Booster Seats for Every Budget

Diono Cambria 2 belt positioning booster car seat for kids installed in second row captain's chair of 2012 Mazda5

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What Comes Next After Convertible Car Seats

Diono Cambria 2 belt positioning booster car seat for kids installed in second row captain's chair of 2012 Mazda5
  • What: Booster Seats for Every Budget
  • When: 3 to 9 years
  • Why: Keep kids safe
  • Where: In the car

Wondering where to go once your child exceeds the height or weight limits on their convertible car seat? Maybe you’re not sure when to upgrade from the toddler seat to something new. Or perhaps you’d like a seat that can keep your child safe during the next few years of crucial growth. Find out about multiple options for booster seats for kids listed here in descending cost order, with choices for every price point and need.

Britax Grow With You Harness2Booster two mode booster seat

Britax Grow With You Booster: This seat takes kids from a five point harness to a belt positioning booster. While it doesn’t switch to a backless mode, it does offer a lot of convenience. We opted for the Click Tight installation system, making it a cinch to get properly installed. Unlike the other car seats we’ve used, I have no issues taking this one out since it’s so simple to reinstall in any position. The adjustable headrest makes it a great fit for a wide range of heights, so kids can use it longer to stay safe in vehicles. It also offers a high weight capacity for the five-point harness, and the harness stores inside the seat when not in use.

Graco Nautilus 80 Elite 3 in 1 booster seat installed in the bucket seat of a Mazda 5 micro van in the five point harness configuration

Graco Nautilus: While the Nautilus Elite isn’t on shelves anymore, Graco still offers a great selection of Nautilus options from their line of booster seats. The 3-in-1 booster seat takes kids from 22 to 100 pounds with three different modes to fit a wide variety of needs. Use it as a forward-facing harness for those transitioning from a convertible car seat. Once kids get bigger, it also works as a highback belt-positioning booster. Finally, you can use the base as a backless booster. It works great in all three modes to take your child from toddler to riding without a car seat of any type.

Evenflo Evolve platinum 3-in-1 combination booster seat installed in third row of Mazda 5 minivan

Evenflo Evolve: While ultimately this booster seat didn’t work for our family, it still offers lots of great options that make it appealing. Much like the Nautlis listed above, it offers three modes of use: five-point harness, highback booster, and backless booster. It comes with four slots for the five-point harness, which can limit use in that mode. The trickier buckles on the harness work great for kids who need to be restrained and not easily able to unbuckle themselves. 

Diono Cambria 2 Highback booster car seat installed in captain's chair of middle row of 2012 Mazda5

Diono Cambria: The Cambria offers two modes of use: as a highback booster or a backless one. While it doesn’t come with a five-point harness, it works well for older and bigger kids. The adjustable headrest lets you get a great fit with the vehicle safety belt. Two cupholders mean kids have plenty of room to stash their stuff. And the LATCH connections mean neither kids nor parents have to worry about buckling the seat in when empty to prevent it from becoming a projectile. As an added bonus, my kids love the cushy seat cover, and it costs much less than options that include a five point harness.

Cosco highback booster car seat

Cosco Highback Booster: If you want a solid booster with no frills, you can’t go wrong with this option from Cosco. It works as both a forward-facing booster with five-point harness as well as a highback booster with the vehicle safety belt. The LATCH system requires more finagling to get installed properly, but at this price point, you can buy multiples of these seats. Our kids have all outgrown the harness, which goes up to 40 pounds by weight. It took my petite daughter almost ten years to outgrow the 52 inch height restriction as a belt-positioning booster. And since the seat doesn’t offer any headrest adjustments, my non-petite son also outgrew the seat by height, but not until midway through his seventh year. If you don’t want to spend a fortune but still want to keep kids safe, take a look at this affordable option.

Graco TurboBooster highback to backless booster car seat in mosaic pattern

Graco TurboBooster: This basic booster seat serves as an extra booster seat, for kids traveling, and more. It is one of the easiest seats we’ve used that converts from a highback booster to a backless option. The lightweight frame makes it easy to transport between cars for carpools, relatives who handle pickup, and taking flights. The adjustable headrest gives you lots of options, as does the weight range of 40 to 100 pounds. The low price point propels it firmly into the winner category.

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