The 5 Best Booster Seats For Carpooling

Big-kid seating that offers the highest safety, portability, and style for young commuters.

The most important consideration when buying a portable booster seat for a “big kid” is, of course, safety. But oftentimes parents mistake heft and size for protection. That assumption can lead to constant headaches for parents with kids who often carpool to and from school or soccer practice in other people’s cars, or who just have a revolving cast of riders in and out of their own backseat. That makes these booster seats, which can deflate, roll up, and disassemble small enough to be conveniently portable, an especially attractive buy for kids on-the-go. All of them meet up-to-date standards set by the American Academy of Pediatrics on booster seat safety as well as our high criteria, including safety testing, consumer reports, and compactness. Plus, some of them come with cupholders.

READ MORE: The Fatherly Guide to Car Seats


Mifold -- portable booster seat


Price: $45
Recommended for: 
Ages 412, 40100 pounds
1.6 pounds

The Mifold Grab-and-Go‘s primary perk is how lightweight and portable the booster seat is. Winner of the JPMA’s “Best in Show” innovation award last year, it’s a foldable, backless booster seat small enough to fit inside a kid’s backpack. Instead of boosting a kid up to make a seatbelt fit, the Mifold locks the seatbelt down at the perfect height in any car. Made of an aircraft-grade aluminum and a “super tough plastic polymer,” it comes in six colors, including blue, pink, green, and yellow.

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Buy Now $40

BubbleBum Backless Booster

BubbleBum Backless Booster -- portable booster seat

Price: $30
Recommended for: 
Ages 411, 40100 pounds
one pound

The ultra-compact BubbleBum, despite a so-so name choice, is an inflatable booster seat that fills and deflates quickly with just a few pumps. Awarded “Best Bet” Booster by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) six years in a row, the BubbleBum rolls up tight enough to fit in a handbag or backpack when not inflated, and it’s narrow enough to fit with two others of the same size in your standard backseat.

Buy Now $30

Harmony Youth Booster Seat

Harmony Youth Booster Seat -- portable booster seat

Price: $13
Recommended for: 
Ages 4–10, 30100 pounds
2.5 pounds

Winner of the IIHS’s 2018 “Best Bet” Award and Consumer Reports Top Pick Booster, the Harmony Juvenile Youth Backless Booster has a unique V-shape design that’s easy and safe to install. It’s uber-plush seat pad is ideal for longer drives, and it’s removable for machine washing. Like the BubbleBum, the Harmony Youth Booster Seat can fit with three other seats of similar size, and it comes with a one-year warranty.

Buy Now $13

Evenflo Big Kid Amp

Price: $33
Recommended for: 
4 years and up, 40110 pounds
8.2 pounds

The Evenflo Big Kid Amp is a two-in-one seat: a highback for kids at least four years old, and a backless portable booster for when they grow bigger. The seat transitions seamlessly whenever your child is ready, and a six position height adjustment lets you modify the Evenflo’s position for any size. The removable pad is machine-washable, and did we mention it has two cup holders built in?

Buy Now $33

Graco TurboBooster

Price: $20
Recommended for: 
Ages 3–1030100 pounds
9 pounds

While weighing in on the hefty side, the Graco TurboBooster still disassembles into a portable unit and makes up for its size with its high safety standards. The booster seat back can recline somewhat to grant your kid a more comfortable position, and it’s two cup holders fold inside the seat to make more room. The TurboBooster is also sold as a lowback model only, and comes in four, multicolored designs.

Buy Now $17

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