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The best high chairs for small spaces

Chairs with small footprints that are big on performance

Published: October 17, 2013 02:30 PM

Often, the littlest person at the supper table is the one with the largest chair. High chairs typically have widely spaced legs, which can make them more stable but that create a larger footprint than the average dining chair. For homes where space is at a premium, a chair with a small footprint that doesn’t sacrifice stability is a sensible choice. Here are four high chairs that did well in Consumer Reports high chair tests and that won’t trip you up when you’re serving dinner.

The smallest of our top-rated chairs, the OXO Sprout, $250 (18½” by 23”), passed all our safety checks and was easy to use and clean. And although the chair costs more than many, it converts so that an older child can use it for years, which may justify the expense. The tray was easy to attach and adjust and the 5-point harness was simple to buckle. On the downside, the backrest isn’t adjustable, the chair is heavy and doesn’t fold. But if you plan to leave it in the same spot, you can overlook those features.

For a lot less, you can buy the Fisher-Price EZ Clean, $85 (20” by 26½”), which is a CR Best Buy and is indeed easy to clean. It also passed our safety checks, the tray was easy to attach and adjust, and the 5-point harness buckled easily. Another plus is that the seat height adjusts to four positions and the seat back adjusts to three. It weighs less than the Oxo Sprout so it’s easier to move but if you plan to fold it for storage, that can be a struggle.

The lightweight Baby Bjorn High Chair, $280 (21” by 21”), was one of the smallest in our high chair tests and takes up remarkably little space, folded or unfolded. But the awkwardness of using the Baby Bjorn, until you get used to how it works, contributed to its not making our list of top high chair picks, even though it passed all our safety tests. The tray has its pluses and minuses. It comes with a removable top section for cleaning without unlatching the entire tray. But it’s only minimally adjustable, so may be too snug for some children and too far away for others.

The 15-pound Joovy Nook, $140 (19½” by 30¼”), is another chair that’s safe and very good overall but because it has few convenience features, it didn’t make our recommended list. With the swing-out tray, it’s a cinch to seat your child, and the harness straps are a snap to adjust. But its seat height and back are not adjustable, and the tray’s fixed position means the fit may be too tight or loose for your child. On the plus side, the Joovy Nook folds easily so you can take it anywhere.

At 24” by 34”, the Chicco Polly Magic, $160, had the largest footprint of all our recommended high chairs. It was excellent in overall performance, with such helpful features as a wipe-clean seat cover, well-designed and removable tray insert, and multiple height and recline adjustments. Like the other chairs, it passed all our safety checks but it commands a lot of floor space.

For more high chair choices, big and small, see the full results of our high chair tests. Our recommended models range in price from $85 to $250.

—Artemis DiBenedetto

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