Last Updated On January 4th, 2019
New parents may visualize their happy, laughing baby enjoying lunch or learning to use a spoon during feeding time when they hear the words “high chair.” Experienced parents are more likely to envision huge puddles of spilled milk, fabric smeared with food – and an ordeal which will be repeated regularly until their child has reached the age when she can use a booster seat.
Either way, you’re going to need one for your baby once she’s old enough to sit up, so you can’t really delay the purchase for too long. If you’re new to this whole “baby business,” you might think that there’s not much difference between these baby stools, other than their height, their color or the design used on the fabric so you don’t really need advice on which one to get. You’d be wrong.
Many models are indeed simple, made from plastic and inexpensive fabric and built primarily to be utilitarian. There is, however, an enormous variety of more solid, fancier baby high chairs you can buy. There are even ones which can convert to other pieces of toddler furniture once your child has graduated to a big girl seat. The chairs also differ in their safety features, adjustability and ease of cleaning, as well as whether they’ll fit in with the décor of a modern kitchen diner.
After carefully checking out all of the options, we’ve compiled our list of baby high chair reviews so you can read through the possibilities and pick out the best high chair for your baby. We’ll get to that list after examining the criteria you should keep in mind while looking for the best one to buy.
Top 10 Best High Chairs Comparison
Full Buying Guide
First, the basics. Babies are usually ready for a high chair when they’re between four and six months old and able to sit up without assistance. There are some models which will also recline so you can put your baby into them at an earlier age and bottle feed her until she’s ready to sit up, but that’s not the norm. Many toddlers use theirs until they’re almost three years old, so safety for both babies and toddlers is crucial. When choosing a baby chair, be certain your baby can sit up comfortably without wobbling or having to be propped up, and has enough room to fit as she grows. That’s what makes good restraint systems and adjustable trays and height levels invaluable.
Whether the mental picture was pleasant or messy, when you visualized that one we discussed at the start you probably pictured a freestanding one with an attached “table” to hold your child’s food. That’s understandable, since those traditional models are the most commonly-purchased. There are other choices, though, and we’ll look at them shortly.
A model that comes with a tray has many many benefits. You can sit directly in front of your child when feeding her or to help her as she begins to eat by herself, and you can also position it beside you at the dining table within easy reach as your toddler becomes more self-sufficient. Most standalone models are adjustable, allowing you to choose the most convenient height in relation to your own. However, many do take up considerably more space than the alternatives we’ll look at next, a definite factor if you have a small flat.
Some parents like the idea of one that doesn’t have an attached tray, because it can be pulled right up to the dining table to let baby feel more like a part of the family. With fewer pieces, it’s also easier to clean and takes up less space. There are several drawbacks to think about, though. These normally don’t have much (or any) padding, their safety systems aren’t as robust, and there’s nothing to help hold baby in place.
Lastly, there are high chairs (sometimes called cubes) which are assembled from several separate pieces of furniture. These are able to be separated to become a child-sized table and stool for play, after the toddler graduates to a booster. The issues you may find with these cubes are that they’re usually pricey because they’re made of wood, and they often have sharp edges which are dangerous for an infant or young toddler.
Parents often dither between expensive wooden models and less-expensive, lightweight plastic ones. What’s most important to know is that the plastic ones can also be perfectly safe, as long as they’re stable with a wide base, and sturdy with a good safety system. The best harnesses (for infants or young toddlers) are adjustable five-point restraints, and it’s advisable to choose a one with a pommel (the solid crotch bar) that prevents babies from slipping off. The choice between wood and plastic should be more like the choice of fabric color or pattern: a matter of appearance.
Other considerations in choosing a baby high chair include the size of the tray (bigger is better), whether it’s adjustable and how easy it is to remove; if cleaning up is going to be a problem (many models have lots of nooks and crannies which are a challenge to keep free of food); the amount of padding for baby’s comfort, and whether it is convenient enough to fold for storage or to take with you when you travel.
Let’s get to the top ten.
Top 10 High Chair Reviews
All that many parents will need to see is the name BabyBjorn, and they’re already sold – for good reason. This is another in a long line of exceptional baby products from the company; safe, solid, easy to clean and beautiful in its white simplicity. It is ergonomically designed with a curved backrest to hold babies in proper position but to still be comfortable up to age three without lots of padding. There’s a large detachable tray with a two-step lock so only adults can open it, the BPA-free plastic is a snap to clean with no nooks or crannies and no sharp edges, and it folds up quickly to a small size (25 cm wide). It’s expensive and it’s not adjustable, but other than that, you couldn’t want much else. In our opinion, it’s definitely the best choice for your baby.
This Ikea model resembles the BabyBjorn in several ways. It’s sturdy, it’s made from white plastic (polypropylene), it isn’t cluttered with gaudy padding (there’s an insert you can purchase separately if you wish), and doesn’t have lots of tight spots where food gets trapped. However, there are also differences. It’s shaped like a standard model with metal legs that spread way out to create a very large footprint, the design doesn’t make as comfortable as the BabyBjorn – and it’s about one-sixth the price, making it a very good value. Our one major objection is that the Antilop only has a safety belt instead of a full safety harness, but many parents will feel that the belt is enough. This is a bare-bones model so it doesn’t fold and doesn’t allow for adjustments, but the price is definitely right.
We move on to new territory. The base and legs of the Tot Sprout are made from walnut and the cushions are available in fashionable green, taupe or orange, making this both a stylish and extremely solid product at a premium price. It’s also convertible, capable of becoming a regular child’s chair after the straps and pommel are removed. The height, seat depth and footrest are adjustable, the large tray is removable, there’s a five-point harness and cleaning is a breeze. If you want to lay out the money for a “designer” model, the Sprout definitely qualifies as a prime choice.
And now the territory is familiar; this is the type many of us grew up with. The Chicco Polly has metal U-shaped legs with coloured bottoms and bright, patterned vinyl pads (with pictures of bees or animals) meant to delight a baby That’s not to say this is a bad product, because it’s actually very sturdy and very adjustable, with seven height and three recline choices. There’s a five-point harness and strong pommel and the Polly is foldable. As with most products of this style there are lots of places where food can get trapped, but for a moderate price this is a nice, traditional option.
Another standard model that’s moderately priced, the Graco Contempo is true to its name with a more subdued look than the Polly. Since we’re comparing the two, the legs on the Graco are sturdier than on the Chicco, and there are four larger, individual legs for a little more stability but also a larger footprint. There are other slight differences, positive ones that favor the Graco like a one-hand fold system, and negative ones like six positions instead of seven and straps which are harder to get clean. But in most respects, the choice between the Chicco and the Graco is primarily one of appearance.
This product is one of those cube models which can be converted to a child’s table set after it’s lived out its usefulness as a high chair, and it’s a brilliant and inexpensive design. The seat is made from rubberwood, which isn’t a “high-end wood” but is very durable with an attractive natural grain. It would fit in well with a modern décor. The harness isn’t great, you can’t adjust anything and you’ll do best to purchase a separate insert for padding on the wooden seat, so there are definitely some cons. But the pros are that this is a stunning and versatile product, made from strong wood and made right here in the U.K.
Here’s one that not only looks modern and attractive, but may end up being the focus of attention in your kitchen diner. The Swivel 360 does exactly what its name promises – it’s mounted on a metal pedestal so it can swivel 360° for access from any angle. We’re not quite sure that’s a necessary feature, but it’s definitely cool. This can also be convert to a booster seat when the time comes. There’s a five-point safety harness and removable foam cushioning for quick cleaning, and it can be adjusted to five different levels. Our only concern is that the design makes it a little easier to tip than most; we’d recommend staying with your baby while she’s on it.
Cute Baby is the name of the vendor and not our description, but we’ll admit this one is sort of cute if you like green footrests and green leg accents. It’s a traditional, lightweight modelwith two U-shaped legs (creating a large footprint) that folds up easily and flat, with a five-point harness and a large tray that doesn’t come off. The Cute Baby isn’t fancy and isn’t expensive – but it does the job, particularly as a secondary chair or one to keep at the grandparents’ house.
We don’t know for certain that the same manufacturer made both the Cute Baby and iSafe models, but they look virtually identical and have all of the same features. The only differences we can find are in the color and fabric pattern, so everything we just said for the Cute Baby holds true for the iSafe. It’s nothing extraordinary, just a good, inexpensive option.
Like the Modern 360, this Bebe Style model can also convert to a booster once your child is older. Unlike the Modern 360, though, the Deluxe 3-in-1 is a traditional plastic chair with four wide metal legs and a padded stain-proof and waterproof fabric seat with a child-theme design. It’s simple to clean, pretty well-made and very reasonably priced.
Making the Decision
We’ve listed our ten choices for the best high chair on the market, and now it’s up to you. These are all smart buys, but they vary widely in price, features and look; we think the most important criteria for choosing between them are the ease of cleaning, ease of folding and perhaps most importantly, the look and style of the product. After all, most babies won’t be spending hours and hours in theirs. That would be boring for them and frustrating for the mum or caregiver who has to tend to the fussing. We think the tiny details matter much more on baby furniture or accessories like cots and jumpers, than on functional pieces like chairs.
Read our high chair reviews and you should have all the information you need to make a smart decision. Enjoy shopping – and enjoy cleaning up the mess after meal time. Just remember as you’re cleaning up yet another spill, every mum goes through it. You’ll get through it too.