View Full Version : So overwhelmed by various Britax models
09-17-2009, 02:40 PM
I have no idea what convertible carseat to buy. My DD is 5 months old, currently in a Snugride. I drive a 2007 Honda CRV, and probably buying a 2010 Toyota Highlander in the next few months. Both are very safe and have great side impact ratings. I have tried looking at the various Britax models but I get really overwhelmed trying to figure out the differences between them... I just want something safe, easy to get her in and out of, and bonus points if it's a cute girly print. My gut is telling me "Marathon" but I'm not sure why. I want to RF her until she's 2 years old, possibly longer. Also, I have read that the Evenflo Triumph Advance is a good one. Is it comparable in quality? I'm okay with spending $250-$300 on a carseat if I have to, but what's the big plus in buying the Britax over a cheaper brand?
Make this easy for me...what carseat should I buy? Thanks!!
09-17-2009, 03:01 PM
Not the shortest answer, but hopefully it will all make sense!
We have a Marathon and I wish I would've bought two Evenflo Triumph 5s (the seat that the Triumph Advance replaced) instead. The Marathon is a big seat and it's heavy. I don't like installing it and I would never ever want to travel with that seat. DD also hated her seat from about 14 mos. to 2/1/2 years; she'd pitch a fit more times than not, and we always used the Evenflo for our long trips; she was just more comfortable in it.
If you really like the basic style of the Marathon (no extra padding) then check out the Roundabout 50. It has the same height limit as the Marathon, is a bit lighter, doesn't have lockoffs (but we didn't have them on our Evenflo seat and we got a great install!), plus it's around $100 cheaper, but it doesn't have any girly prints. If you are set on the Marathon then you can usually get a girly print for under $200.
If someone handed me $250 and said I need to go and buy a Britax seat I would do my darndest to find a Britax Blvd on sale online for that price, which is less than what the Marathon sells for regular price. For that price it has extra head wings, and a no rethread harness.
If someone told me I had $250 to spend on a car seat and could pick any brand the Triumph Advance Premier would be on my list along with the First Years True Fit, but we'd probably end up with the Triumph Advance based on the super positive experience we had with our Triumph 5. Other positives to our Triumph was we loved the tension knobs, and we loved that all of the straps were self contained. The EFTA also has the no rethread harness which the Roundabout 50, and the Marathon do not have. Big bonus if you ask me:) I thought the fabric on the Triumph 5 was nice too and it washed well, but the last time I did wash it some of the padding started coming out of the top pad, but that shouldn't be an issue with the EFTA because they no longer construct the seat the same way they did on the Triumph 5. I also don't know how easy the EFTA will be to travel with because it's the same size as the Marathon now, but if you do plan on doing any air travel you could always just get a lightweight Cosco Scenera with the extra money you are saving by getting the EFTA; it's like getting two seats for the price of 1 (and you can almost do that if you get two EFTA LXs on sale:)).
Good luck and I would try both seats in your current car as they both should fit in your Highlander with no problem.
09-17-2009, 03:07 PM
OK, to start with, the Britax convertibles come in two sizes - small (Roundabout, Diplomat) and large (Roundabout 50, Marathon, Decathlon, Boulevard, CS models and Advocate).
The smaller models are really not a good value unless you really need them to fit in a very small space. In a CRV or Highlander, you should be able to fit a big one, so scratch the smaller ones off your list as they may not last RF to age 2 and generally don't make it to booster age. Of the larger ones, the CS models aren't worth the extra money, IMO and the Advocate is pretty darn expensive with no data to show that it is better. I would scratch those off your list as well.
That leaves, the RA50, MA, DC and BV. These are all the same size shell, so they usually last almost the same amount of time.
The Boulevard tends to have a half inch less room in the harness, but not a huge difference in the grand scheme. The Bouelvard also has the True Side Impact Protection, which is a headrests that adds to the already good Side Impact Protection. Along with the TSIP comes a no-rethread harness, which is handy, but not a dealbreaker since you only adjust the harness a handful of times over the 5-6 year life of the seat. If you have two different size children using the seat it is much more important.
The Decathlon has extra infant padding (non-issue at this age) and three crotch strap positions (also not usually an issue). The adjuster tends to be sticky, so unless you find a screaming deal on it or love the cover, I would tend to pass on it.
The Marathon is essentially the Boulevard without the headwings - easy to install and use, nicely padded.
The RA50 has a lower weight limit, but that isn't usually an issue either. The lack of lockoffs shouldnt' be a problem in your cars unless you really want to install the seat in the center, in which case the lockoff can be handy with a lap-shoulder belt (outboard you can use LATCH). It does have three crotch strap positions, nice but not a dealbreaker either.
OK, so the second part... why pay more?
The Evenflo Triumph Advance is a very nice seat and especially at the lower price points you get a good value for the money. It does have some downsides compared to Britax:
- The harness can't be removed to clean or replace. You may never need that, but one good puke accident and you would.
- The EFTA adjusts with knobs on the side - some people love this, but some hate it. There are also cars where those knobs dig into the seat when rear-facing.
- All the Britax seats have nice LATCH connectors with push-button release, but only the most expensive EFTAs have this.
- The adjustable harness height is convenient, but some kids are really bothered by the red adjustment tabs.
- Britax has an energy absorbing, rip-stitch tether which can reduce stress on the neck in a crash.
- Britax seats can be tethered rear-facing.
Some of these do fall in the 'nice to have' category and others may not affect you ever, so try the seats out and even try to install them in your car to see if they make a difference for you.
09-17-2009, 05:51 PM
Thank you ladies! Very helpful!
09-17-2009, 06:08 PM
Love the Blvd. as well as both of my sons. Super comfy and easy to install. Headwings prevent heads from flopping. Best Britax seat IMHO. Also check out the Radians (65, 80, XT) which have higher rear-facing weight limits (so you could possibly rear face until 4-5 years). Radians are on sale right now and you can get a free diaper bag at diapers.com right now. The Blvd is on sale at babycatalog.com.
09-17-2009, 11:53 PM
Here you go:http://www.albeebaby.com/britax-marathon-convertible-car-seat-in-ashley-floral.html
I've ordered 3 seats from this company and they are great!
09-18-2009, 12:01 AM
The MA has nicer girly covers than most other seats. My fave is Brooke http://www.target.com/Britax-Marathon-Car-Seat-Brooke/dp/B000F3OEEK
Its very striking IRL. I also have Ashley Floral and its nice too, but I much prefer the Brooke.
09-18-2009, 12:37 AM
I would go for a First Years True Fit with ARB over a Britax honestly.
09-18-2009, 11:22 AM
Get the Riadian 80. I tested all of the Britax carseats and the carseat sits too high and hit was hard to get baby in and out. The Radian is narrower so you will have more room for other passengers.
09-18-2009, 12:31 PM
FYI: Diapers.com will price match any other competitor's price and if you are a new customer you can get an additional 10% off using promo code (10PERCENT).
I just bought a Boulevard in Onyx for $228 from Diapers.com after they price matched the BabyCatalog.com price and then took off the 10%. Plus, they have free shipping. :)
Also, the lady at BabyCheapSkate has put together a good compilation of the best deals out there now.
09-19-2009, 06:05 PM
If you decide on a Radian, make sure you try to install it forward facing. They are notoriously hard to install forward facing for some cars. We were never able to safely install ours faceforward so I returned it (it was new). You won't need it to be forward facing for a few years but by then you couldn't return it.
I agree with what omom was alluding to. The Britax Marathon is a great seat. So far, my favorite. The only drawback I"ve seen is how heavy it is. But I rarely take ours out of the car so that isn't often an issue for us. GL!
09-20-2009, 11:17 AM
I have a 2003 honda crv w/ a RF marathon and a FF marathon and there is room b/t the seats for a smallish person (I fit and I'm 5'5 and about 145lbs- I wear a size 8)...
my ds2 is a peanut and is still RF at age 3. I've never had trouble putting kiddos in or out of the MA
the safety first seat (not sure if this is a kind you were asking about):
when we had one, the crotch buckle- (not sure how else to call it? where you buckle in the 2 'male' parts into the 2 'famale' parts?) was really hard to click/attach and dh hated it so much (it was our spare seat for grandma's car) that he got rid of it!
09-21-2009, 02:34 PM
We have the BV and the MA and we love both. They are both SUPER east to install. IMO easier than any other brand. We love the BV better since it has the TSIP head wings. Our two year old looks more comfy in the seat and sleeps better as well. We have no problems getting him out of the seat. He is still rf in a mid size SUV. Omom really did do a great job with the differences. You really can't go wrong with any Britax seat. But if I were in the market for a new MA I would choose the RA50 over the MA. Since I've never used the lock off's on my seats, so that isn't a deal breaker for me.
09-21-2009, 09:17 PM
I am having the hardest time finding britax marathon covers. I know that the current girl print is mariposa but I really don't care for that. I currently have the denim which was bought for my son (who has outgrown it) but now I want a girly one. Pretty much all I can find is on ebay and they only have the brooke and ashley which I dont' mind I guess...anyone know of anywhere else I'm missing to look for other prints? thanks in advance!
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.