Best Step Stools for Kids
The iLove Step Stool is a winning product as it supports (figuratively and literally) your little one's newfound independence and yearn to, "Me do it!" It features three top qualities: lightweight, dual-height, and slip-resistant steps. Toddlers will appreciate the ability to lift and move this product on their own, and the dual-height increases versatility. It will accommodate different heights of siblings, plus provide extra height to reach taller places, like kitchen counters. The iLove flexes as weight increases and returns to form after weight lifts. This feature protects against cracking under heavyweight or drops. 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 who are looking for a lightweight, two-level stool with anti-skid and slip-resistant 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 because it is the tallest product but also for its sturdiness, durability, and extraordinary anti-skid ability. 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. It is the top-performer when it comes to anti-skid, 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 mean slip-resistant 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. Users report that this can be a problem, and we agree but did not experience this issue while testing. A child's bare feet or toddler socks with grips have more gripping power, thus less prone to slide, but we worry about children wearing socks without grips or water from hand-washing and teeth-brushing that will increase the slipping risk on the smooth surface. Some users report that adding non-slip material to the steps helps. Our team did not test this. Regardless, this is undoubtedly an area that needs improvement. 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 slip-resistant material on the steps, then we recommend this stool.
The elephant foot design of the Bumbo Step Stool is charming 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 slip-resistant 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 faucet at the sink. However, 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 fear that 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 you have extra space in your bathroom, then 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.
Unfortunately, when opening this stool, it can pinch and trap little fingers - ouch! Perhaps older children may have more awareness of finger placement, but younger toddlers do not. Regardless of age, adult supervision should occur until mastery. Despite this issue, if space is limited, we recommend this foldable option as a solution.
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 slip-resistant material on top (one of the best in the competition) and anti-skid pads on the base that performs 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. Also, over time, the white surface with many small squares shows dirt and is 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.
Made of bamboo, the 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 does lack 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. With that said, if purchasing an eco-friendly, bamboo product is crucial to you, this one is adequate, but not one we necessarily recommend.
Why You Should Trust Us
Leading our review is Molly Bradac, a Research Analyst at BabyGearLab. With over 14 years as a professional Nanny, Molly brings a wealth of expertise and experiences to the world of testing baby gear. Toddlerhood is not an unknown territory for Molly, teaching most of her charges self-care skills, like hand-washing, teeth brushing, and toilet training, plus including them in kitchen activities that require reaching the countertop. All of these activities involve a step stool, and 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 each to roundup 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 will 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 do not feature slip-resistant properties, which increases the 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, along with 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.
In terms of slip-resistant material, the BabyBjorn offers full coverage, same with the Bumbo, followed by the iLove. Unfortunately, the Wood City does not provide any, neither does the Simplay3, but it does offer a textured surface.
Before purchasing, decide where you plan on using the stool and consider the height of your child, 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.
Now that your once little one is a fiercely independent toddler, you'll want to help them learn and exercise some self-sufficiency with a step stool. What your toddler can accomplish may surprise you. We did the measuring and testing to provide you with the details and expert recommendations you need to make an informed decision. There is sure to be a product here that will meet your needs and support your child in their next stage of development.
— Molly Bradac