The original Graco TurboBooster has been a CSFTL favorite for quite some time. It’s lightweight, fits smaller children well, and is almost foolproof to use properly. When Graco showed us a sneak peek at the updated TurboBooster LX during the ABC Kids show last fall, we had a hard time imagining how they could possibly improve such a solid seat until all was revealed.
Now that we’ve had a chance to spend some quality time with the updated seat, I can say with certainty that they have! The Graco TurboBooster LX is a fresh new look at an old favorite. It’s like the now-retired Affix married the previous TurboBooster and had a very nice-looking, well-featured baby.
CSFTL Quick Stats
- High back booster weight range: 30-110 pounds and at least 4 years old. CSFTL recommends that children be at least 5 years old before moving to a booster seat.
- High back booster height range: 38″ – 57″
- Backless booster weight range: 40-110 pounds
- Backless booster height range: 43″ – 57″
- Lowest belt guide position: 15″
- Highest belt guide position: 20.5″
- Expiration: 10 years
- Vehicle headrest not required
- Cupholder and media storage compartment
- TrueShield Technology
- Weight, high back mode: 8.4 pounds
- Weight, backless mode: 3.8 pounds
- Width, backless mode, back of seat: 15″ measured across the armrests: 18″
- Width at widest point, high-back mode: 21.75″
- Easy to set up without (very much or any) adult assistance
- Easy to carry
- Consistent belt fit
The TurboBooster LX arrives in three pieces. The headrest ships separately from the middle portion of the seat. Once assembled, the headrest must remain attached for use in high back mode.
I was able to assemble it without too much trouble — the biggest trick was pushing the little button on the side of the headrest to ease it down into the back portion of the seat.
Once the headrest is attached, slide the seat pad into the seat pad on the middle portion of the backrest. To attach the now-assembled high back portion of the booster, lay both pieces on their backs and insert the hooks from the bottom of the back portion into the holes on the backless portion of the seat. The hooks will click into place when they’re aligned. Fold the back of the seat to an upright position and the TurboBooster LX is ready to go!
The TurboBooster LX can be installed with or without the lower anchors. Lower anchors are a new feature for the TurboBooster. The seat and the child are still held in place by the vehicle seat belt — on a booster, the lower anchors only keep the booster in place if it’s empty during a crash. If this booster isn’t installed with the lower anchors, buckle the vehicle seat belt when the seat is empty.
Fit to Child: High Back Mode
5 Years Old
This model is 5 years, 2 months old and brand new to boosters. He is 46 inches tall and weighs 81 pounds. He still rides in a harnessed in his mom’s car, but is booster training in his dad’s truck. He was very excited to try out the Turbobooster LX but he was not quite as excited to pose for pictures!
The lower anchors helped hold the seat in place as he climbed into the car. He does not have a lot of hip room to spare, but he was able to sit all the way back. Like many new booster riders, he isn’t familiar with how to buckle or unbuckle the seat belt or how to make sure the seat belt it is routed properly through the belt guides on the booster, so he required some coaching.
The lap belt fit well low across his hips, but the shoulder belt was a little close to his neck. It’s still a decent belt fit, but ideally the shoulder belt would be more centered on his collarbone. The TurboBooster’s deep headwings served as a good reminder for him to sit up straight and not slouch or slump. He has broad shoulders and a wider behind than most kids his age, so the high back portion of the seat is slightly uncomfortable for him. He said it was “Great!” but I’m fairly certain it is because he was so excited to be in a booster that he would have said it was wonderful, regardless of how it actually felt.
This model liked the TurboBooster a lot, but since he’s at the top of the charts for height and off the charts for weight, I think he would have liked it even better if it offered more room at the hips and shoulders.
6 Years Old
This model has reached an age where she requires an incentive for modelling car seats. She received 5 M&Ms and an episode of Doc McStuffins in exchange for spending some time with the TurboBooster LX. She’s 6 years old, 50 pounds, and 45 inches tall.
At this point, her primary mode of transportation is a harnessed car seat so every time we review a booster, it’s a little more booster training for her. She’s getting more skilled at buckling herself in properly but this slow process speaks to the difference in when children might be ready to make the move from a harnessed car seat to a booster seat.
She climbed into the TurboBooster LX without any trouble and was able to buckle herself in properly. She reports that the armrests are too short for her tastes — she’s got a fondness for car seats with higher sides around the thighs so I’m not surprised at this. That aside, the booster fit her well. The lap belt fit across the tops of her thighs and the shoulder belt lays across the midpoint of her shoulder. In addition, the deep headwings and supportive sidewings were great reminders to stay in place.
6 Years Old
This model is also 6 years old. He weighs 44 pounds and is 44 inches tall. He loves this seat and his CPST mom is thrilled with the way it fits him. He has no head slump at all when sleeping.
7 Years Old
This model is 7 years old. She weighs 62 pounds and is 50 inches tall. She’s got plenty of room to grow in the TurboBooster LX with True Shield and it offers a good vehicle seat belt fit.
The shoulder belt guide worked quite well in my reviewmobile. The recessed vehicle seats and low mounting position of the vehicle seat belt on my 2016 VW GTI sometimes presents a tough spot for booster seats because the shoulder belt can get stuck in or slip out of a booster seat’s shoulder belt guide.
That’s a lot of words to explain that the vehicle seat belt stayed inside the belt guide.
This kiddo is rather particular about how her booster seats feel. While she was able to buckle herself into the seat without issue and she’s got plenty of room in the seat, she wasn’t overly fond of how it felt. The padding is fairly firm, not plush. That was the main source of her disapproval.
9 Years Old
This model is 9.5 years old, 63 pounds, and 51 inches tall. Most of the time she rides in a backless booster but she was kind enough to test out this booster in high back mode for us. She’s at the top range of the height for the seat and found it uncomfortable with the back portion attached.
Fit to Child: Backless Mode
6 Years Old
There’s no way this particular model is ready for the responsibility of sitting properly in a backless booster but because some of her peers are, we wanted to show how well this booster fit her. She’s still 6 years old, 50 pounds, and 45 inches tall. The shoulder belt fits across the strongest portion of her shoulder; the lap belt fits across the tops of her thighs. This makes for good belt fit overall, even if she’s not mature enough to ride this way.
9 Years Old
Here we see our older model once again. She finds the TurboBooster LX a lot more comfortable in backless mode. She reports that the seat is “fine,” that the cover “isn’t particularly plush, but it’s nice.” This model has been helping to review seats for some time — her preference is always for the most plush, padded option possible. So while the TurboBooster LX fits her well, she’d prefer a more padded option.
Graco has added some side bolsters to the seat. They’re designed to absorb side impact in the event of a crash. We applaud any feature that adds additional means of absorbing crash forces, but these bolsters have one limitation: they do make for a wider footprint so the TurboBooster LX is not a good choice for three across situations.
It is, however, a nice option for most other situations.
In addition to the cupholder, this seat includes a media storage compartment. Our older model reports that this compartment is “really cool, Mom!” and she even took this photo herself.
Unlike the previous version of the seat, the TurboBooster LX does not, we repeat, does NOT require screws in the armrest. This innovation alone makes this incarnation of the seat a victory.
Back to Base Connection
Late in 2015, the original TurboBooster started shipping with an improved back to base connection that stops the seat from flopping around when it’s being moved. The TurboBooster LX has that same level of connectedness. I could move it between cars with one hand! This makes the seat a great option for carpooling situations that don’t require three seats across.
When this car seat is installed on the plus one or jump seat of a minivan, Graco has confirmed that the entire base must be in contact with the vehicle seat. No overhang is allowed.
There are a couple of other flavors of this particular booster:
The TurboBooster LX with Safety Surround. This model has deeper headwings than the version reviewed here but does not have the TrueShield side impact protection.
TurboBooster Elite. This model does not have TrueShield or the deeper headwings.
Important Information: Where to Find
Airplane seats have lap belts only, so the TurboBooster LX and all booster seats are not approved for use on airplanes. The FAA label specifically prohibits using it on airplanes. The sticker is located on the bottom of the base of the seat.
Date of Manufacture
The date of manufacture sticker is located on the bottom of the seat. This seat has a 10 year expiration.
There’s a storage compartment on the bottom of the seat for the manual. Place yours there after reading it.
- Easy to adjust
- Has lower anchors
- Width/size make it a less viable option for 3-across situations than some other boosters
From the moment we met this updated booster, we suspected a few things that have proven true: the TurboBooster LX is a bit too wide for three across situations, it fits a wide range of children well and it’s easy to use. Because the seat is so lightweight, we’d also suggest that it’s a nice option for children who ride in carpool situations. It’s a very nice update to an old friend!