Need to know
- We’ve tested over 60 high chairs from a range of brands across all budgets with varying results
- In some cases, bargain high chairs from brands such as Target and Ikea outperformed more expensive ones from BabyBjorn, Stokke and Joie (although some of these brands are still recommended by our testers)
- Consider important features before you buy, such as the harness, stability and size, as well as how easy it is to clean
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 experts have done the hard work for you, testing more than 60 high chairs to tell you which are the best. We look at things like safety, how easy they are to clean and use (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.
Millions of parents the world over are fans of the Ikea Antilop high chair, which is praised for its simplicity and cheap price tag, but our experts have uncovered lookalike high chairs from Kmart and Target that we've rated as even better buys.
Your high chair is going to get messy, so pick one that's easy to clean.
Kmart vs Ikea: which high chair is best?
Both high chairs we tested from Kmart scored very well in our testing, and both outscored Ikea's Antilop high chair by more than 10 percentage points.
The Kmart Prandium high chair costs just $29, passed all our key safety tests and received points for being very easy to assemble, easy to clean and light. Key differences to note between this chair and Ikea's Antilop high chair:
- The Kmart high chair has a five-point harness, which is considered to be safer than the three-point harness on the Ikea high chair (and makes it harder for your baby to clamber out of when they get to that age!).
- It can be converted into a low chair.
The Ikea high chair is cheaper though – you can buy it for $19.99 without the tray or $24.99 with the tray included. And it has the added advantage of being available in pink and blue if that's important to you, plus various accessories such as extra padding for a backrest are 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 – a downside a few CHOICE parents have themselves experienced!
For detailed information and scores on both of these high chairs, see our high chair reviews.
The lookalike Target Snacka high chair
If you like the simplicity of the Ikea Antilop high chair but you're looking for another option as an alternative to Kmart, enter the Target Snacka high chair: another great contender in the bargain high chair stakes at just $29.
It's almost identical to the Kmart high chair, including the inclusion of a five-point harness and 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 fail: 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, though.
To find out how this chair scored in our test compared with other brands, see our full high chair reviews.
This Baby Bjorn high chair is a pricey $350 but scored just 64% in our testing, plus it's on the small side.
Is it worth buying a more expensive high chair?
CHOICE baby products expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro says deciding how much to spend on a high chair depends what you're after.
"Some people go for aesthetics while others go for what's practical. If you want a high chair with extra features such as one that's reclinable, adjustable or convertible, then it will cost you more," she says. "Keep in mind that all these extras can sometimes make them more bulky and a pain to clean, though."
Some more expensive brands do perform well in our tests, but Rebecca says that she wouldn't "waste her money" on them.
"I was given a high chair that had all the features and I hated it," she says. "Food got into every possible crevice and it was bulky and a real pain to clean, so I ended up opting for a cheaper, more practical one."
I was given a high chair that had all the features and I hated itCHOICE baby products expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro
Some of the more expensive brands may look fancier but didn't perform well in our tests.
For example, the BabyBjorn high chair costs $350 but scored just 64% in our tests. Some of the things it was marked down for include the three-point harness without shoulder straps, making it easier for a child to climb out, and the fact that it's quite small so you won't get as much use out of it.
"The difference between chairs that have shoulder straps, a five-point harness and a three-point harness is an important one to note," says Rebecca. "My kids can easily get out of the three-point harness so the five-point harness would make it more difficult for them."