Is European baby equipment better than American? What better way to find out than by comparing two of their leading baby gear brands: Graco and Chicco.
Today, we'll dive deep into the specifics of each brand, their trademark products, unique features, and engineering. We'll compare the brands on multiple levels and refer to parents' reviews for a touch of personal opinion.
Join us for an impartial, comprehensive Graco vs Chicco comparison!
Table of Contents
- Brand History
- All-in-One Car Seats: Graco vs Chicco
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Is Chicco a good carseat brand?
- Is Graco safer than Chicco?
- Is Graco better than Chico?
- Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better infant car seat?
- Is the Graco convertible car seat more comfortable than the Chicco?
- Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better all-in-one car seat?
- Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better booster seat?
- Graco Affix vs Chicco KidFit: Which is better?
- Chicco GoFit Plus vs Graco Affix: Which is better?
Graco baby is an American brand founded in 1942 as Graco Metal Products.
They first started making baby equipment in 1955, when the first automatic baby swing called Swyngomatic was created by Rex Thomas, one of Graco's engineers.
Later on, Graco was acquired by Rubbermaid, together with another American car seat manufacturer-Century. Together they released their first infant car seat model, the SnugRude infant car seat, and the rest is history.
Chicco has just as long a history, being founded in 1958 in Italy by Hon. Pietro Catelli.
This manufacturer is present in more than 120 countries worldwide, and it's been focused on products for children from the beginning, diversifying in products over the years.
They are the leading baby equipment manufacturer in Italy, but many of their products are top sellers in America too. A good example of that is Chicco KeyFit 30, an infant seat that has remained the top choice of parents in America for years.
While I do love Graco convertible car seats because they are packed with inserts and so easy to convert from one stage to another, I generally like the design of Chicco's seats better. I overall find them more innovative and elegant, all features make sense, and they are very nicely put together. But, let's look into some of their trademark features together.
Now, Graco doesn't walk behind the engineering innovations, so they patented a special installation system of their own. InRight LATCH system allows easy and precise installation with a LATCH in a second. Their lower LATCH connectors are push-on style ones, so you just snap them into your car's anchors, and when you hear the audible click, you know the car seat is safely secured.
SnugLock is another installation feature that makes the setup super-easy for every parent.
Namely, Graco included these lock-offs to all their seats, so the installation with a seatbelt is a three-step process. You need to pull the seatbelt through, tighten it, and lock the lock-offs. The seat is then safely secured.
No-rethread harnesses have generally made a revolution in the car seat industry. They allow parents to adjust the seat easily and transition from one mode to another smoothly. So, Graco did its part in this engineering innovation by introducing the SimplySafe Adjust system. It is a no-rethread harness that is adjusted together with the headrest with a pull of a handle.
The first patent of Chicco worth mentioning is naturally a feature that can be found on their infant car seats. It is a ReclineSure™ leveling system that has nine different positions. It is a spring-loaded leveling foot that facilitates reclining and helps you find a proper base angle and the perfect position for your newborn in every car.
The next feature I'd like to mention is related to convenient installation. It's a SuperCinch™ system that refers to a special LATCH tightened. This tightener uses force-multiplying technology to help you tighten the straps enough and achieve that secure, snug fit.
And a third patented feature of Chicco's I'd like to introduce is related to safety. It is their DuoGuard system. Namely, in order to protect your child perfectly, they patented special impact protection that comes in two layers and ensures your child's torso and head are safely nested in thick padding.
The integral safety feature that's Graco's trademark is the ProtectPlus Engineered™ system. What it basically represents is a series of the most rigorous tests Graco performs in order to ensure their car seats meet and exceed the federal safety standards.
Since Graco owns a test facility, they perform all these tests in-house, so they are able to detect and fix issues early on. But the independent tests that third parties run have also proven Graco car seats are extraordinary.
All Graco seats meet or exceed the US FMVSS 213 safety standard. In fact, when they do tests, they apply forces two times higher than what the standard is, so their seats are actually tested in extreme conditions.
The exact tests they perform are the following:
- Front-impact crash test
- Side-impact crash test
- Rear-impact crash test
- Extreme Car Temperature test
- Rollover crash test
Also, many Graco car seats include anti-rebound bars. They have been proven to significantly improve the stability and motion control of the car seat in crashes. Therefore, they are essential for infant car seats and superior protection of your child.
Now, I mentioned how Graco is proudly made in the USA, but it also complies with the European R129 testing standard. How? Well, they patented TrueShield technology which is a superior side impact protection, specially designed in compliance with this European standard.
And another feature they designed in compliance with this European standard as well as the Safety Surround™ technology. It is basically the ultimate head protection that, as the name suggests, safely surrounds your child's head in the baby car seat and makes sure no injuries take place in the event of an accident.
From the structure to installation, Chicco has incorporated the best safety features to guarantee your baby gear is genuinely reliable and the safety car seats they make really deliver.
Most of the engineering designing and planning happens in the Chicco Research Center, based in Italy, where Chicco works closely with pediatricians, ergonomists, parents, and babies to learn about the actual needs of children and design products that meet them.
All Chicco car seats also meet the US FMVSS 213 federal safety standards, and they have been heavily tested in frontal, rear, and rollover crashes to deliver the premium quality and topmost safety.
The first safety feature that is worth mentioning is the DuoGuard® side impact protection. This system consists of a steel-reinforced frame that keeps the car seat sturdy and strong. Then there is a rigid shell covered with EPS energy-absorbing foam.
These two layers of impact protection are centered around two zones: the head and the torso, where children are most vulnerable. This system has proven to be quite effective since the seat scored fantastic results in Baby Gear Lab's testing.
Now, the ReclineSure® leveling system, together with the RideRight® bubble indicators, definitely plays a significant role in safety because they allow you to find a perfect position for your baby in a rear-facing mode and get the car seat properly reclined. This is incredibly important for newborns because they need to lie in a neutral position.
Another important safety detail is the newborn inserts. Chicco car seats have a lot of infant inserts, so they genuinely support your baby from day one. Most car seats have EPS energy-absorbing foam built into the car seat, but that is not enough for newborn protection. So, Chicco added an infant insert that helps you find a perfect fit, which is why most car seats of their start at four pounds.
Finally, all Chicco car seats sold are JPMA Certified. This means that they not only meet the minimum safety requirements but go above and beyond the standards for quality, safety, performance, and functionality.
As you probably know, all car seats need to also comply with the standard for flammability. That is why most car seat covers are actually treated with chemical fire retardants to achieve this.
All Graco car seats have chemical fire retardants, which are not the best option. In fact, from what I was able to find online, they use halogenated and/or phosphorus-based flame retardant chemicals which are basically what we are trying to avoid. But, that is why the Graco car seat cover is machine-washable and dryer-safe, so the maintenance is effortless.
Now, when it comes to Chicco, the situation is significantly better. Not all models are free of added fire retardants, but they have a line of car seats that are GreenGuard GOLD Certified, meaning they have low chemical emissions. This line is called ClearTex®, and it includes seats that meet the federal flammability standard without the addition of fire-retardant chemicals. The list of products in the ClearTex line can be found here.
The research and testing of the Chicco car seats are performed in the Cornell Center for Materials Research as a part of Chicco's Sustainable Parenting Initiative.
All-in-One Car Seats: Graco vs Chicco
The best way to make a side-to-side comparison of the two brands is to take two of their most popular car seats and compare them. Since both models have all-in-one car seats, I'd take them as the best representatives of the brand.
Let's start with Graco® 4Ever® DLX. As you can assume, this convertible car seat has four different modes. It has a rear-facing mode, a forward-facing mode, a high-back booster mode, and a backless booster mode.
These four stages will basically cover ten years of use, or to put it in pounds, from four to one hundred and twenty pounds. The seat weighs twenty-three pounds, so it's not really the lightest, but it is multiple car seats in one, after all.
You can install the seat with the In-Right LATCH system or the vehicle seat belt. Either installation process you choose, you won't have to struggle.
There are six recline positions and ten headrest positions. The no-rethread harness moves along with the headrest, so it's pretty convenient to adjust the seat as your baby grows.
It also has rapid-remove covers and two cup holders, which are machine-washable, so it's easy to keep your baby car seat clean and hygienic at all times. This Graco car seat costs around 330$ on Amazon and Graco's website.
When it comes to Chicco, OneFit ClearTex All-in-One is the best all-in-one car seat they have, if you ask me. It also offers four modes of use: rear-facing, forward-facing, a high-back booster, and a backless booster.
The weight capacity is from the minimum weight limit of five pounds to the upper limit of one hundred pounds, so overall Graco all-in-one car seat has a better capacity overall.
The system has the SuperCinch LATCH installation and LockSure seat belt installation system, so it's really effortless to install it with either seat belts or the latch. Of course, it has two bubble level indicators for a perfect recline in a rear-facing position.
It weighs twenty-five pounds, so it's on the heavier side, but it is a slim-fit seat that allows you to fit three across when you need it, so it's perfect for carpooling.
Now, there are nine recline positions and nine headrest positions as well, and of course, the DuoGuard side impacts protection that keeps your child intact in all circumstances.
It also has two dishwasher-safe cup holders that can be folded for a space-saving effect.
Also, this is the one from Green Guard GOLD certified convertible car seats, so it is free of chemical fire retardants. Therefore, the fabric is perfectly safe and looks quite stylish, I have to admit.
This seat costs around $300, so it is cheaper than Graco's four-in-one model.
While both brands fall into the mid-range category price-wise, Graco has a wider range of prices. Therefore you can find more budget-friendly offers on their website.
But, some Chicco car seats are cheaper than Graco's, although they have better qualities.
1. Infant car seats
- Chicco: $179.99 - $359.99
- Graco: $169.99 - $269.99
2. Convertible car seats
- Chicco: $249.99 - $304.99
- Graco: $139.99 - $379.99
3. Booster car seats
- Chicco: $44.99 - $389.99
- Graco: $28.99 - $139.99
- Chicco: $209.99 - $379.99
- Graco: $109.99 - $389.99
e. Travel Systems
- Chicco: $319.99 - $699.99
- Graco: $199.99 - $499.99
If you check some other articles of ours on the best car seats for traveling, you'll see that Graco's seats entered our lists for both lightweight infant seats and lightweight convertible seats.
All their harnessed car seats are FAA-approved; therefore, you can use them for flying, and if you choose some lighter ones, they will be fairly easy to transport and use on the road.
Also, their NimbleLite™ stroller is perfect for traveling. It's one of the lightest strollers on the market, weighing less than fifteen pounds. Plus, it is compatible with all Graco infant seats, so it can be converted into a travel system. You can easily fold it down in one step, so it's perfect for the plane as well.
All Chicco infant car seats and Chicco convertible car seats with a five-point harness are FAA-approved and can be used on aircraft. You can also check the car seat as baggage, and you don't have to have a special bag for it.
Now, because of the steel-reinforced frame, Chicco baby car seats are slightly heavier. So they might not be the perfect light solution for traveling. But, their car seats are slim-fit, therefore perfect for car rides and carpooling.
Because of the EPS energy-absorbing foam, the seats not just keep your baby secure but are also very comfortable and keep your baby's head in the right position for long-distance traveling.
Chicco also has a lightweight stroller model that weighs only 17.2 lbs. Its folded dimensions are 46" x 10" x 11.75", and it has a carry handle for convenient transport. As for the storage compartment, it has a large basket for all your essentials. It also has a storage compartment for the latch, an adjustable canopy, and an adjustable leg rest for extra comfort.
Graco is definitely big on accessories. I've seen some stuff I didn't know existed on their website. They sell Playard waterproof sheets, second stroller seats, stroller storage organizers, carry cots, and carry cot stands. You can also find accessories for their stroller wagons, rain covers, and insect netting.
And, of course, you can find just a car seat base if you need an extra or you lost the one from your original Graco infant car seat.
When it comes to Chicco, they do not have many accessories listed on their website under that category. But if you look under regular products, you'll see a lot of additions and accessories.
What I know for sure is that you can buy a stay-in-car base for the rear-facing seats, a child's tray, and a car seat travel bag.
You can also find some additional rubber wheel kits for your strollers, blankets, and baby carriers. Chicco also have car seat covers, a shoulder seat pad, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Chicco a good carseat brand?
Most definitely, Chicco is a great car seat brand. It is one of the people's favorites when it comes to car seat brands.
When it comes to safety, Chicco seats rank in the top five car seats for crashing tests, and it also tested higher than the federal safety standards for head injuries.
It has a relatively easy installation system using the car seat belt; the only downside is that you might have to apply some extra force to make sure it is sitting tight.
When it comes to comfortability, Chicco seats are so comfortable that your child will fall asleep in a matter of minutes.
Is Graco safer than Chicco?
It is very debatable which one of these two brands is safer since both of them are high-quality seats made according to the highest standards, and both of them have undergone rigorous safety tests.
Whichever brand you choose, you may rest assured that your child will be safe.
There are reasons to say that Graco is safer than Chicco as, according to our research, Graco ranks higher when it comes to safety. Its steel frame, five-point harness, and energy-absorbing foam with duo guard protection will guarantee that your little one will stay safe and sound.
But Chicco has all these features too, plus a material that has no chemical fire retardants, so choose for yourself.
Is Graco better than Chico?
Both Graco and Chicco are pretty great choices overall, they both have their pros and cons, and both are somewhat budget-friendly, with Graco seats costing a bit less.
But when it comes to overall quality, you might want to go with the Chicco seats because when you take things such as quality and safety into consideration, the Chicco seats, even though a bit more expensive, are ultimately a better choice.
Graco also had slightly more recalls than the Chicco had, and on the plus side, if you do need to recall your Chicco seat, they have great customer support.
Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better infant car seat?
Both of these brands offer a variety of seats suitable for any of your needs so deciding which one offers a better infant seat is by no means an easy task.
But when we compare all of the models against each other, we can say that Chicco has a slight upper hand when it comes to the infant seats; one particular model that stands out is Chicco Keyfit.
Chicco Keyfit has been the crowd's favorite, and when you look at how easy it is to install and how safe and quiet it is, you will understand why most people choose this particular seat.
Is the Graco convertible car seat more comfortable than the Chicco?
When it comes to comfortable convertible car seats, our choice would be Graco.
Graco has an excellent line of seats, especially convertible seats that your children would be able to use as they grow. From the rear-facing to forward-facing, Graco's got you covered.
Graco has one of the most comfortable plush seats ever made; its plush head and body inserts will make your baby feel like they are in heaven.
And when you add on top of that an extension panel that can be positioned in a couple of different ways that will open up an extra leg room, just try and stop your child from falling asleep immediately.
Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better all-in-one car seat?
If you are in search of a versatile and safe seat, then look no further because Chicco has got you covered.
Chicco's Fit4 is an all-around seat that will keep you covered for a long period. If you like to invest in the future, this is the seat for you; with its steel reinforced frames that offer a lot of room for the child and multiple recline positions, you can be assured that it is going to be a safe and pleasant ride.
Also, the SuperCinch LATCH makes the installation a breeze, so you don't have to worry about that too.
Graco vs Chicco: Which has a better booster seat?
Yet another difficult choice to make, it is worth mentioning that you can't go wrong with either of these two models and that deciding the one brand is better doesn't make the other brand worse.
Now that we established that, the seat that we would go for is Chicco.
Chicco MyFit is a game-changer. With its four recline positions, it will make even the longest journeys feel like a breeze. One of the great benefits of this seat is that backrest will help your child keep a straight back and good and proper posture.
Graco Affix vs Chicco KidFit: Which is better?
Depending on your budget and the amount of money you are willing to spend, the answer may vary. Overall the more expensive and better choice is Chicco KidFit, and it has ranked higher in all the important aspects such as safety, quality comfort, and design.
When it comes to safety, it comes with a duo zone head and shoulder impact protection which will make sure your child stays safe and sound. Installation is fairly easy, too, with its LATCH system that comes with an upfront tightener.
Another thing worth mentioning is that the Chicco KidFit is almost twice as expensive as Graco Affix.
Chicco GoFit Plus vs Graco Affix: Which is better?
There is no wrong choice when choosing between Chicco GoFit and Graco Affix since both of them are excellent seats, but this round goes to Graco Affix.
Graco Affix is the people's choice, and it is not difficult to see why; it is one of the easiest seats to use, and it also costs less than the Chicco GoFit.
Installation is really fast, and it takes around 10 seconds to do it. Also, it is quite easy to adjust and buckle your child in.
When it comes to safety, Graco Affix is equipped with the Latch strap that will make sure the seat stays put.
In conclusion, I don't know what to say. I do feel partial to Chicco, mainly because I love the European design and the quality of their seats and Chicco strollers.
Chicco is really elegant and an epitome of safety for me. For that reason, I choose their products whenever I can, and I have never been disappointed.
On the other hand, It would be unfair of me to say that Graco is not an equally good brand. Their offer is incredibly versatile, and they perform all these tests to ensure the seats meet and exceed the regulations.
So, as always, I have to say that it comes to your personal decision. If you care about material and chemical-free covers, go with Chicco. And if you want a lightweight travel design, Graco is your brand.