I’ve been asked many times about the differences between the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart/Pro and the Britax Safe n Sound Graphene.
I want to start by saying that they are two great car seats. They well exceed the minimum safety requirements in Australia and so there is no wrong choice between them. However there are some important differences, and one may be more suitable to your family and requirements than the other.
Maxi Cosi Vita Smart VS Maxi Cosi Vita Pro
Before I dive into the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart / Vita Pro and the Britax Safe n Sound Graphene, I’ll explain the difference between the Smart and Pro version.
The Maxi Cosi Vita Smart and Maxi Cosi Vita Pro are essentially the exact same car seat in the size, safety, mechanisms, fabrics, and overall structure of the car seat.
The only real difference is the Maxi Cosi Vita Pro has an adjustable head support that comes out of the head rest, which provides a sleeping child somewhere to rest their head if they fall asleep when the car seat is in the forward facing position. It’s to avoid the “head flop” that often happens when toddlers and young children fall asleep in the car. The price difference is usually around $50 for that feature.
Otherwise the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart and Maxi Cosi Vita Pro have slightly different colour and style range. Both types of seat offer 5 different shades of black, grey and red. Though the exact pattern and colour placement differs between the Smart and Pro range.
What do they have in Common?
There are a lot of similarities between the Britax Graphene and the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart/Vita Pro. Which is why they are so commonly compared.
As I said, they are both exceptionally good car seats. First they are the same type of car seat – they are both 0-4 convertible car seats. Meaning the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart/Vita Pro and the Britax Safe n Sound Graphene are suitable from birth, to approximately four years old.
They offer the following features:
- ISOFIX. If your car has ISOFIX the installation process can be easier. However if you don’t have ISOFIX in your car you can just use the seatbelt to install the car seat safely. ISOFIX isn’t necessarily a safer method of installation, it’s just easier, which means it’s more likey to be installed correctly.
- Compact and slim fitting. Both the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart/Vita Pro and Britax Graphene are compact car seats. Which makes them especially suitable for small cars. They are narrow, so ideal for fitting 3 car seats across the back seat. They’re also compact when rearward facing from head to foot. Which means they take up less space behind the front passenger seat. This can mean the difference between having your knees on the dashboard in the small car.
- Great option for fitting three car seats across. Because they’re narrow fitting seats, they are ideal for trying to fit three seats across in your car.
- Head and side impact protection. They both have a double layer of impact absorbing material through the car seat. The first layer is in the outer shell providing protection in a side-on collision. As well as a second layer of head protection in the headrest. This protection will adjust as Baby grows to provide targeted protection for Baby’s head.
- Extended rearward facing. They can accommodate a toddler rearward facing until approximately 2-3 years.
- Simple Adjustment on the shoulder straps. Most car seats these days offer a simple lift method to adjust the shoulder straps. However there are still a handful of car seats in the market that require you to re-thread the harness as your baby grows. Which is a bit of a hassle!
What Is Better About The Maxi Cosi Vita Smart / Vita Pro ?
Overall Modern Design
The Maxi Cosi Vita Smart / Vita Pro is the newer car seat. Every aspect of the Vita Smart / Vita Pro was designed from the ground up as a completely new car seat. Which means all the features, functions and mechanisms have been perfectly integrated into the shell and form of the car seat. From the sleek finish on the G-Cell in the shell, to the way the ISOFIX swivels front to back – or can be locked away if not in use, the Vita Smart / Vita Pro is a more refined, easier to use and better finished, design.
Whereas the Britax Safe n Sound car seat shell design has been around for a lot longer than the Britax Graphene itself. It’s a very common and very clever way to design car seats from a manufacturing point of view. It means car manufacturers can add on features to their car seat seats as technology improves or as a point of difference for their premium car seats, without having to design the shell.
Less Damaging For Your Car
Part of this completely new and fully integrated design means Maxi Cosi have covered up or encased all of the sharper or pointer parts on the back and underside of Vita Smart / Vita Pro. Meaning it won’t leave indentations in the back seat of your car over time like the Britax Graphene will. (I’d highly recommend getting a sturdy undermat for your car if you get a Graphene.)
Possibly Better Head Protection
I am not an authority on definitively saying which one of these car seats are safer. However, the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart / Vita Pro has their patented “Air Protect” Technology in the head rest. Which is an impact absorbing air cell. Whereas the Britax Safe n Sound has their “Active Head Restraint”, which is essentially the same as a bicycle helmet. To be clear, bicycle helmets do the exact same job as the head protection. So this is not to say that there is anything wrong with it, just that the Air Protect, to me, seems better.
What Is Better About The Britax Safe n Sound Graphene
More Compact Fit
The Britax Safe n Sound Graphene is more compact overall. Finding the perfect fit for your car isn’t just about the dimensions, it’s about shape. So while the Maxi Cosi Vita Smart / Vita Pro is still a very compact 54cms rearward facing depth, and the Britax Graphene is a very similar 52cms rearward facing depth, I have seen the Graphene fit better rearward facing in some small cars than the Vita Smart/Vita Pro. Sure, it may have only been a 3-4 cm difference, but that can make a huge difference for the comfort of the front passenger in a small car.
The reason the Britax Graphene can fit significantly better is most small cars have narrow bucket style seats in the back. The narrow base of the Graphene seems to fit more snugly into that style of seat shape and so sit back more deeply – allowing more space.
All that said, the couple of centimetre difference isn’t so essential if you have a mid-sized or larger car.
Most Popular Brand in Australia
Britax is the most sold brand of car seat in Australia and when buying a car seat you are also buying peace of mind. There’s nothing wrong with choosing a Britax car seat over a competitor’s car seat for no other reason than it’s a Britax seat. Maybe a friend recommended it, maybe you’ve read the dozens of positive reviews, maybe you’ve only ever owned Britax car seats in the past. These are all really good reasons to choose one seat over another.
There is no wrong choice here. They are both great seats. I’ve seen people agonise for hours – for days – for weeks – over this particular decision. The reason I think it’s such a commonly asked comparison and such a hard decision to make is because these two car seats are so evenly matched.
They are both very safe, very popular, well designed, well made, trusted brands, that have very similar dimensions in terms of rearward facing depth, seat width and overall height.
Here to help
If you have any more questions about either of these seats, or if there are any other car seats you’d like to see compared, or help choosing any other parenting products please get in touch and we’d love to help you!