Reviews Archive

Graco Argos 80 Elite Review – It Just Keeps Getting Better

Graco Argos 80 EliteThe Graco Argos 80 Elite is an upgraded version of the original Graco Argos 70 Elite that we reviewed thoroughly here. This Argos 80 model offers plenty of safety, comfort and convenience features which make this seat an excellent choice for families looking for a sturdy, comfortable, forward-facing only seat with a no-rethread harness that will grow with their older child.

The Argos 80 is a forward-facing “combination” seat (Graco refers to it as a “Harnessed Booster”) that can be used with the 5-point harness until the harness is outgrown by weight or height and then the seat can be used as a belt-positioning booster using the vehicle’s lap/shoulder seatbelt. In booster mode you have the option to use the seat with the back (highback booster) or without the back (backless booster). I like to think of combination seats as “Stage 3″ seats that are most appropriate for kids over age 2 who have outgrown their convertible seats. Despite being labeled as a 3-in-1 carseat, the Argos 80 cannot be used rear-facing which is confusing for many parents who have come to associate the term “3-in-1″ with a product that can be used rear-facing, forward-facing and as a booster. If you’re looking for a rear-facing/forward-facing/booster seat, see our reviews of the Graco 4Ever All-in-One and Graco Milestone All-in-One.

Graco Argos 80 Elite Specs:

  • 5-point harness: Forward-facing only for kids 20-80 lbs, at least 1 year old, height 27- 52″ tall (shoulders must be at or below top harness slots).
  • Highback booster with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 30-100 lbs., approximately 3-10 years old, height 38 – 57″ (top of ears must be below the top of the head support).
  • Backless booster with vehicle lap/shoulder belt: 40-120 lbs., approximately 4-10 years old, height 40 – 57″ (must have adequate head support from the vehicle).

Graco Argos 80 Elite Features:

  • Graco Argos 80 Elite - lockoffNo-rethread harness
  • 3 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Standard hook-style lower LATCH anchor connectors (LATCH limit is 42 lbs.)
  • Lockoff for installations with seatbelt
  • Energy-absorbing EPS foam
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Height-adjustable head support
  • 3 Recline positions on base
  • Integrated cup holder and storage cubby
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft (with 5-pt harness)
  • 10 year lifespan before expiration

Argos 80 Elite Measurements:

  • Lowest harness height setting:  12″
  • Tallest harness height setting:  18″
  • 3 Crotch strap/buckle positions:  5.5″, 7″, 8.5″
  • Booster height:  20″ to bottom of shoulder belt guide with headrest in max height position
  • Weight:  21.8 lbs. (according to my digital bathroom scale)

Graco Argos 80 Elite - lowest height setting Graco Argos 80 Elite - tallest height setting Graco Argos 80 Elite

Graco Argos 80 Elite Graco Argos 80 Elite - 3 crotch strap positions

The Argos 8o Elite model comes with a lower body support insert, crotch strap/buckle cover and harness strap covers. Remove the lower body insert if child weighs more than 35 lbs. The crotch strap/buckle cover is entirely optional. The harness strap covers have a grippy material on the back and they are REQUIRED when using the harness at any weight.

Graco Argos 80 Elite - harness strap covers 2

Installation/Fit-to-Vehicle Comments:

Evenflo Triumph Convertible Review – Tried and True

TEvenflo Triumph ProComfort - greenhe Evenflo Triumph convertible has been around in various incarnation for many years. It’s been refreshed several times and continues to be a solid performer. The Triumph is easy to install, very easy to use correctly, comfortable and a good value. In a market dominated by very expensive, and very inexpensive convertible seats – the Triumph is reasonably priced somewhere in the middle. It’s not the cheapest convertible on the shelf but it’s certainly not the most expensive either.

The model I have for review is the Triumph “ProComfort” LX in “Hutchinson” green fashion which is a Target Exclusive. Hot pink “Melrose” is also an option. MSRP is $159.99

Other retailers like Walmart and Babies R Us have their own exclusive versions of this seat. Walmart has the “SureSafe” Triumph LX which has nice, push-on lower LATCH anchor connectors. Babies R Us has the “Platinum” Triumph with OUTLAST temperature-regulating fabrics. A non-exclusive Triumph LX version is also available at Amazon and other online retailers.

The Evenflo ProComfort model at Target offers buckle pockets and “Gel Matrix Technology” in the cover to reduce pressure points and improve child comfort. This review will focus on that particular model but most of the info listed applies to all Triumph LX models with a weight limit of 65 lbs. All the newest versions of this seat have dual integrated cup holders which makes it easy to differentiate the newest models from previous Triumph models.

Triumph Specs & Features:

  • Rear-facing from 5-40 lbs.; 19- 37” tall and top of head is at least 1″ below top of carseat
  • Forward-facing from 22-65 lbs.; 28-50” tall and at least 1 year old (AAP recommends rear-facing until at least age 2)
  •  “Infinite Slide” harness system
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • Durable, energy-absorbing EPP foam
  • Dual integrated cup holders
  • Buckle Pockets (on certain models)
  • FAA approved for use in aircraft
  • Made in USA!

Triumph Measurements:

  • Lowest harness height: 7″
  • Highest harness height: 16″
  • Crotch strap/buckle position: 7″ and 9″
  • Seat pan depth (leg room/thigh support): 13″
  • Overall internal height: 23″
  • External width at widest point: 20″
  • Width of base: 14.5″
  • Weight: 18 lbs. (according to my digital bathroom scale)

Evenflo Triumph - naked  Evenflo Triumph - naked

Installation Comments:

Britax Boulevard ClightTight Convertible Review: Sometimes Things Just Click

Britax Blvd CT - greenCar seats have come a long way in the past decade or so, with new seats frequently hitting the market. Usually the new seats include nicer features, or a lower price point, or something that makes them appealing, if not groundbreaking. But every now and then, comes something that is truly groundbreaking—something that fundamentally changes the stakes. The Britax ClickTight convertibles have been touted as that “game changer,” and for months now, people have been anticipating their release and wondering if they will live up to the hype. Is ClickTight just some gimmick, or is it a game-changer in the car-seat world? We’re happy to give you our opinion in this review of the Britax Boulevard ClickTight convertible car seat.

Before we get started, here’s a quick overview of the differences between the three new ClickTight convertibles, the Marathon CT, Boulevard CT, and Advocate CT. All Britax CT convertibles have the ClickTight Installation System, an impact-absorbing base with 7 recline positions, rip-stitch energy-absorbing tether, HUGS harness pads, a steel reinforced frame, EPP foam and other side-impact protection features. 

  • Britax Marathon ClickTight - This model has a no-rethread harness and standard rubber HUGS pads. The top harness slot height and the overall height are about 2 inches shorter than the Blvd CT and Advocate CT models.  MSRP $329.99
  • Britax Boulevard ClickTight - All the features of the Marathon CT plus SafeCell HUGS pads; deeper headwings; “Click & Safe” snug harness indicator, top harness slots and overall height 2″ taller than Marathon CT. MSRP $369.99

Britax MA CT - SIP Britax SIP Blvd CT - stock Britax SIP Advocate CT - stock

Each Boulevard ClickTight model comes with an easy-to-remove cover, EZ-Buckle System (keeps buckles and straps out of your way when placing your child in the seat), optional infant body insert for newborns, optional harness strap covers, energy-absorbing HUGS pads, and a tether connector strap for tethering the seat “Swedish style” in the rear-facing position.

Britax vehicle seat protector mat, waterproof seat saver liner and protective travel bags are also available. An anti-rebound bar will be available as an accessory (for purchase separately) sometime in early 2015.

Britax vehicle seat protector - stock britax seat saver waterproof liner britax travel bag

The pattern shown in this review is called “Circa”.  There are several other fashions currently available for the Boulevard CT.

britax-blvdCT-metrobritax-blvdCT-splashbritax-blvdCT-circa fashionbritax-blvdCT-kaleidoscopebritax-blvdCT-blakeney-BRUexclusive

MSRP for the Boulevard is $369.99 but you may be able to find lower prices online.

Boulevard CT Specs:

  • Rear-facing 5-40 lbs.
  • Outgrowing this seat in the rear-facing position by height won’t be an issue because it’s so tall that all kids (even the really tall, really skinny kids) will fit height-wise if they are still under 40 lbs. Children can rear-face until their heads are one inch below the adjuster on the headrest, which can be fully extended.
  • Forward-facing 20-65 lbs., 49″ or less, at least 1 year old*
  • LATCH limits: 35 lbs rear-facing, 40 lbs forward-facing (child weight only)
  • FAA approved for use on aircraft
  • 10 yr lifespan before seat expires
  • Made in the USA!

*Britax recommends that children ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height specified

Boulevard CT Features:

  • ClickTight installation system (also acts as a built-in lockoff device)
  • Complete Side Impact Protection PLUS  - deep protective shell and energy-absorbing headrest
  • 14 position headrest with no-rethread harness
  • 2 crotch strap/buckle positions
  • EZ-Buckle System keeps buckles and straps out of your way when loading and unloading child
  • Steel reinforced frame
  • Impact-absorbing base – these cells compress in a crash, which lowers the center of gravity of the child and reduces forward head excursion
  • Energy-absorbing, rip-stitch Versa-Tether®
  • Energy-absorbing EPP foam that lines the entire back and sides of the plastic shell
  • 7 recline positions to help achieve a proper recline angle in any vehicle
  • Smooth bottom base with grippy edges that won’t damage vehicle upholstery

      naked bvct1 naked bvct 2 bvct bottom 

Boulevard CT Measurements:

Diono Rainier Review: Diono Adds Depth to Its Convertible Lineup

Rainier HoundstoothAround eight years ago, a folding carseat with steel metal structure hit the market and made quite an impact on the way children started riding in cars. The Radian was a tall, skinny seat with a low profile that made it ideal for narrow seating positions and tight 3-across scenarios. Then in 2009, a headrest was added for more side impact protection. A branding change in 2011 allowed Diono to update the Radian line to include belt guides so the carseats could further their usefulness as belt-positioning booster seats. Now, in 2014, Diono has introduced the Rainier, Pacifica, and Olympia line of carseats. Diono has beefed up the upper torso and head area to provide even more side impact protection. This review will cover the Rainier model.

Rear-Facing Weight Limits Forward-Facing Weight Limits Booster Weight Limits Features


Olympia Graphite

5-45 lbs. 20-70 lbs. 50-110 lbs.
  • shoulder belt guide for booster use is attached to fabric cover


Pacifica Sunburst

5-50 lbs. 20-90 lbs. 50-120 lbs.
  • added structural support for weight limits
  • infant support pillows
  • memory foam under bum
  • shoulder belt guide for booster use is attached to fabric cover


Rainier Orchid

5-50 lbs. 20-90 lbs.  50-120 lbs.
  • added structural support for weight limits
  • infant support pillows
  • memory foam under bum
  • adjustable headrest
  • shoulder belt guide for booster use is attached to headrest
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Rainier Basics

  • 5-50 lbs. rear-facing with at least 1.5” of carseat above the child’s head or total height of 44”
  • 20-90 lbs. forward-facing with a child less than 57” tall
  • 50-120 lbs. as a booster with a child less than 57” tall and child’s shoulders must be at or above the 4th set of harness slots


  • Full steel frame and aluminum reinforced sides
  • SuperLATCH™ connectors with Secureweave™ webbing
  • Aluminum reinforced 12 position adjustable headrest
  • Folds flat for travel or storage
  • Can be tethered rear-facing
  • Energy absorbing EPS foam in headrest and torso area
  • Infant body support cushions and memory foam for added comfort

Rainier without cover head low Rainier without cover head high Rainier without cover head offset Rainier without cover side