Britax makes a darn good car seat. In fact, they’ve always been known for their convertible seats.
Up until recently, their core offerings were what I call “MBA”: Marathon, Boulevard and Advocate. These used to come in both regular and “ClickTight” versions — but these regular (non ClickTight) seats have essentially become their new “Essential” seats.
Yes, the new Essentials line now competes with lower-priced competitors, like Graco and Evenflo. Initially, I wasn’t sure what a watered down version of Britax seats would look like, but (spoiler alert!)… I am very impressed with what they’ve done.
Like I said, the only big feature that you don’t get on these new Essential seats is “ClickTight,” which is the seatbelt installation feature that allows you to install the seat easily without having to use the LATCH connectors. You’ll pay about $190-$200 for these Essentials seats — vs. $300+ for an MBA (Marathon/Boulevard/Advocate) ClickTight seat — so it’s a significant saving.
Don’t get me wrong, the ClickTight feature is very cool… but you can definitely live without it. In fact, we lived without it for years before it was conceived. And if you’re a confident LATCH installer… you’ll be just fine. So there’s that.
These two new seats are called the Allegiance and the Emblem. For a point of reference, they are priced somewhere between the Graco Size4Me and the Chicco NextFit — and compete very closely with the Graco Extend2Fit, price-wise.
FYI – Britax also introduced a fairly new “All in One” seat called the One4Life with various design trade-offs and feature overlaps. “All in One” is a new class of car seats that goes from infancy through forward-facing seatbelt mode.
With these “Essentials” seats, you still get the following features from their ClickTight line of high-quality seats:
- premium push-button LATCH connectors (they won’t break your nails)
- built-in lock-offs (for “locking” the seatbelt during installation)
- an infant insert
- a no-rethread harness (10 height positions) and 2 crotch positions
- anti-slip rubber base
- premium fabrics
- velcro strips to help keep the harness straps out of the way when getting your kiddo in and out — love it!!
You still get most of the safety features found in the higher-end Britax seats, which include the following:
- SafeCell Technology
- V-shaped tether “Versa-tether”
- Built-in lock-offs
- Steel reinforced frame
- Side-impact protection comes in the form of deep side walls lined with energy-absorbing EPP foam
Most importantly, both the Allegiance and the Emblem perform exceedingly well in crash tests, so it’s good to know you aren’t sacrificing anything in the safety department.
We applaud the new Britax Essentials line, which gives more people access to the Britax brand. Both the Allegiance and the Emblem are awesome convertible seats that will fit most budgets; the Emblem is slightly more expensive with one more layer of side impact protection around the head; otherwise, they are the same.
These seat are easier to install using LATCH (vs. the seatbelt), but neither method is particularly onerous. Given the long list of usability features that Britax is known for, coupled with their renowned safety features, we gladly recommend these seats to anyone in the market.
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