by Amy Venzke April 09, 2021 9 min read
If you're looking for the safest and best-rated convertible car seat for your soon-to-be toddler, you've probably come across Nuna and Britax on almost every list.
The Nuna RAVA and the Britax Boulevard—the most popular of the company's five convertible models—offer similar safety and ease of use features, thanks to their steel construction and an installation method that's practically as simple as buckling a seatbelt.
In the Consumer Reports rankings of best convertible car seats, the two models are almost tied: While the Britax Boulevard is No. 1, with an overall score of 85, the Nuna RAVA is close behind with a score of 82.
Or take a look at the lower-priced Britax Allegiance and Emblem, which lack ClickTight installation and other features, or two other ClickTight models: the Britax Marathon and Advocate, which differ in their side-impact protection, colors and fabrics.
As Strolleria's best-selling convertible car seat, the Nuna RAVA is simple to install, easy to clean and comfortable for a growing child—and it doesn't hurt that it's one of the most stylish seats, too.
Installing the RAVA takes a matter of seconds: Simply open a color-coded door in the bottom of the seat, thread and buckle the seatbelt, and close the door for a tight installation.
With an all-steel frame and breathable, bamboo-blend fabrics, the RAVA is one of the only car seats that's naturally fire-resistant. Features like a 10-position recline, no-rethread harness and built-in cup holders simplify daily outings with your family.
The Britax Boulevard ClickTight combines safety technology and ease-of-use features that make it the No. 1-ranked convertible car seat by Consumer Reports.
One of few car seats manufactured in the United States, the Boulevard features the Britax ClickTight technology for a simple installation: Open the door at the front of the car seat, thread and buckle the seatbelt, then close the door—click, and it's tight.
The Boulevard is available in several styles and price points, with top-of-the-line models including moisture-wicking fabrics and an anti-rebound bar that Britax says reduces rotation of the seat by up to 40 percent.
The Boulevard starts at $324.99 for versions without the anti-rebound bar, an additional safety feature that stabilizes a rear-facing seat in a collision.
Boulevard car seats with the anti-rebound bar (ARB) start at $374.99, while two versions with specialized fabrics—StayClean and Clean Comfort—are priced as high as $409.99.
The StayClean and Clean Comfort versions feature Nanotex technology that protects from stains, moisture and odors, while the top-of-the-line Clean Comfort edition has more breathable fabrics and extra padding for added comfort.
All colors of the RAVA have the same price, and all are made with a bamboo-blend fabric that's breathable and chemical-free.
When used rear-facing, the RAVA can support a child up to 50 pounds, compared with the 40-pound limit on the Boulevard. The RAVA's extra capacity (in addition to its adjustable calf support feature) can help you keep your child in the safest, rear-facing position for the longest period of time.
Your child will likely outgrow the car seat around age 5 or 6, when they reach 49" in height or 65 pounds in weight.
All convertible car seats must eventually be installed with the vehicle seatbelt as your child grows because the combined weight of the car seat and your child will exceed the weight limits of the vehicle LATCH system.
Compared with the Boulevard, the RAVA weighs about 2 pounds less, and the depth of the car seat is 7 inches shorter. The extra three recline positions on the RAVA also help you find a comfortable fit for both your child and your vehicle.
The Britax Boulevard and Nuna RAVA are two of the safest convertible car seats on the market. In fact, they're rated No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in Consumer Reports' overall convertible car seat rankings—with the Boulevard scoring higher for crash protection and the RAVA earning better scores for ease of use (a safety feature in itself).
Both car seats are made of steel and are lined with energy-absorbing foam throughout the seat and headrest. While the Boulevard has two layers of side-impact foam, the RAVA has side-impact pods that extend from the sides of the seat, serving as the first line of defense in a crash.
The Boulevard has a few safety features not seen on RAVA, like the anti-rebound bar included with higher-priced versions. According to Britax testing, the anti-rebound bar helps stabilize the seat in a crash, reducing rotation by 40 percent.
The Boulevard also features the Britax SafeCell Impact Protection system—in which the car seat's base, harness pads and forward-facing tether strap work in unison to absorb forces in a crash. As the base compresses to absorb energy, the stitching on the V-shaped tether strap gives away to slow movement of the seat.
Once your child reaches 35 pounds when rear-facing, you'll have to switch to the seatbelt, anyway, as the combined weight of the car seat and child will exceed your car's LATCH weight limits.
Installing either seat involves the same general concept. Many convertible car seats require parents to push on the seat and pull on the seatbelt to achieve a tight installation.
With Britax and Nuna, closing a door in the bottom of the seat does the work for you—shortening the installation experience to a matter of seconds.
To install the RAVA, open the TrueTension door in the bottom of the seat. Thread the seatbelt through the base of the seat and buckle it on the other side. Lock the seatbelt by extending the shoulder belt to its maximum length before feeding it back in. Remove all slack from the belt, then close the TrueTension door.
The RAVA has color-coded recline positions on both sides to ensure you've installed the seat at an angle that's safe for rear-facing or forward-facing.
Take a look at installing the RAVA at the 30-second mark of this video.
To install the Boulevard, turn the ClickTight dial at the bottom of the seat to open the installation door. If your model includes an anti-rebound bar, attach it to the frame of the seat for a rear-facing installation.
Check the bubble indicator on the side to ensure the seat is installed at a proper angle. Thread the seatbelt through the seat and buckle it. Remove any slack from the seatbelt, and close the ClickTight door for a secure installation.
Even small features, like a cup holder or a recline lever, can help make your life easier as you're using your car seat daily. Let's take a look at the ease-of-use features on the Britax Boulevard and Nuna RAVA.
Both the Nuna RAVA and Britax Boulevard include a no-rethread harness that allow you to make height adjustments without unfastening the harness. When you raise the headrest, the harness grows taller, too.
Both seats also offer two crotch strap positions, providing more comfort options as your child grows.
The RAVA offers 10 recline positions to allow you to find a comfortable position for your child (and your vehicle), while the Boulevard has seven positions.
Push-to-recline buttons on the RAVA are color-coded to show parents which recline angles are safe for rear-facing and forward-facing positions, no bubble indicators required. Plus, the buttons are located on both sides of the seat, making it easy to recline the seat no matter where the seat is installed in your vehicle.
To recline the Boulevard, you'll need to pull a handle on the front of the car seat and check for a safe angle using the bubble indicator on the side of the seat. Unlike the RAVA, which can be reclined while installed, the recline of the Boulevard must be adjusted prior to installation.
Dual rubber cup holders are integrated into both sides of the RAVA and can be stowed against the seat when not in use.
The Boulevard doesn't come with cup holders, but they can be purchased separately.
The fabrics for both the Britax Boulevard and Nuna RAVA can be easily removed and machine-washed on the delicate cycle. Air-drying is recommended for both fabrics.
The seat cover and head support cover for the RAVA unsnap from the seat. Take a look at cleaning the Nuna RAVA in the video below.
The Boulevard fabrics are fastened to the seat with elastics. You'll need to open the ClickTight door in order to remove the seat cover.
See how to remove the Boulevard fabrics in the video below.
All colors of the Nuna RAVA are fire-resistant without the addition of flame-retardant chemicals, using bamboo/polyester blend fabrics that are temperature-regulating, hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial.
The Nuna RAVA comes in these colors:
The fabrics on the Britax Boulevard vary by color, with some fabrics—Cool Flow, Stay Clean and Clean Comfort—offering additional properties.
The Cool Flow versions of the Boulevard feature ventilated mesh fabrics to keep your child comfortable in warm weather. The StayClean and Clean Comfort versions include Nanotex technology that protects from stains, moisture and odors, while the Clean Comfort version's more breathable fabrics and extra padding make it the most comfortable seat.
The Britax Boulevard comes in these colors:
Only you can decide which seat is best for your family, but here are the benefits and drawbacks we see.
Strolleria is a family-owned and operated retailer dedicated to making the baby gear buying experience less overwhelming for parents. If you have more questions about the Nuna RAVA vs. Britax Boulevard debate, feel free to contact us by starting a live chat, calling 480-442-9433 or e-mailing email@example.com.
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Amy Venzke is the co-owner of Strolleria, along with her husband. Together, they have a mission to make the gear-buying experience easier on parents. Contact the Strolleria team with questions at firstname.lastname@example.org or 480-442-9433.