The Battle of the Best High Chair
Do you know what features to look for when purchasing the perfect high chair for your family? With endless lists of functions, fabrics, and designs, how does a new parent possibly know where to start? We put nine top-rated chairs to the test to figure out which options were worth it, which ones we could pass up, and which ones were great for specific situations, like apartment living. Keep reading to discover the pros and cons of each chair, along with the buying advice that will help you make the best decision for your little one.
Peg Perego Siesta
The Peg Perego Siesta is a high-quality product that has the potential to be passed on for years to come. This chair is well designed and has many handy functions such as multiple positions for the recline, height, and footrest and creates a chair that allows infants to recline with a bottle, as well as being perfect for a hungry toddler self-feeding, and everything in between. The Prima Classe fabric comes in multiple colors and has a supple, leathery feel. The chair has wheels to make it easier to move around your home, but also features a Stop & Go Brake system that is simple to use to keep your baby safe. It also has a compact fold, making it more convenient to store.
Tricky to roll
Hard to clean
Some users felt like the wheels could be tricky to maneuver, since the back wheels swivel and the front wheels are secured. A simple solution to this problem is to either roll it backward, steering with the rear wheels rather than the front. It also can be a bit difficult to ensure the chair is completely clean. While the fabric is easy to wipe down and the trays are dishwasher safe (though we recommend hand washing as often as possible), there are several nooks and crannies where crumbs and gunk can hide. Despite these flaws, we are very impressed with the overall high quality and flexible nature of the chair and believe it would keep any family happy during mealtime.
Read the Review: Peg Perego Siesta
The BabyBjorn would be a lightweight and simple addition to your mealtimes. The sleek, high-quality design gives special attention to small details such as ergonomics and a well fitting tray. The tray attaches close to the belly, and we love it for two main reasons; it functions as part of the restraint system, and it is reassuring to know that our baby cannot stand up in this chair. Thanks to this, it minimizes the amount of food that gets dropped on the journey between bowl and mouth. The minimalist design means that fewer cracks and crevasses make it a breeze to clean. We appreciate the ease of initial set up that only requires you to snap in the four legs, and then the tray. BabyBjorn is also known for their eco-friendly practices when manufacturing baby products. While they manufacture the chair from recyclable plastic, you can be at ease knowing that it is PVC-free and contains no bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, cadmium, lead, or bromine.
Easy to clean
Easy to set up
The main complaint with this chair is its small size. The manufacturer designed the chair for kids up to 3 years old, but it is important to note that the height maximum is 38 inches, which most children will reach by 3-years of age. The height restriction is most important because of the footrest, which is not adjustable. If you attempt to put a taller child in the chair, they may not be able to use the footrest, and their feet will be left dangling uncomfortably in mid-air. The backrest is small and does not reach the top of the child's back, but has an ergonomic design that helps with posture. If you are hoping for a traditional type chair that surrounds your child, this chair is not for you. But in the end, we think the compact design along with the ease of use makes this an excellent purchase for minimalist minded families.
Read the Review: BabyBjorn
The Graco SimpleSwitch is a simple yet sturdy chair that is one of our favorites in this price range. It features a three-level recline adjustment, creating both a convenient dining center as well as a safe space for baby to hang out in while mom is in the kitchen. The straps and chair cover can be easily removed and then tossed in the wash after those messy meals. The remainder of the plastic chair is easily wiped down to finish the job. Additionally, the legs of this chair are removable, meaning as a booster it can hold up to 60 lbs!
Good deal for the price
Tray can tricky
Tray doesn't lie flat off the high chair
A few minor drawbacks to this chair are that the tray can be removed one handed but can sometimes stick if it is uneven, however, after getting to know the chair a bit this is no longer a problem. Also, since the crotch restraint is attached to the tray, the tray does not lay flat when placed on the table, which means that if you need to get your baby out mid-meal, you will have to remove all the food beforehand. While this chair does have a smaller footprint, it does not have a compact fold and would be bulky to store. Overall though, we would recommend this high chair as a highly functional and affordable option that can you can use for more years than the average high chair.
Read the Review: Graco SimpleSwitch
Durable Lifetime Chair
Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle
We have so many reasons to love the Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle. It has a simple design that is very easy to clean and pulls right up to the table so that a little one can eat right at the table with family. Durable construction and height adjustments for both the seat and footrest make this a chair that can be used consistently throughout a child's first decade. The Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle which caters to 6mo+ infants includes a removable 5-point harness, Tripp Trapp Baby Set, and Mini Baby Cushion. Additional accessories to further customize the Tripp Trapp include the Stokke Tray, the Tripp Trapp Cushion, and the Tripp Trapp Junior Cushion for older kids. We love the versatility of this seat, as well as the fact that it is constructed from European Beech Wood and is free of harmful chemicals such as bisphenol and phthalates.
Easy to clean
Can pull up to table
Have to purchase accessories to use with infant
While this is a solid, durable chair, you will be paying a premium price for it. It is the second most expensive chair in this review. Because of the higher cost, some people are frustrated that you must purchase the baby insert, tray, and other accessories separately. In the end, though, we love the fact that this chair can grow with your child far longer than the average high chair, as well as the classic and simple design.
Read the Review: Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle
Serves Double Duty
The Graco Blossom is a unique chair that can convert from a high chair to an infant booster to toddler booster and finally a youth chair. Because of this 4-in-1 ability, you have the option to use the infant seat and toddler chair to sit two children (of different ages) with one chair. The leatherette seat pad fabric is easy to wipe down and can even be tossed into the wash when a more serious cleaning is needed. The Blossom also offers multiple seat adjustments and food trays. It is easy to use and well made. It is priced well (close to average for the group we tested) for what you get, especially when the potential for long-term use is considered.
Can accommodate two children
Easy to clean
Does not fold
One of the biggest complaints about this chair is that it does not fold away for easy storing as several of the others do, which can be an issue if you are living in a small space, as this has a larger than average footprint. It is also heavy and cumbersome to move. The wheels help it glide on hard surfaces, but it can be difficult to pull through a carpeted floor. If you are looking for a chair that will last through multiple stages and children, however, this is definitely one to consider.
Read the Review: Graco Blossom
The JOOVY Nook is a stylish, modern highchair that is simple to use, and it comes fully assembled (Yay! One less baby item to put together!). The tray swings open with one hand, and it conveniently folds down beach-chair style. The compact fold and lightweight design make both transporting and storing it a breeze. The tray has a dishwasher-safe cover as well as the ability to adjust front to back to allow room for your growing child. We think this is a nifty chair that has great features and offered at an affordable price.
Easy to Use
Difficult to clean
Seat is reclined
While we really like this chair mainly for its ease of use, cleaning it is not as simple as several of the others we tested. The comfortable leatherette seat has multiple seams that can catch crumbs and other small pieces of food, which can be especially frustrating to clean if you don't wipe it before it dries. The same is true for the straps. We wish the seat pad and straps could be tossed in the washing machine to simplify the cleaning process. Another thing to note is the seat on this does not sit at a 90-degree angle, as it sits slightly reclined. At first glance, it does not seem to be too much, but once you put your little one in the chair, you will realize that your baby will need to adopt a kicked back style of eating.
The Bloom Fresco is a super stylish and modern looking high chair. When purchasing, you can customize the chair by choosing from multiple colors for the frame, starter kit and (optional) universal snug seat cushion. It can rotate 360 degrees, has three different recline positions and can be made taller or shorter to fit the countertop or table. These features are great to accommodate infants, toddlers, and kids all the way up to 8 years old. The wide circular base helps keep it nice and stable.
Adjusts to Table & Counter Height
There are a few drawbacks to consider before purchasing the Bloom. First and foremost, it is expensive. It is more costly than the next chair by nearly $200, which is something to keep in mind for those on a budget. Also, it is quite heavy, topping out at close to 40 lbs, making it the heaviest chair in the review. It does have two small wheels hidden in the front to make it easier to maneuver. Finally, some users have had issues with parts breaking, such as the seat cracking or the footrest breaking, although Bloom's customer service is helpful and will send replacement parts when necessary. Overall, the Bloom Fresco is quite expensive for a highchair, but if you are looking for a seat that is going to be a long-term resident of your kitchen but also won't cramp your style, then it may be the chair for you. If you find the Fresco's modern look appealing, you may also want to consider the Mima Moon 2G as it has a similar futuristic yet simple design.
A Boost for Little Ones
Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert
Wanting the Tripp Trapp Twin but at a more economical price? The Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert could be the answer, as the two seats are very similar in appearance and functionality. The wooden chair can hold your 6-month-old infant (with insert) and full grown adult (up to 250 lbs!). The adjustable seat and footrest allow you to customize the seat for the perfect fit. It is quite stable, so you won't have to worry during those early toddler days when kids are grasping and leaning out of their seats. Also, since the chair itself is made entirely from wood and the insert from plastic, it is easy to wipe clean.
Easy to clean
Have to maintain
Buckle easy to undo
It is important to know that the screws need to be checked periodically to ensure that they are staying tight and secure as there have been some reports that they can loosen over time. Another way to ensure the longevity of the product is to use the plastic tray cover over the wooden one. Users have reported noticing the deterioration of the wood after being continually wiped down and left to air dry. Also, keep in mind that if you have an extra crafty toddler, some kids younger than 24 months have been able to undo the buckle. Be sure to keep an eye on your baby at all times while seated in this chair. Assembling this chair can be a bit tricky, taking approximately a half hour. Testers reported that the instructions are clear, but overall the process is not intuitive. While this can be a drawback, it is (fortunately) only something that you will have to do one time. Overall, this is an excellent chair that is designed to last far past the toddler years.
Read the Review: Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert
Height Adjustable without Breaking the Bank
The Boon Flair is a great modern looking high chair that gets the job done. The sleek style and lack of crevices make it super easy to wipe clean. There are no nooks and crannies for food to get trapped as the seat is one solid piece, and you can unhook the straps to wash by hand in the sink. While it is on the heavy side, it has six caster wheels that make it a breeze to roll on hard flooring.
Easy to clean
Wheels work well
Does not fold
Pneumatic lift can be temperamental
What are the downsides? This chair has a larger than average footprint, and there is no way to fold it if you ever wanted to store it, meaning that it is going to be a part of the kitchen decor the entire time it's in use, luckily it's a pretty good looking chair. There have also been multiple reports of the pneumatic lift to raise and lower malfunctioning after time. You will want to register the product on the Boon website in case a return or replacement is needed. After all this, we still believe this is a great contender if you are looking for a stylish seat at a fraction of the price of similar chairs.
Read the Review: Boon Flair
How We Evaluated
When you are using a high chair multiple times a day, it is important to find one that will be a pleasure to use, not a hassle. We spent countless hours researching, testing, and rating these seats in the hopes that all of it will help you find the perfect chair for your family. It is a tool you will use every single day. So how do you pick the chair that's right for you? Read on; we can help.
Types of High Chairs
In this review, we will be discussing stand-alone, full-size chairs; ones that do not necessarily need to be pushed into a table because they have a tray. Full-size high chairs offer everything you need to get baby fed, all in one convenient package. These chairs will take up some floor space in your kitchen, or wherever you choose to feed your baby, and will have a set of legs attached to a base to offer extra stability. Some of them have wheels; others do not. There are both advantages and disadvantages to having wheels on a high chair, but if you choose to purchase one with wheels be sure that there are secure braking mechanisms in place.
The footprint of a high chair can make a huge difference depending on the type of home you have. If you live in a tiny apartment with little extra floor space or are often on the go, you may want to take a look at our Editor's Choice, the Baby Bjorn, as it is compact and easy to move around. If you want something that takes up even less kitchen space, consider using a portable product rather than a full-size, stand-alone one. For more information on our top choices, check out our Best Portable High Chair Review.
The chairs we tested covered multiple age ranges from infancy all the way up to a 250-pound adult! They are all considered full-size, meaning they are meant to stay in your kitchen, or wherever you choose to feed your baby. There's a lot to consider when looking at high chairs. So you can get a feel for exactly what we're talking about, let's start by taking a look at some of the key terms we'll be using throughout our reviews.
- Harness/Restraint system: This refers to the belts, buckles, and straps that keep baby securely in place while they eat. Some of our chairs had a 5-point restraint system, meaning there were two shoulder straps and two waist straps that buckled into one crotch strap, providing superior safety. Others had a 3-point restraint system which only included waist straps that met somewhere under baby's belly button. Whichever your preference, be sure that the harnessing system is easy to adjust so you can be sure to get a snug fit to keep baby safe in his seat. Also look for seats that offer a one-hand release buckle, this adds another level of convenience when trying to get a squirming baby out of their seat after mealtimes.
- Crotch Restraint/Safety Post: This is the post that goes in between baby's legs to prevent them (along with the restraint system) from slipping forward and out of the chair. Some chairs offer a stationary crotch restraint, meaning it is part of the actual chair, while others have a crotch post that is attached to the tray, and therefore removable. We much preferred those that offered a fixed, non-removable center post for multiple reasons. Keep in mind that if the post is attached to the tray you will most likely not be able to fit the tray in your dishwasher, and you will also definitely not be able to set the tray flat on your counter. Plus, with the post built into the seat of the chair, it makes it a little less likely that baby will slip out of their harness when they're mad and featuring their stiff-as-a-board move.
- Adjustments: There are lots of adjustable features when you look at all the chairs, but the two we think are the most important to focus on are the ability to recline and the ability to change the height of the chair. Chairs that had additional adjustable features tend to offer a higher level of comfort for baby.
- Portability: As we already mentioned, these are full-size high chairs, which are different from truly "portable" units or booster seats. For this review, 'portability' refers to how easy they are to move around your kitchen. Some had wheels, and some didn't, but believe it or not, this didn't necessarily mean the ones with wheels were more comfortable to maneuver!
Ease of Use
A high chair is an item that will get used every single day, multiple times a day, so it is imperative that this piece of equipment be easy for you to operate. Additionally, little quirks in a chair that could potentially pinch baby or leave marks are serious deal-breakers. Here are some ease-of-use features to look for when buying a chair, and quirks to keep an eye out for:
- Recline: Lots of chairs offer a recline feature, but there was a certain type of recline feature that we liked best. Our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Peg Perego Siesta was a great example of this. When it reclines, the entire seat tilts back, all the way down to the footrest. Other chairs, like the Graco SimpleSwitch, offered a recline option, but only the back part of the chair moved. In a seat like this, it can be easier for baby's tush to slide forward and make it feel like they are going to slide right out of their seat. Uncomfortable, right? Make sure you check this before purchasing a chair if you think this might be an issue for your child. If your kiddo is not one to fall asleep during/after mealtime, maybe this isn't such a big deal for you. A final warning about reclining: always be sure baby's fingers are out of the way when adjusting the seat back!
- Height Adjustability: Think about where you want to feed your baby. If you like to sit down in your dining room chair and have your baby next to you, every stand-alone chair should work for that. If you're more of an on-the-fly, eat-while-I-wash-dishes kind of parent, maybe you want one that can sit baby up a little taller and within more natural reach. In our case, we enjoyed those with taller adjustable heights, like the Boon Flair. They were able to reach our counter height where older siblings were sitting on stools. Baby sure enjoyed being part of that action, too. Chairs like the Keekaroo Height Right and Stokke Tripp Trapp are great options if you often have your family meals at the dining room table because although they are not height adjustable, they can be pushed into most tables as efficiently as your other dining chairs. Whatever your preference, be sure to check the manufacturer's dimensions to see that the chair will work well in your environment.
- Comfort Features: If you are using your chair for a newborn, consider additional comfort features like infant inserts to help support baby's head and neck. Some don't offer any padding at all but usually allow baby to sit in an ergonomically correct position, so none is needed. These chairs with no fabric cushions are generally more straightforward to clean as well.
Ease of Cleaning
Babies are messy eaters. Toddlers are messy eaters. There's no getting around it. We found there to be a fine line between added comfort for baby and added crevices for food to accumulate. A few chairs, like the Baby Bjorn and the Keekaroo Height Right, offered unique design elements that eliminated not only unnecessary crevices for crumb storage but also allowed ergonomic seating support during mealtime. To our delight, chairs like the Peg Perego Siesta were able to combine the elements of comfort/padding with cleanability to knock it out of the park! It is so important that this type of product be easy enough to clean, especially since you'll be using it upwards of three times a day. Here are a few pointers to look for when picking a chair that'll be a breeze to clean:
- Chair cushions: If the chair you choose has a padded seat, make sure it consists of vinyl-like material that is easy to wipe clean. Bonus points for easily-removable seat cushions that you can throw in the washing machine. Just be sure you have enough time to dry them, as most need to be air-dried and ready to be put back on the chair for the next meal. You want to avoid cotton-like fabric that will attract stains.
- Base: We hate to break it to you, but crumbs will often fall victim to gravity and end up all over your floor. If the base is large, like that of the Boon Flair, crumbs will land on it, and you will eventually need to clean it as well.
- Buckles: Boy, can these little guys collect food like nobody's business. Make sure the buckles don't have any more nooks and crannies than necessary. There's no getting around the fact that you'll have to wipe them down, but it's a lot easier to do if you don't need to break out the Q-tips to do so.
Many of the chairs offered trays that included a snack tray "cover". For added convenience, the manufacturers have made these tray covers top-rack dishwasher safe, which is helpful. However, we still recommend washing plastic components by hand to avoid potential leaching of harsh chemicals and disintegration over time.
When it comes to quality, there really is no wiggle room. A high chair is where your baby will spend many hours eating, drinking, napping, and taking in their environment. You want to be sure that the overall quality is going to keep baby safe and secure every single time you strap them in.
Even if you want to purchase your chair online, we recommend trying to find it at a brick and mortar store first, so that you can go and test it out for yourself. Shake it, wiggle it around, push it across the floor, adjust the height and recline, take off the seat cushion, play with the tray. Bring baby, too, and see how easy it is to get them in and out. This way, you can see for yourself how sturdy and stable the chair is, and how nice the materials and finishes are. You'll want one with a seat that is fully supportive. However, that doesn't necessarily mean big. For example, the Baby Bjorn has a small back support, but the curve of it and seat depth is just right.
Footprint and Portability
The footprint and portability of a high chair refer to the amount of space it takes up and how well the wheels (if present) function. Like we mentioned earlier, we aren't talking truly "portable" here, just how portable they are around your kitchen, as well as how easy they are to carry and store.
Although some chairs had wheels and others didn't, we found that the wheeled ones weren't necessarily easier to maneuver. In fact, one of our top scorers, the Baby Bjorn, doesn't have wheels. Some more essential factors to keep in mind when considering a chair's footprint and portability are:
- Size of Footprint: The footprint is measured by how much floor space it takes up in square inches. If it's already a tight squeeze having more than two people in your kitchen or dining area, you may want to pick a chair with a smaller footprint size.
- Foldability: Sometimes, you need your high chair to be out of sight for a little while. Maybe you're hosting a party or even just wanting to give the kitchen floor a good cleaning. Either way, you need it out of your way. In these situations, you want to consider a one that folds for storage. Two of chairs from this review, the Peg Perego Siesta and the Baby Bjorn, offer this convenient feature.
Additional Items to Ponder
- Easiest to get baby in and out of - Do legs get stuck on the way in or out of the chair? Is it difficult to access the harness once baby is seated? Will baby start to slide out once you removed the tray? How do the brakes work?
- Harnessing baby - How easy is it to secure the harnesses around baby? Are the harnesses easy to adjust after the baby is sitting? Does the chair provide a three or five-point restraint system? Does it unbuckle easily?
- Baby's comfort and positioning - Is it easy to get baby into a comfortable seating position? Or will you regularly have to readjust? Is the tray so close that baby will feel squished, or too far away to catch any stray food? Is there enough leg room? Is the footrest within reach?
- Ease of use throughout baby's development - Can I use this chair with an infant? Can I use this chair with an older toddler?
A high chair is one of those inevitable baby equipment purchases. Try to avoid it all you want, but the fact of the matter is that your baby will need to have somewhere they can sit safely to eat. You will have this piece of equipment for many years, and will certainly make many great memories with it, so it's a decision you don't want to take lightly. Whatever your unique needs, there is a safe, functional high chair out there for your family. Bon Appetit!
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig
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