9 best high chairs for babies and toddlers: Keep mealtime mess to a minimum with a secure seat

·9-min read
After a round of porridge or pureed parsnip, some seats are easier to get shipshape than others (iStock/The Independent)
After a round of porridge or pureed parsnip, some seats are easier to get shipshape than others (iStock/The Independent)

Different people will have different priorities when it comes to what a highchair should do. Some people will prize a space-saving model above all others, while some might be on a tight budget, and others still will want it to look beautiful.

But all highchairs should be safe – this is the primary concern. They should support little ones, keeping them secure without leaving them feeling trapped. If a baby is relaxed and comfortable at mealtimes, it follows that they will be more inclined to tuck in.

Obviously, keeping a highchair clean is also hugely important. And after a round of porridge or pureed parsnip, some are easier to get shipshape than others, so we considered this too.

Here we have included highchairs which meet all of the above requirements. We’ve also reviewed ones that could be a permanent part of your kitchen, those which are designed to be quickly folded away at the end of mealtimes and even one which can live in the changing bag (yes, really).

We’ve also tried to be mindful of how difficult a highchair might be to assemble when you first buy it and to consider its durability. Here’s our review of the best.

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The best high chairs for babies and toddlers in 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Vital Baby nourish scoop highchair: £99.99, Vitalbaby.com

  • Best for comfort – Mamas and Papas snax highchair: £85, Mamasandpapas.com

  • Best light highchair – My Babiie compact highchair: £35, Argos.co.uk

  • Best pre-assembled highchair – Graco swift fold highchair: £120, Argos.co.uk

  • Best small and compact seat – Bumbo multi seat: £59.99, Buggybaby.co.uk

  • Best on-the-go solution – Jojo Maman Bebe packaway pocket highchair: £16, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk

  • Best budget-friendly highchair – Ikea antilop highchair: £12, Ikea.com

  • Best for children aged up to 12 – Mamatoys mama wooden highchair: £154, Mamatoyzuk.com

  • Best for newborns – Silver Cross buffet highchair: £119, Silvercrossbaby.com

Vital Baby nourish scoop highchair

Best: Overall

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H84cm x W65cm x D65cm

  • Weight: 4.5kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? No

  • Removable tray? Yes

If you thought a highchair couldn’t be chic, think again. We think this is a pretty elegant design, which will appeal to families with minimalist kitchens with clean lines. But the massive selling point for this is its practicality: it is designed so that parents holding a baby can use most of the features one-handed. The tray is removed with the push of a button, for example. We were delighted that the tray is dishwasher safe – a total game changer – and that the Scoop has adjustable leg lengths and can be transformed into a toddler’s chair when your baby is big enough. This long lifespan is another reason why the Scoop, made from safe Phthalate-free, Latex-free and BPA-free material, is excellent value for money.

Buy now £99.99, Vitalbaby.com

Mamas & Papas snax highchair

Best: For comfort

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H120cm x W60cm x D36cm

  • Weight: 8kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Adjustable

  • Removable tray? Yes

With six height settings and three recline and tray settings respectively, this highchair – suitable for six-month-old-babies and older – can move with both growth and mood. The seating is deeply cushioned for comfort and can be completely taken out for cleaning, thank goodness (permanently integrated cushioning is impossible to thoroughly clean). We found it easy to fold away but what we found the most pleasing was actually the storage basket at the rear of the chair: the ideal spot to stow bibs, wipes and other mealtime must-haves.

Buy now £85.00, Mamasandpapas.com

My Babiie compact highchair

Best: Light highchair

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H102cm x W65.5cm x D76cm

  • Weight: 5kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Fixed height

  • Removable tray? No

The first thing we noticed was how light this is. It is so easy to carry and when we folded it down it is practically ironing-board flat which means it takes up only a sliver of storage space. We also found the cup holder really pleasing, for obvious reasons, but also because not many highchairs have them. Cleaning is also easy – not least because the seat cover is removable and machine washable. Overall, this is a brilliant value highchair and we think it looks much more expensive than it is thanks to its muted colourway.

Buy now £35.00, Argos.co.uk

Graco swift fold highchair

Best: Pre-assembled highchair

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H102cm x W55cm x D80cm

  • Weight: 10.2kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Adjustable

  • Removable tray? Yes

We were so delighted when this arrived already assembled – we just opened the packaging and were good to go. This sort of ease saves time and significantly reduces stress levels, so from the off, this one was in our good books. As its name suggests, the swift fold is easy to, well, fold swiftly and with only one hand, to boot.

Even when unfolded it is diminutive – only 19cm x 81cm, making it the most compact highchair we could find. This makes it perfect for families with limited space but it does, however, have nine different height options. There’s an integrated harness and the covers for this plus the body support pad can all be machine washed. We were sceptical about the claim to be able to remove the tray with only one hand, but can confirm that not only is this true but it is easy to do so.

Buy now £120.00, Argos.co.uk

Bumbo multi seat

Best: Small and compact seat

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H26cm x W37cm x D34cm

  • Weight: 1.9kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Fixed

  • Removable tray? Yes

The Bumbo has won a heap of awards for its clever design: it’s essentially a squat little seat for children aged between six months and three years old. It can be placed on the floor or attached to a chair at mealtimes. A tray is also included, built into the bottom of the seat and easily removed and attached to form a tablespace. As well as the adjustable seat straps (again, easily stowed away) there is a safety harness. We rate the Bumbo’s versatility and cleverness – it is for much more than mealtimes.

Buy now £59.99, Buggybaby.co.uk

Jojo Maman Bebe packaway pocket highchair

Best: On-the-go solution

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 2.5 years

  • Dimensions: 12cm x 12 cm

  • Weight: ‎90.7g

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Fixed

  • Removable tray? No

This is a game-changing bit of kit which when folded up in its integrated storage bag fits into the palm of an adult hand. What is essentially a cleverly designed piece of material can fit around almost any kitchen or dining chair to create a safe and secure seat for toddlers to eat from. The harness can be machine washed. Obviously, this isn’t an everyday, long-term option but it is ideal for (when we can) travel and for having at home for guests with small children. It comes in three colourways too.

Buy now £16.00, Jojomamanbebe.co.uk

Ikea antilop highchair

Best: Budget-friendly highchair

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H90cm x W56cm x D62cm

  • Weight: 3.7kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Fixed

  • Removable tray? Yes

Basic and outrageously cheap – this is everything you could want from a high chair with the exception of being a fancy showpiece. That said, it’s hardly an eyesore either. It’s easy to put up and take down to stow away, super lightweight and best of all, really easy to clean. The “table” part comes off with a simple lift. The entire design is an example of perfect simplicity. There are straps to keep baby safe and you can get a seat pad insert, but we don’t think it really needs it.

Buy now £12.00, Ikea.com

Mamatoysz mama wooden highchair

Best: For children aged up to 12

  • Age suitability: 6 months to 12 years

  • Dimensions: H80cm x W40cm x D60cm

  • Weight: 7kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Adjustable

  • Removable tray? Yes

This wooden high chair is very tasteful – the sort of thing people fantasise about as an ideal aesthetic for their post-parenthood home. But it’s not just beautiful, it’s hardworking too. Thanks to the removable tray and safety bar, this chair can serve a child from babyhood until they are 12-years-old, making it worth its price tag and then some.

As a highchair, this incorporates a little table plus footrest. We were slightly intimidated by the many holes for adjustability but changing the chair’s shape was much easier than we feared. The wood used is natural which means it can be wiped clean with no danger of discolouration of warping. We also assumed it would be a heavy load, but at 7kg, it is also surprisingly, and pleasingly, light. The only thing we weren’t completely sold on was the tray – it doesn’t have a lip which might make it tough to keep its contents in place.

Buy now £154.00, Mamatoyzuk.com

Silver Cross buffet highchair

Best: For newborns

  • Age suitability: Newborn to 3 years

  • Dimensions: H78-99cm x W53.5cm x D76cm

  • Weight: 6.8kg

  • Adjustable or fixed height? Adjustable

  • Removable tray? Yes

This is brand new from Silver Cross – whose prams have been serving and delighting generations of families, including the Royal Family for almost 150 years – and the aesthetic similarities are encouraging. Brand loyalists are not going to be disappointed. Unsurprisingly, it’s as pretty and skilful as you might expect, and with generous proportions. We really appreciated the wide, spacious tray and it’s sturdy and solid without being cumbersome yet, still simple to fold away.

Buy now £119.00, Silvercrossbaby.com

The verdict: High chairs

The Nourish scoop wins for not only looking ace and being clever, thoughtful and hardworking, but for being more than a highchair – shapeshifting into a toddler seat and giving you years of service. Our other pick is the Ikea antilop highchair, it ticked every single box, including safety, and cost little more than 10 quid. It is a truly brilliant piece of kit.

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