Best Cheap High Chairs
New parents quickly learn that they only have about a month or two before they'll be scouting for a cheap high chair. The market is saturated with a vast assortment of budget options produced by the usual players in the baby gear market, including Graco, Fisher-Price, Safety 1st, Cosco, and Evenflo. Although a well-designed and well-built high chair with a price tag in the triple-digit range might become a family heirloom, you can easily get by without spending more than $85.
Our Top Pick
Fisher-Price EZ Clean Review
Convenient features are the hallmark of the Fisher-Price EZ Clean (starting at $77, Amazon) high chair, assert parents' online reviews. A spill-resistant cover that can be removed and thrown into the wash along with straps that are coated for a quick and easy wipe down are among this model's standout components, say posts at sites such as Diapers.com. Some parents consider the front-only wheels an advantage (all the better for stability) and easy to maneuver, but at least one Fisher-Price EZ Clean review at Amazon counters that it's awkward, requiring that you walk along its side when moving it from place to place. A clip-on feeding tray, cushy seat, sturdy build, contemporary aesthetic, and rapid-fire assembly also garner nods of approval in the vast majority of high chair reviews. Still, a few posts grumble that the feeding tray is too tall to fit in the dishwasher and the chair is a tight fit for some children.
The EZ Clean sports a washable and stain-resistant seat pad without crevices, a 5-point harness with smooth straps, and a one-hand removable tray with a dishwasher-safe insert. Comfort features include four height adjustments and three reclining positions. The high chair can accommodate children up to 50 pounds and folds away for easy storage; it weighs about 20 pounds.
The Fisher Price EZ Clean boasts many attractive features -- from the perspectives of parents and babies -- and comes at a very economical price. All in all, this is a value buy.
Graco SimpleSwitch Review
Graco SimpleSwitch reviews tout its two-in-one versatility and overall convenience. The legs on this model come off, turning a free-standing high chair into a booster/feeding chair that sits on a standard dining chair. At sites like Amazon and Walmart parents commend the design for its alternative and longer-term functionality; aside from serving its traditional purpose at meal times, the Graco SimpleSwitch (starting at $70, Amazon) when legless can be placed on the floor for toddler seating, carted along on trips, and used far longer as the child grows (the weight capacity for booster mode is half again the maximum in high chair mode). Several reviews caution, however, that the base of the booster is quite wide and requires care when choosing which chair to place under it. Parents report the SimpleSwitch is easy to clean, with a seat pad that can be wiped down or tossed into the washing machine and a large, flat feeding tray that thankfully has no seams or indentations. Assembly is accomplished in minutes, according to high chair reviews, and the result is a sturdy piece of baby gear. The tray can be removed with one hand, although a few reviewers report some difficulty getting it to slide in and out.
The seat on the SimpleSwitch reclines to three angles and contains a 5-point harness that converts to 3 points for older children. There is built-in storage for the legs once they're snapped off. The high chair weighs about 20 pounds and holds children up to 40 pounds; when used as a booster/feeding chair it can accommodate up to 60 pounds.
The draw with this model is the option to switch from high chair to booster/feeding chair. Unlike some of the best picks in the budget range, the SimpleSwitch doesn't fold or sport wheels, but its unusual design meets expectations for portability and practicality.
Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair Review
A host of Fisher-Price SpaceSaver reviews extol the practicality of this inexpensive feeding chair. At Viewpoints, for example, one parent raves about the three recline positions that enable one-handed bottle-feeding and upright self-feeding for toddlers. Feeding chairs are designed to sit attached to a regular chair and, as reviews note, they can be pulled right up to the dining table once the tray is removed. This design doesn't take up any valuable floor space, an attribute that appeals to families living in tight quarters or who prefer uncluttered environments, according to reviews at Diapers.com. Parents also appreciate the easy room-to-room (or house-to-car) portability, the height- and angle-adjustable seat, and the neutral colors. A few posts comment on the absence of a footrest, but as one mother points out, that ensures you won't be bothered by incessant kicking. A few reviewers grumble that the seat cover isn't as easy to wipe down as other models and some say the tray doesn't fit into their dishwashers.
The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair (starting at $50, Amazon) boasts its share of perks even at a budget price. It features three height adjustments and a three-position recline, a dishwasher-safe tray (with cup holder) that can be removed with one hand, and a seat cover that can be wiped down or machine washed. Safety features include a convertible 5- and 3-point harness system. Removing the back turns the eight-pound feeding chair into a booster for older toddlers. The maximum weight for this model is 50 pounds.
Feeding chairs are a flexible alternative to a standard high chair. All you need is a sturdy, regular chair with a back and you're good to go. The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver is a leader in the category.
Graco Meal Time Folding High Chair Review
Graco Meal Time Folding High Chair reviews talk up this budget model's ease of use. As with other chairs we researched this one attracts positive notice for a folding design that lets parents quickly store or move it out of the way. Other features that garner praise in reviews at sites such as Amazon include a tray that detaches with one hand and a seat that slides up and down the legs (but locks into place, of course) for height adjustments. Parents also compliment the seat cover, saying the fabric is comfortable and the pattern is sufficiently cute. And at Overstock they note the ease of assembly. A couple of minor critiques popped in high chair reviews: e.g., the wheels don't roll as smoothly as they should and the tray is too easy for the baby to dislodge, which sends the contents flying.
Graco Meal Time Folding High Chair (starting at $77, Amazon) is among the most affordable in the Graco lineup but still offers desirable features. The seat can be set to four heights and recline at three angles. The seat cover is machine-washable, as is the feeding tray insert; the large tray can be removed with one hand. The leg wheels can be locked and the child secured by a convertible 5- and 3-point harness. It weighs 17 pounds and accommodates children up to 40 pounds.
A modest price, practical features, and strong reviews suggest the Graco Meal Time can meet the needs of high-chair-age children and their parents.
Badger Basket High Chair Review
The Badger Basket Embassy (starting at $82, Amazon) takes a lot of heat in reviews for build quality and design. Parents like the contemporary styling with its S-like side panels and flat pieces for the back, seat, and footrest. And many say they were initially drawn to the budget-priced wooden frame. But once put to use, disappointment settled in. Posts at Walmart and Target reel off a host of complaints: a finish that chips; wood that doesn't hold up to everyday use; straps that don't secure the child adequately; a feeding tray positioned too close to the back of the chair, making it difficult to get the child in and out; and the challenge of cleaning icky-sticky messes off a wooden surface. One Badger Basket Embassy review also notes that the small pieces of plastic that protrude from the bottom on the back legs are easy to trip over despite their intended purpose of stabilizing the chair and facilitating a bit of forward glide.
Nonetheless, the chair's grow-with-the-child options generated a spate of positive comments. Once the feeding tray and safety bar are removed, for example, the Badger Basket Embassy can be pulled right up to the table; with the seat lowered, it can be used as a desk chair for a youngster or a resting spot for a teen or adult. One parent writes that these latter uses seem far more functional than its intended purpose as a high chair.
The seat cover is machine washable and the clear plastic overlay (with cup holder) for the wooden tray is dishwasher-safe. There is a 5-point harness on the seat; he back does not recline, however, and cannot be used when children are bottle feeding. This model weighs about 16 pounds and can accommodate up to 175 pounds.
The Badger Basket Embassy hits the mark for its upscale looks but misses the functionality boat by a wide margin. For practicality, comfort, and ease of use, a different budget high chair would be a better investment.
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