Carseats Comparisons

Britax Pioneer vs. Britax Frontier: Which Car Seat is for You?

Usually when you’re in the market for a new car seat or need one for your new baby, you look at two different options from two different brands.

In this case, however, the Britax Pioneer vs. the Britax Frontier are two easily comparable car seats that not only last babies a long time, but are also generally affordable, especially for what you get. If the price is your concern, the Pioneer is admittedly less expensive than the Frontier, but with the Frontier has the ClighTight feature that ensures your child’s car seat is properly and securely installed and that they’re securely buckled in.

Overall, there are plenty of similarities, especially in the way both Britax car seats are designed and the safety and side impact protection they provide, but there are a few big qualities that set them apart from each other, which may help to make the decision between the Britax Pioneer vs. Britax Frontier that much easier for you.

As with any car seats, there are a few select areas to look at when comparing these, including the child age and weight range to determine just how long you’ll be able to get use out of the car seat. Other important areas are, of course, price and the safety features they both offer.

Because a lot of the safety features and protection are similar with the Pioneer and Frontier, you won’t find many ways to compare them in that arena, but there are still some things that set them apart from each other enough to give you a better idea of which car seat is the best for your family.

Britax Pioneer

At first, it may be difficult to look at both car seats and really see the differences since, at their core, both look almost identical. But when you dig a little deeper, you can see some of the features specific to the Britax Pioneer car seat.

The important thing is that the car seat does indeed double as a high-back booster that you simply convert by hiding the straps and harness to make the seat more comfortable for your growing toddler. While you can’t use the car seat from your baby’s infancy and onward, you can still use it once they hit two years old and are ready for a forward facing seat.

Then, when they’re physically and developmentally ready for the booster seat side of the Pioneer, you can convert it for them and continue to enjoy the car seat for literal years.

It also has a nine position quick adjust harness system that can be done with one hand, which is a huge added bonus, since some car seats have difficult to adjust straps and harnesses that can sometimes be more of a headache than anything else.

To switch it from a harness seat to a high-back booster, you simply tuck the straps into the seat itself to get them out of the way and regardless, there are two convenient cup holders for your baby’s drink or snacks. And whether you’re using it as a standard forward-facing car seat or a high-back booster, you can adjust the seat to multiple recline positions for your baby’s added comfort.

Features

  • Installation: There are easy to use LATCH connectors and a v-shaped tether on the back of the seat to get the car seat properly and safely installed.
  • Safety Harness: The nine-position quick adjust harness can be switched between positions with just one hand on the top of the seat itself. There’s also a two-position buckle to accommodate your growing child.
  • Child Age Range: As a forward-facing harness car seat, the age and weight limit is two years and 25-70 pounds, whereas the limit as a booster car seat is 40-110 pounds.
  • Where To Buy: You can find the car seat on the manufacturer’s website and on Amazon or in-store at Target and Babies ‘R Us.

Pros

  • It has two layers of side impact protection, as well as a steel frame that absorbs most heavy impacts.
  • Since it’s designed for toddlers up to 110 pounds, you’ll be able to use the Britax Pioneer for years after purchasing it.
  • The car seat itself is a little wider than some other ones, giving your toddler plenty of room for comfort and growth.
  • With multiple positions on the harness and buckle, you won’t have to transition to the booster seat aspect for a while.

Cons

  • As a front-facing only car seat, you’ll still need an infant car seat before your baby can graduate to this one.
  • Since it sits up relatively high, the Britax Pioneer may be almost too high to be able to see out the back window.
  • Installation can be a pain, even for more experience parents or caregivers.

Reviews

“Great choice if you are looking for a bigger seat for your “bigger” kid. My son is 3 but, he is very tall and heavy. He could go into a regular booster, that just uses the cars seat belt strap, but I did not feel comfortable having my son only harnessed by the seatbelt while in his seat. This has a harness that easily clips into your car and a 3 point harness that straps him into the seat. When I feel like it is time, we can use it as a “standard” booster by removing the 3 point harness straps and just using the seat belt.” – Tara Haize Colvin on Amazon.

“My new favorite car seat for forward facing kiddos! My son (6) loves the color. I love how easy it is to adjust the size to fit him or, if I need to, his sister (2), because of the no rethread harness. It is a bit heavy, but not as heavy as my Diono. Love the cup holders, but if you’re trying to fit 3 across, it does mean the seat is a little wider than if it didn’t have the cup holders.” – Amanda on Amazon.

“We had a Britax Pioneer for our daughter and bought this one for our son. It’s a great car seat and he loves it! We’ve had the one for our daughter for over a year with no issues. Not too difficult to clean either. Also, Britax is one of the most chemical-free car seat brands.” – Stephen Griffin on Amazon.

Britax Frontier

Because it looks so similar to the Pioneer on paper, it may be hard to tell at first that the Britax Frontier car seat really does have some qualities that help set it apart from the other one under the same brand.

Mainly, it has the ClickTight Installation System, which is designed to make installing the car seat as easy as possible. Since we all know how stressful and frustrating it can be to properly install car seats and new and unfamiliar ones at that, this is a really big deal for the Britax Frontier.

Instead of using the sometimes confusing LATCH system, you just buckle the seat belt while attached to the car seat, making it simple enough to do, especially if you need to take your car seat out of your car and share with your partner or caregiver.

Like the Pioneer, the Frontier also has multiple recline, harness, and buckle positions in order to get the perfect fit and best comfort out of the car seat for your little one. Since it’s meant to grow with them, chances are, you’ll need to utilize those features in order to keep them safely strapped in, so for most parents and caregivers, it’s almost necessary to have such easily adjustable features.

It’s also got an energy-absorbing shell and headrest that both act to protect your child in the event of an unexpected crash.

Features

  • Installation: For a quick and easy LATCH-free installation, you simply use the Frontier’s ClickTight Installation System to get your baby’s car seat secured in your backseat.
  • Safety Harness: It has a nine-point harness and two-position buckle that you can adjust each as your child grows.
  • Child Age Range: As a forward-facing harness car seat, the Frontier is suitable for toddlers from age two and up and 25-90 pounds. As a high-back booster car seat, it’s designed for children from 40-120 pounds.
  • Where To Buy: You can find it on the manufacturer’s website and on Amazon or in-store at Target and Babies ‘R Us.

Pros

  • For the most part and when compared to the Pioneer, installation is a breeze for the Britax Frontier.
  • Thanks to the slight recline that’s available, your little one can fall asleep in the car seat without having his or her head slump over.
  • The memory foam inserts in the seat of the car seat also make it plenty comfortable, especially on long car rides.
  • You won’t need another car seat for years after buying the Frontier, if at all.

Cons

  • Compared to other car seats, the Frontier is a bit heavier, therefore harder to move.
  • At Almost $300, it’s a little pricey, especially when compared to the Pioneer, which is close to half of that.
  • Although the ClickTight Installation System is convenient for installing the car seat, it can collect lots of crumbs and food in the back.

Reviews

“I have to admit, I never understood why Britax car seats were so expensive. Well, I broke down and purchased one and now I know! I have had several brands of car seats and this is the only seat that has impressed me. Don’t get me wrong, the others were fine, I didn’t hate them, they just didn’t wow me. The instructions to install this seat are simply written and easy to follow. The seat itself is a dream to work with in comparison to others. All buckles, straps, etc. are easily accessible and simply adjusted.” – Kim Mills on Amazon.

“I absolutely LOVE this car seat. So much so, I bought a second one for a spare to use for whoever needs to pick my son up if I’m not able. I bought a few cheap car seats and just didn’t feel it was installed properly. This car seat has spoiled my husband and I to the ease of use, and knowledge that out son is beyond safe in this seat.” – Katrina Berry-Johnson on Amazon.

“If you are hesitant to spend this much money on a car seat DO IT! I love this car seat and will be getting another one for my other daughter once she grows out of her current seat. What would normally take me about twenty minutes per seat struggling with the straps literally took me 2 minutes to install this seat. I am in love with this car seat and will be telling all my mommy friends that this is the car seat to get their kiddos.” – Jennifer Hess on Amazon.

The Verdict

At first glance, the Britax Frontier might seem like the stronger option between the two car seats. However, the ClickTight aspect aside, the car seats are very similar to each other. That being said, it may be much more cost effective to go with the Pioneer instead. It’s considerably more affordable and still has all of the other safety features and harness options to help your little one fit in comfortably as they grow.

The Frontier might have an overall maximum weight limit of 120 and the Pioneer has a maximum weight limit of 110, but those 10 pounds aside, it’s still a safe and reliable car seat that’s also affordable and has a very long life for your child.

Final Thoughts

Choosing a car seat doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult, even when trying to choose between two of the same brand, like the Britax Pioneer vs. Britax Frontier. They’re very similar in many aspects, aside from installation and price, so at the end of the day, you have to decide what’s most important to you for your child’s car seat. Although they’re both solid car seats, though, the stronger option would have to be the Pioneer.

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