Best High Back Booster Seats Reviewed and Compared

Lady using a laptopWhen you realize that your once tiny little baby is getting older, taller and heavier, it may be time to convert them to a booster seat. For new parents, this can be a confusing time. Which booster seat do you choose? Do you need a backless or high back booster seat with harness? How big should they be? How do you install one?
These are the questions that we would like to help you with. We feel that high back booster seats are some of the best booster seats on the market, so we’ve compiled an entire comprehensive review so that you can find the best high back booster seat for your child. We’ve looked at many hundreds of the safest high back booster seats to locate the ones that we think you’ll love. So check them out, and get ready to go shopping.

What to look for in a High Back Booster Seat

Look for a High back booster seat with these features:

  • Adjustable back and & Headrest
  • Side-impact protection
  • Comfort
  • High safety ratings
  • A strong car seat base
  • Belt clips at several heights
  • Adjustable side & base
  • Accessible harness adjusters
  • Smooth fabric
  • Easy installation Guide
  • high height and weight limits

What is a booster car seat?

A booster seat is the final type of car seat that a child will use before “graduating” to using a regular seat belt. This seat comes after a child has used a rear facing and a front facing car seat. Booster seats primarily serve to lift (or boost) the child up so that they are at the proper height to use a seatbelt. There are two main types of booster seats: high back boosters and backless boosters.

As the names suggest, the seats differ based on if there is a back to the seat or not. A high back booster contains a back to the seat, and a backless booster is simply a bottom seat that a child sits on top of. These seats are not the same as a front facing car seat and come with far less components. Because your child has already grown a lot, they do not need the same amount of protection that they used to when sitting in an actual car seat. However, because they are still not quite tall enough to use a seat belt on their own, a booster seat is the final step needed.

Our Top 3 Picks

Graco Affix Youth
  • Graco Affix Youth
  • 5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Inexpensive yet extremely well made product
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
Jump to Full Review
Diono Monterey High Back
  • Diono Monterey High Back
  • 4.6 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Extra-deep aluminum reinforced side walls and EPS foam
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
Jump to Full Review
Britax Parkway SGL G1.1
  • Britax Parkway SGL G1.1
  • 4.3 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Foam-lined shell absorbs crash forces and shields your child
  • Price: See Here
Check on Amazon!
Jump to Full Review

Child sitting in a handleHigh back booster seats are different from backless booster seats in that they do have a back. In other words, backless booster seats simply have a small booster bottom. In many ways, the backless booster is lighter weight and smaller. To be sure, backless booster seats can be useful for kids who are learning to become more independent.

But high back booster seats have a lot of unique benefits that backless boosters do not. For one thing, they offer more support to the backs of children. They support the entire back area whereas backless boosters simply butt up against the back seat.

High back booster seats are also great because they offer a headrest to protect the head and neck. In the event of a crash, this will be very important for your child. Some safety tests have also shown that top rated high back booster seats have better side impact protection. And finally, having a high back booster seat will better align the safety belt to the areas on your child’s body that are best suited for the impact of the seat belt. On children, this will be the upper shoulder and the lower hip area. Altogether, high back booster seats are much better than other forms of booster seats and have a great number of benefits for you and your children.

PictureHigh Back Booster Seat NameRating
The Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat With Latch SystemSEE REVIEW & RATINGS
Hayabusa Tokushu GlovesThe Diono Monterey High Back Booster with Adjustable HeadrestSEE REVIEW & RATINGS
Hayabusa Tokushu GlovesThe Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning BoosterSEE REVIEW & RATINGS
Hayabusa Tokushu GlovesThe RECARO Performance BoosterSEE REVIEW & RATINGS
Hayabusa Tokushu GlovesThe Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car SeatSEE REVIEW & RATINGS

Best High Back Booster Seats Reviews

We want you to have optimal information when it comes to purchasing the best booster car seat. We’re the experts, and we know you’re coming to us with questions about which seats offer what features. So we’ve decided to create a unique selection of the top 5 high back booster seat reviews. These are the seats that parents like you are looking for, so check them out and find the one that fits your needs.

1. The Graco Affix Youth Booster Seat With Latch System

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The Graco Affix Youth Booster is an excellent booster seat at a great price. This Graco booster seat has an extremely secure connection to keep in securely in its place in the car, and the strong and sturdy base keeps it sturdy when children are self buckling. This is great for helping children to become more independent.
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Safety is always a concern for Graco, and they’ve done a great job at making this unit ultra safe for your children. Rigorous safety tests have proved that this is a safe booster seat for children. It’s also nice because you can choose whether to use it as a high back or backless booster.

When it is used as a high back booster, make sure that you only put children into it who are from 30 to 100 pounds and from 38 to 57 inches tall. The high back booster can also be safely tightened to the back of the vehicle seat with a unique adjustment in the front.

Parents love that this booster comes at a great price as well. Unlike some of the other transitional car seat to booster models, this is an inexpensive, yet extremely well made product that will keep your child safe in the car.

The Graco Affix Youth is available in a range of color schemes to match your car’s interior and personal tastes. Make the choice of atomic, grapeaid, pierce, and tangerine. All colors have black center and side panels and lining in white.
Pros

Latch system for improved security

Simple self-buckling system

Amazing back support

Cons

One side of the latch system might get a bit loose

2. The Diono Monterey High Back Booster with Adjustable Headrest

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The Diono Monterey is a great high back booster for children who are at least 40 pounds and at the most 120 pounds. The seat is imported and made entirely of polyester with some plastic elements. The seat is extremely safe with an extra deep aluminum panel in each of the reinforced side walls.
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There is also the added bonus of EPS foam in the side panels, back and headrest, which helps to maximize protection in the event of a serious crash.

You can choose customizable seating with this model, and there are also customizable features around the shoulders, on the back and around the head support.

A retractable cup holder is available on the side of the unit, and it’s extra deep to prevent spills and stains. If stains do occur, pop out the insert and put it in the washing machine. To prevent the occurrence of submarining on the seat, there is a reinforced and angled seat bottom.

Parents like this booster because it grows with children. Everything is adjustable, and you can even choose to use it as a backless booster if you’re so inclined. It is also easy to install with adjustable height and width. When you’re ready for travel or if you don’t need the booster seat in the car for a while, just store it away by simply folding it flatly in the back of the car or your storage area.

The Diono Monterey is available in several different colors, including surf, grey, bloom and blue.
Pros

Lightweight and portable

Stylish design

Comfortable 

Hidden cup holders

Cons

Hard to clean

3. The Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 Belt-Positioning Booster

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The Britax Parkway SGL G1.1 is a very nice seat for parents, and it’s a little more expensive that some of the other models mentioned here. With that being, said, it has a lot of wonderful features, including safecell protection from impact with integrated absorbing foam on the sides and impact absorbing through the durable base.
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Using the rear latch is extremely easy, and getting children installed into the seat when you’re ready to drive is also a breeze. This booster meets all federal safety standards.

This Britax booster seat is suitable for use with children who are between 40 and 120 pounds. The seat itself weighs 16.2 pounds, so it’s relatively lightweight in case you need to transition it between different cars at home.
Pros

Safe Cell technology reduceshead excursion

Deep side and head wings provide a comfortable fit

SecureGuard crotch strap helps preventing internal injuries from the belt from sitting on the child's abdomen

Cons

Pricey

4. The RECARO Performance Booster

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The RECARO Performance Booster has a racing inspired theme that makes it great for racing lovers and car enthusiasts. (your boys will love it!) But there’s more than just an aesthetic theme to the racing inspiration. The side impact protection actually takes its cue from real racing cars.
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There are enhanced wings help to protect children in their most vulnerable areas, including the face, pelvis, torso, head and neck.

Where colors and aesthetics are concerned, there are many shades and styles to choose from. On the sides, memory foam is used in the fabric to enhance comfort, and there are removable liner areas where you can use the built-in cup holders. Make sure to follow the size regulations for this booster. Only children who are 30 to 100 pounds can sit in it safely.

When adjusting Recaro booster seat, be prepared for a simple job. There are 11 positions to the head rest, and with the QuickLift system, you can move it up and down easily, but it also locks entirely into place so it won’t budge while the car is moving. To install the booster unit, use the LATCH connectors to secure it in place. Children love sitting in this seat with the CoolMesh air ventilation in the fabric and the comfortable foam padding on the sides, back and head rest.

The RECARO Performance Booster can be purchased in a wide range of colors and shades, including vibe, marine, rose, plum, red, ruby, sapphire and skye.
Pros

Great torso and head support

The sitting area is wide and deep for additional comfort

Features lower anchors

Cons

Cannot be converted into a backless booster

5. The Evenflo Big Kid AMP Booster Car Seat

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The Evenflo Big Kid AMP is a fun looking booster seat that can be used as a full high back booster or a backless unit. It is literally two seats in one. This is likely the most inexpensive booster on the list, so a lot of new parents with their first toddlers love it!
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Even though this booster does come at an inexpensive price, it is also extremely safe and easy to install and use with your children. As far as safety goes, there are energy absorbing liner pads made of durable foam on the back and sides. This would keep the head, neck and back extremely safe if a crash or accident were to occur.

The height adjustment can grow with your child and be changed to one of six different positions. To change the position, you can adjust this setting easily with just one hand.

This slim high back booster has two cup holder units on the sides that tightly hold cups of liquid or food in deep pockets to prevent spills. If spills do occur, the pad on the booster is entirely washable by machine, so you can easily remove it and pop it in for a new, clean seat cover.

A few parents had some complaints about the seat being too lightweight so that it did not feel durable, and even though the seat grows with children, it was not big enough for some older kids who still needed to be in a booster.

The Evenflo Big Kid AMP is featured and available in 4 fun colors. Choose from sprocket, Carrissa, green angles and blue angles.
Pros

Seat can be easily turned into a backless booster

Designed for a growing child with a multiple height adjustment system

2 cup holders

Great price

Cons

No 5 point harness

Booster Car Seats: Installation Tips & FAQs

Making sure your child is safe is always your first priority as a parent. As your child grows, you begin to realize how challenging child safety can be. In particular, keeping your child safe while they are in the car can be a stressful experience. With so many different types of seats, it is not always easy to understand when a child should be in what seat. Beyond that you also have to worry about picking the right model, installing it properly, and placing your child in it properly.

The final type of car seat that your child will use before they can use a regular seat belt is a booster seat. As you will learn, there are various types of booster seats. These seats are just as important as any other car seat, and will help keep your child protected while they are still too small to ride in the car on their own with only a seat belt.

booster car seat installation

Are you looking for a booster seat, but aren’t sure where to begin? Do you have questions about the installation process or about when to use this type of seat? Don’t worry. Plenty of parents share these same questions and for this reason, we have put together this guide with some basic installation tips and answers to frequently asked questions. Hopefully this will help clear up any confusion and help you make the right decision for your child.

How are booster seats installed?

What you will come to like about booster seats is that they are much easier to install than rear or forward facing car seats. This is because, in the majority of cases, there is no installation process for a booster seat. These seats do not attach to your car using your car’s seat belt system or LATCH system. Instead, a booster seat is simply placed in the car where the child will sit, and the child secures himself using the seat belt from the car. The seat belt works to secure the child and the seat in place.

There are rare cases where a booster seat has some sort of installation process, so be sure to always read the instructions to make sure you are doing the right thing. An improperly installed car seat, no matter what type of seat, can be dangerous for a child, so make sure you are completely aware of what the procedure is for your particular booster seat model.

Does a child use a regular car seat with a booster seat?

Yes! When a child switches from using a car seat to a booster seat, they also switch from using a specific car seat harness to using a regular seat belt. For most booster seats, a child will secure themselves using your car’s seat belt. Without the booster seat, the seat belt would hit your child in the wrong areas, but with the booster seat, the seat belt will fit comfortably across the child’s lap and chest.

As we said earlier, booster seats are much simpler than car seats, as their main purpose is to just give your child a slight lift so that they are able to use a regular seat belt. If the seat belt does not fit properly with your child when they are in their booster seat, you might have switched from a car seat too soon. An improperly placed seat belt can be very dangerous should you get in a car accident, so make sure everything is properly in place before driving anywhere.

High Back Booster car seat FAQ

Are you interested in learning more about the best rated booster seats? Or perhaps you have more questions about how to choose the best high back booster seat on the market.

We often get a lot of the same questions about these seats, so we’ve compiled a list of the top most frequently asked questions to give you a better idea of what you should be looking for in terms of the best boosters and also to answer any other questions you may have. Check it out!

Q: When should children transition from a car seat to a booster seat?

A: You need to wait until your child is a certain age, height and weight before they can transition into a high back booster seat. Remember that rules and regulations may vary from state to state. But in general, your child needs to be at least 4 years old before they can be transitioned to a booster seat. And in addition, they need to weigh at least 40 pounds, or they need to be tall enough so that their shoulders go higher than the straps for the harnesses in their car seat.

It may be tempting to move your child into a high back booster seat as soon as possible, but the best course of action is to wait until it is absolutely necessary to move them. Car seats are by far the best option if children fit them safely.

Finally, remember that it is important that your children do not sit in the front seat of the car until they are older and taller. This is because the head and neck of children who are shorter would be right at the angle that the airbag might hit them squarely. This could cause head, neck or spine damage or even a fatality.

Q: What’s the difference between a high back booster seat and a backless booster seat?

A: There are two main types of booster seats. High back booster seats look more like car seats, but they use the seatbelt from the car that is threaded through the booster. The high back booster has a high, cushioned back and padded sides.

On the other hand, backless booster seats just have the bottom seat area, so they are much smaller and lighter weight. The problem is that backless booster seats use the seatbelt from the vehicle too, but because the belt is not threaded through anything, it can hit the wrong places on your child.

Q: How do you install a high back booster seat?

A: It can be very intimidating to install a car seat or high back booster seat. Did I do it right? Is it safely attached to the car? Unlike infant car seats and different convertible seats for smaller children, booster seats of any kind simply sit on the back seat of your car. They don’t actually get attached to the LATCH system as the car seat does.

For this reason, you don’t have to worry about actually installing the seat into your car, but you do need to make sure that you are using the booster seat properly. For example, they need to be securely strapped in with the seat belt, and they should fit snugly in the seat against the back.

Q: Do booster seats come with seat belts?

A: Generally speaking, a booster seat is unique from a car seat in that it actually uses the seat belt of the vehicle. The seat belt just goes through guiders on the booster seat and fits around the child.

The reason that it is important for the child to be raised up when the seat belt goes around them is that if the child is not raised, they are too short so that the seat belt would not hit the right spots on their body. Instead, the seatbelt would hit their neck and side whereas it should ideally hit their upper shoulder and lower opposite hip.

Q: How long will your child have to be in a booster seat?

A: As your child transitions from their rear facing infant seat to a toddler front facing seat to a booster seat, you will need to be ready for yet another change. After they are finished with their high back booster seat, they’ve got to then transition to a regular seat in the back seat. When they transition will depend on how old your child is and what their weight is. This may also depend on what kind of car you have and what the laws are in your state. Check your states laws before making any changes to your child’s seating.

But besides laws, you should also know that they need to be at least 4 feet 9 inches tall before they can sit alone in a seat with a seat belt. Typically, this means that your child will be between 8 and 10 years of age.

There are some other things you can look at to decide whether or not you are ready to transition your child into a full seat belt seat as well. For example, check to see whether or not your child can sit against the seat back comfortably. In addition, their knees should naturally bend at the extended edge of the seat. The seat belt should touch the top of your child’s thighs and strap across their torso. Finally, the belt should touch the upper shoulder and go across the chest. If your child is able to sit like this for an entire car ride, they should be ready to switch to a regular seat in the back seat of your car.

Q: Should I look for a car with an integrated booster seat?

A: There are some newer models of cars that have infant seats and booster seats built into them. These may be good for some people, but certainly, not everyone is going to want to have a car seat or booster seat in their car for the entire length that they own the car. On the other hand, if you have or are planning to have a lot of children, or if you plan on selling your vehicle after your child outgrows the built-in seat, these may be options that you should look into when buying a new car.

A Summary and How to Make Your Final Decision on a Car Seat

A child sleeping in her booster car seatWow! That’s a lot of information, right? Don’t get too overwhelmed by everything that you’ve found here. There are certainly a lot of considerations that you will need to make where high back booster seats are considered, but if you use comprehensive reviews like this one, you can rest assured that you will find the seat that best fits your needs.

One thing that we should talk about before we leave you is where you should shop for your high back booster seat. We recommend going online. It is true that brick and mortar stores or department stores will have a lot of options that you can look at in person and touch and hold, but the Internet is really where it’s at.

With the Internet, you can see the weight and dimensions of all of your favorite seat options, and you can also get the best deals. Having several different chairs sent to your home with free shipping and sending those that are not your style back is also an option. Ideally, you’ve found a high back booster seat that’s perfect for you, and you’re ready to check them out at a site like Amazon. We appreciate you visiting our review page, and good luck on your booster seat quest.

Sources

  1. babycenter, Booster seat safety, web, May 01, 2016
  2. childcarseats, childcarseats.org.uk, web,
  3. depts.washington.edu, washington.edu, web,
  4. Donna Fennessey, 5 Tips for Buying a Booster-Seat, web,