In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Britax B-Safe Ultra Review

Generally average option with below average crash test results
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:   $250 List | $250 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to install with belt and w/out base, comfy, lower price
Cons:  Heavy, below average crash test analysis, harder to use LATCH
Manufacturer:   Britax
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Dec 6, 2019
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
58
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 13
  • Crash Test - 20% 4
  • Ease of Install - LATCH - 20% 7
  • Ease of Install - Belt - 10% 8
  • Ease of Install - w/o Base - 5% 8
  • Ease of Use - 15% 6
  • Comfort / Quality - 15% 7
  • Weight / Size - 15% 3

The Skinny

The Britax B-Safe Ultra is a low scoring infant car seat with disappointing crash test results and a harder to use LATCH system. With average results in most of our tests, this seat struggles to keep up with the competition and as least one Britax competitor. While it is easy to install using the vehicle belt, it is heavy and harder to carry making it a poor choice for urbanites who may need to carry the seat further distances. This Britax is comfier than other Britax infant options with nicer materials and better design, but it still can't meet the performance found in other competitors with similar prices.

Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

Britax believes families can enjoy every moment more if they have the right product to make life easier. The company tries to create products with intuitive safe designs with children in mind. Britax has been creating baby gear for 70+ years and came to the USA in 1996.

Performance Comparison



The base bottom on the Ultra has the honey-comb shaped "absorbers" Britax claims are part of its crash test safety features.
The base bottom on the Ultra has the honey-comb shaped "absorbers" Britax claims are part of its crash test safety features.

Crash Test


The B-Safe Ultra crash test results indicate a basic level of protection compared to competitors in this review.

While the sensor results in our crash test of the Ultra do fall within with Federal guidelines (FMVSS 213), other competing seats have better results indicating a potential additional margin of protection compared to the Ultra.

A comparison of the Ultra vs the top performing seat for HIC  the Chicco Keyfit 30.
A comparison of the Ultra vs the top performing seat for HIC, the Chicco Keyfit 30.

The charts compare the Ultra (in black) to the products with the best sensor results for each region (head and chest). The head sensor (HIC) top performer is the Chicco Keyfit 30 (in green) with a 330 compared to the Ultra's 598. The Keyfit 30 has the best sensor readout in the group with a value the furthest from the maximum allowed of 1000 (lower is better).

The chest clip sensor results from the crash test for the B-Safe Ultra compared to the top-performing chest sensor in the Cybex Aton 2.
The chest clip sensor results from the crash test for the B-Safe Ultra compared to the top-performing chest sensor in the Cybex Aton 2.

The Cybex Aton 2 (in black) chest sensor result of 44 is the best or lowest result in the group where lower is better and the Ultra chest result is 57. The maximum allowable result for this sensor is 60, putting the Ultra close to the limit.

The headrest assembly on the Ultra has EPP foam for force absorption in the even if an accident. We assume this is part of the side impact protection (SIP) that Britax boasts about.
The headrest assembly on the Ultra has EPP foam for force absorption in the even if an accident. We assume this is part of the side impact protection (SIP) that Britax boasts about.

Britax claims some kind of side impact protection (SIP) and has a honeycomb-shaped impact zone on the shell of this seat to "absorb forces." We were unable to locate any information on how these features were tested or even if they were. There is no Federal requirement to test these kinds of features or claims for truth or efficacy. Plus, there are no agreed-upon definitions for things like SIP when it comes to the car seat industry. We would love more transparency about these features and what they bring to the table.

Installing the Ultra using the LATCHsystem isn't as easy as other methods  but it isn't challenging either.
Installing the Ultra using the LATCHsystem isn't as easy as other methods, but it isn't challenging either.

Ease of Install - LATCH


The Ultra earns its lowest installation performance with the LATCH system in our tests. Given that LATCH is supposed to be an easy way to install a car seat to ensure a stable connection, it is a shame that the Ultra fails to offer ease of use in this test. While it is challenging compared to some of the competition, it isn't a struggle either.

The Ultra has the easier to use push button LATCh connectors that release from the anchors with the press of a button.
The Ultra has two center LATCH tightening straps that aren't as easy to use as some of the competitors with unique tightening methods.

This Britax offers push-button LATCH connectors (above left) that click-in to anchor points on your car. The clips attach easily when you push them directly on to the U-shaped anchor points and the tightening straps (above right) are easier to operate than some of the competition. The seat did bounce a little and wouldn't stay firmly against the vehicle seat in one of the test vehicles, but not the other two.

The red lever on the base adjust the angle of the base to one of five options to help parents find the right angle for installation.
The level on the Ultra is located on the base and helps the installer find the right installation angle for a properly installed seat.

The Ultra offers an adjustable foot base (above left)to help find the right installation angle based on the level (above right) guidelines on the side of the base.

The seatbelt path for installing the base using your vehicle belt is large and unobstructed  though not color-coded like some of the higher-end competition.
The seatbelt path for installing the base using your vehicle belt is large and unobstructed, though not color-coded like some of the higher-end competition.

Ease of Install - Belt


Installing the B-Safe Ultra is easier using the vehicle belt and the final connection feels more stable than when using LATCH.

While the belt lock-off on the Ultra is built-in  it isn't the easiest to use and in our tests  it didn't stop the base from traveling up the seat belt in at least one test vehicle.
While the belt lock-off on the Ultra is built-in, it isn't the easiest to use and in our tests, it didn't stop the base from traveling up the seat belt in at least one test vehicle.

The Ultra has a lock-off that works well and is similar to the lock-offs found on the other Britax seats we've reviewed. It isn't the best lock-off and it can be challenging to thread the belt through the space. Once again, in one test vehicle (a Subaru Outback) it struggled to stay put and feel truly stable. The base can work its way up one side and then the vehicle belt would tighten preventing it from sitting flat again. This results in the need to start over.

Installing the Ultra with a vehicle belt offers a fairly secure connection to the vehicle using the European belt path that utilizes the lap and shoulder portions of the vehicle belt.
Installing the Ultra with a vehicle belt offers a fairly secure connection to the vehicle using the European belt path that utilizes the lap and shoulder portions of the vehicle belt.

Ease of Install - Without the Base


Installation of the Ultra without the base is also easier than using the LATCH method. This Britax has a European pathway that is not color-coded like some of the nicer competitors.

Installing the Ultra sans belt requires the use of the shoulder strap on the vehicle belt to be tucked into the belt clip on the back of the carrier.
The belt path on the Ultra for installing without the base is not color-coded  but it isn't a puzzle either.

This pathway utilizes the lap and shoulder parts of the vehicle belt to pull the carrier snuggly into the vehicle seat. This installation method feels more stable (with less movement) than the other two in our opinion. We didn't need a towel or pool noodle to securely install the Ultra without the base.

The canopy on the Ultra is nice looking and doesn't collide with the carrier handle  no matter which position they are both in.
The canopy on the Ultra is nice looking and doesn't collide with the carrier handle, no matter which position they are both in.

Ease of Use


The B-Safe Ultra performs about average for everyday ease of use.

The buckle an chest clip on the Ultra are the same as other Britax options. While not the hardest to operate they do require some thumb strength.
The buckle an chest clip on the Ultra are the same as other Britax options. While not the hardest to operate they do require some thumb strength.

Harness


The Ultra's buckle is similar to other Britax buckles and operates smoothly without difficulty. The chest clip is also the same as other Britax options with an easy-to-press release button and parts that slide together without skipping.

The Ultra's harness tightening strap moves smoother than other Britax seats and the release button is easy to find on top of the padding and works well.
The Ultra's harness tightening strap moves smoother than other Britax seats and the release button is easy to find on top of the padding and works well.

To tighten the harness the Ultra has a smoother strap that is easier to pull than previous models and we like the easy to find and press release button. While the button sits on top of the padding and isn't hard to find, it also isn't soft enough for children to alter.

Adjusting the Ultra's shoulder strap height is a one-hand process that operates smoothly by squeezing the two side together and moving the assembly up and down.
Adjusting the Ultra's shoulder strap height is a one-hand process that operates smoothly by squeezing the two side together and moving the assembly up and down.

The shoulder strap height is a non-rethread style adjustment where the headrest assembly moves up or down as needed. The clip on the back of the seat is easy to squeeze and the assembly moves smoothly without a problem. The shoulder straps have six positions and the crotch strap has two, which is enough to ensure a secure fit for most babies.

The larger handle release buttons on the Ultra are some of the nicest in the bunch.
The larger handle release buttons on the Ultra are some of the nicest in the bunch.

Handle


The Ultra's handle has squeezable release levers on both sides of the handle where it connects to the carrier. Simultaneously squeezing the levers allows the handle to rotate to one of four possible positions. The levers are some of the best in the group with a larger size and smooth movement. The handle doesn't rub on the carrier or the canopy.

Removing the Ultra's carrier from the base is easy with the back of the carrier pull handle that releases the carrier from the base and then doubles as a handle.
Removing the Ultra's carrier from the base is easy with the back of the carrier pull handle that releases the carrier from the base and then doubles as a handle.

Carrier and Base Connection


Once the carrier is well aligned, it drops easily onto the base with an audible sound when it connects. Releasing the carrier from the base is also an easy process using the lever on the back of the carrier.

The manual storage for the Ultra is on the base  a location we find lacking as it leaves you without a manual should you travel sans base. This means you better practice installing the carrier without the base ahead of time since you won't have your manual to refer to.
The manual storage for the Ultra is on the base, a location we find lacking as it leaves you without a manual should you travel sans base. This means you better practice installing the carrier without the base ahead of time since you won't have your manual to refer to.

LATCH Anchor and Manual Storage


The LATCH connectors tuck under the base on each side. If properly stowed, they shouldn't impede the carrier base connection. The manual has a storage pocket on the top of the base which isn't that convenient if you need to travel without the base and can't remember how to install the carrier sans base.

The Ultra has a nice overall look but some of the fabric choices are disappointing.
The Ultra has a nice overall look but some of the fabric choices are disappointing.

Comfort/Quality


The Ultra is the nicest Britax in the review with only slightly better than average quality and comfort than the competition. The padding is adequate and better than other Britax options and the fabric looks nice, but the strange mesh material could snag and will collect gunk. We also worry it might chafe sensitive skin. The shell is nice, but still not as sharp looking as similarly priced options. The overall fit and finish are good for the price point, but we think some of the material choices are strange (we're looking at you gunk catching cover).

The Ultra is one of the only options with a peek-a-boo window in the canopy. This feature can come in handy when you use the carrier as part of a stroller car seat combo.
The Ultra is one of the only options with a peek-a-boo window in the canopy. This feature can come in handy when you use the carrier as part of a stroller car seat combo.

The Ultra canopy is sharp looking and is one of the few canopies in the review to include ventilation via a peek-a-boo-window. While not absolutely necessary, a window and ventilation can be useful if you use the carrier as part of a travel system with a stroller.

The Ultra is also ultra on weight with one of the heaviest carrier weights in the group. This is not a good seat choice for those who plan to lug their carrier very far.
The Ultra is also ultra on weight with one of the heaviest carrier weights in the group. This is not a good seat choice for those who plan to lug their carrier very far.

Weight


This Britax weighs 11.61 lbs which makes one of the heaviest in the group and the heaviest Britax option in this review. As your everyday use includes lifting the carrier with a baby inside, the weight could be important to your decision-making process. However, unless you'll be carrying it for long distances, we recommend using weight as a tie breaker instead of your number one priority.

Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz