Britax Frontier and Britax Pioneer are very much similar in many ways. For instance, they both face forward and they both can be converted into high-back boosters. If you have decided that you should get a car seat for your toddler until he/she grows a little taller, and decided that you should get one from Britax then you should, of course, understand how they are different from each other if you’re looking for a vs comparison. However, before understanding the difference, it is better to comprehend how they are similar to each other. Let us first get into the similarities between the two before we move forward with the differences.
Similarities of Britax Frontier and Pioneer
Both of them are combination car seats and both of them are commonly referred to as harnessed booster seats. Both of them have been designed by Britax for children more than two years of age. To accommodate your growing child, both these chairs can be moved from a forward-facing seat with a harness and can be fastened into a booster seat. Let us get into the details about the similarities:
When you compare both these seats concerning width and depth, neither of them can be decided as the winner. The reason is that they have a similar seat depth of 13.5 inches and a seat width of 12 inches respectively. Both of them have the common shoulder width of 15 inches.
Specifications of the harness
When it comes to common features shared by these car seats from Britax, they have similar adjustment heights and harness lengths. The slot height in both these car seats range between 12.5 inches and 20.5 inches. When it comes to harness length in both these seats, the range is between 28 and 35 inches. It means that Britax has rightly designed both these seats to adjust according to the height of your growing kid.
Age range/height and weight
As mentioned earlier, both these car seats are designed as forward-facing. So, you cannot go for both if your kid is less than 2 years. For both seats, the suggested range begins from 25 lbs and the height of the kid should be between 30 and 58 inches for both.
How about protection and safety?
Both the Frontier and the Pioneer employ side and head impact protection. For absorbing energy, both contain double layers of foam, a heavy-duty shell and a steel frame. This safety setup is referred to as Safecell by Britax. Both also have a tether system in place intending to prevent the forward movement of the kid just in case, the vehicle they travel involves a head-on collision.
Both these seats come with cup holders to place a cup of their favorite milkshake or fruit juice to quench the thirst of the kid when traveling. Just in case a spill happens, to make cleaning easier, both these seats come with removable covers for easy cleaning. The covers in both seats can be removed with ease without having to remove the harness. Even though Britax does not recommend washing both covers in a washing machine, some customers have actually done it safely by washing them in the delicate or hand-washing setting.
Both models come with a one-year limited warranty for covering all defects related to workmanship and materials. As the warranty period is not too long, make sure that the product is good by all means right at the time of purchase.
What are the differences?
Now, after gaining knowledge of the similarities between the two products, you will be interested in knowing about the difference between these two models of car seats offered by Britax. Let us get into the comparison now:
Design and color choices
As mentioned earlier, they look very similar with respect to the design aspect. Both these models come with a nicely padded seat along with wings for side-impact protection and protective headrest. Even, both contain a couple of cup holders and a pair of armrest. However, the color choices are different in each of these models.
The Pioneer is offered by Britax in 8 different colors, while the Frontier is offered in 9 different colors. You can choose the color that fits the color of your car interiors.
One thing you should remember when considering one of these models is that both are not all-in-one car seats. The reason is that you cannot use both for rear-facing. So, they are not suitable for new-born babies and infants. Also, you can use both of them for longer years as they can be converted into high-back boosters to suit the increasing height and weight of your kid.
When considering the color option, you can say that the Frontier is the winner as the model has one additional color option than the other.
Size and weight
Both have similar dimensions as mentioned earlier. So, they are very much similar to each other concerning the size. When it comes to weight, you will see a noticeable difference. The Pioneer weighs 21 lbs, while the Frontier weighs 25 lbs. It means that to lift the latter, you will have to give a little more effort than the former. Even though this weight difference is not considerable, the better score in this consideration goes to pioneer as it will be easy to lift and remove. But, if you plan to install the seat permanently in the car without moving, you will not feel this difference too much.
Installation and adjustment
The biggest difference between both these models of car seats from Britax is the installation system. If you are wondering why Pioneer has been priced affordable as compared to Frontier by Britax even though there are many similarities between the two, the reason is the installation system. Yes, the Pioneer uses a standard installation system, while the Frontier has an optimized proprietary installation system from Britax.
When you take the case of the Pioneer model, it works with Latch connectors. Nevertheless, you need not have to get away from this model just because your car does not have the latch connectors. The reason is that it can work even on your seat belt. This feature comes with a V-Shaped tether that brings down the forward movement and makes sure about the car seat. The installation system in this model is generally easy to use. However, it is better to make sure that you have rightly tightened the connectors. This will ensure that the car seat will not move around. This model already comes with a harness system that can be quickly adjusted. So, you need not have to worry about any sort of re-threading here. Most people realize the re-threading process is one of the time and energy-consuming and frustrating process in using a car seat. But, Pioneer will not give this headache to you as the seat comes with 9 selectable harness positions to make sure that your kid will get the most comfortable and secure fit.
As far as Frontier is concerned, it comes with Britax’s Patented ClickTight Installation System. The good thing about this system is that it works with your car’s seat belt. It is just something to do with buckling with your car seat belt. Moreover, it provides a better and secured position to the seat without any chance of the seat moving around. Even, you have the option to install this model on the standard car seat locks in your car, which is a bit hard process. Here, similar to the Pioneer, the Frontier also comes with the harness system that can be quickly adjusted without requiring any re-threading.
You might be interested in knowing about ClickTight installation. It is an installation system that Britax features in some of the brand’s car seats. This feature makes it easier to rightly tighten the installation straps. This will ensure that the car seat is rightly installed every time.
So, for easiness of installation, Frontier is the winner in this point of discussion.
Of course, you will be more concerned about this aspect as you want your kid to be safe all through the journey. The good news here is that both models have similar safety features. For instance, both come with a base with the ability to absorb an impact. The durable steel frame and the double-layer side-impact protection are present in both models. To ensure your child’s safety in the case of a crash, both models have a foam-lined headrest, deep energy-absorbing shell and padding. Further, they have wings to safeguard your kid from debris particles.
The Pioneer will suit kids between 25 and 70 pounds when used in the forward-facing harness mode. But, when you use it in high-back booster mode, it can hold kids from 40 to 110 pounds. This model will generally suit kids, who are not very large.
As far as the Frontier is concerned, it is slightly tougher and more durable. It suits kids of heavy heights. In forward-facing harness mode, it will suit kids between 25 and 90 pounds of weight, while in the high-back booster mode, it will suit kids of 40 to 120 pounds.
So, if your kid is heavier, it is better to choose the Frontier model as compared to the Pioneer. Even, if you fear heavier growth of your kid in the near future, you can consider this model.
Comparing the Positive Points of Frontier and Pioneer
Benefits of Pioneer
- Pioneer is made out of soft material to provide better cushioning to your kid.
- As the cover can be washed, spills and crumbs can be easily managed.
- There are many positions for keeping your kid in the right position to give the best comfort to the kid.
- The latch system is easy to use and it also has a small storage spot.
- The couple of cup-holders make the placement of water bottle and favorite drinks for your kid to take on-the-go.
- Pioneer also has the EZ-buckle belly pad. It helps with keeping the buckle bottom forward when you will have to take your kid out of the seat. Further, the buckle also stays out of the way in such a way that you need not have to move it forward when you seat your child back into the car seat.
Benefits of Frontier
- The ClickTight installation makes Frontier convenient to install almost in any car.
- It can accommodate kids of up to 120 pounds, while the Pioneer model can accommodate kids of up to 110 pounds.
- Even if your car does not have a Latch system in place, you can get a safe and secure installation each time.
- It has the best security features to ensure the safe traveling of your kid every time.
Now, you are aware of the benefits of both models and it is better to understand the cons as well so that you can decide on one of them for your kid:
Cons of Pioneer
- In some cars when the Britax Pioneer is used, it might be hard for the driver to see the highest point of the headrest as it is too tall.
- The headrest is flimsy or it is almost loose and so it rattles around a bit.
- It might not suit parents, who keep changing the car seat from one car to another. The reason is that it is a bit heavy.
Cons of Frontier
- Even though it is sturdy, it can be hard to move the Frontier as well.
- Even though there are two cup holders, they are not rightly designed as they are very small and even they might not hold your kid’s sippy cup or snack cup.
- It can be hard to adjust the straps to get the right fit for your kid.
Easy to use ratings
In general, car seats that are sold in the United States are safe. The reason is that they are permitted only for sale after meeting or exceeding the Federal Safety Standards. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States shortly referred to as NHTSA gives a rating for each car seat based on the Easiness to use. The reason is that a wound is possible to arise due to improper installation.
As far as easiness in usage is concerned, the Frontier has got an overall rating of 4 stars. As far as NHTSA is concerned, 4-star is a very good rating. Even, it has got 4 stars as a booster seat.
The rating concerning easiness of usage in Pioneer is 5 stars for the forward-facing mode. As far as Booster Seat Mode is concerned, the rating is 4-star.
Of course, you will have to pay for them irrespective of whether you opt for the Frontier or the Pioneer. In most online stores, the Pioneer is priced between $190 and $230. As far as the Frontier is concerned, it is more likely to be closer from $280 to $350. The cost is worthy for the Frontier with its better features as compared to the Pioneer.
Here is a table to show the comparison of the technical specifications of both these models:
|Only Forward Facing||Only Forward Facing|
|Suitable for 2-year and older kids||Suitable for 2-year and older kids|
|25-120 lbs||25-110 lbs|
|30-62 inches, to switch from forward-facing harness to booster is 45 inches||30-62 inches, to move from harness to booster is 45 inches|
|Weight of the product is 25 lbs||Weight of the product is 21 lbs|
|Cup holders||Cup holders|
|Easy to remove the cover||Easy to remove the cover|
|Safecell Impact Protection||Safecell Impact Protection|
|Multiple Position Recline||Multiple Position Recline|
When you compare two products with many similarities from the same brand, it can be confusing to make the right choice. While one seat can have features that look perfect for your requirements, you will find that the other model also shares similar features. This is true for Pioneer and Frontier as well.
But when you look at both these items closely, the better option as per my idea is Britax Frontier. It is true that Pioneer offers plenty for your kid as it is the fine choice on its own. But, when comparing both, the Frontier is the superior option. Frontier is the safe option and it has been designed to last longer. It means that once you have invested, it will stay with you for longer until your kid grows. So, you can go for this product with the utmost confidence.
This is just our suggestion and if you are concerned about the cost you can go for Pioneer. Irrespective of the model you choose, you are going to become a customer of Britax. You can also get to know the personal preferences of your friends and family if they have already bought one and have used it in their car. Their satisfaction will give you the confidence to go for the product and of course, once you start using, you will feel how useful is the product.