Type: Convertible seat.
Limits: Rear-facing: 5-40 lbs. (Roundabout G4.1).
Forward-facing: 55 lbs.
Height limit: 46″.
NHTSA ease of use rating:
Rear facing: Three stars out of five.
Forward facing: Three stars out five. (Rating is for G4.1 version.)
Pros: Affordable, EPS foam, no-twist straps, can be tethered rear or forward facing, harness is easy to tighten.
Cons: Must rethread the harness to change height. Limited (three position) recline. Lacks extra side impact protection on more expensive models.
Comments: The Roundabout was Britax’s first convertible sold in the US and was a big seller. Despite its age (it is over 10 years old) and being eclipsed by Britax’s convertibles that work up to 65 lbs. (the Roundabout works to 55 lbs. forward-facing), the Roundabout is a good budget pick if you have less than $150 to spend.
The Roundabout’s ace is the hole is its ease of installation—the lock-off clips provide snug belt installations and Britax’s double-strap LATCH connectors are among the best in the business.
Since this seat is the entry-price point for Britax, the Roundabout lacks many of the brand’s premium features—there is no enhanced side impact protection or an anti-rebound bar.
So, yes, the Roundabout is more old school, but it might be the right seat for the less-used second vehicle. Ok, the Roundabout has three recline positions to the Marathon’s seven. Newer Britax seats have the ClickTight bases that speeds the install process. And you have to manually rethread the harness on the Roundabout to change the height. But if you only have $150 to spend on a seat, the Roundabout is still a rock solid and safe seat. Fans like the overall ease of use and straight forward installation process (yes, even without ClickTight).
What’s not to like about the Roundabout? Well, despite the lesser 55 lbs. weight limit, the Roundabout is about the same size as the Marathon (26″ in height). That makes it a tight fit when rear-facing in smaller vehicles. On the plus side, the Roundabout weighs significantly less than the Marathon (17.6 lbs. vs 30 lbs.)—if you need a good carpool seat that needs to be moved from vehicle to vehicle, the Roundabout is a better bet. But the Marathon has a cover that easily removes for cleaning, a feature the Roundabout lacks.
FYI: The latest version of this seat is called G4.1.
Bottom line: the Roundabout is a very good convertible seat for under $150. If your budget allows, however, the Britax Marathon or Boulevard have numerous upgrades that make the additional expense worth it. Rating: A