Faceoff: How Do the Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 and Graco Milestone All-in-1 Compare in Terms of Features, Ease-of-Use, and Installation?
I recently purchased a Graco Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat. At 30 lbs, my 3.5 year old daughter hardly needs the 50 lb rear-facing weight limit, but she’s had a recent growth spurt in her legs and so I thought she might enjoy the option of the added legroom. Her current favorite seat is the Graco Milestone and so I was curious as to how these two 3-in-1 seats from Graco would compare.
The Graco Milestone (left) and Extend2Fit 3-in-1 (right) side-by-side in store at Babies R Us.
First, let’s define 3-in-1 in this situation, since there is no industry-wide accepted meaning. Both the Milestone and the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seats are able to be used rear-facing, forward-facing, and as highback belt-positioning boosters. Unlike the Graco 4Ever car seat or the upcoming Graco 4Ever Extend2Fit All-in-One, neither of these seats becomes a backless booster.
Both the Milestone and the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seats are rated to accommodate children from infancy to 100 lbs; however, a major difference is their rear-facing weight limits. The Milestone can be used rear-facing from 5-40 lbs, which is typical amongst current seats. Provided that they meet any height requirements, a 40 lb rear-facing limit will allow most children to rear-face until they are well into the preschool years. The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 car seat offers a 4-50 lb rear-facing weight limit, which is the highest available in the United States. Neither the Milestone nor the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 seat has a rear-facing standing height limit and so the only height limitation specifically for rear-facing is that the child have 1” of clearance between the top of the head and the red or gray headrest handle — which can be moved into any of ten positions. As a result, even tall children will be able to rear-face in either of these seats for a very long time. For heavier children, the 50 lb rear-facing weight limit on the Extend2Fit 3-in-1 means that even a boy in the 97th percentile for weight can rear-face past his 4th birthday.
These two seats have many similar features such as push-on lower anchor connectors, no re-thread harness, infant padding, removable harness pads, a convenient storage compartment for stowing the harness when the seat is in high-back booster mode, machine-washable soft goods, and Graco’s “roller bar” harness system on the back of the seats which allows the caregiver to tighten the harness quite smoothly. However, there are also some notable differences, which are summarized in the table below:
|Ball-style level indicator with one rear-facing recline age range
||Bubble-style level indicator with two rear-facing recline age ranges (0+ and 3+ months)
|Four recline positions: Two recline positions only for rear-facing, one only for forward-facing, and one for either forward-facing or belt-positioning booster
||Six recline positions: Three recline positions only for rear-facing, one for rear-facing or forward-facing, one only for forward-facing, and one for either forward-facing or belt-positioning booster
|12” legroom when rear-facing
||12 – 17” legroom (depending on the setting of the 5-position extension panel) when rear-facing
|No specific feature for holding the harness back when loading/unloading; however, the loops on the harness straps prevent the buckle tongues from sliding all the way down
||“Fuss Free” buckle pockets for holding the harness out of the way when loading/unloading
||Exposed back allows access to the harness straps
|No special weight-specific rules for forward-facing
||Harness covers must be used if the seat is used forward-facing for a child under 25 lbs. Recline 6 must be used for a forward-facing child over 40 lbs.
|One cupholder that can be moved to either side or removed to save space
||Two required cupholders
Rear-Facing Fit to Vehicle
Extend2Fit 3-in-1 in a 2010 Subaru Impreza
The true test of a seat that claims to be both compact and spacious is how (or whether) it will fit in a small vehicle.