The Best Booster Car Seats of 2021
Booster seats help your child’s seat belt fit properly, which reduces the risk of injury if you get into a car accident. Get up to speed on booster seat safety requirements for kids of different ages and weights, and check out our picks for the best high-back and backless options on the market today.
Booster Seat Requirements
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, when children exceed the limits of a forward-facing car seat, they should use a belt-positioning booster seat until the vehicle’s lap and shoulder seat belt fits properly. This typically happens when they’re about 4 feet 9 inches tall and between 8 to 12 years of age. “Most children will not fit in most vehicle seat belts without a booster until 10 to 12 years of age,” says the AAP.
Types of Booster Seats
Are you in the market for a new booster seat? Start by understanding the two standard types: high-back and backless. Use a high-back booster if your vehicle has low seat backs or no headrests. Backless boosters can be used in vehicles with high seat backs and headrests.
Combination seats are also available for children. According to the AAP, “Many seats that look like high-back boosters are actually combination seats. They come with harnesses that can be used for smaller children and, later, removed for older children.”
The Best Booster Seats
We rounded up nine of the best backless booster seats and best high-back booster seats available today. They all received the "best bet" award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which tests and evaluates booster seats to find the ones that best protect your child. Browse our list and check out more top-rated booster seat options from IIHS here.
Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat
Designed to grow with your child, this booster seat has three separate modes: forward-facing harness (22-65 pounds), high-back booster (40-100 pounds), and backless booster (40-100 pounds). It also has an adjustable headrest with eight positions, two cup holders, a machine washable seat pad, and open-loop belt guides for proper seat belt positioning. And let’s not forget that it's lightweight and easily portable—a major win for busy parents!
Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Belt Positioning Booster Car Seat
Kids grow quickly, and the Chicco KidFit 2-in-1 Booster Seat accommodates them with 10 positions of DuoGuard protection. Parents can stabilize the seat with a “SuperCinch” one-pull tightener and premium LATCH connectors. Other features include belt guides, energy-absorbing foam that protects against impacts, and two levels of recline. As a bonus, you can remove the backrest to transform it into a backless booster seat, making it a versatile option for any family.
Britax Grow With You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat
This easy-to-install product changes with your child; it easily converts from a forward-facing harness seat to a belt-positioning booster seat. Your child will be extra comfortable during road trips, thanks to soft pads and four-way stretch fabric. They’ll also be guarded by two layers of side impact protection around the head, neck, and torso—along with SafeCell Impact Technology that absorbs energy from a crash through a “crumple zone.”
Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster Car Seat
Backless booster seats can help transition older children out of a high-back booster seat, and they’re also more portable and less expensive to boot. Our top pick is the Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster Seat, which has gone through rigorous crash testing to meet or exceed safety standards. Because comfort is essential during long road trips, it’s also equipped with padded armrests and hide-away cup holders for your little one (and don’t worry—the cushions can be removed for easy cleaning!)
Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Highback Booster Car Seat
This best booster seat has two modes—forward-facing harness and high-back booster—that accommodate children from 22 pounds to 110 pounds. The five-point harness mode works for children 28 to 50 inches tall, and it comes with an easy front-access adjuster. The high-back booster mode, which is suited for those 44 to 57 inches tall, has a shoulder belt guide that automatically puts it in the proper position. Parents will approve of the machine-washable seat pads that make cleaning easy—especially since the booster seat has dual cup holders for drinks and snacks. Above all else, the Evenflo Maestro has undergone rigorous side impact and dynamic rollover tests, and it meets or exceeds industry safety standards.
Graco Affix Highback Booster Seat with Latch System
This booster seat will stay securely in place, thanks to a one-hand front-adjust Latch system that allows for independent self-buckling. While on road trips, kids can relax against the seat’s multi-layer adjustable headrest, and parents can breathe easy knowing that it will protect against frontal, rear, side, and rollover crashes. Cup holders and storage compartments are an added bonus, whether the booster is in high-back mode or backless mode.
Clek Oobr Booster Seat
This modern booster seat markets itself as “oobr safe and “oobr cool.” It’s made with a magnesium frame that protects the torso during side-impact collisions, as well as a structural headrest that improves head protection. Other impressive features include seat belt guides, an energy-absorbing foam layer, and a rigid-LATCH system that locks the seat in place for added stability. The price tag on this booster seat is a little steeper than some other options, but since it can also be converted to backless mode, you might be able to justify it.
Graco TurboBooster High Back Booster Seat
If you’re looking for a high-back design, consider the Graco TurboBooster High Back Booster Seat, which also converts into backless mode. Parents love that it offers impressive features at an affordable price, including head support and armrests, open-loop belt guides, space-saving cup holders, and energy-absorbing foam.
BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat
Sometimes you desperately need an easy-to-transport booster seat (carpooling or vacations, anyone?). Enter the BubbleBum Inflatable Backless Booster Car Seat, made with foam technology to keep your little one safe. It has a fold-away design that children can carry themselves, and it can easily fit into backpacks or purses. Choose from a few different colors including black, pink, and green.