What’s the most comfortable booster seat for long trips? (2020 reviews)

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What’s the worst part of family road trips? For us, it’s complaining. Our kids have done some seriously long drives, but even they have their limits. One of my top jobs for ensuring smooth travels is to make sure the kids are physically comfortable if I’m going to ask them to sit tight for 6 or 8 hours.

With kids who are older, opinionated and communicative they’ll be sure to let you know when somethings not working for them! Choosing a comfortable booster seat for long trips your family takes will keep everyone happy. In this roundup, you’ll find everything from king-sized thrones that expand in every direction to simpler backless boosters that still offer great padding.

Top picks: Most comfortable booster seats for long trips

You can read in-depth reviews below to help you decide for yourself, but if you’re in a hurry check out these top picks:

Features of comfortable booster seats

Instead of guessing what kids want in comfortable booster seats, we’ve asked our kids to tell us! Here’s what they’re looking for:

  • The most padded booster seat I can find
  • A reclining booster seat for them to sleep on night drives
  • Nice arm rests
  • Good cup holders (preferably two, and with bottoms so they can keep little toys handy)

As parents, you’ll also want to pay attention to which booster seats are better for kids on the smaller end of the growth charts and which are the best booster seats for big kids. A booster may feel comfortable now, but if you foresee your child having a broad frame in the next few years there are some great options to choose from below.

What’s the most comfortable high back booster seat for long trips?

A high back booster seat is meant for kids who are at least 5 or 6, mature enough to sit properly 100% of the time and meet the size requirements of the booster seat you’re thinking about. As of this writing, my younger child is 5.5 years old and she still rides in this seat almost all the time. Especially on long trips, she often falls asleep and it would be harder for her to stay safe in a booster seat. Don’t rush it!

Once your child is ready, there’s more nuance to picking the right comfortable high back booster seat than it might first appear. Just like with their car seats, you have to make sure that the booster seat fits their bodies now and for several years to come. And not every booster seat plays nicely with every car! Where possible, I’ve provided links to Amazon because their generous return policy is helpful when you’re trying to figure out what works for you.

Britax Highpoint 2-Stage review

Key stats:
-Weight 12lbs
-Highback booster size limit 40lbs/44″ to 120lbs/63″; max belt guide 21.5″
-Backless booster size limit 48lbs/46″ to 120lbs/63″

Pros:
✔ Nice padding
✔ Deep head wings
✔ Cool Flow fabric for temperature regulation
✔ Optional SecureGuard clip for better lap belt fit
✔ 10 year expiration

Cons:
✘ Can’t use for kids on the bottom of the growth charts
✘ Very wide when cupholders are in use

The new Britax Highpoint 2-stage booster seat has a lot to offer for your family’s next road trip! My favorite feature is the Cool Flow ventilated fabric, which will keep your kids from getting sweaty backs during summer vacation. The deep headwings offer great support if your kid still likes to sleep in the car during those long drives.

From a safety perspective, Britax is unique in offering the SecureGuard clip on their booster seats. It comes up between the legs and pulls the lap belt down a little to keep it properly positioned. It’s optional, but we used it when we rented a Britax highback booster seat and found it helpful for getting a great belt fit.

One downside from a comfort perspective is that the Britax Highpoint is not a reclining booster seat. It sits fully upright, so younger car sleepers might not love.

The Highpoint is best for kids on the bigger end of the growth chart. If you have kids like mine who are old enough and mature enough for booster seats but still short, they may not meet the minimum requirements of the Highpoint. On the flip side, when your child is ready you can pop off the back and use the Highpoint as a backless booster until your child is ready to ride with the seatbelt!

Read reviews and check prices on Amazon


Chicco KidFit Zip Air review

Key stats:
-Weight 12lbs
-Highback booster size limit 4yo/30lbs/38″ to 100lbs/57″; max belt guide 19.5″
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs to 110lbs/57″

Pros:
✔ Nice padding
✔ Supportive head wings
✔ Ventilated fabric for temperature regulation
✔ Reclines for sleeping
✔ Leg rest extension
✔ 8 year expiration

Cons:
✘ The 57″ height limit means tall kids might need another backless booster down the line
✘ Seat isn’t wide enough for kids at the top of the growth chart

As with all of their car seats, Chicco puts two things first when designing new products: comfort for kids and ease of use for parents. They’ve knocked both out of the park with the Chicco KidFit Zip Air.

We have the original KidFit Zip and we love it! Much like the Britax Highpoint Cool Flow, the Chicco KidFit Zip Air is built to keep kids cool. But the KidFit Zip has some amazing bonus features.

First off, the “zip” feature means that the main seat pad zips off in case of spills or other in-car incidents. But the brilliant design means that you can still use the seat because they’re another layer of padded seat cover underneath!

Second, Chicco knows that lots of kids suffer from leg fatigue and numbness in booster seats since their feet can’t reach the floor. Instead of rigging up a footrest with a cooler, you can just rely on the cushy padded Chicco KidFit Zip Air leg rest to keep your kids comfortable! If you plan to fly with this booster seat, you can always detach the leg rest and leave it at home to save space.

The KidFit is technically a reclining booster in that it has two positions, and that’ll work best if your car has back seats that recline (which is thankfully getting more common). But we’re keeping our younger one – who sleeps in the car often – in this awesome seat even when she’s ready for booster mode because it offers so many recline options!

The biggest downside of the Chicco KidFit line is that it’s not ideal for kids who are really tall. Even once you switch it to backless booster mode, Chicco caps riders at 57″. That said, it’s a great seat for petite kids who are old enough and mature enough to ride in a booster seat but not tall enough for some other options.

Read reviews and check prices on Amazon


Clek Oobr review

Key stats:
-Weight 19lbs
-Highback booster size limit 4yo/33lbs/38″ to 100lbs/57″; max belt guide 20.5″
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs/40″ to 120lbs/57″

Pros:
✔ Great padding, including arm rests
✔ Supportive head wings
✔ Reclines for sleeping (when installed with LATCH)
✔ Narrow enough to fit 3-across
✔ 9 year expiration

Cons:
✘ The 57″ height limit means tall kids might need another backless booster down the line
✘ Seat is a little shallow in high back mode

Clek has developed a great reputation over the last few years for their innovative, safety-focused car seats and boosters and the Clek Oobr booster seat is no exception. Kids and parents love it!

There’s a lot to love. For kids, it’s got oodles of padding, deep headwings for sleeping, and even the option to recline (if it’s installed with LATCH). While the seat might feel shallow to some kids when the back is on, once they’re ready you can remove the back to give a more spacious ride with the Oobr as a backless booster.

The Oobr is one of the narrowest booster seats available, so it’ll give you a good chance of fitting 3-across. With 9 years until expiration, it’s a great option for families with a younger sibling to pass it down to. Some of the premium fabrics offer serious stain protection to make clean-up easy with the inevitable spilled milk after the drive through. If that’s not as important to you, the Drift fabric is still nice and quite a bit cheaper.

Like the Chicco KidFit, the Oobr tops out at 57″. If you buy it for a child on the top end of the height curve, you might need to pick up an inexpensive booster to bridge the gap at the end of their booster riding days. It’s a very nice choice for kids who are average height or shorter.

Read reviews and check prices at Walmart (Drift only)

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon (all fabrics)


Diono Monterey XT review

Key stats:
-Weight 14lbs
-Highback booster size limit 40lbs/38″ to 120lbs/63″; max belt guide 22″
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs/38″ to 120lbs/63″

Pros:
✔ Very roomy, width adjusts to fit even the biggest kids
✔ Highest weight and height limits of any booster
✔ 8 year expiration

Cons:
✘ Some kids complain that there isn’t enough padding in the seat
Super wide – no chance for 3-across and may be hard for kids to buckle

If you have a kid who’s at the top of the growth charts, you’re going to want the Diono Monterey XT (or its newer, even cushier cousin the Diono Monterey 4 DXT – more on that below). Diono pioneered the idea of booster seats that expand through the torso. It makes sense, since kids generally wider as they get taller. But since the Monterey’s size is so adjustable, it fits well for kids of many shapes and sizes. Once your child no longer needs the back or if you’re flying to start off your family trip, the Monterey XT converts to a backless booster seat similar to the Solana 2 featured in the next section.

What else do kids love about the Monterey XT? It’s easy for them to buckle, it’s extremely padded and it’s got two rockin’ cup holders. This is a fantastic booster seat for long drives!

The downside of all that extra space is… extra space. This sucker is wide. If you only have two kids in the back (as we do) or you have a car with captain’s chairs, you should be fine. But don’t plan on this one to fit into any tight squeezes!

It’s also worth noting that the Monterey XT has to have a car headrest behind it, but the whole booster also needs to be in contact with the car seat. The backrest reclines some to accommodate your car. Welcome to the world of booster seats! Fortunately you can order from either Amazon or Walmart with free returns so you can try it out in your car to see if it works. Better yet, if you order direct here from Diono you’ll benefit from an extra two years of warranty and a free one-on-one consultation with the Diono safety team to help you install and use your booster safely.

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon


Diono Monterey 4DXT review

Key stats:
-Weight 17lbs
-Highback booster size limit 40lbs/38″ to 120lbs/63″; max belt guide 22″
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs/38″ to 120lbs/63″

Pros:
✔ Extremely padded
✔ Breathable side panels
✔ Very roomy, width adjusts to fit even the biggest kids
✔ Highest weight and height limits of any booster
✔ 8 year expiration

Cons:
Super wide – no chance for 3-across and may be hard for kids to buckle

There have been enough changes between the Diono Monterey XT and the new Diono Monterey 4DXT that it’s worth listing them separately. There’s a lot more than just a fancy new cover!

What’s the difference between the Diono Monterey XT and the Diono Monterey 4DXT?

For starters, the 4DXT is massive. Take a look at this quick size comparison:

Diono Monterey XT
Diono Monterey 4DXT
Width20″24″
Depth16″18″
Height26″34″
Weight14 lbs17 lbs
Check
price
Diono*
Amazon
Walmart
Diono*
Amazon

*Diono recently launched their “Diono Difference” program. Direct purchases include free shipping over $200, an extra 2 years of warranty, free one-on-one virtual consultations to help you through installation and membership in their VIP club! Read more about it here.

What do you get for all the extra size, weight and money? Diono has made a bunch of improvements with the latest version! The padding is plusher, the shell is more breathable, the headrest is more comfortable, the side wings are deeper. As with the Monterey XT, the Monterey 4DXT converts to a backless booster seat similar to the Diono Solana 2.

If you have the space and the budget, it’s an extremely comfortable booster seat for long drives! It’s an excellent choice for kids with a broad build. This thing is every kid’s throne, and it’ll serve them well as either a highback or backless booster until their boostering days are done.

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon


Nuna AACE review

Nuna AACE Booster Seat Charcoal

Key stats:
-Weight 16lbs
-Highback booster size limit 4yo/40lbs/38″ to 100lbs/60″; max belt guide 21″
-Backless booster size limit 5yo/50lbs/38″ to 120lbs/60″

Pros:
✔ Adjustable with to fit lots of kids
✔ Nice padding
✔ Supportive head wings
✔ Reclines for sleeping
✔ Extendable seat
✔ 10 year expiration

Cons:
✘ Extremely wide – no chance of 3-across and may be hard for younger riders to buckle
✘ Can’t adjust width and height separately

The Monterey isn’t the only game in town when it comes to booster seats that grow with your child. The Nuna AACE may not be easy to find in local stores, but it’s definitely worth checking out! It has some awesome features you won’t find elsewhere.

The AACE actually expands in three directions. First, the headrest can go up – that’s typical of every highback booster. Second, the side supports expand; unlike the Monterey, the expand automatically with the headrest (I wish they didn’t). Third, the seat can get deeper as your child grows! This is one that I haven’t seen elsewhere and it can be a game changer for older or leggy kids.

If you install the AACE with LATCH, you have the option to recline the booster – it doesn’t need to be flush with the car’s seat with LATCH.

The biggest downside of the AACE is that it’s already a wide seat, and raising the headrest only makes it wider. For kids who are tall and slim, they might not get as much support as they’d prefer and the booster will take up more room than necessary – not that you’d be fitting another car seat next to it anyway.

Read reviews and check prices at PishPoshBaby


If your family is flying somewhere and then going on a road trip, you might want to consider one of these travel booster seats instead. They might not be quite as comfortable, but ideally you can carry one on board and avoid the risks of checking your car seat. In particular, the new hifold folding booster seat could be a convenient option (even if it’s not quite as plush as these other ones).


What’s the most comfortable backless booster seat for long trips?

If you’re shopping for the most comfortable backless booster seat for long trips, chances are you’ve been in the car seat world for looong time. Backless boosters are generally recommended for kids who are at least 6 or 7, mature enough to sit properly and don’t usually fall asleep in the car.

The good news is that backless boosters are a lot simpler than all the other car seats you’ve been through! You need to make sure it fits your child and that it fits your car (especially tricky if you have younger kids), and beyond that there’s a lot of personal preference as to comfort.

You’ll see that below I’ve only recommended backless booster seats with LATCH attachments available. They’re becoming increasingly common and they’re a really great convenience feature. Instead of buckling the booster seat when no one is in it, LATCH keeps it from flying around in a crash.

Chicco GoFit Plus review

Key stats:
-Weight 5lbs
-Backless booster size limit 4yo/40lbs/38″ to 110lbs/57″

Pros:
✔ Great padding
✔ LATCH to secure it when unoccupied
✔ Nice, removable/foldable cupholders
✔ Long arm rests
✔ 8 year expiration

Cons:
✘ The 57″ height limit means tall kids might need another booster down the line
✘ Seat isn’t wide enough for kids at the top of the growth chart

We own the Chicco GoFit and love it! The padding is nice and squishy, the arm rests and cup holders are great and the price is very reasonable. It’s not terribly wide and the cupholders fold in to help it play nicely with other car seats. Installing the booster seat with LATCH is just as easy as with all of our other Chicco car seats.

This is a great booster seat for kids who are one the smaller end of the growth chart. If you have taller or broader kids, the seat may not be wide enough to hold them until the end of their booster days. There’s also a 57″ standing height limit, which may not work for the tallest kids.

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon


Clek Olli review

Clek Olli Backless Booster Seat shadow

Key stats:
-Weight 5lbs
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs/40″ to 120lbs/57″

Pros:
✔ Great padding
✔ LATCH to secure it when unoccupied
✔ Narrow enough to fit 3-across
✔ Long arm rests
✔ Roomy enough for bigger kids
✔ 9 year expiration

Cons:
✘ The 57″ height limit means tall kids might need another booster down the line
✘ High price for a backless booster seat

The Clek Olli gets excellent reviews for comfort thanks to Clek’s “no numb-bum” design. Cheeky, eh? The Olli is also one of the narrowest booster seats around, so it’s a good choice if you need to fit 3-across in your back seat. Just be sure to test out your seating positions, as the Olli uses rigid LATCH – it’s great for safety and ease of use, but may be harder to connect in a tight 3-across.

Like the Chicco GoFit, the Olli has a standing 57″ height limit. If you have a tall child, you might need to pick up one of these to see you through the home stretch (but you can worry about that later).

It’s also quite pricey for a backless booster seat… but not the most expensive. And remember, a comfortable kid who doesn’t complain during road trips is priceless.

Read reviews and check prices at PishPoshBaby


Diono Solana 2 review

Key stats:
-Weight 6.5lbs
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs to 120lbs/63″

Pros:
✔ Great padding
✔ LATCH to secure it when unoccupied
Huge seating area for bigger kids
✔ 8 year expiration

Cons:
✘ May be too wide for some seats or for 3-across
✘ Some kids complain about a bump in the back of the seat

If you have an older booster rider or one who’s topping the growth charts, take a look at the new Diono Solana 2 backless booster seat. It’s really well-padded and the seating area is HUGE. It’s also one of the more budget-friendly backless booster seats that still comes with lots of premium comfort features.

The roomy seat comes with a drawback… if you’re trying to fit three car seats in your back seat or your car’s seats are narrow and/or contoured, it may be tough to fit the Solana 2. Fortunately this version narrows toward the back for an better fit and for easier buckling.

There’s an odd bump near the back of the seat in the middle… some kids are bothered by it, others aren’t. One nice difference between the Diono Solana and the Diono Solana 2 is that the expiration has extended from 6 years to 8 years – that’s perfect for a booster seat with such a flexible size range.

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon


Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle 120 review

Key stats:
-Weight 5lbs
-Backless booster size limit 40lbs/39″ to 120lbs/63″

Pros:
✔ LATCH to secure it when unoccupied
✔ Big seating area for bigger kids
✔ Padded arm rests
✔ 12 year expiration

Cons:
✘ Really expensive for a backless booster
✘ Some kids find the padding too firm

If you have a bigger, older booster rider then the Peg Perego Viaggio Shuttle 120 might be a great choice. They’ve done a great job designing a booster seat that will last forever – really, it can go for a whopping 12 years! That’ll take your oldest child all the way through to safely passing the 5-step test, and then another one or two kids after that. The standing height is 63″ – that’s my height as a full-grown adult! Thankfully the booster seat itself is low enough that kids will still have the car’s headrest behind them for support.

By making the arm rests fairly slim, Peg Perego has also made a booster seat that offers a roomy seating area and a relatively narrow footprint. You might even be able to sneak this in to a 3-across situation, but of course it’ll depend on the details.

The biggest downside of the Viaggio Shuttle 120 is the price. Granted it’ll last you for many years, but it doesn’t come cheap.

Read reviews and check prices at Amazon

If you have to fly before your road trip, it’s worth considering the Bubblebum inflatable booster seat. Especially for kids on the smaller end of the curve, it can be pretty comfortable and it can fit in their backpacks!


Comfortable booster seat FAQs

How can I make my booster seat more comfortable?

Unfortunately you can’t modify your booster seat in any way – including by adding extra pads – because the manufacturer hasn’t crash tested it that way. Your best bet is to grab one of the more padded options from this list. Many younger kids also find high back booster seats more comfortable than backless booster seats since they can rest against the sides when they’re tired.

Can you recline a booster seat?

Some booster seats have lots of recline options, while others just have a little bit of recline available to make them flat against the car’s seat back. The Clek Oobr and Nuna AACE allow even more recline to help car sleepers (as long as you install them with LATCH).

How do you sleep in a booster?

If your child rides in a high back booster seat, she can lean against the head wing to sleep. If your child rides in a backless booster seat, teach her to look up at the ceiling when she feels tired. It’s not fool-proof, but some kids get really good at it!

Can a 4 year old use a backless booster seat?

While most manufacturers allow a 4 year old to ride in a backless booster seat, no safety advocate recommends it. Their young bodies are still developing, they may not be heavy enough to weigh down a booster seat in a serious accident, and most 4 year olds don’t have the impulse control to stay in the correct position 100% of the time – even when sleeping.

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