phil and teds Lobster Review
Pros: Very portable, easy to place, 4-point shoulder harness
Cons: Poor table compatability, not enough room for baby, tray could fit better, expensive
Manufacturer: phil & teds
Our Analysis and Test Results
Founded in 1994 by a father-son team and later purchased in 1998 by current CEO Campbell Gower, phil and teds is an innovative company whose mantra is "adapt and survive." This New Zealand-based company has infused the baby industry in the US with contemporary inspiration and vigorous competition.
Ease Of Use
The Lobster is simple to set up, unfold, slide onto the table, and twist tight. Voila, you're finished! There are limitations to the type of surfaces that work with the Lobster. It only works with tables that have straight edges and no skirts or lips, which can make it challenging to use at all restaurants.
The Lobster is suitable for use with babies from 6-months to 37 lbs. However, we had a 25 lb tester who pushed its space limits and was downright irritable in the seat. Sadly, the Lobster isn't as comfortable as some of the other chairs we reviewed. This seat has very small leg holes, a seat that is too deep, and it positions the baby too close to the eating surface.
Putting the baby inside and strapping them in is not a walk in the park either. The smaller leg holes can be difficult to maneuver, especially if you have a baby with chunkier thighs, shoes on, or an older child. It can be very difficult to get them settled into the seat as the leg holes are not as large as most babies will likely need. Also, the seat installs close to the edge of the table, and if you have a wiggly toddler, it can be difficult to get them into the tight space. With the baby in the seat, you have an even smaller space to fit your handsso you can buckle your baby in and tighten the straps. This design creates a very frustrating experience. The harness straps include large, padded covers that you can remove for more space, but you sacrifice comfort for more room to maneuver.
Safety and Quality
The Lobster shines in both safety and quality with a nice fit and finish. It is the only hook-on chair in the review with a 4-point harness. The harness has a removable pad and the separate attached crotch panel keeps kiddos in place (assuming they fit). The claw-like attachment arms are super sturdy with non-slip, rubberized grips. The seat back is tall and supportive, but the distance from the seat pad to dining surface is a whopping 8.5" which seems quite deep for a 6-month+ diner. This design is part of the reason it feels cramped inside; the baby has to either lift their arms up near their chest or squeeze them inside the limited seat space. The seat fabric itself is soft polyester with nice cushioning. However, we weren't as pleased with the included tray as it is small, flimsy, easily removable by bored kids, and overall disappointing.
At 3.7 lbs, the Lobster is easy to carry and falls right in the middle for weight in the group of chairs in this review. When folded, it is the smallest hook-on chair. The chair and tray fit together snugly in the included carry bag and can be transported using the tote handles, or it the whole kit and kaboodle can fit into a large diaper bag.
Ease Of Cleaning
Though a quick wipe with a wet cloth should be sufficient after most meals, the polyester seat fabric is removable for a more thorough periodic cleaning. The chair is hand wash and air dry, which will take more time and forethought than if you could use a washer and dryer. The tray is top-rack dishwasher friendly, but we suggest hand washing to minimize plastic degradation and potential chemical leaching into baby's food.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig