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Our 2021 Top Picks for the Best Combination and High Back Booster Car Seats

Updated on June 9, 2021 by Melanie Pierce

We are committed to providing you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of the best front-facing car seats and high back booster seats on the market.

What is our method?

First, we do lots of research into the experiences of other parents who have purchased various seats and find out what they are saying. 

We also compare and contrast the various features of the seats and work through a pros vs cons list of our findings.

Best Booster Seats

Finally, we purchase the seats, install them into our personal vehicles, and buckle up our kids so that we can give you real-world feedback of what we love and we don’t love.


If you are looking for the best booster seats based on ratings and reviews, this page is for you!

Our Top Pick For Combination Seats (Forward-Facing 5-Point Harness To High Back Booster)

Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, Canyon

This is our Top Pick because it has great features, a comfortable fit, and is easy to install all for a great price. With premium LATCH connectors and multiple fit/recline adjustments, getting this seat into position is a breeze!


Our Top Pick For High Back Booster Seat



Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat - Atmosphere

We love that this  booster seat is not only sturdy and plush, but literally grows with your child. Plus we are really impressed with the easy install with the InLine LATCH connectors and kids just love cool cup holders, as well, making it our favorite high back booster!


What is the difference between a combination seat, a high back booster seat, and a regular booster seat?

Though all these options may be a bit confusing at first, generally a front-facing combination seat comes with a 5-point harness ability, but can be converted to a high back booster when your child outgrows the 5-point harness. 

A high back booster allows your child to use the vehicle seat belt safely by properly positioning the lap belt across the hip bones and the shoulder belt across the chest and shoulder, plus provides head and neck protection in a vehicle that doesn’t have a built-in headrest. 

A regular backless booster seat only lifts your child’s position and routes the lap belt across their hips, so that it doesn’t come across the child’s abdomen. This type of seat should only be used by children who fit the shoulder belt and can sit properly.


How do I choose which type of combo or booster seat is right for my child?

Most children who are transitioning from a front-facing convertible (infant/toddler) seat to front-facing combination (toddler/child) seat will best be restrained by a 5-point harness until they outgrow that feature. (During this mode, you will need to top-tether the seat.)

This is especially true of children who are smaller or younger and have not been rear-faced for an extensive length of time. A 5-point harness ensures that your child will stay properly buckled at a stage of their life where they may try to circumvent a regular seat belt.

Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, Canyon

If your child is under 40 lbs. or under 5 years of age, then they SHOULD use a 5-pt. Harness. Children at least 5 years old AND over 40+ lbs. can either continue to use a 5-pt. harness until they reach the limits of that feature or can transition to booster-mode.

A combination seat allows you the ability to remove the harness straps and instead use the seat as a high back booster to help position the vehicle’s seat belt to safely fit your child.

SAFETY WARNING: Some belt-positioning booster seat models advertise a lower weight threshold of 30 lbs., however, this usage is not recommended by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). 

THERE IS NO RUSH TO MOVE A CHILD TO BOOSTER SEAT MODE AND IT IS RECOMMENDED TO USE THE 5 POINT HARNESS UNTIL YOUR CHILD OUTGROWS ITS LIMITS.

PLEASE NOTE: A few models of combination seats also allow removal of the high back, turning it into a backless booster seat. 

Generally designed for children who are at least 5 years old and at least 40 pounds, this type of booster provides back and neck support, as well as proper positioning of both your vehicle’s lap and shoulder belts to fit your child.

If you have a vehicle that does not have a headrest or proper neck support in the seat that your child is riding in, a high back booster is a must, in order to provide that protection. High back boosters also may lend additional support in the event of an accident if it has larger side wings.

Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat - Atmosphere

SAFETY WARNING: Some belt-positioning booster seat models advertise a lower weight threshold of 30 lbs., however, this usage is not recommended by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). 

THERE IS NO RUSH TO MOVE A CHILD TO BOOSTER SEAT MODE AND IT IS RECOMMENDED TO USE THE 5 POINT HARNESS UNTIL YOUR CHILD OUTGROWS ITS LIMITS.

PLEASE NOTE: A few models of combination seats also allow removal of the high back, turning it into a backless booster seat. 

Most of the backless boosters on the market are designed to only “boost” or lift your child up enough so that the vehicle’s lap seat belt is properly positioned across your child’s hips. It is important that you ensure that the shoulder belt also fits your child when in this position.

Though there are no scientific studies that show less effectiveness of a properly-used backless booster when compared to a high back booster, please keep in mind that the back of your vehicle seat or headrest must come up to the top of your child’s ears if you are using a backless booster.

Chicco GoFit Backless Booster Car Seat - Shark

Please keep in mind that children must be taught how to properly sit in a booster and especially a backless one. If your child is not mature enough to sit straight and keep the belt proper across their chest at all times, then consider using a high back booster or 5-pt harness until they are.

It is recommended that your child be at least 5 years old and 40 pounds before using ANY booster, but many children are not developmentally ready to transition to a booster until they are 6-7 years old. Use your best judgement, based on your child’s unique needs.

REMEMBER: THERE IS NO RUSH TO MOVE A CHILD TO A BOOSTER SEAT AND IT IS RECOMMENDED TO USE A 5 POINT HARNESS UNTIL YOUR CHILD OUTGROWS ITS LIMITS.

If your child and vehicle meets all the criteria above, the benefits of a backless booster are that they are generally: portable, lightweight, compact, and inexpensive. If your child switches vehicles often, a backless booster is quickly and easily moved.

Not only do they provide a more instant on-the-go protection, older children are less likely to resist their use as they feel less “baby-ish” than a high back booster. Most children are not big enough to transition to just the vehicle safety belt until they are between 10-13 years old, so it is important to have their cooperation!


Best Combination Seats (Forward-facing 5-Point Harness to High Back Booster)

Are you looking for a combination booster seat?

Here our top picks based on the latest research, consumer reviews, and real-world experiences. Read on!

Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat, Canyon

Why it is our top pick combination seat?

our top pick

This is our Top Pick because it has great features, a comfortable fit, and is easy to install all for a great price. With premium LATCH connectors and multiple fit/recline adjustments, getting this seat into position is a breeze!

This is a plush seat that is designed with comfort, style, convenience, and function in mind. It features a 9-position adjustable headrest and no-thread harness. It also has a 4-position recline (with RideRight bubble levels!) in harness mode It also has 2 dishwasher-safe, removable/collapsible cup holders (CupFolders) for your convenience.

This seat has premium push-on lower LATCH connectors that can be used until your child reaches 40 pounds. The seatbelt installation on this seat is fair, not the easiest, but it is nice that there is an integrated seatbelt lock-off, in case your vehicle’s seatbelt doesn’t have an auto lock-off. Keep this factor in mind when deciding whether this seat is the right one for you.

This seat is designed for children who are at least 2 years old who also are between 25-65 lbs and up to 54 inches tall for 5-pt harnessing mode. And for children who are at least 4 years old (but preferably 5 years old) who are between 40-100 lbs and between 38-57 inches tall, it can be used as a belt-positioning high back booster seat.

The safety technology incorporated into this seat includes: the Duo Guard 2-Layer Rigid Shell with steel reinforcement, plus 2 Side Impact Zones for head and torso and energy-absorbing EPS foam. For comfort and convenience, it also has a padded flip-away crotch buckle and a padded harness.

The cover is moderately easy to remove for cleaning and comes off in separate sections, so if you only need to clean one section, that option is available. There is no need to unthread the harness, which is nice, and the fabric can be machine-washed on delicate mode.

PROS:

There is a lot to love about this seat! Of course, the best part is the Premium LATCH connectors which makes the LATCH install very simple. Plus, the general comfort and various features make it an all-around great seat. One of the best features in our opinion is the various recline angles and the padded armrests which will help your child feel comfortable during long rides.

CONS:

The biggest drawback is that this seat is fairly heavy, which is to be expected with a substantial seat of this nature.

The Bottom Line

Overall, our favorite harness-to-booster seat for features, price, and luxurious style. Parents and children alike appreciate the special touches and various features that make it convenient and comfortable to use. Definitely a top-notch choice in regards to the best booster seats available.


This booster car seat has the most unique and easiest installations on the market. Just reach into the slits at the lower back of the inside of the seat and squeeze the buttons. 

This opens an upward “door” that allows you full access to the seat belt path under the seat. Just thread the vehicle seat belt through the slots and voila! Click it tightly shut and you’re done!

Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat, Spark - Premium, Soft Knit Fabric - 2 Layer Impact Protection - 5 Point Harness [New Version of Frontier]

Another thing we love about this seat is that the shoulder harnesses never need rethreading, but with the quick-adjust, 9-position headrest can be easily positioned just at or above your child’s shoulders with a simple motion.

The forward-facing 5-point harness mode can adequately secure a child (over 2 years old) between 25-65 pounds or from 34-49 inches in height. In belt-positioning booster mode, it fits a child between 40-120 pounds or from 43-63 inches in height.

The safety technology in this seat includes SafeCell Impact Protection, a steel frame, and 2 layers of side impact protection. Plus it has a V-shaped tether strap for use in harness mode.

For your child’s comfort, it has 2 positions, so that your child can recline (only available while in harness mode), 2 integrated cup holders, 2 armrests, and a comfy seat cushion. For your convenience, this seat has an easy-remove cover to make cleaning easier and a flip-away crotch buckle when you are using harness-mode.

PROS:

It has one of the most absolute easiest installations on the market for this type of seat and this is really its biggest claim to fame.

Plus the safety and comfort features, and most of all, the easy-to-remove seat cover and adjustable harness make this seat really worth its money.

Another big PRO with this seat is that since it is customarily installed using the vehicle seat belt, since it is so super easy to do so, you don’t need to worry about switching from LATCH install to seat belt install when your child reaches 40 pounds. (Latch installs are not allowed after 40 lbs.)

CONS:

The main thing that I have noticed is that this seat is very, very heavy. It is really a beast to move around.

So, because of that, it is not exactly portable and should be moved as little as possible, unless you are really strong!

Also, for a front-facing harness-to-booster seat, this product is fairly expensive.

While this does not seem to be an issue for every user, a common complaint is that the headrest is very squeaky.

 It’s made of two parts that can rub together when a child is not in the seat. So this may not be the best choice if you are sensitive to sounds.

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for a plush, heavy-duty highback 5-point harness-to-booster seat with easy installation, this seat is sure to please. Though it comes with a fairly high price tag, it is built for comfort, style, and simplicity of use.


This seat has 3 distinct modes with the following limits:

  • Front-facing 5-pt harness -- 22-65 pounds and 27-49 inches (2 years old and up)
  • Belt-positioning high back booster -- 30-100 pounds and 38-57 inches (5 years old and up)
  • Backless booster -- 40-100 pounds and 40-57 inches
Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3 in 1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Conley

It also has a long life span and expires 10 years from the date of manufacture.

It features a 3-position recline in the harness mode and has a 5-position adjustable headrest and no-rethread harness straps, for easy adjustment and a great fit every ride. Plus it has harness buckle storage pockets for easier loading & unloading. Also, for your child’s comfort there is a (removable) comfy body support, 2 padded armrests, a cup holder, and 2 integrated cubby holes for storage.

For safety considerations, this seat is equipped with a steel-reinforced frame and EPS energy-absorbing foam.

PROS:

This is a basic, economical seat with decent features. If you are looking for a seat with the option to have a backless mode, this seat is worth consideration. And your kids will LOVE the cubby holes, even if they are a bit tricky to clean out!

Many commenters say their kids found this seat very comfortable.

CONS:

Not particularly known for being easy to install, it is only average in this realm. The LATCH connectors are the traditional hook style. It doesn’t have any extended limits for any of its modes and it is a fairly heavy seat.

There are main complaints about 2 particular issues encountered with this seat, as follows:

  1. The harness straps are almost impossible to tighten - This seems to be especially true when the headrest is at the lower levels (so mostly a problem when using with smaller/shorter children). The work-around is to set the harness straps to fit your child and not loosen them when strapping/unstrapping your child.
  2. The crotch buckle is nearly impossible to remove for repositioning - Some parents have gotten so frustrated as to eventually just cut it off and ask the company for a new one! However, another parent has had success with removing the crotch buckle by pulling all the fabric, including the extra flap, up and through the slot so the silver part of the buckle is flat on the underside. Then slide the buckle gently to the side and slip it through the slat starting with the short side, being careful not to let any fabric come through in the process.

The Bottom Line

This seat is a good middle-of-the-road option for those looking for an economical solution that will last for many, many years. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles, but has enough nice features to make it desire-able at this price point. Pay attention to the work-arounds for the problem areas noted with this seat and be prepared to tackle these areas if they are issues for you.


This is a more basic and lightweight Graco Harness-to-Booster seat. It also goes by the name “Graco Wayz”.

It also has 3 distinct modes with the following limits:

  • Front-facing 5-pt harness -- 22-65 pounds and 26.5-49 inches (2 years old and up)
  • Belt-positioning high back booster -- 30-100 pounds and 38-57 inches (5 years old and up)
  • Backless booster -- 40-100 pounds and 40-57 inches

This seat expires 7 years from the date of manufacture.

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Kyte

Features of this seat includes 2 armrests and dual cup holders (partially removable and inset to save room). It has a multi-position adjustable headrest and no-rethread harness. There is also an easily-removed body support that is comfortable and simple to clean.

The “3 in 1” aspect of this comes from the fact that the back can be removed and it can also because a backless booster once your child has outgrown it in highback booster mode.

PROS:

This is the favorite seat of my oldest two kids.

They especially love that the color scheme and design look more “grown up” and less babyish than many other seats.

This economical choice is a narrow seat at only 19 inches wide, so it is ideal when you need to put seats side-by-side.

This is also a lightweight seat for its type.

This seat has one of the highest maximum heights for 5-point- harness mode making it a great option for families with tall kids, families with special needs kids who need harnessed longer, or families who just prefer to use 5-point harnesses as long as possible.

CONS:

This seat does not have a steel-reinforced frame or any foam, as does the Graco Nautilus, however that also means it is not as heavy. Nor does it have the ability to recline. This seat does not have any particularly easy-to-use installation features.

The Bottom Line

This is a basic, easy-to-move combination seat with basic functions that get the job done. If you are looking for something less expensive with less “bells and whistles” than others in this class, you will want to give this seat your consideration.


This seat is fairly basic, but has the advantage of being very lightweight (only 9 lbs!) and easy to carry, which makes it perfect for traveling with.

It features a removable headrest and 2 cup holders for your child’s comfort and convenience.

In harness mode, it can accommodate children from 22-50 lbs and 28-50 inches tall, with the highest harness slots at 18.5 inches. Plus, it can installed with LATCH until your child is 50 lbs.

Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat Palisade

In booster mode, it can accommodate children from 40-110 lbs and 44-57 inches tall. The lower anchors are permitted in booster mode, which keeps it secure between uses.

Though equipped with basic LATCH, it can also be installed using the vehicle seat belt by routing the seat belt through the guide at the back of the seat. Compared to earlier versions or other similar seats, this guide has been enlarged to accommodate an adult hand for easier buckling.

PROS:

This seat is great for traveling because it is lightweight and is FAA approved in harness mode, so whether you are switching vehicles often or flying, this seat makes a great option.

It also has a fairly large seat belt guide for easier installation compared to similar seats.

CONS:

The harness straps on this seat must be manually rethreaded to move between slots and unthreaded in order to remove the seat cover for cleaning.

Also, it has only basic LATCH hooks that do not lend to a particularly easy installation or removal from the vehicle.

The Bottom Line

This is  an economical option that works great as a travel seat. If you don’t need all the extra bells and whistles, but want the ability to harness your child up to 50 pounds, this seat is definitely a great choice without sacrificing too much quality.


Another lightweight seat that is great for traveling, this seat only weighs 11.5 pounds.

This makes it a great choice for easily transferring between vehicles, using on vacation, or on an airplane.

Plus it is very slim at 18.25”, so may work up to 3 across in some vehicles.

The limits for this seat are as follows: 

Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat (Dusk)
  • Forward-facing with harness 30 to 65 pounds and 32 to 49 inches, with the top harness slot at 16.5 inches. Plus, it can be installed with LATCH until your child reaches 50 pounds.
  • Belt-positioning booster 40 to 100 pounds and 43 to 52 inchesIt has one removable cup holder that can be used on either side. Plus the fabric is machine-washable.

PROS:

It is lightweight and great for traveling. It’s slim design makes it a great option for side-by-side car seat placement.

Plus, it has extended limits for harnessing (although your child may reach the max height before outgrowing the weight limit).

CONS:

This seat requires manual rethreading of the harness for height adjustment, as well as removal and cleaning of the seat pad. It has basic LATCH hooks and average seatbelt path which does not lend to a particularly easy installation.

Some users have reported that this seat feels rather flimsy and less durable since it is made entirely of molded plastic, however, keep in mind that all car seats on the market must pass the same National Safety Standards. 

The Bottom Line

If you are looking for an inexpensive seat with the option for extending harnessing (especially for a child with a shorter torso), you may want to choose this seat. It does not have any extra features, but it is lightweight and gets the job done.

Though not always recommended for everyday use, some families have found that it fits their needs perfectly, especially due its slim fit.

This seat makes an excellent choice for grandparents’ or babysitter’s vehicles.  I bought this for a trip simply because it was cheap and small, but liked it so much that we used it full time after the trip


This is a totally fun harness-to-booster seat that comes in multiple characters, such as super-heroes, princess styles, and more to fit your child’s interests.

If your big kid resists the idea of buckling up, this seat may totally change their mind! 

Choose from Spider-man, Iron-man, the Incredible Hulk, Captain America, Batman, the Black Panther, Cinderella, Belle, Tiana, Mickey or Minnie Mouse, and more. The bright and bold designs are so fun and engaging!

KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat, Marvel Spider-Man

The limits for this seat are as follows:

  • 5-pt harness mode: 22-65 pounds and 29-49 inches in height.
  • High back booster mode: 30-100 pounds and 38-57 inches in height.
  • Certain models and themes have the option to be converted to a backless booster

It is easy to install with the  InLine LATCH attachments, which can be used until your child weighs 40 pounds. After that, you will need to install with the vehicle seat belt, which can be tricky due to the small seat belt path. Thankfully, the fabric can be easily pulled back to allow better access during this process. Don’t forget to top-tether when using the harness!

The headrest has 3-position adjustment, but keep in mind that the harness straps will need to be rethreaded when you need to actually move their position. Also, the top harness slot is a bit tricky to see as it is further up set somewhat back on the shoulder of the character. 

The seat cover is machine-washable, but you will need to unthread the harness straps in order to remove it for cleaning. The artwork on these seats is well done and holds up nicely throughout the 7-year life span of these seats. Plus it has 2 easy-to-access cupholders.

PROS:

Unique and engaging designs make these seats really attractive to most children. We really like the InLine LATCH, even though its use is limited due to weight limits. The side wings give nice side-impact protection and overall this seat is comfortable.

CONS:

The seatbelt installation in 5-pt harness mode leaves something to be desired due to the small seat belt path. The harness has to be rethreaded for height adjustments and removing the cover for cleaning, so keep this in mind. 

The Bottom Line

The biggest appeal with this seat is its bright, colorful, character designs. Kids absolutely love it! It doesn’t have particularly easy-to-install or easy-to-adjust features, but for many families, those drawbacks are well worth the smile on their kids’ faces and the willingness of their kids to buckle up properly when using this seat.


Best High Back Booster Seats

Is your child ready for a dedicated booster seat? Here is a list of our top choices for high back boosters, some of which transition to a backless booster seat, as well. These are the best on the market according to the research we’ve done!

Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat - Atmosphere

Why it is our top pick high back booster seat?

our top pick

We love that this  booster seat is not only sturdy and plush, but literally grows with your child. Plus we are really impressed with the easy install with the InLine LATCH connectors and kids just love cool cup holders, as well, making it our favorite high back booster!

This booster seat has 2 modes for children 38-57 inches tall with the following weight limits:

  • As a high back belt-positioning seat it fits children 30-100 pounds and as a backless booster seat it fits children 40-100 pounds.
  • When in the high back booster mode, the back has 2 recline levels and 10 quick-adjust positions of DuoZone side impact protection to grow with your child. 
The plush and comfortable cover and pads are fairly easy to remove and are machine-washable. Plus it has 2 cup holders that are collapsible (great for space-saving), as well as removable and dishwasher-safe. 


The premium LATCH connectors have a SuperCinch one-pull tightener so that the seat stays firmly in place during loading and unloading, plus keeps it secured even when not in use.  

PROS:

We really like how this sturdy booster seat “grows” with your child.

Plus the extra features such as the InLine LATCH connectors, rubber cup holders, and plus cushions make this seat feel luxurious. Kids also report that it is very comfortable.

CONS:

For a dedicated booster seat, it is a little bit pricey, but still not bad considering all the extra features that it has.

The Bottom Line

This is a very deluxe seat with you and your child’s comfort and convenience in mind. If your child is past the stage of needing a 5-pt harness, this booster comes highly recommended. It doesn’t have the highest weight limits, but most likely will last your child until they are finished with being in a booster.


Here we have a wonderful and unique high back booster seat from Britax.

The extended weight limits accommodate a child from 40-120 pounds and 38-63 inches, with an energy absorbing frame and headrest that also has a comfortable layer of foam.

It has Quick Push LATCH connectors that are installed easily by pressing the booster seat into your vehicle seat

Britax Skyline 2-Stage Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat - Highback and Backless | 2 Layer Impact Protection - 40 to 120 Pounds, Dusk

A very unique feature of this seat is the Secure Guard Belt Positioning Clip that keeps the lap belt securely positioned across your child’s hips.

The headrest can be adjusted to ten different positions to properly fit your child and the seat belt guide is colored coded to make sure you are properly securing your little one.

Plus, the 2 cup holders are removable and dishwasher-safe, the moisture-wicking fabric is simple to remove for cleaning (although it needs to be hand-washed).

PROS:

We love the unique lap belt guide and the easy LATCH connectors on this seat! Plus the deluxe fabric, armrests, and cup holders make the ride more convenient and comfortable for children.

But best of all is the extended weight limit makes this a great option for making sure that even older, bigger kids are properly secured in a booster!

CONS:

A few parents mention that this seat feels lightweight or flimsy and uncomfortable, but very few said their child mentioned this or complained about it.

The Bottom Line

There really isn’t anything to dislike about this premium seat. It has It has just about everything most parents are looking for and very few downsides. If you think you may need the extra weight limit on your booster, don’t hesitate to consider this option!


Diono’s Monterey booster seat has 11 different head positions, expandable side wings, and aluminum reinforced sides.

It’s a sharp looking seat that will probably appeal to bigger kids who reject seats that look like they’re “for babies”.

It’s for children who are 40-100 pounds and between 38 and 63 inches tall. Like many of these highback boosters, this also coverts to a backless booster.

Diono Monterey XT Latch, 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Seat with Expandable Height/Width, Black

It has a great latch system that can be tightened by pulling tabs in the front which is much easier than many other systems where you have to contort your hands and dislocate your shoulder to get the latch secure.

PROS:

It is a wide seat that has a reputation for being a great fit for wider/bigger kids who need a little more space to feel comfortable and get a good, safe fit. It is pretty lightweight and therefore easier to move around than heavy seats.

CONS:

This is a wide seat so it won’t fit well in smaller vehicles, especially if three child restraints are needed in one seat. This can also mean that the female portion of the vehicle belt is difficult to access

Several parents mentioned that it was hard to get the back to secure well to the backless booster portion.

The Bottom Line

This is a good midrange booster seat that will meet most family’s needs well and probably please most kids.


This is a lightweight basic model high back to backless booster.

With the high back, it can accommodate children 30-110 lbs and without the back it works for children 40-110 lbs.

The height limits are 40-57 inches, with the child’s ears at or below the top of the headrest.

The six position height adjustment allows you to quickly and easily get the correct fit.

Big Kid LX High Back Booster, Denver

It comes with two integrated & elasticized cup holders, which is great for holding various sizes of cups. There is a thin layer of energy absorbing foam lining for comfort and safety. The fabric pad is easily removed for washing and is machine-washable.

PROS:

It is very lightweight at 7 pounds, so that makes it easy to move between vehicles or take traveling. It is also quite slim, so that you can fit them side-by-side. Has very obvious shoulder seat belt guides. Very inexpensive. 

CONS:

It does not come with any LATCH hooks, so it will need to have the seat belt buckled across it when not occupied so that it does not become a projectile during a crash. It feels rather flimsy and has been reported as uncomfortable for some children.

The cupholders can only hold cups, not snacks or other objects, and even then don’t always perform as expected. 

The Bottom Line

If you need an inexpensive and basic booster with high back and backless mode and are prepared for a small, lightweight seat with no bells and whistles, then you can consider this model. I would recommend more as a travel seat or for short trips, but long trips may prove to be too uncomfortable in this seat.


This is a modern-styled high back to backless booster that can accommodate children 40-110 pounds and 44-57 inches tall.

In high back mode, it has 9 height adjustment positions and is one of the taller seats in this category.

The side impact protection is notable on this seat with the Lyf+Guard advanced compression technology on the head rest and wings. 

Evenflo Spectrum 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat, Bubbly Blue

The exterior portion comes equipped with multiple layers of energy-absorbing materials, while the interior has a foam pad for your child’s comfort.

Another unique thing about this seat is the ergonomic sides/arm rests, which are curved inwards, while still leaving full access to the seat belt path. There are 2 square-ish drawers/doors on the outside of the armrests that open up to reveal compartments for snacks or drinks. Also, the fabric on the seat can be easily removed for cleaning and is machine-washable. 

PROS:

I love how fun and different this booster looks and really appreciate the fact that it has the side-impact protection, which is hard to find in the class of boosters. Plus, the high back portion really does go quite high, which is great if you have a taller child. 

CONS:

Keep in mind that this booster does not have LATCH hooks, so it will need to be buckled by the vehicle belt when not in use so as not to become a projectile. It is not the sturdiest seat, despite the extra features and hefty side wings. Some children may feel “squished” by the inward curving armrests, so this may not work for all kids.

There are some reports of the shoulder belt guide being difficult to use/access and not allowing the belt to retract as it should during use. Some parents have had success with moving the seat to a different location in the vehicle, so be prepared to double-check this and make sure you aren’t having this problem.


The cupholder “drawers” are very tricky to access from the child’s point of view and may prove to be too difficult for them to open by themselves.

The Bottom Line

There are things to love and things not to love about this seat, so your mileage may vary. Overall, it is well-liked by a lot of families and has some great features for this price bracket. If you aren’t deterred by the potential issues that have been reported, it is certainly a seat that is worth considering.


This is a luxurious, high-end booster that can transition to a backless booster that fits children from 40-120 pounds.

The 6-position adjustable back accommodates children who are up to 57 inches in height. 

It has armrests, a multi-position recline feature, and superior quality fabric and cushioning, allowing your child extra comfort.

It also has 2 “bottom-less” pull-out cup holders (one on each side).

The safety profile includes wide, EPS foam-padded, side-impact wings that flare out to the sides, so that they don’t block the child’s view. Installation is a breeze with InLine LATCH connectors that are tightened easily with the strap at the front of the seat.

Peg Perego Viaggio HBB 120, Fleur

PROS:

This is a beautifully-tailored seat with comfort, style, and safety in mind. We love the easy LATCH so that it stays put even when not occupied. The recline foot as an added feature is also very forward-thinking, especially for long rides when your child may want to relax.

Many parents say their child loves the pink version

CONS:

The cup holders are known to be difficult to maneuver and since they don’t have “bottoms” are a bit flimsy and are limited in their use (although they are less likely to get dirty!). It is a bit difficult to clean, as some of the surfaces need to be spot cleaned, and the arm rests are notorious for being difficult to clean.

There are a few reports of children who have found this seat actually uncomfortable, especially for long rides, so despite all of the cushy features, it doesn’t fit everyone perfectly. Plus, it is very pricey for a booster.

The Bottom Line

Overall, this is a beautiful and posh booster with some fabulous features. If you love the idea of being able to install a seat with such ease, letting your child recline in comfort, and can afford the price tag, your child will definitely be riding around in style!


This is a very unique high back belt-positioning booster seat that is designed to fold up, making it the perfect on-the-go travel seat!

It has extended limits and works for children who are 40-120 pounds and who are up to 63 inches tall.

The seat itself is moderately heavy for carrying around (14.8 lbs), but considering that it folds up, is definitely in a class of its own.

Peg Perego Viaggio Flex

It doesn’t have arm rests, which may be a pro or a con, depending on your preference, but does make it super easy for a child to buckle themselves. This also helps make it possible to fold up into a fairly small package about the size of a small suitcase.

Installation of this seat is also super unique in that it has an integrated RIGID LATCH system that pops out, allowing you to simply push onto the LATCH connectors with one push, so no need to tighten any straps. This system keeps the seat securely in place when not occupied, as well as makes it easy to use the integrated recline feature. Plus, it is easy to unlatch when needed.

The 4D Total Adjust Technology is also another really unique feature of this booster! The upper back rest has a 3-position vertical adjustment. The headrest has a 5-position vertical adjustment. The side wings expand outward with a 3-position horizontal adjustment. And finally, the seat itself has a 5-position recline. Altogether, your child can get the perfect fit for comfort and safety!

For extra safety, the side wings and headrest have EPS foam for side-impact protection, and the back of the seat has aluminum reinforcement.

PROS:

This deluxe model is so unique with its portable folding-mode for travel and storage! We also love its nearly endless adjustments for comfort and fit! But one of our most favorite features is the rigid blind-locking LATCH feature, which allows an install in just 2 seconds! 

CONS:

For some, the lack of armrest may be a drawback. The cup holders are fairly flimsy and don’t have any real structure and no bottoms, so they aren’t extremely useful. Otherwise, just the expense of this booster makes it out of reach for many.

The Bottom Line

Not an average seat for an average price, but rather a super unique seat with a high price tag for a specific purpose and demographic. If you need an ultra-portable high back booster and can afford this seat, you definitely will have a luxurious experience and can enjoy some really cool features that this seat brings to the table!


Ready to have your mind blown?

This is a foldable car seat designed to be moved around easily by parents who are traveling or frequently use public transportation, taxis, ubers, carpooling etc.

It is also known as “the world’s most adjustable booster” with 243 individual settings. 

Mifold Hifold fit-and-fold Highback Booster Seat, – Adjustable Highback Booster Car Seat for Everyday, Carpooling and More – Foldable Booster Seat for Travel, Slate Grey

You can adjust the height and width of the headrest, the width of the sidewings, and the width of the seat.

This seat is for kids 4 and up, 40-100 pounds, and 43-59 inches tall.

It should be noted that this seat is not approved for use in Australia if you are planning on traveling with it there. It is usable in Canada, but not legal for Canadian residents to purchase or use there.

PROS:

There are no other foldable seats on the market. If your family needs an easy to transport seat, the mifold hifold is a great option. It is also great that it is so adjustable to keep each individual child safe and comfortable.

It is a very narrow seat and therefore useful when you need to put three kids in one row.

CONS:

While the seat is so highly adjustable, the width of the part a child sits on does not adjust. This means that it can be uncomfortable.

Mifold has released a small, portable cushion that you can purchase separately and add to the seat to prevent this, but you do have to purchase an additional item to achieve this.  

The Bottom Line

While this is not a bad option for families with typical car seat use, where it is installed in a vehicle and left in position for months at a time,  it is really designed for families who need to move seats around a lot.

What we especially love about this is that sometimes parents switch to low backed booster seats before their child is ready simply because it is so inconvenient to transport a high backed booster. The mifold hifold meets a need on the market that very few other child restraints fit.  


A Unique find

There is one more child restraint we want to discuss and really no category to put it in. This is the Ride Safer Travel Vest.

Like the mifold hifold, this vest is designed with families on the go in mind, though it can be used for everyday use.

Rather than bringing the child to the proper position for the vehicle belt, the Ride Safer Vest brings the belt to the child.

It is a vest that a child wears and is adjusted to them with places to attach a vehicle belt.

Ride Safer Travel Vest Gen 5, Small, Blue

I know what you’re thinking: that we’ve all seen those unsafe, crazy “travel car seats” that are no more than bouncy seat fabric that you can buckle in.

This is not that. This was designed by car seat technicians and has passed the same safety standards as all legal child restraints. It is legal in all 50 states. It’s just unique.

It can be used in place of a forward facing 5-point-harness seat and can actually be used safely on children as small as 30 pounds and three years old (compared to many seats that advertise that age limit and are not safe for 3 year olds).

This is because it has a crotch strap to go between their legs and prevent submarining, which is when a too small child slips out from under a vehicle belt. It must be used with a backless booster for children this age and size.

It can be used without a backless booster and the crotch strap for children who are 40 pounds (which is great since the crotch strap starts to get uncomfortable around then) though it can be safely combined with a backless booster for any size if your child would like to see out the window better.

It comes with a tether to be used for smaller children who would be in forward facing five point harness seats. The tether can be skipped for older kids who would be in a high back or backless booster.

It also comes with a headrest attachment that can be velcroed in for children who still fall asleep in a car.

PROS:

There is no more narrow option for putting three children in one row, and it is outstandingly easy to transport on airplanes and in other travel situations.

My then-recently-turned five year old carried his own through the airport on two trips with no problem. 

Your child can wear this outside the vehicle making it easier to “reinstall” if you'll be hopping in and out of cars a lot (though I don’t recommend this at places where your child climbs, jumps, etc as I feel it could cause the seat to wear out more quickly).

It is completely adjustable to your child and has a huge window of ages and sizes during which it can be safely used.

Because of this, it is one of very few seats that a child can safely wear while wearing a winter coat.

While it is not machine washable, it is clearly easier to remove and spot clean this compared to a standard seat cover.

CONS:

There is no way around it: this thing is complicated. Remember the first time you installed an infant seat and you kept thinking, “Am I doing this right??

What are these directions saying?” but now you feel like a pro and can figure out a new car seat in about five minutes? This vest will put you right back at square one.

I don’t love this since an improperly installed child restraint is not going to keep your child safe, even if only one tiny feature is installed improperly. You essentially have to reinstall this for every use.

However, like installing other types of child restraints, I imagine that eventually this would become second nature for parents who use this a lot.

If you are using it for travel, I highly recommend using it at home multiple times first so you and your child can get the hang of it.

It is also quite pricey. There is no side impact protection, though this is true of backless boosters and many high back booster options also.

The Bottom Line

I love this vest for travel and am confident that my children are safe when they use it. I keep it in my vehicle in case of any emergency situations. But I would never use it for everyday because it’s just too complicated. I imagine it would be less complicated for me if I used it more frequently, but I’ve never wanted to put in that much effort.

Check this out if you are traveling a lot, using ubers, taxis, carpools, etc regularly. 


About Our Review Process

We have spent many hours reading about and researching the various models and features of booster car seats available on the market. Plus, we have collected feedback from previous consumers to find out which seats consistently get better or worse reviews and why.

Beyond this, we also buy and test the best booster car seats so that we can bring our real-life experience to the review process. This helps us provide top-notch recommendations for you, which helps us gain your trust and give you the best customer experience.


Why You Need a Booster Seat?

Did you know that 9 out of 10 children are moved out of boosters too soon?

Children who have reached the limits of their convertible seat or their forward-facing 5-point harness are NOT ready to transition to a vehicle’s seat belt.

Vehicle seat belts are designed to fit an adult body and most children need to be in a booster until they are between the ages of 10-12 years old. If your child is at least 4’9” tall, weighs at least 80-100 lbs, and can fully pass the 5-step test, only then they do not need to use a booster seat, regardless of age or law.

five step test

Children who are too small to properly fit a vehicle seat belt need a booster in order for the lap seat belt to sit across the bony parts of their hips/thighs and to help position the shoulder belt to lay flat and close against their body between their neck and the edge of their shoulder.

Vehicle seat belts are simply not safe to use alone for children who don’t fit them. Lap belts that ride up onto the soft parts of the belly or shoulder belts that don’t sit snugly against the correct part of the child’s upper body can cause serious injury or even death in the event of a crash.

When the leading cause of death in children ages 3-14 in the US is motor vehicle crashes, we have to address the issue of mis-use and non-use of proper restraints! Never assume that your child “must be ready” to transition out of their 5-pt harness, high back booster, or backless booster just because they SEEM big enough.

Weigh and measure your child, check the limits of the seat, read your carseat/booster manual, get familiar with the 5-Step Test, and remember that the idea is to keep your child in their restraint as long as you possibly can. There is no trophy for moving to a booster or a seat belt too soon. In fact, it shouldn’t be seen as a milestone that needs to be achieved quickly.

The booster age range of children are the most “at-risk” group of un-properly restrained children. Statistically, according to the NHTSA, in 2013 only 46% of children were using booster seats, with 33% not properly restrained, being in seat belts alone or not at all. (The remaining children were in front-facing car seats.)

Let’s be the change we want to see, reduce any potential risks, and improve the outcomes of older children who are involved in vehicle crashes by keeping our kids in boosters until they are truly ready to transition!


Safety Warnings for Boosters

  1. Make sure the vehicle shoulder seat belt is in contact with your child’s chest and shoulder. If it sits away from or in front of your child, it cannot sufficiently do its job in the event of a crash. In this situation, you may need to try a different booster seat or a different seat placement within the vehicle. Not all seat belt placements or vehicle seats are created equal.

  2. Make sure that the vehicle lap seat belt is being routed snugly low and flat across the outer thighs or hips of your child. If the booster seat routes the belt across the soft part of your child’s abdomen (up on the belly), use a different seat as this is very dangerous.

  3. If using a high back belt-positioning booster, make sure that the shoulder belt glides easily through the shoulder guides so that if your child leans forward that it properly retracts when they sit upright again, otherwise the shoulder belt may stay too loose.

  4. Do not add anything to the vehicle’s seat belt (such as extra padding, aftermarket bumper, etc…).

  5. If using a backless booster, make sure that the vehicle seat or headrest comes up to the top of your child’s ears so that their skull will be protected in the event of a crash.

  6. If the booster you are using does not attach to the vehicle seat via the LATCH system, remember to buckle the seat in, even when not in use, so that it does not become a projectile in the event of a crash.

  7. All booster seats, regardless of type, should be installed in the back seat of your vehicle.

  8. A combination seat must be top-tethered when in 5-pt. harness mode, but this may be optional for high-back booster mode. Read the manual for your seat.

  9. A combination seat must have the harness straps positioned at, or just above, the level of your child’s shoulders when in harness mode.

  10. All booster seats (high back or backless) must be used in a vehicle seat that has BOTH a lap belt AND a shoulder belt. It is never okay to booster with a lap belt alone.

BONUS: Do not transition your child out of a booster and to regular vehicle seat belt use until they can pass the 5 Point Test.


Tips to Install, Use, and Care For Your Booster Car Seat Properly

1. Read the Booster Seat Owner’s Manual for all proper instructions.

2. Read your vehicle’s Owner’s Manual for information about seat belt placement and use, seat belt types, top tether & LATCH anchor placements, headrest usage, and airbag information.

3. Practice installing your booster seat and consider having a CPST (Child Passenger Safety Technician) check your install.

4. Always remember that a combination booster needs to be Top-Tethered when in 5-pt. Harness Mode.

5. Always remember that LATCH anchors and straps have a combined weight limit (usually 65 lbs for both seat & child). Double check your owner manuals to verify the limits for your seat when using LATCH on a combination seat when in 5-pt. Harness Mode. You most likely will need to install with the vehicle seat belt when your child reaches 40 pounds, but this can vary. NOTE: When using LATCH to simply secure a booster seat (but your child is being secured by the vehicle seat belt, not a 5-pt. harness) this weight limit will not be a concern.

6. Wash your booster according to the manufacturer’s specifications so as not to destroy the fire retardant protective layer or allow rust to form in any metal parts, if applicable.

7. If your booster is involved in an accident or reaches its expiration date, discontinue use, destroy, and discard.


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