Reviewing the Diono Radian 3RXT Convertible Car Seat | From a mom of 2 under 2

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I have been in the market for new convertible car seats for both of the kids for awhile. And I really wanted to find a seat that met the needs for both of my kids (almost 2 and 5 months old). 

The convertible car seats that we have used in the past take up a ton of space, so I needed a compact convertible car seat that fit well in my small SUV. Especially since I was going to have two large seats in the car for both of the kids.

That’s when I stumbled upon the Diono Radian 3RXT seats. 

When exploring and researching these seats, I noticed that the brand put a big emphasis on the fact that these car seats were compact and can fit 3 seats across. I have a small SUV, so compact is a huge selling point.

The brand also emphasized that these seats were extended rear facing (which is something I was also looking for), and could be used as the child grew. 

So, I decided to try these seats with my kids and wanted to provide you with my thoughts.

Our family has been using this seat with our toddler for about a month now, and I want to break down what we have learned so far while using this seat.

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a Child Passenger Safety Technician (CPST), so I can not review this seat in as full detail as possible. For the sake of this review and blog post - I will be discussing this seat from a practical standpoint as a mom to two tiny humans! 

Safety is most important to us, as well as functionality and compatibility. 

So, let’s break down this seat by these 4 categories: Installation/transferability, aesthetics/color options, compactability/spaciousness, and ease of use/ features.

So, let’s dive in starting with installation and transferability.

To start, my husband does all the car seat installations. And while installing the Diono Radian 3RXT, he found it difficult at times.

When unboxing the seat, he noted that the seat was pretty heavy. And according to the website and manual, this seat weighs 31.3 lbs. Which is pretty heavy when unboxing, installing, and lifting.

The heaviness of this car seat is actually a positive, as this car seat is made of full steel. This steel frame essentially acts as a roll cage, which increases the safety of the car seat.

When installing this convertible car seat, which he has done many times, he realized that he had trouble securing the seat tight enough based on the instructions in the manual. 

He ended up researching some videos online, and had to use a pretty good amount of force (more than normal he said) to tighten the straps. Maybe he was taking extra precaution, but he wanted to be sure that the seat was not wobbly after installation so this took some time and effort for sure.

After installing without the top tether (which isn’t required for the rear facing position), he decided to install using the top tether to be sure the seat had optimal stability and was as safe as possible. This was different from the other seats he had installed in the past, but at the end of the day, after installation, the seat was very secure.

Side note: based on the manual, the top tether is not required for the rear facing installation, but it is however recommended to ensure the seat is installed as best and safe as possible. 

During the installation process, we realized that this seat was not going to be compatible with my car in the rear facing position without the added angle adjuster. 

The goal was to transition my infant (5 months old) to this seat after installation, but when installing this seat in the infant position (for infants that do not have head control) the seat was way too wide. This position was not compatible with my car due to the limited front to back seat width. 

When installing this seat in this reclined position, there was no room for the person sitting in the front seat. 

However, this positioning would likely have fit if we installed this seat in the middle. But, with two littles in the back, I didn’t want them sitting that close to each other. 

I much preferred each child by a window, but was not happening in the rear facing position without the angle adjuster. 

Like I said above, I have a small SUV so there is not a ton of space in the backseat. 

This rear facing position without the angle adjuster would however work for a car that had a large second row with a large distance between the front and second row seating. This seating position would be possible in a larger SUV or van.

So, using this seat was not possible with my 5 month old because she does not have head control.

But, the brand does have an additional item (which I mentioned above), that can be used in the rear facing position with a larger infant that has full head control. This additional item, the rear facing angle adjuster, is required to use this seat in a more upright rear facing position. And this more upright rear facing position is appropriate for babies with full head control and toddlers up to the weight of 50 lbs. 

We will be moving our infant out of her infant seat and to this more upright rear facing position in the Diono when she has full head control (so in the next month or so). 

After we installed the seat with the angle adjuster, there was enough room for the seat to fit properly. Diono allows their seats to lightly touch the vehicle seat in front of them, as long as the vehicle manual doesn’t prohibit anything touching the vehicle seat. A pencil’s width between the car seats and the vehicle seat is fine if the seat doesn’t touch.

This positioning in rear facing allowed enough room for the seat to fit properly and for the driver and passenger in the front row to have enough space as well. 

So, as far as installation goes - it was a little complex in comparison to other seats we have used with our almost 2 year old and took some trial and error to figure out how we were going to use these seats best with our family.

With that being said, as far as transferability goes - I would keep this seat secured in one vehicle because of the weight and slightly complicated installation process. 

At least, that’s the plan for us! 

Let’s talk about aesthetics & color options.

If there is one thing to highlight with this seat, it’s that it looks very nice. 

It’s pretty. It’s sleek. And James (our toddler) loves sitting in it.

I would say this seat is definitely in the minimalist category because of it’s sleek design and minimalist feel.

This seat takes up minimal space width wise (although the seat does require a good amount of space length wise) when installed. 

The seat covers are also easy to remove, so washing them isn’t an issue. Because this is definitely required when you are carrying a messy toddler around in your vehicle. 

The seat covers can also be removed when the car seat is in rear-facing mode (which is AWESOME) and uninstalling the whole seat is not required. Which is a huge selling point for me. 

This seat also comes in a few different colors. Which is fun and exciting.

Some of the seat colors include black, gray, blue, pink/purple, and red, but we opted for the black because I prefer a neutral color.

As far as aesthetics goes, this seat exceeds my expectations. 

I will say this is one of the prettiest car seats I have seen and I really enjoy the way it looks in my car. 

Plus it’s not super bulky like others we have tried, which is definitely positive. 

So what about compact-ability and spaciousness?

This seat is designed with space in mind. At least when it comes to width. The brand takes pride in marketing this seat as the “Original 3 across seat”. 

Which is nice for all the parents that have 3 littles in either rear or forward facing, and especially the triplet moms.

This car seat can also be folded in half and stored very easily, which is another huge selling point for me. 

All of the other seats we have tried in the past, this is the most compact seat when installed (as far as width is concerned) and uninstalled. 

The only downside is that the seat is pretty heavy. So, even though it is compact when uninstalled, it’s pretty heavy if you need to carry it along in travel (especially on an airline). 

But, I do love how compact this seat looks and feels when installed and uninstalled. 

And although the seat does not work well in my small SUV in rear facing mode without the angle adjuster, once this seat is installed  - minimal space is taken as far as width is concerned.

Lastly, let’s explore ease of use daily & features of this seat.

Using this seat on a daily basis has been super simple. 

This seat is very simple to operate and the straps are easy to loosen and tighten with each use.

The pull strap to tighten the seat is in plain view and not hidden, and a button is located near the pull strap which loosens the chest harness. 

And once you locate this button the first time, it’s easy to find after that. 

The chest straps for this seat are simple to operate so getting your child in and out of the seat is no problem. 

The sides of the seat also fold up and down slightly which makes climbing into and out of the seat for an older child or toddler much easier.

This is different from other seats we have used in the past the require the child to essentially climb up a mountain to get into the seat. Which makes fastening the child into the seat more complicated at times as well.

The head rest also has 12 different positions and can be adjusted VERY easily. Which is nice in comparison to other seats we have used in the past. 

When purchasing this seat, the angle adjuster is not included, but I do recommend purchasing these with your seat.

The car seat includes 1 cup holder and this can be removed easily or used in a few different positions.

So, in conclusion, I think this is a nice seat for the price based on appearance, but the difficulty installing makes it frustrating at times.

I wanted to use this seat for a few weeks before reviewing, and using it on a daily basis is simple. Plus my toddler does seem to enjoy sitting in the seat.

I do love that this seat can grow with the child, which is a huge selling point for me. 

And we will keep James (almost 2) in rear facing mode indefinitely (within the recommended weight limitations) then use this seat in forward facing mode and booster mode as he grows. 

Overall, this is a good car seat. It looks very nice, is safe, and functional once installed. This seat can also be used with a child from 4 pounds (through the rear facing infant seat) to 120 pounds in the booster seat. 

If you are buying this car seat and your child will be using the rear facing mode, I 10000% recommend purchasing with the rear facing angle adjuster. Especially if you have a smaller SUV and your child also wanted to sit more upright than reclined. 

If you’re interested in more information about this seat, check it out here! 

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