Baby needs a high chair. And you want your space to remain zen.
Sorry, big, chunky, fixed-in-place high chair: you ain’t gonna cut it!
Whether you have a compact kitchen, travel a lot, or simply need a storable solution to mealtimes at Grand Ma’s, we’ve got you covered.
In 2-minutes, you’ll have seen the best foldable high chairs on the market and will know which is right for you.
Let’s do this.
In this article:
What is a folding high chair?
In my opinion, a folding high chair is a lifesaver. It not only takes up very little space in folded mode, but I can stick it in a closet when it’s not in use. The engineering behind this style of chair is very much like the bridge chairs my mom set up when friends came over for cards.
Like all high chairs, this juvenile necessity achieves stability from legs that are widely spaced. Hardware used to secure this chair not only allows it to be opened and closed efficiently, but legs to lock in place. Whether high or low back, typical folding high chairs feature footrests, locking tables and safety belts.
When should my baby start sitting in a high chair?
This is a tough call because babies mature on different timetables. My first was around 5 months’ old when she dined a-la-high chair. My best friend’s daughter wasn’t having any of it until she was around 7 months!
Manufacturers generally suggest starting at around 6 months but you’ll need to judge it on your own child’s development. She’ll need to ready to sit up in an upright position. This means she should show reasonably good stability and control when seated. A bit of swaying and bobbing is okay, but she really must be able to hold her head up.
What safety factors do I need to consider?
There are a surprisingly large number of accidents involving kids and high chairs. But – SPOILER ALERT – the biggest culprit is kids not being strapped in properly. So long as you make sure the high chair is JPMA certified, then the seat will keep your kiddo safely secured. Safety, then, is often less about which high chair you choose and more about ensuring that you use any chair safely. Obviously, spend a few minutes reading the instructional manual and learning about every feature, from safety strap to tray mechanism, and don’t run out the room to take a phone call!
The most depressing factor related to folding high chairs is the issue of safety recalls. They do happen. Fill out your registration/warranty card in case the chair you choose winds up on that dreaded list, constantly updated at www.recalls.gov.
What should I look for in a folding high chair?
- Straps: Babies and toddlers are tiny escape artists, so at first, straps and harnesses are a must. Your folding high chair should include a strap that goes between the legs to prevent the downwards “slip n slide” escape, and a shoulder harness to prevent the “over the top” escape routine. Normally these are detachable, so as your child grows and is able to settle down, then they don’t need to be strapped in.
- Ease of use: Given that you’ll be folding it up and down several times each day, the mechanism needs to be quick and easy. Amazon customer reviews are good at calling out any pain-in-the-ass chairs. (Spoiler alert – we didn’t include any of these culprits in our top picks.)
- Comfort: Folding high chairs range from super-padded types to harder wooden ones. Padded ones are easier on the bum, the minimal wooden ones are generally more hygienic and easy to clean. You’ll need to decide which you think is more important.
- Wheels: Wheels make it easier to push the chair about while you get your child into place. They aren’t essential, but if you are slight of frame and have a heavy baby, then it may be a good idea.
- Recliners: Some parents choose to put their babies in highchairs before four months. We wouldn’t recommend this, and you certainly shouldn’t feed them whilst reclined. That said, they can be convenient if your baby is just resting or drinking from a bottle.
- Easy to clean: Again, minimal chairs are easier to clean but can be a bit austere on your kiddos bottom. If you do go for a padded chair, then check that it comes apart easily for cleaning. Otherwise, you’ll soon have moldy food festering in crevices – urgh!
Our top picks of the best folding high chairs
Best for babies
This charcoal grey and white folding high chair easily wins the hearts and minds of moms and dads. What’s not to love? The Nook makes feeding baby a fun activity rather than a dreaded one and the soothing color mix works with any décor.
Access the one-hand, swing-open tray (this feature alone sold me) like the skilled balancing artist you’ve become! And if you’re juggling baby on one hip, you don’t have to wrest her out of the chair before you clean up the mess on the tray. This tray rocks.
JOOVY calls this chair “a new tradition.” We agree. Stow this chair in a convenient closet after you tidy it up, then throw it into your car for a visit to doting grands or a Mommy and Me get-together. It’s light. Sturdy. Did I mention stylish?
Lots of parents stop in their tracks when they note the four tray depth adjustments and roomy seat that extends this chair’s life longer than competitors. Oh, and since it’s fully assembled, no tool belt required.
What we love
- Stylish color and strength are this chair’s benchmarks
- The price won’t kill your budget
- No assembly woes or Band-Aids required
- The 5-point safety harness is impressive
- That pivoting, easy-access food tray is the bomb
- You won’t be able to make height adjustments if you pick this chair
- The JOOVY seat is wide; improperly tethered babies could slide out
- Two back rollers serve as wheels; it’s not the easiest chair to move
Best for toddlers
Anyone who says that exhausted moms can’t learn new tricks hasn’t met me. While searching for the world’s best folding high chairs, I stopped calling the color orange by its name and began to refer to it as Arancia.
That could be Italian for orange; at least that’s the color of the pad that comes with this stylish Peg Perego Siesta high chair. It reminds me of creamy orange gelato, and four other available colors are equally delicious.
The word Siesta may refer to the nap you try to get when baby’s out like a light, but in fact, this chair is also a recliner, so its usefulness extends far beyond the Cheerios your cherub stuffs into his cheeks when he pushes off the spoon you offer.
The Siesta “follows a child from birth through the toddler years.” It’s so versatile, baby can enjoy 5 reclining positions and your back can celebrate 9 height positions.
Stow this gem when not in use; it takes just a minute to get it out of the way. If you’re cramped for space, this chair may have your baby’s name written all over it.
What we love
- This chair is available in 5 delightful colors
- Wipe the chair’s “Prima Classe” fabric off fast with a damp cloth
- Comes with a 5-point safety harness and passive restraint bar
- Remove the tray and toddlers can eat at the table with you
- The wheels automatically lock for safety
- The price. It’s a killer.
- Wheels go in only 2 directions which restricts mobility
- Getting the tray in or out of the chair’s framework can be a hassle
I can’t resist a BOGO deal. So, when I happened upon the Ingenuity Trio 3-in-one high chair, I said, “Yes, please.” I’d never turn down multiples–unless we’re talking triplets.
Here’s the deal: buy this sleek grey high chair and your youngster can inhabit it longer than most because this clever chair morphs into a booster seat and toddler chair once a child reaches either stage.
What I found most irresistible about this product is the fact that I can stick the tray and the seat pad into the dishwasher. I’m willing to clear out dinner dishes to sanitize both when strained plums become tray art.
Because this chair is engineered to fit a 50-pound child, it’s got the bells and whistles required to restrain him: the high chair and booster seat employ the 5-point harness and the 3-point harness follows suit when it morphs into a toddler chair.
Here’s the rub: This model doesn’t fold up, so if you need a chair with a small footprint, keep looking.
On the other hand, Ingenuity designers insist that this chair is large enough to fit two babies, so if you’ve just learned from your OB/GYN that two hearts are beating as one, you may want to put this product atop your shortlist.
What we love
- 2 rear wheels lock for safety and the chair back offers a slight recline
- The chair to choose if you live on a shoestring budget
- Makes a great second high chair for grandma’s house
- May be with you longer than competitor chairs because it’s adaptable
- Attractive and smart-looking
- Due to a design flaw, food can fall into crevices where the buckle attaches
- Assembly may be more complicated than you imagine
- If your little one is rambunctious, this chair may be too wobbly for your taste
I love simple pleasures. Simple recipes. And I’m a no-frills consumer. In light of my profile, picking the Cosco Simple Fold High Chair for this list as–well, simple.
But that doesn’t mean features and benefits have been given short shrift. This chair comes in an adorable elephant pattern. The 3-position, full-size tray is expansive so whether Emma is chasing carrot sticks or mastering a bowl of spaghetti, there’s room for the main course plus the toys you add to incentive eating the green stuff, too.
Lightweight yet beefy, this Cosco folding high chair comes with a brand name that parents trust and cleaning up the tray and seat pad couldn’t be easier.
The folding mechanism is designed for moms-on-the-go and I would be derelict in my reviewing duties if I didn’t mention that you can buy this chair for the price of dinner for two at Olive Garden (minus the wine).
What we love
- This Cosco folding chair is a breeze to clean up
- Safely embraces a child up to 50-pounds thanks to the 3-point harness
- Fold and go or fold and stow: this chair is simple, right?
- Legs lock securely to keep baby confined, even if he’s a fidgeter
- This is the most affordable chair on the list
- The recline feature may not be comfortable for your baby
- Costco switched buckle manufacturers; your baby could get pinched
- This chair’s leg panel may not constrain the baby sufficiently
Best Folding Booster Seat
As the only booster seat in this review, comparing apples to oranges is no easy fete, but if your little one has passed the age where it makes sense to invest in a high chair, this clever alternative is both adorable and inexpensive.
You’ll be charmed by this booster chair’s colors, patterns and graphics. But that’s where aesthetics end and practicality kicks in. As an infant feeding seat, it morphs into a booster chair once the tray goes away.
This Summer product offers two height adjustments to suit your kid’s growth spurts and that dishwasher-safe tray assumes 3 positions to accommodate your child’s current eating style.
You won’t find portable seating for baby or toddler that’s easier to fold, stow or carry. Weighing just 4 pounds, even an older child can carry it when you wrangle your infant, diaper bag and other creature comforts.
There’s a 3-point restraint system to keep junior secured, but if he’s in wild child mode and can’t resist playing with his cereal, that removable seat pad goes into the washer–minus the child–for an expeditious clean-up.
What we love
- Small, light and versatile, this folding booster seat is as portable as it gets
- Take it with you so you don’t have to de-germ restaurant booster chairs
- Adorable animal graphics and neutral colors work with all décor schemes
- It also comes in pink with cute flowers or mint green and grey
- Priced to sell, this booster even charms in the money department
- If you want this chair in alternate colors, the price nearly doubles
- Armrests could be too flimsy for your rambunctious child
- Works best when tethered to a beefy wood chair
The Summer Pop ‘n Sit SE Highchair is the perfect take-and-go baby seat. It features a compact folding base that pops open with a slight tug. The seat consists of an aqua-colored fabric cover with a detachable black-and-white wet/dry bag. Of course, there’s also a removable tray with a molded cup holder. The chair and accessories fold up into a tight bundle. All the items can be stored and transported in a small carrying bag.
This little chair is perfect for travel. Taking a baby on the road is always a challenge. However, devices like the Pop ‘n Sit make it infinitely easier. Stay away from chunky plastic alternatives, and invest in this compact option instead. It’s light and flexible. Better yet, it can accommodate children well into their toddler years.
What we love
- Three-point safety harness
- Wet-dry bag with stylish fabric and zip closure
- Black, white, aqua colorway
- Molded cup holder
- Machine washable fabric seat cover
- Not a long-term solution
- Logos rub off easily
If you’ve ever had to wrangle a high chair from a busy restaurant hostess to your mutual chagrin only to find it either upsettingly sticky or entirely unavailable, you already know why this portable high chair from ciao! Baby can be an on-the-go mealtime game-changer.
It’s not just good at protecting them from pathogens – it’s also an ideal pick for vacations and visits to homes that don’t have gear for your kiddo. There’s a built-in cupholder on this easy-to-clean nylon and vinyl pick. It’s safe up to age 3 and features a five-point safety harness to keep your baby or toddler secure.
What we love
- It’s just for your baby, so it’s a great hygienic alternative to shared high chairs and booster seats
- The nylon body and clear vinyl eating surfaces both wipe clean easily, so the post-mealtime breakdown is simple
- It’s designed to be easy to transport, so it’s lightweight, small when stored and comes with a convenient carrying bag
- Setting up the chair is easy, as it unfolds in only seconds
- It features a five-point safety harness to keep kids secure and safe
- There’s a 35 lb weight limit that must not be exceeded
- As children reach the higher end of the weight limit, the pressure they put on the seat may cause the tray area to tilt toward them
- The leg hole openings in the chair may run small for some toddlers
Our top pick is…
Our favorite folding high chair is the Joovy Nook (check price on Amazon). It ticks all the boxes without any deal-breaking downsides. I love its clever one-handed tray mechanism which is thoroughly useful when you’ve got a screaming baby in one arm. All round it is good quality, keeps things simple, and looks good.
Runner-up is the Perego high chair. Call me stingy, but the only way I would say yes to the Perego Siesta would be if the manufacturer included a ticket to Florence or Rome. Consumer feedback isn’t compelling enough to justify the retail price.