Which is best out of Britax’s amazing Frontier and Pinnacle booster seats?
Moms and safety experts alike claim that Britax makes some of the safest and best seats on the market. So when looking to upgrade to a booster car seat, it’s no surprise to find that they make some of the best-selling models. The Britax G1.1 Frontier ClickTight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat and the Britax Pinnacle G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat are two of the best choices. It’s tough to choose between the two, though, since they’re essentially the same car seat with very minor differences. In the end, the Pinnacle just isn’t worth the extra money and the Frontier is the winner.
The Safest Car Seats You Can Buy?
Let’s explore what features these two seats have in common first. The most important and notable feature is the safety for both the Frontier and the Pinnacle. What makes them so safe?
The safety starts at the base of the car seat. Literally. Both of these seats are made with what Britax calls their SafeCell design for the base of the seat. It’s created with a steel and plastic frame. This stabilizes the seat during an accident and keeps it secure in the vehicle. As for the base, it absorbs energy so that the impact is diverted away from your precious child.
The headrest is more than just a comfort feature for the Frontier and the Pinnacle. It is designed to help in an accident. Each of the headrest layers has a function. These include absorbing energy, cushioning, and padding your kiddo’s head. Plus, the way the headrests are shaped, they help block flying debris like glass or metal from the side.
The impact absorbing tether on the upper back of the seat has a unique design that adds to the safety of the seat. It has a patented design that utilizes a V shape. This helps the seat not to rotate in a crash. And, for yet another layer of protection, it has stage-released stitches that will help to reduce the forward movement of the seat in a crash. Britax has done everything to ensure that it’s just about the safest your child can be in a car seat.
The next thing that makes these seats so safe is how they are installed. Now, you can use the old-school latch system if your child is less than 40 pounds (just like the car seat manual suggests). But, if they are big enough, you can use the ClickTight installation. I have to say, this is maybe the best installation system I have ever seen. And that’s a lot coming from me, a die-hard latch system mom! There’s 3 simple steps to getting these car seats so secure that you’d think they were built in. First, you open the ClickTight compartment under the child’s seat. Then, you thread through the car’s seat belt and buckle it. Finally, close the ClickTight compartment until you hear the loud click and you are done! That’s all it takes. No adjusting straps or fidgeting with other adjustments. That car seat won’t move one single centimeter after you install it this way.
One complaint, if you want to call it that, with the ClickTight system is getting the thing undone. It does take some muscle and a bit of know-how to get it unbuckled for moving it to another car. Also, these car seats are not light! The Frontier weighs about 25 pounds and the Pinnacle weighs about 26.5. That’s not easy to lug from one car to the other, especially after you’ve lost your strength in a fight to undo the ClickTight compartment. I suppose heft is the price you pay for safe construction.
Harness to Booster Demo Video
Nine Years of Use
It takes 9 years from the date of manufacture for these car seats to expire. I would be willing to bet that you could get use out of the seat for each of those 9 years with very few problems.
Weight/Height Limits to Celebrate
I am the mom of a son that is lovingly referred to as a tank. He’s been above the 90th percentile on anything that can be measured for all 4+ years of his life. So when I see car seats that have weight and height limits that go beyond others, I get so excited! Both the Frontier and the Pinnacle have the same height and weight limits. Here they are:
- Weight for the harnessed car seat: 25 to 90 lbs
- Weight for the booster seat: 40 to 120 lbs
- Height for the harnessed car seat: 30 to 58 inches
- Height for the booster seat: 45 to 62 inches
Considering that most car seats/booster seats tap out at about 100 pounds and 58 inches, that means that I can get so many more years of use out of these seats than I could with others. For perspective, the max weight of 120 lbs and height of about 5ft 2in could easily fit middle schoolers. You could keep your child safe for as long as humiliatingly possible!
Amazingly Easy Transitioning
These seats aren’t like some of the other options on the market. They’re just much more user friendly! First point: when you need to adjust the headrest, you just lift up the lever on the top of the seat and slide up the headrest. The shoulder straps of the safety harness are attached, so you don’t have to rethread them or readjust them at all. Plus, there’s 9 different positions to accommodate each and every stage from that 62 inches and shorter.
And when you are ready for the booster seat? You can hide the safety harness within the seat. Isn’t that handy? You won’t have some random harness floating around your garage or basement, and you’ll know right where it is should you ever need it again. Plus, the booster has color-coded seat belt paths that make buckling a breeze. Your kid won’t be able to find an excuse to outgrow this seat!
Perks and Pluses
The Britax Frontier and the Britax Pinnacle. Safe? Check. Good for many years? Check. Packed with extras? Check. Here’s the extra perks that I love about these seats.
- Reclining. You can put either the Frontier or the Pinnacle into 3 different recline positions when you are using it in the harness mode. Not as deep of a recline as most regular car seats, but quite impressive for a car seat/booster transition seat. Also easily reclinable from the front base of the car seat.
- Cup holders. There’s one on each side. They’re built into the car seat so that you don’t have to worry about them falling off. The location makes them not as in the way as other seat’s we’ve used, too.
- Bottom buckle. It has two positions and is really easy to move from one position to the other. Yet again, great news for this mom of a big, strong child!
- Easy to clean cover. The cover is made from a sort of nylon material. It wipes clean very easily if you catch the mess when it happens. For deeper cleaning, though, you can remove and wash the cover. Good job, Britax!
- Comfortable harness. The harness is padded for comfort and easy to adjust. Just a word of caution here: if your vehicle seat is shaped a certain way, it can smash the harness adjusting system in the back and make it nearly impossible to adjust the harness fit. A bit of Googling and DIY ingenuity can fix the problem.
So How are They Different?
The Pinnacle is created with an extra layer of protection in the headrest. It has an additional outer shell that will cushion your child and absorb the impact of an auto accident. These pads contribute to the added bulk of the Pinnacle vs the Frontier. They add about a pound and a half of weight and about 3.5 inches in width. That’s considerable for a car seat that’s already bulky and heavy. But as the aptly-chosen name suggests, it’s the pinnacle of safety for the harness to booster seats that Britax makes.
When you read about all the top booster seats, you’ll see why the Frontier wins over the Pinnacle. You’ll also see why it’s one of the best booster car seat options on the market!
Color options for Frontier
Color options for Pinnacle
Britax Frontier Harness-2-Booster Customer Ratings
- 4.7 stars, 295 reviews – Walmart
- 5 stars, 173 reviews – Albee Baby
- 4.5 stars, 288 reviews – Hayneedle
Britax Pinnacle Harness-2-Booster Customer Ratings
- 4.8 stars, 158 reviews – Walmart
- 5 stars, 51 reviews – Albee Baby
- 4.7 stars, 153 reviews – Kohl’s
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 in Forward-Facing mode received an overall rating of 5 stars and got 4 stars as a Booster seat.
As we would expect because the Frontier and Pinnacle are so similar, the Pinnacle also received 5 stars for forward-facing and 4 stars as a Booster.
In the end, the Britax G1.1 Frontier ClickTight Combination Harness-2-Booster Car Seat and the Britax Pinnacle G1.1 ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat are nearly impossible to truly compare because they are the same seat. They are both safe, secure, and easy to use. They will be loved by parents and children alike.
The only difference is an added safety feature in the Pinnacle. However, this safety feature does add considerable weight and bulk, along with an increase in an already steep price tag.
I’m not one to discount safety, but I feel that the Frontier offers a safe and comfortable ride for your kiddo without the downsides of the Pinnacle. The Britax Frontier is my recommendation, considering value, safety, and convenience.