Need to know
- We’ve tested over 40 high chairs from a range of brands across all budgets with varying results
- In some cases, bargain high chairs from brands such as Kmart, Target and Ikea performed just as well, or even better, than costlier ones from BabyBjorn, Bugaboo, Stokke and Joie
- Consider important features of the chair before you buy, such as the harness, stability and size, as well as how easy it is to clean and any safety risks
If you've reached the fun stage where bub is ready to try their first foods, you'll need a high chair that's safe, practical and easy to clean. And if you've started looking for one to buy, you'll probably notice there's an eye-watering range of options to choose from.
So how do you find the best high chair for your baby? And do you really need to spend hundreds of dollars on something that's going to be regularly smeared with apple puree and spaghetti bolognese?
Our expert highchair testing
Our experts have done the hard work for you, testing more than 40 high chairs to help you find the best. We look at things like safety, how easy they are to use and clean (yep, we literally smear them with baby food), how stable they are, and extra features such as if they're adjustable or able to be converted into a toddler chair later.
We'll show you how some of the most popular high chairs from expensive brands like Stokke and Bugaboo or budget favourites like Ikea rate against similar models.
Kmart 2-in-1 highchair vs Stokke Tripp Trapp
For many people, the aesthetics of a high chair are just as important as its practicality and longevity. We are seeing more high chairs with sleek timber designs that can slot seamlessly into a modern home (particularly if you have an aversion to plastic), as well as high chairs that can be converted into toddler chairs when your bub gets a bit older.
If this design appeals to you, you may be considering the Stokke Tripp Trapp chair which is available in a huge range of colours and finishes. This chair has newborn and baby seat accessories for when your child is small (and can function as a highchair), and an adjustable seat and footrest you can use as your child grows.
Based on our testing, it may be worth adding the Kmart chair to your shortlist
We've reviewed the Stokke Tripp Trapp (with baby set, costing $548) in high chair mode, and it performs well, however our testers have noted some downsides in terms of ease of use, including that it's a little fiddly to assemble.
If you like the design of the Tripp Trapp but don't have that kind of cash to splash, you may be considering Kmart's lookalike chair, the Kmart Anko 2-in-1 Highchair which we've also reviewed.
It's a similar convertible-style highchair but costs just $149. It's only available in a pale wooden finish, but at $400 less than the Tripp Trapp, this may be something you're willing to overlook.
The Kmart 2-in-1 highchair is similar in style to the pricier Stokke Tripp Trapp.
Overall, the Kmart chair compares favourably with the more expensive Stokke chair. It lost points in our testing due a very minor safety failure – the harness is not permanently attached, making it possible to remove it and forget to reinstall it (a problem that can be avoided through sensible use). However, our testers noted that the tray is easy to clean and it also has an adjustable footrest like the Stokke chair.
Based on our testing, it may be worth adding the Kmart chair to your shortlist. Check our detailed high chair reviews before you buy to make sure you're getting the best high chair for you and your child.
Is it worth buying the new Bugaboo Giraffe?
The Bugaboo Giraffe highchair is chic but expensive.
Bugaboo is a brand that's synonymous with high-end baby products with price tags to match, and their new Giraffe highchair is no exception. Made from bio-based plastic and FSC-certified beechwood, it has a simple, sleek design and can also be converted into a toddler chair as your child grows.
But once you've purchased all the accessories needed to use the chair as a highchair, it will set you back over $600. Despite costing significantly more, it was outscored by both the Ikea Antilop and the Kmart Anko 2-in-1 Highchair (and several other cheaper chairs) on overall performance and ease of use.
"Some expensive high chairs are real showpieces that can complement a modern kitchen, with striking wooden or slimline design," says Kim Gilmour.
"However, our testing has shown that there are many similar options that are great performers that will do the job, so there's no need to spend a fortune on this particular baby item."
While it can definitely be worth paying more for a chair that your child will continue to use into their toddler years and beyond, CHOICE has tested plenty of more affordable chairs than the Bugaboo Giraffe that meet this brief, such as the Kmart Anko 2-in-1 Highchair mentioned above.
And if you're just looking for a high chair to get you through the baby years, millions of parents the world over are fans of the Ikea Antilop high chair, which is praised for its simplicity and cheap price tag. Our experts have also uncovered lookalike high chairs from Kmart and Target that we've rated as even better buys.
Kmart vs Ikea: Which high chair is best?
If you're after the simple white plastic design that's been popularised by Ikea's Antilop high chair, you've got plenty of options to choose from.
The Kmart Prandium high chair is a lookalike high chair that costs the same as the Ikea Antilop (just $29) but outscored the Ikea chair by more than 10 percentage points. It passed all our key safety tests and our testers noted it was very easy to assemble, easy to clean and light. Some key benefits of the Kmart chair over Ikea's Antilop high chair are:
- The Kmart high chair has a five-point harness, which is considered to be safer than the Ikea high chair's three-point harness (and makes it harder for your baby to clamber out of when they get to that age).
- Its legs can be lowered to convert it into a low chair.
On the other hand, the Ikea high chair has the advantage of being available in pink and blue if you like a bit of colour. Various accessories such as extra padding for a backrest are also available.
However, although our testers say it's light, inexpensive and easy to clean, the Ikea chair lost points on safety due to its three-point harness. Our testers also noted that the tray is extremely hard to remove.
For detailed information and scores on both of these high chairs, see our high chair reviews.
The lookalike Target Snacka high chair
Your high chair is going to get messy, so pick one that's easy to clean.
If you like the simplicity of the Ikea Antilop high chair you might also be considering the Target Snacka high chair – another great contender in the bargain high chair stakes at just $30.
It's almost identical to the Kmart high chair, all the way down to its five-point harness and its ability to convert to a low chair.
It didn't score as highly as the Kmart high chair in our tests because of a minor safety failure – the harness isn't permanently attached, making it possible to remove and then lose it or forget to reinstall it, which could be a safety issue. This problem can be avoided through sensible use, so it's probably not a deal-breaker.
To find out how this chair scored in our test compared with other brands, see our full high chair reviews.
Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.