Summer Infant Bentwood Review
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Summer Infant Bentwood is a stylish chair that did not perform well compared to competitors. We had many frustrations with it but we will say it wasn't all bad. We liked the easy-to-adjust nature which allows it to be used for children up to 50 pounds, and the fact that it includes a quality 5-point safety harness with easy one-hand release. Although this chair does not come with wheels, we found it to be lightweight enough to move around the kitchen.
About Summer Infant
Summer Infant baby products came about in 1985 after a father, searching for a place to safely put down his infant daughter, Summer, invented the original bouncy chair. Since then, Summer Infant has been developing quality baby products ranging from bathtubs to cribs.
Ease of Use
The Bentwood, although a stylish and sleek, modern-looking chair, did not perform well in our ease of use category, earning a lowly 3 of 10. Although it did earn points for versatility, we found the flimsy cushions to be sub-par, so it lost points there. The infant insert that is included with purchase is a nice touch, but would not be adequate support for a younger baby. On the plus side, it was easy to harness baby in, and we very much appreciated the 5-point restraint that could be released with one hand. As with other chairs such as the Graco Blossom, we wish the manufacturer would have made the crotch restraint part of the actual seat rather than attached to the bottom of the removable tray.
Additionally, we did not find the chair to be as 'table-friendly' as the company claims it is, and had a hard time getting baby close enough to the table to eat due to the chair's armrests getting in the way.
Ease of Cleaning
It also struggled in our ease of cleaning metric, bottoming out at 2 of 10. The chair and tray were easy enough to wipe down, however where the Bentwood lost major points was with the seat cushion. We really liked that fact that you could throw it in the washing machine if needed, because the material was NOT easy to wipe down quickly after a meal. In fact, after our toddler tester finished her very first meal in this chair, the wipe down did not clean it sufficiently, and it had to be machine washed! In addition to this, even after machine washing and laying flat to dry as the instructions stated, the cushion just did not dry right, and sat differently on the seat of the chair, exposing some of the wood on the sides. The chairs that sported cushions on the seats that were quick and easy to wipe clean, like the Graco Blossom, were definitely some of our favorites.
This chair did hit some marks on the material and finishes aspect of our 'quality' metric, and even got a friend to comment "Oh, I like that one!" They really did a good job of mixing looks and functionality together. Despite its looks though, we did not find it to be as stable as the other chairs we tested, and it's important to note that the chair itself actually arrived damaged, with a piece of broken wood where one of the screws was put into the leg. Although this didn't affect functionality of the chair, it was a disappointment. Therefore, we only gave it a 3 of 10 for this category.
Its ability to adjust up and down as well as recline was something we appreciated, but ultimately felt as though it was compromising the structural integrity of the chair. For example, when reclining the chair up, we felt as though the whole thing was about to fold in half!
Ease of Set Up
The Bentwood performed decently here, earning itself a 5 of 10 with an average set up time of about 10 minutes. It was easier to set up than the Fisher Price Rainforest Healthy Care or the Keekaroo Height Right. We were pleased to see that the instructions were more clear than those in many of the other manuals.
Footprint and Portability
The Summer Infant Bentwood was right in the middle of the pack in regards to footprint and portability. Earning a 5 of 10, it was a chair that only took up 609 square inches of floor space, weighed about 17 pounds (one of the lighter of the bunch), and even though it did not have wheels, was easy to maneuver around a tile kitchen floor.
This might make a good secondary, or back-up high chair for a grandparent's house, where it's ability to fold for storage would come in handy when not in use. As for full time use, we feel that the cushions would get too much wear-and-tear, and simply could not handle that much machine washing.
With an average price tag of $185, this chair was lacking in some standard amenities that other chairs with a lower price point offered, like the Graco Blossom. Consider the needs of your family before purchasing any high chair, and check out our price/value chart to see how other chairs performed when compared to price.
If modern style and sleek looks are what you're after, the Bentwood does fit this bill. It's combination of wood, some metal, and brightly colored fabric seat cushions make it a nice mix for baby furniture. We appreciate it's ability to fold when not in use, and liked that our toddler felt secure when buckled in the 5-point restraint system. Overall though, this seat fell short in too many areas for us. If you want a better performing product at a lower price point, we'd say go with the OXO Seedling or Graco Blossom.
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More