I’ve been there: feeding time is inevitably a massively messy time.
If your son or daughter is anything like mine, they’re going to end up with more food on them than ends up in their mouth. Such is the fun of introducing solids.
A high chair will probably be one of the most-used baby items you own; you’ll be using it at least once a day for probably a few years at every meal.
Needless to say, it’s important to find one that’s safe, convenient and easy to use, and easy to clean.
I’ll tell you about my favorite and recommended baby cribs, and what you should look for when shopping for one!
MomTricks Picks: The Best High Chairs
BABYBJORN (Fancy & Sleek But Expensive)
They designed it to be ergonomic and form-fitting to the child’s body; the backrest is curved and the eating table is rounded.
The table can easily be folded down to put your child in and out, and since it’s built to be narrow, you can slide it up to the table so they can eat along with the rest of the family.
I love the small and compact design; it makes it great for small eating spaces. It’s easy to put away, too.
What I really like about the design of the tray is that it’s really snug, so it’s unlikely for food to fall down onto their lap as they eat.
All of the inner surfaces of the tray are curved, making them easy to clean, too. Or you can just throw it in the dishwasher; it’s small enough that it doesn’t take up a ton of space inside.
When not in use, you can fold it up to a pretty compact package; it’s just about 10 inches wide. This means it’s fairly convenient for travel if need be. This is also an excellent chair for small children due to the way it snugs up close and tight.
The downside? It’s expensive. Maybe moreso than you’ll want to spend on a high chair, but it really is a nice one.
I highly recommend this chair!
Fisher Price SpaceSaver (Cheap & Awesome)
It’s a space-saving model, designed to attach to your regular dining room chair.
The beauty of this, and something you can’t really appreciate until you have a bulky LPO (large plastic object) in your home, is that it takes up so much less space compared to a regular high chair.
This alone makes it an awesome choice. This thing is a godsend, believe me.
When you want to put it away, it simply comes off for easy storage. This is very handy if you have a small dining area! Don’t worry: the strapping mechanism makes the seat very secure, so it’s not going to fall over.
The seat has a weight limit of 50 pounds, so they should never outgrow it until they don’t need it anymore. The seat pad is comfortable and spill resistant plus washing machine friendly, so you can deal with those (inevitable!) spills and messes.
Also great is the fact that it’s adjustable with 3 different height levels to accommodate your child as they grow: from a reclining seat for newborns, to an upright seat for infants, to finally a “big kid” seat for toddlers!
Just because this seat is small it doesn’t mean they skimped on the features. It has a cup holder perfect for a sippy cup, a full-sized feeding tray, a secure 5-point harness and a comfortable contoured seat.
The seat is simple to use; the tray removes with one hand, making it a snap to get baby in and out, and it’s dishwasher safe, so you can pop it right in with the rest of the dishes for a no-hassle cleanup.
This is one of the best and most popular space-saving chairs among parents on the internet, and for good reason: it’s a great and convenient value at under $50. \
One of the best cheap high chairs money can buy! It comes in 4 different designs, so you’ll be sure to find one you like.
Evenflo Compact Fold High Chair (Not Bad For $50)
At around $50 retail price, it’s an excellent value and both lightweight and durable.
It easily folds up for easy storage when not in use, and it’s stable and safe so you can rest assured knowing your baby will be safe while using it.
It also has rear wheels, and it’s very lightweight, making it easy to move from room to room, which is pretty nice.
The tray is removable and dishwasher safe so it’s easy to clean, and the seat is spill-resistant and also easy to clean. Like the Fisher-Price chair, this one has a safe 5-point harness system to keep your child secured while it’s in use.
Some parents complained about the seat not being machine-washable, but we didn’t think it was a big deal. It won’t stain, and you just have to wipe it clean with a washcloth.
If you plan on feeding your baby something messy (like spaghetti!) then just lay a towel down on the site; it’s not a big deal.
There’s not much more to say about this budget high chair; it’s a great deal for the money, it’s lightweight and stores easily, it’s comfortable and safe, and best of all, it’s inexpensive. Thumbs up!
The Different Types of High Chairs: Compared & Contrasted
There are many different types of chairs to choose from, and the first thing you should do is decide which type is best for you and your baby.
Basic/Traditional High Chairs
If you close your eyes and think of a high chair, this is probably what you’re picturing.
The most basic type of high chair is generally the least expensive.
They are usually made of plastic and metal tubing, and work well for what they are.
Unfortunately, these low-end chairs may lack some of the basic features you might be looking for, such as adjustable height and tray, wheels, reclining seat, or the ability to fold it up for easy storage.
On the plus side, these tend to come at a lower price point compared to more advanced chairs.
These will probably be the best solution for parents on a budget, or those that don’t need a lot of extra perks or options.
My Recommended Chair: Summer Infant Classic
- Usually less expensive than other types; good for those on a budget
- Maybe a good idea s a secondary chair at a relative’s or babysitter’s house
- Generally simple and lightweight
- Less fully-featured when compared to higher-priced chairs
- Less versatile than others
- Probably won’t be able to adjust the seat height or tray
Multi-functional High Chairs
These chairs will allow the user to adjust the seat height as well as the tray height.
These can be very handy for families who like to get involved in baby’s feed time.
It’s especially good because it means anyone can get involved, and a good chair of this type can quickly and easily be adjusted, which is awesome when dealing with a hungry, fussy baby.
These come with more features than found in the standard, basic high chair. A multi-functional model will probably be the most suitable chair for parents who want a little more flexibility in their purchase.
My recommended chair: Babybjorn High Chair
- Offers extra flexibility through possible height and tray adjustments making it usable as your baby grows.
- Many multi-functional chairs are foldable for easy storage.
- Slightly more expensive than the basic models.
- Not all chairs of this type fold up.
- Possibly more difficult to assemble than the more basic models.
A lot of parents are opting to go with space-saving chairs. Not everyone wants another LPO (Large Plastic Object) taking up space in the house.
Meant to save you space, which is perfect for those with smaller homes, these seats attach to your existing dining room chairs.
They’re also convenient because you don’t have to have a bulky high chair sitting in your kitchen all the time; you just have to sacrifice a chair, or if necessary, remove it while not in use.
An awesome bonus to these chairs is that the front tray is often removable, essentially converting it to a booster seat for when they outgrow the high chair but still need some help reaching the table.
Also convenient is that the tray is often smaller than a typical high chair, making it much easier to clean, especially if you stick it in the dishwasher.
The only downside is that you might want to put a towel over the kitchen chair to protect it from the inevitable spills and messes. Not a big deal.
Another reason you might not want to go with a space-saver chair is that a lot of parents find that their kids loving sitting and playing in their high chair, and when it’s time to eat, they just roll the chair up to the table. Not possible in a space-saver chair.
My Recommended Chair: Fisher Price SpaceSaver
- Saves a lot of space; you don’t need a big, bulky plastic chair sitting around.
- Many can convert to booster chairs when the child outgrows it.
- Typically smaller tray makes it easier to clean.
- Portable, can bring it to grandma’s house for a weekend stay.
- Might need to cover up dining room chair with a towel to avoid messes.
- Not possible to roll the seat around while the child is in it.
Convertible High Chairs
Convertible high chairs, sometimes called 3-in-1 chairs, can be a great investment for parents who wish to have a chair that will last their child for a while.
They can be converted into toddler-sized seats as your baby gets older, and then to a small, low table when it comes time for your child to feed themselves.
A convertible chair will probably be the good choice for parents who don’t mind making a larger initial investment in an item that will last longer and will adapt as their baby grows into a toddler and older.
My recommended chair: Evenflo Convertible High Chair
- These will last your child longer as they can be adjusted as they grow and age.
- Some toddlers will enjoy being able to eat with their own chair and table.
- More expensive than most other types of high chairs.
- Can possibly be difficult to assemble.
- Since some convertible chairs are made of wood, they may not be foldable or easy to store.
Portable/Travel High Chairs
These portable options are for parents that do a lot of travelling.
If you go to relatives or friends houses regularly, if your child is going to have a babysitter or caretaker outside of your home, or if going to a restaurant that doesn’t have high chairs and you must use your own, this might be the option for you.
Some portable chairs are just regular high chairs that are lightweight and fold up easily, and others are small but latch onto the table without a stand.
These are usually the best high chair for parents that travel often, or spend time at the houses of family and friends.
My Recommended Chair: Regalo My Chair
- Lightweight, portable, and easy to fold and carry.
- The smallest and most compact portable chairs may be small enough to fit into a backpack. If not, they will surely fit into your vehicle’s trunk or back seat.
- These generally aren’t the best to be used as a primary high chair.
- Possibly of limited use if you won’t be traveling often or are not in need of a chair outside your home.
Safety is the number one concern when shopping for a high chair. They usually sit at a high height, so you want to avoid them slipping out or falling.
As with most baby gear, there are numerous features and options that differ between each of the available models. Here are some of the things you might be interested in, to give you a better idea of what to look for when you’re searching for one of the the best high chairs for your little one.
- Where do you need the high chair? Your personal needs make a huge difference in what high chair you should get. If space is an issue, going with a space-saver chair is a good idea. They’re also portable, which is great. A convertible chair will be good for the parent that wants a stand-alone chair but wants to be able to use it for a long time, and a travel chair is good for those that will be eating out or staying overnight at friends and family’s houses often.
- Do you want a versatile chair? If you want something that’s going to last for a while and something you’ll get a lot of use out of, consider a convertible chair. Otherwise, you’ll likely need to buy a booster when they outgrow the high chair.
- Wide base & sturdy build. A wide base on a high chair will add a lot of stability. You wouldn’t want your baby to rock back-and-forth and upset the chair. A strong and sturdy build will also make it less likely to tip over.
- Restraints. You don’t want your baby to stand up or slip out from underneath the chair, so proper restraints are a vital safety feature to look for.
- Adjustability. Chairs that have the option to adjust the seats, trays and heights are among the most popular of high chairs these days. Being able to adjust these parts of the chair means that you’ll be able to adapt the chair as your baby grows. You don’t want their tummies to become constricted!
- Tray. Keep a keen eye out for a chair with a tray that is easy to remove; this will make it much easier to clean up the inevitable spills and messes that are sure to come up when your baby is learning to feed themselves. Also look for a tray that has a raised lip to catch spills.
- Ease of cleaning. Going along with the removable tray, consider other factors that will make your baby’s inevitable messes easier to clean up. Babies are known to get food everywhere and in every crevice of their high chairs when they’re learning to eat, so you’ll probably want to consider plastic/vinyl seats for easy clean-up. Having removable seat covers and straps are something that will add to the ease of cleaning of the chair.
- Wheels. If you want to be able to easily move the chair from one room to another, you’ll want one that has wheels. Of course, be sure to always lock them when the chair should be stationary.
- Size of chair. If you live in a smaller house or apartment, you might want to think about purchasing a smaller, portable chair. These chairs can usually fold up for easy storage, which is great for those of us with limited space in our kitchens or dining rooms.
- Comfort. Your child is going to spend a lot of time in the chair, so look for one that’s well-padded. Also look out for sharp edges or protruding bolts. If you’re using a wooden chair, check it over to make sure that there are no splinters that your baby might find.
- Safety standards. Any high chair should be certified by the JPMA and should display their logo on the packaging.
Other Safety Factors To Think About
You might have an antique or hand-me-down high chair, and while it might look nice and have sentimental value, there’s no telling whether or not it’s actually safe to use.
Safety standards change a lot over the years, so even one that’s only a generation old might no longer conform to current safety standards, and high chairs are recalled all the time. Please be careful and don’t use a used chair as long as you can help it.
If you must, check the online recall database at CSPC.gov here.
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