The saying is true, children grow way too fast. Just when you’ve got the hang of an infant car seat they outgrow it. Unless, of course, it’s convertible.
In this Britax Marathon vs Graco 4Ever review, we compare a standard convertible car seat vs all in one to find out which is the better option. The Britax Marathon is remarkable, in my opinion, but the functionality of the Graco is equally worth considering (well, extra features are always great right?)
So without further ado, let us explore them further.
The Britax Marathon is a convertible car seat that you can use in the rear-facing and front-facing positions. The rear-facing position is ideal for infants until around their second birthday when experts recommend switching them to the front-facing position. The maximum weight and height limits for this car seat are 65lbs and 49″ respectively.
The Britax Marathon ClickTight is an entry-level model in the ClickTight range of Britax car seats. The alternative Britax Boulevard and Advocate models are more advanced and offer more features but also cost more. The Britax Marathon is, therefore, a great pick if you are shopping on a budget and want a convertible car seat that offers value while remaining affordable.
The safety features and the overall comfort of the Britax Marathon car seat stand out for me. Nevertheless, there are other upsides and downsides to this convertible car seat. They include:
- Well-padded seat with a comfortable angle of recline
- Breathable car seat fabric
- Shoulder harness pads included
- The compact width size is ideal for small vehicles
- It has no cup holders
- It is quite heavy
- Easy installation: Patented click tight makes car seat installation as simple as buckling a seat belt
- No rethreading, ever: 14 position harness, 2 position buckle for a comfortable Fit as your child grows
- Relax and recline: 7 recline positions ensure comfort and the best vehicle installation angle
Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 Car Seat
When Graco said forever, they really meant it. The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 car seat is designed to get you from birth to your child being able to sit without needing a car seat. In the early infant to toddler stages, it can be used in rear and front-facing positions. When your child is much older you can transition them to the high-back belt booster setting and finally a backless booster at around age 6 or thereabouts. The maximum weight limit is 120lbs.
This all-in-one car seat is one in a range of many. It is preceded by Graco convertible car seat models like the Graco Extend2Fit which offers extra legroom and a generous 50lbs rear-facing weight limit.
There is also a new improved version of the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 known as the Graco DLX 4Ever 4-in-1. It offers extra features that enhance user experiences like a quick-remove cover, a harness storage compartment, and integrated belt lock-off.
The functionality and long-term service of the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 are priceless for anyone looking to buy a one-off car seat. You may equally want to consider other features such as:
- Lightweight structure
- Multiple functionalities
- Easy-to-adjust harness
- Cup holders are provided
- Poorly breathable fabric
- The size of the seat is quite bulky
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest, in one motion, to help ensure that your child is always properly secured
- One-hand, 10-position adjustable headrest is easy to use and adjusts to properly fit your growing child
- Washable seat cover is easy to remove without removing the harness
From the highlights, you may have noticed that this is not exactly a toe-to-toe Graco vs Britax battle. The Graco 4Ever car seat offers more functions than the Britax Marathon. However, the beauty of them being so different is that they each present unique solutions depending on your needs.
This brings us to the question; what are you looking for in a convertible car seat? Portability? A higher weight limit? Long-term service?
Here is a comparison of Britax vs Graco features to help you identify which of these car seats fits the bill for you.
The Britax Marathon ClickTight Marathon can be used in rear-facing and front-facing modes. In contrast, the Graco 4Ever can be used as a rear-facing, front-facing, high-back belt booster and as a backless booster car seat.
Favorite Pick: the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 car seat offers every car seat mode that your child would ever need as they grow.
Installing the Britax Marathon is a lot easier than you would expect of a convertible car seat. The brand has formulated a unique ClickTight technology system that allows you to secure the seat in place within minutes. It works as follows:
- Press the indicated dial to lift the seating area of the car seat
- Lift it to expose the base
- Guide the seat belt through the belt slots in the base and click it into place
- Replace the seat onto the base
The position of the seat belt and it being looped through the seat belt slots in the base provides a firm hold on the car seat. You could, nevertheless, use the LATCH system if you prefer.
The Graco brand recommends installing their 4Ever 4-in-1 car seat using the LATCH system. To this end, they have innovated an InRight LATCH system that gives an audible click when the car seat is properly installed. I find this helpful as the click reassures you that your setup is safe.
Favorite Pick: The Britax ClickTight system is user-friendly and secures the car seat very well. Its convenience is unmatched.
The Britax Marathon is ideal for children weighing between 5-40 pounds riding in the rear-facing position. You can transition your baby to the front-facing position when they weigh between 20-65 pounds. The maximum height limits are 18 inches and 49 inches in the rear and front-facing positions respectively.
While I find these provisions generous, the seating area is a bit large and can be a poor fit for newborns. Even with the body support pillow, you might still have to use a blanket to prop up your baby for the first month or so.
The weight limits for the Graco 4Ever are much higher and are suitable even for small newborns weighing 4 pounds. They are stipulated as follows:
- Rear-facing – 4 to 40 lbs
- Front-facing – 22 to 65 lbs
- High-back belt booster – 40 to 100 lbs
- Backless booster – 40 to 120 lbs
Favorite Pick: the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 not only offers variety but its weight limits for the younger years are also quite ideal.
Convertible car seats and all-in-one seats are bound to weigh more than ordinary car seats because their structures have more components. These extra components make it possible to convert the seat into different modes. Still, some convertible car seats are heavier than others, even a 4-in-1 seat.
Case in point, Graco 4ever vs Britax convertible car seats. The Graco 4Ever weighs about 23 pounds while the Britax Marathon weighs approximately 27 pounds. This disparity is likely because Britax car seats are built with a full steel frame while in the Graco car seat, the frame is not made of steel; it is only reinforced with it.
If you are looking for a car that is lighter to move between your doorstep and the car or if you switch cars often, the Graco 4Ever would be a good choice.
Favorite Pick: this may sound controversial at first but hear me out. My favorite pick here is the Britax Marathon ClickTight because I would feel more comfortable placing a baby in a car seat with a steel frame. Safety trumps weight in my book.
The Britax Marathon car seat is draped in a soft breathable fabric. It is the kind of seat your baby would be comfortable in whether it is winter or summer. On the other hand, the Graco Forever car seat is draped with a synthetic fabric that is soft to the touch but breathes rather poorly. In the summer, your baby’s back would likely get sweaty which could make them fussy or result in skin break-outs.
Regarding cleaning, the Graco car seat has an easily removable cover that is machine-washable. The cover on the Britax convertible car seat is restricted to hand washing.
Favorite Pick: the breathable fabric on the Britax Marathon ClickTight wIll save your baby from lots of heat rash episodes and keep them cool which is essential to their wellness For this reason, the hustle of hand-washing is forgivable, in my opinion.
On the Britax Marathon, safety measures begin with the frame which is made of steel. This is important because steel has a high tensile strength which means this car seat would hold up well during a crash. Moreover, very little force would reach your baby because it would already be dissipated by the frame. The frame is also fully padded on the outside with a single layer of cushions that provide side-impact protection during impact.
Further, at the back of the car seat, you will find a V-shaped tether. This is helpful because it keeps the top structure of the car seat in place as opposed to lower tethers that only hold on to the base. To crown it all, your baby would be strapped in using the 5-point no-rethread harness.
The base of the Graco 4Ever car seat is reinforced in steel. This makes it sturdy and likely to handle impact well. It is layered in a patented system of padding known as TrueShield Technology that provides side-impact protection from the neck down to the hip. Additionally, the no-rethread harness is easily adjustable with a single tug which also adjusts the headrest to match the new harness position.
Favorite Pick: both of these car seats passed their safety evaluation tests with flying colors. That said, if I had to pick one of them based on safety, my money would be on the Britax Marathon ClickTight car seat.
Both the Graco and Britax convertible car seats will serve you for 10 years from the date that they are manufactured. However, their terms of service are not the same.
The Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 can be used by one child in different modes until they can sit on their own. Coincidentally, that may be around the age of 10, and thus this expiry period works out quite well.
In comparison, the Britax Marathon ClickTight will only serve you until your baby weighs 65 pounds or is 49 inches tall. This might be before the 10-year usage period but on the upside, it means you can use it for another child or donate the car seat.
Favorite Pick: this is Graco/Britax tie score for car seat expiration.
Now that we are all caught up on the features, you probably have a few questions about a few of them. Here are some answered FAQs.
Both of these brands offer innovative and good-quality convertible car seats. Your choice would come down to finding the model that matches what you are looking for in a convertible car seat.
I often recommend Britax to my friends and family who prefer high-grade safety features. On the other hand, if you need one car seat with multiple functionalities, Graco is the brand for you.
The FAA has approved both the Britax Marathon and Graco 4Ever for air travel. The only distinction I would put between them is their dimensions and weight. The Graco 4Ever is lighter than the Britax Marathon and thus might be easier to handle during travel. On the flip side, the Britax Marathon is narrower and would be easier to maneuver on board.
The Britax Boulevard is an advanced version of the Britax Marathon. It has extra features like 2 layers of side impact protection, a snug harness indicator, and an audible click sound when the car seat is properly installed. If you are willing to spend a little more, the Boulevard would equally offer you a little more than the Britax Marathon.
Are there any alternative convertible car seats that are similar to the Britax Marathon and the Graco Forever?
Yes. I would recommend:
- Evenflo EveryStage DLX All-in-One Convertible Car Seat – this Evenflo convertible car seat can be used rear-facing, front-facing, and in booster mode. It accommodates weights of up to 120lbs and is installed using the LATCH system.
It has assistive features like the SuperCinch LATCH tightener that make installation fast and easy. Its fabric can be machine-washed and its cup holders are dishwasher-friendly. On price, this car seat is more than $100 cheaper than both the Britax Marathon and the Graco 4Ever.
- Maxi-Cosi Pria 3-in-1 Convertible Car Seat – this car seat can also be used rear-facing, front-facing, and in booster mode. However, its weight limit is capped at 100lbs. It is installed using the LATCH system and has a no-rethread 5-point harness.
You would have an easy time strapping your baby in and out as the car seat has harness holders to prevent tangling. The seat cover is machine-washable. What will it cost you? About $10 and $30 less than the Britax and Graco convertible car seats respectively.
In summary, choosing between the Graco 4Ever vs Britax Marathon comes down to your needs and preferences.
The Britax Marathon ClickTight car seat would be suitable for you if you:
- Prefer a convertible car seat with high-grade safety features
- Do not mind having to get invest in a booster car seat later on
- Would like an easy-to-install car seat
- Require a car seat with a breathable fabric
Do these qualities match your shopping list? Then check out the Britax Marathon ClickTight here.
Alternatively, the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 would be a better fit for you if you:
- Want to only buy 1 car seat for all stages
- Prefer a machine-washable seat cover
- Do not mind the non-breathable car seat fabric
- Would like an easy-to-adjust car seat harness and headrest
If this is more in line with your needs, you can find the Graco 4Ever 4-in-1 car seat here.
So are you on Team Britax or Team Graco? Let us know which convertible car seat is your favorite in the comments!
Last update on 2021-04-09 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API