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When looking for a child car seat, you’re likely to come across two seemingly identical models from the same brand. Britax is such one company that manufacture baby car seats that appear almost similar with only a few differences.
Britax Pioneer and Frontier are two top corresponding car seats by Britax that convert from forward facing into high back harnessed booster seats.
This puts many parents in a dilemma, overwhelmed about the better model between the two versions. For new users, this can be overly confusing.
We’ll compare essential features by the two models to help you figure out the better model with the most mesmerizing and beneficial features.
How the Car Seats are Similar
Both Pioneer and Frontier have been designed to transition with your baby from forward facing into harnessed booster seat.
These models don’t convert into rear facing; hence they cannot be used by infants and newborns. They’re ideal choices for toddlers who have outgrown the rear-facing modes.
Even though Britax Pioneer and Frontier are not all-in-one model, the booster mode can support tall and heavier babies for several years.
Dimensions of Products
The width and depth of both models is identical. Each model measures 19-inches in width and 21-inches in depth. Their height is a little different only by 1-inch.
Britax Frontier is slightly taller measuring 36-inches while Pioneer is 35-inches. Despite the small difference, they’re both tall when compared to other models.
Their width is quite average considering there are other larger car seats. However, they may not fit three similar car seats at the back row in narrow cars. But you can fit two of them comfortably at the same time. They’re roomy with plenty space for your child to grow before they transition into booster seat.
Each car seat features a 9-position harness for a secure comfortable fit. As the child grows, you only need to adjust the headrest and harness into a different position within the 9 selectable positions.
The better part about it is the ease of adjustment since there’s no unnecessary rethreading that’s apparently complicated. Tightening and loosening the harness is a breeze.
The harness is quite snug without digging into the shoulders and belly even for extended time. The head and body will not fall forward and sideways which can be quite insecure in the event of a crash. There’s even a strap store beneath to secure them into the car frame.
Level of Safety
Safety-wise, each model encompasses two side impact protection layers to shield your child from head and body injury after a forceful contact in an accident.
On both models, the layers are high grade foam, a material with demonstrated ability to absorb impact from the rear, sides and frontal crashes. The result is ultimate all-round protection in the event of a collision. Basically, it takes the force and impact away from reaching the child’s body.
Next is the impact absorbing base and shell that compresses to take in the energy from getting to the baby.
The steel frame keeps your mind peaceful knowing the car seat is stable and securely fixed on the car floor. Best of all is the V tether that stops the rotation and movement of car seat.
The seat covers on all models come off for washing. Britax recommends hand wash over machine wash although there are users who machine washed the covers with no issues.
Hand washing can be quite inconvenient when the covers are severely messed. Not forgetting air drying that’s likely to take some time.
Perhaps the main reason is to prolong their lifespan since replacement covers are quite pricey. Therefore, be sure you follow the washing manual to help safeguard the integrity of the cover and straps.
Level of Comfort
The padding is sufficient all around for exceptional comfort. Both the sitting area and the headrest are well-padded to keep the baby comfy on bumps and rough drives.
Another feature that contributes to comfort is the recline setting. Both models have multiple recline positions to adjust the seat at the right angle for the child’s comfort.
There’s a recline handle to help you set the seat at the desired reclining position. However, the recline setting cannot be used when the child seat is in booster mode.
There are two cup holders on both sides of armrests with sufficient depth so the cup or water bottle does not fall off. The holders are pretty big to support cups of various sizes instead of holding them between the legs. Installing the cup holders is straightforward.
How They are Different
One considerable difference between Pioneer and Frontier is the weight limits. On forward facing, Britax Pioneer holds a child weighing from 25-70 pounds and 40 up to 110 pounds when it is in booster mode.
The limitations are pretty higher on Frontier model. It supports children from 25 to 90 pounds on forward facing and 40 all the way to 120 pounds on booster mode.
Car Seats Weight
Another notable difference is the heaviness of the car seats. Britax Pioneer is lightweight at 21 pounds while Frontier is quite heavy at 24.9 pounds.
You may need some extra energy to lift Britax Frontier when relocating to another point. But both models are heavy and you’ll need a lot of effort.
Personally, I prefer a car seat that’s a little heavy since the extra weight is attributed by steel frame and the extra padding that apparently reinforces the strength, comfort and lifespan of the product.
The installation system is quite different. Britax Pioneer works with the use of latch connectors or seat belt to set up the seat. The process is straightforward but you need to tighten the connectors firmly and make sure the seat does not move around.
Britax Frontier installs by the ClickTight system that utilizes the seat belt. It’s the easiest installation process. The belt will do the work for you without you having to tighten the seat yourself.
Both models are available in different color alternatives. Britax Frontier has nine color options while Britax Pioneer has eight.
Britax Frontier choices include Vibe, Baxter, Tuxedo, Cowmooflage, Bubbles, Broadway, Cool Flow, Trek, and Vector. Britax Pioneer range from Oasis, Silver Cloud, Summit, Asthon, Static, Domino, Confetti and Beckham.
At the end of the day, your budget will be the deciding factor especially if your budget is quite little. So, if price is a concern, the price tag is pretty higher on Britax Frontier than Pioneer.
But the price is quite reasonable considering the car seat will last for several years. Both models grow with the child so I’m sure you’ll see the value of your money out of it.
Bottom Line - Britax Pioneer vs Frontier Which Model is Better?
While both are excellent choices, I find Britax Frontier to be quite luxurious – with extra benefits, and therefore a more decent choice than Britax Pioneer. In terms of comfort and safety, Britax Frontier feels comfier and a lot sturdier which many parents will appreciate.
One feature I love more about Britax Frontier is the higher weigh limitations both in the forward facing and booster modes. Its ClickTight installation system is easier as well than latch connectors apparently integrated in the Pioneer model.
However, if you’re looking for a lightweight travelling car seat that quite affordable then, Britax Pioneer is the ideal product. Nonetheless, I hope you find the best model that match the baby and vehicle needs.