When you bring your child with you on a drive, safety is and should be a top priority. More so when they are toddlers or thereabouts and can hardly sit still. However, by that age, they often have outgrown car seats, and thus graduating to a high back booster seat becomes inevitable.
As with all baby-related purchases, vetting and comparing options is imperative. Nevertheless, it can be exhausting to flip through hundreds of options to find the best high back booster seat. So, in parental solidarity, I made a shortlist of top picks worth considering.
Let’s get into it, shall we?
The Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster is a decent choice for a cheap high back booster seat thanks to its 2-in-1 harness design.
The lightweight harness, belt-positioner, and backless booster seat Graco Tranzitions High Back Booster is my favorite functionality pick.
Yes, comfort is relative but after you feel the comfort of the fabric and cushioning of the Clek Oobr High Back Booster you might understand my sentiments.
With its one-button-push adjustability and considering how many parts of the chair you can adjust, the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120 is my best pick for those of us that enjoy innovative tech.
It is not the most expensive item on the list but among those on the higher-end, I would go for the Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster.
To make an informed choice, it would be helpful to first master the basics of high back booster seats. Here are some FAQs that you may be grappling with in your search for a booster seat with back.
Q: Are high back booster seats safer than backless boosters?
If you wonder whether booster seats are safer with a high back, the short answer to this is, yes. High Back boosters generally do a better job of helping to position seat belts properly and comfortably. They also have cushioned bolsters on the side which offer sideways impact protection in case of any incidents.
Q: When should I transition my child into a high back booster?
The first obvious sign will be when they can no longer fit in their car seat. You will also know it is time around age 3 or 4 when they are taller but their legs can’t bend over the vehicle seat for better stability during rides. The seat belt would equally be too loose to properly secure them in place during transit.
That said, kids grow at different rates, so do not feel time-bound to transition within a certain frame.
Q: How do I know that the highback booster seat is a proper fit?
Should you find yourself in doubt thinking to put your kid aged 3 years or younger in a high back booster seat, begin by confirming that the high back booster seat is within your child’s weight range.
Each design has a minimum and maximum weight limit to ensure a good fit. In terms of fit, your child’s head should rest comfortably on the headrest and not go above it. Otherwise, your younger child will be more suited to infant car seats or convertible car seats instead.
Further, the seatbelts should be well-positioned such that they cross down comfortably between the child’s neck and shoulder. Here’s a simple explanation on the importance of strapping the seatbelt on your child in the booster seat correctly and how to do it:
You will likely have an easier time choosing the right high back booster seat if you have a checklist of priorities. Here are a few crucial ones.
Most high back seats have steel or aluminum frames. They are both good options but steel is denser and heavier than aluminum. As such, if you would like a light-weight high back booster, you may be better suited by one with an aluminum frame.
High Back boosters can be installed forward facing using the LATCH system or car seat belts.
LATCH system- it is an acronym for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. You will find the lower anchors in the backseat of your car between seat cushions. The tethers, which are used to secure the top of the high back booster, are located in the top plane of the seat or behind it.
Seat Belt system- in this method you would simply secure the high back booster seat in place using the vehicle seat belts. It is crucial to ensure that the belt locks in place and the seat is properly secured.
When choosing a high back booster, consider whether its recommended method of installation is compatible with your car.
I would recommend a 5-point harness if your child is a ball of energy and is always rearing to go. This is because the 5-point harness restricts movement with 5 points of contact; both shoulders, both hips, and the crotch.
A seat belt guide design would be ideal if your child is not fussy during drives. The seat belt guides keep the belts in place throughout the ride thereby keeping your little one protected.
Additionally, a high back booster seat should have padded sideways bolsters for sideways impact protection.
It is advisable to get a high back booster seat with a headrest that you can adjust to your child’s height and comfort. This may also come in handy if you use different cars from time to time.
Spills and stains from sticky candy hands on the high back booster will require cleaning. Aim for a design that has a resilient and easy to clean fabric.
It is also very important that you take note of the expiry date of your high back booster seat. Its efficiency after expiry would be the equivalent of using a sieve for an umbrella.
The Diono Cambria 2-Belt Positioning 2-in-1 Booster Seat is a LATCH installation design. It can accommodate children weighing between 40 to 120 pounds.
It is quite wide compared to an average high back booster and even has expandable sides. Plus, it is convertible; the back can be detached whenever necessary to make it a backless booster seat. This feature could prove useful when you are later weaning your child off the high back booster.
For comfort, this high back convertible booster seat has 6 headrest positions. It also has 2 retractable cup holders that can be used in both high back and backless modes.
- The convertible design offers more value
- It offers comfortable seating
- The seat cover is removable for cleaning
- It is available in a variety of colors
- Lightweight and easy to handle
- The plastic seat cover is squeaky and can be uncomfortable
- It may be too wide for proper positioning in some cars
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This is equally a convertible high back booster seat that you can use as a backless booster if you need to. It has a SuperCinch LATCH installation system and secures your toddler in place with a one-pull tightener. I particularly like this feature because it eases your user-experience as opposed to difficult latches that require engineering skills to use.
On weight limits, the seat can take on 40-100 pounds in high back mode and 40 to 110 pounds in backless mode.
The Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Booster Seat is equally big on comfort and offers 2 cup holders. It can uniquely be height adjusted from the waist up and in 10 other positions for head and neck comfort and protection. The seat rest and arm covers are all removable for washing and the plastic fabric is easy to clean as well.
- Easy to install and operate
- It has a sturdy lightweight design
- ErgoBoost padding is comfortable and well-contoured
- All parts are easy to clean
- Can be adjustable in multiple levels
- The belt system though steady the loop guide can be a problematic fit for car seat belts
- In some instances, you may have to loosen the latches to recline the seat
- DuoZone combined head and shoulder protection with 10 positions for growing children
- SuperCinch LATCH attachment and one-pull tightener helps keep KidFit in place and kid-ready for easy in/out
- ErgoBoost double foam padding and contoured seat design provide support in all the right places. Single Recline Seat Adjustment
The Maxi-Cosi Rodifix Booster Car Seat is a belt-positioning high back booster seat that can only be used in high back mode. The highlight of its design is its rigid LATCH connectors that ease the installation process and firmly secure the seat. It is recommended for children weighing between 40-120 pounds.
The side-wings of this high back booster are quite wide and offer that extra bit of comfort. At first glance, they might seem a bit too wide but it is a great feature if you hope to use the seat for a few more years. As for the headrest, it is adjustable and the cushioning is something you might envy.
- Ample side protection and comfort
- The dimensions accommodate the needs of a growing child
- Easy to clean
- Easy to install and for kids to buckle themselves in
- Reclines with ease
- Has no cup holders
- It can be wobbly if seat belts are used without the latch in place
- Belt-positioning booster 40-120 pounds and up to 57″
- Premium cushioning for ultimate comfort
- Easily removable pad is machine washable and dryer safe
This high back booster seat distinctly resembles a cooler version of a vehicle seat. So, if your kid is fussy about being put in a ‘baby chair’, they might appreciate this design.
Aside from aesthetics, this shape comprises a sturdy metal frame and multiple foam layers of cushioning for comfort and sideways protection. As your child grows, it is also possible to remove the back and use it as a backless design.
The Clek Oobr High Back Booster requires LATCH installation and is fitted with rigid latch connectors and belt guides. It is easy to secure and take out when necessary. For extra comfort, the headrest is adjustable and has side wings which I would recommend if your child doses off during trips. To crown it all, the C-ZERO Plus fabric used to make this best booster car seat is a performance fabric you can count on for durability.
- The fabric is free of harmful flame-retardant chemicals
- Easy to install
- Multiple comfort and safety features
- Flexible but sturdy design
- Its quality is durable
- Has no cup holders
- It is a bit on the heavy side
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My favorite part about this high back booster seat is that it has both a 5-point harness and belt guide. In the early toddler years when your baby is super active, you can use the 5-point harness for extra safety.
Eventually as they get older you can transition to using the belt guide. This Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Combination Booster Car Seat would also be worth considering if you have multiples; similar models can safely be placed and fit next to each other on the back seat.
When using the harness, the brand stipulates that the seat should be installed using the LATCH system. When you switch to the belt-positioners only the vehicle belt should be used.
Additionally, there are reversible cup holders on both sides of the seat which are built to be easy to clean even in a dishwasher. The seat pad is equally detachable for machine cleaning and drying.
- Offers great transitional value
- Has a lightweight structure
- The compact design makes it convenient for travel
- Easy to install
- More than one identical high-booster seat can be used at once
- The quality of some parts is wanting and may not last long
- It has no recline feature
- The Cosco Finale DX 2 in 1 Combination Booster Car Seat features a 5 point safety harness that converts to a belt positioning booster seat as your child grows, IIHS Best Bet rating for use in booster mode
- With extended use in both of its 2 modes, this car seat accommodates children from 30 to 65 pounds forward facing with a harness, and as a belt positioning booster for toddlers and older kids 40 to 100 pounds
- Perfect for growing families and carpools, this lightweight seat is easy to move from car to car; 3 of these car seats are designed to fit side by side across the back seat of most vehicles
The 3-in-1 feature means that you can use Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster as a:
- 5-point harness booster for 20 to 65 pounds
- A high back booster for 40-100 pounds
- A backless booster for 40-120 pounds as recommended by the American Academy of Paediatric
In addition, this Graco car seat has a storage compartment unit that holds harness straps when they are not in use. This is essential as it prevents tripping and other mishaps caused by hanging stray cords.
During long trips, you can adjust the headrest in any of the 5 positions provided and rely on the side bolsters to provide sideways comfort and protection. There is also a single cup holder for refreshments.
This is the overall best high back booster seat in the list, in my opinion.
- Multiple functionalities offer great value
- Strap storage unit makes for a neat and safe installation
- Easy to clean harness straps
- Reinforced side impact protection
- Built to transition through different growth stages
- Installation can be challenging
- It is heavy
- Integrated harness storage compartment holds unused harness straps while in the belt positioning booster mode
- One-hand, 5-position adjustable headrest is easy to use and adapts for your growing child.Do not use bleach
- Keeps your child in a booster up to 120 pounds for longevity of use, in keeping with American Academy of Pediatrics' recommendations
The Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat is arguably one of the lightest high back booster options you will find. On top of this, you can use it as either a harness or belt-positioning booster.
It is equally impressive that the harness can be used for kids weighing as low as 22 pounds while the maximum harness weight is set at 50 pounds. When you advance to belt-positioning mode, you can count on the shoulder belt guides to hold the seatbelt in the right position.
Other features of the Evenflo Maestro booster include a dual cup holder, a machine-washable seat pad, and live video support access to guide you through installation.
- Low harness weight qualification for early bloomers
- Lightweight structure
- Adjustable harness slots
- Compact design for smaller cars
- Multiple functionalities
- Cup holders require screwing in and can be unreliable
- The neck comfort features including belt-positioning could be better
- 2-in-1 Booster - Forward-facing harness (22-50poundss) converts to belt-positioning booster (40-110 pounds)
- Dual Cup Holders: Two built-in cup holders keep drinks and snacks within reach - allows the driver to stay focused on the road
- Upfront Harness Adjust: Central, front access to the harness adjuster provides an easy way to adjust child's harness for an accurate, snug fit
The 2-stage design on this Britax Skyline 2-Stage Belt-Positioning Booster Car Seat alludes to the fact that you can use it as a high back or booster seat with no back. It can accommodate kid heights of up to 63 inches and weights up to 120 pounds.
The foam-lined headrest and steady dual cup holders are a plus, especially if you go for long drives with your little one.
- Lightweight and compact design
- Easy to assemble
- Latch button release makes it easy to operate
- Offers transitional value
- Ample head and neck area comfort
- Padding in the seating area is not as plush
- Belt operation through the guides is not smooth enough for a child to self-buckle
- 2-in-1: The skyline belt positioning high back booster car seat easily coverts to a backless booster to keep your child safer, longer
- Fit: 40 to 120 pounds and up to 63 inch height
- Big kid comfort: Plush, foam padding and built in arm rests
Like its fellow aforementioned Graco high back booster, this Graco Tranzitions High Back Booster is a 3-in-1 design. You can start with the toddler harness, advance to the belt-positioned, and finally to backless mode. The difference is that in this model, the minimum weight for the backless seat is 40 Pounds. This design also has open-loop belt guides to keep the seat belt in the right position.
You can easily adjust both the headrest into any of its 8 positions. Additionally, when using the harness, you can use the No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System to adjust the headrest and harness at a go. This is a feature that would sway me into consideration for this seat because it is easy to use and less stressful when parenting and errands have you by the hair.
- Lightweight structure
- One-push button adjustment
- Easy to clean dual cup holders
- Comfortable padding and overall body support
- Superior transitional value
- Installation can be challenging
- The belt-positioning can be problematic when the optional extra neck area padding is on
- 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
- Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 pounds) to highback booster (40-100 pounds) to backless booster (40-100 pounds) to continue to meet industry standards, we have increased the weight minimum from 30 to 40 pounds
- No-rethread simply safe adjust harness system allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion
This would be a good pick if you are shopping on a slim budget. It is a 2-in-1 design that can be used as a high back and as a backless booster. As your child transitions through ages, you can also transition the height through 6 positions.
It is additionally well-padded, and has side protection foam lining. You will find an elastic cup holder on each side of the Evenflo Big Kid LX High Back Booster.
- Offers good value for money
- Comfortable padding
- Easy to Install
- Ample room for growing kids
- Easy to adjust
- It has no LATCH system
- Overall safety provisions leave a lot to be desired
- 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
The Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle Plus 120 can be converted from a high back to a backless design with a touch of a button. Impressed? There’s more. With its 3D Adjust Technology, you can adjust the headrest, the side wings, and the upper backrest in 4 different directions. These comfort features are supported by a lightweight reinforced aluminum backrest.
For installation, this high back booster has rigid latches and extra safety provided by a blind lock attaching system; it prevents the car seat from being inadvertently detached by other passengers. To top it all off, the All Side Impact Protection protects the child’s body frame.
- Easy and convenient to operate
- Functions are enhanced by technological innovation
- Offers transitional value
- Premium safety features
- Adjustable in multiple ways for comfort
- Small dimensions
- The cup holder design could be better
- 3D TOTAL ADJUST TECHNOLOGY The Viaggio Shuttle Plus can be adjusted in 4 different directions, which are all independent from one another: 1) the headrest 2) the upper backrest 3) the side wings
- Integrated rigid LATCH allows for easy installation and stability. The rigid LATCH can also tuck into the seat when it is not in use.
- BLIND LOCK ATTACHING SYSTEM Prevents the car seat from being accidentally released by another passenger
This Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster would be a go-to booster if you would like a high back booster with LATCH technology as well as harness and belt-positioning provisions. More so because the 5-point harness can accommodate toddlers starting at 22 pounds and is adjustable to 2 crotch buckle positions.
These are transitional features unique to this earlier version of Evenflo Advanced Chase booster seat that I feel would be helpful through a longer period of toddler milestones.
The seat pad is removable for cleaning while other components, except the buckles, can be wiped down with soap and water. Remember to clean the dual cup holders too.
- An all-round comfortable chair
- The compact design is ideal for travel
- Reliable latch installation
- It offers transitional value
- Lightweight structure
- Does not recline
- It has no shoulder pads
- 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
- Upfront Harness Adjust: Central, front access to harness adjuster provides an easy way to adjust child's harness for an accurate, snug fit
- 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.
The harness design on this model is distinctly flexible. First, there is the 5-point harness which keeps the child secure at each shoulder, both hips, and the crotch. Additionally, there are 3 slots to adjust the shoulder harnesses as needed.
These slots correspond with a 3-level adjustable headrest. Alternatively, if your child weighs between 30-100 pounds or measures 38-47 inches in height, you can use the belt-positioning function.
Installations are done using either the LATCH system or the seat belt. It is also worth noting that the KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat has an animated design on its fabric that your child may find intriguing.
- Easy to adjust
- Child-friendly Marvel theme
- Comfortable harness design
- Steady dual cup holders
- Easy to install and remove
- It is difficult to secure in place
- The padding is not comfortable enough for long trips
- 5-POINT HARNESS SECURITY: Two position points at each shoulder, two position points at the child's hips, and one point where the harness buckles between the legs to give your child the best possible protection
- 3 HARNESS POSITIONS: There are three slots to position the harness shoulder straps depending on the age and height of your child. Shoulder straps should be at or just above the shoulders whenever using a forward-facing car seat
- TWO MODE OPTIONS: This forward-facing five-point harness car seat is made for children weighing between 22 and 65 pounds and 29 to 49 inches in height. Converts to a belt-positioning booster seat for older children weighing between 40 and 100 pounds and 38 to 57 inches in height. We recommend using the 5-point harness to the maximum recommended weight and height before using this car seat as a belt-positioning booster
The Diono Monterey 4DXT Latch Car Seat Booster is a high back convertible booster seat. It is also adjustable to accommodate height changes and widthwise for girth as your child grows. On safety, you can look forward to 3-layer foam side protection reinforced by an aluminum frame
By all standards, it is an upgrade from the design features of previous Diono designs. It is evident in the improved functionality and use of quality materials like the breathable exo-shell on the side panels. The dual cup holders are also much better in this model.
- Dependable latch installation system
- Sturdy but lightweight frame
- Great safety provisions
- Expandable through growth phases
- Good overall build quality
- Slim cushioning
- Can be too wide for some cars
- NEXT GENERATION BOOSTER SEAT: 15 safety and style upgrades from the Monterey XT. Ensure protection, comfort and style with the new automotive inspired fabrics that cover the entire vehicle seatback
- 3 LAYER SIDE IMPACT PROTECTION: Reinforced high impact aluminium that provides 3 layers of enhanced side impact protection for head, shoulders and torso
- BREATHABLE SIDE PANELS: Designed with breathable exo-shell side panels to enhance airflow and keep your child cool on the move
In the unfortunate event of an accident, your child needs all the protection they can get. Granted, cars have airbags and other accident safety features but highback car seats take on accidental impact so that your child does not have to. It may not be full-proof but it improves their chances of survival and significantly minimizes the chances of injury.
High back car seats are recommended for child safety for toddlers to ages of about 7 or 8. It is an unconscionable risk to be driving with a child that is not properly belted up. This would likely be the case if you do not have an appropriate child safety seat like a high back booster.
Further, failure to use one may affect your accident insurance claims and is illegal in some jurisdictions.
Picture for a minute how exhausted you feel after long-haul drives. Now imagine what it feels like for a child stuck in a backless booster seat or no booster seat at all to support their back or neck. Their little body would probably be immensely sore by the end of the trip and they would have every right to be cranky.
All said and done, it would be counterproductive and an even higher risk if your high back booster is improperly installed. If you feel uncertain that you are up to the task, visit your local fire station, or similar helpful organizations.
No investment can be more important than your child’s safety. However, it is still important that you get value for money from a high-booster seat. This would entail proper safety, ease of use, comfort, and longevity.
With this in mind, I would say that my best high back booster seat is the Graco Nautilus 65 LX 3-in-1 Harness Booster. For the price of one, you will have a harness and a belt-positioner high back booster as well as a backless booster seat. With some care, it will serve you through all phases after the car seat.
What do you think of these 14 best high back booster seat picks? Comment your thoughts or your experiences with any of the seats down below!
Last update on 2021-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API