In-Depth Review of the Graco Contender 65 (2023)

A Balanced Choice for Practical Parents

Last Updated on 2023-11-21

This comprehensive review will provide an in-depth look at the Graco Contender 65. We'll analyze the key features, real owner experiences, who this seat is ideal for, and technical specifications to help you determine if this is the right car seat for your family.


Provides excellent features at an affordable price, making it a cost-effective choice for families.


Ensures robust safety standards with its secure harness and impact-resistant design.


Offers essential features like adjustable harness and recline, though lacks some advanced options.


Users find it relatively easy to install, with straightforward instructions and practical design.


Some users noted challenges with removing and cleaning the seat cover.


Its size is manageable, but not the most compact option available.

Key Information

Type Convertible

Rear-Facing Forward-Facing
Weighted Rating 4.77 / 5.0

Product Overview

The Graco Contender 65 Car Seat

The Graco Contender 65 is a convertible car seat designed to accommodate children from infancy to the toddler stage. It offers both rear-facing and forward-facing options, catering to children weighing between 5 and 65 pounds. This seat emphasizes safety, comfort, and convenience, featuring an adjustable harness system, multiple recline positions, and easy installation. The Graco Contender 65 is a practical choice for parents seeking a reliable and adaptable car seat without breaking the bank.

Key Features

What features set this car seat apart from others?

  • Adjustable Harness: Features an easily adjustable harness system for growing children.
  • Cup Holder: Includes a cup holder, adding convenience for both child and parent.
  • Recline Positions: Offers multiple recline positions, enhancing comfort for the child.
  • Robust Build: Strong and impact-resistant construction, emphasizing safety.

What Real Owners Think

Here's what actual owners of the Graco Contender 65 had to say based on hundreds to thousands of reviews we've analyzed from Walmart and Amazon.

Pros Cons
  • Versatile and grows with the child (reversible, adjustable headrest)." As a mom of 4, I appreciated its long-lasting convertible nature, suitable for children 5-65 lbs."
  • Generally easy to install in various vehicles." Installation was simple to me and set right to where the level said it should be."
  • Comfortable padding and quality material." Feels good quality and durable, but also comfortable."
  • Difficulty in cleaning; seat cover not easily machine washable." The seat cover doesn’t really come off so machine washable it is not."
  • Straps can be uncomfortable, potentially scraping against the child's neck." The straps are too straight...they should come down at an inward angle."

Who Should Buy the Graco Contender 65?

The Graco Contender 65 is ideal for parents seeking an affordable, versatile car seat that will grow with their child. It's particularly suited for those who prioritize safety and ease of installation but don’t mind a bit of extra effort in cleaning. This car seat is a good match for families who need a reliable, no-frills option for everyday use.

Final Verdict

The Graco Contender 65 strikes a balance between functionality, safety, and cost-effectiveness. While it has room for improvement in cleaning convenience and strap comfort, its adaptability, ease of installation, and robust safety features make it a solid choice for pragmatic parents. It's a sensible purchase for those who need a reliable car seat that can adapt to their child's growth without a hefty price tag.


Allowable Height and Weight Ranges

Height Range Weight Range
Rear-facing 0 - 49 inches 5 - 40 pounds
Forward-facing 0 - 49 inches 22 - 65 pounds

Dimensions and Weight

Width 20.3 inches
Height 24.8 inches
Depth 17.3 inches
Weight 15.2 pounds

Core Specifications

Model Year 2021
Made In China
Frame Material Plastic

Safety and Compliance

Federal Safety Standards Meets all standards
Configurations FAA-Approved for Airplanes Forward-Facing
NHTSA Ease-of-Use Ratings
These ratings let you compare how easy it is to use certain car seat features. They are not a reflection of car seat features being better or safer.
Rear-Facing Mode
Overall 4 out of 5 stars
Labels 3 out of 5 stars
Instructions 5 out of 5 stars
Securing 5 out of 5 stars
Installation Features 2 out of 5 stars
Forward-Facing Mode
Overall 3 out of 5 stars
Labels 3 out of 5 stars
Instructions 3 out of 5 stars
Securing 4 out of 5 stars
Installation Features 3 out of 5 stars
Previous Recalls This car seat has never been recalled.


Attachment Methods LATCH
Harness Type 5-Point
Cup Holders Has cup holders.

Warranty and Durability

Manufacturers Warranty Length 1 year
Lifespan 7 Years

Additional Links

See all Graco car seats
See all Convertible car seats

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