- What is the Difference Between Graco Grows4Me and Extend2Fit?
- Table: Specification Comparison – Graco Grows4Me VS Extend2Fit 3-in-1
- NHTSA Ease-of-Use Rating
- Tables: General Features Comparison – Grows4Me VS Extend2Fit – Similarity Highlight
- In-Depth Analysis of Both Seats – Which is The Winner?
- Final Wrap-Up – Decision Making: Which Should You Go For?
What is the Difference Between Graco Grows4Me and Extend2Fit?
The Graco Grows4Me is a budget-friendly 4-in-1 convertible car seat that offers four-seat modes, including the backless booster seat, while the Graco Extend2Fit is a 3-in-1 convertible car seat – rear-facing, forward-facing & highback booster seat.
However, the Grows4Me is similar to the popular and premium 4Ever DLX 4-in-1 car seat. You can read a comparison review of the 4Ever DLX vs Extend2Fit here.
The Extend2Fit car seat has three other series, including 2-in-1, Platinum 3-in-1, and the 4Ever Extend2Fit – a 4-in-1 model.
The major difference between the Grows4Me and Extend2Fit is the number of seat modes.
Other significant differences between both seats are:
- Compatibility with a vehicle: The Extend2Fit is slimmer (19.0 inches; 2.5 inches slimmer) than the Grows4Me and will fit better in a compact vehicle, while the latter, in mid-size and bigger vehicles
- The Extend2Fit is more preemie friendly (starting at 4 lbs.) and offers extended usage in rear-facing up to 50 lbs and 49 inches, with an additional 4-inch extension panel for extra legroom as your bundle of joy grows. The Grows4Me has RF usage at 5-40 lbs and doesn’t have the extension panel.
- The Grows4Me has limited installation features that make installing a regular Graco car seat easier. These include the InRight LATCH system and the integrated belt lock-off. The Extend2Fit features the InRight LATCH system, while the 4Ever Extend2Fit series includes the integrated lock-off.
- The Grows4Me has limited ease-of-use, comfortability, and other miscellaneous features, which makes handling a regular Graco car seat reasonably easy. Some of these features include; harness holders, recline level indicator, number of cups, number of newborn inserts, and colors.
- The Extend2Fit (20.61 lbs.) is relatively ‘lighter’ in weight than the Grows4Me (22.5 lbs.), with a difference of about 2 lbs. The bulkiness is to be considered if you’ll often be switching between cars.
Read on to learn more in detail about the differences and similarities in the Grows4Me and Extend2Fit car seats and key decision-making factors based on the following:
- Ease-of-use rating
- Safety and crash tests
- Pricing and other parents’ feedback assessment
Table: Specification Comparison – Graco Grows4Me VS Extend2Fit 3-in-1
|Product dimension (inches)||20D X 24H X 21.5W (wider)||20.75D X 24.5H X 19.0W|
|Product weight||22.5 lbs. (heavier)||20.61 lbs.|
including backless booster seat
|Extension panel (extra legroom)||❌||✔|
Recommended weight range
5 – 110 lbs.
4 – 120 lbs.
|Recommended height limit||57 in||57 in|
|Rear-facing weight limi||min. 5 lbs.; max. 40 lbs.||min. 4 lbs.; max. 50 lbs. (extended usage in RF)|
|Rear-facing height limit||min. 19 in.; max. 40 in.||min. 19 in.; max. 49 in. (extended usage in RF)|
|Forward-facing weight limit||min. 22 lbs.; max. 65 lb.||min. 22 lbs.; max. 65 lb.|
|Forward-facing height limit||min. 29 in.; max. 49 in.||min. 29 in.; max. 49 in.|
|Highback booster seat weight limit||min. 40 lbs.; max. 100 lbs.||min. 40 lbs.; max. 100 lbs.|
|Backless booster seat weight limit||min. 40 lbs.; max. 110 lbs.||4Ever Extend2Fit 4-in-1|
min. 40 lbs.; max. 120 lbs.
|Booster seat height limit||min. 43 in.; max. 57 in.||min. 43 in.; max. 57 in.|
|Check on Walmart||Check on Walmart|
NHTSA Ease-of-Use Rating
The National Highway Transport and Safety Agency (NHTSA) provides a simple evaluation of car seats based on how easy it is to use different features in different modes. There is an overall ease-of-use rating for each seat to help you make a quick and informed decision.
This rating is based on four categories:
- Evaluation of Instructions
- Vehicle Installation Features
- Evaluation of Labels
- Securing the child
- 5 Stars = Excellent features
- 4 Stars = Above-average features
- 3 Stars = Average features
- 2 Stars = Below-average features
- 1 Star = Poor features
- N/A = Does not contain any features that require a rating
|NHTSA Ease-of-Use Category||Grows4Me||Extend2Fit|
|Rear-facing – overall rating||⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Forward-facing – overall rating||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
|Booster – overall rating||⭐⭐⭐⭐||⭐⭐⭐⭐|
Tables: General Features Comparison – Grows4Me VS Extend2Fit – Similarity Highlight
|Side Impact Protection||✔||✔|
|5-point Harness System||✔||✔|
|Exceeds federal safety standards||✔||✔|
|Crash tested|| ✔ || ✔ |
|IIHS rating for Booster seat mode||✔✔ Best Bet||✔✔ Best Bet|
|LATCH/LUAS/ISOFIX system||✔ – standard J-hook LATCH system||✔ + InRight™ LATCH attachment – easier installation with LATCH|
|Safety seat belt||✔ – standard method||✔ – standard method|
|Fits 3 Across Back Seat||❌||❌|
|Extension panel (extra legroom)||❌||✔|
(to hold harness back while getting your child out of the seat)
|Harness adjustment||✔ Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System||✔ Simply Safe Adjust™ Harness System|
|No-rethreading of harness||✔||✔|
|Car seat cover||✔ Easy to remove||✔ Easy to remove|
|Headrest adjustment||10 positions||10 positions|
|Recline positions||6 positions||6 positions|
|Recline Level Indicator||Ball||Liquid bubble|
(easier to read)
|Rear-facing recline position||– Position 1: best for newborn|
– Position 2
– Position 3
|– Position 1: best for newborn|
– Position 2
– Position 3
– Position 4
|Forward-facing recline position||– Position 4|
– Position 5
– Position 6
|– Position 4|
– Position 5
– Position 6
|Booster seat recline position||– Position 6||– Position 6|
|Removable cups||1 (round)||2 (square)|
Comfortability of a Child
|Soft plush fabric||✔||✔|
|Removable newborn inserts||1 (body support)||2|
Longevity, Suitability and Compatibility
|Longevity & Suitability features||Grows4Me||Extend2Fit|
|Expiration||10 years (from Date of Manufacture)||10 years (from Date of Manufacture)|
|FAA Approved (RF & FF only)||✔||✔|
|Suitable country by law||USA||USA|
|Vehicle compatibility||Compatible with mid-size, full-size, vans and SUVs vehicles||Compatible with compact, mid-size, full-size, vans and SUVs vehicles|
|Country of Origin||China||China|
|Body framework||Steel-reinforced frame||Steel-reinforced frame|
In-Depth Analysis of Both Seats – Which is The Winner?
Going through the tables above and the differences highlighted earlier in the article, you will be conversant with each of these car seats by now.
The following will cover an in-depth analysis of these differences under specifications, features, installation, ease of use rating, safety, and crash rating tests of both car seats, and we can tell which is the winner.
There are significant differences between both seats here:
Product Dimension & Weight
The Grows4Me is wider (21.5 inches vs 19.0 inches) and heavier (22.5 lbs. vs 20.61 lbs.) than the Extend2Fit.
What this means is that the Grows4Me will take more space in the vehicle and will fit better in bigger cars. The Extend2Fit, on the other hand, will fit better in compact vehicles; even though it may not fit three across the back seat, it can serve as a third car seat.
On the other hand, the weight will be a factor to consider if you will be switching between vehicles often, even though the difference in weight is not much.
Here the Extend2Fit wins.
Seat Modes, Weight and Height Limits
The Extend2Fit comes in four series; 4Ever 4-in-1, 3-in-1, 2-in-1, and the Platinum, while the Grows4Me is a 4-in-1 car seat.
The 2-in-1 model is a rear- and forward-facing convertible car seat; the 3-in-1 includes a highback booster mode, while the 4-in-1 consists of an additional backless booster mode.
On the other hand, the Platinum is a 3-in-1 model but includes extra features – the Rapid Remove Cover, just like the 4Ever DLX, and the EZ Tight™ LATCH system, which is different from the InRight™ LATCH attachment in the 3-in-1 and 4-in-1.
Beyond these, the weight and height limits for both seats are different.
The maximum weight limit for the Grows4Me is 110 lbs. and 120 lbs. for the 4-in-1 series of the Extend2Fit and 100 lbs. for the other series. And the maximum height is 57 inches for both.
The Extend2Fit has an extended usage in rear-facing mode – 4lbs-50 lbs., 49 inches, and an additional 4-inch extension panel for extra legroom.
This gives the Extend2Fit a comparative advantage over the Grows4Me, albeit at an additional cost. You can also enjoy the additional backless booster mode in the 4-in-1 series.
Understanding both car seats better include learning about their features and what makes them different.
On the one hand, both seats are relatively similar in common features that cut across many Graco car seats. On the other hand, there are distinct differences that make one stand out over the other which also causes one to be more expensive.
The following will highlight in detail the features of both seats.
As with all car seats, safety is the most important feature and is controlled by stringent federal requirements to ensure they meet standards. Therefore, all car seats are SAFE.
The Grows4Me and Extend2Fit are similar in safety features and, therefore, are equally safe.
They both feature:
- Side Impact Protection,
- Include 5-Point Harness System,
- Exceed Federal Safety Standards,
- Are Crash Tested, and
- Pass IIHS Rating for Booster Seat mode.
This is where the onus on their differences lies.
Having the rest of mind that a car seat will protect a child starts in the installation process. A car seat should be relatively easy to install.
The Grows4Me has limited installation features as compared to other Graco models. Nonetheless, the standard installation features in the Grows4Me are still easy to install, just with a little more effort, and are also secure.
The Extend2Fit, on the other hand, features the Graco traditional InRight™ LATCH system, which makes installation super easy and secure.
The Extend2Fit Platinum comes with a little twist. It features an EZ Tight™ LATCH system, which involves a 3-step installation process.
The 4Ever Extend2Fit series includes the integrated lock-off belt system, while the others feature the standard method.
The most significant difference between the Grows4Me and Extend2Fit ease-of-use features is the 4-position adjustable extension panel that provides extra legroom in the Extend2Fit car seat. This gives more comfort to a child.
Other differences include;
- Harness holder: A feature that allows getting your child out of the car seat easily without the harness disturbing. The Grows4Me lacks this feature while it is present in the Extend2Fit.
- Rapid Remove Cover: This removes the car seat cover in under 1 minute. Only the Extend2Fit Platinum series has this feature. The other models lack it but are also easy to remove.
- Level indicator: This is a non-significant difference but is worth mentioning. The Grows4Me features a ball level indicator, while the Extend2Fit features a liquid bubble level indicator which is easier to read when installing the car seat.
- Removable cups: The Grows4Me has only 1 round cup while the Extend2Fit features 2 square cups.
Comfortability of a Child
Nothing beats the comfort of a child in a car seat.
While many car seat companies ensure their seats are comfortable enough depending on the model, Graco generally makes all their car seats very comfortable.
However, the number of removable newborn inserts is a notable difference between the Grows4Me vs Extend2Fit. The former features one newborn insert (body support) while the latter features two (head and body support).
The Grows4Me 4-in-1 and Extend2Fit 3-in-1 expires ten years from the date of manufacture.
This means your child will only need one car seat through their growing years.
This makes it important to choose the right car seat that meets your needs as well as your budget.
Do note you are to stop using a car seat immediately after it expires or when involved in an auto crash.
You can learn more about how to check if your car seat is expired.
The Graco Extend2Fit and Grows4Me are approved for use in airplanes.
Either seat must be used on forward-facing airplane seats. They can be used in rear- or forward-facing mode but must not be used in booster mode as airplanes do not have shoulder belts.
Final Wrap-Up – Decision Making: Which Should You Go For?
From this comprehensive comparative review between the Graco Grows4Me vs Extend2Fit, we would have seen the significant differences between both seats.
This shows the significant differences between the seat.
Nonetheless, what should help you in making a decision in choosing between these seats are your basic needs and budget.
If you are on a slim budget and getting your ‘second’ or subsequent car seats, the Grows4Me 4-in-1 car seat is a great option that offers the wide choice of an all-in-one car seat.
You’ll only miss the basics in features such as level indicator, limited two color options, harness holders, one single cup, one newborn insert, 110 lbs. weight limit in the backless mode in the lower weight limit (preemie friendly)
If you are getting your very first car seat for your newborn and need a car seat that will accommodate any eventuality (your newborn’s weight), this will be your best shot.
The Extend2Fit 3-in-1 affords more ease-of-use features, which makes you offer your newborn extra comfort while learning how to use and handle a car seat for the first time.
Subsequent times you may consider the Grows4Me and save some extra money then.
Here are similar comparison reviews on Extend2Fit and Grows4Me and other car seats.