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.

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Our Top Pick

Fisher Price EZ Clean

Fisher-Price EZ Clean Review

Our Picks
Fisher Price EZ Clean

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 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.

090413graco simpleswitch 150

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

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 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

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

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.

Buying Guide

Cheap High Chairs Buying Guide

We selected our top picks based on value, performance, and features. In the best cheap high chairs bucket we put the Graco SimpleSwitch (starting at $70) for its two-seats-for-the-price-of-one design (high chair becomes feeding chair) and parental seal of approval, and the Fisher-Price EZ Clean (starting at $77) due to its parent-friendly cleaning and storage attributes. The second-best cheap high chairs on our list are the Graco Meal Time (starting at $77) with its convenient fold-up design and favorable parent feedback and the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver Feeding Chair (starting at $50) for its efficient no-legs design and secondary purpose as a backless booster. We're also keen on the Cosco Flat Fold (starting at $29) with its no-frills simplicity, portability, and super cheap price, but didn't add it to the list because it seems to be near the end of its run. (Act now if this model meets your needs.) The Badger Basket Embassy Wood High Chair (starting at $82), a stylish wooden high chair that isn't all that user-friendly and sits just at the edge of our price range, fails to get our vote.

All high chairs serve a similar purpose but vary in terms of visual appeal and functionality. Some are traditional stand-alone models, some conveniently fold for storage and portability, and some dispense with the legs and sit strapped atop a regular chair, and one on our list converts from a high chair to a feeding chair. Remember, children typically sit in a high chair for a maximum three years (or until they weigh 40 to 50 pounds), so cheap high chairs that are sturdy and safe, with portability an extra bonus, are adequate to the feeding tasks at hand.

As you start shopping you'll definitely notice differences between cheap and pricey models. Entry-level high chairs are usually made with a metal frame and a soft, cloth-covered plastic seat. They won't win awards for aesthetics, but they're functional (most have adjustable seats suitable for infant and toddler feeding and removable trays and/or insert; some have wheels), easy to assemble, and relatively durable. Upmarket high chairs generally feature more contemporary design (see, for example, the angled wood of the Stokke Tripp Trapp, which starts at $250, or the cocoon-like Bloom Fresco Chrome, which starts at $449), serve multiple purposes as the child grows (a base that converts to a play table, for example, or a chair that can be rocked for sleeping and later transformed into a booster-like chair), and boast an assortment of frills (e.g., detachable battery-operated lights and toys).

Aesthetics and functionality aside, the most critical qualification for a high chair, cheap or otherwise, is a JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification. JPMA is a national trade organization for the prenatal-to-preschool industry that ensures a high chair produced by its members meets standards set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ATSM). What this means: High chairs should have no sharp edges and include easy-to-see warning labels, appropriate locking devices to prevent unintentional folding, and straps that can withstand a force test (i.e., an older child can't break or pull the straps out of the bolts). The high chair should also feature secure caps and plugs, break-resistant trays, and legs wide enough for stability but not wide enough as to cause others walking by to trip. We confirmed that all the best and good cheap high chairs on our list are JPMA-certified. By the way, experts say that more high chair-related injuries stem from improper use than from poor design, but always be on the lookout for product recalls. Other important features to note on a cheap high chair include the range of seat adjustments, the type of safety harness, and the weight capacity.

Basic budget high chairs can be found at the usual big box outlets or online. If you buy online, be prepared to assemble the chair yourself, which may or may not be a welcome chore. Experts suggest that before settling on a model, go to a store for a physical inspection: poke and prod, test the folding mechanism (if relevant), check out the tray, and look for sharp edges.

High Chair Reviews

Reviews for the high chairs on our list skew strongly positive. Parents are especially pleased with the value, according to online comments, even though some quibble about minor flaws. The high chairs reviews we read focus primarily on portability, ease of cleaning, and overall functionality.

High Chair Portability

One appealing feature of budget high chairs is the ease with which they can be moved around and stored away. Parents appreciate the folding design of the Graco Meal Time (starting at $77) and Cosco Flat Fold (starting at $29), according to their high chairs reviews. These models fold flat (or almost so) and suit families that travel or have small living quarters. One parent writes in a post at Amazon that the Cosco Flat Fold works well in a small apartment because it's so easy to move out of sight; another report on Buzzillions tells of hanging this 14-pound model on hooks in a closet.

The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver (starting at $50) doesn't fold (no legs on this one), but at eight pounds and a 18.5x18x16.5-inch footprint, it easily moves from chair to chair to floor and back or to the homes of friends and family, assert reviews on Babies R Us; in between uses, the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver can be stored in a pantry or closet. The Graco SimpleSwitch (starting at $70) doesn't fold either but the two-in-one design affords a similar type of portability. This chair detaches from the legs to become a feeding chair, and parents' comments posted at Walmart note the convenience of a take-it-(nearly)-anywhere high chair.

Wheels provide portability of a different sort. High chair reviews of the Graco Meal Time say being able to move a chair around the house as you go about your chores keeps children out from underfoot and lets them keep a watchful eye on you. A parent post at Walmart also notes that the four wheels on this model have locks, which prevent children who are mobile from making the chair mobile as well. The absence of back wheels on the Fisher-Price EZ Clean (starting at $77) initially gave one new mother pause, a review at says, but adds that her concerns vanished after realizing the front-wheels-only design rolls smoothly and ensures the chair stays put unless pulled by an adult.

The Badger Basket Embassy (starting at $82) is the least portable of the models we researched: it neither folds nor rolls away (no wheels).

High Chair Cleanup

Little eaters make big messes, so a high chair that's easy to clean is a necessity. The Fisher-Price EZ Clean lives up to its name, writes one parent who crows in a post at Amazon that the spill-resistant cushion is so easy to wipe that she hasn't needed to put the cover in the wash. Parents like the washable seat cover, dishwasher-safe tray insert, and wipe-down cleanup of the Graco Meal Time, according to reviews. Ditto for the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver, which also boasts a spill-resistant and washable pad, although one review notes that food and spills collect under the seat cover and the one-hand removable tray is too large for a dishwasher. The flat tray on the Graco SimpleSwitch scores with parents whose high chairs reviews point out that indented cup holders found on other models are a bear to clean; several also laud the stain-hiding pattern on the seat cover.

Commenters also took a few swipes at a couple of the models we researched. The tray on the Cosco Flat Fold can be set in three positions, but several high chairs reviews say food and crumbs cascade down regardless and the permanently-attached seat pad is hard to clean (one parent suggests using the power spray in a car wash). A high chairs review at Baby Earth asserts the wooden Badger Basket Embassy is far easier to clean than metal and plastic chairs because there are fewer nooks and crannies where crumbs and grime gather. Other reviewers, however, wonder how you can properly clean this one given that the instructions caution against using soap.

Overall Functionality

In general, the best and good high chairs on our list win plaudits from parents for practicality and durability, especially given their budget prices. We didn't find any reports about struggles to assemble these models, and many say the chore is handled in less than 30 minutes. Still, it's worth noting some minor issues that pop up in the reviews we read. The Cosco Flat Fold isn't suitable for infants because the seat cannot be angled back, for example, and it features a small tray and requires two hands to collapse. A few high chairs reviews of the Graco Meal Time report that it doesn't fold quite as flat or roll quite as effortlessly as its upmarket siblings. About the Badger Basket Embassy, parents tell of struggling to get their children in and out of the seat due to the fixed tray and generally gripe about the quality of the wood and finish.

Portable High Chairs

Some parents begin looking for a high chair that will blend with their decor but quickly realize that functionality trumps beauty. In the budget end of the market you'll find free-standing high chairs (including some that fold), feeding high chairs that perch on a regular chair, and feeding chairs that attach directly to a table with arms that lock into place above and below the surface. Each has its pros and cons, but we found in our research that parents are leery of the hook-on arrangement, despite its travel friendliness, because of concerns about safety (i.e., if the chair is improperly attached or if the table edge doesn't allow the arms to lock as they should). As a result, we did not include any hook-on feeding chairs on our list.

Free-Standing High Chairs

Stand-alone high chairs are convenient when feeding a child away from the table but stand like a sentry, in a corner or maybe in the middle of the room, when not in use. Several of the models we researched, including the Graco Meal Time, Fisher Price EZ Clean, and Cosco Flat Fold, compensate for their bulk with a fold-and-stow design. The latter two also feature wheels, so they're easily pushed out of the way.

Another class of free-standing high chair, which includes the Graco SimpleSwitch and Badger Basket Embassy, stands rigid and can be hard to ignore. The Graco SimpleSwitch offsets what might be considered this disadvantage with a money-saving, versatile design: the legs snap off, leaving the seat to function as a feeding chair when the child is ready. The two-in-one functionality is popular with parents and children; at the Graco Baby site one post notes this was the only model a toddler sat in without crying while the family shopped for a new high chair. The Badger Basket counters its unfoldable stance with an aesthetic that imitates the sleek tiered design of the far pricier Stokke high chairs; it also converts to a toddler chair that can be pulled right up to the table once the tray and safety bar are removed.

Feeding High Chairs

If you're looking for an alternative to a space-hogging stand-alone chair, a feeding high chair should fill the bill. Like boosters, feeding chairs lack legs and sit securely anchored atop a regular chair; unlike boosters, they include a feeding tray and a back. Feeding chairs don't take up much room in the dining area but do require a sturdy, good-sized chair underneath and one that can handle the stains of spilled spaghetti sauce, yellow baby food, and what have you.

Feeding chairs, such as the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver and The First Years miSwivel (starting at $42), go over big with parent and child. One online post tells of a toddler who actively disliked a traditional high chair and is a better eater now that he sits with the family at the table. Online comments also indicate that parents value the multipurpose efficiency of the design. Aside from meal-time functionality, they tell of placing feeding chairs on the floor for child-friendly seating during play time and loading it in the car for travel. Moreover, models like the SpaceSaver and miSwivel spare families the expense of buying a booster seat; the backs on both can be removed for older toddlers.

High Chair Seats, Trays, and Restraints

High Chair Seats

The seat on a high chair, be it a feeding chair or free-standing model, should offer some creature comforts. Padding is standard and many come with multi-position backs and seat heights, which facilitates feeding a child from infancy through early toddler years. The Fisher-Price EZ Clean and Graco Meal Time, for example, boast four seat heights and three recline positions. In reviews at Amazon one mom writes that the reclining feature on the Meal Time lets her child nap in the chair and another reports that the adjustable height takes her child from table-level to couch-level in seconds. With three seat heights and three recline positions, the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver wins kudos from parents for the same reasons; online posts assert the seatback angles on this legless model facilitate eating as well as sleeping and bottle feeding. The Graco SimpleSwitch features a three-position recline but no height adjustments. The First Years miSwivel offers a five-position recline and a seat that swivels into seven positions, while the seat on the Fisher-Price Precious Planet Healthy Care (starting at $79) can be set to seven heights and three recline angles.

The barebones Cosco Flat Fold, on the other hand, neither reclines nor adjusts for height, and this leads to some parent griping. One post at Walmart grouses that the seatback angle is a bit too relaxed, causing her child to slump and need frequent repositioning, and another at Amazon says the child requires a pillow to sit upright for meals. Note that this very low-cost high chair is not intended for infants and most parent reviewers are satisfied with the design. The Badger Basket Embassy is also fixed at one baby/toddler height and one seatback angle, and a high chair review at Overstock cautions that the lack of a recline or head support means this model doesn't work for children who cannot sit on their own.

All the models we researched, but for the Cosco Flat Fold, come with machine-washable seat covers or pads. The seamless and spill-resistant pad on the Fisher-Price EZ Clean also can be wiped down, as can the coated straps.

High Chair Trays

Make sure the feeding tray is easy to remove and replace and to clean. Most trays on today's cheapest high chairs are simple plastic and dishwasher-safe. Some, like the Graco Meal Time and Fisher-Price EZ Clean and Precious Planet models also come with a plastic insert that pops out for a super-quick clean up. The Badger Basket Embassy tray is wood but protected by a dishwasher-safe thin plastic overlay (with cup holder).

The high chairs on our list by Graco and Fisher-Price also tout a one hand-removable tray that lets you hold the baby as you pull out the tray to get him/her comfortably seated; the tray on the Cosco Flat Fold can be set at three different heights. If entertainment is on the menu along with food, the Fisher-Price Precious Planet boasts a suction-cup toy for the tray.

High Chair Restraints

Seats that recline and are designed to appeal to parents of infants typically include a five-point harness (waist and shoulder straps and a passive crotch restraint). As the child grows and needs less safety supports, some of these harnesses (Graco Meal Time and SimpleSwitch, and the Fisher-Price SpaceSaver for example) convert to a three-point design that buckles around the waist. The Fisher-Price EZ Clean, Badger Basket, and The First Years miSwivel, come with a five-point harness; the Cosco Flat Fold features a three-point system.

High Chair Weight Capacity

Standard high chairs typically hold children up to a maximum 40 or 50 pounds, or until they reach the age of three. The Fisher-Price Space Saver and Cosco Flat Fold can manage children up to 50 pounds; the Graco SimpleSwitch tops out at 40 pounds but accommodates a 60-pounder when used as a booster. The Badger Basket claims to hold an adult up to 175 pounds with the restraints, tray, and cushioning removed.