Why I Rate a ‘PLUS Tested’ Car Seat Over The Britax Two Way Elite

'PLUS Tested' Car Seat Over The Britax Two Way Elite

In this blog post, I want to explain more in detail why I choose to recommend that you select a PLUS tested car seat, over the Two Way Elite (in this price bracket). I also want to quickly point out that I do not take ‘special needs’ into account in this blog post, because that is an entierly different grid.

The car seat jungle is stocking up on more and more ERF seats. It’s a fantastic thing, and I am so so happy to see that the UK are finally at a place now, where we can offer parent/carers/people a very large range of extended rear facing car seats.

But, in this jungle we do have a few top contenders when it comes to the 25kg rear facing car seats. Namely the ‘Britax Two Way (Elite)’ vs. any other 25kg rear facing seat.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate the seat! I have owned and used it my self; it does have its place. But, generally speaking, today we have better options! Options that were not there before.

TWE’s crash testing

The TWE does have crash testing to current standard, without it it wouldn’t be legally sold. However, it also has passed the old T-Standard crash test. However, it’s not the same as the PLUS test. It didn’t test pressure on the neck for instance which today’s PLUS test does.

The TWE is unable to pass the PLUS test because it has a forward facing option. But that still doesn’t mean there aren’t better alternatives.

So why have I changed my mind?

I used to recommend the TWE quite often. But as the years have gone by, there have been far more editions to the rear facing market, like I mentioned further up. There has also been some price changes to other seats.

There are, in my opinion, simply better options to opt for if you have the budget for it. I really don’t like when the TWE gets blindly “oooed” and “awwweed” over as if there was nothing better for the same price.

Speaking of price, let us do some math, yeh?

Example nr 1:
TWE (£186) vs. Britax Max-Way (old version). The Max-Way is PLUS tested and is currently sold at £195, because the new Max-Way Plus is out.

So for £9 more you can get a PLUS tested seat.

Example nr 2:
TWE vs for example Axkid Move (which is the next seat price wise at £225 and PLUS tested).

The TWE is £186 – BUT most people opt for buying the Britax head hugger*, especially for younger children, this head hugger is a shocking £25 (was 20 when I bought it years ago wtf happened?!) so then we’re already at £213.95 and then perhaps you have a smaller child and you want the Britax insert* to also go with the seat – which is £18.

That brings the Britax Two Way Elite up to a total of £230 (remember the Move is £225).

Example nr 3:
The Britax Max-Way Plus is £290 + you might want the Britax insert* again, this is £18 = £308

Axkid Move is £225 and does not come with the Axkid small child insert*, the insert is £17 so that brings the price up to £242, so it’s still cheaper than the new Max Way Plus. BUT it might be too wide, where Max Way Plus could perfect because it’s a narrower seat.

Axkid Minikid is £349 BUT does come with the insert* (which is £17) so the seat is really £332 IF you are also going to be using the insert, which most kids under age two will be doing.

So if you have a smaller child say under age two you are def. most likely going to be using the small child insert* with the Move or Minikid. Even at age 2 if your child is dinky. These are things to consider. 

If you need inserts – the prices go up OR they stay the same BUT you get an insert in the price already.

So if we look at the math in those three examples, the TWE is no longer so very much cheaper than a PLUS tested car seat to 25kg.

This wasn’t always the case, but recent changes have mad it so, ergo I am now able to recommend other seats in the same price bracket.

PLUS tested car seats 2018

How can I call a different seat superior?

There isn’t done any testing against each other – so in a manner of speaking it’s all “common sense”, “opinion”, and “educated experience” type isn’t it. No one can, to my knowledge, give physical evidence. 

The TWE is the only seat Britax have which has never changed through the 25 years (give or take) of its existence.

And yes for some situations it’s a brilliant seat and if your budget can’t stretch longer or you have come to the conclusion that this seat is the most suitable, then absolutely go for it – but it’s my professional based opinion that it is indeed worth looking at what the industry is currently doing to upgrade their seats as a whole.

What they are working on as being so important and SIP is def. something the industry as a whole is pushing very hard on – as well as a change in headrest designs. And that is as a whole – not just one company.

One could ponder why exactly Britax has upgraded their Max-Way (which is an upgraded Hi-Way II) to the Max-Way Plus, and their Multitech 2 (which is an upgraded MT 1) to its now Multitech 3 with its extra SIP features etc .

The statement: “You get what you pay for” is very much true in car seats – and as much as any rear-facing seat is better than forward facing, if you have the budget for it – PLUS tested will *always* be better unless it’s the exact same seat – like a combi vs the RF only version, because used RF it’s the same seat. 

We can argue that it’s unfair to a seat to be compared with PLUS testing simply because it’s not passable – but at the end of the day the PLUS test in itself takes the very worst case scenario you can think of in a crash – and it’s sole purpose is to prove that THAT seat? It will save a life no matter what, save fire, drowning or flattening. 

Here’s an example of such an accident that PLUS testing is picturing when they constructed the test:

In both those cars a child was using a PLUS tested extended rear facing car seat, and that child survived and is today ok.

And finally

This post is about me trying to explain exactly why I keep recommending other seats over the TWE. Specifically when you are looking at a higher budget.

I’m not trying to make anybody feel bad because they don’t own a higher end extended rear facing seat! If your personal family’s budget does not stretch further than..let’s say £70 or *insert amount* then buy the best RF seat you can get for your car and child for that money.

My advice in circumstances where the budget it tight is that:

1. You use the infant car seat as long as absolutely possible without going over the weight or height limit of the seat, but also making sure to pull baby down all the way to the buckle and make sure the harness is at the correct height. 

2. Whilst baby still fit the infant seat, start saving whatever you can and see where you are at the end of the time when he needs to change into a new seat. Don’t be afraid to ask for help where possible or suggest a donation towards a new car seat instead.

3. Lastly, buy the ERF seat that is closest to your budget which you have saved up to.

There are children in the UK and surrounding who’s only hot meal is the school dinner they are offered. And who’s family’s budget is very very low.
I am absolutely aware that there are families where even buying even a Joie Tilt is pushing it.

And this can be a very emotional topic for many people.

We don’t always have to agree, and if you don’t agree with me,that’s perfectly OK. But it’s important to be aware of the state of the car seat industry at the moment, and how much the price wars that seems to be advocated by many, is destroying the market and not doing anyone any favours.

I just wanted to put pen to my feelings on this matter and how I see it.