Types of High Chairs
For this review, we will be discussing stand-alone, full-size chairs, ones that do not necessarily need to be pushed into a table because they have a tray. These types offer everything you need to get baby fed all in one convenient package. Some of them, like our Best Value Award winner the Graco Blossom, are considered "convertible" chairs, meaning they will grow with your child and offer seating options for older children up to 60 pounds. Others, like the Keekaroo Height Right and Stokke Tripp Trapp can even accommodate an adult up to 250 pounds once all the infant inserts have been removed.
Stand-alone chairs will take up some floor space in your kitchen, or wherever you choose to feed baby, and will also have a set of legs attached to a base that offers extra stability. Some of them have wheels, others do not, so be sure if you purchase one with wheels that there are secure braking mechanisms in place.
If you live in a tiny apartment with little extra floor space, or are often on the go, take a look at our Top Pick for Light and Compact, the Baby Bjorn. If you're needing something that takes up even less room than that, consider using a portable product rather than a full-size, stand-alone one. For more information on those, check out our Best Portable High Chair Review.
Keep in Mind
There are several factors to keep in mind when shopping for this type of item. Here, we will go over each area that we specifically looked at when testing and reviewing our nine competitors, and help you break each one down.
Ease Of Use
This is an item that will get used every single day, multiple times a day, so it's imperative that this piece of equipment be easy for you to operate. Additionally, little quirks in a chair that could potentially pinch baby or leave marks are serious deal-breakers. Here are some ease-of-use features to look for when buying a chair, and quirks to keep an eye out for:
- Recline: Peg Perego Siesta was a great example of this, calling it "Evolved Tilt N Space". Basically, when it reclines, the seat/footrest moves and slightly reclines, too. Other chairs, like the Summer Infant Bentwood offered a recline option, but only the back part of the chair reclined. Imagine sitting in a nice chair, and you recline it back to relax but the footrest and seat don't move at all. You'll feel like you're sliding down to the floor. Uncomfortable, right? We think it's probably uncomfortable for baby, too. Make sure you check this before purchasing a chair if you think this might be too uncomfortable for your child. If your kiddo is not one to fall asleep during/after mealtime, maybe this isn't such a big deal for you. In that case, you may want to read up on our Best Value Award Winner, the Graco Blossom, which had a back recline only. One final warning about reclining: always be sure baby's fingers are out of the way when adjusting their seat back!
- Height Adjustability: Boon Flair, that were able to reach our counter height where older siblings were sitting at stools. Baby sure enjoyed being part of that action, too. Chairs like the Keekaroo Height Right and Stokke Tripp Trapp are great options if you often have your family meals at the dining room table, because although they are not height adjustable, they can be pushed into most tables as easily as your other dining chairs. Whatever your preference, be sure to double check the manufacturer's dimensions to see that the chair will work in your environment.
- Center Crotch/Safety Post:
- Comfort Features:
Ease of Cleaning
If you're a first-time parent we have some shocking news for you: Your kid is going to make a mess… every day. And if you think the mess produced by baby food is bad, wait until they start solids. It is so important that this type of product be easy enough to clean, especially since you'll be using it upwards of three times a day. Here's a few pointers to look for when picking a chair that'll be a breeze to clean:
- Chair cushions:
- Base: We hate to break it to you, but crumbs will often fall victim to gravity and end up all over your floor. If the base is large, like that of the Boon Flair, crumbs will land on it, and it will eventually need to be cleaned.
- Buckles: Boy, can these little guys collect food like nobody's business. Make sure the buckles don't have extra nooks and crannies. There's no getting around the fact that you'll have to wipe them down, but it's a lot easier to do if you don't need to break out the Q-tips to do so.
When it comes to quality, there really is no wiggle room. This is where your baby will spend many hours eating, drinking, napping, and taking in all the chaos. You want to be sure that the overall quality is going to keep baby safe every single time you strap her in. A great measure of quality is a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association) safety certification sticker. This tells you that the manufacturer has voluntarily included certain safety features, which you can feel good about.
Even if you want to purchase your chair online, we recommend trying to find it at a brick and mortar store first, so that you can go and test it out for yourself. Go shake it, wiggle it around, push it across the floor, adjust the height and recline, take off the seat cushion, play with the tray. Bring baby, too, and see how easy it is to get them in and out. This way, you can see for yourself how sturdy and stable the chair is, and how nice the materials and finishes are. You'll want one with a seat that is fully supportive, which doesn't necessarily mean big, either. For example, the Baby Bjorn has a small back support, but the curve of it and seat depth is just right.
Footprint and Portability
The footprint and portability of a high chair refers to the amount of space it takes up and how well the wheels (if any) function. Some factors to keep in mind when considering a chair's footprint and portability are:
- Size of Footprint: If it's already a tight squeeze having more than two people in your kitchen or dining area, you may want to pick a chair with a smaller footprint size.
- Foldability: Sometimes, you just need your high chair to be out of sight for a little while. Maybe you're hosting a party or even just wanting to give the kitchen floor a good cleaning. Either way, you need it out of your way. In these situations, you want to consider a one that folds for storage. Two of our three award winners, the Peg Perego Siesta and the Baby Bjorn offer this convenient feature.
Ease of Set Up
So, you've finally decided on a high chair. Now what? Time to put it together! The excitement of a new baby item sure can fade fast once you open the box and see 1,000 different parts. Well, for the nine chairs we tested, we give it to you straight about what assembly will be like. Of course, having a chair like the Baby Bjorn, which only requires some snapping-in of the leg posts, is great. Other chairs might use screws that can be tightened with Allen Wrenches. Always be sure to read the instruction manual, because some may need occasional adjusting to keep all the pieces tightened.
A high chair is one of those nearly inevitable baby equipment purchases. Try to avoid it all you want, but the fact of the matter is that your baby will need to have somewhere they can sit safely to eat. You will have this piece of equipment for many years, and will certainly make many great memories with it, so it's a decision you don't want to take lightly. Our favorite, the Peg Perego Siesta will grow with your baby from infant through toddler, and will surely be durable for years to come. Two other top-scorers were the Baby Bjorn which won our award for Top Pick for Light and Compact, and the Graco Blossom which won Best Value. Whatever your unique needs, there is a safe, functional high chair out there for your family. Bon Appetit!