Welcome to the Ultimate High Back vs Backless Booster Guide!

Your child has outgrown their forward-facing seat, and now you’re looking for a suitable booster. But do you go with a high-back or a backless model? What effect does a backrest even have?


The backrest in the high-back booster provides a high level of protection and offers the kid more comfort.

Meanwhile, backless boosters come with more flexibility. Plus, they’re lightweight, so you can easily move them from one car to another without much hassle.

Besides these two common types, there are 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 combination boosters that can be used as either high-back or backless.

To help you identify which model is best for your little one, I’ll go over all the pros, cons, and requirements.

Just show me already!

What Are the Common Types of Booster Seats?

The primary purpose of car seat boosters is to raise your child to the correct position to apply the seat belt. Well, there are three designs that can help with that, and each has its perks.

Here they are:

Backless Booster Seat

As the name suggests, backless boosters are those with no backrests. They’re the traditional models that do only the basic function: positioning the child for the seat belt.

Many kids prefer these seats as they look like regular seats compared to the high-back models that seem a bit babyish.

High-Back Booster Seat

High-back boosters come with a backrest and sides to provide a high level of protection.

These models also provide more support to a kid’s body and ensure the seat belt is perfectly aligned with the shoulder and hips.

Combination Booster Seat

A combination booster is a 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 car seat. It’s a high-back seat with a removable five-point harness.

You get to eliminate these harnesses when your child no longer needs them. This way, you can turn the booster into a regular high-back one.

Additionally, when your kid no longer needs the back, you can remove it to transform the booster into a backless one.

What Is the Difference Between a High-Back Booster and a Backless One?

Let’s sum up the comparison between the high-back and backless models.

Backless Boosters Pros and Cons

Here’s a list of the perks and drawbacks of backless boosters:


  • Look like regular seats
  • Lightweight and compact
  • Less pricey than high-back boosters


  • Don’t provide the best protection

High-Back Boosters Pros and Cons

Here are the high-back boosters’ upsides and downsides:


  • Provide more protection
  • More comfortable
  • Fit better with the seat belt


  • More expensive than backless boosters
  • Can be bulky and hard to move between vehicles

Is a High-Back or Backless Booster Safer?

Consumer Reports says that high-back boosters are safer than backless ones.

The reason is that high-back boosters can absorb neck, head, and back shocks. They also allow your children to better position the seat belt on their shoulders.

On the other hand, backless boosters don’t provide the same level of support. That said, using any of these seats is much safer than using none.

When to Use a High-Back Booster vs. Backless Booster?

Here’s a quick guide on when to use each type of the two boosters:

What Are the Backless Booster Seat Requirements?

Backless boosters are best for a child who:

  • Is at least 5 years old
  • Weight at least 40 lbs. and is 38”

When choosing a backless booster seat, ensure that your child’s ears align with the top of the vehicle seat.

You shouldn’t use a backless model if your car doesn’t have headrests. It’s also better to avoid those boosters if the car seats are low.

What Are the High-Back Booster Seat Requirements?

High-back boosters are best for a kid who:

  • Is between 4 and 5 years
  • Weights between 40 and 65 lbs. (could be used for up to 120 lbs.)
  • Just passed the forward-facing seat’s height
  • Usually falls asleep in the car or acts out

Conclusions on High Back vs Backless Booster

It’s now clear that high-back boosters provide ultimate protection while backless ones offer more flexibility. Picking the best option depends on your kid’s weight, height, and behavior.

Of course, you could opt for 2-in-1 and 3-in-1 models if you’re looking for something that offers the best of both worlds.

We hope the information here helped you make up your mind.

Maybe you can help with something. Can you please share on social media how this post helped you out? I’d really appreciate it!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a high-back booster better than a backless one?

High-back booster models are generally safer than backless models, according to Consumer Reports. High-back boosters provide better positioning for the children’s shoulder belts.

They also limit head movement when the vehicle experiences a collision, protecting from serious head injuries.

When should I switch to a backless booster?

Children can move from high-back boosters to backless ones when they can sit without slouching or leaning to the side or forward. That mostly happens when the kid is over 40 lbs.

When should I use a high-back booster vs. a booster?

High-back boosters are ideal for young children who need head and neck support. That’s why these models are recommended if your car has a low seat back or no headrests.

On the other hand, traditional models are better for older kids as they provide more flexibility.

When can a child sit in a booster seat without a back?

Kids can sit in a backless booster when they can position themselves correctly without slouching or leaning. Those are usually children who have passed the forward-facing seat limits but are under the age of 8–12.

What are the height and weight requirements for a backless booster seat?

For the backless booster to be a good fit, your child needs to weigh 40–80 lbs and be 38–57”.

What is the best backless booster seat?

If you’re looking for the best backless booster, I’d recommend these:

  • Clek Ozzi Backless Booster
  • Diono Solana 2
  • Graco TurboBooster Backless Booster
  • Chicco GoFit Plus

What is the best high back booster?

The best high-back booster depends on your child’s needs and behavior in the car. However, I’d say these are some of the best high-back boosters today:

  • Graco TurboBooster LX
  • Chicco KidFit ClearTex Plus
  • Maxi-Cosi RodiFix

What are the requirements for the Graco TurboBooster LX?

Graco TurboBooster LX is a 2-in-1 seat that fits 40–100 lbs. Your little one can use it till he’s 57”.

What is the difference between a high-back booster with a harness and a regular one?

The main difference is that the regular 5-point harness design limits the movement range. So, it provides much more security for a child who tends to move a lot in the car.

Last Updated on April 27, 2023 by Danny Reid

Written by Linda Reid

Hey there, I'm Linda, a mom of three cool kids. I've tried so many car seats, you could call me a "Car Seat Detective." Searching for the perfect car seat can feel like finding a needle in a haystack, but don't worry! I've committed to researching and reviewing car seats that are super safe, cozy, and great for growing kids. Together, we'll find the perfect car seat that keeps your child safe and cozy, and makes you feel like a super-parent!