The Britax Emblem was originally introduced as an economical option Britax called the Essentials line from Britax and included the Britax Allegiance. We feel the Emblem delivers on that promise with excellent crash test performance and an affordable price tag. In fact, the Emblem performed so well in our tests that we don't think you need to pay more for a higher-end seat. The Emblem is a nice seat with adequate padding and soft fabric. It has push-button style LATCH connectors and a non-rethread harness system that works well. This seat is easier to install using LATCH over the vehicle belt, but neither method is complicated. It earned the highest score for ease of use, and the crash test results indicate that it provides an additional margin of protection over the average seat. Because this option is slightly more difficult to install with the vehicle belt it may not be the first choice for families worried about the installation. However, given its overall impressive performance and great crash test results, we think it is an excellent all-around seat that fits most budgets.Editor's Note: We update this gear review for the Emblem on December 21, 2021, with additional testing details to help provide more side-by-side comparison opportunities to improve the decision-making process.
Britax Emblem Review
Pros: Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighter
Cons: Harder to install using the vehicle belt
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|Pros||Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighter||Best crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, price||Price, easy to use, best head sensor crash test||Price, easy LATCH installation, easier to use||Budget-friendly, better crash test results, narrow|
|Cons||Harder to install using the vehicle belt||Not the best quality, harder belt installation||Less padding, somewhat harder to install using vehicle belt||Average crash result analysis||Thin padding, harder to install, lower quality|
|Bottom Line||A lightweight, easy to use seat with excellent crash test result and price||Best crash test results on a budget-friendly seat that lets little ones sit rear-facing for longer||Better crash test results make this easy to use, inexpensive seat a winner||Slightly better than an average seat with no real standout features||Inexpensive choice with impressive crash test results|
|Rating Categories||Britax Emblem||Graco Extend2Fit||Britax Allegiance||Graco SlimFit All-i...||Evenflo Tribute LX|
|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 Emblem||Graco Extend2Fit||Britax Allegiance||Graco SlimFit All-i...||Evenflo Tribute LX|
|Crash Test HIC Score||218||214||186||320||251.2|
|Crash Test Chest G Clip||42||40||43||43||42.7|
|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||22 - 65 lbs||22 - 40 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||40" and the child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the child restraint.||37"|
|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 seat shell.||40"|
|Measured Rear Facing Seat Weight||18.8 lbs||18.7 lbs||18.5 lbs||18.6 lbs||9.3 lbs|
|Measured Forward Facing Seat Weight||18.8 lbs||18.7 lbs||18.5 lbs||18.6 lbs||9.1 lbs|
|Recline Positions||1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
|4 Rear Facing
3 Forward Facing
|1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
2 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
|1 Rear Facing
1 Forward Facing
|Max Recline Angle||42°||51°||42°||°||45°|
|Shoulder Harness Positions||10||10||10||10||4|
|Crotch Strap Positions||2||2||2||3||2|
|Built in Lock Off||Yes||No||Yes||No||No|
|No Rethread Harness||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Onboard Manual Storage||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Level Indicator On Seat||Line on Decal||Ball in Tube.||Line on Decal||Ball in Tube.||Line Molded onto Shell|
|Seat Lifespan||7||7 yrs||7||10 yrs||6 yrs|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||90 Days|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Britax got started in Europe over 70 years ago. They launched in the US in 1996 and quickly became one of the more popular brands of safety seats and strollers on the market. Britax strives to create products that help families live life to the fullest, and their baby gear line up includes a variety of strollers, car seats in every category of seat, and most recently, the addition of BOB jogging strollers.
The Emblem had excellent performance in our crash testing. One thing that is really interesting is that the lower cost Britax seats have consistently offered better crash test performance than their more expensive seats. The Emblem handily beat out the higher-end Britax seats.
The Emblem earned impressive crash test results with the second-highest score in the review. This score is much higher than the results for the ClickTight Britax seats we tested. While the ClickTight options are easier to install and more expensive, they did not have impressive crash test results and proved that paying more doesn't necessarily translate to a seat being safer. We encourage parents to consider the crash results separately from the product price and not to assume that paying more translates to safer.
While all of the seats sold in the US must pass the same Federal guidelines FMVSS 213 and are therefore considered safe, our tests reveal that some offer a potential additional margin of safety compared to the competition. The Emblem is one such seat.
The head sensor (HIC) results from the crash dummy for the Emblem are shown in the comparison graph below against the best HIC score in the group earned by the Britax Allegiance. The Emblem results were 218 while the Allegiance results were 186. The results need to be under 1000 to meet the requirements and the lower the scores, the better. The chart above shows the sensor results of every seat in the review.
The Emblem's chest sensor showed results of 42 where the maximum allowed is 60, and a lower number is better. The comparison chart shows the Emblem results against the Clek Foonf with 33.4, where a lower number is better. The chart below shows the chest clip sensor results for all of the seats for easy comparison.
The overall combined test results indicate that the Emblem offers an additional margin of protection compared to the competition. Something every parent can get behind.
Ease of Install - LATCH
LATCH installation is the easiest method for the Emblem.
While some are more manageable thanks to unique and helpful LATCH designs, this is a more traditional and straightforward method that works well but still requires that you do the work.
The LATCH connectors are the button style that pushes on to the car anchors and releases with just a push of a button. We find these more comfortable to manage with the button than the clip style you need to press and turn to remove.
Parents can find the best angle for installation using the angle adjustment lever under the seat bottom (above left) and the level indicator on the seat bottom side (above right).
Ease of Install - Belt
The Emblem earned an average score for ease of installation using the vehicle belt.
Nine competitors earned higher scores, but this installation is still straightforward and uncomplicated.
Forward-facing installation includes running the belt through a path in the seatback (above left) and using the side belt lock-off (above right) to stabilize the seat on the belt. The lock-off is easy to use and doesn't require much strength or any assistance from outside tools.
The rear-facing installation runs the vehicle belt through a pathway in the foot of the seat or seat bottom (above left). It also has an easy to use lock-off (above right) that prevents the seat from moving along the belt while you are traveling.
Ease of Use
The Emblem is easy to use and earned a top score for this metric.
The features and functionality of the Emblem are intuitive, simple, and work as they should.
The Emblem has a non-rethread harness adjustment, which is our favorite. It is easy to use, can be moved with your child in the seat, and ensures you get a proper fit every time. The harness has ten height positions with two positions for the crotch strap.
The buckles and chest clip work well and are manageable with one hand. The harness can be fastened to the seat of the seat with Velcro to help keep the harness out of the way when you place the baby in the seat. It is a cool feature, but honestly, we suspect most parents will stop using it after a few months.
The base of the seat has a tightening strap and release button on the foot of the product that both are easy to operate and unlike some of the competition the tightening strap doesn't require excessive force to use.
The LATCH connectors are stored on the seat's base, and the excess straps have a band to contain them (above left). The user manual stores behind the fabric on the seatback. The location is marked with a tab (above right) and is out of reach of little ones, but it could get soiled if children spill items or get sick in their seat.
The Emblem's cover needs to be hand washed and line dried. While this is more work than the few we found with machines washable seats, it is better than spot clean only given little ones tend to make a mess.
Like most items made by Britax, this product uses quality materials that create a final good looking product earning it the second-highest score for this metric.
The shell is mostly closed, and the bottom is smooth for less risk of vehicle damage over time. It has a sleek look to it with dense foam padding and softer more durable feeling fabric than the less expensive Britax option.
The Emblem manages to bring together a well-designed seat with few nooks and crannies without adding excessive weight that could make the seat cumbersome or hard to manage. The thicker, more pronounced headrest wings could make this item more comfortable for napping.
The Emblem is a relatively lightweight option. It weighs 18.8 lbs, which is significantly less than the Britax ClickTight products that weigh around 26 to 29 lbs, depending on the model.
While many families might not move their seats very often, this could be a regular occurrence and more important in your selection if you live in the city. Lighter seats are hard to come by, and most did not score that well overall. It is relatively narrow compared to some of the competition, with a width of 18.9 inches. You may not be able to get three of these seats across a back seat, but it is better than much of the competition in this review.
Should You Buy the Britax Emblem?
There is much to love about this economic Britax seat, which is why it earned kudos and love from our testing team. We would definitely recommend this seat to almost any family. Despite its slightly lower installation performance, with better crash test results and a budget-friendly price, it is hard to beat this easy-to-use, quality car seat.
What Other Convertible Car Seat Should You Consider?
While the Emblem is definitely a seat we'd use with our own kiddos, it isn't the top in any metric, and there are better options to be had if your goals don't align with the Emblem's strong suits. If you want the absolute best for crash test analysis, then the Graco Extend2Fit might be a better fit with a slight edge over the Emblem. The seats have the same price and have comparable scores in some metrics. However, the Emblem is somewhat easier to use and offers better quality in a side-by-side comparison with the Graco. Also, the Britax Allegiance is a very similar option to the Emblem and might be a better fit for some families depending on their goals. We recommend comparing these two car seats side-by-side to determine which option is best for your needs.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
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