Contender Slim delivers on versatility
January 28, 2022
As a mom of 4, I was grateful to receive the Graco Contender Slim car seat from the Stellar Product Testing Panel. Graco is a brand that I have used for years, and in my experience their car seats have been consistently durable and high quality. We were looking to replace one of our expired models and also are transitioning another child out of an infant car seat in the next few months, so this product arrived at a great time. The Contender Slim is marketed to be a long lasting convertible, as it provides options for children 5-65 lbs, with rear and forward facing options, removable padding for infants, and an adjustable head rest. I love that this seat can potentially replace both an infant seat, for those who don't mind transferring babies to a stroller or carrier from the car, and also a high back booster once your baby is a big kid. I feel like that weight range alone is quite significant, as you could potentially save yourself a few hundred dollars from purchasing 2 extra seats. The impact on the environment is also of note here- if you can keep one seat for years rather than recycle and replace, you are reducing waste and energy.
As far as size- "Slim" is in this car seat's name, and it lives up to that. For those looking to squeeze 3 across, or just make the most of the room in your car, this car seat will work. The model that we were replacing was actually another slim car seat, so for us that size difference was not noticeable. However this is definitely a true slim seat, as it is 18.9 inches wide per the specs. Our slim high back boosters for our oldest children are 19 inches, and are made to fit 3 across in a back seat, so I feel confident that if you had 3 of these Contender Slims, they would also fit. We have been there!
As far as downsides- one possibly important item to note is the cupholder location. The model that I received came with one detachable cupholder, and there are spots on either side of the seat to attach the cup. However, once that cup is installed, you lose at least 3 inches on whichever side it is placed on. So if you feel that your child needs a cupholder and you are still trying to fit 3 across, you might want to double check your car's specs. I don't mind leaving the cupholder off the seat, but I wonder if Graco considered an option to pop it in the front where you wouldn't sacrifice space? This product also is marketed as "lightweight". I wouldn't really agree with that, as it is still over 16 pounds, but I guess it is significantly better than some of the other Graco models that are listed at over 20 pounds, if that matters to you for travel.
The last item I wanted to mention is the manual. Man, these have come a long way in recent years! The directions are basically foolproof, with multiple suggestions to check for possible mistakes in installation and fit. Overall, I think the Graco Contender Slim is a great option for anyone looking to save space and money, by a reliable brand, that will grow with your child (and reduce waste!)
This product review was collected by the manufacturer.