Best Step Stool for Kids
It's not hard to love the iLove Step Stool. Honestly, we think this option is handy to have around the home. It is supportive (figuratively and literally), boosting your little one to new heights so they can practice newfound independence or desire to "Me do it!". It is very lightweight, and tots have no problem lifting and moving it. The dual-height design is versatile and offers the ability to reach higher heights or accommodate siblings of different sizes, such as an older child who may only need a little boost. The stool sports non-slip material on the steps, reducing the possibility of slips and falls, and the base has anti-skid material with decent traction. The iLove flexes as weight increases and returns to form after weight lifts, protecting against cracking under heavyweight or drops.
We couldn't identify any significant drawbacks with this option, and, overall, we think it is suitable for most needs. However, if pressured to pinpoint a flaw, we would say the iLove's performance while testing the probability of skidding is adequate, yet not rock solid like some contenders. It slid slowly under pressure and not quickly. We recommend this product for families looking for a lightweight, two-level stool with anti-skid and non-slip properties. Wherever you plan to use this option, we think the iLove will give your child the boost they need.
The Wood City Step Stool stands out among the competition for multiple reasons. It is one of the tallest, plus offers sturdiness, durability, and impressive anti-skid ability. This dual-height wooden stool uses non-toxic varnish, and the product's smooth surface is easy to wipe down, which is a perk because step stools will likely build up grime and dirt from little feet, and even 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 are the product's weight and surface area of its anti-skid pads underneath. With no gap between the steps, you can worry less about little feet falling through. This product requires assembly, but the task is quick and easy. Between its weight limit of 200 lbs and material, we think the Wood City offers longevity and will likely be around to help you and your child reach tall bookshelves, kitchen cabinets, and closet spaces over time.
We want to clarify that this product does not offer slip-resistant material on the steps where feet stand. Therefore, we worry about children wearing socks without grips or water droplets from hand-washing or teeth-brushing, creating a slippery surface. The Wood City is also heavier than plastic contenders in this review, weighing 5.5 lbs, and may take some muscle to move for toddlers. But, if you can overlook these drawbacks and have your sights set on a durable product with powerful anti-skid ability, we think this option may meet your needs.
The elephant foot design of the Bumbo Step Stool is lovable and functional. Its stability is outstanding, and it stands taller than other one-level stools in our lineup. 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, and it can stand vertical or on its side when not in use, which is somewhat space-saving, but we wonder if families with small bathrooms will eventually find the repetitious task of moving this stool a bother. The steps of the Simplay3 do not have non-slip material and instead feature texture for added grip, which is better than none. In comparison to other contenders, this option may be considered a decor eyesore. But, do not let appearance 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. 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, 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 finger placement awareness 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 may appeal to those who prefer to purchase an eco-friendly product over plastic. The stool is slightly heavier than plastic contenders, but it is still easy for toddlers to carry than traditional, dual-step wood stools. Plus, with a weight max of 200 lbs, we see this product offering longevity for children and adults.
The stool feels durable and looks great in any room, but, unfortunately, it lacks stability features that we consider essential. 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 under the stool's feet are drop-size and create almost no friction on the floor, making this product one of the easiest to push around. The horizontal slats catch grime, and cleaning will require some effort. 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 will get the job done if you are willing to overlook a few flaws.
Why You Should Trust Us
Supervising and leading our review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor, and 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 often teaches children self-care skills, like hand-washing, teeth brushing, toilet training, and more, which require the use of 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. We appreciate their involvement as it allows us to analyze our metrics from a child's perspective. We purchased each product, completed hands-on testing, and side-by-side comparisons to assess performance for our review.
Analysis and Test Results
To evaluate performance and gather essential details, we used each product for an extended period. We took measurements, weighed each contender, and tried them out in various locations around the home. Plus, we observed little testers using the step stools and took notes. Collectively, our hands-on testing and tester feedback influenced the overall ranking of products.
Ease of Cleaning
A product that is easy to wipe down and clean can make all the difference, and we considered this when ranking our lineup. Indeed, daily use will result in dirt and grime. The Wood City has a smooth surface that we think is a breeze 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 color will hide dirt. However, a stool like the BabyBjorn with a white surface will show dirt yet 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? Honestly, no stool is perfect, and children are wiggly creatures, so accidents do happen. The likelihood of falling decreases with more robust stability, 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 each product on wood and tile flooring to test its skidding probability. The Wood City has the best performance of all the contenders, followed by the Bumbo. These two products have anti-skid bases with a greater surface area, contributing to their success. 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 to keep little feet stable, along with the Bumbo and OXO Tot Step Stool. Unfortunately, the Wood City does not provide any slip-resistant material. The Simplay3 offers a textured surface instead of slip-resistant material, which is better than nothing.
Before purchasing a stool, decide where you plan to use it and consider your child's height. Collectively this will help you determine the appropriate size to meet your needs. Our review provides the dimensions for each product, so you know what you are getting. The tallest product is the Wood City, whereas the BabyBjorn is the shortest. The widest is the Simplay3, which can fit two children side-by-side. However, the HandyLaundry is the narrowest, plus it folds up, which is excellent for smaller spaces. As for depth, the Wood City is the most substantial, whereas the Growing up Green is not.
Is your tot ready to reach new heights? A step stool will be their new best companion and your best tool to support their independence. You may be surprised to see what your little one can accomplish with an added boost. We are confident that our lineup provides the necessary details and recommendations to help you find the perfect step stool to support your child in their next stage.
— Molly Bradac