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Graco Tranzitions Vs Nautilus: Which One Is The Best Car Seats on Budget?  

By Jennifer Ward

Graco Tranzitions or Nautilus are the best high-back convertible booster car seats under $200. If you’re on a budget and you need a toddler car seat that provides the best value for money. Let’s figure out Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus; which is the best one on a budget?   

Tranzitions and Nautilus Both are top-rated car seats for toddlers up to 12 years old and have gone through extensive safety tests. These car seats have a longer duration, up to ten years after the manufacture. If you have toddlers or big kids (one year to twelve years), Graco Tranzitions and Nautilus are both can absorb immense force during a crash. While Graco Tranzitions is more compact than Nautilus, the latter is more versatile with its three-reclining positions. So, without further ado, let’s go in-depth comparison of both car seats.  

Graco Tranzitions Vs Nautilus  

Let’s begin with the Graco Transition first!  

Graco Tranzitions- In a Nutshell 

Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 is a convertible car seat for toddlers up to big kids. Its compact design is a great fit for using up to three seats simultaneously. The car seat is 26.5 inches high with an adjustable headrest that carries up to 100 lbs. For using the high-back or the backless booster modes, your baby must be at least four years old. This car seat is lightweight, features a 5-point harness, and passed several safety tests, including the side impact test.  

  • Three convertible modes  
  • It’s lightweight and compact   
  • Adjustable headrest   
  • Gone through rigorous safety tests  
  • More Affordable  
  • Machine washable seat pad   
  • It has a 5-point harness mode    
  • It can be installed with both seat belts and LATCH connectors  
  • Back anchor can be difficult to clip on  
  • Armrests are short  

Graco Nautilus – In a Nutshell  

Graco Nautilus 65 is also a forward-facing convertible car seat that accepts babies from 22 up to 100 lbs. The car seat base has three reclining positions to nest your kiddos in comfort. Graco Nautilus is easier to install and ensures sung fits so that the seat doesn’t wobble while traveling. Besides, the car seat is easy to use, machine washable, and lasts long, up to 10 years after manufacture.  

  • Three convertible modes  
  • 5-adjustable headrests  
  • 3-position reclining base  
  • Easier to install  
  • Passed intensive safety tests  
  • Durable and machine washable  
  • Bulkier than Graco Tranzitions 

Graco Tranzitions Vs Nautilus Comparision Table 

Features Graco Tranzitions Graco Nautilus 
Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1Graco® Nautilus
Car Seat Type  Harness Booster Harness Booster 
Car Seat Mode 3-in-1 3-in-1 
Weight Limit Forward-Facing Harness: 22-65 lbs. High-Back Belt: 30-100 lbs. Backless Booster: 40-100 Forward-Facing Harness: 22-65 lbs. High-Back Belt: 30-100 lbs. Backless Booster: 40-100  
Age Limit One year+ up to big kids One year+ up to big kids  
Recline Positions  No 
Machine Washable Cushion Yes Yes 
Cup Holder  Two One 
Headrest Position 8  
Product Weight 20 20.5 
Installation Type LATCH & Seat Belt SnugLock 
Item Dimensions LxWxH ‎19 x 17.4 x 26.5 inches ‎18 x 20 x 28 inches 
View on AmazonView on Amazon

Graco Tranzitions Vs Nautilus Comparision In Detail 


Graco Tranzitions looks classic with its full black appearance, adjustable features, and sleek and compact design. On the other hand, Nautilus 65 bravo is a combination of trendy grey and black. In terms of form factor, Nautilus is a little bit bigger than Tranzitions, two inches larger in height and three inches wider.  

So, if your vehicle seat has limited space, Graco Nautilus might not be a perfect fit there. On the other hand, Graco Tranzitions 3-in-1 is more compact and conveniently fits in most vehicles.  

Design Rating  

  • Graco Tranzition 3-in-1: 4/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 3.5/5  


Build material should ensure the baby’s comfort and safety, as well as it should be easy to maintain. The build material of Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus includes polyester, metal, and plastic. You can easily remove the seat cover and seat pad for machine wash, and metal and plastic parts, including the harness and buckle, can be cleaned by using a damp cloth.  

Both car seat materials are easy to clean, so it’s a tie here!  

Material Rating:  

  • Graco Tranzitions: 4/5  
  • Nautilus: 4/5  


In terms of safety between Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus, both are phenomenal and undergo several safety tests rigorously, including frontal, side, rear, and rollover crash tests, and come along with a 5-point harness system. However, Graco Nautilus features a steel-reinforced frame, whereas, Tranzitions 3-in-1 has better side impact protection.  

Due to the steel-reinforced frame, the Graco Nautilus has the edge over the Tranzitions 3-in-1.  

Safety Rating:   

  • Graco Tranzition: 4/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 4.5/5 

Weight & Height Limit  

Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus are equally compatible with carrying babies from one year up to 12 years, and both have similar weight and height limits in the following:  

  • Forward-Facing Harness Mode Weight and Height Limit: 22-65 lbs. up to 49″  
  • High-Back Belt Mode Weight and Hight Limit: 30-100 lbs. and 43’’-57″  
  • Backless Booster Mode Weight and Height Limit: 40-100lbs. and 43’’-57’’  


  • Graco Tranzition: 4/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 4/5 


Graco Tranzition 3-in-1 Car Sear Installation: Step by Step  

You can use LATCH and seat belt methods to install Graco Tranzitions inside your car. It’s recommended to use the seat belt if your little rider is 45 lbs. or more.   

LATCH Installation  

  • Step 1: Place the Graco Tranzitions on the vehicle seat and connect the lower anchors on each side. After connecting, pull on from each side to ensure the lower anchor is connected properly.  
  • Step 2: Pull the lower anchor strap and push the car seat simultaneously so you can tighten it. In order to pull the strap, you can remove the car seat cover from the side and later replace the cover accordingly.  
  • Step 3: Now thread the top tether strap through the headrest and attach it to the vehicle slot at the back of your vehicle seat.  
  • Step 4: After connecting all the attachments, check out the car seat is tightened enough and adjusted properly; the seat should move less than one inch.  

Seat Belt Installation (Reminder: use it if the passenger is 45 lbs or more)  

  • Step 1: Unlock the top tether from the back of the car seat and put it over the back of your vehicle seat. Then place the car seat on the vehicle.  
  • Step 2: Uncover the forward-facing belt path from the back of the car seat. To do so, you have to pull the seat back at its highest mode and twist the seat cover from the back.  
  • Step 3: Thread the vehicle seat belt through the forward-facing belt path and buckle it from one side.   
  • Step 4: Now, pull the vehicle seat belt slowly from another side and let it retract. Push the car seat and let the seat belt be retracted as much as possible. It will tighten the car seat.  
  • Step 5: Connect the tether with the vehicle tether anchor.  
  • Step 6: Try to move the car seat back and forth, side by side, to check it’s securely installed.  

Graco Nautilus Installation: Step-by-Step  

  • Step 1: Place the car seat on the vehicle   
  • Step 2: Route the vehicle seat through the seat belt guide and buckle it from one side  
  • Step 3: Pull out the seat belt from another side and retract the seat belt. After that, push the car seat and again retract the seat belt, so it gets tightened properly.  
  • Step 4: Connect the top tether to the vehicle tether anchor at the back and pull the tether straps.  
  • Step 5: Now move the car seat side by side, back and forth, to check it’s securely installed.  

Besides, you can follow National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to know how you can safely use and correctly install your car seats. Between Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus, Nautilus is easier to install than Tranzitions.  

Installation Rating:  

  • Graco Tranzitions: 3.5/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 4/5  


Car seats should not only keep your kiddos safe, but they ought to be comfortable to ride in. Considering the comfort between the Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus, Nautilus has three reclining positions, which is convenient for a long journey. On the other hand, Tranzitions has no reclining positions. So, kids might be uncomfortable if they stay in one position for a longer duration.  

The reclining seat keeps Nautilus distinctly ahead of Tranzitions in terms of comfort.  

Comfort Rating  

  • Graco Tranzitions: 4/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 4.5/5  

Ease Of Use   

While comparing the ease of use between Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus, the Graco Tranzition is slightly better than Nautilus, although its tricky installation process might bother you. Let me tell you why the Tranzitions is the winner!  

Tranzitions is more compact, so you can use multiple seats (up to three) at the back of your vehicle, and this car seat fits most vehicles. On the other hand, Graco Nautilus seems bulkier, so it might not fit in all vehicles. However, cleaning and maintenance instructions are the same for the Tranzitions and Nautilus.   

Ease Of Use Rating  

  • Graco Tranzitions: 4.5/5  
  • Graco Nautilus: 4/5  

Why You Should Choose Graco Tranzitions?  

Graco Tranzitions is more budget-friendly and cost-effective. If you have three kids who need to ride together, then the Graco Tranzitions is the way to go. Its compact design and convenient adjustable options will allow you to assemble three seats at a time.  

Why You Should Choose Graco Nautilus?  

Graco Nautilus costs a few bucks more than the Tranzitions. If you prefer quality over quantity, then the Nautilus would be a great choice. It’s easier to install, comes with a wider seat, and brings more comfort with its reclining positions that are more convenient for kids.  

Graco Tranzitions Vs Nautilus: Verdict  

Tranzitions and Nautilus, both car seats, are great choices in terms of safety and convenience. The steel reinforced frame makes the Nautilus overall safer, whereas Tranzitions has better side impact protection. While the compact design of Tranzitions makes it comfortable and easier to use, the wider and reclining seat of Nautilus is also convenient for your kiddos. However, both of them are outstanding car seats that come in your budget price range; there will be no loss if you choose either one of these car seats. However, Graco Tranzitions vs Nautilus, if you are still looking for the better one, the Nautilus is the winner in my eyes!  

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