Graco Contender 65 Graco Size4Me 65
The Graco Convertible Car Seats – An Introduction
This is a side-by-side comparison review of the Graco Contender 65 and Graco Size4Me convertible car seats.
The Graco range of car seats is considered by many to contain the best budget convertible car seats on the market today.
For a those with a budget of under $200, the Contender 65 and Size4Me 65 seats should definitely be on your shortlist. Even if you have a slightly higher budget, they are still worth considering alongside the slightly more expensive options.
The other Graco Convertible Seat that is available for under $200 is the Extend2Fit.
Note: You may have heard of the Graco Fit4Me and MySize convertible seats and wondered how they differed from the Size4Me. The simple answer is that they do not differ – they are exactly the same seat, but with different fabric color styles and different retail distribution arrangements.
The Contender 65 & Size4Me Seats at a Glance
|Feature||Contender 65||Size4Me 65|
|Rear-Facing Weight||4 - 40 lbs||4 - 40 lbs|
|Rear-Facing Height||1" below headrest button||1" below headrest button|
|Forwards-Facing Weight||22 - 65 lbs||22 - 65 lbs|
|Forwards-Facing Height||up to 49"||up to 49"|
|LATCH Installation||Yes (Standard)||Yes (Premium)|
|Harness Height Range||7 - 17.5"||7 - 17.5"|
|Seat Expiration||7 years||7 years|
|FAA Approved for Flights||Yes||Yes|
The Contender 65 & Size4Me 65 – Shared Features
#1 Child Weight & Height Limits
Both seats are suitable for use from 4 lbs to 65 lbs. The lower weight limit of 4 lbs makes them an excellent choice for babies with low birth weights and most other convertible seats start from 5 lbs or higher.
The rear-facing height limits are not measured in terms of child height, but instead require that your child’s head does not come within 1 inch of the headrest handle, when the headrest is fully extended.
Just because Graco says that you can switch your baby around to the forwards-facing position from as little as 22 lbs that does NOT mean that you have to. Rear-Facing is much safer than forwards-facing and I recommend that your child remains that way as long as they are within the required height and weight limits. The AAP recommends at least 2 years in the rear-facing position.
The forwards-facing height limit of 49 inches is quite generous and you should be able to use this seat for most (if not all) of the 7-year expiration period for a single child.
#2 Harness Height / Adjustment / Infant Insert
Both seats also come with an infant insert to help provide extra support around the vulnerable parts of your baby’s body. It also boosts their bodies up so that you can get a better snug fit when they are very small. (see video below)
There is a premium harness adjustment system called “Simple Safe Adjust” which allows you to increase the height of the headrest and the shoulder harness straps with a single actions without having to rethread the harness.
To increase the height of the headrest and shoulder harness straps, you simply squeeze the red/gray handle that can be found on the top of the seat and then pull it upwards until you get the correct fit.
#3 Safety Test Results
The seats both come with EPS energy-absorbing foam for enhanced impact energy management.
Graco boasts that these seats have achieved or exceeded all applicable US safety standards during rigorous side impact testing.
During the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) tests, their Peak Crash Force scores were apparently found to be 2 x the applicable car seat standard.
The Contender 65 & Size4Me 65 – Differences
Aside from the fabric color options, there are only 3 real differences between the Contender 65 and the Size4Me 65 seats.
They are …
#1 LATCH Installation
The Size4Me seat is supplied with a premium InRight LATCH installation system, which uses a simple push button mechanism rather than the standard LATCH system.
Unlike the Size4Me 65 seat, the Contender 65 comes with a standard LATCH installation system.
If you are confident about being able to use standard LATCH connectors, or know where to get assistance, this won’t be a problem. If you are not so confident, then the simplicity of the InRight LATCH that accompanies the Size4Me seat would be a useful feature.
#2 Recline Positions & Indicator
This is another area in which the Contender 65 has slightly reduced capabilities when compared with the Size4Me 65 seat.
They both come with a helpful recline level indicator on the side of the seat, which tells you when your recline is in a suitable position, but it doesn’t have as many recline options as the Size4Me.
The Size4Me comes with 3 recline positions, whereas the Contender 65 has only 2, and this is reflected in the price.
If you look at the front of the seats, you will notice that the Size4Me has a red recline handle but that the Contender does not. It is this handle that is used to achieve the extra recline position.
#3 Seat Width
The Graco Contender 65 is 2.25 inches wider than the Graco Size4Me 65 seat.
The Contender 65 measures 20.75 inches across, whereas the Size4Me 65 is just 18.5 inches.
Watch These Video Reviews
Which Seat to Choose for Your Child?
The recommended retail price of the Size4Me 65 is about $40 more than the Contender 65.
As I have already mentioned, aside from fabric color styles, there are only 2 material differences between the Size4Me 65 and Contender 65 seats.
They are both excellent budget convertible car seats and you will simply have to decide whether or not the extra recline position and InRight LATCH connectors found on the Size4Me 65 are worth the extra cash.
My In-depth Reviews of the Contender & Size4Me Seats
In this post, I have explained the similarities and differences between these 2 seats. You can find my in-depth individual reviews of each seat here:
Where to Buy Graco Contender & Size4Me
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Get in Touch
If you have any comments to share or questions to ask about my Graco Contender vs Size4Me comparison review, please leave a comment in the box below or send me an email.