The Britax Marathon ClickTight utilizes the ClickTight system that makes installation virtually foolproof and removes the need for extra strength out of the equation. We think the Marathon is a good-looking, high-quality car seat that is very easy to use. The fabric is friendly and durable, the plastic shell is stylish and keeps straps contained, and the non-rethread harness adjustment can be made with your baby in the seat. However, it isn't the best choice for city dwellers as it is heavy and unsuitable for carrying very far. It is also expensive, and the crash test results are below the average in this review. The ClickTight installation may still have you considering this stylish option. If so, we suggest the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB, which scored significantly higher overall and only costs $10 more than the Marathon.//Editor's Note: On December 21, 2021, we made additions to this review that include details on which seats we would recommend and what other options caregivers might consider.
Britax Marathon ClickTight ARB Review
Pros: Easy ClickTight installation, comfy quality
Cons: Heavier, price, clip LATCH anchors, below average crash test results
Compare to Similar Products
Britax Marathon ClickTight ARB
$359.99 at Amazon
$369.99 at Amazon
$159.99 at Amazon
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|Pros||Easy ClickTight installation, comfy quality||Easy to install and use, cozy comfort, nice quality||Great crash test results, easy to use, attractive price, lighter||Best crash test results, rear-facing till 50 lbs, price||Budget-friendly, better crash test results, narrow|
|Cons||Heavier, price, clip LATCH anchors, below average crash test results||Average crash test results||Harder to install using the vehicle belt||Not the best quality, harder belt installation||Thin padding, harder to install, lower quality|
|Bottom Line||Lower crash test results hurt this option that is otherwise impressive||Impressive option with quality features and super easy installation parents will love||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||Inexpensive choice with impressive crash test results|
|Rating Categories||Britax Marathon Cli...||Britax Boulevard Cl...||Britax Emblem||Graco Extend2Fit||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 Marathon Cli...||Britax Boulevard Cl...||Britax Emblem||Graco Extend2Fit||Evenflo Tribute LX|
|Crash Test HIC Score||371||289||218||214||251.2|
|Crash Test Chest G Clip||48||51||42||40||42.7|
|Min/Max Rear Facing Passenger Weight||5 - 40 lbs||5 - 40 lbs||5 - 40 lbs||4 - 50 lbs||5 - 40 lbs|
|Min/Max Forward Facing Passenger Weight||20 - 65 lbs||20 - 65 lbs||20 - 65 lbs||22 - 64 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||Child's head must be at least 1 in. below the top of the head 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 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.||40"|
|Measured Rear Facing Seat Weight||27.9 lbs||29.5 lbs||18.8 lbs||18.7 lbs||9.3 lbs|
|Measured Forward Facing Seat Weight||26.9 lbs||28.4 lbs||18.8 lbs||18.7 lbs||9.1 lbs|
|Recline Positions||7||7||1 Rear Facing
2 Forward Facing
|4 Rear Facing
3 Forward Facing
|1 Rear Facing
1 Forward Facing
|Max Recline Angle||53°||51°||42°||51°||45°|
|Shoulder Harness Positions||12||14||10||10||4|
|Crotch Strap Positions||2||2||2||2||2|
|Built in Lock Off||No||No||Yes||No||No|
|No Rethread Harness||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Onboard Manual Storage||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Level Indicator On Seat||Ball in Tube.||Ball in Tube.||Line on Decal||Ball in Tube.||Line Molded onto Shell|
|Seat Lifespan||10 yrs||10 yrs||7||7 yrs||6 yrs|
|Warranty||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||1 Year||90 Days|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Britax has been around for over 70 years in Europe. In 1939, British Accessories joined Romer in Germany in 1971 and launched their first safety seat in 1973. Britax went on to acquire other companies with a focus on safety seats in Australia and New Zealand. In 1990, Britax worked with other international organizations to develop the IsoFix, which became the LATCH method's foundation that emerged later. Britax brought its first safety seat to the US in 1996. They go on to introduce a convertible car seat, booster, and infant seat to the market. In 2002, LATCH anchors and continued improvements for safety and installation ensue. Britax also makes strollers and accessories.
Every seat for sale in the US must meet or exceed the Federal guideline minimums outlined in the FMVSS 213. However, some perform better during professional testing than others, indicating a possibility for an additional margin of protection. The Marathon results, as recorded in crash test dummy sensors, indicate that the Marathon results are basic and below the average for this group of products.
The head sensor result (HIC) for the Marathon was 371, where the maximum allowed is 1000, and the lower the result, the better. The chart below shows this result in comparison to the best HIC score in the group of 186 for the Britax Allegiance.
The chest sensor results (g clip) for the Marathon was 48 where the maximum allowed is 60, and once again the lower result is better. The graph above shows the Marathon results compared to the best result in the group of 33.4 for the Clek Foonf.
The analysis of sensor results and the comparison of the data to the competition earned the Marathon a below-average result compared to the competition.
This seat also includes an anti-rebound bar (ARB) for rear-facing installation. Our preliminary test results with infant car seats indicate that the ARB does help reduce the sensor results, and is, therefore, a potentially useful safety addition.
Ease of Install - LATCH
The LATCH installation of the Marathon includes the ClickTight technology which makes installation virtually foolproof. The seat installation involves threading the LATCH strap, attaching them to the car anchors, and closing the seat bottom to tighten the strap. If the ClickTight emblem on the front is once again horizontal, you know the installation is correct. Read the manual for complete instructions. The Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB is another easy to install CLickTight option.
The Marathon has basic clip-style anchors compared to the more comfortable push-button anchors we prefer. Both are safe, but the button style is easier to remove.
The Marathon has a ball style level on the base of the seat. This level helps parents find the right angle for proper installation. The Marathon has seven different recline positions that help parents find the correct installation angle for the seat based on the weight and age of the passenger.
Ease of Install - Belt
With the ClickTight methodology, the Marathon is easy to install by any method including using the vehicle belt. While not as impressive as other ClickTight options, we suspect parents that don't install car seats for a living (like we do) won't notice the difference.
To install this seat in the front-facing configuration you need to lift the seat up (above left), thread the belt across the back and push the seat down to tighten the strap (above right). While not truly a belt lock-off, it does help stabilize the seat on the vehicle belt to avoid movement.
For the rear-facing connection, the belt will thread lower on the base, but the seat bottom still works the same by raising and lowering to lock the seat in place.
Ease of Use
This Britax option is as easy to use as the other Britax products we tested in this review.
The Marathon harness has 14 height positions and a two-position crotch strap ensuring that almost every child can have a custom-fitted harness. The height adjusts with a non-rethread assembly that slides up and down with a squeeze of a button. This task can be accomplished with your baby in the seat for quick adjustments every time.
The buckle and chest clip (above left) are somewhat stiff, like all of the Britax options. However, you can work them with one hand if you need to and they are probably stiff to help prevent older children from using them. There is a pull strap at the foot of the base to tighten the harness, and it loosens with a push of the button above the ClickTight emblem (above right). Both work well, and the strap doesn't require exceptional strength to use.
The unused LATCH anchors connect under the seat on the base to keep them out of the way. The tether hides in a plastic pocket of its own (above left) for a self-contained unit. The user manual is kept under the fabric on the seatback with a tab label. This location is handy and out of the reach of children, but it could get messy if there are spills or someone gets sick.
The cover of the Marathon comes off in four pieces must be hand washed only. Britax is pretty serious about this point as the manual has bold red letters telling you not to machine wash. It also must be line-dried, so you'll want to plan before washing it.
The Marathon ClickTight is a high-quality product with impressive quality and comfort. While this is the lower-level ClickTight, it is still significantly nicer than much of the competition (above left). With durable materials in a closed design, which works as expected, it is hard to find fault with this car seat. This option has less padding and thinner headrest than the other ClickTight options in this review, but it is well-made, and the fabric is soft. The smooth full contained seat (above right) gives the Marathon a sleek and clean overall look.
The bottom of the seat has a rubber rim to help stabilize it, and there are no rough edges that could dent or damage your vehicle seat.
The Marathon is somewhat heavy, as are all of the ClickTight products we reviewed. It weighs 27.9 in the rear-facing configuration and is slightly lighter in the front-facing mode. This car seat is not the best option for parents looking to carry their seat or who plan to use it in the city on public transportation. The Marathon measures 18.2 inches wide making it narrower than some but not as good as others that measure 17 inches. If you need to fit multiple people or safety seats in one row, this could be a contender depending on your car.
Should You Buy the Marathon?
Probably not. In this review, several other car seats score higher in important metrics and overall, including two different Britax seats. While there is nothing wrong with the Marathon, perse, it isn't as impressive as some of the competition, and it sports a fairly high price for a lower score.
What Other Convertible Car Seat Should You Consider?
If you like Britax, the Britax Boulevard ClickTight ARB and the Britax Emblem earned higher overall scores, and your budget could be the deciding factor. The EMblem costs significantly less, has a higher crash test result analysis, and is still easy enough to install. While it isn't as flashy, it is a good seat for the price and one of the highest-scoring in the review. If you want something with thicker padding and potential edge for comfort that is also easier to install, then the Boulevard could be the one for you; it is easier to install and has a slightly higher crash test analysis score.
— 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