11 best high chairs for babies and toddlers: Take the mess out of mealtimes

·13-min read
It’s a good idea to buy a chair that’ll adapt and grow with your little one (The Independent)
It’s a good idea to buy a chair that’ll adapt and grow with your little one (The Independent)

Starting to introduce your baby to solids – or weaning, as many people call it – is such a special milestone, and a fun time of exploration for your little one. And, as with everything baby-related, there’s loads of kit that goes with it. One thing you’ll definitely need is a high chair – but there are loads on the market, so where to start?

Well let’s begin with when to invest in a high chair. Baby and child nutritionist and co-author of Wean in 15 (£8.49, Amazon.co.uk), Charlotte Sterling-Reed, says it’s never too early to start getting your children involved at mealtimes.

“It’s actually great to get little ones involved from an early age, to help them learn from watching you eat and to get them excited for a time when they can join you in eating,” says Sterling-Reed. “You can get your baby sitting in a highchair from an early age, using a newborn attachment set or stuffing the highchair with cushions so they can be a part of the meal.”

And when can babies actually start eating solids? “Once your little one is sitting up more or less by themselves, can hold their own head and neck, and is developing hand and eye coordination, they might be starting to become ready for solid foods,” Sterling-Reed says.

So now that your baby is ready for a high chair, what are the most important features to loko for? Sterling-Reed advises: “Look for a highchair that is comfortable for baby and which has an adjustable footrest, high back and a removable tray, so you can pull baby right into the table with you for mealtimes. It’s also great if they adapt and grow with your baby too, so that they last a lot longer.”

Read more:

We like the idea of a piece of furniture with longevity, and also something that is relatively easy to clean. Believe us, you’ll be spending a lot of time doing a wipe down.

How we tested

We tested a huge range of high chairs – in fact, our dining room was overtaken by them. We put them through their paces, looking for comfort, if they were easy to clean – extra points for dishwasher-safe trays – and if they were built to grow with our child. We also wanted to find high chairs that looked good in our home, so it was a question of form and function. Pull up a pew – these are the best of the bunch.

The best highchairs for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Stokke steps chair: £199, Stokke.com

  • Best for smaller spaces – Vital Baby nourish scoop highchair: £99.99, Vitalbaby.com

  • Best for simple design – Koo-di tiny taster 3-in-1 highchair: £165, Koo-di.com

  • Best budget buy – Ikea antilop highchair with tray: £15, Ikea.com

  • Best for playtime – Infantino music and lights 3-in-1 discovery seat and booster: £47, Amazon.co.uk

  • Best for a long lifespan – Stokke tripp trapp chair: £199, Stokke.com

  • Best for modern design – Nuna zaaz high chair: £220, Pramworld.co.uk

  • Best for comfort – Mamas & Papas juice high chair: £119, Mamasandpapas.com

  • Best for newborns – Silver Cross buffet high chair: £149, Silvercrossbaby.com

  • Best for innovation – Munchkin 360º cloud high chair: £199.99, Munchkin.co.uk

  • Best for adjustable height – Babymoov slick 2 in 1 nanotex highchair: £179.99, Babymoov.co.uk

Stokke steps chair

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

We can’t tell you what a hit this chair was with our whole family. OK, we will, because this is our job after all. The steps is designed to grow with your kid. It has a newborn bouncer, which is sold separately (£79, Stokke.com), that slots on top, and then you can adapt it to be a highchair with or without a tray, and then just a standard chair. When it’s “just” a chair, it allows a slightly older child to sit directly at the table, and the step gave our five-year-old tester the independence to get up and down from dinner, letting him sit more comfortably than if he was on an adult seat.

Our toddlers also loved it as it seems super-spacious for them, and comfy too. We used the baby set (£70, Stokke.com) with the younger testers, which made sure they sat in place and were strapped in. As for us adults, we liked that this chair actually looks nice in our house – the understated Scandi style ticked our boxes in terms of aesthetics. Yes, it’s pricey when you consider all the extra add ons, but it’s well made and has been very well used, so we think it works out as decent value for money.

Buy now £199.00, Stokke.com

Vital Baby nourish scoop highchair

Best: For small spaces

Rating: 8/10

Wow, this highchair is compact. We are so impressed that it manages to pack in all the key features (removable cushion, foot rest and a removable tray) into such a tiny package. You can also convert it to a little toddler chair when your child has outgrown it. On that note, it probably wouldn’t last your child all the way through their high-chair career. Our toddler had trouble squeezing in – although you can adjust the tray depth and foot rest height – but it’s perfect for a weaning baby. We like that you can also fold it down and then slide it into a cupboard or another tight space.

Buy now £99.99, Vitalbaby.com

Koo-di tiny taster 3-in-1 highchair

Best: For simple design

Rating: 8/10

A highchair that’s designed to grow with your child, you can use this as a standard highchair along with its tray, but we like that you can also remove the tray so your child can be pulled right up to the table, and there are wheels on the back legs to help with this manoeuvre. When your child is a bit older, you can remove the lap guard too. And once they’re older still, you can remove the bucket seat so it becomes a high stool. The seat is comfy thanks to a removable insert, and it all clicks together well without getting jammed. We did feel like the tray was slightly on the small side for our toddlers, who like to spread their mess far and wide. However, we liked the Scandi-inspired design and that this highchair has real longevity.

Buy now £165.00, Koo-di.com

Ikea antilop highchair with tray

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 8/10

Ubiquitous or iconic? The Ikea antilop highchair is a go-to choice for families and hospitality alike, and with good reason. The moulded plastic chair is the perfect size for weaning babies and still sits kids up to the age of three. It’s also super-easy to clean as there are very few grooves for Weetabix to get mashed into. We’d suggest you get the inflatable insert (£4, Ikea.com) and cover (£4, Ikea.com), which are sold separately, for younger babies, as it will help prop them up if they’re still a bit wobbly. We love that you can remove the very generously-sized tray for a thorough cleaning, which is also helpful if you want to draw the high chair right up to the table. Really handily these chairs stack together, so if you have two kids in need (we see you!) then it’s a real space saver when not in use. For only £15, you really can’t go wrong.

Buy now £15.00, Ikea.com

Infantino music and lights 3-in-1 discovery seat and booster

Best: For playtime

Rating: 8/10

This booster and activity station is perfect for those early weaning days, as you can set it on the floor and use the little snack tray to pop in some finger food. The tray also comes with an activity centre with plenty of bells and whistles (almost quite literally) to keep babies engaged. You can slide this open to reveal the tray, or have it together as just an activity centre – any baby who was mastering sitting up would love this. You can also remove the tray entirely and strap the infantino seat to a regular chair, then pull it up to the table.

The seat is generous enough to accommodate a slightly older child too, while the seat pad is wipe clean, which we found made it really easy to maintain. Our toddler testers loved being able to sit up at the table with the family, and it’s light enough to chuck in a car boot and take to friends’ houses rather than lugging a proper high chair.

Buy now £47.00, Amazon.co.uk

Stokke tripp trapp chair

Best: For a long life span

Rating: 9/10

A design classic, the solid-wood tripp trapp chair has been made to work for all ages. With a weaning baby, you can have your child sit in the baby seat with a harness, tray and cushion. Our toddler looked very happy in this setup, and had plenty of space to play and explore their food. Once your child is a bit older, you can remove the tray and have them sit up directly at the table. There are two levels on the chair: one seat and one footplate. We found our older tester loved that they could use it like a ladder to climb up into their own chair. You can then lower both levels as your child grows.

As you might expect from a chair designed for all ages, the tripp trapp is built to last and we love it for that. It looks great tucked into our kitchen table, and is wide enough that it feels comfy for all. Plus it comes in a wide range of colours, and you can even get it personalised, so you’re sure to find a colourway that suits your home. We can see how this has become the best-known highchair on the market, and it gets two thumbs up from us.

Buy now £199.00, Stokke.com

Nuna zaaz high chair

Best: For modern design

Rating: 7/10

We were immediately struck by how robust this highchair is. It feels like it would survive a hurricane, or a toddler or two (same difference, really). It looks very modern, with a curved yet futuristic look. Our mini tester was pretty comfy in it, as the air foam seat-pad is extra thick. And we liked that it was quite narrow – you could fit two side by side at a table easily. But it does mean the tray is slightly on the smaller side if you have kids that like to spread their meal debris far and wide. You can raise and lower the height of the seat as your little one grows, and remove the tray and arm bar so it becomes a seat for when your child no longer needs to be kept in their chair during mealtimes. We also give it a big thumbs up for the crevice-free design, which made wiping up crumbs a breeze, and all the plastic components are dishwasher safe too.

Buy now £220.00, Pramworld.co.uk

Mamas & Papas juice high chair

Best: For comfort

Rating: 8/10

The Scandi design and colourway of the Mamas & Papas juice very much appeals to us. The legs are half wood, half metal, but designed to all look like a subtle ash wood shade. This is complemented by a moulded bucket seat, which feels robust and is wipe clean. We found cleaning it a doddle too, thanks to the seam-free seat pad. Speaking of which, this is really thickly padded, and our little tester seemed secure and comfy in there. Dragging the highchair around the table was easy because the Juice is surprisingly lightweight, although we’re not sure it’s quite as portable as Mamas & Papas claim. The height on this seat is slightly lower than most of the others we tried, so it didn’t feel like our tester was lording over us for once, and it converts once your child’s highchair days are behind them.

Buy now £119.00, Mamasandpapas.com

Silver Cross buffet high chair

Best: For newborns

Rating: 8/10

This high chair is packed with clever features. You can use it from birth, by reclining the seat. We think this is a lovely feature, as you can have your newborn join you at the dinner table for quality family time. The buffet comes with a very generous table – one of the largest we tried – and it’s really easy to remove. Plus, it has handy little places to put a cup, and is dishwasher safe (although you’ll need quite an empty dishwasher to get it in). The seat cushion is quite plastic-y in feeling, but is wipe clean and comes up a treat, even after spaghetti bolognese. We also like that you can adjust the height, so you can slide it up to a breakfast bar or kitchen table.

Buy now £149.00, Silvercrossbaby.com

Munchkin 360º cloud high chair

Best: For innovation

Rating: 9/10

We really rated lots of the features of the 360º cloud high chair. Firstly, it’s transparent, so it sort of feels like it blends into its surroundings. And the seat spins – perfect for recreating Bond villains, yes, but also handy for loading and unloading if your seat is in a tight spot. The bucket-style seat is really easy to wipe clean, and does actually look clean when you’ve finished – we found that some of the other white plastic high chairs tended to attract food stains. The seat cushion has pads on all sides, which kept our mini tester very happy. And we liked that the back came up nice and high to provide plenty of support as our child grows. The tray comes in two parts, so if your little angel makes a mess of dinner, just remove the top and they have a fresh surface for spreading their dessert on.

Buy now £199.99, Munchkin.co.uk

Babymoov slick 2 in 1 nanotex highchair

Best: For adjustable height

Rating: 7/10

We really like that this highchair is suitable from birth without the need for any attachments. This means you can pull your baby up to the table at mealtimes for all those early lessons about food. What’s also great is the nanotex fabric the seat is covered in – we found it easy to wipe clean for most messes (looking at you, avocado), and the cushion is really nicely padded. The adjustable height means you can switch between a breakfast bar and a table really easily, and the detachable tray is easy to clean.

Buy now £179.99, Babymoov.co.uk

The verdict: High chairs

We absolutely love the Stokke steps – it looks good and has a really clever design. We acknowledge that it’s got quite a hefty price tag, but it’ll last your family for years and years, so we figure it’s worth the upfront cost.

Voucher codes

For offers on baby and childcare products, try our discount code pages:

Looking for more baby advice? Read our guide to the best prams, buggies and pushchairs

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting