The Diono Radian is a bit different than many convertible car seats out there on the market, and if you’re like me you are probably wondering about this whole 3-in-1 design and how that differs from a traditional convertible seat. Basically, a convertible car seat allows for the seat to be used in two positions; both rear facing and forward facing and usually has a weight limit of about 5-40lbs rear facing for infants and up to 65lbs forward facing for toddlers. What the Radian car seats do is add a third layer to all this, hence the 3-in-1 design, they can be used rear facing for infants, forward facing for toddlers, and then transformed into a booster seat for kids up to 120lbs. Sounds too good to be true right? With this ONE car seat it sounds like you could potentially buy it and use it from when they are first born and then never ever again have to repurchase another car seat until they are car seat free. But, is that really the case? Let’s delve in to the facts and see if it’s actually possible.
- Item Weight: 26.5 lbs
- Orientation: forward facing, rear facing, and booster seat
- Weight limits: 5-45lbs forward facing, 20-80lbs rear facing, 50-120lbs booster seat
- Height limit: 44in rear facing, 57in forward facing and booster seat
- Harness: 5 point
What are the Pros of the Radian RXT?
- Steel Frame – Similar to Britax, Diono also uses steel frames and aluminum reinforced sides to really amp up their safety protection.
- Height and Weight Limit – This is where the Radian RXT really starts setting itself apart from other car seats. Because it’s a 3-in-1 the height and weight limits have been raised; infants can stay rear facing until 45lbs in this seat while most convertible seats are 40lbs. This really helps with bigger babies at the top of the growth chart as well as with guidelines recommending infants stay rear facing until at least 2 years old. With this seat it may actually be possible.
- Travel approved – This 3-in-1 seat is totally travel approved by the FAA. It folds up and has compartments that store all the hanging bits like tethers and connectors so everything is securely tucked away for travel. It also comes with a padded strap that you can attach for carrying it over your shoulder, but honestly, this thing is 26.5lbs, so unless you are the Hulk and can carry a child, a suitcase, a purse, your coffee, and this seat over your shoulder…all at the same time, I’d recommend getting a carrying case for the seat and using a luggage cart at the airport. Oh, and did I mention…it has 4 cup holders! A traveling dream!
- LATCH – LATCH installation up to 35lbs rear facing and 40lbs forward facing, then switch the seat to vehicle seat belt installation.
- Padding and cushions – Overall the padding is nice on the seat and feels comfortable. The fabric is velour with mesh for the child’s head and near the hips, which is good to make it a bit more of a breathable fabric. You can remove the harness for cleaning by simply unscrewing the small panels near the hip area, which is convenient since you need to remove the harness to wash the seat covers. Diono recommends hand or machine wash in a front loading machine, I would say hand wash and line dry rather than tumble to help prolong the life of the seat material. They also give you pretty nice cushions for extra head and neck support for infants, they’re a bit lacking in the bum area, but still comfortable and keep the infant snug.
- Life span – This seat has a whopping 10 year life span; 8 years for the car seat and another 2 years on the booster seat. This actually makes it possible for the seat to last you from infant upward.
- QR codes – Keeping up with the times of technology, Diono has added QR codes to the seat. Simply scan the code with your smart phone to see videos of different sections in the manual. Pretty cool huh?
And the Cons?
- Heavy and Tall – While this seat may be narrow, it is heavy and it is tall. Since it is narrower than other convertible seats the manufacturer claims 3 could fit in the back seat of a car, based on my calculations, it’s more like 2 unless you have an SUV, which isn’t bad. But, it is tall, so if you have a shorter car be careful with this. That being said though this seat is great for taller babies and kids.
- Tough Installation – This does have LATCH installation, but honestly, there’s a lot of tugging and pulling especially in smaller cars where you can’t climb into the trunk trying to get this thing installed. Especially for first time car seat users, this can be a real workout.
- Booster seat – I hate to say this, because this is part 3 of the 3-in-1 convertible seat, but it’s tough to get a real snug seat belt with this booster seat, it’s not impossible, it’s just tougher than I would have hoped for.
How do consumers rate it?
The Radian is highly rated at about 4.6 out of 5 stars. Parents are drawn to this seat because you just have to buy one seat for the whole child’s life and done. I feel the pull too, and the vast majority of parents are super happy with the seat post-purchase and using it for years after.
What’s it going to cost?
As most high-end convertible car seats come in over $200, this one does to. It retails for $299.99 at stores like Toys-R-Us or BuyBuyBaby. Online I found it for as low as $237.99 if you’re not picky on color. However, if you want your color pick, which I would too, it’s around $260.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line on this seat is it’s a solid car seat and to answer my early question could definitely be the only car seat you will ever need, unless you have another child 🙂 . But, if you take care of this seat well, it will last you. It’s also a great purchase if you have a taller or bigger kid as it will allow you to keep them rear facing longer, and they’ll be more comfortable and better protected in the seat. All in all, it’s a sturdy and well-constructed seat that merits its price tag…especially if it lasts 10 years!