Britax and Recaro brands both offer high class premium car seats for infants, toddlers and children.
But choosing between the two can be difficult, even if there is only a slight difference in the cost.
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Are Premium Car Seats Worth It?
Many parents wonder if buying a more expensive car seat, such as a Recaro or a Britax, offers any benefit to their child. I know for me, I’m most interested in the safety, comfort and then the cost.
Every single car seat on the market in the United States has passed the very same crash test standards.
View this 6 minute video on the Britax Crash Testing Explained:
It does not matter if you are purchasing a $70 or a $300 seat: both are going to be safe for your child. (maybe not so comfortable)
The difference lies in the add-ons which premium seats have to offer.
Some features are purely aesthetic while others can bolster the level of safety offered by the seat.
The leading add-ons include:
- Appearance of the seat
- Side impact protection
- Anti-rebound bar
- Accessories (such as a cup holder or a small “boot” around your infant’s feet)
Should I Choose A Convertible Car Seat or an Infant Seat First?
One of the leading car seat options on the market today is the convertible car seat.
These car seats are popular because they can be altered to accommodate your growing little one.
But they may also be less convenient and less safe depending on the car seat you choose.
The first decision you will need to make is an infant seat against a convertible car seat.
There are a number of benefits which come with an infant seat, including:
- Infant seats can be easily lifted from a base installed in your vehicle, meaning you do not need to wake up your little one when you arrive at your destination
- These seats are the perfect fit for even the smallest of babies
- Many can be attached to a stroller
The downside, of course, is that the seat can only be used for the first year of your baby’s life.
They are also heavy and, unless you buy a “stroller and seat” system, you may be limited when it comes to the type or brand of stroller you can attach it to.
Convertible car seats can typically accommodate children who are at least 5 pounds up to 40 pounds and, in most cases, up to 65 pounds or more.
These seats are popular because you do not need to purchase a separate infant seat and toddler seat, saving families money.
One obvious drawback is that you will need to disturb your sleeping baby whenever the car trip is complete.
Smaller infants may not fit as well, and these seats do not recline nearly as much as an infant seat.
The seat you choose will come down to personal preference.
- If, for example, you plan on lifting your little one and wearing them in a wrap or carrier immediately after you arrive at a destination then you may not need one of the benefits an infant seat provides.
- If you are expecting twins (who may be born smaller than a single baby) or believe you will be having a smaller baby, then an infant seat may be for you.
- If you choose a premium baby seat, such as a Britax or a Recaro, the convertible models will almost always include additional features which will ensure the safety and comfort of your little one.
In these situations it may be worth spending a bit more so that you can purchase a well-crafted convertible seat which will see your child through until he or she is 9 or 10 years of age.
What Else Should I Consider When Choosing a Car Seat?
When looking at car seats, pay attention to the fine details of the seat:
- What are the height restrictions of the seat?
- What are the weight restrictions of the seat?
- How easy is it for a user to adjust the height of the seat?
- How easy it is for a user to adjust the harness?
- Can the seat be placed rear-facing?
- How easy is it to install the seat (if you will be transferring the seat regularly between different vehicles, you will want to choose a lighter seat)?
- How heavy is the seat?
- What are the safety features and the safety rating of a seat?
The dimensions of the seat may also have an impact on whether or not you want that particular seat.
For example, if you have a smaller back seat, some of the larger seats on the market may not even fit.
If you will have two or more car seats in the back, then you will also want to choose a smaller seat simply so that you can fit all of the car seats in the car at the same time.
Weighing Between Recaro and Britax
When comparing Recaro to Britax, we focused on three different categories:
- The safety features and safety ratings of their products
- How easy the products are to use
- The cost and value of their products
Recaro seats are designed and manufactured for professional race car drivers, and they are extensively crash-tested.
Their seats often feature wings at both sides of a child’s head, adding extra protection in the event of a crash.
Some parents, however, find these wings difficult to adjust properly for shorter children and it decreased their ability to see their child when the seat was in rear-facing mode.
Britax is a brand name which is synonymous with high safety ratings.
Their products feature a number of safety features, including the Versa-Tether and Secure-Guard attachment when the seat is in booster mode.
2.) Ease of Use
Many Recaro models are tall and wide, making them difficult to fit into some economy or sedan-sized vehicles.
Because of the aforementioned wing issue, parents may find it not as easy to use as other brands of car seats.
Britax are known for being easy to install with many models including the company’s patented ClickTight installation feature.
The shoulder straps are easy to adjust, and they are less prone to becoming twisted and tangled than most Recaro models.
3.) Cost and Value
Recaro car seats models can accommodate children up to 120lbs (when in booster mode), meaning that most seats can take your child from infancy right up until they are ready to sit in a standard car seat. (although, I would recommend an infant specific car seat, depending how hefty your newborn is)
Britax car seats are in the same “cost class” as Recaro.
Several models also have a weight limit of 120lbs.
The difference is that most Britax seats have a fabric that wicks better, is easier to clean, and they offer better cushioning (my favorite) than the Recaro.
Our Final Decision
With that said, we decided that Britax is the better car seat overall.
The seats are easier to install, they have undergone extensive safety testing, and kids generally find them more comfortable than the Recaro.
Keep in mind that any seat which cannot be properly installed in your car, is not the right seat for your child, so make sure that you do a test install before you commit to buy any car seat.