Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Infant Car Seat

Good Infant Car Seat

Last updated: May 2, 2016

Good Infant Car Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Review

Good Infant Car Seat: Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 Review. The Graco SnugRide is the best-selling family of car seats that come in eight different versions. Our “good” pick for infant car seats is the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40, which is the top-of-the-line model in the SnugRide family. It features a no-rethread harness and an adjustable base that slides back to give 8” of additional legroom—allowing babies to use the seat up to age two.

Car Seats 101

If you are a first-timer parent who’s never purchased a car seat before or a veteran parent who needs a quick refresher on what to look for in an infant car seat, click here for our Car Seat 101.

How we picked a winner

We evaluated car seats with hands on inspections, checking seats for ease of use (installation and adjusting the seat). We also gather significant reader feedback, tracking seats on ease of use, quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also talk with car seat “techs,” certified child passenger safety technicians who install hundreds if not thousands of seats at safety check points nationwide.

We’ve been rating and reviewing car seats since 1994. During that time, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and watched car seat crash tests. While we don’t personally crash test seats, we compare our reader feedback with crash tests done by organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Consumer Reports. We also look at third-party evaluations of seats by groups like the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which focuses on booster car seats.

What does Good, Better and Best Mean?

We divide our infant car seat picks into good, better and best bets. What’s the difference? First, realize that ALL our picks offer excellent crash protection—they all scored better or best  on Consumer Reports’ independent car seat crash tests.

“Good” seats offer basic features and protection. Our “better” pick adds side-impact protection, upgraded LATCH connectors, built-in lock-offs (for belt installation) and other upgrades. “Best” is the top of the line pick, with additional safety and convenience features.

The Winner for GOOD Infant Car Seat: The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40

Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 Car Seat

Our Pick

Graco SnugRide ClickConnect 40

The Graco SnugRide 40 is one of the most affordable (around $100) seats that works to 40 lbs. This best-seller features a front harness adjuster and compatibility with a wide variety of strollers (beyond just Graco).

$169.99* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.

Here is the country’s top-selling infant car seat—and it deserves the crown. The Graco SnugRide is an affordable infant seat with excellent features: good crash protection, EPS foam lining, an adjustable base and good fit in most vehicles.

The headlines on the SnugRide Click Connect 40 are the no-rethread harness and an adjustable base that slides back to provide eight inches of additional legroom for growing babies. Note: other less-expensive SnugRides have harnesses that must be manually rethreaded as baby grows. The no-rethread harness also adjusts the height of of the headrest which is part of the seat’s side impact protection. And most other SnugRides have lower weight limits than the 40 lb. limit for this model. The adjustable base is also unique.

Given the base and carrier size, the SnugRide Click Connect 40 will fit a wider range of babies compared to other seats. Graco’s pitch here is you can use the seat until a child turns two—many other infant seats that stop at 22 lbs. would top out at about six months.

Other features we liked about the SnugRide Click Connect 40:

• Belt lock-offs make for a solid installation.

• The cover is machine washable, but must be line dried.

• The canopy is good sized.

 

We found installation of the SnugRide Click Connect 40 to be a snap, whether you are using LATCH or a seat belt. Helpfully, Graco also has an instructional video showing installation for both LATCH and seat belts.

Graco has had such success with the SnugRide that they’ve rolled out several different versions of the seat over the last few years, keeping the SnugRide name. And that’s where it gets confusing: there are now seven different SnugRides. With so many versions, be sure to carefully check the box or online description before buying.

Before we wade knee deep into the SnugRide specific models, we should note that current SnugRide car seats are part of the Click Connect family. Click Connect refers to the way these car seats attach to strollers—they take one step to snap in. (At one point, Graco also sold a version of these seats called Classic Connect which required two steps. The Classic Connect versions of the SnugRide are now discontinued).

Here’s a quick overview of the versions:

◆ SnugRide 22. This seat work to 22 lbs., 29”. This is the least expensive SnugRide that is sold as part of low-price travel systems. This model lacks a front harness adjuster (requiring you to adjust the harness from the back, a major pain).

◆ SnugRide 30 works to 30 lbs., 30”. Graco sells two versions of this seat. Entry-level SnugRide 30’s have rear-adjust harnesses and non-adjustable bases. More expensive versions of this seat have front-adjust harnesses and adjustable bases (which we prefer). These seats sell for $110-$130.

◆ SnugRide 35 / 35LX works to 35 lbs., 32”. Yep, there are two versions of this model—the basic 35 that runs $130-$140. And the 35 LX ($150-$190) which adds a no-rethread harness and base with seat belt lock-offs. The LX also has upgraded fabric.

One caveat: if you plan to use a non-Graco stroller, check compatibility before buying a SnugRide. Some strollers makers have adapters that only work with the older Classic Connect SnugRides (now discontinued).

The overall reader verdict on the SnugRide: thumbs up. For ease of use, the SnugRide earns good marks.

Flaws but not deal breakers

Is the SnugRide perfect? No. Even the most expensive SnugRide’s lack premium (push-on) LATCH connectors. And the low-end SnugRides that have rear-adjust harnesses and non-adjustable bases should be avoided. Those seats also have only one crotch buckle position, which some larger babies can quickly outgrow.

Are there trade-offs between the SnugRide and more expensive seats? Well, the SnugRide does lack extra side-impact protection like you see on the Peg Perego and Britax seats. And the seat lacks an anti-rebound bar, seen on the Cybex Aton. Of course, these seats also cost almost $100 more than a SnugRide, so there’s your trade-off.

As for the SnugRide Click Connect 40, there is a downside to the expandable base: it takes up a lot of real estate in the backseat and that could make it a no go in smaller vehicles. The SnugRide 40’s base is also much larger/longer than other SnugRide bases, again making fit in smaller cars a challenge. Here’s a look at the base installed with a baby and then fully extended with a toddler.

Graco Click Connect 40

Other flaws for the SnugRide Click Connect 40: at 9.3 lbs., the carrier is on the heavy side. It isn’t the heaviest carrier on the market . . . but it sure isn’t the lightest either. The “Click Connect” system isn’t compatible with older Graco strollers; to make a travel system, you’ll have to use one of their newer models.

Who else likes it

User reviews for the seat on Amazon indicate “86% like it,” that is 86% of Amazon reviewers give it a four or five star rating.

The seat was also picked as a “Bests” by American Baby in 2013 when it first debuted.

Also Great

SnugRide Click Connect 35 LX

$153.07* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.

SnugRide Click Connect 35 LX works to 35 lbs (as you might guess from the name) and adds a no-reathread harness and base with seat belt lock-offs and upgraded fabric.

Also Recommended

SnugRide Click Connect 35 LX has a no-rethread harness and base with seat belt lock-offs and upgraded fabric like the Click Connect 40. The base on the 35 LX is much more compact than the Click Connect 40, making it a good choice if you have a smaller vehicle. It runs $150. Seventy-five percent of Amazon reviews like this seat. As a reminder, this is a Click Connect seat, not Classic—therefore you’ll want to pair it with a newer Graco stroller.

Safety 1st OnBoard 35 Air is a $160 car seat with side impact protection and an adjustable base. It also features premium LATCH connectors. Unfortunately, this seat isn’t compatible with most stroller car seat adapters, however.

The competition

At $170, the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 sits in the upper range of infant seats. The infant car seat market is divided into three parts: under $100 seats, those in the $100 to $200 range and premium models that are $200+.

Maxi Cosi’s Mico AP/Nxt/Max 30 is also in the same price range as the Graco (between $140 and $200) but weight limits are much lower (22 lbs. for AP and Nxt; 30 lbs. for Max 30). Fans like the light weight, Air Protect foam and deep side wings. It also works with Quinny strollers.

To Sum it Up

The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40 is a top pick, thanks a no-rethread harness and an adjustable base that slides back to give 8” of additional legroom—allowing babies to use the seat up to age two. Add in wide stroller compatibility and a price under $200 and we have winner.

Graco Snugride Click Connect 40 Car Seat

Graco SnugRide ClickConnect 40

The Graco SnugRide 40 is one of the most affordable (around $100) seats that works to 40 lbs. This best-seller features a front harness adjuster and compatibility with a wide variety of strollers (beyond just Graco).

$169.99* at Amazon

* Prices change daily. Shop carefully.