Diono Radian RXT Diono Rainier
The New Series of Diono Convertible-Booster Car Seats
The Diono Radian convertible-booster car seat has long been a very popular choice amongst parents. The Radian’s popularity has probably resulted as much from its practical and cost benefits as it has from the premium safety features that it comes with.
Some of the most obvious practical benefits are that it can be used from 5 lbs to 120 lbs in it’s various modes and, measuring just 17 inches wide, it is slim enough to enable parents to fit 3 across the rear seat of a standard sized family vehicle.
However, there is now a new kid on the block in terms of Diono Convertible-Booster Car Seats. In fact, there are 3 new kids on the block, but I am only going to consider the Rainier in this post since the other 2 do not get such great reviews from car seat technicians and are not recommended by the IHSS.
It is often a confusing time for parents when new seats are released onto the market that are quite similar to the previous ones, and it can be very difficult to make an informed decision about whether the claimed “new improved features” are worth paying the extra money for.
I hope that this post will help you to learn more about the similarities and differences between the Radian RXT and the Rainier and improve your chances of selecting the right seat for your child.
So, what are some of the similarities and differences between the Diono Radian RXT and the newer Diono Rainier?
Radian RXT vs Rainier – Common Features
The common features that are shared by the Radian RXT and the Rainier are:
- Full steel frame and aluminium reinforced sides
- Converts to booster between 50 to 120 lbs (up to 57 inches in height)
- Unique SuperLATCH system
- NCAP crash tested
- EPS foam and Side Impact Protection
- Safestop harness
- Rear Facing tether capability
- Additional forward-facing recline position to accommodate different types of contoured vehicle seats
- 12-position adjustable headrest
- 5 shoulder and 3 buckle positions
- Measures just 17 inches wide at the base
- Folds flat for Travel and FAA certified
- Extra set of harness pads are supplied for use when child is over 65 lbs in the 5-point harness
- Expandable sides and long seat bottom for proper leg support
- Sits low on vehicle seat to make loading easier and improve safety performance
- Angled cup holder keeps drinks upright and reachable
- Machine washable and dryable seat cover
- Rubber bottom grips for no-slip installation
So, you can see that the main core features of the Radian RXT have been replicated in the Rainier. Diono have obviously been cautious not to be too radical with the release of their new car seat range for fear of upsetting their loyal band of followers. After all, why radically change a seat that it so popular and, thereby, risk losing customers?
Although, there are very many similarities between the 2 seats, there are some notable differences that you need to know about before deciding which one is right for you and your child.
Radian RXT vs Rainier – Differences
The main differences between the Radian RXT and the Rainier are:
- The Radian RXT is rear facing to 45 lbs, but the Rainier goes up to 50 lbs
- The Radian RXT has a forwards facing harnessed range of 20 – 80 lbs, but the Rainier’s is 20 – 90 lbs
- The Rainier has reinforced extra deep sidewalls that are lined with energy-absorbing foam – extra head and body protection
- Although both seats are 17 inches wide at the base, the Rainier is wider at the front top area due to the sidewalls (18.5 inches)
At first glance, the Rainier’s increased rear facing capability is an excellent improvement on the Radian RXT’s already impressive limit of 45 lbs. However, this is only likely to be of relevance to some children, since many will outgrow the height limit of 44 inches before they reach 50 lbs in weight. So, if you have a taller than average child (or you and your husband are tall) this feature is less likely to be relevant than if your child is smaller.
The increase in the forwards facing harness range enables the Ranier to boast that it has the highest capacity in this regard of any harnessed seat. Of course, I ought to point out that this is a “joint achievement”, since the Britax Pinnacle 90 and Britax Frontier 90 also have the same maximum weight limits.
The new sidewalls sound very reassuring and are said to improve side impact protection by introducing a rigid double wall structure. This means that in a collision the outer wall compresses to reduce the amount of energy that is transferred to your child. The one downside is that this appears to have made the seat slightly wider than the Radian RXT at the top front part.
Both have a seat base width of 17 inches, but the Rainier is wider at the top and this “might” affect whether or not you can fit 3 in a row across the back seat of your vehicle. On the Diono website, they still boast that the Radian RXT can fit 3 across in most mid-sized vehicles, but they do NOT make such a bold statement in respect of the Rainier. They simply state that the “space saving design allows extra room for passengers while providing spacious interior for the child”.
I would suggest that if you need to fit 3 across the rear seat of your vehicle, you should ensure that you buy the seat from somewhere that has a Free Returns policy (like Amazon), so that you can confirm that it will fit correctly prior to committing fully to the purchase.
Finally, the 10 year seat life of the Radian RXT is impressive (and well above the standard), but the Rainier’s 12 years is a very nice improvement.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) Test Results
Sadly, the Rainier did NOT achieve a “Best Bet” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in their latest round of Booster Seat Evaluation Tests. Instead, it was awarded a “Good Bet” rating – not a terrible result but a little disappointing nonetheless.
The good news is that the trusty old Diono Radian RXT continues to score highly and received a “Best Bet” rating. The Diono R120 and R100 seats also achieved this top rating.
In short, if you are looking for a convertible Harness-to-Booster seat from the Diono range that allows extended Rear-Facing and scores highly in the IIHS Booster Tests, I would highly recommend the Diono Radian RXT seat.
Video Review of the Diono Radian RXT by “Janet D’Oliveira”
Video Review of Diono Rainier by “Dianarazana”
Good Value for Money?
Although neither seat is cheap, they could well be the only car seat that you will ever need to buy for your child due to their massive user weight ranges. If you compare the cost of either of these seats with the cost of buying a succession of infant, convertible, booster seats, you will find that both the Radian RXT and the Ranier represent excellent value for money.
Buy the Diono Radian RXT & Rainier
Diono Car 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.
Leave a Comment
If you have any questions about my Diono Radian RXT vs Diono Rainier comparison post, please feel free to leave a comment below or just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I would also love to hear from anyone that has bought the Rainier and is prepared to share their experience of owning it so far.