It’s hard to believe that our children are going to get bigger, and sooner or later, they’ll need one of the best booster car seats instead of a convertible car seat. Kids grow fast, and we want to make sure that we keep them safe no matter how old they are.
Once your child has outgrown the height or weight limits for his current harnessed car seat, it’s time to start searching for a booster car seat.
Booster car seats help prepare your child for using a vehicle seat belt alone, and they place the vehicle’s seat belt across your child’s shoulder and lap correctly.
As you might imagine, dozens of brands create booster car seats, so how are you supposed to pick the right one for your child? How do you know that the booster seat you selected is safe for your child?
Don’t worry; we understand how hard it is to pick the right booster seat, so we compiled our top picks with all of the information you need to make an educated decision.
Let’s get started!
Britax Frontier G1.1 ClickTight
Why is it better?
- The Frontier fits children from 25-120 pounds, adjusting from a harnessed seat to a high-back booster.
- It includes nine harness positions to grow with your child.
- Britax designed it with side-impact protection for your child’s safety.
- Parents install it with the patented Click Tight technology.
The Lineup At A Glance
A Look at the best booster car seats 2021
1. Britax Frontier G1.1 ClickTight – Booster Car Seats
The Britax Frontier G1.1 Clicktight is a fantastic car seat that is a forward-facing harnessed seat up to 90lbs. As a booster seat, it works for kids 40-120 pounds and 62 inches in height.
- High maximum weight limits
- Easy to Install
- High Top Harness Height
- Machine Washable Fabric
- Heavy and Bulky
- Cupholders Aren’t Removable
It’s hard not to love everything created by Britax. If you want a seat that works after your child transitions from a rear-facing car seat, the Frontier is one of the easiest booster seats to install because of its Click Tight technology.
The Frontier’s headrest offers nine positions, so it grows with your child. The weight and height limits are quite high so that you can use it for several years. It has one fo the highest top harness heights at 20.5 inches so that you can keep your child in a harness for even longer.
Britax added a removable and machine washable seat cover that is heavily padded. We love the quality construction, so you can trust that it will work through several kids.
Kids like the two integrated cup holders along with the extra storage for snacks and small toys. Most kids want to have a spot to put their cookies or action figures.
Perhaps best of all, the Britax Frontier is one of the safest booster seats on the market. It receives recommendations from major safety groups, such as the NHTSA and IIHS.
However, the Frontier is quite heavy, so if you frequently need to move car seats from vehicles, you won’t want to pick this one. Also, adjusting the harness is difficult; it can get stuck against your vehicle’s seat.
2. Chicco MyFit LE – Booster Car Seats
The Chico MyFit LE is a newer booster seat on the market that works as a harness to a booster car seat. You can use the harness from 25-65 pounds and the booster for kids 40-100 pounds.
- 8-Year Expiration
- 3 Modes
- Folding Cupholder
- Steel-Reinforced Frame
- Four Reclining Positions
- Material Interferes with Crotch Buckle
- Converting to Harness to Booster Takes Time
Chicco creates some of the safest car seats on the market. The MyFit LE uses two layers of rigid shell, a steel-reinforced frame, and two zones of side impact protection.
What all of that means is the MyFit is a very sturdy, safe seat.
It offers four reclining positions, so you can use it for your child who still likes to take naps in the car. On the side, you’ll find a bubble level recline indicator.
The headrest offers nine positions, and it’s easily adjusted with a one-handed pull. Parents can easily adjust the harness as well with a one-hand strap for easy tightening. Chicco uses the Super Cinch LATCH system to ensure a quick and easy installation.
One place that the MyFit stands out is the cupholder. It folds in if you need extra space for another car seat or passenger. The cup holder is removable and dishwasher friendly.
The LE also includes a KidCojnsule which is a square, dishwasher safe storage box with a flip-open lid that slips into the cupholder.
Overall, parents appreciate the thought that Chicco put into the design of the MyFit. Some parents note that the KidConsole rattles and doesn’t stay in place well. Also, the material around the crotch buckle can get in the way of fastening.
3. Clek Ozzi – Booster Car Seats
The Clek Ozzi Backless Baby Booster Seats works for kids up to 120 pounds. It can be used for nine years, so parents can easily pass this booster seat down, and it offers a LATCH system.
- High weight limit
- Uses a LATCH system
- Plush, Comfortable Seat
- Uses ESP-Foam
- No Extra Features
Do you want a backless booster seat that connects to your vehicle’s LATCH anchors? The Cleck Ozzi has rigid lower push-on connectors, a rare feature, along with a metal substructure. It’s one of the sturdiest backless boosters.
Starting at four years old, parents can transition their child to the Ozzi. It works from 40-120 and between 40-57 inches.
Clek added plush fabric that is removable and hand-washable. That’s important to note because you can’t put this seat cover in the washing machine, and some parents don’t want to have to hand wash any materials.
Under the seat cover, you’ll find a layer of energy-absorbing foam plus a thicker foam cushion that prevents the numb butt issue. The fabric also wraps around the underside of the seat, protecting your vehicle’s seat from scratches and snags.
Parents can purchase extra accessories to go along with this booster seat, such as a drink holder, cleaning kit, travel bag, and a seat mat.
Unfortunately, the Ozzi is around twice the price of other seats on the list, and some parents do note that it can be hard to attach the seat with the rigid LATCH system. Considering the price, it’s bare basic, and you have to order extras if you want them.
4. Graco Highback Turbo Booster
If you don’t want to spend too much money, the Graco Turbo Highback Booster starts as a high-back booster and converts to a backless booster. It holds kids up to 100 pounds.
- 10-Year Expiration Date
- Ony 16 Inches Wide
- Easy to Adjust
- Headrest and Armrests Adjust
- No LATCH Attachment
- Seat Belt Might Slip Out of Guides
Affordability matters when it comes to the booster seat you pick, and you don’t have to spend a lot of money to have a good car seat. The Graco Turbo Highback Booster was rated as the Best Bet Booster Seat by the IIHS, so you know it’s a safe choice with a 10-year expiration date.
Something else that we like is that the Graco Turbo is one of the lightest and narrowest booster seats on the market today. At only 16 inches wide, it’s quite easy to fit the Turbo into a three car seat configuration, even in smaller vehicles.
You’ll find that to adjust and move the booster seat around.
The Turbo offers full coverage back support and a multi-layer headrest in high-back mode. It’s comfortable for long road trips, and both the headrest and armrests are height-adjustable for more comfort.
Graco added two hideaway cupholders to keep your drinks and snacks within reach. You can fold them in when not in use. You’ll also find that the seat patterns aren’t as child-like as some other brands, and Graco offers this car seat in three color options.
Some parents feel the Turbo is too lightweight and flimsy, but remember that has some of the highest ratings on the market. It’s not weak, and it can keep your child safe.
5. Graco Nautilus 65 3-in-1
Graco Nautilus 65 is a 3-in-1 convertible booster seat that transitions from a forward-facing harness seat to a high-back booster and a backless booster. It has a 10-year expiration date.
- 3 Modes
- 10-Year Expiration Date
- Integrated Cup Holders and Storage Compartments
- Easy to Change Modes
- Hard to Move Crotch Buckle
It’s smart to use a car seat that is versatile and switches from different modes. First, it starts as a harnessed, forward-facing car seat. Then, it changes to a high-back booster, and finally, a backless booster.
The weight limits are:
- Harnessed Seat: 22-65 Pounds
- High-Back Booster Seat: 30-100 pounds
- Backless Booster: 40-120 pounds
We love that the Nautilus will last for a long time. You can start using it as soon as you switch your child out of his rear-facing car seat until they no longer need a car seat.
The headrest adjusts to five different positions with no harness rethreading. All you have to do is push the button and pull up or down. It also offers three reclining positions, so your child can still take a nap without his head slumping forward.
Graco added an integrated cup holder and a storage compartment for snacks and toys. The compartments are in the armrests, perfect for small toys.
On the back of the seat, Graco added harness storage to keep the straps out of the way for getting in and out easier. When you need to transition from a harness to high-back booster or a backless booster, the process is easy to do and only takes a few moments.
For safety, Graco used steel-reinforced frame and EPS foam that create a secure and stable seat.
While adjusting the crotch buckle might be a bit tricky, the overall idea is that the Nautilus is a fantastic value for the seat. Compared to other 3-in-1 car seats, the Nautilus is reasonably priced, and with a 10-year expiration date, you are investing your money wisely.
6. Graco Affix Backless Booster – Booster Car Seats
The Graco Affix is one of the easiest booster seats to use. It has a weight limit of 100 pounds. If you want an affordable backless booster, you’ll love the Graco Affix.
- LATCH System
- Easy to Use
- Hard to Tighten the LATCH
- No Recline
Here is another booster seat by Graco. The Affix is one of the easiest booster seats to use on the market. We love it as a first backless booster, and the price is perfect. You can afford to buy one or two extras.
Everything about the Affix is easy to use and set up. It’s easy to adjust and move, and since it only weighs 5.6 pounds, you can transfer it between vehicles with ease. Installation takes seconds.
Graco added a one-handed LATCH strap so you can tighten from the front seat. We love that Graco used the LATCH system for this backless booster since it’s not always included!
There is an integrated cup holder that keeps drinks close by and secure. You’ll find a sliding storage compartment that holds snacks or a handheld game.
If your child spills something on the car seat, the seat pad is machine washable. That’s always a plus to consider!
Some parents do note that it can be hard to tighten the LATCH anchors, and the connectors are the older hook style rather than the easier push-on connectors. However, we appreciate the addition of LATCH to a backless booster.
Overall, the Affix is easy to use, lightweight, affordable and has the LATCH system. So, if this is your first time purchasing a backless booster, the Affix is a great first purchase.
7. Chicco GoFit Plus
The Chicco GoFit Plus is a highly rated backless booster on the market for kids up to 100 pounds. For families who switch their car seats between vehicles, the GoFit is a great pick.
- Push-On LATCH Connectors
- One-Handed LATCH Removal
- Extra Foam Padding
- Machine-Washable Fabric
- Hard to Use Seat Belt Clip
One of the best booster seats on the market is the Chicco GoFit Plus. It’s meant for kids four years old and up, accommodating up to 110 pounds. You can purchase it in two colors, and it only weighs 5.7 pounds.
The GoFit is easy to install and uninstall, and it has easy to attach push-on LATCH connectors. Chicco added a one-handed tightening strap, but they also have a quick-release design so you can remove the connectors in one pull of the handle.
Don’t forget the machine-washable seat and armrest covers. It also has a built-in carrying handle and a shoulder belt clip that positions the seatbelt just right.
The GoFit Plus has an ErgoBooster seat with double-foam padding to provide ample comfort and support for every car ride. Your child won’t get that numb-butt syndrome that happens with so many car seats on the market.
Chicco didn’t miss anything when they created this booster seat! Don’t forget the two removable and dishwasher-safe cup holders. You can fold them in when you need more space.
Some parents felt that that the shoulder clip was a bit hard to use, so make sure to read the user’s manual before using it.
8. MiFold Grab and Go Baby Booster Seats
The MiFold Grab and Go is a unique booster seat that is great for traveling. It folds up into a compact package, making it the most portable booster seat.
- Perfect for Traveling
- Folds Compactly
- Adjusts to Child’s Size
- Comfort Might Be Lacking
- Some Say It’s Hard to Use
If you want a MiFold Grab and Go baby booster seats is a unique choice for parents who travel a lot. As the name suggests, you can grab it and go, folding the seat up in a little package that can be taken anywhere.
The MiFold is for kids four years old and up, who weigh between 40-100 pounds and 40-57 inches tall.
First, you have to understand how this works because it doesn’t look like the MiFold would work. It doesn’t booster the child up, but it brings the seatbelt down so that it fits properly over the shoulder and lap. It is safety tested, meeting, or exceeding all safety standards.
If you switch booster seats between vehicles often, you should consider this seat. You can fold it up and store it anywhere. It even fits into backpacks, purses, and glove compartments. Yes, it’s that small!
It only weighs 1.6 pounds – Wow!
The MiFold is an excellent option for smaller and compact cars because it’s quite narrow. If you travel by cab or Uber often, you need this seat.
On the side, MiFold added side adjustments that widen the seat as the child grows – Small, Medium, and Large. Widening the seat changes the positioning of the lap and shoulder belts.
While we are confident that the MiFold is safe for your child, some question how comfortable it is. MiFold is a relatively new company, so parents are just starting to purchase their products and leaving reviews.
For right now, it holds fantastic reviews and parents who are happy with having such a portable booster car seat.
9. HiccaPop UberBoost – Booster Car Seats
The HiccaPop UberBoost is the only inflatable booster seat on the list. It takes only 20 seconds to inflate it, and it fits right into a backpack or travel bag, perfect for traveling families.
- Inflates in Seconds
- Non-Skid Base
- Great for Traveling
- Not Ideal for Everyday Use
- Could Pop
- Seat Belt Clip is Flimsy .
The idea of using an inflatable booster seat seems strange, but for traveling families, you can deflate the seat in seconds. It fits right into backpacks, large purses, and suitcases.
Kids between 4-11 years old can use this booster seat. It works from 40-100 pounds, and it weighs just over 1 pound.
Portability and the lightweight design are the significant advantages of this seat. It doesn’t take up too much room when it’s inflated, so it’s great for compact vehicles. The non-skid base holds the seat in place, so you don’t have to worry about it sliding around.
Hiccapop added belt-positioning clips on the side to help get the lap belt into the right place across your child’s lap.
Most kids say that the Hiccapop UberBoost is very comfortable for long rides. With all of that air, it has to be like sitting on a pillow!
The biggest concern when it comes to the Hiccapop is that there is always the risk of holes. It does come with a patch for holes, but if you have pencils or roughhousing, the risk is still there. The seat could pop at any time.
So, if you need an occasional seat for traveling, consider the UberBoost. It’s not ideal for everyday use.
10. Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Booster
The Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 booster grows with your child from a high-back booster to a backless booster with an upper weight limit of 110 pounds. It’s not expensive, and the seat earned the Best Bet Rating from the IIHS in 2015.
- 8-Year Expiration
- Two Modes – High-Back and Backless Booser
- Machine Washable Fabric
- LATCH System
- Wider Than Other High Back Boosters
- Seat Belt Comes Out of the Guide
Our last pick for the best booster car seats is the Chicco KidFit 2-in-1. It starts as a high-back booster that works from 30-100 pounds, and then it converts to a backless booster from 40-110 pounds.
The most significant advantage is that you can use this as a high-back or a backless seat. It’s easy for parents to install, and the high-back version has ten height positions that you can adjust.
The seat covers are machine washable, as well as the armrest covers. Chicco added cup holders that are collapsible, removable, and dishwasher safe.
Chicco added a LATCH system, so you can use both the LATCH and vehicle belt to install this seat, which is unusual. The LATCH keeps the seat in place when your child isn’t riding in it, so it doesn’t act as a projectile.
It’s lightweight, weighing 10 pounds for the high-back booster and 6 pounds for the backless booster. Since they’re so lightweight, it’s easy to switch between vehicles or take along other places.
However, it is a bit heavier and broader than other high back boosters so that it might take up more space than other booster seats. Also, the seat belt might slip out of the guide.
Picking the Best Booster Car Seats 2021
So, now that we looked at the best ten booster seats, how in the world are you going to pick which one is the best for your child?
Remember that all of the car seats on the market have to meet specific safety standards. No matter how much a car seat costs, it has to pass the minimum safety standards, so your child will be safe no matter what you pick.
Without a doubt, the essential feature is safety. These booster seats should have energy-absorbing foam cushions to help keep your child safe.
If they have a headrest, then there should be cushions on both sides.
Look at the construction of the seat. Steel-reinforced seats are more substantial, but they’re some of the most stable booster seats.
Your child is going to be in his booster seat for quite a few years, so it needs to be comfortable. Ideally, the car seat should have high-quality foam padding for safety and comfort.
Also, you want an easy to adjust booster seat, whether that is the harness or headrest. It needs to fit your child without being too complicated to fix properly.
3. Easy to Clean
Kids are messy, and no one wants to have to hand wash their car seat fabric. You should be able to clean any spills with mild soap and water on the plastic parts.
Make sure that the booster seat has removable, machine washable seat covers.
4. Booster Seat Stages
Kids are always growing, so it’s nice when a car seat offers stages. Popular seats include an adjustable harness to use when your child is smaller. Then, they switch to a high-back booster and a backless booster.
5. Weight of the Seat
If you move the car seat frequently between vehicles, you want a lightweight booster seat. You might think that all booster seats are lightweight, but you would be wrong.
Backless boosters are lighter than convertible harness booster seats. The lightest picks are those meant for traveling, such as folding and inflatable booster seats.
6. Weight Limit
You always want to consider the weight limit of the seat. Is your child larger than average? If so, go with a seat that has a higher weight limit. The highest on the list right now is 120 pounds, which can last until your child is well over nine years old.
7. Extra Features
Cupholders are an essential additional feature for your booster seat. Kids like to have at least one cupholder.
Some booster seats even have little compartments for snacks or small toys!
Frequently Asked Questions
You can find two types of booster seats on the market. You need to know what each one is to make the right choice for your child.
High-Back Booster Seats
A high-back booster seat has back and head supports, along with seat belt guides that help to properly position the vehicle seat belt across your child’s shoulder and lap. Transitioning to a high-back booster is the next step after a child has outgrown a traditionally harnessed seat.
You might want to use a high-back booster if your child still falls asleep in the car.
Sometimes, a high-back booster is part of a 3-in-1 car seat or a convertible car seat that converts from rear-facing to forward-facing. Many high-back boosters also have a removable back so you can convert it to a backless booster later.
Backless Booster Seats
The last step before your child rides without a safety seat is a backless booster seat. They are seat cushions that boost your child’s height without any additional head or neck support.
Backless booster seats have guides to position the vehicle belt across your child’s lap.
Backless booster seats are lightweight, compact, and budget-friendly, perfect for children who can buckle themselves in without help.
A booster car seat is a natural progression as your child ages, and it can help your child feel a bit more grown-up. Booster seats, whether you have a high back or backless booster, are less restrictive and look less like a baby car seat.
While your child is still just as safe in a booster seat, it provides more space in your car for other passengers in your vehicle. Booster seats are less bulky than traditional child safety seats, so you can easily fit three car seats across most back seats if one is a booster. Installing three booster seats across a backseat is a breeze!
Also, using a booster seat keeps your child safe at all times. At some point, your child will be too large for a convertible car seat, so you need a way to provide the maximum level of support while traveling.
Transferring your child to a booster car seat too early isn’t safe because the vehicle seat belt won’t fit your child correctly.
Your child needs a booster seat when he reaches the maximum height or weight for a forward-facing harnessed car seat. Depending on the brand of your car seat, that can somewhere between 40-65 pounds or more.
Here are some general guidelines for booster seat requirements if you aren’t sure if your child is ready to transition.
Your child has outgrown his or her harnessed seat either by weight, height, or both.
He is between 4 and eight years of age and at least 35 inches tall.
Your child is between 40-80 pounds and under 4 feet, 9 inches tall.
Your child can sit with his back against the vehicle seat, with his knees bent comfortably over the edge of the seat without slouching.
When seated directly on the vehicle seat, the vehicle seat belt doesn’t fit appropriately across your child’s shoulder and lap. Is the belt on his neck and abdomen instead?
If all of these sounds like your child, that means he is ready for a booster seat! A booster seat will last until your child is 4 feet, 9 inches tall, 8-12 years old, and up to 120 pounds, depending on the model selected.
Just like convertible car seats, booster seats don’t work unless you install them and use it correctly. Here are some simple safety tips to use when you have a booster seat for your child.
Always read the user manual to understand the booster seat weight limits, the size limits, and how your seat works.
If you’re using a backless booster, your child’s ears shouldn’t go over the top of the vehicle seat. The vehicle seat provides proper head support, preventing whiplash.
The vehicle seat belt should always make contact with your child’s shoulders and chest. It needs to lie across the tops of the thighs, NEVER the stomach area. If it hits the wrong area, try another booster or location in the vehicle.
Most states have set booster seat laws that indicate the right booster seat weight, age, and height for your child. The only states that don’t require a booster seat are South Dakota and Florida.
If you want to know your state’s law, check out the Governor’s Highway Safety Association, and click on your state.