Hands-on Gear Review

Graco SimpleSwitch Review

Best Value Award
Price:   $80.00 List
Pros:  Easy Clean-up, inexpensive, reclines, 2-in-1 booster, durable
Cons:  Tray does not lay flat, does not fold, tray can be tricky
Bottom line:  An affordable sturdy option that will get the job done
Editors' Rating:   
Use Range:  Highchair: Up to 37 lbs Booster: Up to 60 lbs
Harness:  3 and 5-point
Dimensions:  28.5"L x 23.5"W x 43"H
Manufacturer:   Graco

The Skinny

The Graco SimpleSwitch is a functional and long lasting high chair that can be used up to 60 lbs. We were super pleased with the combination of durability and low cost that the SimpleSwitch offers, making it our Best Value Award winner. It is true to its name, featuring the ability to switch from high chair to booster by simply removing the legs. The easy to use 3-position recline and ability to clean without too much extra elbow grease helped this chair to surpass the competition regarding value. If you are looking for something with more features or better style, check out our two Editor's Choice winners, the Peg Perego Siesta and the BabyBjorn.



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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig

Last Updated:
Wednesday
June 20, 2018

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The Graco SimpleSwitch is a sturdy and affordable high chair, and there are many things to like about it. Its 3-position recline makes it easy to find a comfortable spot for baby to chow down or chill out. It is lightweight and easy to partially disassemble in case you ever want to move or store it. The 2-in-1 system ensures that you will get more use out of it than the average high chair, making it a great value in our eyes. Graco's selection of high chairs is vast, all sporting many different features at various price points. The SimpleSwitch stands out for its ability to provide great longevity in combination with durability and low cost.

About Graco


The Graco brand has been synonymous with baby gear for decades. Originally a machine and car part manufacturer, the company is currently based out of Atlanta, Georgia, and switched their focus to baby gear in 1955. Today Graco offers one of the largest selections of baby products out there and is many parents first choice when it comes to their children.

Performance Comparison



We like the simplicity of the design and ease of use.
We like the simplicity of the design and ease of use.

Ease of Use


We were pleased with the performance of the Graco chair during our testing. Although it may lack some fancy features, such as height adjustment and a modern look, we appreciate how uncomplicated the chair is to use. The recline position can be adjusted by just pulling a lever on the back of the seat, and the harness is easy to adjust on the fly even with a squirmy baby. When baby is ready for a booster seat, the harness converts easily from a 5-point to a 3-point harness for use with older children. The buckle features a one-handed release to make life just a little easier.
The recline lever for the SimpleSwitch is located on the back of the seat and is easy to operate.
The 5-point harness is easy to operate one-handed  but it has lots of small cracks that may collect food over time.
This seat is also highly versatile thanks to its ability to convert into a booster seat. This conversion can be done by first removing the legs and then sliding a release to let out the chair straps. The buttons on either side of the chair used to release the legs are finger friendly, and we were never worried about any pinching. We really appreciate the fact that the straps are stored within the seat and are ready to use when needed, which eliminates any worry of losing them or having them flop around freely while using the seat in high chair mode.

Buttons on either side of the chair release the legs.
Buttons on either side of the chair release the legs.

While we have few complaints about the SimpleSwitch, the majority of them stem from the tray. It can be a bit tricky to get on and off the chair. It was not intuitive the first time we tried to use it, and we had to take a second look at the instructions to figure it out. The Graco emblem on the front of the chair is the release button, and it requires a decent amount of pressure to release the latch mechanism, so much so that we recommend using the heel of your hand rather than a thumb.

Using your thumb to remove the tray can be difficult. Use the heel of your hand instead.
Using your thumb to remove the tray can be difficult. Use the heel of your hand instead.

It is also important to note that the crotch restraint connects to the tray rather than the seat, which can come in handy when growing with your baby, but it also comes with a slew of negatives. The restraint is going prevent you from placing the tray flat on a table unless it has been completely cleared off. The incline would be enough to make berries, peas and the like roll off quickly. While this is not necessarily a deal breaker, it is something to consider since we know that little ones don't always make it through a full meal before needing to leave their seat. Lastly, it is essential to ensure you correctly adjust the straps and keep them snug to your baby since you will lose the additional safety measure a built-in crotch restraint would provide.

The crotch restraint is attached to the tray instead of the chair.
The crotch restraint is attached to the tray instead of the chair.

Ease of Cleaning


The tray on the SimpleSwitch is very easy to wipe clean with no sneaky places to attract unwanted crud. The crotch restraint is attached to the tray rather than the seat, which makes the tray large enough that it will not fit into the dishwasher comfortably. Although this is not a big deal as we recommend handwashing to avoid any possible chemical leeching, it is something to note.
The extra large tray is a feature we appreciate for its ability to contain baby's mess.
If any food makes it past the tray  the seat cover can be removed and is machine washable.
You can remove the fabric cover by unhooking a few clips and then slipping it off the chair for cleaning. It can be machine washed but should be left to drip dry, so if you plan on washing it, be sure to leave enough time in between meals to allow it to dry completely. The cover is one solid piece of fabric and so should catch most everything that gets past the tray, but if anything happens to make it down to the base of the seat, it can be wiped clean with a damp cloth.

Quality


The SimpleSwitch is average when it comes to quality. It does not feature a modern, innovative design or cool fabric. It is simply a high chair, and it looks and feels about how you would expect a traditional high chair to look and feel. The tray is notably large, and we felt it would catch most anything baby could throw at it.

Although the fabrics and materials may not be as nice as on some other chairs tested  baby didn't complain.
Although the fabrics and materials may not be as nice as on some other chairs tested, baby didn't complain.

Perhaps the thing we appreciate the most about this chair is how durable it is. All the parts seem sturdy enough to withstand daily use through multiple children. It may not be the most stylish chair on the market, but its simple and sturdy construction means that it can outlast many other chairs at a fraction of the cost.

Ease of Set Up


Setting up the SimpleSwitch requires an average amount of steps compared to other chairs in this review. With the help of the instruction manual, it took us less than 5 minutes to completely set up. The directions are simple to follow, utilizing both words and pictures to guide you through the process. There are two pins used to secure the back of the seat to the bottom. These took a small amount of finagling to figure out, but we finished in a matter of minutes. If you are struggling with any part of set up, Graco has a helpful video that clearly shows and explains the process.

Footprint and Portability


Footprint and portability refer to the amount of space the chair will take up in your kitchen and how easily you can move it around your home. The SimpleSwitch has a larger than average footprint, measuring 669.8 square inches, with only the Peg Perego Siesta and Joovy Nook taking up more space. However, it is fairly light at only 16.3 lbs, so is still easy to move around.

While the chair is light and relatively easy to move around the kitchen  the legs stick out at a decent angle creating a larger footprint.
While the chair is light and relatively easy to move around the kitchen, the legs stick out at a decent angle creating a larger footprint.

While the chair itself is not very large, the legs do stick out at an angle to provide stability, making the footprint larger. Unfortunately, this chair does not fold down at all. If you need to store it temporarily, you can remove the legs. If you are looking for a chair to bring out only during mealtimes and then fold up when not in use, you are better off going with the more compact Joovy Nook. Or better yet, if you live in a small apartment or have a compact kitchen/ dining area, you may be interested in a portable high chair.

The SimpleSwitch can be used with children up to 37 lbs.
The SimpleSwitch can be used with children up to 37 lbs.

Best Applications


The SimpleSwitch is ideal for a family looking for a chair that will last through multiple children without breaking the bank. The durable materials ensure that it will age well and it's simplicity means that there are no pieces that could break or go missing. It is also one of the lightest chairs in the review, and so easy to disassemble that some parents may even consider taking it on the go in place of a portable high chair. An alternate use may be to leave it at grandma's house, so you don't have to worry about packing along another piece of baby gear for weekend visits.

The Simple Switch easily transforms from high chair to booster seat.
The Simple Switch easily transforms from high chair to booster seat.

Value


While it may not be as fancy and flashy as some other high chairs, the SimpleSwitch is the least expensive high chair in our review at only $80. In it for the long haul, it can be used as a high chair up to 37 lbs and up to 60 lbs as a booster seat later on. You will be hard-pressed to find another seat that will last for as many years and still fall within the same price range. We believe the SimpleSwitch delivers excellent value for the budget-minded family.

Our 18-month-old tester was happy to use the large tray to feed herself.
Our 18-month-old tester was happy to use the large tray to feed herself.

Conclusion


The Graco SimpleSwitch won us over thanks to its sheer simplicity, ease of use, and budget-friendly price tag. It is a chair we'd recommend it to anyone wanting a high chair that won't drain the bank account, or are looking for a backup to leave at grandma's house. We think that the large tray and removable fabric cover will help contain mealtime messes (as well as expected) keeping mom happy while she tries to keep baby well fed.

Other Versions and Accessories


Graco offers a variety of high chairs at multiple price points, one of which, the Graco Blossom, was also included in this review. Other options include:

Video



Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig


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