In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Britax Emblem Review

A lightweight, easy to use seat with excellent crash test result and price
Editors' Choice Award
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Price:   $240 List | $219 at Amazon
Pros:  Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighter
Cons:  Harder to install using the vehicle belt
Manufacturer:   Britax
By Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jun 12, 2019
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78
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#2 of 17
  • Crash Test - 35% 8
  • Ease Of Install - LATCH - 20% 8
  • Ease Of Install - Belt - 15% 7
  • Ease Of Use - 15% 8
  • Comfort / Quality - 10% 8
  • Weight / Size - 5% 6

The Skinny

The Britax Emblem was originally introduced as an economical option Britax called the Essentials line from Britax. And, 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.


Compare to Similar Products

 
This Product
Britax Emblem
Awards Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award  Editors' Choice Award  
Price $240.00 List
$219.00 at Amazon - 9% off
$380.00 List
$329.99 at Amazon - 13% off
$500.00 List$200.00 List
Check Price at Amazon
$200.00 List
$159.99 at Amazon - 20% off
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighterEasy to install and use, cozy comfort, nice qualityGreat crash test results, easy to install, high quality and comfyBest crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, pricePrice, easy to use, best head sensor crash test
Cons Harder to install using the vehicle beltAverage crash test resultsExpensive, heavier, stiff buckleNot the best quality, harder belt installationLess padding, somewhat harder to install using vehicle belt
Bottom Line A lightweight, easy to use seat with excellent crash test result and priceImpressive option with quality features and super easy installation parents will loveComfortable with better crash test results but this quality option comes with a higher priceBest crash test results on a budget-friendly seat that lets little ones sit rear-facing for longerBetter crash test results make this easy to use, inexpensive seat a winner
Rating Categories Britax Emblem Boulevard... Nuna RAVA Graco Extend2Fit Britax Allegiance
Crash Test (35%)
10
0
8
10
0
6
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
8
Ease Of Install LATCH (20%)
10
0
8
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
8
Ease Of Install Belt (15%)
10
0
7
10
0
10
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
Ease Of Use (15%)
10
0
8
10
0
8
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
8
Comfort Quality (10%)
10
0
8
10
0
9
10
0
9
10
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6
10
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7
Weight Size (5%)
10
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6
10
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5
10
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4
10
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5
10
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6
Specs Britax Emblem Boulevard... Nuna RAVA Graco Extend2Fit Britax Allegiance
Min/Max Rear Facing Passenger Weight 5 - 40 lbs 5 - 40 lbs 5 - 50 lbs 4 - 50 lbs 5 - 40 lbs
Min/Max Forward Facing Passenger Weight 20 - 65 lbs 20 - 65 lbs 25 - 65 lbs 22 - 64 lbs 20 - 65 lbs
Max Rear Facing Passenger Height Childs head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint Childs head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint Not Listed Childs head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head restraint Childs head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head 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 head restraint. 49" 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.
Measured Rear Facing Seat Weight 18.8 lbs 29.5 lbs 25.8 lbs 18.7 lbs 18.5 lbs
Measured Forward Facing Seat Weight 18.8 lbs 28.4 lbs 25.4 lbs 18.7 lbs 18.5 lbs
Width 18.9" 18" 19" 19.6" 18.8"
Recline Positions 1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
7 5 Rear Facing
5 Forward Facing
4 Rear Facing
3 Forward Facing
1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
Max Recline Angle 42° 51° 40° 51° 42°
Shoulder Harness Positions 10 14 10 10 10
Crotch Strap Positions 2 2 2 2 2
Built in Lock Off Yes No Yes No Yes
Anti-rebound Device No Yes No No No
Head Support No Yes Yes No No
Newborn Insert Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
No Rethread Harness Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Onboard Manual Storage Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Level Indicator On Seat Line on Decal Ball in Tube. Indicator on base Ball in Tube. Line on Decal
Foam Type EPP EPP EPS EPS EPP
Seat Lifespan 7 10 yrs 10 yrs 7 yrs 7
Warranty 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year 1 Year

Our Analysis and Test Results

Britax got started in Europe over 70 years ago. They launched in the US in 1996 and quickly become 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 strollers car seats and most recently, the addition of BOB jogging strollers.

The Britax Emblem has an alloy frame you can see in this photo.
The Britax Emblem has an alloy frame you can see in this photo.

Performance Comparison


The Britax Emblem (in blue) is a new car seat by Britax that is wallet-friendly and very similar to some now retired Britax options that were not ClickTight.


The sections below include performance information on how the Britax Emblem performs when compared to the competition.

The Emblem uses EPP foam for impact absorption. This type of foam does not off-gas and is somewhat more flexible than the traditional EPS foam.
The Emblem uses EPP foam for impact absorption. This type of foam does not off-gas and is somewhat more flexible than the traditional EPS foam.

Crash Test


The Emblem had excellent performance in our crash testing and earned an 8 of 10, just one point below the high for the metric. 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 like the Britax Advocate ClickTight ARB which only earned a 4 of 10 for crash test results.


Better doesn't mean more expensive
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 Emblem earned an impressive result for the head sensor but had trouble keeping up with the impressive results of the Essentials by Britax Allegiance.
The Emblem earned an impressive result for the head sensor but had trouble keeping up with the impressive results of the Essentials by Britax Allegiance.
The Emblem continued to earn impressive results with the chest sensor in the crash test dummy but once again it couldn't keep up  this time with the Clek Foonf.
The Emblem continued to earn impressive results with the chest sensor in the crash test dummy but once again it couldn't keep up, this time with the Clek Foonf.

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 results of 33.4, where a lower number is better.

The overall combine test results indicate that the Emblem offers an additional margin of protection compared to the competition. Something every parent can get behind.

The LATCH connectors on the Emblem have a one sides tightening strap which in our experience takes more strength to use than some of the unique LATCH straps with center connectors or self-ratcheting features.
Forward facing configuration using the LATCH connectors is one of the easiest installation methods for this seat.

Ease of Install - LATCH


LATCH installation is the easiest method for the Emblem with an 8 of 10 for this metric.


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 push style that we believe are easier to operate than the clip style.
The LATCH connectors are the button push style that we believe are easier to operate than the clip style.

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.

The Emblem angle adjusts with an under seat handle that is easy to use but can be tricky one it is installed rear-facing.
The level indication for the Emblem is located on the side of the shell. This style of a level is best to use from a distance when the car is on level ground.

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).

Forward facing installation for the Emblem using the vehicle belt is a little trickier but the belt lock-off works well to stabilize the seat.
The Emblem can be installed in the rear-facing configuration using the vehicle belt. While this method is slightly more difficult than the LATCH connectors  it can be done with patience and added strength.

Ease of Install - Belt


The Emblem earned an average score for ease of installation using the vehicle belt. The Emblem received a 7 for 10 for this type of installation.


Nine competitors earned higher scores, but this installation is still straightforward and uncomplicated.

The yellow "belt" in this photos shows the Emblem forward-facing belt pathway.
It is important to follow the instructions detailed in the Emblem user manual for which belt lock-off to use depending on your seat location.

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 yellow "belt" in this photo helps clarify the belt pathway used for the Emblem for vehicle seatbelt installation.
The belt lock-off on the Emblem is located under the seat padding and is easy enough to use compared to some of the competition that required us to use a screwdriver.

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.

The Emblem harness assembly  headrest slides up and down to change the shoulder strap height.
The Emblem harness assembly, headrest slides up and down to change the shoulder strap height.

Ease of Use


The Emblem is easy to use and earned a top score for this metric with an 8 of 10.


The features and functionality of the Emblem are intuitive, simple, and work as they should.

The Emblem buckle and chest clip are easy to use with one hand.
The Emblem buckle and chest clip are easy to use with one hand.

Harness


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 Emblem cover has Velcro on the sides where you can secure the harness in an open position so you won't need to search under your baby to retrieve the straps.
The Emblem cover has Velcro on the sides where you can secure the harness in an open position so you won't need to search under your baby to retrieve the straps.

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 baby in the seat. It is a cool feature, but honestly, we suspect most parents will stop using it after a few months.

The harness release button on the Emblem is located under the cover which helps to prevent little ones from messing with the button.
The harness release button on the Emblem is located under the cover which helps to prevent little ones from messing with the button.

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 and tether attach to the base of the Emblem and the excess straps are retained with elastic bands that you could lose if you aren't careful.
The Emblem manual hides behind the seat back fabric in a clearly marked pocket.

LATCH Storage


The LATCH connectors store on the base of the seat and the excess straps have a band to contain them (above left). The user manual stores behind the fabric on the seat back. 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.

Cover


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.

The Emblem is an economical seat that is both comfort and good quality.
The Emblem is an economical seat that is both comfort and good quality.

Comfort/Quality


Like most items made by Britax, this product uses quality materials that create a final good looking product. The Emblem earned an 8 of 10 for quality and comfort, which is 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 Allegiance.

The Emblem bottom has a rubber rim to help prevent slipping and there are no rough edges that could potentially damage vehicle seats.
The Emblem bottom has a rubber rim to help prevent slipping and there are no rough edges that could potentially damage vehicle seats.

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.

Compared to the competition the Emblem is lighter and slimmer compared to many products we measured.
Compared to the competition the Emblem is lighter and slimmer compared to many products we measured.

Weight


The Emblem is a relatively lightweight option earning a 6 of 10 along with the Britax Allegiance. 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 you may not be moving your seat very often, if you live in the city, this could be a regular occurrence for you and more important in your search for a convertible seat. 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.

Other Versions


Britax offers a variety of seats including the Britax Allegiance in their more budget-friendly lineup. The Allegiance has a lower list price and similar test results as the Emblem making it one to consider if you like the Emblem but would like to spend less.

Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz