In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

Graco TurboBooster Backless Review

While the price is appealing, and the weight is light, it struggles to compete and disappointed in most metrics
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Graco TurboBooster Backless Review
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Price:  $29 List
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Manufacturer:   Graco
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Jan 26, 2024
57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#12 of 14
  • Crash Test - 35% 5.3
  • Ease of Use - 25% 7.5
  • Weight/Size - 15% 7.9
  • Comfort - 15% 3.2
  • Quality - 10% 3.5

The Skinny

The Graco TurboBooster Backless is a lightweight and smaller booster option from our best booster seat review. This booster is basically a boosting seat bottom with armrests and a shoulder belt positioner. We can see how it would appeal to those looking for a straightforward carpooling or travel option who don't want the bulk or weight of a high-back booster. However, we don't see many redeeming qualities in the Turbo Booster that can't be found elsewhere done in a better way. This Graco did not perform well in our commissioned crash tests, with one of the lowest results in the group. It is also not comfortable, with almost no padding, and the quality makes the already cheap price feel like too much. Overall, we think there are better, lighter, more compact options for travel and better, potentially safer, high-backed options for everyday use in our lineup.
REASONS TO BUY
Inexpensive
Lighter-weight
REASONS TO AVOID
Lower crash test analysis results
No back support
Free-floating if not buckled in
Editor's Note: The TurboBooster Backless is a basic bottom-only booster from our booster review updated on January 26, 2024.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Best Value Award 
Price $29 List
$28.98 at Amazon
$160 List
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$140 List
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$37 List
$29.74 at Amazon
$120 List
$79.99 at Amazon
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Bottom Line This basic booster offers disappointing results in most metrics, including crash test analysis, making the low price less appealingGreat choice for most families with better crash testing analysis, easy installation, and cozy seating for kidsEasy installation and use make this a nicer seat, but there are some that offer better crash test analysisGreat for travel and carpooling, but the quality and crash results make it less appealing as an all-the-time boosterA comfy headrest and good crash test results make this lightweight choice an option that won't break the bank
Rating Categories Graco TurboBooster... Chicco KidFit Zip A... Chicco KidFit BubbleBum Diono Cambria 2
Crash Test (35%)
5.3
8.2
7.1
6.5
8.0
Ease of Use (25%)
7.5
8.3
8.3
8.0
5.1
Weight/Size (15%)
7.9
6.5
6.6
10.0
5.9
Comfort (15%)
3.2
7.3
6.8
4.4
6.1
Quality (10%)
3.5
8.0
7.5
3.5
4.0
Specs Graco TurboBooster... Chicco KidFit Zip A... Chicco KidFit BubbleBum Diono Cambria 2
Modes Backless Booster High Back Booster, Backless Booster High Back Booster, Backless Booster Backless Booster High Back Booster, Backless Booster
High Back Booster Weight Range N/A 40-110 lb 40-100 lb N/A 40-120 lb
High Back Booster Height Range N/A 38-57 in 38-57 in N/A 38-63 in
Width 16.3 in 18.2 in 18.4 in 11.3 in 19.9 in
Weight 4.5 lb 11.8 lb 10.3 lb 0.9 lb 12.0 lb
Backless Booster Height Range 43-57 in 38-58 in 38-57 in 40-57 in 38-63 in
5 Point Harness Weight Range N/A N/A #REF! N/A N/A
5 Point Height Range N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
LATCH Equipped No Yes Yes No Yes
#REF! #REF! #REF! #REF! #REF! #REF!
Recline Positions N/A 2 2 N/A None
Foam Type None EPS EPS None None
Seat Lifespan 10 Years 8 Years 8 Years 4 Years from purchase date 8 Years
Aircraft Certified

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Graco company that creates baby gear launched din 1953, when they hired a new engineer to help create baby-centric products. With the launch of the first baby swing, Graco put itself on the map in the juvenile product world. They continue to make popular strollers, car seats, and more products that families are familiar with.

Performance Comparison



The TurboBooster has one of the lowest crash test analysis results in the group after analyzing the head and chest clip sensor data from the crash test dummy.
Credit: GearLab & MGA Research

Crash Test


The TurboBooster did not perform well in our crash tests, with some of the highest recorded g-forces for both the HIC (head) and chest clip sensors in the group.


While each booster in this review should be considered safe and presumably has passed the federal guidelines, we ran our tests hotter, looking for outliers and standout options.

This comparison graph illustrates the high level of G-forces...
This comparison graph illustrates the high level of G-forces recorded in the TurboBooster sensor data vs. the lower levels recorded in the Peg Perego. Lower G-forces is better.
This graph illustrates a comparison between the chest clip sensor...
This graph illustrates a comparison between the chest clip sensor data between the TurboBooster and one of the higher-performing seats, the Peg Perego.

This Graco has one of the worst sensor results for the head sensor in the review with recorded G-forces more than twice the next lowest-performing competitors. The chest clip results are somewhat better and manage to prevent this booster from earning the lowest analysis score in the group, but they are still below the average for the group. The HIC result is enough to give us pause, and we would not use this booster with our children.

graco turbobooster backless - the turbobooster is an easier-to-use option, in large part because...
The TurboBooster is an easier-to-use option, in large part because there is not a lot going on with it.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


When you don't have much going on, it isn't hard to be easier to use. The TurboBooster is pretty straightforward and earned a slightly higher-than-average ease of use score.

Our child tester had no trouble getting the seat belt buckled using the TurboBooster.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

This seat has no back and doesn't install in any way. Our tester was able to buckle the belt easily, but the shoulder belt did get twisted. We do think this will sort itself out over time as children learn how it works and get some practice under their belts.

The TurboBooster lap belt pathway is color-coded, and our tester had...
The TurboBooster lap belt pathway is color-coded, and our tester had no trouble getting the belt buckled.
The shoulder guide positioner might require a little parent help as...
The shoulder guide positioner might require a little parent help as it can get twisted.

Some testers also struggled with what to pull and what to tighten after buckling, but again, this is a learning curve issue we think will end up being intuitive and second nature quickly.

The cup holders on the TurboBooster pull out and are sort of stiff but work well and can be adjusted by children.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The TurboBooster has two cup holders you can pull out. They can be adjusted to keep them out of the way when not in use, which might make them easier to keep clean. However, they are not removable, so you'll need to take the entire seat out to tip it over to remove crumbs. We were able to get our test water bottle in the holder and not have it fall out.

The TurboBooster is light enough and small, so kids can manage it on their own if they need to.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Weight and Size


This Graco is one of the lightest in the group at 4.5 lbs, in large part due to its lack of back. While we prefer a backed booster, we know there are times when a smaller and lighter option is what you need. Despite the lighter weight, it would not be our choice for travel or carpooling as it is harder to carry than some smaller competitors.


It is also pretty narrow, with a width of only 16.3 inches. Only one option is narrower than this option, which is great for multiple seats in one row; however, combined with its disappointing crash analysis, we would look elsewhere.

graco turbobooster backless - the lack of a back and the hard seating area with limited padding...
The lack of a back and the hard seating area with limited padding make the TurboBooster less comfortable than most.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Comfort


As one of the few backless options we tested, it isn't a huge surprise it didn't score well for comfort compared to the competition. This Graco earned one of the lowest results for comfort. While it is obvious you won't have the nice side or support of competitors, what might not be obvious is the discomfort of the seat itself.

graco turbobooster backless - the only thing between the passenger tushie and the booster seat is...
The only thing between the passenger tushie and the booster seat is a thin cover with minimal (non-existent) padding, and while probably okay for quick trips, it will not be comfortable for longer rides.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The hard plastic bottom has a jersey knit feeling cover and the padding is equivalent to a blanket covering. There is no padding to speak of, and while it might be okay for shorter trips, it won't be a favorite on longer drives. Our tester didn't mind there being no back and liked the armrests, but we suspect there would be significant complaining on any road trips.

graco turbobooster backless - the trubobooster cannot be more basic than it is and it doesn't...
The TruboBooster cannot be more basic than it is and it doesn't appear as if much thought was put into quality or design.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Quality


The TurboBooster is also poor quality. It is a basic plastic booster with a thicker cover that looks like padding but isn't. There isn't much to this, and even the armrests are attached with just Velcro, which we can't imagine will last over time. It also doesn't even install in any way, so if there is not passenger, you'll need to buckle it in place to prevent it from free roaming in your car.

Passengers of the TurboBooster are able to reach the cupholders, but they aren't super wide or deep and some larger bottles might not fit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Should You Buy the Graco TurboBooster Backless?


Small and easy to carry is the name of the game when it comes to finding a boost for travel or everyday carpooling to school or camp. We see how the TurboBooster could end up on your shortlist, given its smaller size, lower weight, and additional features like armrests and cup holders. However, it is not our seat of choice for any use, be that every day or for travel, and given the lower crash testing results, we'd recommend parents look elsewhere for suitable options based on their goals.

What Other Booster Seat Should You Consider?


If your goal is an excellent option for little ones to carry themselves or something compact you can use while traveling, then the BubbleBum is our favorite. This simple booster is an inflatable cushion with a shoulder belt positioner that can be quickly and easily deployed in almost any situation. The lower price and better crash test analysis results than the TurboBooster make it a great option for when a high-backed traditional booster would be impractical. If you need an everyday booster for regular car rides, the Chicco KidFit Zip Air Plus 2-in-1 is our favorite option. This booster has a below-average price, one of the best crash test results, and impressive features for comfort.

Manufacturer Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz