The 8 best highchairs for babies and toddlers 2021
Highchairs provide a safe space for a baby or toddler when they’re old enough to eat sitting upright, but too young to sit securely on a full-sized chair. After three months of research and testing, here are the eight best highchairs available to buy.
Last updated: 22nd December 2021
Equally useful for six-month-olds trying solid food for the first time and wriggly toddlers needing a place to eat without distractions, highchairs come in a variety of sizes, functionalities and prices.
But which highchair is best? Keep reading as we take you through the best-performing products, as recommended and tested by parents.
If you're short on time…
Read our highchair reviews | What you need to know about highchairs | The different types | Why you should trust us
How we chose the products to test
We commissioned Rachel Jeffcoat, a writer and mum of three, to research and review the top highchairs out there. As a parent to an eight-, six- and two-year-old, Rachel has years of experience using a wide variety of baby equipment, from baby toys to stair gates and everything in between. As a writer, she’s written extensively on parenthood, including our last round of double buggy and stairgate reviews.
Rachel spent 16 hours researching the current highchair market. She investigated new innovations and safety directives, gathered impassioned recommendations from the Mumsnet forums, listed Amazon and Mothercare bestsellers, and grilled an expert in the field – Charlotte Stirling-Reed, a qualified child nutrition consultant who represents The Nutrition Society and the Association for Nutrition as a spokesperson.
Finally, she narrowed down her list of choices to 13 testing candidates from a range of brands and price points.
How real life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique
While all product reviews are subjective to some degree, we want our recommendations to come from months of real-life use and like-for-like comparison. For that reason we use a single tester, who judges one product against another in their own kitchen.
For this category, Rachel partnered with Katrĩna, who has a nine-month-old baby and a 33-month-old toddler to juggle at mealtimes, so was able to put all our products through their paces over the course of three months.
Each chair was used for both children (where appropriate), for three meals a day, every day for at least a week. The products were scored on six areas: purchase and assembly, safety and stability, day-to-day usage, cleanliness, aesthetics and value for money.
Five products were then awarded a Mumsnet Best badge – these are the products that we feel offer the best value for most parents. We also gave honourable mentions to three others.
After collating the feedback and scores, the results are ready. Here are the best highchairs suitable for babies and toddlers.
1. Best highchair: IKEA Antilop
“The IKEA Antilop is probably, cost per use, the best value product we've ever bought.”
As reliable as it is ubiquitous, in our extensive tests the IKEA Antilop excelled, living up to its reputation as the king of all highchairs.
The smooth plastic seat and steel click-in legs are designed for quick assembly and easy cleaning – and, at less than the cost of your monthly nappy bill, you can afford to buy one for Grandma too.
Great for parents who
- Need a budget-friendly option for themselves, or a spare for grandparents
- Need to be able to clean up quickly and easily after meals
- No-tool, two-minute assembly
- Three-point lap harness
- Lightweight yet stable
- Smooth plastic shape is easy to wipe clean and dishwasher-safe
- Can be disassembled easily for travel or storage
- £12! Twelve! Pounds!
- No adjustability in height, tray distance or seat angle
- Simple no-frills aesthetic (with no other colours available) – might not suit every taste
- Not intended to last beyond toddlerhood or 15kg, so has a limited lifespan
- Moulded plastic chair with plastic detachable tray and steel click-in legs
- Materials: BPA-free plastic and steel
Price: £12 (£6 comfort cushion sold separately)View on IKEA
2. Best highchair for style: Cybex Lemo
Packed with thoughtful design features, the elegant Cybex Lemo makes for a stylish and functional addition to your kitchen space.
With its aluminium frame, smooth plastic or wooden seat, and sophisticated colour options, the Lemo is a statement piece in its own right – and it’s intended to last through childhood and beyond.
Great for parents who
- Want a chair that will complement their kitchen design
- Are looking for something to last beyond childhood
- Have more money to spend
- Transitional-style chair – can be used from birth with a baby bouncer attachment, from six months with a baby set, and indefinitely as a chair after three years or 15kg
- Five-point click-in harness with bouncer or baby set
- Comes in six colours
- Seat height, footrest height and seat depth all fully and independently adjustable
- Stylish and minimalistic design, with different colourways available
- Easy to clean
- Bouncer, baby set and tray all need to be purchased separately
- Assembly requires screws and an allen key; disassembly isn’t a convenient option.
- One of the most expensive chairs we tested
- Aluminium-framed chair with plastic or wooden seating area and footrest
- Materials: Aluminium; BPA-free plastic or ash wood
- RRP: £160 (chair alone); £125 (newborn bouncer); £70 (baby set); £30 (tray); £30 (comfort seat inlay)
3. Best transitional highchair: Stokke Tripp Trapp
“It's totally worth the money. Eight years later and it's still in use and looks good.”
An almost 50-year-old classic, the robust and intelligently designed Stokke Tripp Trapp continues to perform well for kids of any age.
Solidly constructed from high-quality wood and available in a dizzying array of colours, the Tripp Trapp is a firm favourite on our forums – especially second-hand.
Great for parents who
- Need a piece of furniture that will last and can be used by every member of the family
- Want something that can stand up to robust knocks and scrapes without damage
- Have more money to spend – or who don’t mind buying second-hand
- Can be used with the newborn set from birth, the baby set from six months (sitting unaided) and after three years or 15kg until adulthood and beyond
- Comes in three wood types and 14 colourways – means it'll suit every kitchen design
- Five-point harness
- Dishwasher-safe tray
- Exceptionally high quality, detail-oriented chair designed for longevity
- Seat and footplate can be independently adjusted as your child grows
- Thriving second-hand market means high resale value
- Doesn’t recline (without the newborn bouncer) or fold away
- Almost every feature except the chair frame itself is sold separately, at some cost
- Wood cleans less easily than plastic or metal
- Solid wooden chair with plastic baby seat attachments and tray
- Materials: Beech, oak or ash wood; BPA-free plastics
- RRP: £178 (chair alone); £79 (newborn set); £47 (baby set); £39 (tray); £29 (harness); £39 (baby set cushion insert)
4. Best multifunctional highchair: Red Kite Feed Me Deli
Relatively budget-friendly and available in a range of cheerful patterns, the multifunctional Red Kite Feed Me Deli stands above its competitors thanks to the number of extra features it provides.
It may not be the ultimate in intelligent or uber-stylish design, but its many adjustable options emphasise flexibility and comfort for your baby or toddler.
Great for parents who
- Want something relatively budget-friendly
- Need a product that'll fold away when not in use
- Can be used from six months (sitting unaided) to three years or 15kg
- Height adjustable (six positions) and tray adjustable (three positions) for flexibility as your child grows
- Three-position reclining seat
- Designed to be freestanding when folded – great for smaller kitchens
- Large padded seat is comfortable and secure
- Removable tray means chair can also be used directly at the table
- Fairly affordable
- Tray and seat cushion are wipe-clean only, with plenty of crevices to hide food
- Bright, patterned aesthetic may not suit every taste
- Large footprint when open takes up space and presents a trip hazard
- Not intended to last beyond toddlerhood
- Upholstered chair with padded, wipe-clean cushioned seat and steel frame
- Materials: Steel; BPA-free plastics; plastic-coated cushion
5. Best travel highchair: Chicco Pocket Snack
“We have the Chicco Pocket Snack and love it! It's an adjustable booster seat rather than a traditional baby highchair, so DS can sit right at the table with us.”
Family favourites Chicco have come up trumps with this flexible, compact booster seat for travel.
Attached to your dining room chair with two robust straps, the Chicco Pocket Snack folds down to handbag size and even has a shoulder strap for easy transportation.
Great for parents who
- Spend time at other people’s houses with no highchairs
- Want a flexible solution that takes up no additional floor space
- Can be used from six months (sitting unaided) to about three years or 15kg
- Adjustable height and tray distance – means the chair continues to fit as your child grows
- Three-point lap harness
- Comes in four colourways
- Attaching to a chair rather than a table means more flexibility when travelling away from home
- Comes pre-assembled – can be set up in minutes
- Dishwasher-safe tray and easy-to-clean plastic seat
- Folds down compactly
- Bright plastic aesthetic not to everyone’s taste
- Can’t be used without an adult dining chair to hold it – not convenient for everyone’s dining situation
- Seat doesn't recline
- Plastic booster seat with tray that attaches to adult chair with straps
- Materials: BPA-free plastics; canvas straps
Related: The best booster seats for mealtimes
6. Mountain Buggy Pod
Just edged out of our top five by the more flexible and inexpensive Chicco Pocket Snack, the Mountain Buggy Pod is nevertheless a stylish, hardwearing and exceedingly portable travel option.
A tough aluminium frame and ergonomically designed fabric seat make the Pod both secure and comfortable for your child. It can be used as soon as your child can sit up unaided (usually around six months) to when your child weighs 15kg or around three years old.
- Three-year warranty
- Folds down small enough to fit in a drawer or pushchair storage basket
- Tough, washable fabric seat
- Doesn’t fit every table
- Attached to a lightweight table, baby’s movements can make the whole table move
- Quite pricey for a travel model
- Materials: Aluminium; rubber; fabric
7. Oribel Cocoon
A beautiful, intelligently designed chair with lots of thoughtful details, the Oribel Cocoon missed out on our transitional award as it’s still only suitable up to age three.
But it’s a stylish and flexible model, available in four attractive colours, that will complement your kitchen and make mealtimes a breeze.
- Can be reclined, used with a small tray for a just-weaned child, a larger tray for a child feeding themselves, or without the tray for a toddler sitting at the table
- Freestanding when folded and the tray clicks magnetically onto the legs when not in use
- Six height positions and three seat angles to choose from
- Dishwasher-safe tray and easy-to-clean foam seat
- Tray sits too far back from the baby, leading to messier mealtimes
- Quite pricey
- Can only be used till age three – it’s branded as a transitional chair, but isn’t really
- Materials: Metal; plastic; foam seat insert
8. Chicco Polly Magic Relax
The large and luxuriously comfortable Polly Magic Relax begins with a bouncer mode for newborns and then converts to a highchair with a generously-sized tray, which can be completely removed to allow a toddler to sit at the table.
While not the easiest to clean, this hardworking multitasker nevertheless feels more luxurious and performs more useful functions than its middle-of-the-road price would suggest. It can be used from birth to six months with the bouncer and up to three years with the padded seat.
- Three available modes, with all accessories included in the price: newborn bouncer with toy bar, weaning high chair and toddler seat
- Luxurious faux-leather seat with cosy, double-sided seat insert
- Eight height positions, three seat angles and three tray positions to choose from
- Freestanding when folded
- Large and bulky when assembled – no good in smaller kitchens
- Cushion can be wiped clean or hand-washed only, with many crevices for food to hide
- Big gap between tray and the baby, even in its closest setting – a little inconvenient for mealtimes
- Materials: Faux-leather; fabric; BPA-free plastic
Related: The best sippy cups and beakers
Why buy a highchair?
Highchairs are a safe and supportive place for your baby to eat before they’re old and tall enough to sit on an adult-sized dining chair. Most come with a plastic tray so your baby can see and reach their food easily – especially useful when first weaning.
As child nutritionist Charlotte Stirling-Reed says, sitting your child at your eye level and at (or close to) the rest of the family at mealtimes aids their development.
“Babies often learn what and how to eat by watching their parents and siblings eat too”, she says. “It’s more likely that they will happily accept foods that they see you gobbling up yourself.”
For older babies and toddlers, a familiar chair often signals ‘mealtimes’ to them, allowing them to eat free from distraction and out of harm’s way.
How long will I need a highchair for?
Although some of the chairs we tested had extra accessories making them suitable for smaller babies, children should only use a highchair to eat once they’re able to sit unaided.
Charlotte Stirling-Reed advises, “Baby needs to be sitting in an upright position and should easily be able to hold their head and neck steady. Always sit with your baby when offering foods, especially finger foods.”
The life-span of your chair will depend on the type of model you choose, as some are intended to be used throughout childhood and beyond (see section below). You’re likely to find a chair with a tray essential from first weaning up to the age of three.
Then, depending on the size and independence of your child, you may want to switch to a booster seat on an adult chair. Many multifunctional and transitional highchairs adjust in height, so you can bring the chair right up to the table.
How much does a highchair cost?
It varies tremendously with brand and functionality. A budget highchair, including this year’s winner, the IKEA Antilop, will set you back somewhere between £10 to £50. A multifunctional option will usually be in the £50 to £150 price range. A transitional one can be anything between £150 to £300+. A travel chair should really stay under £50 if it’s to be cost-effective.
What safety features should I look out for?
The relevant safety directive to look out for is EU directive EN 14988:2017, which specifically sets out standards for children’s highchairs.
As you consider various models, look at the height of the seat back (so it will support your child as they sit), the robustness of the safety harness (is it three-point or five? Does it seem secure when attached?), and how solidly the tray is attached to the chair when in place.
We asked Charlotte Stirling-Reed what features bewildered first-time parents might watch out for and she said, “One that is easy to clean! It’s also quite handy if there is somewhere for your baby to rest their feet to help avoid them slumping in the chair”.
Related: The best baby plates and bowls
The different types of highchairs
Highchairs have come a long way in the last couple of decades as companies have begun to apply intelligent design to baby equipment. There are several broad types on the market, so consider which functions are important to you before making your choice.
1. Budget highchairs
At the inexpensive end of the spectrum are the budget chairs. These tend to be standalone highchairs (intended to be used by themselves using a plastic tray, instead of being pulled up to a table), short on adjustability features and elaborate design – favouring instead a functional simplicity that often, incidentally, means they’re much easier to clean.
Indeed, they can still tick all the essential boxes without the added extras and loads of Mumsnet users will tell you that you don't need to spend much on a highchair to make it worth your while. Our Best for award went to the IKEA Antilop, which was also the cheapest on the list.
2. Multifunctional highchairs
A multifunctional highchair is a step-up in functionality and price. It has been designed to include features that make life easier or that adjust the chair to suit your child.
Multifunctional chairs usually include adjustable seat height options, reclining seat backs, trays that can move between several different positions, extra tray inserts to save on washing up or under-seat toy storage baskets. Single-stem highchairs, which stand on one leg instead of four, even rotate 360 degrees as well as adjust in height.
Multifunctional options might also include newborn accessories so you can use the chair before six months, or have a removable tray so the chair converts from a standalone chair to a table-side one. They usually fold away and often stand when folded for easier storage, and come with luxuriously padded cushions, which are comfortable for your baby to sit on but are crumb magnets for any dropped food.
A multifunctional chair might be a good choice if you want to adjust the chair to fit your baby or sit at your table, if you prefer a more comfortable cushion or if you know you’ll want to fold it away when you’re not using it.
3. Transitional highchairs
These are the big guns of the group – the chairs intended to last as standalone models in babyhood and then convert to table-side models that can be used in toddlerhood, childhood and even beyond.
As a result, they are usually crafted from sturdy, high-end materials, are intentionally designed to look elegant and minimalist, and come with a range of design options so you’ll want to stick with it long-term.
They are also, of course, the most expensive – and be aware that, in this group in particular, you’ll need to pay extra for everything except the chair frame itself (including newborn accessories, baby seats, trays and even safety harnesses), so make sure this is included in your budget.
The good news is that, because these chairs last so well, there’s a thriving second-hand market on eBay and Facebook Marketplace, where you can sell yours on or pick up a used model for a fraction of the cost.
4. Travel highchairs
These ensure that your child always has somewhere safe and age-appropriate to eat when they’re not at home – whether that’s at a grandparent’s house, a friend’s, or away on holiday – although many are designed so well that people use them at home too.
Most travel highchairs either attach to an adult dining chair as a chair-mounted booster or clip onto the table edge (sometimes called a hook-on or clip-on highchair) like a vice. In both cases, you need suitable furniture to make it work – though, anecdotally, the chair-attaching kind fit more universally than the table-attaching kind.
It’s a good idea to read up on their specs before choosing one to make sure you’ll be able to use it safely. It’s helpful when travel chairs collapse to a portable size and many come with their own carry cases or shoulder straps to help with this.
They might also be a good choice if your child spends regular time at a relative’s house but the relative doesn’t have space for a full-time chair, if you know they’ll eat better on holiday in a chair made for them, or if your kitchen is small and you want something that won’t take up any extra floor space.
Read next: Highchairs buyer's guide
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Read next: How we tested highchairs
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