The High Chair Buyer's Guide
Congrats, mommy. You've made it so far! Can you believe your little one is getting ready to start solids? They grow up so fast [wipes tear from eye].
Before you dive into this next chapter, you'll probably want to get a high chair and some other feeding supplies (coming soon). Essentially, there are 2 types of high chairs: one that stands on its own and one that sits on top of an existing dining chair...
Stand-alone High Chairs
A stand-alone chair is great if you have the space for an extra chair in your kitchen or dining room. You can easily move it around, even from room to room. Also, you don't have to worry about damaging or staining your existing chairs, especially if your chairs are upholstered (eek!). Or white.
Here are the best stand-alone chairs in each price category, according to the mommies:
$ -- Ikea ANTILOP ~ $20 (say what?)
Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking: twenty dollars for a high chair? Must be pretty ghetto. Actually... not really. This chair is kinda awesome, and that's coming from someone who typically hates IKEA crap (yeah, I said it).
Pop the legs off this chair and it comes apart very easily for storage or taking along on a trip, and best of all there is NO fabric anywhere on this chair (why can't anyone else figure that out?), which makes it so very easy to clean. In fact, many moms have ditched their expensive, full-featured, pain-in-the-rear-to-clean chairs for this one. Yes, I swear it.
This chair is also perfect for grandma's house or some other place you need a spare. It comes in red, white and blue. See it in action here.
The $5 tray is sold separately (gasp, can you afford it?). At $25 (all in), this chair is a best buy. Don't ask me how these people make money. Like "where does sausage come from?", I don't think I want to know...
$$ -- Graco SimpleSwitch ~ $65
Another affordable yet highly-rated chair is the Graco SimpleSwitch. The big difference is that the "chair" portion can be removed and used later as a stand-alone booster, thereby preventing you from having to buy a separate booster when your kid gets older (about 2.5 years old). Simple, dynamic, easy to clean: check, check, check. Sexy? Not so much. At $65, who cares?
See it in action here.
$$ -- Graco Blossom ~ $170
The Graco Blossom is a neat little system that offers seating for 2 children of different ages, so it's ideal if you're planning on getting knocked up again anytime soon. The Blossom can be used as a regular high chair, an infant booster, a toddler booster and a child seat (click here or see below to see what I mean).
We have this chair at home and have enjoyed using it in all configurations, especially when we have guests. I also like that I can easily wheel it from room to room as needed. This is a great, full-featured chair that grows with your family.
$$$ -- Mamas & Papas Go Eat ~ $199
This is a neat high chair that folds away very discreetly when it's time to stash it away for a dinner party or whatnot. Comfortable and spacious for baby and easy to clean, this is a favorite among city dwellers in tight spaces.
Moving right along...
If you want something that's more a little more slick, check out these modern design favorites:
$$$ -- Stokke Tripp Trapp ~ $220ish
Never mind that the straps remind me of an electric chair (creepy), the Tripp Trapp by Stokke is a true classic and an all-time mommy favorite.
This tray-less high chair is designed to pull right up to the table, so your child can sit and eat with everybody else. The signature foot rest is infinitely adjustable and designed to grow with your child (see below). Later, the footrest acts like a ladder, allowing your child to seat herself on her own.
Once your child is finished using the chair, the whole thing can be converted to a stool or an adult chair. Many of my friends have this chair and despite the high price tag, I'll admit it's pretty darn neat. See it in action here.
The Tripp Trapp is made from beechwood and comes varnished in a rainbow of colors - or just classic wood.
**This chair has no recline and therefore is not appropriate for a child that cannot sit completely unassisted.
$$$ -- Boon Flair ~ $250
The award-winning Flair high chair is a single piece of molded plastic that sits atop a pedestal (instead of legs).
In addition to the unique design, it has a couple of kooky features: a pneumatic lift to adjust the height (kinda like a barber's chair), a bunch of tiny, hidden casters that allow it move around (George Jetson would approve). And with no cracks or crevices anywhere, it's super easy to clean.
See it in action here.
Space Saver Chairs
The space saver or sit-on-top chair is better if you can sacrifice an existing chair or if you don't want a big 'ol honkin high chair taking up space in your kitchen. They also tend to be easily collapsible and portable, so you can easily take them from place to place.
If you're looking for a basic space saver high chair/booster, look no further.
This seat easily attaches to almost any dining chair. And when babe gets older and is ready to sit at the table, simply remove the back and it converts to a regular booster seat. Easy!
$ -- MiSwivel Feeding Chair ~ $50
No wonder everyone was raving about this about the baby show last year, the MiSwivel (pronounced My Swivel) is the ultimate sit-on-top feeding chair.
This is a long-lived, highly versatile chair. For example, you can recline it for a young baby to join you at the dinner table, even before baby is ready to eat (it's more like a bouncer in this regard). Add the tray, turn it upright and it becomes a great infant and toddler seat; remove the tray a couple of years later for a standalone booster. Moms love it, it's easy to clean, it's affordable and portable. Yes, yes, yes... it's all that, sister.
See it in action here.
$ -- Inglesina Fast Table Chair ~ $50
This last chair is a major mommy-favorite: the hook-on style Ingelsina Fast. The ultimate space-saver, you can attach it to pretty much any tabletop or countertop and it takes up far less room than a high chair. Perfect if you typically eat at a "breakfast bar" or high countertop.
It fits tables up to 3.5" thick (yes, you should measure just to be sure) and holds up to 37lbs of baby meat. Stuff this chair in its self-contained bag and carry it along to a restaurant or to grandma's house: it's the cat's ass. If you do not love this chair, you can hold me personally responsible (just kidding).
See it in action here.
* If you buy this chair, save the receipt/shipping packaging until you've confirmed it fits your table.
There you have it, the best of the best according to the mommies. Good luck!