Focus on safety with 5 point harness. Features wheels and a big tray. Can be operated one-handed. Durable and sturdy.
Top tray is not dishwasher safe. Assembly is a challenge. Tray can stain easily.
Portable and perfect for tight spaces. Every piece is machine washable, and the harness straps at 5 points.
All-plastic unit feels a bit flimsy. Tray requires two hands to operate. Seating area is small and does not fit all babies.
Folds up to save space. The tray fits in the dishwasher, and the unit cleans easily. It's mobile yet sturdy.
The chair angles steeply back, and the baby slouches while eating. Does not strap over the shoulders.
A high chair, booster seat, and toddler seat combo. Other convenient features include its reclining seat and dishwasher-safe tray.
Tray is somewhat difficult to remove and replace. Some plastic components feel flimsy. Wheels don't roll smoothly.
Little fists knocking over dishes. Little fingers flinging food all over the floor. Sometimes, dinnertime with your baby can feel like an endurance sport. Parents need all the help they can get during mealtimes, and the right high chair can make the feeding process go a lot smoother. High chairs come in a number of designs, colors, and configurations. Finding one that works for you should not feel like another chore … and yet, it sometimes does.
If you need help choosing a new high chair, you’ve come to the right place. At BestReviews, we test products, consult experts, and read through consumer reviews to find the best products on the market today. We don’t accept free samples from manufacturers so that we can bring you the honest, unbiased reviews you need to make informed buying decisions.
The shopping guide below will give you an overview of the different types of high chairs available today, as well as the features you need to consider before purchasing one. Check out our five favorite picks at the top of this page to see which high chairs we think stand out from the rest.
First things first: which type of high chair should you get for your baby? There are standard high chairs, convertible high chairs, foldable high chairs, and portable high chairs to choose from.
Made of plastic, metal, or a combination of the two, you can find standard high chairs that are both simple and high-end. Standard chairs have a basic molded seat, some with a seat cover, and a harness for safety. Most also have a tray, though some high chairs attach to a dining table and don’t need one.
These high chairs are meant to be used for the first five to seven years of your child’s life. They have a base with a seat and tray. Once your child is old enough, the tray can be removed, and the booster seat can be used at the table. In some models, the seat can be lifted out and used as a booster seat.
These high chairs have the same basic design as standard high chairs, but they are foldable so you can stash them in a pantry or closet when not in use. Check the chair’s size when folded, however, as some foldable high chairs are almost as big when folded as they are when open.
Some portable high chairs attach directly to a table or countertop. Others attach to a dining chair and include a removable tray. These chairs work well for families with limited space or those who travel often. However, portable high chairs do not have reclining seats and therefore should not be used until the child can sit independently.
If the high chair has a seat cover, it should be padded for comfort. Covers that can be machine-washed must be durable enough to withstand multiple washings. If a seat cover cannot be machine washed, you’ll need to wipe it down after each use.
Some high chairs come with a foam or rubber seat cover. These are easy to clean and tend to hold up well over time.
Federal regulations require all high chairs with a completely bound opening (the opening created by the sides, bottom, and tray of the high chair) to have a fixed crotch post. Some manufacturer’s put the crotch post on the seat; others put it on the tray.
A three-point harness is a standard requirement on today’s high chairs, but a five-point harness offers even more security, especially if you have a baby who likes to climb. The harness should be easy to adjust.
High chair trays come in a surprising array of types, shapes, and sizes.
There are detachable trays you can put in the dishwasher; these are the easiest to keep clean.
There are non-detachable trays that have a removable insert that can be cleaned in the dishwasher, too. And then there are trays that must be wiped down by hand after each use.
Your baby’s tray should be sturdy enough that he can’t kick it off or remove it on his own. A tray that can be adjusted closer to the child (or farther away from him) is also beneficial as your baby grows.
Keeping a high chair clean is a serious job. Babies manage to get food in every possible nook and cranny.
Keep these cleaning tips in mind when selecting a high chair.
Removable trays and seat covers make cleaning easier.
Models that are designed as one continuous piece eliminate seams where food can hide, making them easier to keep clean.
Plastic high chairs easily wipe clean and won’t rust if you miss a spot or leave a little food by accident.
Adjustability features are important for your child’s comfort and safety. A few adjustability features to watch for include the following.
Multiple reclining positions: When your baby first starts eating solid foods, she may need a more reclined position because she hasn’t mastered sitting on her own. As she gets stronger, a more upright high chair position will be needed.
Safety harness adjustment: High chair safety harnesses should be easy to adjust. Babies grow so fast, you may be making adjustments more often than you think!
Seat height: Adjustable seat height helps the high chair grow along with your child. When your child is small, the seat will need to be higher so you can reach him without stooping. As the child grows, you can lower the height so he can eat at the same level as others at the dinner table.
You may wish to consider a high chair with wheels, especially if you need to move it often. Just be sure that there is a locking mechanism in place so the chair will stay put when you need it to.
A foldable high chair should be easy to collapse with one hand. Look for a high chair with a locking mechanism that prevents it from collapsing when your child is in it. Some high chairs also include a locking mechanism to prevent the chair from opening when folded.
For less than $50, you can find portable high chairs that attach to a countertop or dining room chair. These models typically include a removable tray and a three-point harness system. You’ll also find basic standard high chairs and some convertible models in this pricing tier.
In the $50 to $150 range, you’ll find many convertible and standard high chairs with well-padded seat covers and five-point harness systems. Some are foldable or have wheels. Tray designs vary by model, but many can be cleaned in a dishwasher.
For $150 to $300, you’ll find high chairs made of wood as well as designer models with distinct design features, such as mid-century or art deco styling.
High chairs that convert to toddler chairs and eventually adult chairs tend to cost $300 or more. Modern pedestal-style high chairs are also found in this price range.
Q. I want a high chair that will attach to the table or countertop. Does the type of table or counter edge I have matter?
A. Before purchasing, be sure you understand how the high chair latches to the table. Tables or countertops that are unusually thin, thick, or have a lip may pose a problem for proper attachment. If your table falls into one of these categories, you might want to consider a high chair that attaches to a dining chair instead. This type of chair conserves space, too, but it’s not affected by the style of your table.
Q. Does a five-point harness system make much difference?
A. As far as safety standards are concerned, a three-point system meets established regulations. However, young babies who may not be able to sit independently do well with the extra support offered by a five-point system.
A child who gets easily distracted or loves to climb would benefit from a five-point high chair harness. If you have the choice between a three-point and a five-point harness, we recommend that you go with the five-point system.
Q. What type of high chair would be good to keep as a backup chair or for use when traveling and visiting family?
A. Your best bet would be a portable high chair that attaches to a dining chair or table top. Not all of these high chairs are small, so be sure you look for one with extra folding features that allow the sides and seat to fold down.
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