Original Graco SlimFit All-in-One Car Seat Review
UPDATE: We have a separate review here for the ultra-slim SlimFit3 LX 3-in-1 model. The SlimFit3 LX model is even slimmer than the original model since it was specifically designed for 3-across situations, but it’s also more expensive than the original Graco SlimFit model in this review.
A common issue that parents and caregivers encounter with their car seats relates to space in the backseat. Whether it is due to a small vehicle, a growing family, or vehicle limitations, having enough space for multiple car seats in your backseat can be an issue.
The original SlimFit 3-in-1 was introduced many years ago with space issues in mind. This narrow and affordable Slimfit model is intended to solve at least some of your carseat space woes and not break your bank account in the process.
SlimFit 3-in-1 Specs
- Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. and top of head is 1″ below red adjuster handle
- Forward-facing (with harness): 22-65 lbs. and 49″ or less
- Highback booster: 40-100 lbs.; 43-57″ and at least 4 years old
- No-rethread harness with 10 position headrest
- Adjustable base with 4 recline positions (2 for rear-facing, 2 for forward-facing)
- Steel reinforced frame
- Energy-absorbing EPS foam
- Premium push-on lower LATCH connectors (LATCH limit: child weight of 45 lbs.)
- Dual cupholders which can be rotated away to save space
- IIHS Best Bet Booster Fit Rating
- Ten-year expiration date
- Made in China
- MSRP $219.99 (although currently on sale for 25% Off)
- Lowest harness height (with infant insert): 7″
- Highest harness height: 18”
- Tallest booster height: 18.75″
- Crotch buckle positions: 5″, 6.25″, 7.5″
- Internal seat width: 12″
- Widest external width: 18.5
Comparison of Original SlimFit & New SlimFit3 LX Models
The original SlimFit is very similar to the Graco Milestone, with some minor differences. You can see the pink Milestone (pictured below) and the Slimfit next to it with its dual cupholders swiveled in. They are so similar, in fact, that I was skeptical about whether the SlimFit really offered any additional advantages over my beloved Graco Milestone. Could I really fit a SlimFit somewhere that I couldn’t fit my Milestone? Could I find a seat that I loved even more than my Milestone? I am happy to say that I think I have!
First of all, the installation of the SlimFit is very easy, just like my beloved Milestone. The instructions are easy to understand and the seat features premium push-on LATCH connectors.
The SlimFit has 4 recline positions: two for rear-facing, 2 for forward-facing. In my vehicle, I was able to install it rear-facing in either of the two recline allowable recline positions.
I was able to install SlimFit rear-facing and still fit comfortably in the front seat but I’m only 5’4″ — your mileage may vary.
Forward-facing, SlimFit installed easily with either the seatbelt or LATCH. Use one system of the other to install. Do not use LATCH and seatbelt simultaneously.
LATCH Weight Limits
Forward-facing LATCH weight limit: 45 lbs.
Center LATCH installations with Non-Standard Spacing:
Graco does NOT allow a LATCH installation with the SlimFit in a center seating position where you would have non-standard spacing due to borrowing of lower anchors. You may only install with LATCH in the center position if your vehicle has dedicated LATCH anchors for the center.
Inflatable Seat Belts
Graco has determined that the SlimFit CAN be installed with inflatable seat belts found in some Ford/Lincoln vehicles.
Installation Next to Other Seats
With only two children, I don’t routinely need to do a 3-across, but I do appreciate the ability to install seats side-by-side on occasion. This allows a third adult to ride in the vehicle, if needed. I appreciated being able to install the rear-facing SlimFit in the center when we went on a road trip with a tall adult travel companion. Since we would be switching drivers, it was important that neither of the front seats were too cramped. I was not going to be switching the car seats around every time we stopped at a rest stop. Putting the SlimFit in the center seating position meant that either of the front seats could be adjusted to a safe position for my tall friend.
While the SlimFit definitely fits nicely next to other seats, it is not a guarantee that it alone will solve your space issues.
A rear-facing and forward-facing SlimFit could fit side-by-side very nicely. In fact, as you can see in the picture below, they puzzle together so well that in my vehicle they didn’t even touch one another.
Again, all of these configurations were done in my Subaru Impreza, which is not exactly known for its spacious back seat. In some larger vehicles with more room to work with, the options for other seats may be more varied.
Fit to Child
The SlimFit features an optional body support that can be used to provide a better fit for newborns and smaller babies. The body support is required if the baby’s shoulders are below the lowest harness setting but is optional for larger babies. There is also a removable headrest pillow and harness strap covers, both of which are entirely optional. My children didn’t need the body support insert, so we removed that. Both of them liked the headrest pillow and found it to be nice and cushy for sleeping.
My 4.5-year-old is 33 pounds and 39 inches, so she doesn’t meet the minimum weight or height requirements (40 lbs. & at least 43″ tall) for using the Slimfit as a booster. She still rides in a 5-point harness anyway and we’re in no hurry to move her to a booster. However, I did try her in the seat with just the seatbelt to see how the belt fit was. We didn’t drive anywhere but here are a few pics. The belt fit was decent, but she is definitely too small to use the seat in booster mode.
Converting Between Modes
Moving the LATCH strap from the rear-facing beltpath to the forward-facing beltpath is fairly easy and convenient. The seat has one LATCH strap which slides under a metal bar. Here is a video showing how to move the LATCH strap from the rear-facing beltpath to the forward-facing beltpath (and vice versa). The video demonstrates how to do this on a different Graco models but the process for moving the LATCH strap is the exactly the same on the original SlimFit.
The harness components on SlimFit do not have to be removed when you change the seat to booster mode. To convert the seat to booster mode, slide the buckle tongues and chest clip pieces together, then store them in the convenient storage compartment under the cover.
If you had the SlimFit installed forward-facing with LATCH, you can even make the switch to booster mode while the seat is still installed. Graco allows you to secure the SlimFit with LATCH while using it in booster mode as long as the installation does not interfere with access to the seatbelt buckle.
Care and Maintenance
The SlimFit cover is relatively easy to remove and is machine washable. The cover is attached mostly with clips and elastic bands and the removal is quite intuitive. Just for fun, before watching any videos or reading the instructions for removal, I timed myself removing the cover. It took me 2 minutes and 15 seconds and didn’t cause me to rip anything or throw a tantrum. Re-attaching it wasn’t difficult either, although in the meantime you have to make sure you don’t lose the little white plastic anchors while the seat cover is in the wash.
The Graco SlimFit 3-in-1 is a compact, versatile, affordable seat that fits a wide variety of children. It offers all the important features like a no-rethread harness, multiple recline positions, premium push-on LATCH connectors, a harness that is a breeze to tighten and loosen, plus dual cupholders! The low profile design makes it easy to load and unload your child, and eventually makes it easier for them to climb in and out on their own. The SlimFit also scores an IIHS Best Bet Booster Fit Rating.
The original Graco SlimFit is easy to install and use correctly in all modes of use. Overall, you won’t find a better car seat for this price!
Updated February 2024