Graduating from a high chair to a booster seat at the dining table is one of the first big nexts of your little one’s life. You want to pick one that’s not only safe and easy to clean, but also one that your kid loves to use for as long as possible. It needs to stay in place on the chair and keep your kid focused on what’s important: just three more peas.
In our hunt to find the best dining booster seat on the market, we gathered up six of the top-selling, highest-rated boosters and spent weeks testing them in a real house full of really messy kids. In the end, we concluded that the Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe(available at Amazon) is the best booster chair you can buy.
These are the best booster seats we tested ranked, in order:
Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe
Summer Infant Pop and Sit
OXO Tot Perch
The First Years On the Go
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The Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe is an impressive little booster seat. Its smooth surface and lack of crevices mean it’s easy to get clean after even the messiest meal. The high back can be folded down for storage or removed completely with very little fuss.
Perhaps the coolest feature is the tray. The base of the tray can be clipped on in three different positions to accommodate a growing child. The tray liner clips in and out easily and is dishwasher safe. It even has a cut out for a sippy cup. And once you have the liner cleaned up, it will stay that way because the entire tray has a clip-on cover to keep your baby’s eating surface clean in between meals.
We also loved that this highchair has a height adjustment feature so you can choose from one of three levels that puts your little one at the perfect height for your chair and dinner table. You do have to disconnect the booster from the chair and turn it upside down to adjust the height, but it’s easy to do. If some purée or juice should happen to make its way into the openings where the straps come through, you can just flip the highchair over and wipe down the other side, as it is open to the air and there are no places for moisture to hide.
The Fisher-Price Healthy Care Deluxe has an upper weight limit of 50 pounds, and though it’s recommended for up to 50 pound. My four-year-old insisted on testing it herself and was just as comfortable in it as our 10 month old.
The only thing we didn’t like about this booster seat was the shallowness of the tray. Our 10-month-old could reach to the front and pull the liner up and out of place. Of course, if this turns out to be a problem for your child, you could use it just as easily without the liner. Not a big deal, but something to consider.
If you’ve ever had the thought, “what we need for our kid is a tiny camping chair that we can keep in the trunk for emergencies,” Summer Infant’s Pop and Sit Portable Booster has you covered. While the aesthetics of this chair are a little rustic for our tastes to keep at the dinner table full time, the Pop and Sit just can’t be beat for portability and features. It comes in a carrying bag that has a strap and an external zipper pocket big enough for a small packet of wipes and a diaper or two. Inside the bag, you’ll find not only the booster itself, but also a little feeding tray that can be locked onto the front of the booster. We loved that the Pop and Sit had a tray at all — the fact that it fits into the carrying bag is icing on the cake.
Once you’ve taken the booster out of its bag, all that’s left to do is pull on opposite sides of the frame and (pop!) before you sits the most adorable little camping chair you’ve ever seen. It takes a couple of minutes to attach the adjustable straps that will secure under and around the back of a dining chair, but once those straps are connected to the booster, you won’t have to do it again. The back of the booster has a mesh-lined pocket across the width of the backrest, and the three-point seatbelt is easy to adjust. It accommodates children six months up to 37 pounds, and the tray is detachable, BPA free, and dishwasher safe.
Some Amazon reviewers were bothered by the fact that the safety straps are not attached higher on the back of the seat. That means the safety straps will sit more across the hips—like a car seatbelt—than up higher as with some booster chairs.
Hi, I’m Sarah Kovac. I am a mother of three little guinea pigs who have been helping me review lots of baby and kid products over the years. I have found there are few things more sacred and wholesome than meals shared as a family, and that an uncomfortable seat at the table gets abandoned much sooner. I believe kids deserve a comfortable and safe place to sit like everyone else.
I had my kids cycle through using these chairs at our dinner table (hard chairs) and at our patio table (cushioned chairs) for a few weeks so we could see which ones work best in real life and in different scenarios. We tested the booster chairs across 12 criteria such as portability, ease of storage, aesthetics, stability, and ease of cleaning. We folded them up, popped them open, and adjusted every setting. Once the official testing was done, I watched to see if there was one booster seat my four-year-old would choose over the others. As she apparently knows a quality product when she sees one, she did indeed choose to use the Fisher-Price Healthy Care and Summer Infant Pop n Sit when given the option.
What You Should Know About Booster Seats
Many booster seats do not offer height adjustments, which means they may only fit your child optimally for a short period of time.
Not every booster will fit every chair. If your dining chairs are unusually wide, the straps of some booster seats may not fit all the way around. If your chairs are backless, you won’t be able to use a booster at all.
Other Booster Seats We Tested
Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair
The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver is somewhere between a booster seat and a highchair. It’s essentially a legless high chair that straps to a dining chair. It reclines, it has a large, removable tray and dishwasher-safe tray liner. There are two height settings. We found the height to be very difficult to adjust, but it’s not something you would need to do often. The seat cover is removable and machine washable, and it comes with the option of a five-point harness. The backrest can also be removed, allowing it to convert to a “big kid” booster (up to 50 pounds). It’s definitely the least portable booster we tested, but it’s great for attaching to a chair and leaving there.
The Ingenuity SmartClean is a height-adjustable, easy-to-clean booster for children over 16 months up to 50 pounds. The foam liner is dishwasher safe (and did fit easily into our standard dishwasher) and the booster can be used without the liner to lower the child by a couple of inches. Apparently, the safety straps are safe to throw in the washing machine, but they don’t seem to be any different than most other safety straps, so… we’re guessing that most straps are washing machine safe? Good to know! The liner pops on and off easily. Almost too easily. More than once the liner dislodged while my four-year-old was trying to get into it.
The OXO Tot Perch is a sleek, minimal booster chair that folds in half for transport and storage. The safety straps and chair straps can be easily hidden away under the chair when not in use. You’ll find lots of Amazon reviews complaining that chair straps don’t adjust, but after investigating for ourselves, we found that they do in fact adjust. The tightening mechanism is actually inside the chair underneath the seat (which pops off). It’s not incredibly intuitive, but it’s not difficult to do once you know where it is. We love the look of this seat, and since it will hold children from 15 months to 70 pounds, it could certainly get a lot of use in the typical household.
The First Years On the Go booster is very good at what it does. It can seat a wide age range of children (nine months to 50 pounds) safely in a chair while still being able to fold up small enough to fit in a diaper bag. It’s extremely compact and portable, it has adjustable chair straps and safety harness, and it even has a mesh pocket on the back large enough to fit a diaper or two. On top of that, the On the Go booster has a self-inflating air cushion to allow the height to be adjusted quickly. The downside is that it’s not incredibly stable. The child is basically sitting on a tiny air mattress, so it’s a little easier for them to tip than in other boosters with non-skid feet. Also, the bottom of the seat is just slippery fabric, so again easy for them to slide around or tip over.
Sarah Kovac is an award-winning author and smart home editor for Reviewed. Previously, she worked with a multitude of outlets such as Wirecutter, TIME, PCMag, Prevention, The Atlantic, Reviews.com, CNN, GOOD, Upworthy, Mom.me, and SheKnows.
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