Britax Pinnacle 90 Britax Pioneer 70
The Common Features
The Britax Pinnacle 90 and Pioneer 70 harness 2 booster car seats have many common features, but also some important differences. The most obvious difference is highlighted by the product numbering – whilst the Pinnacle 90 is suitable for use in harness mode up to 90 lbs, the Pioneer 70 is only suitable for use in harness mode up to 70 lbs. The Pinnacle 90 can also be used in booster mode for 10 lbs longer than the Pioneer 70 (120 lbs v 110 lbs). The other common features include:
- Tangle-Free, 5-Point Harness with 7 height positions
- Integrated steel bars strengthen the connection to the vehicle and reduce forward flexing of the child seat during a crash
- Easy-Access Belt Paths for simple installation when using the adult seat belt
- Energy Absorbing Tether anchors the top of the car seat to the vehicle
- Front-Adjust Recline
- Comfort Foam provides an extra layer of padding to cushion your child
- Quick-Adjust No Re-Thread for easy adjustments to the harness shoulder height and head restraint
- Integrated Cup Holders and Storage
- Easy Transition from Harness to Booster Mode without removing harness straps
- Easy-Remove Cover allows easy cleaning without disassembling or uninstalling the car seat
- Color-Coded Vehicle Belt Guides provide clear indication of the path and positioning of the vehicle seat belt for use in either harness or booster mode
- Armrests provide a natural and comfortable place to rest arms
- Two Buckle Positions for your growing child
- Premium Lower LATCH Connectors included
- Certified for Aircraft Travel in Harness Mode
February 2014 LATCH Guidelines
Britax now advises that the LATCH lower tethers should only be used on the Pinnacle 90 until your child weighs more than 40 lbs and on the Pioneer 70 up to 38 lbs. You can still continue to use them until your child’s weight exceeds 120 lbs, but only if you re-install the seat using the adult seat belt instead. You should still use the top tethers as they are not affected by the law change. Read more about this law change here.
The Differences Between the Pinnacle 90 and Pioneer 70
Apart from the weight limits described above, there are 6 other important differences between the Pinnacle 90 and the Pioneer 70 car seats. In each case, the Pinnacle 90 seat has the extra feature and the Pioneer 70 does not. They are:
- The ClickTight Installation System
- The EZ-Buckle System and Harness Holders
- The HUGS Chest Pads
- Side Impact Cushion Technology
- The Height Limits
- The Price
The ClickTight Installation System is a series of components engineered to simplify the process of securing your child’s car seat into your vehicle using the vehicle seat belt instead of the lower anchors that are a part of the LATCH system (Lower Anchors and Tethers for CHildren).The System simultaneously tensions and locks the vehicle seat belt.
The EZ-Buckle System and Harness Holders – theses are convenience features that keep the straps to the side of the seat to make it easier to place your child into it.
HUGS stands for “Harness Ultra-Guard System”. This feature is said to assist in reducing forward movement of your child in the event of a crash by adding friction to the harness against your child’s chest.
The Side Impact Cushion Technology – So, what is SICT and is it important? SICT comprises energy-management cushions that are positioned on either side of the seat. Britax claim that they reduce side impact collision energy transfer by 45%. The cushions are said to absorb side impact forces before they reach your child, thereby reducing the risk of serious head injuries. I ought to make it clear that I have not seen any independent test results to support Britax’s claims, but that does not mean that they are necessarily false. The cushions certainly do look reassuring and Britax claim that they make a significant difference in side impact collisions. One thing to bear in mind though is that, even if you do think the SICT cushions are worth paying for, the Pinnacle 90 seat is significantly wider that the Pioneer 70 seat due to the SICT cushions – in fact, it’s 3.5 inches wider. This can make it difficult to install if you have 3 children that need to be seated in the same row of a standard sized vehicle. It certainly wouldn’t work for me since I have 3 kids under 6 years of age on the same row. For that reason, I would have to buy the Frontier 90 or the Pioneer 70 instead.
The Height Limits – The Pinnacle 90 has more generous height limits than the Pioneer 70 in both harness and booster modes. They are as follows:
- Pinnacle 90 Harness height limit (standing) is 30 – 58 inches, (seated shoulder) is 12.5 – 20.5 inches
- Pioneer 70 Harness height limit (standing) is 30 – 56 inches, (seated shoulder) is 12.5 – 19.5 inches
- Pinnacle 90 Booster height limit (standing) is 45 – 62 inches, (seated shoulder) is 15 – 23 inches
- Pioneer 70 Booster height limit (standing) is 45 – 60 inches, (seated shoulder) is 15 – 22 inches
The Price of the Pinnacle 90 ($312) is about $140 higher than the Pioneer 70 ($172).
Here is a Comparison Video of the Seats by “Bibs & Binkies”:
Britax Pinnacle 90 Installation Video (including ClickTight)
HUGS Chest Pads Video
Where to Buy Britax Combination 2 Booster Seats
IIHS “Best Fit” Ratings
All 3 models of the Britax Harness Booster seats have been awarded “Best Bet” ratings by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The Best Bet rating is the top award that the IIHS give to booster seats, which is reassuring for any parent purchasing one of the Britax seats.
What does the “Best Bet” rating mean?
In short, the IIHS recently test booster seats to ensure that they fit children properly when installed in various types of vehicle. A Best Fit seat is one that has been found to provide good lap and shoulder belt fit for typical 4 to 8 year olds in almost any car, minivan or SUV.
Achieving a good belt fit whilst using a booster seat an essential component of child car seat safety and these IIHS tests results ought to be high up on your list of things to think about when making a purchasing decision.
You can read more User Reviews of the Britax seats here:
Britax Booster-2-Harness Seats in Canada
After purchasing any child car seat, you should always read the User Manual thoroughly before using it. It is also advisable to visit your local Fire Department or NHTSA Child Car Seat Inspection Centre to ensure that the seat is definitely suitable for your child’s specific requirements and that you have installed it correctly. These services are usually provided free of charge.
You can find your nearest NHTSA Centre here.
Do You Need More Help?
I know from personal experience that choosing the best car seat for your child can be a daunting and confusing process. I have 3 small children and a garage full of used child car seats! If you need any further advice or assistance whatsoever, please feel free to contact me and I will do my very best to help. If I don’t know the answer off the top of my head, I will certainly know where to find it and get back to you within 24 hours. If you have any other questions or feedback about my Britax Pinnacle 90 vs Pioneer 70 post, please just leave a comment in the box below or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org