safety standards?

Convertible car seat like the maxi-cosi pria 85 max is one of the safest seats on the market. It has adjustable crotch strap positions the crotch buckle can be moved so it doesn’t dig into the thighs. The chest clip should below the armpit level. The seat also a harness system and the seat comes replacement parts for harness adjustment.

Graco car seat vs Maxi Cosi is there an alternative?

Yes, the Diono radian 3rxt or the Britax marathon clicktight pops into mind. They both have easy to remove machine washable car seat cover and no-rethread harness.

Graco seats vs Maxi-Cosi car seats which one has the best installation system?

The easy installation is key for any parent let’s see how do these compare. These car seats can be mounted with the seatbelt installation or with the latch connectors. With the vehicle seat belt you have to feed it through the belt paths and you’re done. Whichever you choose make sure that there is enough legroom for the back row, passenger seat and front seat. The pool noodle come handy when you need a bit more angle.

What car seat features should you look at before buying a toddler car seat?

The key features for one year old and above are a great headrest for the child’s head. Good recline settings for road trips. Now when it comes to backless booster seats recline angle and harness holders are a good thing to have. Adjustable harness straps and washable seat pad along the passenger side is a plus. This is where made seats graco are dominating. They make the best car seat for toddlers.

Graco vs Britax which one should I choose?

For most people, the better choice is the Britax brand.

Last Updated on October 16, 2021