Graco SimpleSwitch Review
Pros: Easy clean-up, inexpensive, reclines, 2-in-1 booster, durable
Cons: Tray does not lay flat, does not fold, tray can be tricky
Our Analysis and Test Results
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 its 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.
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 a 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.
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.
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.
It is also important to note that the crotch restraint connects to the tray rather than the seat. This design can come in handy when growing with your baby, but it also comes with a slew of negatives. The restraint is going to 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 seats. 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.
Ease of Cleaning
The tray on the SimpleSwitch is effortless 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.
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.
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.
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 set up completely. 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. However, it is fairly light at only 16.3 lbs, so it is still easy to move around.
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.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig