Britax Marathon ClickTight

Last updated date: December 13, 2018

DWYM Score
8.9

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We looked at the top 1 Convertible Car Seats and dug through the reviews from 8 of the most popular review sites including New York Times Wirecutter, Lucie's List, Consumer Reports, BestReviews, Baby Gear Lab, Car Seat Blog, Best Car Seat Hub and more. Through this analysis, we've determined the best Convertible Car Seat you should buy.

Overall Take

When it comes to ease of installation, the Britax Marathon can't be beat — just buckle a seat belt and you're basically done. Rigorous testing also reveals excellent safety, comfort and adjustment features that make it possible to keep even tall kids rear-facing for longer. In our analysis of 97 expert reviews, the Britax Britax Marathon ClickTight placed 1st when we looked at the top 13 products in the category. For the full ranking, see below.

Editor's Note May 17, 2019:
Checkout The Best Convertible Car Seat for a detailed review of all the top convertible car seats.

Expert Summarized Score
8.9
8 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.9
1,149 user reviews
Our Favorite Video Reviews
What experts liked
After 20 hours of research, including testing nine popular convertible car seats at home and crash-testing six finalists in a top lab to measure their side-impact performance, we think the Britax Marathon ClickTight is the best one for most families.
- New York Times Wirecutter
March 16, 2018 | Full review
ClickTight seats make it SUPER easy to install with a seat belt. “HUGS” pads on the harness straps absorb crash energy (in the forward-facing position) through SafeCells. The seat base is made of SafeCells, which compress in a crash to minimize the risk of head injury.
- Lucie's List
July 1, 2018 | Full review
The Marathon ClickTight is Britax's flagship car seat, and in our testing, we found that it has high quality construction, great safety features, super easy installation, and comfort.
- Mommy Hood 101
ClickTight feature provides excellent installation in vehicles in rear and forward-facing. - Dual range recline indicator
- Consumer Reports
It has lots of adjustment point, 14 height adjustment points for tall children. No guess work on the tightness of your childs straps with the click type system.
- BestReviews
September 1, 2018 | Full review
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 seat that is very easy to use.
- Baby Gear Lab
May 24, 2018 | Full review
Better than average height and weight limits for rear-facing: even though the MA’s height doesn’t match the Boulevard CT or Advocate CT, it is still tall enough to get children rear-facing all the way to the 40 lbs. limit without outgrowing the seat by height first.
- Car Seat Blog
January 22, 2018 | Full review
One great thing about the Marathon CT is that it has no seat belt lockoffs. Since Britax first introduced lockoffs, that’s a bit surprising. But the ClickTight panel takes care of that. It actually closes down over the seat belt to lock it in place. Boom. Done.
- Best Car Seat Hub
July 6, 2018 | Full review
What experts didn't like
It doesn’t have a built-in cupholder, though.
- New York Times Wirecutter
March 16, 2018 | Full review
It lacks the deeper head wings found in the Boulevard and Advocate CT
- Lucie's List
July 1, 2018 | Full review
We also the crotch strap to be a bit short, resulting in the lower straps digging a bit into chubby baby thighs.
- Mommy Hood 101
ClickTight feature can be difficult to open when removing seat.
- Consumer Reports
The click- tight system can be a little tricky to figure out
- BestReviews
September 1, 2018 | Full review
It isn't the best choice for city dwellers as it is heavy and not suitable for carrying very far. It is also expensive and the crash test results are below the average in this review.
- Baby Gear Lab
May 24, 2018 | Full review
Newborn recline angle may be difficult to achieve in some vehicles without a pool noodle
- Car Seat Blog
January 22, 2018 | Full review
Some parents reported the seat padding became loose after uninstalling and reinstalling the seat. The padding got in the way so it was more difficult to close the CT seat panel. Other parents said the recline handle jammed so they couldn’t get the seat to recline properly.
- Best Car Seat Hub
July 6, 2018 | Full review

From The Manufacturer

The Marathon ClickTight convertible car seat has the patented ClickTight Installation System, a layer of side impact protection, and SafeCell Impact Protection for peace of mind while you're on the go with your child. Car seat installation is easy as buckling a seatbelt thanks to the ClickTight Installation System. In the Marathon Car Seat you are surrounded in safety. This convertible car seat features the patented Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system which includes a steel frame, energy-absorbing base, V-shaped tether to minimize seat rotation and staged-release stitches that slow and reduce forward movement in the event of a crash. Britax designed the Marathon ClickTight Car Seat with a strong layer of side energy absorption; a deep foam-lined shell will shield your child from side impacts. Plush foam padding and fabric, along with 7 recline positions ensures premium comfort for your child. The 14-position easy-adjust harness grows along with your child and you can change the height of the seat with just the push of a button - no rethreading necessary. The Marathon car seat can be used rear-facing 5-40 pounds and forward-facing 20-65 pounds, child standing height 49” or less. Car seat dimensions 23” D x 18.5” W x 23.5” H. 14-Position harness slot heights 8.35” to 17.7”. FAA approved.

Overall Product Rankings

1. Britax Marathon ClickTight
Overall Score: 8.9
Expert Reviews: 8
2. Graco Extend2Fit
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 6
3. Graco 4Ever
Overall Score: 8.6
Expert Reviews: 9
4. Chico NextFit Zip
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 8
5. Britax Advocate ClickTight
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 7
6. Britax Boulevard ClickTight
Overall Score: 8.5
Expert Reviews: 8
7. Graco Contender 65
Overall Score: 8.4
Expert Reviews: 7
8. Evenflo Titan
Overall Score: 8.3
Expert Reviews: 3
9. Evenflo Tribute LX
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 7
10. Evenflo Sure Ride
Overall Score: 8.1
Expert Reviews: 6
11. Maxi-Cosi Pria 85
Overall Score: 7.6
Expert Reviews: 4
12. Peg Perego Primo Convertible
Overall Score: 7.5
Expert Reviews: 7
13. Clek Fllo
Overall Score: 6.7
Expert Reviews: 8

An Overview On Convertible Car Seats

Maybe your baby has outgrown his or her infant car seat. Or perhaps you don’t like the idea of having to buy several different types of seats or boosters. Either way, it feels like the time to consider purchasing a convertible car seat.

All children ages 8 and younger — depending on their height and weight — are generally required by law to use some form of car seat or booster. You are probably familiar with the infant car seat, also called the bucket or pumpkin seat. It’s a rear-facing seat that is detachable and clicks into a base that stays in the car. Infant car seats typically have a carrying handle, may have an adjustable shade and can usually be used with a stroller.

It is hard to beat the convenience factor of the infant car seat for taking a sleeping baby in and out of the car easily — and for transporting them in general.  But they are generally only considered safe until your child is 35-40 pounds at most. Hence, the convertible car seat, which typically starts as a rear-facing car seat up to around 40 pounds, and in some cases, can then convert to a front-facing toddler seat and, later, to a booster seat around 120 pounds. Just remember, convertible car seats are bulkier, heavier and are typically meant to remain in the car. This means you will need to consider having a separate stroller or baby carrier when your child is young.

Convertible car seats attach to the car using either a LATCH (lower anchors and tethers for children) system, which is part of your car, a seatbelt or a combination of the two. The Britax Marathon, for example, uses their ClickTight installation system, which allows you to simply use a seatbelt to secure the seat (although using the built-in tether latch in your car is also recommended).

From a safety perspective, each convertible car seat uses different materials and construction to bolster safety. The Graco 4Ever and Britax Marathon car seat both feature a steel-reinforced frame. Convertible car seats also typically have a 5-point harness system that can be adjusted in various ways as your child grows.

Most importantly, convertible car seats allow kids to be rear-facing for longer and can accommodate children of various sizes. The National Highway Traffic Saftey Administration advises keeping a child rear-facing and in a car seat in general as long as possible, based on height and weight requirements for the seat. Car seats like the Graco Extend2Fit, for example, are being built to allow rear-facing for up to 50 pounds and include an extendable panel that provides more leg room. This combination of safety and maximized comfort is truly only available with convertible car seats.

Cost is an obvious final deciding factor for purchasing a convertible car seat. Instead of purchasing three or even four separate car seats and a booster, you are able to use one unit throughout childhood. This also lessens the impact on the environment since car seats expire and are only partially recyclable. While convertible car seats can be on the pricey side, you will hopefully only be shelling out money for them once or twice, depending on whether you have multiple drivers or caregivers.

DYWM Fun Fact

The very first car seats were created in the 1930s with the sole purpose of keeping kids from moving around in the car. In the 1970s, the NHTSA began to put regulations in place. The first laws requiring parents to use car seats for children under a certain age weren’t passed until 1985. We’ve certainly come a long way!

Did you know that car seats expire? While they don’t necessarily spoil like old milk, they do become less safe due to a variety of factors. Materials like plastic can become brittle due to constant exposure to heat, cold and sun in your car, metal parts can rust and other parts could go missing or be discontinued. Everyone’s car seat looks a little battered from everyday use. Even so, hairline cracks or reduced elasticity in the straps might be harder to notice, but can really matter in a crash. Because the No. 1 concern for car seats is safety, you should always check a seat’s expiration date before buying or resuing. You can typically find this information on the car seat itself, in the manual or through the manufacturer. Most car seats expire in 5-10 years, and convertible car seats tend to fall somewhere on the higher end of that range. But what do you do with an expired car seat? Unfortunately, the best thing to do is completely dismantle it and recycle the plastic parts so that no one tries to reuse it. If you don’t want to go through all that trouble, try a car seat trade-in event at a local store that sells baby gear.

The Convertible Car Seat Buying Guide

  • You will need a car seat starting on the first day you drive your bundle of joy home. All 50 states have laws requiring the use of a car seat until your child is at least 7 years old. Also, most states require the use of a booster seat until your child is a certain weight and height (usually between the age of 8 and 10). Since you will need some form of car seat or booster for a large portion of your son or daughter’s childhood, it’s not a bad idea to consider convertible car seats since they last longer. Some, like the Graco 4Ever car seat, boast up to 10 years of use.
  • Anyone who has seen how gross a car seat can get knows how important it is to take into account how easy it is to clean. Many car seats come fitted with covers that you can’t remove and can only spot clean. Ideally, all fabric should be able to be removed for cleaning. Better yet, look for machine washable covers.
  • It may seem minor, but when buying a car seat, consider whether or not a cup holder is important to you. Sometimes it’s better to have at least one so you aren’t distracted by handing your child water or a snack while driving. On the other hand, you may want to keep food and drink away from the seat. The Graco 4Ever and Graco Extend2Fit car seats both have two cup holders. The EvenfloTribute LX has one, while the Britax Marathon has none.
  • Lugging a car seat around is no fun for anyone. If you plan to switch your car seat between cars a lot or will be taking it with you while traveling frequently, you’ll want to consider the overall weight. For instance, the Britax Marathon car seat weighs in at 28.4 pounds, while the Evenflo Tribute LX is only 9.1 pounds.
  • Even if you think you’re an old pro at installing a car seat, it may be worth getting it checked out after the first time you do it. Car seat designs change from year to year and each model can be a little different. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers locations where you can have your car seat and installation expertly inspected.
  • The straps of a car seat should always be snug, even if your child protests. You should only be able to fit one finger between the strap and your child’s shoulder and you should not be able to pinch any excess harness fabric between your fingers. Also make sure not to put your child in a car seat wearing a bulky coat, which could require you to make the straps looser than is safe.
  • In addition to the straps being too loose, another common mistake many parents make is placing the chest clip — sometimes called the retainer clip — too low or too high, which is actually a pretty serious safety concern. If it’s placed too high, it could cause choking or a neck injury. When placed too low, your child could be ejected from the seat in the event of an accident. The ideal placement of the clip is the middle of the sternum, lined up with the top of the child’s armpits. It’s worth reminding grandparents or other caregivers of this placement as well.
  • According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and theNational Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a car seat should be installed facing the rear until your child turns 4 or outgrows the seat (based on the individual seat’s safety requirements for height and weight). Even if your child’s legs look cramped, they are still safer facing backward. The Graco 4Ever, Britax Marathon and Graco Extend2Fit are all car seats designed with rear-facing placement in mind and offer a little more space for taller kids.
  • It’s important that you use the LATCH system (lower anchors and tethers for children) in your car that your car seat is designed to work with. All cars manufactured after 2003 are required by the U.S. government to have at least two seats with lower anchors — usually positioned near the seat belts — and three spots with tether anchors, typically behind the headrests or seats. Even if your car seat model uses a seatbelt rather than the lower anchors — like the Britax Marathon — you should still use the tether when the car seat is front-facing.
  • Consider including “in case of emergency” information on your car seat for EMTs or other first responders. In the event that a parent or caregiver is injured or can’t talk, having the child’s name, contact information, allergies, medical conditions and pediatrician listed on the car seat can be a lifesaver. Simply attach a luggage tag with the necessary details or tape a note card securely to the seat in an easy-to-find area.