Graco Highback TurboBooster
What it is: Kids grow up so fast, which is why the Graco Highback TurboBooster may be the only chair you'll need for kids who weigh more than 40 pounds and less than 100 pounds. Everything is adjustable on this bad boy, from the headrest to the armrest to the removable cup holders. It's no wonder this seat's got "parental approval" written all over it. We like the cup holders and more important, it's got a top safety rating.
What to watch out for: Parents question letting kids as young as 3 ride in this seat. While Graco says this seat can be used by children who weigh 30 pounds, we recommend keeping kids in a five-point harness for as long as possible, at least until they weigh 40 pounds.
How much: $50–$60
Evenflo Big Kid LX Booster
What it is: "They've thought of everything," rave happy parents. And the Evenflo Big-Kid LX Booster does indeed come equipped with a dizzying array of extras, such as swivel armrests, comfy padding, and deep cup holders (some of the biggest holders on the market) that hold big-kid drinks. Like the Graco, it fits kids 30 to 100 pounds but has a one-handed body adjustment that makes life a little easier.
What to watch out for: Kids younger than 4 have more difficulty napping in this. And again, while Evenflo says this seat can be used by 30-pound children, we recommend a five-point harness for younger tykes weighing less than 40 pounds.
How much: $40–$60
Britax Parkway SG Booster Seat
What it is: Narrow, safe, and designed for kids up to 120 pounds, the Britax Parkway is your go-to seat if you're looking to keep your child strapped in for as long as possible. With some of the most advanced safety technology features including True Side Impact Protection and SecureGuard anti-submarining, which prevents kids from sliding under the seat belt, there's a reason this seat has become so popular. Also, with its narrow size, you can easily stow three in the backseat for carpools and big families.
What to watch out for: The armrests aren't as adjustable as some of the competing models, and some kids find the SecureGuard feature uncomfortable. Also, this seat isn’t appropriate for the lighter crowd. For kids under 40 pounds, stick with a five-point harness seat.
How much: $90–$120
First Years Compass B540 Booster
What it is: As one of the few boosters to garner the highest five-star rating for ease of use from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the First Years Compass Belt Positioning Booster rightfully makes its designers proud. Not only is it one of the safest around with EPP foam for extreme head protection, it's also one of the most comfortable rides for both smaller and bigger kids, providing adequate headroom and adjustable back- and armrests for solid on-the-go naps. We also like that it matches the Graco and Evenflo seats in fitting kids up to 100 pounds.
What to watch out for: Cup holders are on the smaller side, and some parents have a hard time opening the chair from a closed position. Remember, you shouldn't use a booster before your child weighs 40 pounds, no matter what the specs say.
How much: $62–$100
What it is: While it's pricier than its competition, this chair is praised by parents not only for its high style and emphasis on quality materials but also for the fact that it uses a rigid Latch system (not straps, which most other seats use), which aids with side protection. With a magnesium frame versus the plastic one used on the majority of car seat models, this feels sturdier than most. We love that it has an easy-to-use recline for longer trips (not a lot of boosters are napper friendly). And when you throw in Paul Frank's quirky Julius design on a seat good to 100 pounds, this one becomes a no-brainer.
What to watch out for: Some say that at this price the "cushiness" factor of the seat should be higher. Again, booster seats are only for kids over 40 pounds. If your child weighs less, we recommend using a five-point harness.
How much: $172–$300 (depending on color and design)