You need a booster seat and you want to get a Graco, but which one is best?
Looking at the Graco Affix Youth Booster and the Graco Highback Turbobooster Car Seat next to one another presents a big challenge. They essentially have all of the same features and are made by the same reliable baby gear manufacturer.
So how do you know which one to get? My vote is the Affix. It’s a few more dollars, but it’s totally worth it to get the comfier seat with the better installation.
Since Graco makes both the Affix and the Turbobooster, they are both a safe bet. Both seats have been created to meet and/or exceed all of the safety standards in the US. They have especially good protection for side impact. They both contain EPS, which is that outstandingly absorbent foam. This means that if you were ever to experience a car wreck with your kiddo in tow, your Graco seat would keep them safe from harm.
Award Winning Safety
As for the Turbobooster, it’s been given the “Best Bet Booster” award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. That’s definitely something to consider when looking at which seat is considered safer. However, I don’t like that the Turbobooster utilizes only the weight of the child combined with the car’s seatbelt to keep it secure.
I Like the Latch Better!
As a mom who has sworn by the latch system for every single car seat or booster that I’ve ever purchased, I feel better purchasing the Affix, which utilizes the latch system. The Turbobooster is safe, but I don’t like the way it wobbles when it’s in the car. Even with my big kiddo in there, it still tips around when he moves. The Affix felt more secure to me, although getting it to that point was no easy feat. You use the Affix’s latch hook like you would with any other car seat, but then you have to adjust the two straps up front individually until both the right and left sides are secure. After it’s in, it doesn’t wobble at all, which gives me peace of mind.
Years of Use
Both of these great seats can support children from 30 to 100 pounds. Both of these great seats hold kids from 38 to 57 inches tall. And, both of these great seats are adjustable and convertible into backless boosters. No tie-breaking features here!
Ease of Adjusting
Both seats use the same exact system to adjust the headrest. You simply pull up on a latch on the back of the headrest to put it where you need it. This means that as long as you are using the highback mode, you can make sure the headrest is right where your child needs it. This is great for those long trips and the ever-elusive car naps for older kids.
Either seat can turn into a backless booster when your child is ready. The only different features I find here are the latch system. With the Turbobooster, the child is basically sitting on a nice, safe cushion with belt loop guides. Their own weight is the only thing keeping it held down. With the Affix, it’s, well, affixed to the car, so they can’t slide it around when they move or get in and out. If I’m going through the trouble of making my kids use a booster, I want it to be secure.
At this stage, you have to make sure that your child likes their car seat. It makes life a whole lot easier when they are excited to get in their booster/car seat and get buckled in. I think any child would like the Affix or the Turbobooster, but the Affix might have just a few more cool points for kids.
Comfort Matters to Older Kids
Younger kids will just kind of put up with a car seat. My son didn’t start complaining until he hit about age 3. Then, he’d let us know if straps were too tight, if it was too hot, his back was hurting, etc. So when you buy a booster, make sure your kid feels comfortable in it! It is so worth it when you don’t hear constant griping from the back seat.
My biggest complaint with all Graco seats is that there just isn’t much padding for the tush. Some of the higher-end brands are much more padded because they use foam the whole way around the seat. Feeble padding aside, I feel like both of these seats are reasonably comfortable. They have good back support and padded armrests. The multi-layer headrests are both adjustable and comfortable for your child. I do like the fabric on the Affix better because I feel like it’s more breathable and a bit more heavy duty.
Yet another perk of the Affix is that it has the ability to recline. This is obviously only usable when you are using the highback mode, but it’s so nice to have. I think it makes the seat more user friendly for younger kids that are switching to this booster seat from a regular car seat. It’s also fantastic for road trips or late night drives because they won’t be doing the sleepy head jerk dance.
This is one point where the two booster seats are clearly different. The Turbobooster has two big cup holders, one on each side. The cup holders are hideable under the car seat if you only want to have one (or none!). This feature is actually amazing. For the side of the booster that’s closest to the door, you can just tuck away the cup holder when not in use. That means no bumping and spilling your drink because it’s on the wrong side.
As for the Affix, it has an integrated (read: not hideable) and good-sized cup holder on one side, and a sliding storage compartment on the other. I feel like this is great for older kids. They can have their drink on one side and put their phone/gaming system on the other side. Granted, the hiding compartment isn’t that large and it sometimes gets trapped under the fabric of the seat, but it’s still nice to have. I think it definitely makes kids feel like they have their own special spot for stuff. My son personally had a stash of Legos and fruit snacks for every car ride, and he loved it!
Is it Easy to Buckle?
This is one of THE most important questions for those older kids! Afterall, that’s half the point of them being in a booster seat- they’re more independent and able to use the car’s seatbelt. Both the Affix and Turbobooster have easy-to-use seat belt guiding loops. They are matching and bright red, so they’re hard to miss. As long as you follow the directions and teach your kiddo how to do it properly, they shouldn’t have too hard of a time buckling up. I do feel that the Affix has an advantage here because that awesome latch system helps it stay put, which makes it easier for your kid to buckle himself in.
In both seats, I feel like the armrests get in the way of the buckling process. Neither of these seats has the option to rotate the armrest in until needed. That would certainly help in buckling, but it’s not an option. You can adjust the height of the armrests on the Turbobooster, but unless you want to be doing that several times a day each time your kid buckles in, it’s not helpful for buckling up.
Graco Affix Booster Customer Ratings
- 4.9 stars, 343 reviews – Target
- 4.8 stars, 421 reviews – Walmart
- 4.8 stars, 265 reviews – Kohl’s
Graco Highback Turbobooster Customer Ratings
- 4.8 stars, 489 reviews – Target
- 4.7 stars, 309 reviews – Bed Bath & Beyond
- 4.7 stars, 338 reviews – Kohl’s
I touched on a lot of different features for these booster seats, and they are very closely comparable in all categories. I think the winner here has to be the Graco Affix Booster seat. It gets consistently better reviews for a reason. The latch system, while it poses a higher price tag, is just better for a booster seat. It makes it more secure, more safe, and easier for kids to use. You can turn the Affix into a backless booster when you need to, so you’ll get a lot of mileage from one seat. The Affix is more comfortable for kids because it has nicer fabric, two stage recline, a comfy and adjustable headrest, and great cup holder and storage compartment. If you need a convertible booster and don’t mind the slightly higher price tag, pick the Graco Affix. You won’t be disappointed.
Be sure to read our Best Booster Seat article to see which Graco booster seat made the list.