In this article, we will discuss the comparison between two convertible booster seats that are quite popular in the market, Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus. Although they share some similarities, note that Evenflo Maestro is quite more affordable than Graco Nautilus. So, which model is actually better for the money? Find out below!
What we will discuss in this article include:
– The size and weight of each model
– The suitable uses and weight/height limits of each model
– The installation of each model
– The seat features of Evenflo Maestro and Graco Nautilus
– The safety of Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus
– Which convertible booster car seat that is more recommended
Size and Weight
The first thing to compare between Evenflo Maestro and Graco Nautilus is their dimensions. You need to make sure that the product that you choose will fit easily inside your car. Otherwise, the installation will be a pain. It is less of a problem if you are going to install the car seat once and for all, but it is a problem if you are going to attach and detach the unit frequently. See also: Graco Extend2Fit vs Extend2Fit 65.
Evenflo Maestro is a bit larger and wider than the other model here. This booster car seat has a total width of 19 inches. However, the width of the base is only 17 inches. It also has a total depth of 20.5 inches and a total height of 27 inches. It is actually quite lightweight at just 12.7 lbs.If you are looking for a portable booster that is easy to attach and detach, Evenflo Maestro is a great choice.
This model is ideal if you want to be able to move your booster easily from one car to the other car, as well as if you need a booster seat for an airplane trip. You don’t need to worry if you need to install two car seats simultaneously in the same row, as the base of the seat doesn’t take much space.
Graco Nautilus is a bit more compact, but it is slightly taller. This booster car seat has a total width of 18 inches. Meanwhile, the total depth is about 20 inches, and the total height is about 28 inches. Compared to Evenflo Maestro, Graco Nautilus is considerably heavier at 20.5 lbs.
In general, due to the heavy weight, Graco Nautilus is more suitable for a fixed installation in which you won’t need to move the car seat every so often. The heavy weight will make it impractical to attach and detach frequently. You can use this model as a primary car seat in your primary car. The slim design will allow you to use multiple car seats in the same row easily.
Evenflo Maestro can serve two functions. First, it can work as a forward-facing five-point-harnessed car seat to keep a toddler safe. Second, it can work as a belt-positioning booster seat to safeguard your child once he or she gets bigger and taller.
In the forward-facing five-point-harnessed car seat mode, Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus is suitable for a child between 22 – 65 pounds. The recommended height is between 28 – 50 inches.The maximum weight limit is fairly high.So, the forward-facing five-point-harnessed car seat mode can be used by just about any child in the toddler age range.
In the belt-positioning booster seat mode, Evenflo Maestro is suitable for a child between 40 – 110 lbs in weight, with a height between 43.3 – 57 inches. Your child must be at least 4 years old in order to use this mode. Your child will be able to continue using it until they are 6 or 7 years old.
Graco Nautilus claims that it can serve three functions. First, it can work as a forward-facing car seat, which is ideal for a toddler. Second, it can work as a high-back booster seat, which is ideal for a kid of at least 4 years old. Third, it can work as a backless booster seat, which you can use once your child becomes heavy enough, usually when they are 6 or 7 years old.
In the forward-facing car seat mode, Graco Nautilus has a weight limit of 22 – 65 lbs and a height limit of 27 – 49 inches. In the high-back booster seat mode, it has a weight limit of 30 – 100 lbs and a height limit of 38 – 57 inches. In the backless booster mode, it has a weight limit of 40 – 100 lbs and a height limit of 40 – 57 inches.
As you can see, Graco Nautilus actually has a lower height limit for the forward-facing car seat mode, which is only 49 inches (while Evenflo Maestro’s is 50 inches). It has a lower weight limit for both of the booster seat modes, which is 100 lbs (while Evenflo Maestro’s is 110 lbs). So, having three modes doesn’t mean that Graco Nautilus will remain in service for a longer time; Evenflo Maestro, which only has two modes, will actually last longer.
Next, let’s compare the installation of Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus. We all want something that is easy and straightforward to install. That said, we also don’t want to compromise the security of the installation.
Evenflo Maestro has latch straps for the upper and lower parts of the car seat. This design is supposed to ensure that the installation is really safe. On paper, the latch straps sound nice. But, in practice, they are quite annoying. You need to throw your full weight onto the car seat in order to tighten the latch straps; but, even after that, the car seat still wiggles around. Releasing the latch straps is also much more difficult than necessary.
Fortunately, you can just use your car’s seat belt to install this unit. Using the seat belt is generally easier, and you may even achieve a better tightness that keeps the car seat in place safely.
Graco Nautilus also has a latch system, which is simple, easy, and quick. Unfortunately, it is not flawless. It is still a bit difficult to tighten. Even after installing it carefully, you will still find the car seat wiggling around slightly. However, the latch system here is relatively more stable and more reliable. Alternatively, you can also just use the seat belt.
Now, let’s compare the seat features of Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus. One similarity between these two models is that they both have five-point harness systems. Both models also have machine-washable pads – awesome!
Evenflo Maestro has a five-point harness system with 4 shoulder harness positions and 2 crotch buckle positions. Unfortunately, you need to re-thread the straps manually to change the positions. The re-threading process may take some time. On the positive side, you can adjust the harness straps to provide the best fit for your child. Evenflo Maestro also has an auto-adjust belt path that positions the seat belt correctly to give the proper fit.
There is a storage pocket for the harness. So, you can keep the harness attached discreetly to the seat after using it. This is quite helpful. Evenflo Maestro comes with two cup holders, which are definitely very useful. The cup holders are equipped with elastic bands so that they can keep water bottles of various sizes, cups, and snacks of various shapes and sizes.
Graco Nautilus comes with the Simply Safe Adjust Harness System. The five-point harness is very easy to adjust! You don’t need to re-thread the straps at all. The sophisticated system will allow you to adjust the height of the headrest and harness in one motion. Compared to Evenflo Maestro’s manual adjustment, Graco Nautilus’s simple adjustment mechanism is definitely much more convenient and a major advantage. The adjustment is quite precise and accurate to give a good fit for your child.
There are removable body support pads on Graco Nautilus, but they are not very useful. Most children prefer to remove these pads. Still, it is nice to have the option to use or not to use the pads. Graco Nautilus comes with contoured armrests that are very comfortable. There is just one cup holder, but there is a goodie compartment for snacks or other small items.
You can trust the durability of Evenflo Maestro. It has been tested for Side Impact and Structural Integrity with energy levels twice the Federal Crash Test Standards. So, the frame is really durable, and the foam padding is really effective in absorbing impacts. The harness does a decent job in keeping your child in place. The headrest and back are wide enough to shield your child.
Graco Nautilus has good safety and durability, too. This model has been side-impact tested to ensure the occupant retention. The harness system is also effective for keeping your child in place. The design of the headrest is especially very nice, as it shields your child better to protect against potential debris particles in the event of a crash.
Evenflo Maestro vs Graco Nautilus
Both are very good car seats. However, Graco Nautilus is generally more recommended because of the easier installation and adjustment. You can adjust the harness without re-threading the straps. It also has a slightly better design to shield your child from debris.