Best 5 Point Harness Booster Seat
Let’s just get the technical details out of the way- if you’re looking for the Best 5-Point Harness Booster Seat out there, your options might seem endless, but in essence, the only two brands you should be considering are Diono and Britax. We have praised the amazing capabilities of the Diono Rainer before, but today, we’re going to get into a little more detail, tell you all you need to know and show you what exactly our three top booster car seats bring to the table to help keep your growing child safe in the car.
What’s the deal with 5-point harness boosters anyway?
Well, to put it simply, these seats prolong the period of time your child can comfortably sit in his (restrained) car seat to keep him as safe as possible in the car.
Why not just use a backless booster without harnesses?
You see the real problem is that kids often just don’t have the physical attributes to be able to sit up straight enough in their seats (without a harness) when they’re ready for a booster seat, plus, their bodies can’t cope with collision applied forces when they’re merely restrained by their seatbelt, they need something to literally hold them to the seat.
What makes a great 5-point harness booster seat?
- The best models will allow a maximum weight limit of 90 pounds
- The best 5-point harness boosters have a minimum age of 2 years and a minimum weight of 25 pounds that need to be met before you can use them for your child
- Top models are easy to use
Now that we have the small talk out of the way, let’s take an in-depth look at the best harness boosters out there.
The Best 5-Point Harness Booster Seats Review
The Best of the Bunch
It’s not just a car seat, and it’s not just a booster, it’s the whole enchilada wrapped up into one pretty product. Thanks to its impressive 12 year lifespan, the Diono Rainier is guaranteed to see your child through the stages of infancy all the way to elementary. If you’re keen on the idea of only investing in a car seat once in your child’s lifetime, the Diono Rainier would be IT!
With the ability to accommodate weights ranging from 5 to 120 pounds, this car seat is a cut above the rest. Oh and there’s more…it’s also compact, which means fitting 3-across in a medium sized car is going to be child’s play.
It doesn’t exactly come at a pretty price, ranging from $319 to $360, it’s going to cost you a lot. Considering the fact that it will be the only car seat you ever buy, things seem to make a little more sense.
- It comes with a steel frame which adds extra protection and also expands the lifespan
- It has a fully adjustable 12-position head rest
- It has deep reinforced side walls with energy-absorbing foam to help minimize side-impact protection to the minimum
- It’s super comfortable with the two-piece infant body pillow (for the newborn days)
- It’s also super comfortable for bigger kids to sit in with its memory foam in the sitting area
- Accommodates rear-facing from 5-50 pounds and forward facing from 20-90 pounds before transitioning to the booster stage that accommodates 50-120 pounds and up to 57 inches tall.
- It comes with the Super LATCH feature, ensuring the most effective installation up to the weight limit of 80 pounds.
The Runner Up
For just a little bit less of an investment (about $296), you could also opt for the Britax Pinnacle 90. Britax is renowned for the outstanding safety features of their car seats, and this 5-point harness booster is no exception to the rule. One thing that we love about this booster seat is the fact that it has Easy-Access Belt Paths, making it simple and easy to use with adult seat belts. For easy storage of sippy cups (because kids will be kids), the Pinnacle 90 also has integrated cup holders plus additional storage space, and since dirty little hands love marking their territory, the seat over is also removable and machine washable.
For frequent flyers, you’ll be happy to know that the Pinnacle 90 is certified for Aircraft Travel when it’s in Harness mode!
The one thing you need to know about Britax seats is that they are heavy and bulky, but they never compromise on super-quality safety features.
- The 5-point Tangle-Free harness has 7 height adjustable positions
- In Harness Mode the Pinnacle 90 has a 70 pound weight capacity, and in booster mode it can accommodate up to 110 pounds.
- It comes with Energy Absorbing Tether Anchors which helps minimize the amount of forward movement the car seat might have.
- It comes with various declinable positions
- Comfort Foam is a standard extra layer of padding to ensure the softest seat for your young one
- The transition from Harness to Booster Mode requires no removing of the harness straps
- The Pinnacle 90 has armrests so that your child has a comfortable place to rest his arms on
- It comes with two buckle positions, ideal for growing children
The Next Best Thing
Seeing that Britax is renowned for their safe, reliable and effective car seats, it really comes as no surprise that we have another model from the same brand on this list. The Frontier is the Britax car seat you would want to consider if you’re going to want to fit more than one seat in the back of your car. The Pinnacle 90 (that we just mentioned) comes in with dimensions that are about 3.5 inches wider than the Frontier. So, big families, this one is for you, coming in as one of the most compact choices available in the “safe 5-point harness booster” showdown.
If you want to save a little (while it might be just about $20), the Frontier is just as good an option as the Pinnacle 90 is, except for the fact that it DOESN’T come with Side Impact Cushion Technology (SICT). The choice of whether you want to invest a little more for more safety is as always, up to you.
We’re not going to repeat ourselves here because other than the fact that the Frontier is a little narrower and doesn’t come with Side Impact Protection Technology, it has exactly the same features as the Pinnacle 90. As a result, you can pick up this model for a few dollars cheaper than the Pinnacle.