Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. This means that at no cost to you, we may earn a small commission for qualifying purchases.
There are so many child and newborn car seat options out there that it can quickly become overwhelming. Two of the best car seats brands, Chicco and Britax, are well known for their safe car seats.
We’ve pitted two of their popular models against each other so you’ll be able to make the best informed choice for your little one. You might just be surprised at which one came out as the ultimate winner in a number of categories.
Chicco Nextfit vs Britax Marathon At A Glance
- While Chicco and Britax are both well loved brands, they don’t have many of the same features. We’ll explain the features they share and the ones they don’t so you have a complete understanding of both car seats
- Both the Chicco Nextfit and the Britax Marathon can be used until your child reaches 65 pounds and both feature adjustable headrest heights and seatbelt positions so it can grow with your child
- Unlike some brands and styles, both the Chicco and the Britax are super easy to install. They have slightly different installation methods, but for the most part, you shouldn’t have trouble trying to get either one of these seats safely situated in your car
Chicco Nextfit Advantages
The Chicco Nextfit can be used by children that weigh from 12 pounds to 65 pounds or are 49 inches tall, essentially preschool age. This makes it a good investment as it can really last through the years as your child grows.
- Variety of Positions
This car seat has 9 recline positions and 9 headrest positions so you can easily adjust the seat to fit your child as they grow. The Chicco Nextfit really does offer quite a variety of positions compared to most other brands.
- Construction and Design
The Chicco car seat has a steel frame and EPS energy absorbing foam as well as Duo Guard protection to keep your little one safe in the event of a car crash. The car seat easily and efficiently absorbs hard impact.
The seat material of the Chicco Nextfit is machine washable and super easy to remove. You’ll be able to get just about any stain out without having to fight your way through it.
The car seat comes with one cup holder which may not be necessary right away, but when your insistent two year old wants to bring their sippy cup, it can be a godsend.
- LATCH Technology
With Chicco’s Super Cinch LATCH technology, this car seat is incredibly easy to set up. It doesn’t matter if you need it to be rear facing or forward facing; the installation is a breeze.
Chicco Nextfit Disadvantages
- Minimum Weight of Child
Due to the 12 pound minimum weight, this car seat isn’t recommended for use by most babies on their way home from the hospital. Even with an infant insert, the seat is designed to protect heavier children.
- Heavier Than Others
Because this car seat can be both rear facing and forward facing, it’s heavier than others. Weighing in around 22 pounds, it can be tiring to carry around.
- High Sides
Smaller children may have a hard time seeing out the window or around the car seat as the sides are so high for safety. While this may not sound like a disadvantage, when your toddler has nothing to do but stare and kick at the seat in front of them, it can become one.
Britax Marathon Advantages
The Britax Marathon car seat features 7 recline positions and 14 headrest positions that can be adjusted to uniquely fit your child as they grow.
- Suitable Height and Weight
This car seat can be used right out of the hospital as it is designed for children weighing anywhere from 5 pounds to 65 pounds. It can be used as rear facing until your child is 49 inches tall. As rear facing car seats are the safest, this can be a great feature.
- ClickTight Technology
Britax uses their own ClickTight technology to provide super easy and seamless installation for their car seat. Both rear facing and forward facing are easy to set up with clear instructions and straightforward steps.
- SafeCell Impact
On top of a steel frame, Britax uses SafeCell Impact protection and is specially designed to protect your child’s neck and head in a crash. The sides are built just as sturdy, but the extra head protection can really help soothe your worries.
Britax Marathon Disadvantages
- Lack of Cup Holder
This car seat does not have a cup holder. Even though it’s not that big of a deal, a cup holder is a nice add-on for older children.
The Britax Marathon car seat is heavy. It weighs around 20 pounds and can be a pain to carry.
While the car seat has phenomenal crash protection focused around the head and neck area, it doesn’t have great support for if your child falls asleep in the seat. Your child’s head may slump forward if they end up taking a surprise nap.
Winner: Don’t want to read the full article? The editors choice is Britax Marathon.
What’s the Difference Between Them?
Both car seats are incredibly safe. They both feature steel frames and their own patented padding.
It doesn’t matter if the seat is in the rear facing position or the forward facing position, both of these car seats will provide extreme protection in case of a crash.
Just what’s different about them though? The Britax Marathon features targeted protection around your child’s head and neck.
The rest of the seat is built like a tank as well, but Britax took extra care when designing the head area of the seat. Chicco provides an all around solid frame that cocoons your child safely inside.
Verdict: Britax wins here. While both are built sturdy and both brands clearly take the safety of your child seriously, knowing Britax spent extra time protecting your little one’s head gives it a few more points.
We all know installing car seats can be a downright hassle. They’re bulky, difficult to keep in place, and sometimes the instructions don’t make any sense.
Unfortunately, if you can’t be certain you installed the car seat correctly, then you can’t be certain the seat will do its job.
Luckily, both Britax and Chicco have unbelievably easy installations and easy to follow instructions.
When it comes to the Britax, all you do is press the ClickTight button and twist to open the seat. After that, you run the seat belt underneath the car seat.
The latch uses the exact same method and once everything clicks into place, you simply close the seat and you’re finished.
The Chicco is a little bit more complicated only because it has slightly different steps depending on if you want rear facing or forward facing.
After you set the seat, you pull out the latches and put them to red for front facing or blue for rear facing. Pull on both sides and you’re done.
To set the seat belt, however, you have to remove the headrest and backrest before guiding the seatbelt into place.
Verdict: Britax wins again! Both systems are super easy, but because Chicco has a few extra steps and having to remove the headrest and backrest can be a pain, we’re going to give Britax the win again.
Car seats can be an investment and because of that, you’ll want to purchase one that will last you more than just one year.
Thankfully, both the Britax and the Chicco can be used by children up to 65 pounds or 49 inches tall.
For the average child, this is about until preschool or kindergarten. If your child is shorter, it will last you longer.
If your child is tall, it may need to be replaced sooner. No matter the case, both seats will last quite a while.
The only difference between the Britax and the Chicco is the lowest weight recommended. The
Chicco is built for children between 12 and 65 pounds, while the Britax can be used by children as light as 5 pounds. This makes the Britax perfect for that first car ride home.
Verdict: The Britax wins again. If the Chicco had also been built for newborns, it would have been a tie, but since it’s not, the Britax wins again.
It’s no surprise that both car seats are really great. The Britax wins because it has just a few special features that would make parents feel more secure about purchasing it for their child. It can be used right out of the hospital up until your child starts school.
Even though it is a bit pricey and can seem like a big investment, you’ll save money in the future by not having to switch car seats when your infant goes from 20 pounds to 50 pounds.
The Britax also has targeted protection in the areas that matter most (head and neck) but doesn’t sacrifice the protection in other areas. However, if you’re partial to Chicco or want to save a little money, the Chicco Nextfit is still a great choice.