Best Portable High Chair of 2018 & Buying Guide
Everyone knows babies and kids come with a lot of stuff. Some of it is essential—like a place to sleep—and some of it, like baby monitors or bouncy seats, are up for debate. One in-the-middle item that you can go without (but probably shouldn’t) is a high chair.
They make mealtimes so much easier for everyone, help keep your house cleaner, and can even provide your child with a safe place to play with toys when the playpen’s put up for vacuuming.
Of course, hauling a full-sized high chair around is the last thing parents need, which is where portable options come into play. These come in a variety of sizes, materials, and designs, and no two are created equally.
In this buyer’s guide, we’ll help parents decide which type might be best for them and their child, and look at some of the best-selling portable high chairs to start their search.
ciao! baby Portable Travel High Chair, Black
Summer Infant Pop N’ Sit Portable Booster
Regalo Easy Diner Portable Hook On High Chair, Navy
Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair, Red
Baby HighChair Harness Portable Travel High Chair
What are the benefits and drawbacks of portable high chairs?
As with any piece of baby gear, there are pros and cons to portable high chairs that buyers should keep in mind when shopping.
- Pros: Portable, lightweight, and foldable; save space in restaurants and homes; good for traveling, whether on daily outings or vacations. Some can be used outdoors, as well.
- Cons: Certain models do not work on all chairs or tables, and this can’t always be predicted (such as dining at friends’ homes or in new restaurants where you haven’t used the chair before); some aren’t sturdy enough for daily use; depending on material, some portable high chairs can stain or be difficult to clean.
What types of portable high chairs are there?
Portable high chairs can be made of fabric like canvas, polyester, vinyl, cotton, and more, depending on their design. Some fold up like booster seats; a few have long enough legs to use as standard chairs, without putting them on an existing chair or table.
These can include a tray that detaches or is built into the chair, or no tray at all. Likewise, some have cup holders, but some don’t.
There are also tabletop versions, which clamp onto a table or countertop. These can be quite handy and include some of the lightest and most space-efficient designs, but they don’t work with tables whose thickness or skirting exceeds the manufacturer’s recommendations.
Finally, there are harness models, which secure the infant to a chair so adults can feed them directly. While they don’t have trays, they are the lightest weight model available and will fit almost any chair you encounter—which makes them, in their own way, the most practical option.
My budget is airtight—what kind of portable high chair can I afford?
Fabric chair harnesses will usually be the cheapest, with some running around $10. Others can cost $20-50, depending on material and design, as well as brand.
Most likely, full-sized folding options and tabletop chairs will cost the most, although some come at budget-friendly prices and are still worth considering.
How long can my child use a portable high chair?
This is dictated by the height and weight limits of the chair, which the manufacturer and seller should provide.
Most fit children up to 2 years and 30 lbs.; some can handle less, and some will last much longer.
Top 5 Best Portable High Chair Reviews
1. Baby HighChair Harness Portable Travel High Chair Review
It doesn’t get much simpler than the Baby HighChair Harness, which turns any chair into a baby chair with a few tugs and snaps.
This breathable cotton has a generous harness size your child will find far more comfortable—and you’ll find easy to clean: the entire thing can be thrown in the wash when mealtimes take a messy turn.
If you’re looking for a full-fledged high chair, this isn’t it; it doesn’t come with a tray and isn’t designed for one, but rather for use at a table or countertop, or with a parent feeding the child themselves. But for what it is—a take-with-you child’s seat—it’s pretty ideal, and comes at an affordable price. Best of all, it requires almost no maintenance, being machine-washable and dryable while still retaining its shape.
2. Summer Infant Pop N’ Sit Portable Booster Review
If you’d prefer an all-in-one option for an instant high chair on the go, the Summer Infant Pop N’ Sit is sure to please. It unfolds like a typical canvas chair, but has a plastic tray attachment for the front, as well.
It also features straps to secure it to a regular chair, and can work on a tabletop or the floor just as beautifully. As a bonus, the tray can be cleaned in your dishwasher, and makes a great playtime surface, too.
This chair is sure to be a hit with fellow parents at the playground and restaurants: it’s cute, convenient, and unique from most portable high chairs on the market. We don’t recommend it to parents of miniature escape artists, however; the lack of shoulder straps makes this a little too easy for some kids to get out of, which can be hazardous. For kids who sit (mostly) still during mealtime, however, the Pop N’ Sit is a great high chair, whether on the go or in the comfort of your own home.
3. ciao! baby Portable Travel High Chair Review
If models like the Pop N’ Sit catch your eye but don’t quite have you convinced, this travel chair from ciao! baby might do the trick. Also a folding model, this one features a tray, too—but unlike other high chairs, it’s not a separate piece—and it’s not plastic.
The entire chair (with the exception of legs and frame) is constructed with strong, easy-to-clean polyester and vinyl, and can comfortably seat kids from about 6 months of age until age 3. That alone is pretty impressive, since few portable high chairs can handle kids past the baby stage.
More akin to a camping chair, this high chair is ideal for picnics, parties, restaurants, and daily use in houses low on space. Kids are secure and comfortable, and even the wiliest of them can’t escape, thanks to a five-point harness and the fact the tray is made of fabric; kids can’t get the proper leverage to lift themselves out, like they could with plastic versions. We recommend the ciao! baby to all parents, but with one caveat: this chair is not to be used with standard chairs, but rather to stand on its own with taller legs—which means even folded, it’s not going to be as small as other options.
4. Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair Review
For a less obtrusive, more compact option, parents might consider a hook-on chair that attaches to tables instead of a chair or standing free.
This is ideal in restaurants, where waiters and other guests won’t have to scurry around broad high chair legs, or very small houses where every inch of floor space counts.
This is another option that might not work well for very squirmy kids, simply because the harness doesn’t go over their shoulders—but if placed close enough to the table or counter, chances are, they aren’t going anywhere. The lightweight and easy-folding design make this easy to carry or slip into a diaper bag, and the price is fair for its durable canvas and steel construction.
5. Regalo Easy Diner Portable Hook On High Chair Review
For a much more affordable hook-on option, the Regalo isn’t quite as compact—but it does feature a higher seat back and five-point harness, which the Chicco Caddy lacks.
It also doesn’t fit as many tables as the Chicco will—but it does have a padded seat and weighs even less, at 6.25 lbs. It folds up to a comparable size, as well, and comes with its own fabric carrying bag.
The Regalo wins in the comfort and price category, and its five-point safety harness has Chicco’s 3-point one beat, hands down. The deciding factor, in the end, will be what kind of table you have, and the sizes you’ll encounter most when out to eat or visiting friends; few will exceed the Regalo’s maximum thickness allowance, but more decorative options—which tend to have wider skirting underneath—won’t be able to accommodate this model.
Portable high chairs are a godsend in some situations, whether you’re on vacation and can’t pack your regular one, don’t want to put your child in a grubby restaurant booster, or if your home is too small to accommodate a full chair. They’re lightweight and easy to set up (at least, the best ones are), so parents can grab them and go on a whim, then tuck them into a closet or cabinet until the next mealtime.