The Best High Chair
The best high chair will be safe for kids and will make cleanup quick for caretakers. After consulting with mommy bloggers and pediatricians, we ordered eight highly-rated, JPMA safety-certified high chairs. Then we strapped in babies, smeared peas, and crushed some Cheerios to see how our chairs would fare in the real world. Four chairs stood out among the rest, catering to a variety of priorities: aesthetics, budget, room space, and the potential for more children.
This $130 no-fuss high chair impressed us with a tray that swings open and a faux leather seat cushion that made it one of the easiest to clean. While it’s not as versatile as some of our other picks, it’s the simplest to collapse and store.
Graco Blossom™ DLX 6-in-1 Seating System
A $200 luxury product that comes with a separate booster chair and four different ways to seat children of all sizes and ages. Its three layers of trays makes for quick mess management, and its wheeled base can be easily maneuvered around the room — though its bulk is not recommended for smaller spaces.
An attractively designed chair that can be converted into stylish toddler seating. For $250, it was a challenge to assemble, but if you value interior design and want a chair with less bulk than the Graco Blossom, the OXO is a solid investment.
Cosco Simple Fold High Chair
A safe and sturdy budget option great for small spaces and infrequent child care. For $40, you’ll sacrifice high quality fabric, and have to work with sticky buckles. However, it was more solid than similarly priced options and easier to use than some of the most expensive.
The Best High Chair
Safety, stability, and simplicity made the Joovy Nook ($130) an all-around favorite basic high chair. The Joovy arrived pre-assembled and ready to unfold. Unlike the majority of fabric-cushioned high chairs, it's faux leather seat facilitated quick wipe-downs. But the standout feature? A unique tray that swings open sideways for speedy baby placing. If you want a hassle-free option that’s more portable than mondo chairs like the Graco Blossom, the Joovy Nook is for you.
The Graco Blossom DLX 6-in-1 Seating System ($200) is great for the growing family, as it can arrange into four different seat styles. Rather than lugging the whole contraption to grandpa’s, you can remove the seat from the base to attach to a normal chair, or use the more lightweight booster seat provided. The remaining base then becomes a chair for older children. The Graco has three levels of trays for a quick transition from mealtime to playtime, no cleaning needed in between. When it is time for a deep clean, you can slip off the cover and toss it into the washing machine. Unfortunately, all of those configurations makes for a bulky chair, and there’s no way to collapse it for storage.
The OXO Tot Sprout Chair was an adult favorite, as it would fit fashionably into a modern kitchen. Its minimalist design features a vinyl-covered foam cushion that will wipe up in seconds and a wooden base that can be adjusted for a growing child. Its $250 price tag was hard to justify next to the Graco’s versatility and the Joovy’s understated brilliance, but if you value aesthetics and don’t have the room or patience for large chairs, consider the OXO.
If you’re tight on a budget or want a no-nonsense chair for more occasional child care, the $40 Cosco Simple Fold High Chair is a safe and storable option. At this price, you’ll sacrifice cleanliness and finesse when attaching the tray and buckling in a child. However, it stores well, collapsing down to about the size of a lawn chair. We also found it sturdier than similarly priced options from Fisher-Price, and it was easier to use than the expensive and frustrating Peg Perego.
How We Found the Best High Chair
If it’s time to boost your baby into a high chair, you’ll want to first ask yourself a few questions about what you’ll need and where you’ll be placing the chair. Space, aesthetics, budget, and family planning all play into what chair will be the best for you.
That being said, there are a few safety standards and ease of use expectations that the best high chair will adhere to. There’s no room for safety risks when it comes to children, making safety certifications and secure restraints a necessity. High chairs should be a tool of convenience, too, so we also made sure our favorites didn’t make cleaning up and maneuvering around the kitchen a chore.
Safety was our first priority.
Before getting high chairs in-hand, we needed to make sure they met essential, baseline criteria for safety. Our experts — doctors and mommy bloggers alike — were all aligned on some important safety features that are necessary in a high chair.
We only pulled high chairs certified by the JPMA.
Safety certification from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) ensures that the products have undergone pre-market safety scrutiny, following standards set by the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM). We spoke with Tracy Mehan, a member of the Nationwide Children’s injury research team, and she confirmed the rigor of the certification: “ASTM develops voluntary standards with input from a cross-section of stakeholders, including engineers, manufacturers, potential users of the product, safety advocates, and others. The standards go through a rigorous development process and must be approved by sub-committees as well as the full membership.”
To ensure our high chairs met those rigorous safety standards, we pulled chairs from the JPMA’s list of certified brands, as they will have been tested for safe and sturdy straps, construction, and basic use. It’s best to double check with the site’s official list, as we found some product descriptions on Target and Amazon for chairs like the Eddie Bauer Classic and the popular Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair that claimed they were JPMA certified, but weren’t corroborated by JPMA itself.
These certified chairs will have three- or five-point harnesses and crotch posts, both essential safety features in a high chair. Most high chair incidents occur when safety restraints are not being used. Children can get antsy, and the occasional tantrum or adventurous whim can lead to a tumble if they aren’t properly secured. And that little plastic post on the seat of a child’s chair may resemble the seat of a rollercoaster, but the purpose is essentially the same. Dr. Lois K. Lee, MD, MPH, of the American Academy of Pediatrics, advised us that crotch posts that sit between the legs of a child are necessary because they “help to prevent the child from slipping out from underneath the tray of the high chair.” Mehan pointed this feature out too, confirming that a tray is not enough to keep a child in their seat.
We also checked for recalls
The Consumer Product Safety Commission posts notices on high chairs recalled for various safety and product failures. Faulty restraints, tippy designs, wide side openings, and sharp leg posts were noted causes for recall. Since we couldn’t confirm or ensure that updated models effectively fixed these issues, we erred on the side of caution and opted not to include any high chairs that have been on the recall list.
Borrowing or buying used?Borrowing or purchasing a used high chair is a great way to save some cash, but be sure to double check that the product hasn’t been recalled. Also inquire before use that all of the safety straps and locking mechanisms are in working order.
We looked at the 70 high chairs were JPMA-certified and recall-free and selected a promising few for our in-house testing. Because individual brands carry similar products with just a few small variations like color or fabric type, we broke it down by brand and pulled in a representative sample of chairs with unique features like swing-out trays and convertible configurations.
Finding the highest-rated and most-reviewed chairs within brands was a top priority. We wanted to test only what was well-loved by the true experts: parents. High ratings indicate that chairs are cherished by the caregivers who use them on a daily basis. When looking at the two OXO-brand chairs, for example, we opted for the Sprout because it had 450 reviews in comparison to the Seedling’s 15 reviews. The Cosco Simple Fold had 1,550 reviews and an average of 4.1 stars, making it an automatic contender.
When several chairs across brands looked similar, we chose the chair that offered more features (such as an additional tray insert or collapsable storage). The Keekaroo brand was eliminated altogether at this stage. Its wooden construction and staged growth options looked almost identical to the OXO, but it lacked a cushioned seat and boasted an unfortunately hard-to-believe promise that adults can strap themselves in, too. When brands like Delta, Cosco, Baby Trend, and Joovy had similarly styled chairs, we looked closely at which offered easier-to-clean materials like faux leather or vinyl. We also favored five-point over three-point harnesses and the convenience of foldability and adjustable height when presented the choice. In the end, we narrowed our pool to eight well-reviewed, safe, and innovative high chairs with a range of price points.
- Cosco Simple Fold High Chair
- Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair
- Graco Blossom™ DLX 6-in-1 Seating System
- Graco Simple Switch™ Highchair
- Joovy Nook
- OXO Tot Sprout™ Chair
- Peg Perego-Siesta
The infamous IKEA Antilop has a hard-to-ignore low price of $20, and a massive amount of raving user reviews. But it isn’t a JPMA-certified product and has an older model on the recall list. We knew that because of this, it wouldn’t make our list of the best, no matter how easy it might be to clean.
Then we simulated the conditions of everyday use.
All eight of the chairs we ordered looked good on paper; To find out which chairs could truly stand up to the demands of daily use, we recruited one two year old, brought in some pureed peas and Cheerios, and simulated meal-time from start to finish.
We strapped in kids and made sure they stayed stable
No matter how safe the chair is built, if strapping in gets tricky, you might find yourself cutting corners for convenience. Because harnesses are so important, Dr. Lee recommends they be easy to use, too. “If the latches are tricky to buckle in, or if the tray is difficult to get in and out — you’ll be less likely to use it safely every time.” So we set our two-year-old tester into each of the chairs, adjusted the straps, and buckled her in. Most we tried were tight enough to secure a Houdini baby, but not so frustrating that you’d skip a strap in a rush. The Peg Perego Siesta, however, looped its straps through the plastic buckles so many times, it made loosening and tightening them feel like untying a Gordian knot. The OXO Tot Sprout stood out for its simple push-and-click to release and its thickly woven straps, which were smooth in adjustment.
Then we evaluated how easy they were to clean.
High chairs are inherently messy — part of their purpose is to prevent the tarnishing of a dining table. Crumbs can fall to crevices and moist consumables can smear, so we favored chairs that wouldn't need a deep clean after every meal. To tackle all kinds of mess, we crunched up Cheerios and splatted pureed peas onto each of the high chairs. We let it all sit and soak, then got to scrubbing. Some chairs were ruined forever: The thin white straps of the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver were stained green, and crumbs fell under the cushy seat cover to grind into the fuzzy backing material. The Joovy Nook, by comparison, was the easiest chair we had to clean. Its faux leather seating made for a quick wipe down of peas and swiping away of Cheerio dust.
Jilly Blankenship, Pediatric Nurse and Lactation Consultant, advises, “If you go for a cushioned high chair, pick one with fabric that’s easy to wipe down. Some cushions are machine washable, and you may think that’s a great idea, but remember your baby will eventually be eating three meals per day plus snacks in the high chair. You’d never be able to keep up with machine washing all the time.”
We pulled off trays and rolled the chairs around the kitchen.
You’ll be removing the tray a lot on a high chair, and it’s important you can do that without having to juggle the food you're holding. Some of our favorites, like the Graco Blossom and the OXO Tot Sprout, had a one-handed release latch located under the center of the tray that made removing the tray a breeze. The BabyBjörn, in contrast, doesn’t boast a fully removable tray (only the tray insert is removable). Instead, you push and twist on a dial under the tray — a tough motion to get the hang of, and only useful for flattening the tray up or down. Storage was its only benefit, as flattening the tray ultimately made it more difficult to get a baby in or out of the seat.
As far as maneuverability, we found that lockable wheels, foldability, and ergonomic handles were huge boons when trying to navigate a chair around a kitchen. The Peg Perego Siesta has wheels, but the lack of a swivel on the front wheels meant that we were charging the chair into walls and bumping into corners. The Graco Simple Switch, while wheel-less, was the easiest chair to carry around because it has large handles on either side of the chair base, and its legs are narrow enough that they don’t stab your shins as you walk with it.
A few chairs rose to become favorites for being easy to clean, safe, and intuitive to use, with design choices fit seamlessly into a busy parent’s life.
Our Picks for the Best High Chair
The Joovy Nook high chair pairs a classic, no-frills design with a unique swing-out tray and all of our required safety features. It’s not as elaborate as convertible high chair models, with no height adjustment options and no removable parts, but its simplicity lends to easier cleanup and optimal storage. With a modern design and five color options, it’ll fit into any home.
We pulled this chair out of the box entirely assembled, and that same level of effortless was found in cleaning and storing it. Its faux leather seat was effortless to wipe down, and its densely weaved straps didn’t soak in any pea residue. The only sticking point in sanitizing was its tray insert, which doesn’t always come flush with the actual tray, leaving some food residue on the tray itself. We’d take the extra few strokes of cleaning for the convenience of having that removable insert, though.
Adjusting that tray forward or backward is a bit tricky — you have to simultaneously push a series of slotted buttons on each side of the chair — but while inconvenient, it’s certainly child-proof enough for your fast learning baby Einstein. And it’s all worth it for the swing-out tray, a unique and ultra-convenient swivel action that allows you to release the tray from one side of the chair. You can swing it out to seat or free a child without having to find counter space to set down a tray full of food or toys.
Storage was also so straightforward, you could do it on a daily basis. With a lift and a push of a button, the Joovy folds down to about the size of a lawn chair. Folded up, the Nook is light and moveable with just one arm, though you may knock your shins into the wide legs as you maneuver it around a room when opened.
Amazon reviewers note that the Joovy isn’t an optimal option for smaller infants (less than 20 pounds), as the chair is spacious and slightly reclined. But it earned 4.5/5 from 182 reviews, and parents raved about how painless it was to collapse and store on a regular basis. If you live in a smaller home or want an innovative high chair that’s hassle-free from the moment you unpack it, the $130 Joovy Nook is worth every penny.
Best for Growing Families
Not only is the Graco Blossom a great chair for its impressive versatility, it was our tot tester’s favorite too. The Graco can convert into an impressive four different positions for the growing child and family and has been coined by users as the “Cadillac of High Chairs.”
The chair builds upon itself and can deconstruct to accommodate different stages of infancy. And though Graco markets six formations, two of them are a bit of an exaggeration: specifically, a reclined position for the full chair, and the “formation” where two kids simultaneously use different parts of the chair. When all together, it’s a classic five-point harness high chair with washable cushioned fabric. The seat itself can be removed and attached to a normal chair for an on-the-go day at grandma’s, and we found it significantly sturdier than the similarly-designed Fisher-Price SpaceSaver. The remaining base of the high chair functions as a seat for older children too — it easily sat our seven-year-old tester. Additionally, the Graco comes with a separate booster seat with a removable (and adjustable) back rest, for older kids who still need a boost to reach the table but without all the slipping-around of a makeshift phonebook booster.
In addition to the four different seating configurations, the Graco Blossom also comes with three layered trays. A one-handed center release latch pulls off the whole tray set, and side handles release the layers of inserts. This makes it possible pull off a messy tray without the rush or panic of immediately cleaning it for the next meal or Play-Doh playtime. When it came time to clean mashed peas and crumbled Cheerios off of those trays and the chair itself, we were pleasantly surprised by the lack of tiny crevices. Its fabric and straps were left with some minor staining, but nothing a toss into the washing machine couldn’t clear up.
The $200 Graco Blossom has a 4.8/5 from 515 reviews on Target, with reviewers praising its sturdiness and different chair configurations. Our child tester loved this chair, too; She instantly wanted to climb in, stating it was the comfiest-looking chair. However, our older audiences and online reviewers weren’t in love with its bulky design and lack of storability, often preferring the trendy minimalist look of the OXO Tot Sprout or easy folding of the Joovy. We found height adjustment to be a little difficult too; You have to put a foot on the base for stability, or the entire chair gets pulled up as well. But when all is said and done, if you’re looking for a luxury high chair you can use long-term for both a growing kid and a growing family, the Graco Blossom was a safe and functional favorite.
A Stylish Upgrade
If you’re looking for a space-saving chair for your city loft, the OXO Tot Sprout Chair is for you. This minimalist wood-based high chair was a favorite for its aesthetics and quick cleanup. But its high price tag ($250) could be a bit steep for a chair whose best feature was how trendy it looks.
Assembling the OXO took us a whopping 25 minutes, and even so, there was one screw we couldn’t quite get to spiral safely in — so it stuck out as a definite scratch-and-bruise hazard. Everything else assembled perfectly, so we chalked it up to user error and a faulty screw (we’re not installation professionals by any means). Though the chair initially seemed slightly unstable, we encouraged our two-year-old tester to rock back and forth in it, and she couldn’t build up enough momentum for it to even come close to tipping over.
The OXO Tot Sprout held up under mass messy destruction, and it rivaled the Joovy in fast cleanup. Its soft vinyl-covered foam cushion is one-swipe wipeable. After scrubbing peas out of the thin fabric of other chairs, it was a relief to clean the OXO.
OXO has designed an attractive chair that will fit into even the most modern kitchen, and it can convert to fit older children for long-lasting family furniture. Side latches allow you to remove and lower the seat of the chair as kids get older. Unlike the Graco, the OXO can’t serve two children simultaneously, but the adjustability was still a nice addition that would allow you to get more out of your $200 investment.
Best on a Budget
If you’re set on a budget pick, this $40 high chair is safe and just as compact as the Joovy. You can store it anywhere, but gripping the hard metal bars during transport are a pain after the ergonomic handles of the Joovy.
Although the Cosco seat has more stitching than the Joovy or the OXO, crumbs in seat crevices were surprisingly minimal, and peas came off in one wipe. Those peas did leave behind some oily residue that wasn't present on other chairs, and we struggled to remove the fabric cover for machine washing, but day-to-day cleanup is smooth if you don’t mind a few stains.
Downsides include its smaller tray (which has to be lined up perfectly in order to snap on) and its tough-to-unclick three-point harness. But for only $40, these minor inconveniences didn’t interfere with the safety of the chair. It still beat out the flimsy Fisher-Price ($50) and the $300 Peg Perego Siesta, whose tray handle pinched our fingers with every use. For families on a tight budget or for a spare weekend getaway chair, the Cosco Simple Fold is a reliable option.
Did You Know?
Most high chair accidents are the result of misusing safety restraints.
The Center for Industry Research and Policy of The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital released a study in 2013 that found that “more than 9,400 children were treated each year for an injury associated with a high chair or booster seat, equaling one child every hour nationally.” Before you panic, those numbers aren’t a direct correlation to the safety of high chairs themselves, but rather the misuse of them. Most of those injuries were preventable and a result of children climbing or standing in the chair.
Using the safety restraints every time was a unanimously recommended practice by our experts. Tracy Mehan told us that “the best thing parents can do to prevent injuries related to high chairs is to use the safety restraint system in the chair. Buckling the child in the seat with the straps every time they’re in the high chair will help set a routine and keep them safe by keeping them seated and securely in the chair.”
Dr. Lee told us that ideally the chair would have a five-point restraint (straps across waist, over the shoulders, and attaches at the crotch), but the JPMA standards do allow a three-point system — any safety restraint at all is better than a harness too difficult or complicated that it wouldn’t be used properly. If you have an extra-antsy or tantrum-prone tyke, the five-point might bring some extra peace of mind.
These rules aren’t just for the parents; Teaching your child to properly sit when eating is a big step in injury prevention, too. Permitting active play and climbing or standing in the chair, even with older siblings, can cause it to tip over. Tipping is also possible when the area around the high chair isn’t clear — Mehan advises that if the chair is too close to a table, counter, or wall, a child may knock the chair over by kicking their feet into those objects.
If your child is craving independence, it may be time to abandon the high chair.
High chairs are typically used until a baby becomes a toddler. As they age, they want to mimic the adult around them — they can become restless, and the high chair can become dangerous. It may too restrictive for them as they start to tantrum when it’s mealtime, or as they start to figure their own way out of the chair. Transitioning into a booster seat is typically the next step, and you may start with just snack times in a bigger chair until you know they’re capable of sitting through a whole or messy meal.