Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

Last updated date: June 17, 2020

DWYM Score
9.7

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat

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We looked at the top Infant Car Seats and dug through the reviews from some of the most popular review sites. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Infant Car Seat you should buy.

Overall Take

Designed for infants of up to 35 pounds, this car seat installs with ease. It has a special cover that can be removed in seconds for a good cleaning. Parents will also appreciate the adjustable base that offers four recline positions and a removable set of head and body cushions. In our analysis of 143 expert reviews, the Graco Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat placed 1st when we looked at the top 18 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note July 1, 2020:
Checkout The Best Infant Car Seat for a detailed review of all the top infant car seats.

Expert Summarized Score
7.2
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.3
870 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
Accommodates rear-facing riders up to 40 lbs. Lined with energy-absorbing foam for maximum protection during crashes.
- BestReviews
This car seat is still regular sized- it can fit an infant from 4 to 30 pounds and up to 30 inches.
- Experienced Mommy
This model is actually a really great value — you get the higher-end LATCH connectors that won’t break your nails (they’re called “InRight Connectors”); basically, no matter if you install with a seatbelt or with LATCH, it will be easy.
- Lucie's List
SnugLock Technology, a simple 3-step installation, and Safety Surround side impact protection make this infant seat a fast favorite for your family. And when the ride is over, simply lift and go—it's only 19 pounds including the base!
- Motherly
The SnugLock carrier will also feature a new “Texas-sized” canopy that glides open and closed almost silently.
- Car Seat Blog
The SnugLock 35 carrier weighs 8.5 lbs making it one of the lightest carriers in the group and potential consideration if you need to move or carry the carrier for longer distances regularly.
- Baby Gear Lab
Simply Safe Adjust Harness adjusts both the harness and headrest together
- Baby Journey
Snugride Snuglock takes up less space from front-to-back compared to other infant seats, so it tends to fit better behind taller drivers or passengers.
- The Car Seat Lady
Graco includes an adjustable harness and headrest, and a SafetyCore feature designed to absorb any crash impact as standard features in this stylish, rear-facing, infant car seat.
- Unbox Mom
What experts didn't like
Heavier and bulkier than some competitors due to higher weight limit.
- BestReviews
On the flip side, this car seat probably isn’t ideal for those who have big babies.
- Experienced Mommy
The handle will not go past the canopy when the canopy is down, and you have to force the canopy under a raised handle.
- Baby Gear Lab
Support cushions create a tight fit
- Baby Journey
The Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 was our favorite lower-cost seat of the seven infant seats we tested. It’s lighter than the Chicco KeyFit 30 at 8.6 pounds, but it relies on hook latches for base installation instead of the easier push-button latches found on the Chicco and Britax models and most pricier seats. To secure a tight fit, you need to manually pull the straps for those hook latches, and that requires significantly more arm strength than the Chicco’s one-pull tightening system.
- The New York Times
While the Snugride Snuglock uses a European routing path when installed without the base, we find the Liing and the Fit2 are easier to install with this method. If you plan to use the carrier without the base regularly, you may want to consider the Fit2 instead.
- The Car Seat Lady

From The Manufacturer

CLICK. That's the sound of a secure install. The Snug Ride Snug Lock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat has a hassle-free, worry-free installation for rear-facing infants using either vehicle seat belt or Latch. In three easy steps you can feel confident you've got a secure install. To further make installation a breeze, the In Right Latch provides a one-second connection and the base with its 4-position recline and easy-to-read level indictor helps eliminate installation guesswork. The Simply Safe Adjust Harness System lets you adjust the harness and headrest height together, so it's as easy as it is safe. The Safety Core absorbs crash forces in the event of a frontal crash. Clean up is a breeze with the Rapid Remove seat cover. Click Connect technology provides a secure one-step attachment to all Graco Click Connect strollers making it easy to create a custom travel system that best fits your lifestyle. The Snug Ride Snug Lock 35 Elite helps protect rear-facing infants from 4 - 35 lb and up to 32".

Overall Product Rankings

Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
1. Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 Elite Infant Car Seat
Overall Score: 9.7
Expert Reviews: 10
Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
3. Baby Trend EZ Flex Loc Infant Car Seat
Overall Score: 8.8
Expert Reviews: 5
Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat
4. Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 Infant Car Seat
Overall Score: 8.7
Expert Reviews: 6
Safety 1st Grow And Go 3-In-1 Infant Car Seat
5. Safety 1st Grow And Go 3-In-1 Infant Car Seat
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 7
Peg Perego Primo
6. Peg Perego Primo
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 10
Chicco KeyFit 30
7. Chicco KeyFit 30
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 11
Graco SungRide 35
8. Graco SungRide 35
Overall Score: 7.7
Expert Reviews: 10
UPPAbaby Mesa
9. UPPAbaby Mesa
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 10
Evenflo LiteMax 35
10. Evenflo LiteMax 35
Overall Score: 7.3
Expert Reviews: 7
Baby Trend Inertia
11. Baby Trend Inertia
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 3
Chicco Fit2
12. Chicco Fit2
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 8
Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe
13. Evenflo Advanced SensorSafe
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 6
Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT
14. Maxi-Cosi Mico NXT
Overall Score: 7.1
Expert Reviews: 4
Cyber Aton
15. Cyber Aton
Overall Score: 6.8
Expert Reviews: 8
Recaro Performance Coupe
16. Recaro Performance Coupe
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 5
Baby Trends EZ Flex-Loc
17. Baby Trends EZ Flex-Loc
Overall Score: 6.6
Expert Reviews: 5
Britax B-Safe 35
18. Britax B-Safe 35
Overall Score: 5.9
Expert Reviews: 9

An Overview On Infant Car Seats

You’re probably already nervous about your first ride home with your tiny bundle of joy. On top of that, you have to try to pick the best infant car seat from a seemingly endless array of options. From the ease of installation to fabric comfort and whether or not it works with your stroller system, it can be overwhelming, to say the least. It’s simple to break down the basics of what you need in an infant car seat so you can find the right infant car seat for your growing family.

Take your time before making a purchase, as this is a significant investment in your baby’s safety.

“This is one of the most important purchases a parent will ever make,” says Dr. Niket Sonpal, a doctor based in New York City.  “This is not the time to seek out a budget item. Buying quality can literally save your infant’s life.”

Infant car seats — sometimes called bucket or pumpkin seats — are rear-facing and made for infants and toddlers up to two years old. The height and weight requirements vary from seat to seat but they typically work for babies from around 4 to 35 pounds and up to 32 inches in height. Some seats, like the Chicco KeyFit 30, are preferred for preemies but only go up to 30 pounds and 30 inches. The seat usually clicks into or attaches to a base that stays in the car.

Many infant car seats have a carrying handle and an adjustable shade. They also have various types of cushions and inserts that can be used for the smallest infants and then taken out as your child grows.

Experts recommend that children stay rear-facing at least until two years old or when they reach the height and weight limit for the seat. According to the federal government, using a car seat reduces the risk of injury in a car crash by 71 to 82 percent. Overall, kids may end up using a car seat or booster up to the age of 12, based on their height and weight.

Knowing that their child will be using a car seat for such a long time prompts many parents to opt for a convertible car seat. Unlike the infant car seat, a convertible car seat starts rear-facing and can change its configuration to a front-facing car seat and then finally a booster. They are just as safe as an infant car seat and must meet the same standards. While this option can certainly be budget-friendly and you may be able to keep your child rear-facing longer, there are some trade-offs.

For some, the biggest deal-breaker is giving up the ability to easily transfer a sleeping baby in and out of the car while still in the seat. Since convertible car seats are meant to stay in the car most of the time, they also don’t typically work with strollers and don’t have carry handles. And, since they’re larger to accommodate a growing child, they may not fit well in all vehicles. You’ll want to make sure to consider how you’ll be using the car seat and if it’s important for you to be able to keep your child in the car seat when you’re out and about. Many infant car seats work with a complimentary stroller or travel system and you may save money buying this as a package deal.

The most important part of any car seat purchase is safety. Each car seat uses different materials and features, but they all have to meet the same federal safety standards. Some may choose to do additional safety testing. There are a few things you’ll want to look out for, such as a five-point harness and a base that clearly indicates when the seat is attached and positioned correctly with a color change or a bubble level.

Actually installing and using the seat the right way can be stressful for any new parent, so the easier it is to do, the better. The government maintains an ease-of-use rating system to help parents find seats that have clear instructions and are easy to install and use. Anything rated 4 or 5 tends to be more intuitive.

Be sure to take the time to thoroughly and properly understand the installation instructions for your car seat, says Dr. Sonpal.

“A poorly installed seat leaves a child vulnerable in a crash,” he says.

All cars are now required to have a LATCH system (which stands for lower anchors and top tethers) that allows you to attach the car seat with clips near the seatbelt base and behind the headrest or seat. It can sometimes be a struggle to make the connectors the right length so a self-retracting option may be a major plus if you have to take the base in and out more frequently. 

Finally, it’s important to consider overall comfort, for you and for baby. Look at features like the weight of the car seat, the ergonomics of the carry handle and quality or type of fabric. Infant car seats can vary widely in weight. For example, one model may only weigh 16 pounds, while another weighs 25 pounds. That can make a big difference if you plan to tote the seat any distance with your little one inside.

If you live in a warm climate you may want to look for a cooler fabric, like breathable jersey. A moisture-wicking merino wool, which is also naturally flame retardant, is another good choice. While buying online can be the most cost-effective and convenient, you may want to go to a store where you can compare the feel of the fabric and other materials.

DWYM Fun Fact

As of 1985, all states finally have laws requiring the use of car seats on the books. But in 1987, only 80 percent of people were using them. It wasn’t until 2003 that all cars we required by federal regulation to be manufactured with LATCH systems (lower anchors and top tethers) for car seats. This helped promote usage by making it easier and more consistent to install car seats.

Still, according to the federal government, car accidents and related injuries are the leading cause of death among children (ages 0-12) in the United States. They also found that in one year, 618,000 children did not use a car seat or booster seat at least some of the time. While there are a number of factors that cause injury in car accidents, the government did a study that found that 46 percent of car seats and booster seats are misused in some way. Front-facing car seats are the most common misuse, at 61 percent.

The federal government urges the use of car seats as the best way to reduce the risk of injury. In addition to following the recommended stages for car seat use, you can also find a certified child safety technician in your area to get installation instruction and tips one-on-one. The bottom line: it’s better to use a car seat or booster as recommended than not and there are resources to help you install and use your seats correctly.

The Infant Car Seat Buying Guide

  • Any parent or caregiver who has cleaned a car seat mess will tell you how important easy-to-clean fabric is. Even better, look for car seats that allow you to remove the lining or pad entirely and toss it in the washer.
  • If you travel frequently or live in a city where you may need to use your car seat in a taxi or rideshare you may want to opt for an infant car seat that can be used with or without its included base, giving you more flexibility when on the go.
  • You are not alone when it comes to learning how to install a car seat properly. The federal government offers free car seat inspection locations (usually at local fire stations) with trained technicians who can show you how to install it and use it.
  • Believe it or not, car seats expire. That’s why it’s not recommended to purchase a car seat from a yard sale or online reseller or reuse one from a friend. Most infant car seats expire in five to six years. Some convertible car seats last up to 10 years. You may be able to find the expiration date on the car seat itself or in the owners’ manual. If you can’t find a date, note the model number and call the manufacturer. Most car seats do end up looking kind of beat up, but the real risk is caused by plastic getting hot and cold repeatedly over the years. This may cause hairline cracks or brittleness that aren’t easy to see, and are very dangerous in a crash.
  • Once you’ve chosen the perfect seat, you also have to make sure you’re strapping in your little one correctly. Straps should be at or below the shoulder without any looseness or slack. Your child may protest but you should only be able to fit a couple fingers behind the strap. The chest clip should be at armpit level in the middle of the sternum. If it’s too high, it could cause neck injury and if it’s too low, your child could be thrown from the car seat.
  • As an added safety precaution you can add a luggage tag or label to the side of the seat with emergency contact info. Include details like your child’s name, parents’ name, address and phone numbers, pediatrician name and any medical conditions. This way, first responders can find valuable information quickly, in case the parent or caregiver is injured or unable to speak.