Britax Frontier versus Pioneer – Which is Best?

Britax Frontier versus Pioneer Comparison – Which is Best?

by Pamela Halstead |

When it comes to harness-2-booster seats, Britax has a few to choose from. Two of the choices, the Pioneer and the Frontier, are almost identical seats, with just a couple of differences in features. The Frontier costs quite a bit more than the Pioneer, leaving many parents wondering if the features are worth the extra cost.

Which is best?

Based on the fact that the Frontier has the Clicktight and the Pioneer seat does not, I recommend the Frontier over the Pioneer, despite the added cost.

I am a self-proclaimed advocate for Clicktight (see below in this article for more information on Clicktight). I don’t have to reinstall my son’s car seat very often, but when I do, I can be sure that it is installed correctly thanks to the Clicktight feature. If you know you aren’t going to be switching the seat between cars, you may not see the Clicktight feature as a necessity, and the Pioneer may be a better fit for you. But if you see yourself switching the car seat between cars, I’d say the Frontier is a must. The Frontier is more expensive (all of Britax’s models with Clicktight are), but in my opinion it is well worth the extra cost to give you peace of mind knowing that your child’s seat is installed correctly.

You can also check out which of the the Britax Frontier vs Pioneer made our Best Booster Seats list.

 

Image of the Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat - Vibe

 

What are the specifications of each seat?

Frontier Specs

  • Forward facing only
  • 2 years old, 25-120 lbs
  • 30-62 inches, minimum to switch from forward facing harness to booster is 45 inches
  • Product weight is 25 lbs
  • Cup holders
  • Easy remove cover
  • Clicktight installation
  • Safecell impact protection
  • Multiple position recline

 

Pioneer specs

  • Forward facing only
  • 2 years old, 25-110 lbs
  • 30-62 inches, minimum to switch from harness to booster is 45 inches
  • Product weight is 21 lbs
  • Cup holders
  • Easy remove cover
  • Safecell impact protection
  • Multiple position recline

As you can see, the seats are almost identical in features. The Frontier has a higher weight limit, coming in at 120 lbs, compared to the Pioneer’s 110 lbs. Most children outgrow the height limits before the weight limits anyway, so this may not even be an issue when it comes down to it.

Recline Mode Usage Video

Harness Mode Assembly Video

What they have in common

Safe

Image of the Britax Pioneer G1.1 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Domino

Both the Pioneer and Frontier offer the safety features that Britax prides itself on. These features include safecell impact protection, and a steel frame. These features help minimize the forces in the event of a collision. I am very safety-conscious when it comes to my son, and love to see this features in a car seat.

I also appreciate that Britax includes these safety features in all of their models – you don’t have to pay more for these safety features, they are sure to make it a necessity on every seat. Britax makes all of their seats well above the federal safety standards, something I like to look for in a company.

Heavy

The Pioneer is slightly lighter than the Frontier, with the Pioneer coming in at 21 lbs, and  the Frontier at 25 lbs. Both are pretty heavy. If you’re looking for more of a travel car seat, I’d suggest looking elsewhere. But if you don’t plan on moving it about much, I honestly prefer a car seat with a little extra weight. A lot of this weight comes from the steel frame of the car seats, which helps reduce impact to your child in the event of a collision.

Front facing only

Both the Pioneer and Frontier are forward-facing only seats. They are not all-in-1s, as some other car seats on the market offer. All-in-1s allow both backward and forward-facing, so that you can use it for a longer span of time.

Personally, I chose to get an infant seat and then convertible seat because all-in-1s tend to be heavier than bucket seats, and I wanted to be able to easily carry around my son in his car seat. But if you are looking to stretch your car seat out for a longer span of time, an all-in-1 may be a better option for you.

Seat covers are not machine washable

Britax warns to hand wash the covers of these seats only. This is kind of a downfall of the seat in my opinion, because with any car seat, you are bound to have spills and leaks of all kinds on the cover. Having to hand wash and then air dry can take a while, leaving you without access to the car seat for too long.

If you research online, you can find people who have machine washed and dried the seat covers without issue, meaning Britax’s warning is probably just a helpful tip to keep the cover lasting longer. I’ve never machine washed my Britax car seat cover, so I can’t say from personal experience what will happen. However, they are expensive to replace, so I have avoided it at all costs.

 

How they differ

The Frontier has several added features that the Pioneer is lacking – but is it worth the extra cost?

What is this Clicktight you keep hearing about?

Image of the Britax G1.1 Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat - Vibe

Clicktight is an installation system that Britax features on some of their car seat models. Clicktight makes it easier to properly tighten the installation straps, ensuring that you child’s car seat is properly installed every time.

If you have ever installed a car seat before, you probably have run into issues with tightening the belt enough so that the car seat won’t move when pushed on. Clicktight gets rid of that issue by essentially tightening the strap for you, relieving you of the strain of trying to tighten it yourself.

It’s important to note that Clicktight doesn’t completely eliminate the possibility of improper installation – but it does make installation easier. Make sure you thoroughly read your car seat’s instruction manual, and it’s always a good idea to have a car seat inspector take a look at your seat to make sure it’s installed properly. Most police stations have certified car seat inspectors, or you can check here for one near you.

EZ-buckle belly pad

The other feature that separates the Pioneer from the Frontier is the EZ-buckle belly pad. This pad keeps the bottom buckle (where you would push to release the buckles) forward when you take your child out of the seat. The point of this feature is so that the buckle stays out of the way, and you don’t have to move it forward when you place your child back into their car seat.

Honestly, my car seat had this feature and I didn’t even notice it until I was researching the differences between these two car seats. So is it a necessary feature? No. But, I guess it does make it easier to get my son into his seat. I remember on his old seat, he would often be sitting on the buckle when I put him in his seat and I would have to shimmy it out from under him before buckling him in.

I don’t think its necessarily a feature that I would pay more for, mainly because I didn’t realize it was a feature until now. But like I mentioned before, the main extra cost of the Frontier comes from the Clicktight function, which is a must to me.

Different Colors

Color options for the Frontier

Image of the Britax Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, VectorImage of the Britax Frontier Clicktight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car SeatImage of the Britax Frontier G1.1 Clicktight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, CowmooflageImage of the Britax Frontier ClickTight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Trek

Color options for the Pioneer

Image of the Britax Pioneer G1.1 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat with Travel Bag - OasisImage of the Britax Pioneer G1.1 Harness-2-Booster Car Seat with Travel Bag - Static

What do the customer reviews say?

Britax Pioneer

  • 4.4 out of 5 stars, 107 reviews – Target.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 543 reviews – diapers.com
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars, 180 reviews – Babies “R” Us

Britax Frontier

  • 4.7 out of 5 stars, 306 reviews – Target.com
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars, 900 reviews – diapers.com
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars, 295 reviews – Babies “R” Us

Ease of Use Ratings

Car seats sold in the United States are safe. They meet or exceed federal safety standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates each car seat on Ease of Use because an injury is more likely to be caused by improper installation and usage than by the seats themselves.

The  Britax Frontier (Forward Facing) received an overall rating of 4 stars. 4 stars is a good rating from the NHTSA. It also received 4 stars as a Booster seat.

NHTSA ease of use rating for the Britax Frontier ClickTight Forward-Facing car seat

Credit: NHTSA

The  Britax Pioneer 70 car seat received an excellent overall rating of 5 stars in Forward-Facing mode, and 4 stars in Booster seat mode.

NHTSA ease of use rating for the Britax Pioneer 70 Forward-Facing

Credit: NHTSA

My Recommendation

In essence, the Frontier is the luxury model of the Pioneer. It has some extra features that, depending what you’re looking for, you may deem necessary or not.  When I bought my Britax seat for my son, I went back and forth for weeks deciding on whether to spend the extra money for a Clicktight model. As a stay-at-home mom, I am definitely on a budget and often go for the less expensive version of things.

I am so glad that I decided on a Clicktight model in the end. It is so easy to install and reinstall when needed. If I do need to reinstall the seat, it takes just minutes to get it in my car and I know that it is tightened and installed correctly.

All car seats must meet federal standards for safety, so don’t feel like you absolutely need extra features such as Clicktight. But if you are going back and forth on cost versus usefulness, I can tell you from experience that it is worth the extra money to have the peace of mind that your car seat is correctly installed.

 

 

Pamela Halstead
I am a stay at home mother to one son. With a background in safety and health, I am very safety-conscious, especially when it comes to products for my child!

Comments 1

  1. You forget that the Frontier has HUGS pads, which help distribute forces against the chest in the event of an accident. You can buy them and add them after product though, you can buy them directly from the Britax site and it’s tested with them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *