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From long-established American buggy and car seat brand Graco, the Slimfit All-in-One claims to be ‘the only car seat you’ll ever need’.
Transforming from a suitable-from-birth baby seat, into a toddler-friendly car seat and eventually into a high-backed booster for children up to the age of 12, it’s one of only a handful of group 0+/1/2/3 seats on the market – and one of the cheapest, with an RRP of £169.99. Excellent value if you’re planning to use it for its full lifespan.
Its aesthetics may lack the finesse of other similar seats in the category, and its sheer height may be a problem for parents in smaller cars, but the Graco Slimfit All-in-One can certainly compete with the best of them in safety, comfort and sturdiness.
Jenny lives in London and is a mum of two children, aged five and seven. She tested the Graco Slimfit All-in-One Car Seat on short daily drives to school and the shops, and on a longer journey to visit family.
What were your first impressions of the Graco Slimfit car seat?
For something that has ‘slim’ in its name, it doesn’t look or feel particularly compact. In fact, it’s surprisingly heavy (nearly 9kg) and big – although measurements-wise, it’s fairly average, at around 54cm wide. It looks and feels sturdy and safe, and comfortable too, with plenty of padding.
How does it compare to other 0+/1/2/3 car seats?
There are a few 0+/1/2/3 car seats on the market, which span an age range from birth right up to approximately age 12. The Joie Every Stage (£249.99 on Amazon) is one of the best known and most popular in this category and is £10 more expensive than the Graco Slimfit. It’s very similar in features – offering extended rearward-facing to 18kg and forward-facing up to 36kg. The differences are minimal – the Joie Every Stage offers 6 recline positions to Graco Slimfit’s 4, and has two mesh storage pockets, but the Graco Slimfit has a cup holder.
The flashier Joie Every Stage FX is almost identical to the Every Stage, however its £60 more with an RRP of £240 and it is installed via Isofix.
The Cosatto All in All Rotate (£239.95 on Amazon) is another more expensive option that can be secured via Isofix and also has the option of seat belt installation. It has the same seating options as the Graco Slimfit All-in-One and it has a swivel function for easy access to your child. Plus it’s available in a number of colourful patterns, a signature of the Cosatto brand.
How does it compare to other car seats you’ve tried?
We’ve used Group 0+ Maxi Cosi car seats when our kids were younger, and the Graco Slimfit All in One is obviously much larger and less portable, as you’d expect from a seat with a significantly longer lifespan.
There’s no carry handle (as you would find on many baby seats) and it doesn’t attach to a travel system. Now our children have started school, we currently have a Britax Romer and a Pampero high-back booster – the Graco Slimfit is significantly taller and wider than both of these in high-back booster mode.
What age is the Graco Slimfit car seat suitable for?
It can be used as a rear-facing seat with 5-point harness from 5kg to 18kg (birth to up to four); forward-facing car seat with 5-point harness from 9kg to 18kg (around nine months to four); and a forward-facing high-back booster from 15kg to 36kg (from approx. 4 up to 12 years old). We tested it with a five-year-old and a seven-year-old. It feels and looks secure for all stages, and I’d be happy using it at any age.
How easy is it to install in the car?
The Slimfit doesn’t use Isofix, unlike many other comparable Group 0+/1/2/3 car seats. It has a base that fixes securely using the vehicle’s seat belt. The instructions (which can be stored in a handy integral pocket at the back of the car seat) are long-winded and complicated, with lots of diagrams – it took me around 20 minutes to work out how to install the seat correctly.
However, once it’s in, it felt tightly fixed in place, with no movement whatsoever. Many online reviewers like that the seat belt is threaded behind the seat padding, ensuring it’s a safe and snug fit.
It’s relatively easy to convert the seat between modes – for example, the harness tucks away inside the seat when it’s being used as a booster; and the harness height adjusts automatically when you’re altering the headrest, which saves a lot of faffing about and takes the worry out of making sure it’s all positioned correctly.
What’s the Graco Slimfit car seat harness like?
No problems with the harness here. The five-point harness fixes securely with a slim buckle at the front, which I could easily release one-handed.
Some online reviewers found the buckle slightly fiddly to secure, but this wasn’t an issue for me.
What do you think of the car seat’s look?
It’s both big and clever! Fitting three functions into one seat is no mean feat, and while this does mean it’s bulky, it looks and feels good quality.
Available in several colour variations (mixing black with red or grey), it’s not going to win any beauty contests or awards for fashion innovation, but it’s been well thought-out in terms of comfort and safety and it looks far more expensive than its price tag.
Does the Graco Slimfit car seat feel safe?
Although the seat doesn’t use Isofix, it still feels very sturdy and safe. The sides of the seat provide protection, as do the large ‘wings’ on the headrest. Graco state the seat contains ‘energy-absorbing foam’ and offers ‘TrueShield Safety Surround Side Impact Protection’, providing enhanced head protection for every age stage; it has also been both side impact and ProtectPlus engineered (which entails some of the most rigorous crash testing).
On Amazon, where the seat is rated 4.7 out of 5, many shoppers agree that the seat feels safe, reassuringly sturdy, with a really cushioned seat.
What are the seat’s recline options?
The seat has 4 different reclining positions, depending which mode you have it in – there are 2 forward-facing and 2 rearward. I particularly like how quick and easy it is to switch between the positions – you just press a lever under the front of the seat.
How comfortable is the Graco Slimfit car seat for your child?
Both our children loved sitting in it. There is a LOT of padding, which can be added or taken away as your child grows. Almost all of the padding and covers are washable, as well as being easy to remove. My son, 7, said it was the comfiest car seat he’d ever sat in – praise indeed!
This opinion is mirrored by many of the online reviews of the Graco Slimfit All-in-One Car Seat – the overwhelming majority of parents loved how cosy and content their little one looked in the cushioned seat.
The Graco’s name suggests it’s slim – is this the case?
In comparison to its competitors however, it is slightly skinnier – all three of its closest rivals are bigger, most notably the Cosatto All in All Rotate, which at 60cm is 6cm wider.
How’s the height of the Graco Slimfit car seat?
Our biggest problem was the height. The base is fine in baby seat or toddler seat mode, but became a pain as a booster seat. With the height adjusted correctly for my 7-year-old, the Slimfit actually felt too tall for our car – a smallish Honda Jazz.
In fact, the height of the headrest combined with the width of the side ‘wings’ actually blocked almost half of our rear windscreen – something we haven’t had a problem with when using other car seats. I think this would be okay if you have a big car – a people carrier or SUV; however, if you have a small car, this may not be the seat for you.
At its highest it is 86cm tall, which is a whopping 10cm bigger than the Joie Every Stage, the second tallest of its closest competitors, while compared to the Kinderkraft MyWay and Cosatto All in All Rotate, both are over 25cm shorter.
The sheer scale of the Graco Slimfit is an overriding issue in many online reviews of the car seat, with a number of shoppers struggling to fit it into smaller cars.
Is it easy to clean?
Yes. Almost all the covers are machine washable and can be removed and re-attached easily.
What’s in the Graco Slimfit’s box?
Car seat, instructions, cup holder (which can be fitted onto either side of the seat) are all included. No other accessories are needed.
What feature do you like most about the Graco Slimfit All-in-One Car Seat?
It has to be the fact that one seat fits all, right up to age 12. Buying car seats can be daunting and costly – this takes away that worry.
Is the Graco Slimfit good value?
Yes – compared to other, pricier seats, there are 3 main differences: its look and style; the fact it doesn’t swivel (which some parents prefer with very little babies); and that it doesn’t connect with Isofix. If these factors aren’t an issue for you, there’s very little you’re missing out on with this.
Where can I buy the Graco Slimfit from?
It’s available from Halfords, Amazon and Argos.
A great-value, sturdy-yet-sizeable all-rounder of a car seat that offers plenty of comfort and safety features that will last you from birth right up to age 12. Perfect for families with a wide spread of ages, just be sure your car is big enough for this hefty seat!