Picking the Best High Chair for Your Little One

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High Chair Title Photo

Some items just seem obvious when registering for a new baby. Every parent needs a car seat, a stroller, and maybe even a swing. But a high chair? It may not be on your radar. If you are expecting (or expecting again) it may surprise you how quickly your new baby is ready for food. As a busy mom who has spent days researching baby gear, I am pleased to share four great options for the best high chair.

A high chair is definitely a must-have when putting together a baby shower registry. There are so many choices when it comes to high chairs, and this list will share my favorites. The best part? There’s something for you, no matter the size of your budget.

Determining the Right High Chair For Your Family

Long before you start thinking about brand or price, you first have to determine the type of high chair that best suits your needs. This task is not as straightforward as you think! High chairs are versatile and can include many features and amenities. Some high chairs are adjustable, offering the option of using it with either a standard-height or counter-height table. Others are convertible, starting as a high chair and then able to be used as a booster seat later. Still, others offer unique features such as a tray liner or wipe-clean seat.

Some parents may subscribe to the philosophy that infants and toddlers do not need to be strapped into a traditional high chair. These parents may follow the teachings of Maria Montessori and encourage the use of a child-size table with matching chair that a child can get in and out of themselves. If you would like your child to eat with you, or at your height, a traditional high chair will be necessary.

To start, a parent should consider when and where the baby will be eating. “The kitchen” isn’t specific enough. Parents have to decide whether they will have the baby at the table, eating at a counter, or eating in a separate, designated spot.

Next, parents must consider if the child will be eating at the same meal time as other family members. If so, a seat that is compatible with the height of the dining table may be preferred. If not, any chair will do. Lastly, a parent needs to decide how long the child will be using the chair. This will influence what is needed in terms of size and/or adaptability of the high chair.

Do you have a general idea of what you are looking for? Let’s get to it!

Best High Chair – All-Around: Baby Bjorn

Baby Bjorn high chair- white

The Baby Bjorn High Chair is my pick as the all-around best high chair. It includes a top safety rating, a smart design, and a small footprint. Notable features include:

  • Ergonomic design which encourages correct eating posture
  • JPMA Certified and BPA-free materials
  • Lightweight – only 11 lbs
  • Fold-flat design
  • Detachable, adjustable eating tray
  • Holds a child from 6 months up to 3 years or 38” tall

Why Parents Love It

Parents universally love the Baby Bjorn because it is small. This means that it takes up less space in the kitchen and it has less surface area to clean. In fact, the small design of the high chair is purposeful.

The tray is manufactured to produce a snug fit around the child’s belly in order to minimize food spilling between the tray and the infant. Additionally, this tight-fit tray provides an extra layer of safety above and beyond the traditional five-point harness. A child would have a super hard time slipping down or out of the high chair with the tray locked into place.

The Baby Bjorn high chair also folds compactly for storage and travel. At just 11 lbs, it is not hard to move. Parents also appreciate that this high chair is table-height. This means the seat can be used as a standard-height dining table for a child to eat with family (as long as the tray is down).

Pros of This High Chair

In addition to the features mentioned above, the Baby Bjorn high chair has smooth edges and rounded surfaces. This means that food is less likely to get stuck (no corners). This feature makes the high chair easier to clean.

The tray itself is also detachable and dishwasher-safe. The high chair is also convenient with a stated “no assembly required” design. Parents only have to screw in the legs. Lastly, the chair includes a footrest to increase a child’s comfort while eating.

Flaws (But Not Deal Breakers)

While the Baby Bjorn high chair is intended to seat children up to 3 years old, some parents may find that their child outgrows the chair before then.

Bigger-bellied babies may not fit appropriately due to the snug fit of the tray table. This high chair does not recline and is not adjustable in height. This means that an older toddler will not have back or head support as they get taller. Lastly, be aware that brightly colored foods (like spaghetti sauce) may stain the white tray.

 

Best High Chair – Runner-Up: 4Moms

4Moms High Chair

With a sharp design and reputable brand, the 4Moms high chair is an easy runner-up for best high chair. Notable features include:

    • Removable tray liner
    • Adjustable! 3 positions for height and 3 positions for tray
    • Magnetic tray with compatible magnetic plate and bowl 
    • One-handed magnetic tray attachment
    • A removable foam insert is comfortable and easy to clean
    • Holds a child from 6 months up to 60 lbs

Why Parents Love It

Across the board, parents love the 4Moms high chair because it is easy to clean. It features a removable foam cushion that parents can wipe down or hose off. In addition, the high weight limit means that kids can use this chair for many years.

The tray itself also lays flat when removed. This is a handy feature that you may not realize you need. The tray connects to the chair with a magnet which allows parents to connect the tray with one hand. No more losing time trying to line up the tray! Lastly, parents enjoy that the shoulder straps are removable, allowing a child to be restrained either by a 3-point or 5-point harness.

Pros of This High Chair

The 4Moms high chair is relatively lightweight at only 15 lbs. The chair can be used without the tray if pushed up to a table and has 3 height settings to accommodate different tables or counters. The tray also has three possible positions to minimize food spillage between the infant and tray.

This high chair also includes “steps” on the frame which means kids can climb into it themselves when they are old enough. Lastly, the sleek design of this chair looks fresh and modern. The chair comes in two different color combinations to match most kitchens: white and grey and black and grey.

Flaws (But Not Deal Breakers)

While the magnetic feature works well to connect the tray easily, there is a chance that a child could disconnect the tray with a strong kick. This could lead to a huge mess! Additionally, the 4Moms high chair does not fold or feature wheels, which means it’s not a great option for travel.

It also doesn’t recline, which is surprising giving the adaptability in height and tray position. Lastly, some parents have indicated that the straps are too short, causing them to rub and dig into their child’s skin.

Best High Chair – High End: Stokke Tripp Trapp Chair with Baby Set

Stokke High Chair Options

If you are looking for a chair that is high quality and doesn’t look like a traditional high chair, the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair may be for you. This convertible chair can be used age 6 months through adulthood. Notable features include:

  • Strong and durable construction made out of beech wood 
  • Ergonomically designed
  • Baby set accessories include seating rail and backplate to increase comfort and stability
  • 5-point safety harness
  • Adjustable seat and adjustable footrest

Why Parents Love It

Parents around the world love the Tripp Trapp because of its versatility and effortless style. While a separate tray can be purchased, most users of this chair push it up to the dining room table so that a child can eat with the family to promote social development.

It is also easy for parents to clean as it does not have to be used with any fabric pieces that could be stained. Lastly, parents enjoy that the “baby set” accessories (to turn this chair into a true high chair) comes in many colors that can be mixed and matched with the chair itself.

Pros of This High Chair

The Stokke Tripp Trapp features more possible colors and finishes than any other high chair on the market (at least that I’ve seen). Its wooden frame is sturdy and durable while still being a relatively light 17 lbs. This chair features a 7-year warranty on the wood frame.

Given that the chair is able to be used through adulthood, this warranty may come in handy to keep the chair in tip-top Tripp Trapp shape for years to come!

Flaws (But Not Deal Breakers)

The sturdy beech wood construction of this chair means that it does not collapse or fold, making it a tough choice for traveling. It also does not have any wheels. Some parents have indicated that the paint peels or chips when attaching and removing the optional infant tray.

This is disappointing considering the cost of the product. Lastly, it seems the Tripp Trapp would be more versatile if the harness straps were removable to accommodate older toddlers.

Best High Chair – Budget: Joovy Nook

Joovy Nook High Chair - Multiple colors

If you’re a parent on a budget, the Joovy Nook is the best high chair option for you. Notable features include:

  • Swing-open tray
  • One-hand easy (collapsible!) fold
  • Standing fold
  • Dishwasher-safe tray liner
  • Five-point over-the-shoulder harness
  • Holds a child from 6 months up to 50 lbs

Why Parents Love It

Parents love the Joovy Nook because it is light and perfect for travel. Its name comes from the idea that it will fit into any “nook” in any kitchen. One of the best features is that “folds like a beach chair” for easy portability.

It also comes fully assembled out of the box which is a plus for parents that aren’t very handy (like me). It features a “leatherette” seat that is easy to wipe down. Or, it can also be thrown into the washing machine. Parents also appreciate the non-scratch pads on the base of the chair to protect hardwood floors from scratching.

Pros of This High Chair

In addition to the features mentioned above, the Joovy Nook also includes a 5-point harness for maximum safety. The tray is adjustable, offering four positions to choose from. It also includes a dishwasher-safe tray liner for easy cleaning.

The high weight limit means toddlers can use this chair for many years. It also comes in several bright and fun colors to liven up your kitchen. 

Flaws (But Not Deal Breakers)

While parents love the easy-clean tray, some complain that there are a lot of nooks in the Nook that are hard to get food out of. This high chair does not offer an adjustable recline, and it is also not adjustable in height to accommodate different table heights. Lastly, some parents report that the chair does not have enough structure for younger infants. This may cause babies to slouch or lean uncomfortably in the chair until they develop better core strength.

Common Questions

If all this high chair talk has left you feeling a bit confused, I’ve answered some common questions to help you on your journey. 

Q: Do I really need a high chair?

Yes! It is crucial that your infant has a safe place to begin exploring the textures, colors, and taste of foods. Any parent will tell you that trying to balance a baby in your lap while eating is neither safe nor comfortable. A high chair provides a dedicated space for an infant to safely eat.

High chairs also allow infants and toddlers to interact socially with a parent while eating, which is not something they are able to do if they are seated on the parent’s lap. Many parents also find high chairs to be used for activities other than eating. A high chair also allows a child to play with toys or read a book while being safely contained.

Q: How long will my kid(s) use a high chair?

The age, weight, and height limits for each high chair vary. This is something parents need to pay attention to when considering any given high chair. Generally, a child will use a high chair until they are tall enough to sit at a standard-height table while in a typical chair.

Even so, a high chair is a good option for an older toddler who may not have the self-discipline to sit in a typical chair. Most parents phase their child out of a high chair when the child can demonstrate an ability to follow basic rules for sitting at the table.

Q: What is the difference between a high chair and a booster seat?

A high chair is intended to be used with an infant 6 months of age or older. High Chairs are typically stand-alone chairs that feature both a seat and a tray and offer a high back for support. A booster seat, rather, is used with a traditional chair to “boost” a child’s height so that he or she can reach the food on the table appropriately.

Booster seats may or may not include a tray, back, or five-point harness. They typically do not include legs as they are intended to sit on top of a normal dining chair.

Q: When should my infant start eating solid foods?

The high chairs featured in this article may be used with an infant 6 months or older, which is when the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents introduce solids. Yes, infants may start eating solids before they have a full set of teeth! Additional questions about infant feeding are best directed to your pediatrician.

Q: What should I consider when selecting a high chair?

If you are unsure where to start when thinking about high chairs, you’ll want to consider the following:

Safety

While any high chair that is on the market must meet basic safety and quality guidelines, it is important to check into the safety ratings to make sure that you are aware of and comfortable with the level of safety provided. Additionally, you will want to make sure that there are no active recalls for a high chair that you are considering. Safety and recall information can be found via Consumer Reports.

Brand

Deciding on a brand for your high chair may be based on a number of factors. You will want to determine which brand(s) fit within your budget, which has features that are important to you, which match your style or have colors that you enjoy, and which include safety features that are non-negotiable. Lastly, you will want to choose a brand that you like — a brand that seems honest, reputable and that has good customer service. You may end up needing another harness or tray at some point.

Size, Weight, and Portability

Parents should consider how big their kitchen or eating space is and how often they will be moving the high chair from one space to another. Some parents appreciate the stability of a heavier chair, while others enjoy the ease of travel with a lighter chair. The size and weight of a high chair should be based on how you plan to use it and where it will be located in your living space.

Adaptability

It’s important to consider whether you want to purchase a separate booster seat one day, or whether you’d like to have a high chair that converts. Any high chair that is adjustable in height may be used in place of a booster as long as the tray is fully removable. Parents should also consider factors that are specific to their child.

If they have a child who is in the 95th percentile for height, they may want a chair that has an adjustable back. If parents have a child who is wiggly or who is a climber, a chair with a five-point harness might make the most sense. Many chairs offer adaptability in certain features; it is up to you to decide what features make the most sense for your situation.

Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair

Questions to Help You Make the Best Decision

If you are in the throes of high chair shopping (or even if you’re just getting started) these questions will guide your thinking and will help you figure out your priorities when it comes to buying a high chair:

  • What is your budget?
  • How often will you be using the high chair?
  • Will the high chair need to travel with you?
  • How long do you want your child to be able to use the high chair?
  • How big is your eating space?
  • What is the height of your table or counter?
  • How important is the “look” of the high chair?
  • What are your must-have amenities?
  • What are your “that would be nice” amenities?
  • Are there any features or amenities that are not important to you?
  • Are there any characteristics that are deal breakers for you?
  • Final Thoughts About Choosing the Right High Chair

It may seem that any high chair that keeps your baby safe and allows them to experiment with food will fit the bill in your high chair search. But unlike a swing or play mat, a high chair is a baby-related purchase that you will use multiple times a day for months (or years) to come. It is absolutely worth it to find the right chair for you.

As someone who has purchased several high chairs over the years, know that the difference between a good high chair and a bad high chair is steep. If you get a high chair that isn’t right for your family, you will pay for it in mess and frustration.

By considering what you value, what you need and what you are willing to spend, you can go into the high chair buying process with confidence. My best piece of advice is to ask your friends what high chair they have and what they like about it. It can be helpful to get first-hand advice and recommendations before you make your purchase. Now get shopping!

Want more advice about baby-related purchases? Check out reviews for the best strollers, swings, baby monitors and booster seats!

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