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In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Battle of the Best High Chair

Wednesday October 9, 2019
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Do you know which features to look for when searching the perfect high chair for your baby? We put nine top-rated chairs to the test to figure out which were worth it, which we could pass up, and which were good for certain situations. With an endless list of functions, fabrics, and designs, how can a new parent determine where to start? Keep reading to discover the pros and cons for yourself. Our details along with our buying advice can help you find the best option for your little one.


1

Best Overall


Peg Perego Siesta


Peg Perego Siesta
Editors' Choice Award
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$299.99
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 23 lbs | Usage Range: Birth to 45 lbs
Adjustable
Great quality
Foldable
Tricky to roll
Hard to clean

The Peg Perego Siesta is a high-quality product that has the potential to be used for years to come. This chair is well-designed and has many handy features like adjustable recline, height, and footrest. This chair creates a space that is good for infants to recline with a bottle, is perfect for a self-feeding hungry toddler, 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, and it features a Stop & Go Brake system that is safe and simple to use. This chair has a useful compact fold making it perfect for smaller homes or parents who prefer to store it out of sight.

Some users feel the wheels can be tricky to maneuver as the back wheels swivel, and the front wheels do not. However, this can be solved by rolling it backward and steering with the rear wheels instead of the front. This chair can also be difficult to thoroughly clean. While the fabric is easy to wipe down and the trays are dishwasher safe (though we recommend hand washing), there are several nooks and crannies where food gunk can hide. Despite these flaws, we are very impressed with the quality and flexible nature of the Siesta and believe it can keep any family happy during mealtime.

Read the Review: Peg Perego Siesta

2

Lightest


BabyBjorn


Baby Bjorn
Editors' Choice Award
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$299.99
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 10.6 lbs | Usage Range: 6 mos to 3 yrs
Easy to clean
Easy to set up
Compact storage
Small
Nonadjustable footrest

The BabyBjorn is a lightweight and simple chair for mealtimes. The sleek, high-quality design gives special attention to small details like ergonomics and a well-fitting tray. The tray attaches close to the belly, and we love that is functions as part of the restraint system, and it prevents little ones from standing up. This design also minimizes the amount of food that gets dropped on the journey between bowl and mouth. The minimalist design creates fewer cracks and crevasses, so it is a breeze to clean. We appreciate the ease of initial set up and BabyBjorn's eco-friendly practices. The chair is recyclable plastic that is PVC-free and contains no bisphenol A (BPA), phthalates, cadmium, lead, or bromine.

The chief complaint with this chair is its small size. The chair design is for kids up to 3 years old, but the height maximum is only 38 inches, and some children will surpass this before 3-years of age. The height restriction is most important because of the stationary footrest. Despite the ergonomic design, the backrest is small and doesn't reach the top of the child's back. If you want a traditional chair that surrounds your baby, then this chair is not for you. However, we think the compact design, and easy to use features, make the BabyBjorn an excellent purchase for minimalist-minded families.

Read the Review: BabyBjorn

3

Best Bang for Your Buck


Graco SimpleSwitch


Best Value Award
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$80.00
List Price
See It

Product Weight: 16.3 lbs | Usage Range: Birth to 60 lbs
Reclining Seat
Cleans easily
Good deal for the price
Tray is tricky
Doesn't fold
Tray doesn't lie flat off the chair

The Graco SimpleSwitch is a simple yet sturdy chair that is one of our favorites in its price range. It features a three-level recline adjustment, creating both a convenient dining center as well as a safe space for baby while mom is in the kitchen. The straps and chair cover easily remove and then toss in the wash after messy meals. The rest of the plastic chair is easily wiped down to finish the job. Also, the legs are removable, meaning as a booster, it turning the chair into a booster seat that can hold up to 60 lbs!

While the tray can be removed one-handed, it sometimes sticks if it is uneven. Also, because the crotch restraint is attached to the tray, the tray doesn't 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 the food before the tray. While this chair has a smaller footprint, it doesn't have a compact fold and is bulky to store. Overall, we recommend this chair as a practical and affordable option that you can use for longer than the average chair.

Read the Review: Graco SimpleSwitch

4

Durable Lifetime Chair


Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle


Top Pick Award
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$308.00
(15% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 15.6 lbs | Usage Range: 6 mos (with Baby Set) to 242 lbs
Easy to clean
Durable
Can pull up to a table
Expensive
Infant accessories sold separately

There are 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 little ones can eat at the table with family. Durable construction and height adjustments for both the seat and footrest create a chair that children can use through their first decade of life. 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 custom accessories include the Stokke Tray, the Tripp Trapp Cushion, and the Tripp Trapp Junior Cushion. We love the versatility of this seat, and that it is European Beech Wood that is free of harmful chemicals like bisphenol and phthalates.

While this is a solid, durable chair, you will pay a premium price; it is the second most expensive chair in this review. Because of the higher price, it's somewhat frustrating that you need to purchase the baby insert, tray, and other accessories separately. In the end, we love that this high-quality chair can grow with your child for longer than the average chair.

Read the Review: Stokke Tripp Trapp Bundle

5

Serves Double Duty


Graco Blossom


Top Pick Award
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$146.08
(23% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 31.8 lbs | Usage Range: Infant to 60 lbs
Can accommodate two children
Easy to clean
Well priced
Does not fold
Cumbersome

The Graco Blossom is a unique chair that converts from a high chair to an infant booster to a toddler booster and finally a youth chair. Because of this 4-in-1 ability, you have far more versatility and options for multiple children. The leatherette seat pad fabric is easy to wipe clean or toss into the wash for big messes. The Blossom offers multiple seat adjustments and food trays, is easy to use, and well made. It is priced well for what you get and considering the potential for long-term use.

The biggest complaint about this chair is that it doesn't fold for easy storing, which can be an issue if you are living in a small space, as this has a larger footprint and is heavy and cumbersome to move. The wheels allow it to glide on hard surfaces, but it struggles over the carpet. Despite its larger size, if you want a chair that can last through multiple stages and children, then this is one to consider.

Read the Review: Graco Blossom

6

Most Compact


Joovy Nook


Joovy Nook

$86.50
(33% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 15.4 lbs | Usage Range: 6 mos to 50 lbs
Lightweight
Easy to Use
Good price
Difficult to clean
Seat always reclined

The JOOVY Nook is a stylish, modern high chair that is simple to use and comes fully assembled. The tray swings open with one hand, and it conveniently folds down and out of the way. The compact fold and lightweight design make transporting and storing a breeze. The tray has a dishwasher-safe cover and can be moved forward and backward to create more room for your growing child. We think this is a nifty chair with useful features and an affordable price.

While we like this chair for its ease of use, cleaning it is not as simple as some of the others. The comfortable leatherette seat has multiple seams that can catch crumbs and small pieces of food and is 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. Also, the seat doesn't sit at a 90-degree angle and has a slight recline. At first glance, it doesn't look too bad, but once you put your baby in the chair, it's easier to see the steeper recline. This chair is an excellent fit for parents looking for ease of use and no assembly who prefer to do regular quick cleanups to prevent long term build-up.

7

Modern Chic


Bloom Fresco


Bloom Fresco
Top Pick Award
$518.00
(6% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 39.6 lbs. | Usage Range: Birth to 79 lbs
Stylish
Adjustable height
Stable
Heavy
Expensive
Quality issues

The Bloom Fresco is a stylish, modern-looking high chair. You can customize the chair when you buy it by choosing the frame color, starter kit, and (optional) universal snug seat cushion. It rotates 360 degrees, has three recline positions and adjusts taller or shorter to fit the countertop or table. These features accommodate infants, toddlers, and kids up to 8 years old. The wide circular base keeps it nice and stable.

The Bloom is expensive, making it less of an option for those on a budget. It is more costly than the next chair by nearly $200. Also, it is heavy, with a weight close to 40 lbs, making it the heaviest chair in the review. Also, some users have issues with breaking parts, but Bloom's customer service is helpful and reportedly sends replacement parts when necessary. Overall, if you are looking for a long-term chair for your kitchen that won't cramp your style, then the Bloom may be the chair for you. If you find its modern look appealing but not the price tag, you might consider the Mima Moon 2G as it has a similar futuristic and straightforward design.

8

A Boost for Little Ones


Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert


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$207.14
(10% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 21.1 lbs | Usage Range: 6 mos to 250 lbs
Long-term use
Stable
Easy to clean
Have to maintain
Difficult assembly
Buckle easy to undo

The Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert is similar in appearance and functionality to the Tripp Trapp but with a more reasonable price point. The wood chair can hold your 6-month-old infant (with insert) and an adult (up to 250 lbs). The adjustable seat and footrest allow you to customize the seat for the perfect fit. It is stable even when kids are grasping and leaning out of their seats. Also, because the chair is entirely wood and the insert is plastic, it is easy to keep clean.

The screws on this chair need to be checked periodically to ensure that they are tight and secure as they can loosen over time. Users also report a deterioration of the wood tray when used without the plastic cover. Also, some children under 24 months have managed to undo the buckle, so it requires constant supervision to avoid potential injuries. Assembling this chair can be a bit tricky and not intuitive, taking about 30 minutes to complete. While this can be a drawback, it is (fortunately) something that you only do once. Overall, this is an excellent budget-friendly chair designed for use past the toddler years.

Read the Review: Keekaroo Height Right with Infant Insert

9

Height Adjustable without Breaking the Bank


Boon Flair


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$177.92
(29% off)
at Amazon
See It

Product Weight: 28.7 lbs | Usage Range: Up to 50 lbs or 4 yrs
Easy to clean
Wheels work well
Modern style
Does not fold
Temperamental Pneumatic lift

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 surfaces.

This chair has a larger than average footprint, and there is no way to fold it if you want to store it. There have also been multiple reports of the pneumatic lift malfunctioning after time. You will want to register the product on the Boon website in case a return or replacement is needed. Despite these minor concerns, we 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

The SimpleSwitch can be used with children up to 37 lbs.
The SimpleSwitch can be used with children up to 37 lbs.

Why You Should Trust Us


This high chair review and testing are led by our founder, Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a board-certified pediatrician. Dr. Spurrier uses her background and education combined with her experience as a mother of two to select products with ease of use and safety in mind. She is instrumental in testing development and final product selection. Wendy Schmitz, the Senior Review Editor, rounds out the team and uses her science education to help guide her in the testing and review process to make thoughtful testing procedures and analysis of test results. Wendy is a mother of two and has worked on most BabyGearLab reviews as a tester and analyst since 2014.

How We Evaluated


When you are using a high chair multiple times a day, it is important to find one that makes your life easier. We spent countless hours researching and testing these chairs in-house and in real life to help you find the perfect chair for your family.


Analysis


Whether you are a first-time parent or have years of experience under your belt, most of us are searching for ways to make life with a baby as easy, comfortable, and fun as possible. Mealtimes seem to take up a large portion of the day, so finding the perfect chair can be part of the solution, as it can save you frustration three or more times a day. We started our search with 50 high chairs and narrowed it to the top 9 on the market to help make your buying decision easier.

Types of High Chairs


In this review, we discuss stand-alone, full-size high chairs. These chairs come with a food tray and do not require a table for feeding. Full-size chairs offer everything you need to get your baby fed in one convenient package. These chairs take up floor space and will have a set of legs attached to a base for stability. Some of them have wheels, and others do not.

The footprint of a high chair can be important, depending on the size of your home. If you live in a tiny apartment, you may want to consider our Editor's Choice, the Baby Bjorn, as it is compact and easy to move. If you want something that takes up less space, you might want to consider using a portable product. For more information on our top choices, check out our Best Portable High Chair Review.


Important Terms


The chairs we tested work from infancy up to a 250-pound adult! They are all considered full-size, meaning they are meant to stay relatively in one location. To get a feel for exactly all of the features and functions you might find in a high chair, let's start by reviewing some key terms we will use.

The simple 3-point restraint system that buckles around baby's waist.
The simple 3-point restraint system that buckles around baby's waist.
  • Harness/Restraint System: This refers to the belts, buckles, and straps that keep a baby securely in the chair. Some chairs have a 5-point harness, with two shoulder straps and two waist straps that buckle into one crotch strap. Others have a 3-point harness that only includes waist straps that buckle into the crotch strap. Still, others have only side straps that meet in the middle. Whatever your preference, be sure that the harness is easy to adjust so you can get a proper fit that keeps your baby in the seat. Also, look for seats with a one-hand release buckle, this adds another level of convenience when trying to get a squirming baby out of the chair.
  • Crotch Restraint/Safety Post: The safety post goes between the baby's legs to prevent them from slipping under the tray and out of the chair. Some chairs have a stationary crotch restraint, and others have a crotch post that is attached to the tray. We prefer those with a fixed center post for multiple reasons. With the post built into the chair, it is a little less likely that the baby can slip out of their harness. If the post is attached to the tray, it probably won't fit in your dishwasher, and you won't be able to put the tray flat on the counter.

The five-point restraint is easily released with one hand while the passive crotch restraint stays in place as part of the seat.
The five-point restraint is easily released with one hand while the passive crotch restraint stays in place as part of the seat.
  • Adjustments: Many chairs have adjustable features. The two we think are the most important are recline and height changes. Chairs that have adjustable features tend to offer more comfort for the baby.
  • Portability: Full-size high chairs are not "portable" units (travel chairs) or boosters. For this review, 'portability' refers to moving around your kitchen. Some chairs have wheels, and some don't; the chairs with wheels aren't always easier to maneuver.

Ease of Use


Your chair will likely be used every day, multiple times a day, so this gear must be easy to operate. Also, little quirks that could potentially pinch your baby or leave marks are serious deal-breakers. Here are some ease-of-use features to look for, and quirks to consider:

The Siesta has unique the ability to fully recline.  This can be a handy place for a young infant to hang out prior to starting solids while family is cooking or eating.
The Siesta has unique the ability to fully recline. This can be a handy place for a young infant to hang out prior to starting solids while family is cooking or eating.
  • Recline: Some chairs recline, but there was one recline feature we like the best. In the Peg Perego Siesta, the entire seat tilts back, all the way to the footrest. Other chairs, like the Graco SimpleSwitch, offer recline, but only the back of the chair moves. This style can cause the baby's tush to slide forward and makes it feel like the baby is going to slide right out of the seat. If your baby is unlikely to fall asleep during/after mealtime, recline may not be a big deal for you.

Recline Safety
Always be sure that the baby's fingers are out of the way when adjusting the seat back! Some recline features can create pinch points, and your baby can get hurt during the adjustment.

The highest setting on the Boon High Chair allowed baby to join in during breakfast while sitting at counter-height with older siblings.
The highest setting on the Boon High Chair allowed baby to join in during breakfast while sitting at counter-height with older siblings.
  • Height Adjustability: Think about where you plan to feed your baby. If you typically sit down in your dining room chair and want your baby next to you, every stand-alone chair should work. If you're more of an eat-while-I-wash-dishes kind of parent, you may want one that sits a little taller. In our testing, we liked the taller adjustable heights, like the Boon Flair. Chairs like the Keekaroo Height Right and Stokke Tripp Trapp are great options for the dining room table because they can easily be pushed up to most tables. Whatever your preference, be sure to check the chair's dimensions to ensure that the chair will work in your space.

The Stokke Tripp Trapp can easily be pushed up to the table to dine together.
The Stokke Tripp Trapp can easily be pushed up to the table to dine together.
  • Comfort Features: Some chairs don't offer any padding at all, but may allow the baby to sit in an ergonomic position. The chairs with no fabric cushions are generally easy to clean.

Many snack trays  like the one from the Keekaroo shown here  are dishwasher safe  but we recommend using warm soapy water to clean them by hand instead.
Many snack trays, like the one from the Keekaroo shown here, are dishwasher safe, but we recommend using warm soapy water to clean them by hand instead.

Ease of Cleaning


Babies are messy eaters. Toddlers are messy eaters. While comfort for your baby is important, often comfort translates to more areas for food to accumulate. A few chairs, like the Baby Bjorn and the Keekaroo Height Right, have unique design elements that eliminate unnecessary crevices and provide ergonomic support. To our delight, chairs like the Peg Perego Siesta combine comfort with cleanability. Chairs must be easy to clean, especially since you'll be using it three times a day. Here are a few things to consider to find a chair that is a breeze to clean:
  • Chair cushions: If the chair has a padded seat, make sure the cover is easy to wipe clean. Chairs with removable seat cushions that you can throw in the washing machine are even better. You'll want to avoid fabrics that can attract stains.

Luckily  those sneaky food-collecting creases in the seat cushion were super easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
Luckily, those sneaky food-collecting creases in the seat cushion were super easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  • Base: Larger chair bases, like the one on the Boon Flair, can catch food and require additional cleaning. Smaller or legs mean less chair clean up.
  • Buckles: Buckles can collect food like nobody's business. This tendency to collect gunk is why buckles should have limited nooks and crannies. Wiping them down is a lot easier to do when you don't need to break out the Q-tips.

Some of the chairs have food trays with a snack tray "cover." For convenience, these tray covers are top-rack dishwasher safe. However, we recommend washing plastic components by hand to avoid potential leaching of harsh chemicals and damage over time.

Quality


Quality is critical, especially for a product your child will sit in for multiple meals a day several feet above the floor. Overall quality can impact potential safety, and you'll want one that keeps your baby safe and secure every time you use it.

Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is very well made and does not scream baby furniture.
Stokke Tripp Trapp high chair is very well made and does not scream baby furniture.

Even if you plan to purchase your chair online, we recommend trying to see it in person so that you can test it for yourself; shake it, push it across the floor, adjust the height and recline, remove the seat cushion, play with the tray. Bring your baby, see how easy it is to get them in and out. This in-person experience can give you more information on chair stability and the quality of the materials and construction.

Footprint and Portability


The footprint and portability of a high chair refer to its size and how the wheels function (if present). This description doesn't include whether or not they are good for travel, only how well they move around your kitchen and how easy they are to store.

Two of our favorites  the Baby Bjorn (L) and the Peg Perego Siesta (R) folded and ready to be stored.
Two of our favorites, the Baby Bjorn (L) and the Peg Perego Siesta (R) folded and ready to be stored.

While only a few of the chairs have wheels, we find that they aren't necessarily easier to maneuver. One of our top scorers, the Baby Bjorn, doesn't have wheels, but it is easy to move around the kitchen.

Some factors to keep in mind include:
  • Footprint Size: The footprint is the floor space the chair occupies. If your kitchen is already small, then you may want to pick a chair with a small footprint or one that folds.

  • Wheels:
    The Siesta offers an auto-lock feature for the brakes.  Above baby's arm rest  when you see 'Stop'  you know the brakes are on and baby is not going anywhere.
    Being able to move your chair around via wheels may or may not be relevant to you. Having wheels didn't always translate to easy to move in our tests, and the brakes that come with the wheels aren't always effective or user-friendly. Also, wheels can lead to unsupervised and unsafe "rides" around the house from older children, or the chair might move you put the baby in if you don't lock the brakes. Our favorite wheels are those on the Peg Perego Siesta, which have an automatic brake lock with an easy press to set and release mechanism. This method is so much easier than trying to flip the tiny levers located on other wheels.
  • Foldability: You might want to tuck your high chair out of sight when not in use. If you think this is something you'll be interested in, you'll want to find one that folds. The Peg Perego Siesta and the Baby Bjorn, both offer this feature.


Additional Items to Ponder

  • Easiest to get baby in and out - Do baby legs get stuck on the way in or out of the chair? Is it difficult to access the harness after the baby is seated? Will the baby start to slide out hen you remove the tray? How do the brakes work?
  • Harnessing baby - How easy is it to secure the harness around the baby? Is the harness easy to adjust after the baby is sitting? Does the chair provide a three or five-point harness? Does it unbuckle easily?
  • Baby's comfort and positioning - Is it easy to get your baby into a comfortable position? Will you regularly need to readjust? Is the tray squishing the baby, or is it too far away to catch falling 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? Will it still work well with an older toddler?


Conclusion


A high chair is a necessary baby equipment purchase. Try as you might to avoid it, the fact is that your baby will need somewhere to safely sit to eat. You'll have this chair for several years, so it's a decision you don't want to take lightly. Our round-up and details can help you find the best chair for you. No matter what your unique needs are, there is a safe, functional high chair out there for your family.


Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Selig