A safe, super tall car seat (and front seat legroom hog), the Diono Radian rXT converts from rear-facing to forward-facing to booster seat. Overall, it is very similar to the Diono Rainier, but with a slightly lower rear-facing limit (45 vs. 50lbs), lower five-point harness forward-facing limit (80 vs. 90lbs), and without the reinforced, extra deep sidewalls. These differences make the seat a bit narrower, accommodating three across.
Things We Love
- Very Safe: The Diono Radian rXT has all the standard high-end safety features you’d expect from a convertible car seat at this price point– side impact protection, a steel frame, reinforced aluminum sides, and energy absorbing foam. It does not have an anti-rebound bar, but it does have a rear-facing tether, which provides a similar safety benefit by helping to prevent seat rotation during a collision.
- Newborn Compatible: The Radian rXT is suitable for babies five pounds and up using the included infant inserts. (This is a HUGE car seat for a newborn though, taking up a lot of front seat leg room.)
- Rear-Facing Until 45 Pounds: This seat comfortably supports rear-facing until 45 pounds, which is around year four of a child’s life. The fact is, the longer a child can rear-face, the safer they’ll be in the event of a collision. Even once a toddler/small child’s legs are scrunched up against the back seat, it is still significantly safer to ride rear-facing than forward-facing. (Cue to 1:30 in this kind of disturbing video to learn more.)
- Forward-Facing Until 80 Pounds: This is one of the higher forward-facing five-point harness weight limits out there.
- Converts to Booster Seat: The Radian rXT converts to a booster seat for kids 50 to 120 pounds.
- Supports Three Across: At only 17 inches wide, the Radian rXT allows you to install three car seats in your car’s back row.
Things We Don't Love As Much
- Janky Construction: The Radian rXT feels poorly made compared to car seats like those from Nuna, Clek, and Peg-Perego, which isn't a huge surprise considering the price point is ~30% less expensive for the Diono seat. We especially hate the way the base attaches to make the seat safe for forward and rear-facing and the fact that the harness must be rethreaded.
- Not Super Easy Install: Attaching the base to the car seat feels a bit dicey, like you're going to pinch off your finger, but once that deed is done the install itself is pretty straightforward.
- Two-Toned Fabric: While the Radian rXT has a nice modern fabric in subtle colors, we don't love the two-toned look. Since the colors are nice, we can overlook it.
- Rethread Harness: The harness must be rethreaded as your baby grows. This is kind of a pain, but thankfully, not something you have to do very often.
- Limited Recline: The Radian rXT only has one recline angle.
- Heavy: At 27.6 pounds, the Radian rXT is not a car seat you want to be moving from car to car with any sort of frequency. Most people rarely move their convertible car seats from car to car, so weight is really not much of an issue.
- Diono Radian rXT – $300
- Available for as low as $230 in some colors online.