When your little one was a baby, it was relatively easy to buy a car seat. Infant car seats are pretty much one-size-fits-all; every infant uses the same size car seat.
Now that your youngster is getting bigger, you need to determine the best booster car seat for your family’s needs. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve put together a list of the best booster seats for your child who’s ready to make the switch.
My best overall pick is the Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1, but there are other options I like as well, which include:
- Best high back booster – Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat
- Best toddler booster seat – Chase Harnessed Booster, Jameson
- Best backless booster seat – Chicco GoFit Backless Booster Car Seat – Shark
- Best booster for road warriors – Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle, Crystal Black
- Best booster for air travel – Hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster Car Seat
Infant Seat to Booster Seat: Making the Transition
When my little girl hit that 40-pound mark, I felt proud, sad, and excited. This was a milestone, after all! My baby was transitioning from a convertible car seat to a big kid booster seat!
I think I can speak for most parents when I say that this car seat transition is daunting! Don’t worry – you are not alone. What, exactly, should you look for in a car seat for a 40-pound child?
Before we look at booster seat reviews, let’s first explore why you need a booster seat and when you should make the switch for your child.
What is a Booster Seat?
There are two main types of booster seats for kids. The first is a harnessed booster. This car seat is installed into your car in much the same way your infant or convertible car seat was.
People also call them harnessed boosters because they feature the same five-point harness as an infant car seat.
The second type is a backless booster. These seats raise your child’s bottom of the car’s seat so that a seatbelt fits across his chest correctly.
Your child will typically need to weigh around 40 pounds before using a backless booster, but taller children may also be able to use this seat.
Your child’s booster seat is just as important as an infant carrier. In fact, studies have shown that children aged four through eight are 59 percent less likely to be injured in an accident if they’re in a booster, as opposed to restrained solely with a seatbelt.
When Should I Transition to a Booster Car Seat?
To put it simply, the later, the better. Safety experts recommend keeping your child in their current car seat until they reach that seat’s maximum weight.
I know it’s tempting to “graduate” your baby to the next step. Remember, though, that every car seat graduation is equal to just a little less safety.
If you have any questions about when to buy your child a new seat, speak to your pediatrician. Alternatively, your local fire department likely has a car seat check program; these professionals are trained in car seat safety and can help guide you. Be sure to call ahead, as not all fire departments offer this service.
Choosing a Car Seat: What to Consider
When shopping for the best car seat for 5-year-old, I had quite a few considerations. First, my budget was limited. I also had a very small vehicle, so a fancy, oversized booster seat wouldn’t do.
Secondly, my daughter had a bit of a weak stomach, and she can be quite a messy little eater. Needless to say, I needed a seat that was easy to clean.
Finally, we were on the road frequently. Between commuting to daycare and bringing my daughter to visit her activities, we were truly road warriors; I needed a booster seat that was comfortable for her.
Your circumstances are likely different from mine, but I did a lot of research! Here are the criteria I went by when choosing the top-rated booster seat for my little one.
Height and Weight Limits
As I was on a budget, I wanted a booster seat that would last. Height and weight limits will be a consideration if this is a factor for you, too. A convertible car seat is likely a good option for you; you’ll buy one seat, and it will last throughout years of your child’s milestones.
Ease of Cleaning
Is the fabric on the car seat machine washable? Is it easy to wipe down when it gets messy? “No muss, no fuss” is usually a good rule of thumb when you’re buying a booster seat.
Car Seat Weight and Size
Many of you will be transferring your car seat from one vehicle to another. That’s why it’s important to consider the weight and size of the best booster seats.
Will you be easily able to move the seat? Will the grandparents and others involved in your little one’s travels be able to carry and install it into their vehicles?
When you purchase a new car seat, make a note of the sticker on the bottom of the unit. A car seat will typically “expire” after six years.
There are a few reasons for this, most notably the wear and tear on the components. Before you make your final purchase, be sure to check the expiration date and weigh it against your family’s needs.
Your little one’s comfort is no small consideration. This is particularly true if you’re frequently on the road.
Soft padding on the seat, a comfortable seat back, and even shoulder pads on the harness can spell the difference between a great road trip and a disaster.
Fourteen Top Rated Booster Seats
Now, let’s take a look at the best rated booster seats. Whether you’re in the market for a car seat that will grow with your child, a seat that will travel well, or a car seat that is great for long distance trips, you’ll find a great car seat for your child on this list.
Best High Back Booster Car Seats
High back booster seats are typically for younger children. Some will feature a five point harness that can be used for children as young as two years old; others are belt-positioning, and intended for children who are heavier and taller.
#1 Evenflo Big Kid High Back Booster
The first booster seat on our list is the Evenflo Big Kid LX High Back Booster Seat. Evenflo is one of the most well-known names in child and infant care, so it should come as no surprise that this seat makes this list.
The Evenflo Big Kid booster seat is a convertible seat; as your child grows, you can remove the seat’s back to transition to a backless booster. The seat is easy to care for, too. You can rinse all the components with mild, soapy water, and the pad is machine washable.
The seat is lined with foam that keeps your little one safe and comfortable while you travel. Two cup holders are perfect for snacks and sippy cups.
- 6-position height adjustment
- Lightweight – only 7 pounds
- Belt-positioning capable
- Color options available
- Not latch system compatible
- May be uncomfortable for sleeping
- 2 seats in 1 removable back for easy transition to a no-back booster
- One-hand, 6 position height adjustment to accommodate growing children longer
- Two elastic cup holders
#2 Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat
Next up is the Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat. This, too, is a convertible seat. When your child outgrows the back, you can remove it, and your car seat is transformed into a backless booster. This is one of the top-rated booster seats with latch systems.
Your kiddo will be super comfy in the Chicco booster because it’s lined with soft padding, and the back of the seat is also reclinable.
This car seat weighs in at 10 pounds, so it’ll be a little more cumbersome to move the seat from car to car. That said, the Chicco booster seat is easy to install if you do need to switch vehicles.
- Belt-positioning capable
- 7 color options
- Latch compatible
- Quick, easy install
- Dishwasher safe cup holders
- Shallow seat, ideal for taller children
- Back is more narrow than other seats
- Duo's zone head and shoulder side-impact protection with 10 positions
- Premium LATCH connectors with super Cinch 1-pull tightened
- Ergo Boost contoured seat with double foam padding
#3 Graco TurboBooster Grow High Back Booster Seat
The Graco TurboBooster Grow High Back Booster Seat is next on our list of the best-rated booster seats. This seat features a minimum weight limit of 40 pounds up to a max of 120 pounds, and can be used in 3 modes – highback, backless and also, the RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer seat. This is definitely a great option for your child’s first booster.
Weighing at 11.7 pounds, the LATCH-compatible construction keeps your little one’s back and bottom cushioned and comfy while seated safely thanks to its ProtectPlus side impact protection technology.
Kids who snooze in the car will be especially delighted with this Graco booster seat. The multi-layer adjustable headrest is perfect for long car trips or just relaxing on the road. The 2 cup holders are an added convenience.
- Headrest is adjustable and ultra-comfortable for car nappers
- Grows with your family – you can opt to seat 2 kids at the same time!
- Handy Seat Belt Trainer guide for older kids
- Two cup holders
- Easy to install and clean
- May seem flimsy due to 3-part construction
- Seat may be too upright for some kids
- 3 Modes of Use, for Children 40-120 lb: Belt-positioning booster seamlessly transforms from highback belt-positioning booster (40-100 lb), to backless belt-positioning booster (40-110 lb), to RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer (50-120 lb)
- RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer guides the vehicle seat belt to properly fit your big kid and is portable for on-the-go convenience
- Seats Two Kids at Once: RightGuide Portable Seat Belt Trainer is removable, so you can seat a second child for carpooling, playdates, and more
#4 Britax Grow with You ClickTight Plus Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
Britax is another of the more well-known names in children’s products, and the Grow With You booster car seat is one of the best on the market. You can install this seat with the car’s belt or with the latch system. Note that using the latch system may change the maximum weight allowance for a car seat.
This convertible booster seat is very easy to install; the ClickTight system lets you know that your booster is installed safely and correctly. Britax’s Grow with You booster car seat is ideal for larger cars; smaller sedan owners may find the size overwhelming.
- ClickTight technology ensures proper installation
- Soft, plush fabric is easy to clean
- Memory foam is ultra-soft for little ones
- Belt or 5-point harness use
- Easily adjustable height
- May squeak when empty
- Large size not ideal for small vehicles
- Trusted quality, upgraded design: Looking for pinnacle. Grow with you ClickTight plus is our newest harness to booster car seat
- Install confidently: With ClickTight, you know it’s right in just 3 easy steps. Open, thread & buckle, close
- 2 in 1 booster seat: Easily transitions from forward facing harness mode to belt positioning booster mode as your child grows from toddler to big kid
#5 Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster
The next booster on the list is the Evenflo Chase. This convertible booster is great for young families; children as small as 22 pounds can use the seat and remain in the seat until they reach 110 pounds!
The Evenflo Chase converts from a 5-point harness to a belt-positioning seat for optimal safety and is compatible with the latch system. Parents love this seat for plane travel, as it’s compact and relatively lightweight.
There’s also an enhanced version that you can check it out – the Evenflo Advanced Chase LX.
- Cup Holders do not widen the booster seat
- Great for plane travel
- 5-point harness or belt-positioning use
- Easy to clean
- Fits children as young as 2 years old
- Cupholders not removable
- Thinner padding than some models
- This 2-In-1 combination booster car seat fitting children from 22-110 pounds converts from a 5-point harnessed to belt-positioning car seat allowing for extended use for your child
- The chase LX combination booster car seat helps protect harnessed children from 22-40 pounds (Height: 28 - 50 Inches) and belt-positioned children from 40-110 pounds (Height: 43.3 - 57 Inches); Age: At least four years of age
- This lightweight combination booster car seat comes equipped for latch systems allowing for easy installation and transfer between multiple vehicles. Do not use abrasive cleaners or solvents.
#6 Clek Oobr High Back Booster Car Seat
If you’re looking for a booster seat that will last for years, the Clek Oobr High Back Booster Seat is a great option. The seat features a nine-year expiration, longer than most other models on the market. And children from 33 to 100 pounds can safely use the booster.
The convertible car seat is heavy! Weighing in at 20 pounds, it’s not an ideal seat to transfer from vehicle to vehicle. That said, the booster seat is sturdy and secure; we love the security that the metal substructure offers.
- Greenguard Gold certified eco-friendly
- Long expiration
- Metal construction
- Latch compatible
- 12 degrees of incline for comfort
- Heavy – best for use in one vehicle
- Shorter seat base than other models
#7 Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat
Next on the list is the Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat. This is another lightweight option that will last with proper care – one of the best Graco car seats in the market!
The seat grows with your child; first, it’s a 5-point harness, then a booster for seatbelt use. Finally, you can remove the back for use as a backless booster. 3 in 1 booster seats are cost-effective and will last for years.
Choose from five colors – I love the Kyte – and then select whether you’d like SnugLock technology. SnugLock works with the belt in your car or with the latch system.
- Five color options
- SnugLock for secure installation
- Grows with your child
- Adjustable headrest
- Machine washable components
- Harness strap prone to twisting
- May not fit securely on bucket seats
- 3 in 1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth; harness booster (22 to 65 pounds), high back booster (30 to 100 pounds), backless booster (40 to 100 pounds)
- Simply Safe Adjust Harness System adjusts the height of your harness and headrest in one motion; one hand, 5 position adjustable headrest easily adapts for your growing child; Buckle may be cleaned with a damp cloth
- Engineered and rigorously crash tested to meet or exceed US standard FMVSS 213; the Nautilus 65 has been side impact tested for occupant retention solely with the built in 5 point harness system
#8 Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster
The last high-back booster on the top booster car seat list is the Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster. This convertible seat features a harness mode as well as a belt-positioning booster mode. Children from 22 pounds to 110 pounds can safely ride in this comfortable booster.
Dual cup holders are great for long-distance travel; there’s room for your child’s drink and a snack. The seat is slightly less padded than some other models, but the lightweight construction and portability make this a great option for busy families.
- Lightweight – under 10 pounds
- Easy to clean
- Front harness adjusts for a snug fit
- Dual cup holders
- Color options
- Cup holders prone to falling off
- Thin padding on the seat
- 2 Modes - Converts to booster: Forward-facing harness with belt-positioning booster supports children 22-110 pounds. The height recommendation of a child in harnessed booster is 28-50 inches and in the seat belt booster mode, it is 44-57 inches
- 5-Point Harness with 50 pounds. Limit: Holds child's body safely and securely in the car seat
- Upfront Harness Adjust: Central, front access to the harness adjuster provides an easy way to adjust child's harness for an accurate, snug fit
Best Backless Booster Car Seats
Backless booster seats offer additional travel safety to your taller child. They feature loops or guides which will allow you to position the seat belt of your car safely across your child’s hips and chest.
#1 Diono Solana 2 Car Booster Seat
The first backless booster car seat on the list is the Diono Solana 2 Car Booster Seat. This seat is one of the best, and your child will stay firmly in her place. Kids up to 120 pounds can ride in this booster seat, and the base is wide enough to give the big kids plenty of room.
Machine washable fabric, retractable cup holders, and a lightweight design are just a few of the features that make this booster seat one of the best.
- Retractable cup holders
- Machine washable fabric
- Extra-wide design
- Portable and lightweight
- Latch system compatible
- Difficult to fit three in your vehicle
- Cup holder is not removable
- BUILT FOR COMFORT - Ultra-wide design and optimized comfort with ergonomic, contoured base finished with deep padded cushioning. Integrated 2-in-1 belt path guide and arm rests
- LIGHTWEIGHT AND EASY CARRY - Lightweight, portable, and easy to carry for safe, simple transfers between vehicles, carpooling or for storage
- QUICK, SECURE INSTALLATION - Engineered with high-grade steel LATCH connectors and 2x easy adjust LATCH straps allow you to quickly tighten and secure the booster to your vehicle
#2 Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster
The Chicco GoFit Plus Backless Booster is by far one of the most comfortable on the market. Extra padding allows your child to ride in comfort, and quality foam absorbs all the bumps you encounter on the road.
Your Chicco booster seat is easy to care for, too. Removable cup holders are dishwasher-safe, and the seat pad is machine-washable. In a hurry? You can quickly clean the car seat with mild, soapy water.
- Easy to maintain
- Built-in carry handle
- Removable cup holders
- Machine washable components
- Quick-release system
- Narrow design
- Not latch compatible
- BOOSTER CAR SEAT FOR 40 LBS AND UP — GoFit is designed for children who are at least 4 years old, between 40-110 lbs. and 38-57 inches tall and who can sit relatively still in the same seated position throughout the car ride.
- BELT-POSITIONING BOOSTER — Integrated lap belt guides and a shoulder belt clip ensure a proper fit with the vehicle seat belt for your child.
- CONTOURED SEAT — The ErgoBoost contoured seat with double foam padding provides support in all the right places for big kid comfort.
#3 Peg Perego Viagio Shuttle
Italian brand Peg Perego has created the Viagio Shuttle, a premium booster seat that your child will love traveling in. Children up to 120 pounds can safely ride in this seat, and it’s very easy to transfer the Shuttle from one vehicle to another.
This car seat is compatible with the latch system. That’s important for your child’s safety, but also yours. If no one is in the seat, it will remain firmly in place in the event of a sudden stop.
- Latch compatible
- Included cup holder
- Easy to release
- Color options
- Light and portable
- Minimal padding
- Width may cover seat belt buckle
- Made In Italy. Holds up to 120 lbs with a maximum height of 63 inches
- Has an integrated Rigid latch which makes it easy to place in car and keeps booster secure when child is not present
- The integrated rigid latch can slide back into the booster, allowing it to easily be used in vehicles without latch
#4 Graco Turbo Booster LX Backless Booster
Next on the list of the top booster car seats is the Graco Turbo Booster LX. This is a latch compatible booster that fits children up to 100 pounds. We love that you can adjust the latch tightness with just one hand and that independent kids find it easy to buckle and unbuckle themselves.
The Graco Turbo Booster LX features a cup holder and a snack tray, making it great for longer road trips. Best of all, this booster is budget-friendly, so it’s a good choice for parents with multiple cars or children.
- Snack tray and cup holder
- Latch compatible
- Easy to adjust latch tightness
- Wide design for bigger children
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Smaller children may have difficulty opening snack tray
- Thin padding on seat
- Helps safely transport your big kid from 40-100 lbs. and up to 57 inches tall
- One-hand front-adjust Latch system secures booster to vehicle seat
- Secure connection keeps booster seat properly in place while seat is unoccupied
#5 Cosco Topside Backless Booster
Next up is the Cosco Topside Backless Booster. This booster car seat is wonderful if your family has multiple cars or frequently uses rideshare services. It installs easily and is super lightweight, making it easy to move from car to car.
The padding of the Cosco Topside is ultra-plush and is comfortable for kids up to 100 pounds. We love the portability and the safety of this seat. Note, though, that the fabric components of the Topside are hand-wash only.
- Portable, perfect for rideshare
- Lightweight and easy to install
- Thick, soft padding
- One year warranty
- Hand-wash only
- Not latch compatible
- This Cosco backless booster securely fits in your car and gives your child the extra height they need to keep seatbelts properly positioned
- Made for growing kids, the seat holds kids weighing between 40 to 100 pounds and 43 to 57 inches in height
- Lightweight, compact design makes the seat easy to move whenever you need to change vehicles. Latch not required
#6 Hiccapop UberBoost Inflatable Booster Car Seat
The last booster car seat on the list is a bit unlike others you may have seen. The Hiccapop UberBoost car seat is inflatable and ideal for air travel. Rather than check a bulky car seat, you can simply deflate the UberBoost and pack it in your suitcase.
Just a few breaths will have your little one ready to ride in a rental car safely. We also love this booster seat for carpooling and field trips. The polyester material is sturdy, and the booster seat is both stable and comfortable.
- Easy to inflate/deflate
- Perfect for air travel
- Non-skid base
- Included travel bag
- Compact and lightweight
- May be difficult for children to buckle themselves
- Not ideal for car nappers
- PORTABLE AND PACKABLE | Car seats no longer have to be heavy, bulky and impractical. The hiccapop UberBoost portable car seat inflates with only a few breaths (takes less than 20 seconds), and installs easily and quickly. Deflates and rolls up tightly in its own travel bag for compact fit in suitcases, carry-ons, large purse or backpack.
- CERTIFIED SAFE FOR YOUR MOST PRECIOUS CARGO | Your child deserves a comfortable and safe car seat for those quick journeys in rental cars, taxis, Uber rides, on school trips or in car pools. Meets or exceeds all federal standards for car seat safety (FMVSS213 Federal Motor Safety Standard for USA).
- STURDY, STABLE, SECURE | Non-skid base is designed to sit firm and steady on leather, vinyl or cloth seats. Provides soothing stability while riding and limits movement in case of an accident. Gentle on your upholstery.
If your child is only just now transitioning to a booster seat, you likely have a few questions. Here are the answers to frequently asked questions about the best booster seats.
How long does my child need to be in a booster seat?
Before you transition your child away from a booster seat, ensure that:
- Their legs are bent at the knee, with their feet on the floor.
- Their bottom touches the car’s seatback.
- The seat belt lies across their chest at mid-chest level.
- The lap belt rests across their upper thighs and hips.
If you have any questions, ask your pediatrician if a transition is right for your child.
Is a booster seat with a latch safer?
Latch and seat belt restraints are equally safe for your child. However, a booster seat with a latch system can prevent a booster seat from forward motion in the event of a sudden stop.
When can you stop using a high back booster?
Check with the manufacturer’s height and weight requirements. A child will typically be ready to transition to a backless booster around age 5.
Can booster seats go in the front seat?
The only circumstance in which a child under 8 years old should ride in the front seat is if younger children occupy all back seats. The back seat is the safest place for your little one.
The clear winner of our best booster car seat is the Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1, for my family at least! This car seat offers the ultimate in comfort, safety, and ease of maintenance.
It’s available at a price point that’s accessible to just about everyone. The booster will grow with your child, making multiple car seat purchases unnecessary.
The booster car seat you choose for your child is up to you and your little one. Every family’s needs are different; as long as your child is properly secured, their car ride will be safer!
Hope you find this list of best booster car seat helpful. Share with us your favorite pick and tell us your experience using it!
Last update on 2023-06-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API