The Complete Guide On The Best Harness Booster Seats Of 2020

Is it time to switch the good-old rear-facing seat for a harness booster one? No problem, you have found the right article. We understand that parents want the best for their little ones.

Whether you take them for a vacation or a quick stop to the grocery store, securing them in a harness booster is a must. If you are still debating about the best harness booster seats or just plain confused if your child is ready for one, check out our helpful guide.

Top 3 Recommendations

The Best Harness Booster Seats Currently on the Market: Top 8 Choices

Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat - Best Booster Seat with Harness

Our best pick choice goes out to the Graco Tranzitions. If you are familiar with the previous Nautilus version of the seat, you will love the improved Graco Transitions booster seat.

The luxurious and narrow design allows you to install several car seats in the backseat. This forward-facing booster seat is one of our favorite models when it comes to traveling. It's just the right weight, suitable for parents on-the-go. Plus, you won't have to splurge on it since it has a budget-friendly price.

The Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 seat has a unique design. Not only do you use it as a harness booster and a belt-positioning seat, but you can also use it as a no-back booster when the time is right.

That being said, the booster is equipped with SimplySafe to adjust the harness system that changes to the harness and the headrest in eight height positions.

The seat contains blow-molded plastic, which volumes down the seat's weight but still keeps the insides comfortable. You might think that it's not as comfortable as heavily padded seats, this design proves to be an excellent energy absorbent component. 

Reportedly, the booster seat works impressively well in car crashes. Several parents who had the experience commented that the seat was intact after the crash. However, you cannot use the seat from that point on. Always replace it after a collision of any sort. 

Depending on your vehicle, the installation can be tricky sometimes. Since the booster is relatively narrow, the shoulder belt path is installed high up. Cars with a shoulder belt on the side or high up on the seat-back will experience some issues. 

Furthermore, the seat is equipped with a latch for top tethers and the lower anchors. But, be aware that this is only suitable for children weighing less than 45 pounds, who need to be secured in a harness mode. 

  • Machine washable pad
  • Car crash tested
  • 3-in-1 seat
  • Tricky installation with shoulder belt 

Chicco MyFit Harness + Booster Car Seat - Best Side Impact Protection

The well-known brand Chicco has earned the respect of its trustworthy customers worldwide. Even though some consider the products "too high," we feel that price justifies the quality of the product. Here is why you should consider the MyFit Harness+Booster Car Seat.

The Chicco model is a favorite since it's packed with features that we all love to have in a booster. Starting with the convertible car seat function, this booster is suitable for children who require a 5-point harness and for older ones secured via a seat belt.

When using the booster in a forward-facing position with the harness, weight requirements are 25 to 65 pounds. On the other hand, the belt-positioning booster can be used by kids weighing 40 to 100 pounds.

The benefits of using this kind of booster lie in its ability to accommodate a younger audience and those who are transitioning to a backless booster.

Uplifting comfort is a big plus on boosters. The reclining function of the Chicco high back booster is not necessary for safety, but it's a must-have when it comes to comfortable rides.

There are four reclining functions of this model, and they can be adjusted to a preferable level. A padded harness with one pull-tightener will keep them comfortable and safe in their seats for growing toddlers.

As for safety, the Chicco forward-facing car booster takes the win. The Duo Guard 2-layers shell protects your kids with the energy-absorbing layer and a side impact protection.

Your kid will be secured safely with the use of a Lock-Sure belt-tightening system that provides a snug fit during long rides.

  • Cup Holders
  • Latch system
  • Side impact protection 
  • Convertible car seat booster
  • Tricky to install

Graco Nautilus 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat - Best Safety Features

We already talked about the upgraded version, but what about the original one? Graco Nautilus car booster seat is a 3-in-1 system with a whooping 120 lbs weight capacity. Still, keen on the upgraded version?

Let's see why you should consider this one as well.

Safety First: This booster has caught our attention mostly due to the safety features and capability to hold your loved ones snug throughout the ride. It meets all the necessary requirements and even passes the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), proving it can withstand a car crash.

The safety is that much enforced by the energy absorbing layer and a 5 point harness system that keeps children in place during bumpy rides.

With its steel frame, the Graco car booster seat is bound to serve you for a long time. However, even though it is durable in construction, it's pretty bulky if you ask us. Taking it out of the car was quite the chore.

The 3-in-1 system is designed to fit the rear-facing babies to toddlers who need a backless booster seat. When it's time to dismantle the seat, you can follow the detailed manual instructions and switch the mode within 5 minutes.

Getting the harness belt to loosen up and adjust was pretty easy. However, tightening them is where we struggled the most. But, the good news is that you do not need to rethread the belt. For anyone who dealt with rethreading, you know the hassle of it. So, having a booster that requires an easy system of adjustment is truly a relief.

The bottom line is that it's one of the best choices for a 3-in-1 booster seat. The safety features, comfort, and style are all on point. So, if you are deciding between Nautilus and Graco Transitions, we hope we solved your dilemma. 

  • Impressive safety features
  • 5 point harness
  • Bulky

KidsEmbrace 2-in-1 Harness Booster Car Seat - Impeccable Design For Marvel Fans

Are you willing to put a unique spin on the conventional booster seat for your youngest Marvel fan? The Kids Embrace harness booster seat is a safe and comfortable option bound to make every ride as fun as it gets.

Be honest, how many times did your kid refuse to get in the booster seat? With KidsEmbrace, you will have no such problems. The brand offers a variety of different designs, from Disney characters to Nickelodeon ones.

According to NHTSA's recommendations, kids should remain in belt-positioning seats until they reach 57 inches in height. This booster seat allows children from the age of three and up to use it. One of our favorite features is the functionality of the booster.

It converts from a harness to a high back booster as your kid grows. You can either use it as a forward-facing seat, built for children weighing between 22 and 65 pounds or as a convertible car seat belt positioned seat.

However, it cannot transition to a backless booster. (If you need one, we have a separate article on that topic here).

Even though the attraction is unique, the KidsEmbrace harness booster is entirely safe for children. It meets all the necessary USA safety requirements by IIHIS.

With the patented energy absorption layer, the booster provides optimal safe rides and side-impact protection technology.

The high back booster offers a 5 point harness with three harness positions designed to fit your child's age, weight, and height.

Finally, we would not recommend this booster if you have a smaller car. The seat is quite cumbersome and does take up space in the back seat. For all of you with extra backspace, this will be a great purchase.

  • Machine washable pad
  • Impressive design
  • Convertible car seat booster
  • Heavy
  • Cumbersome

Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster - Comfortable Companion For Long Car Rides

The Evenflo Chase harnessed booster seat is a favorite among parents who value safety, style, and comfort for their kids.

It will follow all the full adventure rides through childhood and keep the young ones safe with many features and accessories.

The harnessed booster seat is thoroughly tested for structural integrity, ensuring your child is safe in vehicle transportation. As it should be with all booster seats, the side impact protection meets all the applicable federal safety regulations.

Having in mind that the booster is tested for rigorous crashes, you can rest sure knowing kids are safe in the back seat.

The model offers a 5 point harness system that secures children up to 40 pounds. After the child has surpassed this weight, your next step is switching to a booster seat.

Most of the parents commented that the installation of this car seat booster is easy and straightforward. The lightweights of the product do the job that much easier.

We bet that most of you will be thrilled to know that the Evenflo Chase is quite the budget-pick compared to other booster seats. It's considered the best pick for those who want to cut down on expenses at such a low price but still have a durable and safe booster.

The determining factor of whether children will like the booster is most definitely comfort. The Evenflo booster offers ComfortTech technology. Moreover, the seat is constructed from three separate layers that help ease the pressure points as the kid grows. 

The seat also offers four different buckle positions. If you want to use it as a belt-positioning booster, know that the buckles are fit to accommodate the exceeding growth. 

  • Impressive comfort
  • Lightweight
  • Accommodates to the kid’s growth
  • No rear-facing mode
  • Light padding

Britax Grow with You ClickTight Harness-2-Booster Car Seat - Best For Bigger Cars

Britax acclaims one of the strongest reputations in the car seats and booster world. By continually pushing the boundaries on the innovations, Britax delivers one of the most impressive boosters/car seat combinations.

This booster can be used as a forward-facing for children between 25-65 pounds. It offers a 2-point harness that accommodates the children's growth.

The great thing is that you won't have to splurge on both the car seat and a booster. Britax has it all. When your kid is ready for a high back booster, the car seat transforms into one and offers all the support and comfort a kid needs.

The high back booster mode offers a 22" belt path that is suitable for children up to 120 pounds.

The GrowWithYou seat is packed with safety features such as Click Tight installation and side-impact protection when it comes to safety.

You won't even have to worry about adjustment; the booster offers a harness that is quick to adjust and a multi-position recline technology designed to keep kids comfortable.

One of our favorites is that you don't need to take out the harness when you plan on using the seat as a high back booster. Simply tuck the belt straps in the seat pocket and switch to a harness mode when you desire.

This has proved to be quite beneficial, especially if you have two toddlers by your side that require a seat switch each time.

The tricky part of the forward-facing booster seat is that it's not suitable for smaller cars or three across car seat installation. It is on the lightweight and narrow side, but the expandable cup holders make it challenging to fit into a smaller vehicle.

  • Convertible car seat booster
  • Safety features
  • Easy harness attachment
  • Bulky

Cosco Finale DX 2-in-1 Booster Car Seat - Best For Smaller Children

2-in-1 car seats that offer both the harness support and seat belt safety have been all the rage over the past few years. However, they are known for their high prices. 

The budget will not stop you when it comes to the Cosco Finale booster car seat. With a $60 price point, the forward-facing booster seat will fill all of your expectations and support your little one in the best way possible.

What surprised us the most is the minimal weight of 30 pounds for the harness mode. This weight limit is suitable for tinies passengers who are not just yet ready for a booster seat mode.

What might present an issue is the only one set of the crotch buckle mode. This could be an issue for smaller kids, leaving them with a bit of extra space. However, it's a perfect fit for bigger ones.

Also, the harness mode seems a bit shorter for kids weighing around 65 pounds. However, considering this is the limit weight, you might want to convert the harness setting into a booster seat belt.

As for the high back booster mode, the belt guide is tricky to install in some vehicles. The reported problem regards the belt not retracting. Luckily, you only need the belt guide to adjust the right fit. Parents didn't even have to use it most of the time.

When your child reaches age 6 or 7, he/ she will probably need another booster since this one does not have an adjustable headrest.

You can do so using the latch system for the installation but only for children weighing around 50 pounds. Please consult with the vehicle manual to determine the right way of securing the seatbelt.

  • Affordable
  • Convertible car seat booster
  • Suitable weight limits
  • Installation can be tricky 

Evenflo Maestro Sport Harness Booster Car Seat - Best Car Crash Safety Tested

The booster seat by Evenflo Maestro Sport is not as glamorous as some of the other expensive models, but it will surely deliver the best quality for a safe ride.

You can select from a few color patterns and make sure your ride is just as stylish as comfortable.

The Maestro Sport forward-facing booster is designed for kids who have outgrown the rear-facing seats and are now ready for adequate protection. Even though you will get a few years out of the use, the height selection is not as generous as with other models.

Our main issue with this booster car seat is that it offers only one belt guide position. This can be tricky when your kid is in the transitional phase regarding height. The headrest is not adjustable, and it does the job that is much more problematic.

It means as soon as your kid turns 6 or 7, it's time to get another seat. This is not in all cases, but many parents commented that they did not get further use out of it.

All Evenflo seats have been tested for 2x federal car crash safety. This includes side impact protection, flammability, temperature alterations, and structural integrity.

The latch system can be used for children up to 50 pounds, meaning it can sometimes serve for belt positioning rides. However, some had problems securing the latch system as well as tightening the harness.

We suggest keeping the manual handy at all times to track the child's height. Since the height and weight limitations are pretty low, chances of outgrowing a booster are high.

All in all, this is a suitable budget-friendly option. If you are carpooling or leaving the kids for a weekend at grandparents, this can be a great backup booster.

  • Affordable
  • Cup Holders
  • Machine washable pad
  • Installation is troublesome

Buyers Guide For The Best Harness Booster Seat

1. 5-Point Harness Vs. 3-Point Harness; Which One Is Better?

best harness booster seats 2020

You want a harness booster seat, but you are still debating whether a 5-point or a 3-point harness is better? Let's sum it down. The whole logic behind the issue is the more straps, the merrier.

A 5-point harness is designed to protect the kid's neck, shoulders, and hips. Two straps are covering the hips, two shoulder belts, and one between the legs.

On the other hand, a 3-point harness booster lacks the two straps that protect the hip area.

Right then and there, you can assume that 5-point booster harness car seats are better for optimal protection. And guess what? You're right

There have been numerous situations where a kid simply wiggles their way out of the strap. However, the odds are less likely if you secure them in a 5-point one.

2. What Are The Benefits Of A Harnessed Booster Seats?

Getting harnessed booster car seats is not only a smart decision, but some state's car seat laws also require it.

Booster seats with harness are designed to keep your little one in place during bumpy rides. By restraining kids in harness, the crash's effects will less likely strike them, since this technology works towards protecting them as best as possible. During a collision, the movements are limited. 

Any applied force will be spread into the booster seat, covering the kid's soft areas such as the abdomen.

3. Weight And Height Requirements

best harness booster seat

As you can notice, most of the harness booster seats have a threshold of 40 pounds as the ultimate weight limit. But, this is not the situation for all of them. Booster seats with a harness can sometimes secure around 65 pounds of weight while still keeping the child snug.

We recommend you wait a bit before turning your harness booster car seats into a convertible car seat with belt restraint. Always read the car seats manual to check the right weight and height for a seat belt booster. According to the NHTSA, children should remain in a harness seat until they are at least five years old.

If the child wiggles and slips out of the seat belt booster, it's not the right time to move from a harness one.

Once the child overgrows the harness seat, he/she is ready for a seat belt booster. As long as you install it adequately, you have nothing to worry about.

4. Safety Requirements

Picking the best harness booster seat goes beyond just having cup holders and colorful designs. Always check if the booster seat meets all the necessary safety requirements.

For starters, check if the seat follows The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's standards. Then, inspect if the booster is still in good shape or expired. Yes, booster seats have a limited life span.

Just like regular car seats, the booster can usually last up to 6 years or more. The best solution is to buy a new one, but if you are going for a second-hand one, make sure it hasn't been in an accident or expired.

5. Installation

best harness booster seat for 4 year old

Installation is the key if you want a stress-free ride.

Though it can't always be guaranteed, you can choose from two options: The first one is installing the booster by using the vehicle's seat belt. The second is using the well-known LATCH system (tethers and lower anchors).

The system works pretty quickly, and it's recommended as the safest installation route. You need to attach the seat to the anchors in the back and the ones behind the seat.

Don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. 

The best thing is to practice several times before your child uses the booster. In this way, you avoid the stressful situations of installing the seat in a rush. Here is a link we hope you will find helpful.

6. Accessories Make All the Fun

You will find a lot of harness booster car seats on the market that have extra features. They are not essential, but it sure is fun to have them as an additional feature.

Our favorite one is the cup holders. Of course, we cannot use them enough for being a nifty little helper for toys and beverages. Children love them! Since harness limits their movements, cupholders act as their own storage space where they can sneak in a snack or two.

You can also look for adjustable armrests and headrests since they can significantly elevate the entire booster seat's comfort.

FAQ About Harness Booster Seats

Are 5 point harness booster seats safer?

A 5 point harness is designed to protect your child at shoulders and hips during the ride. In a car collision situation, the harness transfers the force to the mentioned restrained areas and back into the seat, reducing the risk of serious injuries.

A 5 point harness is also known for keeping the optimal position of the child throughout the ride. So, in a nutshell, a 5 point harness booster car seat is a safer option than the belt positioned one.

How long should my child be in a 5 point harness?

best harness booster seat for travel

Following the American Academy of Pediatrics instructions, kids should remain secured in a 5 point harness forward-face car seats/boosters until they reach the weight and height criteria given out by the car seat manufacturer.

As you can see, most booster seats with harnesses have the upper weight limit of 65 pounds, but this is not the case in all boosters.

This is why we always recommend you keep the manual handy in case you need to consult with it.

What is the most comfortable booster seat?

With the ComfortTech that includes three separate layers of protection and pressure point relief, Evenflo Chase Harnessed Booster is our best pick for comfort in booster car seats. 

Final Words

Choosing the best booster seat with a harness is highly essential in providing your child with the best possible transportation protection. Whether it's for carpooling or their first family vacay, a proper child restraint system is necessary.

So, we have chosen the Graco Tranzitions 3 In 1 Harness Booster Seat as the best harness booster seat currently on the market.

With the highly popular machine-washable pad, side-impact protection, and layers of protective foam, this could end up being your purchase of the year.

Graco Tranzitions 3 in 1 Harness Booster Seat, Kyte*
  • 3-in-1 harness booster helps protect your child, from toddler to youth
  • Grows with your child from forward-facing harness (22-65 lb) to highback booster (40-100 lb*) to backless booster (40-100 lb) *To continue to meet industry standards, we have increased the weight...
  • No-Rethread Simply Safe Adjust Harness System allows the headrest and harness to adjust together in one motion
  • Lightweight, portable seat is ideal for busy, active parents
  • One-hand, 8-position adjustable headrest grows with your child

Kathy Warner

Kathy is a busy mother of two and a CPS technician for more than eight years. Her mission is to awaken parents to the importance of child passenger safety and show them the right practice. You can read more about her here