Graco TriRide Vs Contender 65

The convertible car seats like Graco TriRide Vs Contender 65 are necessary to provide the proper safety feature for babies and young children. These seats will fit babies from day one until they are old enough to use a booster seat. The two are relatively easy to install and perform well for most parents. But, they are also different so let’s see what you can expect from the seats before deciding the option.

In this comparison, we are going to talk about:

  • How to Select a Convertible Car Seat
  • What are Graco TriRide and Contender 65
  • How is the Design of Graco TriRide and Contender 65
  • How is the Installation of Graco TriRide and Contender 65
  • How is the Fitting of Graco TriRide and Contender 65
  • What else Graco TriRide and Contender 65 can offer
  • Graco TriRide Vs Contender 65

Buying a Convertible Seat 

A convertible car seat is the most convenient because it is usable from day one, so newborns and tiny babies can safely travel with their parents. The seat is widely available and is mandatory, so it is crucial to have one. Our car may have extensive safety features, but they are for older kids and adults. Babies and young children are still too small to wear a seatbelt. A convertible seat will secure the passenger using the harness and in rear-facing or forward-facing mode.

Parents must consider the installation process when shopping for a car seat, especially the convertible model. A convertible car seat is the most complicated to install among different seat types because it allows for rear and forward-facing. Some models are better than the rest, and parents can invest more if they wish for the best convenience. We also recommend checking the vehicle’s manual on how we should install the seat. The car seat manufacturer can design a better installation system that varies across different brands.

Cars have different seats, and the shape or dimension may also affect the interior. Some cars may have a shallower roof or narrower backseat. We recommend parents take the vehicle’s measurement into account when selecting a new seat so we can install and use it properly. Additionally, children’s seats have height and weight requirements at a minimum and maximum levels. The higher the height and weight limit in rear mode, the longer we can keep the kid in this position.

 Graco TriRideGraco Contender 65
Product Dimensions20 x 19 x 23.25 inches
21.5 x 20.1 x 24.75 inches
Shipping Weight17.2 pounds
15.9 pounds
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About Graco TriRide and Contender 65

There are plenty of good car seats to consider, and it can be confusing. The best way to shop is to know what you want from the seat and match them to what the seat can offer. Some parents may wonder about the price, too, especially when buying for more than one kid. All car seats have to meet or exceed the FMVSS 213 for safety purposes, and some are also usable in an airplane.

One of the most popular car seat manufacturers is Graco, and we are sure many parents are familiar with this brand. They carry a wide range of youth products, from strollers to car seats. They also renew the collection to improve quality and offer various seat types to meet the parents and children’s lifestyles. The Graco TriRide and Contender 65 are perfect for parents with newborns or toddlers who need to use a car seat in rear-facing mode. Both models are convertible but also slightly different.

Using a harness and rear-facing installation, they can fit babies from day one with a minimum weight of 4 pounds. They will last for several years depending on how fast our children grow. Once they exceed the height or weight limit, parents need to change the installation into forward-facing until the harness mode no longer fits their body. The main difference between Graco TriRide and Contender 65 is the additional mode on TriRide. The seat acts as a booster which means the kid can use their seatbelt to replace the harness.

As the name suggests, TriRide is a 3-in-1 solution for parents who want to keep the seat for longer. Children who grow faster or naturally taller than their same-age friends also enjoy a booster because their bodies will feel more comfortable wearing the seatbelt than in their tight five-point harness. The TriRide costs more than Contender 65, but it is an ideal choice to prolong the use of the seat. Read also: Baby Jogger City Go 2 Vs City Go Air here.

Graco TriRide and Contender 65 Design

Like most convertible seats, the Graco TriRide and Contender 65 use the same design, yet they don’t look identical. The TriRide will fit bigger kids, and it is also slightly bulkier than Contender 65. The external height with the headrest is 30 inches, while the latter is approximately 27 inches. The seats’ exterior width is different, with TriRide measures at 19.2 inches and Contender 65 at 18.7 inches. Both seats have removable infant inserts, while TriRide also has a shoulder strap to improve fit.

Both seats have a plastic base where they come in contact with the vehicle. The base is flat, and the seat has reclining positions to improve the ideal installation position. The fabric for Graco TriRide and Contender 65 are very similar. They are not overly plush or thick but feel soft to touch and have adequate padding. Parents can remove the fabric for maintenance. The TriRide seat weight is approximately 17 pounds, while Contender 65 is 15 pounds. Graco is an American company, and its products are made in China.

Graco TriRide and Contender 65 Installation

Installation is crucial when buying a car seat because we need to install the seat properly for safety purposes. The Graco TriRide and Contender 65 are similar but also different. The base of Contender 65 has an adjustable recline block for rear and front installation mode. Parents have to put it in the correct position for the installation mode and level indicator for baby and toddler. The LATCH strap goes into the belt path under the seat’s cover.

But, the LATCH connector is a standard hook instead of the more modern type with a plastic head and buttons. We find the same connector in TriRide, which is not a big issue but can be less convenient, especially when you want to undo the installation. Parents can install Graco TriRide and Contender 65 with seatbelts as well, and both models require us to route the belt on the designated path for each installation mode. Overall we find the installation is identical and relatively easy.

Graco TriRide and Contender 65 Fitting

Next is the fitting and capacity for both seats. Both Graco TriRide and Contender 65 require 5 pounds weight limit for babies and preemies and are suitable for rear riding mode until the kid is 40 pounds or around 49 inches tall. We see the fit is too large for younger or smaller babies because a healthy baby who is about 8 pounds fits snuggly with an infant insert. If the little one is still too small, parents may try adding a pad to improve the fit.

Older children or toddlers have no issue using these seats, and they seem very comfortable with the harness. The rear-facing mode should fit children until they are around 40 pounds. They may still be able to use rear-facing mode when reaching 4 or 5 years old. Usually, the older kid will weigh more than 40 pounds, and our 6 year old is almost 50, so she moves to the front-facing. The front-facing is suitable for up to 65 pounds and 49 inches tall.

The kids at the top of the height or weight range may still be able to use the seat, but we find they are not very happy about the harness fit since it can be too tight for their body, especially the crotch buckle. The 49 inches height range is not an issue with TriRide because we can use the seat in booster mode. The highback booster mode will fit the passenger up to 100 pounds, 57 inches tall, or until they can wear a seatbelt properly without a booster anymore.

Graco TriRide and Contender 65 Features

Lastly, let’s see the features of Graco TriRide and Contender 65 because they also have some exciting conveniences to offer. First, we love the no-thread harness, so the harness will follow the headrest and the kid’s growth. Second, they have a reclining position, but TriRide offers wider reclining levels for young passengers. There are five reclining positions; 3 for rear mode and 2 for front-facing mode, while Contender 65 only has one for each installation type.

Third, both seats are FAA approved as convertible and in front-facing mode. Fourth, the TriRide converts into a booster for older or taller kids, which is great if your little one grows faster and has a taller body. Fifth, the TriRide has two cup holders, while Contender 65 has one.

Graco TriRide Vs Contender 65

Both Graco TriRide and Contender 65 are good options for parents who want to use a convenient car seat from day one until the kids are older and want to move into the next model. They are similar but different, and the main difference is that TriRide also converts into a highback booster for older and taller passengers. The TriRide also has more reclining modes for a better installation, especially for younger children.

- 3-in-1 car seat grows with your child from rear-facing harness (5-40 lb) to forward-facing harness (22-65 lb) to highback booster (40-100 lb)
- Graco ProtectPlus Engineered: a combination of the most rigorous crash tests that help to protect your child in frontal, side, rear & rollover crashes
- No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion
- Choose the perfect headrest height from 10 positions to get the safest fit for your growing child
- Convertible car seat grows with your child from rear-facing harness (5-40 lb) to forward-facing harness (22-65 lb)
- Slim car seat design saves space in your back seat
- Compact and lightweight to easily transfer from car to car
- Travel car seat is certified for aircraft use to help keep your child safe while flying


The decision is yours based on which seems ideal. We recommend the TriRide because parents can use this seat for longer, and we can directly move to the booster when they don’t feel comfortable using the harness. The TriRide fits babies, toddlers, and young children in elementary school.

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