Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB Review
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Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB
$369.99 at Amazon
Check Price at Amazon
|Check Price at Amazon||$230 List|
$229.99 at Amazon
$219.97 at Amazon
|Pros||Easy to install and use, cozy comfort, nice quality||Best crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, price||Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighter||Price, easy to use, best head sensor crash test||Price, easy LATCH installation, easier to use|
|Cons||Average crash test results||Not the best quality, harder belt installation||Harder to install using the vehicle belt||Less padding, somewhat harder to install using vehicle belt||Average crash result analysis|
|Bottom Line||Impressive option with quality features and super easy installation parents will love||Best crash test results on a budget-friendly seat that lets little ones sit rear-facing for longer||A lightweight, easy to use seat with excellent crash test result and price||Better crash test results make this easy to use, inexpensive seat a winner||Slightly better than an average seat with no real standout features|
|Rating Categories||Britax Boulevard Cl...||Graco Extend2Fit||Britax Emblem||Britax Allegiance||Graco SlimFit All-i...|
|Crash Test (35%)|
|Ease Of Install - LATCH (20%)|
|Ease Of Install - Belt (15%)|
|Ease Of Use (15%)|
|Comfort / Quality (10%)|
|Weight / Size (5%)|
|Specs||Britax Boulevard Cl...||Graco Extend2Fit||Britax Emblem||Britax Allegiance||Graco SlimFit All-i...|
|Crash Test HIC Score||289||214||218||186||320|
|Crash Test Chest G Clip||51||40||42||43||43|
|Min/Max Rear Facing Passenger Weight||5 - 40 lbs||4 - 50 lbs||5 - 40 lbs||5 - 40 lbs||5 - 40 lbs|
|Min/Max Forward Facing Passenger Weight||20 - 65 lbs||22 - 64 lbs||20 - 65 lbs||20 - 65 lbs||22 - 65 lbs|
|Max Rear Facing Passenger Height||Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint||Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint||Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint||Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint||40" and the child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the child restraint.|
|Max Forward Facing Passenger Height||49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the head restraint.||49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the seat shell.||49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the head restraint.||49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the head restraint.||49" and the child's ears must be below the top of the seat shell.|
|Measured Rear Facing Seat Weight||29.5 lbs||18.7 lbs||18.8 lbs||18.5 lbs||18.6 lbs|
|Measured Forward Facing Seat Weight||28.4 lbs||18.7 lbs||18.8 lbs||18.5 lbs||18.6 lbs|
|Recline Positions||7||4 Rear Facing
3 Forward Facing
|1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
|1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
2 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
|Max Recline Angle||51°||51°||42°||42°||°|
|Shoulder Harness Positions||14||10||10||10||10|
|Crotch Strap Positions||2||2||2||2||3|
|Built in Lock Off||ClickTight System||No||Yes||Yes||No|
|No Rethread Harness||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Onboard Manual Storage||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Level Indicator On Seat||Ball in Tube.||Ball in Tube.||Line on Decal||Line on Decal||Ball in Tube.|
|Seat Lifespan||10 yrs||7 yrs||7||7||10 yrs|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Britax is a 70-year-old European company that made its way to the US in 1996. In short order, the company became one of the country's most popular baby gear brands. The Britax company works to design baby products that improve family life and products include a variety of strollers and easier-to-install car seats] They also own the BOB stroller company, specializing in some of the best jogging strollers on the market.
In this review, the Britax Boulevard ClickTight earned an average score for crash tests. All of the seats in this review and sold in the US must meet or exceed Federal safety guidelines as defined in FMVSS 213, which means this seat is considered safe and performed better than some of the competition in an apples-to-apples comparison of results from identical test methods. The test methods BabyGearLab uses are identical to those used by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a true side-by-side comparison of results.
In comparison, the Boulevard had G-force test results that were the fourth lowest for HIC sensors and the second-highest for the chest sensor, which hurt its overall rank compared to the competition. However, the HIC forces are far below the maximum allowable by over 710 points and below the maximum chest forces allowed by almost 10 points.
The comparison charts below show the sensor results of each seat for a side-by-side comparison that better details how each seat obtained its crash test analysis score in our review.
While the ClickTight seats are more expensive than the non-ClickTight Britax options, this does not mean they are safer. While we understand this assumption, results from crash testing indicate that the ClickTight models are not as safe as the less expensive Britax Emblem and Britax Allegiance seats. The ClickTight options are easier to install, but if you are looking for a quality seat with better crash test results, you'll need to look outside the ClickTight group.
The charts below show the test data from the test dummy sensors in the Boulevard (shown in black) and the test data for the seats in this review that have the lowest recorded G forces (shown in green) for comparison.
The Britax Allegiance head sensor recorded the lowest G-forces during testing. The Clek Foonf chest sensor recorded the lowest amount of G-forces compared to the other products we tested. The Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB differs from the Boulevard ClickTight by having one of the lowest crash test scores in the review. This metric is the only one where the two diverged in their test results, with the Advocate earning only 3 of 10. An impressive crash test option is the Graco Extend2Fit.
The Boulevard also has a honeycomb-shaped component at the bottom of the seat designed to absorb the impact of a crash. While it is hard to say that it does this, we like most additional safety features over the standard fare found in most car seats. The ARB version of the Boulevard also includes a removable anti-rebound bar for the rear-facing configuration of this product. This feature is designed to decrease the amount of seat rotation during an accident to prevent the baby from moving too much in the seat.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The Boulevard ClickTight has top-level performance for ease of installation using the LATCH system.
While this seat is known for its easy installation using the vehicle belt, it is just as easy to install using the LATCH hooks. The LATCH hooks are the clip style, making them more difficult to remove (you'll need to push them in and then turn them sideways to pull out), but they work well and are easy enough to use. The seat feels stable once installed, and the LATCH belt is easy to tighten and release, or at least not as difficult to release as some of the competition.
The handle for recline adjustment is located near the seat's foot, as it is in the other Britax options we tested. The handle placement can make adjusting the angle difficult after installing the seat in the rear-facing direction. We recommend changing the recline before installation to avoid the hassle of loosening the straps to fit your hand in between the car seat and the vehicle seat.
Ease of Install - Belt
Installation of the Boulevard using the vehicle belt is where this seat shines in the competition earning the highest result possible.
These photos show the belt path for Boulevard in the rear-facing position (above left) and the front-facing position (above right).
The ClickTight has a relatively unique belt installation method with a built-in lock-off/tensioner that is virtually foolproof and makes installing this seat the easiest option we tested by far. The method means there is no more fumbling around with the seat trying to get the belt tight enough or contorting yourself into the back of the seat to apply pressure to tighten the belt.
The video below shows an overview of the installation of the Boulevard ClickTight.
To install the ClickTight, you lift the seat bottom, thread the belt across the seat bottom, remove the slack (do not try to tighten), and then close the seat bottom by pushing it back down until it "clicks" (hence the name of ClickTight). This installation is so easy that we managed it entirely from outside the vehicle without the need for extra pressure on the seat. The seat is very stable and felt secure after every installation, and in every car we used for testing. Even threading the belt is easier than the competition because once you open the seat, the belt path is right there and easy to access with no need to feed the belt through small openings.
The Boulevard has an installation indicator that helps caregivers determine when the seat installation is at the right angle in relation to the vehicle seat (not recline angle).
Ease of Use
The Boulevard performance for ease of use is once again one of the highest scores in this metric (there seems to be a pattern here).
Ease of use impacts your day-to-day activities and happiness with a seat, making it one of the more important metrics to consider when choosing a product.
The video above shows some of the features of the Boulevard ClickTight.
The Boulevard buckle isn't hard to use and works with one hand, but it is stiff and might be difficult for some people. The chest clip releases without putting your hand under it.
The harness on the Boulevard is a non-rethread option with 14 positions and moves smoothly after squeezing the handle to adjust the height. The harness can change heights with your baby in the seat, which is convenient and ensures it always fits properly. Tightening the harness uses the Britax "Click & Safe" harness tightening method, where you pull on the strap until it clicks, indicating the harness is tight enough. We suggest you still double-check the tightness with the pinch test, but we love that Britax is trying to innovate its products to make them easier for parents and safer for children. The strap slides in and out smoothly with little force required to tighten. Loosening the harness is done with a button located relatively deep under the seat cushion and behind a plastic bevel that prevents little fingers from touching it. The crotch strap has two positions that help ensure the right fit for most babies.
The LATCH clips on the Boulevard store in small plastic cubbies on the back of the base, and the LATCH tether stores in a hard plastic pocket at the top of the seatback. Both storage compartments keep the connectors safely out of the way if necessary. The Boulevard user manual stores behind the seat back and padding. We think there is a chance the manual could get damaged in this location, but it isn't the worst spot in the group.
The cover for the Boulevard is hand wash only and line dry. This washing method is a bummer given that some of the competition have machine washable covers. On the upside, this cover is relatively easy to remove and comes off in four pieces making removal quick and painless. Even though the cover tucks into the shell for a seamless look, it is still easy to put back on. Given that children can be messy, we think it is important that the covers are washable.
This ClickTight seat excels in comfort and quality, offering additional padding, a padded headrest, and a thicker seat bottom.
The fabric on the Boulevard is nice. The seat bottom is dense and feels thicker and more comfortable than much of the competition. The fabric looks like it will wear well over time, and it fits snugly and tucks into the shell, so it looks relatively seamless.
The shell on the Boulevard is almost fully contained. Given the lack of nooks and crannies or sharp edges, it looks like it will stay clean with a quick wipe and won't get hung up on anything. We like smooth seat backs as they are easier to clean and less likely to cause injury or damage to the vehicle. The Boulevard has Expanded Polypropylene (EPP), and we prefer this kind of foam to the more common Expanded Polystyrene (EPS). It is less brittle, doesn't off-gas, and is more environmentally friendly.
The fit and finish of this Britax are better than most of the competition. The bottom of the seat is smooth and fully covered with a rubber edge and raised lettering. It is unlikely to cause any damage to a vehicle seat or leave significant indent marks.
The Boulevard is heavy at 28 lbs 7 ounces; the anti-rebound bar gains 1.05 lbs in the rear-facing position only.
The lightest seat is just over 9 lbs, making it a better option for urban dwellers who may need to carry this seat from taxi to town. On the upside, the Boulevard is fairly narrow at 18 inches, with only four seats in this review measuring smaller.
Should You Buy the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB ?
If you are worried about installing your car seat correctly or struggle with car seat installation, then this is the seat for you. This seat earned top marks for all types of installation in every configuration, and we think Britax has created a seat almost anyone can install without fear. This is a top-ranking product and one we think most parents will love. If you love the Britax brand but are hoping to spend less, the Britax Emblem is an impressive seat with attributes any family will love for a price almost half that of the Boulevard.
What Other Convertible Car Seat Should You Consider?
While the Boulevard is an easy-to-install seat, it did not earn the highest crash test results in the group. So, if purchasing a seat with the absolute highest crash-test analysis is your objective, then you might want to consider the Graco Extend2Fit. This seat offers impressive results in our crash testing metric, and we love that it has a reasonable price. While crash test results are important, we remind you that proper installation is also a key factor in creating the safest riding environment for little ones. The Graco is slightly more challenging to install, but if you take your time or employ help from the experts, it could be just as secure as the Boulevard, making a seat that is installed correctly with better crash test scores a reality for your little one.
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BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More