Graco TurboBooster Review

Graco TurboBooster

Graco TurboBooster

The Graco TurboBooster is likely the most popular booster seat on the market today.  It has so much going for it — it’s lightweight, easy to use, and fits most children well.  The same basic design has been available for well over a decade.  Child Passenger Safety Technicians and caregivers alike are fans of the TurboBooster because of its simplicity and excellent belt positioning.  At the very reasonable $50-$60 price for the high back version, and $25 or less for the backless version, it’s an excellent option for many families.

CSFTL Quick Stats

  • High back booster weight range: 30-100 pounds
  • High back booster height range: 38-57 inches tall
  • Backless booster weight range: 40-100 pounds
  • Backless booster height range: 40-57 inches tall
  • Highest booster guide position: 19.25 inches
  • Expiration: 10 years (TurboBoosters made prior to mid 2011  have a 6 year expiration)
  • IIHS Best Bet

Assembly

Graco TurboBooster assembly

Graco TurboBooster assembly

The TurboBooster comes out of the box in several pieces, but assembly isn’t too difficult. One very important note about the TurboBooster assembly is that it requires two screws to be installed in the armrests. Our article has detailed instructions on assembling a TurboBooster. The seat is not considered safe or useable without the screws. If you misplaced your screws, more can be ordered from Graco.

TurboBooster High Back, Graco TB, high back booster, no back booster, hbb, nbb, lbb, screws in the armrest

Graco TurboBooster: lowest and highest positions

The TurboBooster is an easy-to-use booster option for small-to-average sized booster riders.  It fits such a range of sizes that we often suggest it for tiny 6+ year olds all the way up to average sized older children.  The curved sides and substantial headrest on the high back version make for a solid fit for most of these kiddos.

The high back TurboBooster adjusts in height easily by pulling the red handle at the top of the seat, the tallest belt guide is 19.5 inches. The seat easily converts to backless mode, almost too easily, as it is known to “fall apart” when carrying the seat. When using the TurboBooster in high back mode, it does not require a vehicle headrest behind it. Like all backless boosters, the TurboBooster does require head support to the tops of the child’s ears.

Fit to Child

High Back Mode

5 Years Old

Graco TurboBooster- 5 years, 42 pounds, and 38 inches

Graco TurboBooster: 5 years old, 42 pounds, and 38 inches

This 5 year old model is on the petite side at 42 pounds and 38″ but has a great seat belt fit when using the TurboBooster in high back mode. The shoulder belt fits nicely and the lap belt is nice and low on his thighs.

9 Years Old

Graco TurboBooster- 9 years, 48 pounds, and 50 inches

Graco TurboBooster: 9 years old, 48 pounds, and 50 inches

While this 9 year old model is on the petite side as well, she shows how well even older kids fit in the TurboBooster still. She is 48 pounds and 50″ and has great seat belt fit still.  She still fits in with the back on, so we recommend she continue to use the seat with the back on.

Backless Mode

8 Years Old

Graco TurboBooster- 8 years, 60 pounds, and 53 inches

Graco TurboBooster: 8 years old, 60 pounds, 53 inches tall

This 8 year old model weighs 60 pounds and is 53 inches tall. While the TurboBooster does come with a seat belt adjuster guide, this model fits well without it. In some vehicles, the adjuster guide will help position the shoulder belt more firmly across the collar bone.

9 Years Old

Graco TurboBooster- 9 years, 53 inches, 12/14 clothes

Graco TurboBooster: 9 years old, size 12/14 clothes, 53 inches tall

This model just turned 9, is 53 inches tall, and wears a size 12/14 in clothes. The TurboBooster is starting to get a little snug, but still fits well and provides a good seat belt fit. In this vehicle, she may benefit from using the seat belt adjuster guide to make the seat belt fit more comfortably on her shoulders and not on her neck.

Important Information: Where to Find

Expiration information and manual storage for the Graco TurboBooster

Expiration information and manual storage for the Graco TurboBooster

FAA Approval  The TurboBooster requires a lap/shoulder belt to be used, so cannot be FAA approved. However, the backless TurboBooster can be carried on airplanes easily.  It fits nicely into the overhead bin during the flight and it is lightweight enough that kiddo is able to carry it herself.

Manual Storage  There is a storage spot on the bottom of the TurboBooster to keep the manual stored when not needed.

Expiration  In the middle of 2011, Graco switched the TurboBooster expiration from December of the sixth year to ten years from the date of manufacture. That sticker can easily be found on the bottom of the seat, as well as the expiration is stamped into the plastic on the bottom as well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Does not require vehicle head support
  • Converts to backless

Cons

  • Not much head/torso support
  • Does not allow the booster to overhang the vehicle seat
  • No lower anchors
  • Pre-mid 2015 models “fall apart” while carrying between vehicles. Newer models have an updated base to back connection that does not “fall apart.”
  • Requires assembly, specifically screws in the armrests.

Overall Thoughts

The TurboBooster is generally a good choice for children 5 and up who are booster ready. It’s also a solid choice for travel or carpooling — it’s quite lightweight and easy to use.  The two cupholders and variety of cover choices instantly made it a fan favorite for many older Littles.  A good booster fit provides a proper fit by positioning the shoulder belt even across the torso with the lap belt lying low on the hips, touching the tops of the thighs.

Other TurboBooster Models

The TurboBooster has stayed the same basic design over the years, but these days there are a few additional incarnations of the seat.

Graco TurboBooster LX: 9 years old, 63 lbs, 51 inches tall

Graco TurboBooster LX: 9 years old, 63 lbs, 51 inches tall

Graco has a more featured version of the TurboBooster, the TurboBooster LX.

Graco Turbobooster

Graco TurboBooster

The standard TurboBooster is available on Amazon in both high back and backless; typically for under $55, making it an excellent value.