Founded in 1999 in Washington State, Diono (originally Sunshine Kids Juvenile Products) has a reputation of offering well designed and innovative car seats.
But when it comes to the Diono Rainier vs. RXT, choosing between the two can be a challenge.
What’sts It Going To Be?”
Table Of Contents
What Do These Car Seats Have In Common?
The Diono Rainier and the RXT share several of the same features, including:
- Diono’s SuperLATCH system
- A full steel frame and reinforced aluminum sides
- NCAP crash tested
- Rear-facing tether option
- Side Impact Protection and EPS foam
- Additional forward-facing recline position which improves the fit of the seat and its comfort for your child
- A 12-position adjustable headrest
- FFA certified
- Seats fold for travel
- Machine washable and dryer compatible seat cover
- Rubber bottom grips which offer no-slip installation
Both seats are well known for having one of the highest rear-facing limits currently available in the USA, and they can convert from a set to a booster when your child is between 50 to 120lbs and up to when he is 57” in height.
The seats feature expandable side and a long seat bottom, allowing the seat to “grow” with your child more than other seats on the market today.
Parents who are interested in keeping their child in a five-point harness for longer will also appreciate the extra set of harness pads which are provided for when your child is over 65lbs in harness mode.
Diono Rainier vs. RXT: What Are The Differences?
Despite the seats sharing many of the same core features, there are some notable differences between the two:
1. The Safety Features
The Rainier has additional safety features, with the most notable being its reinforced extra deep side walls.
These side walls are lined with energy-absorbing foam which provides additional head and body protection.
2. The Rear-Facing and Forward-Facing Weight Limits
A child in the RXT can sit rear-facing up to 45lbs. The Rainier allows you to keep your child in rear-facing mode a bit longer, having a weight limit of up to 50lbs.
When in forward-facing mode, the RXT can accommodate a harnessed child when she is between 20 to 80lbs.
Rainier allows you to keep your child forward-facing for quite a bit longer, offering a forward-facing weight limit of 20 to 90lbs when in harnessed mode.
3. The Lifespan of the Seat
Both seats have amongst the longest seat lives on the market.
The difference is that the Rainier has a seat life of 12 years while the RXT has a seat life of only 10 years.
4. The Size of the Seat
Rainier and RXT have a 17” side base. But the additional sidewalls are wider on the Rainier (23”) because of the safety sidewalls.
Want To Learn How To Install This Beast Rear Facing?
Questions to Ask Before You Buy A Car Seat
The price difference between the Diono Rainier vs. RXT gives most parents a good reason to do an in-depth comparison of the two seats to determine if the extra expense is worth it.
To determine which seat is right for you, ask yourself:
How Long Do You Want the Seat to Last For?
Currently, the Rainier reigns supreme in terms of its 50lbs rear-facing, 90lbs front-facing, and 120lb booster range.
This can be a huge benefit to parents, but some children may become uncomfortable being rear-facing until they are 50lbs or front-facing in a harness until they are 90lbs.
With that said, because the Rainier offers 2 additional years of product life when used as a booster compared to the RXT, there is a good chance that this will be the first and only car seat you will ever need for your child.
What Is the Size of Your Child?
If you have a smaller child, you may not need to pay the additional money for the Rainier.
On the other hand, if you do have a child who is high in both height and weight percentiles (i.e. your child will likely be more than 45lbs before turning 4 or 5 when forward-facing is recommended), then the child will be able to remain rear-facing for longer.
What Is the Size of Your Vehicle?
The extra inch or so at the top of the Rainier means that it may be more difficult to fit 3-across, particularly if you are driving a vehicle which is comparable to the size of a Civic or a Corolla.
This may not be an issue, however, if you have a larger sedan, an SUV or a minivan.
Do You Need the Extra Side Impact Protection?
Extra safety features are always nice, but depending on how you use the seat, it may not be necessary.
For example, if you keep your child rear-facing in the RXT, that will provide more side impact protection than if you were to use the Rainier in forward-facing mode.
image source: Pish Posh Baby
Diono Rainier vs. RXT: Weighing the Pros and Cons
At first glance, both seats look almost identical.
But depending on your needs and the needs of your child, one seat may be more suitable than the other.
The Diono Rainier
The Rainier features a car seat base of 17” and has an adjustable headrest and an easy to access cup holder.
This travel-friendly seat boasts amongst the highest rear-facing and forward-facing harnessed limits available to parents and guardians today.
- A long lifespan, having a rear-facing weight limit of 50lbs and forward-facing harness limit of 90lbs and 57”
- The tether can be used in rear-facing mode
- The seat features a 12 position headrest and 3 crotch strap positions
- The seat comes with a deluxe two-piece infant body pillow and memory foam, providing your little one with extra support and comfort
- Because the Rainier is wider and flares out at the top, it can be difficult if not impossible to fit 3-across if you have a smaller vehicle
- The seat is more expensive than the RTX
- Not easy to install
- The Rainier is a heavy seat
The Diono Radian RXT
The RXT, while more expensive than other convertible car seats on the market today, has a lower price tag than the Radian.
It is a lighter seat which still has an impressive rear-facing weight limit of 45lbs and a forward-facing harness limit of 80lbs and 57” tall.
- The RXT is a more narrow seat, making it easier to install and fit 3-across
- More fabric options
- More affordable than the Rainier
- The seat does not feature the reinforced deeper sidewalls
- The RXT has a shorter lifespan, being able to be used for 10 years as opposed to the Radian’s 12-year seat life
- The seat cannot be used in the rear-facing mode as long as the Rainier
- The forward-facing harnessed mode is capped at 80lbs compared to the Rainier at 90lbs
- Users find this seat difficult to use and many complain that the buckle is stiff and difficult to use
“What’sIt Going To Be?”