Last Updated: May 12, 2023 @ 2:14 pm.

We tested the best affordable baby high chair models with actual babies and toddlers to find the best bets for your dollar. Good news: a great high chair doesn't have to cost a fortune. We judged high chairs on cleanability, ease of use/assembly and how they can be stored away. Here are your winners.

FYI: We are Baby Bargains, the #1 online resource for honest and independent reviews of baby gear. No, we don't take money or freebies from brands we review. The New York Times on Baby Bargains: "The bible for new parents to be."

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Best Budget-Friendly

Fantastic value—with some drawbacks
We loved this simple, no frills high chair. Testers liked the compact/standing fold, light weight and sturdy base. Trade-offs: no recline, not height adjustable, pad isn't machine washable.

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Best Budget-Friendly: Cosco Simple Fold High Chair

After testing and evaluating the latest high chair models from major brands, we pick the Cosco Simple Fold high chair as the best budget-friendly high chair.

No, it doesn’t have the bells and whistle of pricey chairs, but who needs all that?

For a super-affordable price, you get a seat with wipeable seat pad, 3-position tray adjust, built-in leg rest and slim fold. This chair doesn’t recline, so you can’t use it for kids under six months. Also, the chair doesn’t have wheels but is easy to clean.

Here’s an overview:

What We Liked

• Standing, flat fold.  This feature is important if you don’t have a lot of room in a kitchen—few high chairs fold this compact. And even fewer stand when folded.

• Wide base = safe and sturdy. It’s basic high chair physics: in our testing, we know the wide base of chairs like this are safe and sturdy.

• High weight limit: 50 lbs. That’s impressive.

• Lightweight—that makes it easier to move around, even if it doesn’t have wheels.

• Great price. 

What Needs Work

• Pad isn’t machine washable. You can only wipe the seat pad; it isn’t removable for washing.

• No deep seat recline means this high chair is best for babies who are six months old or older (or can sit up on their own).

• Not height adjustable. And there is no separate dishwasher-safe insert tray.

• Smaller babies can slump in the seat. In our testing, we noticed the slight recline of the seat can cause smaller babies to slump over in this chair. Again, it might be best if your baby can sit up unassisted before using this chair (that is usually around six months).

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Best Full Feature Chair

We loved all the features, yet still affordable
This high chair won us over with a combo of full features (seat recline, height adjustable, washable seat pad, wheels) at a price that doesn't break the bank. Downsides: no standing fold, difficult assembly.

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Best Full Feature Chair: Graco DuoDiner LX High Chair

Sometimes it is nice to have more adjustability and features like a dishwasher-safe try insert in a high chair. Good news: we found the Graco DuoDiner LX High Chair to be the best balance between full features and affordability in our testing.

This 3-in-1 convertible high chair with recline converts to a booster seat. We liked the machine washable pad, one hand removable tray that is dishwasher safe and the tray insert. For safety, this chair has a 3 or 5 point harness with fabric covered straps. There are 5 height positions, seat recline, wheels and a footrest for comfort.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Machine washable pad. That is a big advantage over less expensive high chairs.

• Anti-submarining bar is attached to the chair of the DuoDiner. That is the best configuration. When this is attached to the tray (as seen on competitors), you can’t lay the tray down flat on a counter.

• Dishwasher-safe tray insert. That makes clean up easier.

• Seat detaches to become a booster seat that can be attached to a chair. This extends the life of this chair and worked well in our tests.

• Height adjustable.

What Needs Work

• No standing fold. The DuoDiner does fold away for storage, but it becomes top heavy when folded. And that makes it unable to stand on its own.

• Wheels only on front legs. These would be better on the back legs of the high chair, so it is easier to move around. And there are no locks for the wheels, which is an odd oversight for a brand that has so much experience in this category.

• Assembly is no picnic. We wish this chair was easier to put together.

• Straps are hard to clean. The webbing on the DuoDinner harness is no fun to clean. To be fair, this is a problem with a lot of high chairs.

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Best For Small Spaces

Smallest footprint, still full featured
Brilliant solution for tight spaces: full featured high chair straps to chair. No big base. Loved dishwasher safe tray, machine washable pad, 3 position recline for young babies. Very affordable.

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Best For Small Spaces: Fisher-Price SpaceSaver High Chair

Is space tight in your kitchen? The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver lives up to its name. This model features a full-size tray and three-position recline—plus it converts to a toddler booster.

Basically, this is a high chair without a base—you strap it to a regular chair. And that’s great, because regular high chairs can be bulky and take up a large amount of floor space.

Here’s an overview:

What We Liked

• 5 point harness. This is a great safety feature.

• Easy to use and assemble. 

• Affordable—yet has similar features as full feature chairs, such as seat recline and full size tray with dishwasher safe insert.

• Machine washable pad.

What’s Needs Work

• Gap between chair and tray. In our testing, we noticed small infants may not fit well in this high chair to start—they are too far from the tray. And that means food will end up in baby’s lap, instead of on the tray.

• Be careful with the tray. We see reports that the tray can pinch fingers when it is removed from the chair, so we urge caution when you attach or remove the tray with your child in the seat. We didn’t see this in our testing, but there are enough reports to warrant a caution.

• Doesn’t easily store away. This high chair is designed to be securely strapped to a regular chair . . . which means it doesn’t easily fold up and store away.

Best With Compact Fold

Ultra slim, standing fold is the star
We loved this full-featured chair that quickly folds and stands. No assembly required, lightweight and 3 position recline. Drawback: can be difficult to clean.

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Best Compact Fold: Graco Slim Snacker High Chair

When you want a full size high chair but have limited space, you need an option that has a quick, compact fold to store away. That sounds like a simple request, but in our high chair testing and research, it is a rare bird. Most full-feature high chairs do NOT fold in a compact manner. And other bare bones high chairs do fold, but don’t have the features most folks like.

Good news: the Graco Slim Snacker checks all the boxes here: full features, compact fold. Here’s more:

What We Liked

• One-hand, standing fold. We found this high chair among the easiest to fold in our testing.

• Three position seat recline plus three/five point harness for safety. That means you can use it for younger babies that can’t sit up unassisted yet.

• No assembly required.

• Lightweight. 

• Machine washable pad plus mesh storage basket, full size tray with cup holder.

What’s Needs Work

• Removing pad for cleaning is complex. This flummoxed some parents and we’d agree: it isn’t easy or intuitive. Check for videos online for tips.

Flap that hides the release handle is a food magnet. That’s no fun to clean.

• Tray doesn’t lay flat on counter. That’s because the tray has a bar attached to it (to keep baby from submarining out of the chair). While this is a good safety feature, we’d prefer it attached to the chair, not the tray. That’s because you then can’t lay the tray flat on the counter when a bar is in the way.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby gear, including high chairs, since 1994. We do hands-on testing—we buy the products with our own money and evaluate with an eye toward safety, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews.

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