Best Step Stool for Kids
We believe the iLove Step Stool is a winner as it supports (figuratively and literally) your little one's newfound independence and desire to, "Me do it!" It features three top qualities: lightweight, dual-height, and non-slip material on the steps. Toddlers will appreciate the ability to lift and move this product on their own, and the dual-height helps accommodate siblings of different heights and provides extra height to reach taller places. The iLove flexes as weight increases and returns to form after weight lifts, protecting against cracking under heavyweight or drops. Also, the iLove has an anti-skid base with decent traction.
When testing the probability of skidding, this product's performance was adequate as it slid, slowly under pressure. We recommend this product for families looking for a lightweight, two-level stool with anti-skid and non-slip properties. From toilet training to the kitchen, it will give your child the boost they need.
The Wood City Step Stool stands out among the competition, not only as the tallest, but also its sturdiness, durability, and anti-skid ability is impressive. This dual-height wooden stool uses non-toxic varnish, and the product's smooth surface is easy to wipe down and clean, which is a perk because potty training will result in more than a few drops here and there. When it comes to anti-skid ability, the Wood City is a top-performer, and attributing factors to this impressive feat is the product's weight and surface area of its anti-skid pads. With no gap between the steps, you can forgo worrying about little feet falling through. This product requires assembly, and it is quick and straightforward to do. With a weight limit of 200lbs, it provides better longevity than some of the competition. Use it to reach tall bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, and closet spaces for children and adults alike.
Anti-skid relates to floor traction. It does not refer to non-slip material on steps, which prevents children from slipping. We want to be clear that this product does not offer slip-resistant material where feet go. We worry about children wearing socks without grips or water droplets from hand-washing or teeth-brushing, creating a slippery surface. Also, at 5.5 lbs, it is heavier than most, and although toddlers can lift it, it may require more effort than plastic contenders. Despite these flaws, if you value having a tall, durable, wooden stool with powerful anti-skid ability, plus can excuse the lack of non-slip material on the steps, we recommend it.
The elephant foot design of the Bumbo Step Stool is lovable and functional. Its stability is outstanding and stands tall, even though it is a one-level stool. Plus, it is budget-friendly. This plastic product is lightweight, making it easy for toddlers to move, and its contour design fits snug against the toilet base. It is easy to clean - an essential factor when toilet training your little one. Its ability to not skid on hard flooring is noteworthy and indeed better than other contenders. Its non-slip surface feels slightly tacky to the touch and keeps feet from slipping, regardless if your child is wearing socks or barefoot. This one-level stool should be enough to get on and off the toilet.
Depending on your child's height, this one-level stool may be too short in general, especially to reach the sink's faucet. But, this may not be a deal-breaker since adults are likely there to supervise. We recommend this product for families who want an economical, incredibly stable, one-level stool.
Sharing a stool can be a source of conflict for most siblings. Thankfully the Simplay3 Sibling Step Stool brings peace and order. This product allows both children to stand on the sturdy stool together, side-by-side. Plus, as a two-sided design, the Simplay3 will accommodate children of similar or different heights. On one side, it combines an elevated step and a low step. Flip it over, and it becomes a long, same-level step. This stool is plastic and does not feature slip-resistant rubber. Instead, it has a textured surface. With a weight limit of 300 lbs, use this stool as a flat bench for parents next to the tub - a bonus perk.
The Simplay3 is bulky and long, so it is most suitable for spacious spaces. Although the stool can stand vertical or on its side when not in use, which is somewhat space-saving, we wonder if families with small bathrooms will eventually find the repetitious task of moving it a nuisance. Also, non-slip resistant material on the steps is ideal for grip, and the Simplay3 does not have any. Instead, it features texture. While testing, we did not experience problems with slipping. The Simplay3 is also a decor eyesore. But, do not let appearances cloud your judgment. It works. Plus, who wouldn't want to sacrifice decor for sibling peace and sanity? So, if you have children who quarrel over the step stool and have extra space in your bathroom, look no further; we highly recommend the Simplay3.
The HandyLaundry Step Stool is foldable, portable, and best for families with small bathrooms or kitchens. It features a carry handle, and with its flip-open design, it is easy to use. This stool offers nearly 9" of height, slightly more than other one-level products in our review. Also, it has a slip-resistant dot surface to prevent feet from slipping, plus the anti-skid pads on the feet are adequate. When not in use, simply fold this stool up and store it behind a door or under the sink, keeping the floor free of obstacles.
With a foldable stool, there is a higher chance of pinching or trapping little fingers - ouch! Older children may have more awareness of finger placement than younger toddlers, but we suggest adult supervision until mastery regardless of age. Despite this drawback, we recommend this foldable option to families with limited space.
The OXO Tot Step Stool is sturdy, durable, and offers 7" of height. It features two handles (on opposite sides), making it easy to carry and reposition. The non-slip material covers the entire step, which is a plus in our book. Also, the anti-skid bottom is noteworthy as it keeps the stool from moving on the floor when little feet are aboard.
The step's surface is light in color and may show where dirty feet stand after time. However, this may be a small trade-off given the stool's durability and stability. If you are the deep cleaning type, we suggest using a small brush to scrub around the raised texture on the slip. Nonetheless, if you seek a one-level plastic stool with a non-slip step to help your child reach the sink, we think this product checks most of the boxes and may fit your needs.
The BabyBjorn Step Stool may be the shortest product in our review, but its sturdiness is mighty. This plastic, lightweight, modern stool is available in various colors. It has excellent non-slip material on top (one of the best in the competition), and anti-skid pads on the base perform decently when under pressure.
We worry that this stool lacks the necessary height for children to perform self-care skills, like hand-washing and teeth-brushing at the bathroom sink. Over time, the white surface with many small squares shows dirt and a chore to clean. Luckily, a black surface option is available, which hides the color of dirt. With that said, if your child is tall enough to benefit from this stool, this is a sturdy option. However, if your child is younger or short for their age, we do not recommend this product unless you plan on using it to reach lower items.
The bamboo Growing Up Green Step Stool appeals to those who prefer to purchase an eco-friendly product instead of plastic. The stool feels durable and looks great in any room, but, unfortunately, it lacks stability features that we consider essential. The top surface has horizontal slats, but no slip-resistant material, and it has poor anti-skid results due to its small, drop size pads. Although the stool is slightly heavier than plastic contenders, it is still easy for toddlers to carry than traditional wood stools. Plus, with a weight max of 200 lbs, we see this product offering longevity for children and adults.
The horizontal slats catch grime, and cleaning requires some effort. The slats are better than a smooth surface, but the lack of slip-resistant material raises concerns for children wearing socks without grips. The anti-skid pads are tiny and create almost no friction on the floor, making this product one of the easiest to push around. Lastly, as one of the narrowest products in our review, it can be tricky for toddlers to turn around on it when using the toilet. Yet, if purchasing an eco-friendly, bamboo product is crucial to you, this stool is adequate, if you are willing to overlook a few flaws.
Why You Should Trust Us
Supervising and leading our review is Molly Bradac, a Research Analyst and professional Nanny with nearly 14 years of childcare experience, bringing a wealth of knowledge and expertise to BabyGearLab. Toddlerhood is no unknown territory for Molly as she teaches most of her charges self-care skills, like hand-washing, teeth brushing, toilet training, and more, which require little ones to use a step stool to reach heights. So, there is no doubt that Molly can tell you what works and what does not. Also contributing to our review are little testers Max (18-months), Annie (22-months), and Eliza (4-years-old). We appreciate their involvement as it allows us to analyze our metrics from a child's perspective.
Analysis and Test Results
After exhaustively researching the market, we purchased 7 top step stools before hands-on testing to round up the details and information for our readers. Each product is compared side-by-side and assessed for important metrics outlined below.
Ease of Cleaning
With daily use comes dirt and grime, and a stool should be a breeze to wipe down and clean. The Wood City has a smooth surface that is the easiest out of the competition to clean. On the flip side, the Simplay3, BabyBjorn, and Growing Up Green have deeper grooves that may require more effort and some tools to reach nooks and crannies. The Bumbo has a black surface where little feet stand, and this will hide dirt. However, a stool like the BabyBjorn with a white surface will show dirt, but camouflage toothpaste and soap splatter.
If a stool skids on the floor causing children to lose balance, or worse, injury, what good is it? How about steps that lack non-slip (a.k.a slip-resistant) material, which can increase chance of falls? Since no stool is perfect and children are wiggly creatures, accidents can happen. Still, the likelihood of falling reduces with more robust stability, and this is precisely why this metric is important to us. We value stools that feature generous anti-skid material on the base and slip-resistant material (typically rubber) on the steps.
We pushed and shoved these products on wood and tile flooring to test skidding probability. The Wood City has the best performance, followed by the Bumbo. Both of these products feature anti-skid bases with a greater surface area. On the flip side, the Growing Up Green did not perform well with small, drop-size anti-skid pads.
The BabyBjorn offers full coverage of slip-resistant material on the step, so does the Bumbo and the OXO Tot Step Stool. Unfortunately, the Wood City does not provide any, which causes worry, and neither does the Simplay3, but it offers a textured surface to keep little feet stable, which is better than nothing.
Before purchasing, decide where you plan on using the stool and consider your child's height. Collectively this will help determine the appropriate size. We provide the dimensions for each product above, so you know what you are getting. The tallest product in the review is the Wood City, whereas the BabyBjorn is the shortest. The Simplay3 is the longest as it can fit two children, side-by-side, whereas the HandyLaundry is the narrowest. As for depth, the Wood City is the most substantial, whereas the Growing up Green is not.
If your fiercely independent toddler is ready to reach new heights, a step stool will be essential. You may be surprised to see what your little one can accomplish with an added boost. We are confident that our review provides the necessary details and recommendations so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect step stool to support your child in their next stage of development.
— Molly Bradac