Your baby’s high chair has the power to dramatically affect your parenting experience. If you choose one that is difficult to use, clashes with your decor, is uncomfortable for your baby, or is impossible to move to another room, mealtimes can become a hassle. A poorly-designed high chair can be really irritating to deal with, but a great one will get out of the way and allow you to focus on your baby.
That’s why after testing 10 of the most popular and beloved high chairs, we concluded the Fisher Price 4-in-1 Total Clean(available at Amazon) is the best for mealtime (and cleanup!) ease.
I’ve been through a few high chairs in my eight years of parenting, and now on baby number three, I’ve found that parents want a chair that’s a non-issue: It shouldn’t be fussy or require special treatment, and it should do what you need it to do. Fun prints and fancy accessories are a plus, but a high chair’s main responsibility is to get the job done without creating extra work for parents.
Here are the best high chairs, in order:
Fisher-Price Total Clean
Stokke Tripp Trapp
Peg Perego Siesta
Cosco Simple Fold
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If you’re not into scrubbing high chair straps and crevices, the Fisher-Price 4-in-1 Total Clean is probably right up your alley. Not only does this chair boast smooth, wipeable straps and a stain-resistant, machine-washable seat pad—the entire seat can be taken apart and cleaned in the dishwasher along with the tray. That’s right, just about every surface on this high chair can be washed by a machine so you don’t have to scrub and pick at crusted who-knows-what from some messy meal who-knows-when.
The tray is easy to remove with one hand, and the chair’s height quickly adjusts by squeezing handles on either side of the footrest. My 9-month-old guinea pig (err, baby) showed her approval of this high chair’s comfort by falling asleep in it more than once. The seat pad stays in place well after multiple uses and removes easily when it needs to be thrown in the wash. There’s also a place to store a package of wet wipes inside the footrest, which is a thoughtful touch. Keeping this chair clean was as easy as it gets, and though the frame didn’t feel as sturdy as a few of the heavier chairs we tested (like our most-versatile pick, the Stokke Tripp Trapp), it held up perfectly even when my 4-year-old tested it with the gusto of, well, a 4-year-old.
The Stokke Tripp Trapp was definitely the most difficult chair we tested when it came to assembly. Not that it was terribly complicated, but we found the instructions a bit lacking and we spent some time scratching our heads (and possibly mumbling grown-up words under our breath). Despite the rocky first impression, the Stokke immediately became a favorite of the group. It was the only chair we tested that allowed my 9-month-old to sit at the table in an ergonomic position (back straight, knees bent at 90 degrees, feet on the footrest) other than the BabyBjorn High Chair. Using the baby set—an optional attachment to the backrest that helps the baby stay upright—we were happy to note that the leg holes were big enough that it was still easy to get our little one in and out without her legs getting caught. Stokke offers a baby cushion to soften the wood surface a bit, but our little one didn’t seem to mind with or without it. It comes with a five-point harness that’s a bit fiddly, but it wasn’t a deal-breaker.
The Tripp Trapp’s major strengths are its aesthetics and its versatility. It takes up less room at our dining table than one of our regular chairs, and it comes in finishes to blend with any decor. That’s super important because you won’t ever put this chair in storage. It can be adjusted to fit an adult and has a weight limit of 300 pounds, so long after the little ones have moved out, you can use this chair as an extra seat for any visitor. The price is a little steep, but when you consider the chair will probably outlive the person it was purchased for, we think it’s a good investment.
Hi, I’m Sarah Kovac. As a parent of three, I’ve had a high chair at my dinner table for the past eight years. I’ve always been interested in the latest parenting gear, and over the years my kids have helped me review more baby products than I can count.
I spent several weeks using these high chairs to feed and entertain my 9-month-old so I could experience first hand how easy they are to clean and use. We came up with 15 different testing criteria, such as ease of use, cleaning, build quality, ease of storage, and versatility. Each chair was used multiple times and in different locations throughout my home—at the dinner table, in the living room, and a few on the patio. I also had my 4-year-old try the chairs that could hold older kids. I tried removing each tray one-handed, adjusted them in every which way, stuck every dishwasher-safe tray in a standard dishwasher to see if they fit, and examined every seat and harness to see if food would get stuck in any crevices.
Things to Know When Buying a High Chair:
Here are a few tips for finding the right high chair for your family:
Just because a tray is billed as "dishwasher safe" doesn’t mean you’ll be able to put it in your dishwasher. Many of the trays won't fit in either shelf of a standard-sized dishwasher.
Wheels don’t always roll on carpet. A couple of high chairs we tested had frames so low to the ground that they couldn’t quite clear low-pile carpet without dragging. If you have thick carpet, you’ll need more clearance.
A squirmy toddler might mean an uncomfortable seat. A high chair that promotes good posture will help your child to be calm and focused during mealtime. Look for a chair that can adjust as your little one grows.
Not all high chairs will work with every table. If you use a tall table (or a shorter-than-average one) you’ll want to measure from the bottom of your table to the floor and check the high chair’s seat and tray height before ordering.
Other High Chairs We Tested
Graco Blossom 4-in-1 Seating System
The Graco Blossom 4-n-1 high chair is sturdy and roomy and offers three different trays (small, large, plus a tray liner on top). The seat has three recline angles and a “premium leatherette” washing-machine-safe seat pad that wipes down easily. All around, it’s a pretty solid high chair. There were, however, a couple of things we didn’t like: It’s fairly bulky and it doesn’t collapse for storage. Also, it comes with a separate booster seat, which is nice, but there’s no way to dock it onto the chair when you’re not using it. This would have been a much better chair if it was easier to store and transport.
The Siesta high chair from Peg Perego screams “quality.” The frame is heavy and sturdy, it offers multiple height adjustments, it reclines enough to cradle a newborn, it folds up flat, and the chair liner isn’t leather, but sure feels like it.
We move high chairs around fairly often in our house, and this is where we hit a snag. At 27.5 pounds, carrying the Siesta from one room to another wasn’t ideal, but it can roll so it’s fine, right? Unfortunately, there are a couple of stoppers between the front wheels that dragged across our low-pile carpet, making it pretty difficult to move.
Many Amazon reviewers have the same complaint. For example, Vana loves lots of things about the Siesta but says, “It doesn't roll from hardwood onto a rug (which I have under my dining room table) and pretty much impossible to move on carpet. I was hoping to put my baby in this and be able to wheel her all around the house while I cleaned and straightened up in the morning which is a big disappointment.”
Straight out of the box, we loved the BabyBjörn high chair. It’s just so cute! The design is modern and lightweight while still feeling sturdy. The tray can’t be completely taken off and it's pretty small, but the liner can be removed and it's dishwasher safe. The smooth surface means quick clean up, and it folds up flat for great storage and portability.
My 9-month-old sat straight with knees bent at 90 degrees in this chair, which was actually a concern since the footrest isn’t adjustable. The BabyBjörn is supposed to seat children up to 3 years old, but the hips wouldn’t be an ergonomic angle for much of that time. Amazon reviewer F. Edwards reports that this high chair was too small for his 10-month-old: “It might have fit my daughter when she was six months old, but not for long after that. She's 75% in height and weight, but at 10 months, this chair was clearly too small in all respects. The backrest barely came up past her lumbar region, and at its widest point the tray was uncomfortably snug against her belly. Worst of all, the buckle portion of the belts didn't even come up past her diaper.”
The nearly $300 price tag is a bit much for a chair with so few adjustments. The IKEA Antilop is fairly similar in terms of aesthetics and ease of use—and it’s only $19.
When 4Moms introduces a new product, we get excited. From their Mamaroo, to their strollers, to their smart car seat, they always seem to create a new feature that has us saying, “why didn’t we think of that?” The 4Moms high chair is no exception, with its magnetic tray and dinnerware that make spills less likely. It’s a cool concept, but we were less than impressed with the rest of the high chair.
It doesn’t recline, the height isn’t adjustable, it doesn’t collapse, and it has no wheels. The only exciting thing about this high chair is the magnetic tray, and for the price, we’d like to see a few more features.
The IKEA Antilop high chair has a loyal following and for good reason. It’s easy to clean, its minimal design doesn’t clash with other furniture, it’s lightweight and sturdy. The best part? It’s under $20. If you’re going to spend so little on a high chair, however, you have to adjust your expectations accordingly. It can’t recline or adjust in any way, the tray is really difficult to remove, and there’s no five-point harness. It’s basically like the high chairs you use at restaurants. A simple seat with a lap buckle. That’s it. But hey, it’s super affordable and easy to use. What’s not to like?
As its name suggests, the SpaceSaver from Fisher-Price is very good at saving space. If you’d rather your baby take up a dinner chair than have a high chair take up an extra spot at the table, this high chair was designed for you.
The Fisher-Price Total Clean and several of the other high chairs we tested can also be used as a booster, but the SpaceSaver offers one feature that the other boosters don’t: Its height can be adjusted. There are only two height settings, but that may be the difference between your toddler’s knees jamming into the table or not.
The tray can’t easily be removed with one hand, and the removable tray liner only covers a portion of the tray, which means you’ll be cleaning both the tray and its liner after a messy meal. It’s light on features but also light on space, so if table space is scarce, the SpaceSaver is a solid choice.
I wasn't excited about the Ingenuity Trio. As one Amazon reviewer so succinctly put it, “It feels very cheap.” Several other reviewers noted that it’s nearly impossible to clean out a hole in the seat that tends to collect food and liquids. The tray is difficult to get into place, and the whole seat sits awkwardly tall with no way to adjust its height. But its four swivel wheels (the others we tested had only back swivel wheels or none at all), made it easy to move around the house, and the seat can easily be removed from the frame and used as a booster in a dining chair. Otherwise, this high chair was just meh.
The Cosco Simple Fold high chair is very good at what it does. It quickly and easily folds down to be stowed away in very little space. It feels surprisingly sturdy when it’s expanded, and there’s even a little footrest (though the angle and size of the footrest make it more ornamental than functional—I would not want any weight to be put on it). Our major gripe with this high chair is the seat itself. Amazon reviewer Meredith summed up our concerns nicely: “Very easy to fold down and open back up, but the seat [is] too reclined and can’t be adjusted. Also, the fabric cannot be removed to wash.”
I struggled to test this chair for more than a few minutes with my 9-month-old since there is no real support to the seat. She immediately slid down and was unhappy that she couldn’t sit up straight. Maybe for a larger child, it would be fine, but my little one couldn’t stand it, and the fact that the cover can’t be removed to wash is a big problem. This might be okay for occasional use with toddlers at Grandma’s, but it's probably best to look elsewhere for a baby’s primary mealtime seat.
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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