The Best High Chairs

The best high chair is safe for kids and makes cleanup quick for caretakers. We ordered eight of the most highly rated, JPMA safety-certified 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 possibility of an expanding family.

The 4 Best High Chairs


Easiest to Use
Joovy Nook
Joovy
A swing-out tray, easy assembly and storage, and smooth leather seat pads take this basic chair to the next level.
Pros
Easy to clean
Swing-out tray
Storable
Cons
Tray insert leaves space for messes
Tricky tray removal
Might not be a fit for smaller kids

Why we chose it

Easy to clean

We pulled the Joovy Nook 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 painless to wipe down, and its densely weaved straps didn’t soak in any pea residue. It even comes with a removable plastic tray insert, which is ultra-light and dishwasher safe.

Joovy Close-up for High Chair

Swing-out tray

The Joovy's best feature is undoubtedly its swing-out tray, a unique and ultra-convenient swivel action that allows you to release the tray from only one side of the chair without having to remove the entire thing. With a mid-tantrum toddler demanding your attention, unlatching a tray full of food and finding suitable counter space for it are precious seconds; the Joovy takes one step out of a hectic process.

Joovy-Tray-for-High-Chair

Storable

Joovy earns rave reviews on Amazon, with parents particularly excited about how painless it is to collapse and store on a regular basis. This is good if you have a smaller kitchen or if real-estate is already a little tight.

Points to consider

Tray insert leaves space for messes

While we love the convenience of the removable tray insert, it doesn’t always come flush with the actual tray. For some particularly messy eaters, food may squeeze beneath the lip of the insert onto the tray itself. It’ll only take another few strokes of cleaning, but it was a noticeable flaw in an otherwise innovative design.

Tricky tray removal

Adjusting the tray forward or backward, or removing it entirely, is slightly tricky. The process requires simultaneous presses of slotted buttons on each side of the chair — buttons that are tricky to find on touch alone and demand some force to press. This makes the tray childproof enough for your fast-learning baby Einstein, but the two-handed coordination was inconvenient beside the Graco, whose tray easily slides off via a one-handed front latch.

Might not be a fit for smaller kids

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.

Best for
Growing Families
Graco Blossom DLX 6-in-1 Seating System
Graco
With four different seating configurations and three layers of trays, this chair is truly a do-it-all splurge.
Pros
Versatility
Removable tray
Easy to clean
Cons
Slightly unwieldy

Why we chose it

Versatility

The Graco Blossom’s greatest feature is that it builds upon itself and can deconstruct to accommodate different stages of childhood and different needs. The seat itself, for instance, can be removed and attached to a normal chair for an on-the-go day at grandma’s, while the remaining base of the high chair functions as a seat for older children. Additionally, the Graco comes with a separate booster seat with a removable (and adjustable) backrest for older kids who still need a boost to reach the table.

Graco-Collage-for-High-Chair

Removable tray

In addition to all of the 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.

Graco-Trays-for-High-Chair

Easy to clean

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 chair itself was also easy to clean, made from a washable cushioning fabric.

Points to consider

Slightly unwieldy

Our older audiences and online reviewers weren’t in love with the Graco’s 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 in order to raise or lower the chair, or else the entire chair gets pulled up as well.


A Stylish Upgrade
OXO Tot Sprout Chair
OXO
This chair's attractive wooden exterior and soft vinyl seat overshadow its tough assembly.
Pros
One-swipe cleaning
Accommodates older kids
Modern design
Cons
Assembly time

Why we chose it

One-swipe cleaning

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.

Accommodates older kids

Though the OXO is a $200 investment, it’s one that lasts: The OXO can convert to fit older children for long-lasting family furniture, with side latches that 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.

Modern design

The OXO Tot Sprout Chair was an adult favorite, as it would fit fashionably into a modern kitchen. With five wood finishes and six cushion colors, you can easily match the aesthetics of your home without sacrificing the comfort of your child.

OXO for High Chair

Points to consider

Assembly time

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). A power drill may be enough to push in that screw the last bit, but it was still an annoying detail after an already long assembly time.

OXO assembly for High Chair

After assembly, we were left with one stubborn screw, but we're attributing that to user error.


Best on a Budget
Cosco Simple Fold High Chair
Cosco
An affordable chair rivaling popular budget options with stability and relatively painless cleaning.
Pros
Budget-friendly
Easy storage
Decent cleanup
Cons
Awkward handling

Why we chose it

Budget-friendly

For families on a tight budget or for a spare weekend getaway chair, the Cosco Simple Fold is a reliable option. This $40 high chair is safe and just as compact as the Joovy. It’s sturdier than similarly priced options from Fisher-Price, and it was easier to use than the expensive and frustrating Peg Perego. While it’s missing some of the convenience features of chairs like the Joovy, it’s still a solid option for the price.

Cosco for High Chair

Easy storage

One of the Cosco’s best features, aside from its price, is its storability. It collapses down to about the size of a lawn chair, making it possible to store it just about anywhere when not in use.

Decent cleanup

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.

Cosco Stain for High Chair

Points to consider

Awkward handling

Downsides include the Cosco’s smaller tray (which has to be lined up perfectly in order to snap on) and its tough-to-unclick three-point harness. In addition to that, lugging around the Cosco is a little tricker than other models — the chair lacks handles, requiring you to grip hard metal bars that may become painful during long transport.

How to Find the Right High Chair for You

Practice due diligence if 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.

Focus on safety restraints

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.”

Ideally, the chair will have a five-point restraint (straps across waist, over the shoulders, and attached at the crotch), but the JPMA standards do allow a three-point system. If you have an extra-antsy or tantrum-prone tyke, the five-point might bring some extra peace of mind. The little plastic post on the seat of a child’s chair, called a crotch post, is also necessary for preventing a child from slipping beneath the tray of the high chair.

Minimize risk of injury

In order to cut back on risks, teach your child to properly sit while eating, and restrict active play on and around the chair. It’s also wise to scout out ideal places to put your high chair; Mehan advises that if the chair is too close to a table, counter, or wall, a child may knock over the chair by kicking their feet into those objects.

Consider ease of cleaning

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 found leather and vinyl to be ideal in this regard — for the easiest and fastest cleanup, go for these over fabric options.

High Chair FAQ

When does my baby need a high chair?

If your baby is ready for solid food — typically around four to six months of age — it’s time to invest in a high chair. High chairs are typically used until a baby becomes a toddler, when they begin to crave independence or 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.

Are high chairs safe?

Overall, yes, high chairs can be very safe. While injuries are not uncommon, they’re usually not related to the safety of high chairs themselves, but rather the misuse of them. Most of these injuries are preventable and a result of children climbing or standing in the chair. When shopping for a high chair, we recommend starting with the JPMA’s list of certified-safe brands.

What is the weight limit of high chairs?

High chair weight limits depend on the chair’s construction, materials used, and a variety of other factors. Of our top picks, the weight limits are as follows:

Joovy Nook

  • Max weight 50 pounds

Graco Blossom DLX 6-in-1 Seating System

  • Max weight 40 pounds – Stage 1 High chair
  • Max weight 60 pounds – Stage 2 Infant Feeding Booster
  • Max weight 60 pounds – Stage 3 Toddler Booster
  • Max weight 60 pounds – Stage 4 Youth Chair

OXO Tot Sprout Chair

  • Max weight 60 pounds

Cosco Simple Fold High Chair

  • Max weight 50 pounds

The Best High Chairs: Summed Up

Joovy Nook
Graco Blossom DLX 6-in-1 Seating System
OXO Tot Sprout Chair
Cosco Simple Fold High Chair
Easiest to use
Best for growing families
A stylish upgrade
Best on a budget
Price
$119.99
$199.99
$249.99
$38.13
Weight
14.9 pounds
32 pounds
28.7 pounds
13 pounds
Weight limit (occupant)
50 pounds
40-60 pounds
60 pounds
50 pounds
Assembly required
None
Moderate
Moderate
Easy
Removable tray (and/or insert)