A basic, traditional high chair looks exactly like what it's designed to do: safely hold a baby in place while being fed. A removable tray offers an eating surface or a place to set toys to distract baby while meals are being prepared. Today's high chairs often recline, offering a place for an infant to nap up and away from the floor while keeping the child in whatever room the family has gathered in. These high chairs should be easy to use, easy to clean, and very safe and secure.
The Fisher-Price Rainforest Healthy Care High Chair (Est. $100) is a great chair at a great value that offers all of the features you could ask for in a top high chair. It reclines and adjusts to accommodate newborns to children up to 50 pounds. With seven height adjustments, it can be matched to surfaces as high as countertops or as low as a sofa. The secure, five-point harness converts to a three-point harness for older children. Parents say it's extremely stable, yet folds up small enough to be stored in a closet.
All components of the Healthy Care are easy to use: The straps detach easily and can be tossed in the dishwasher. The tray, tray insert and even the included toy are dishwasher-safe. The seat covers have closed seams so they wipe clean easily and don't trap food particles. The tray and recline can both be operated one-handed. The only complaint we see anywhere is that the Rainforest design is too babyish for some parents. However, just as many say they -- and their babies -- love the bright, primary colors.
The Peg Perego Prima Pappa Best (Est. $240) gets raves from parents for its beautiful, lush upholstery, with one expert reviewer calling it the "recliner of the high chair world." Its fabric is the polar opposite of the babyish Healthy Care high chair. Yet unlike the Healthy Care, its eye candy is hard to keep clean and the bulky tray won't fit in some dishwashers. Still, the removable tray insert is smaller and dishwasher-safe.
The Prima Pappa Best is suitable from birth to 45 pounds and includes a range of high-end safety features, including an infant insert for the smallest babies. It has a four-position recline and seven height adjustments for use in any area of your home. Parents of smaller children say it does not fit well without the infant insert or optional Booster Cushion (Est. $40).
Parents who like a modern design above all else should look no further than the Boon Flair Pedestal Highchair (Est. $230). It looks like something right out of an episode of "The Jetsons" with its office chair-inspired pneumatic lift. The molded seat is easy to clean and features a five-point harness with adjustable shoulder straps. It includes a seat pad to add to baby's comfort. The tray features two removable inserts, so you can use one while the other is in the wash. The chair can also sit directly at the table. Reviewers say the wheels can move a bit on hard floors even when locked.
The Boon Flair does not recline, which makes it suitable only for babies who can sit unsupported, from about 6 to 9 months. The footrest is not adjustable, so it may become an uncomfortable seat for some taller kids.
For the price, features and ease of use, the Fisher-Price Rainforest Healthy Care High Chair stands out in this category. Unless aesthetics are your top priority, it will be a high chair that goes the distance for one or more children.
Not everyone has the space for a traditional high chair. Space-saver high chairs either take up no floor space at all or fold up flat enough to be easily stowed between meals. The Fisher-Price Space Saver High Chair (Est. $45) lands on virtually every "best of" list because of its vast array of features in spite of its small footprint and very reasonable price. The Space Saver converts any sturdy chair into a high chair and functions as a booster as kids grow, with an upper weight rating of 50 pounds – high enough to take your baby well into childhood.
The Space Saver is only as safe as the chair it's mounted on, but if that base is stable, this is a super-safe seat with a five-point harness, built-in yoke between the legs and wide base that secures from the back and bottom.
The Space Saver doesn't fold, so it isn't as portable as some, but reviewers love it as a seat for Grandma's house or for small apartments where it can be left sitting on a chair between uses. The three-position recline means it can be used from the newborn stage, and it's height adjustable, as well. The removable tray remains level even when the seat is reclined, but parents say it's a bit smaller than traditional high chair trays. The arms don't fold, so it may not fit under all tabletops.
The Chicco Polly Highchair (Est. $130) is more popular with expert reviewers than with real-world parents who have to use it day in and day out. It has some great features: a compact fold, the ability to pull directly up to the table, and two seat covers and two tray liners that owners love. However, the T-bar that keeps babies from slipping between the seat and the tray is attached directly to the tray, making it very difficult to fit it in most dishwashers even though it's dishwasher-safe. Most T-bars attach to the seat.
Unlike many high chairs, the Polly features a smooth chrome finish and a range of neutral fabric choices, making it a favorite among parents who don't want a babyish-looking high chair. It's highly adjustable, with seven height adjustments, three recline positions and an adjustable footrest. However, it doesn't have the lifespan of some of the high chairs in this report: It should only be used when a baby has full head control -- at about 3 to 6 months -- and only accommodates up to 37 pounds.
If you need a high chair with the smallest footprint possible, the Fisher-Price Space Saver is a top choice in this category and should last until your child no longer needs a boost.