Let’s talk about the best high chairs.
When it comes to baby gear, you can say we wrote the book . . . because we did! Our book, Baby Bargains (over 2 million copies in print), has a detailed section on the best high chairs. And we’ve been writing about high chairs since 1994, including hands-on testing and detailed reviews.
So after all that experience, can we talk about what really matters with high chairs? We boil it down to 3 High Chair Truths:
- Easy to clean. By definition, high chairs are going to get dirty—but some make it easier to clean than others. Bad ideas: lots of nooks and crannies that are hard to clean. And chair pads that aren’t washable.
- Easy to use. A good high chair has a safe, five-point harness and is easy to get baby in and out of. That means a tray that adjusts, a back that reclines and a dishwasher-safe tray insert.
- Easy on the eyes. We know—the high chair is part of your kitchen, which means unlike other baby gear you can hide, this one is in full view for everyone to see. A good high chair should blend into the background and not be an eyesore!
With all that in mind, let’s go to our pick for the best budget-friendly high chair. For some reason, high chairs can get very pricey . . . some fancy models can run hundreds of dollars. But we have good news: here is a high chair that hits all the right notes, at a price that doesn’t break the bank: the Cosco Simple Fold.
As the name implies, it folds simply for storage—and that is a plus if you have a small kitchen.
Yes, it is a low price, but you still 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.
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 have such a compact fold. And even fewer stand when folded.
• Easy to assemble.
• 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.
What Needs Work
• 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).
• Pad isn’t machine washable. You can only wipe the seat pad; it isn’t removable for washing.
• 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).
• Not height adjustable. And there is no separate dishwasher-safe insert tray.
• Doesn’t convert to booster seat. If you want a high chair that converts to other uses (booster seat, toddler table and chair), then see our next recommendation.