If you travel frequently, a portable high-chair is an essential piece of kit. These compact seats pack down into a small carry bag, but they still have all the safety features you’d expect to find in a full-sized high chair, and they’re also built to be very low maintenance.
In fact, most portable high chairs are made of wipe-clean materials, and the best options are also ridiculously easy to use: Unfolding in a matter of seconds, and making good use of strong, locking clips so that you to create a stable feeding area that’s much more manageable than – say – perching baby on your knee.
Portable high chairs allow you to maintain a normal routine, and your little one will have a safe and familiar place to sit at every mealtime.
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Top 5 Best Portable High Chairs
We’ve spent the last few weeks reviewing some of the very best portable high chairs on today’s market, including options from ciao!, Graco and Summer Infant.
1. Ciao! Baby Portable High Chair
Borrowing design cues from the camping seats we all grew up using, ciao! baby’s portable high chair is an absolute breeze to use. In fact, we found that we could set it up in about 10 seconds flat; thanks (in no small part) to a pair of handy locking clips and an innovative, umbrella-style frame.
It literally just snaps into place as soon as you pull it out of its travel bag, and it’s nice and secure too. There’s absolutely no way your baby will be able to topple it over once they’re strapped in place and the base is wide enough to provide support on both hard and soft surfaces; making it a great choice for those outdoor picnics!
This travel high chair looks the part too – matte black legs, sleek black covers and a glossy feeding tray all give it a sophisticated aesthetic that’d be equally at home on campsites and 5 star hotel rooms.
Oh and the best bit? All the fabric parts are wipe-clean, and the tray is vinyl coated so that it won’t be stained when your little one decides to spread their dinner around.
In terms of safety, ciao!’s flagship portable high chair is pretty much unparalleled. We’ve already discussed its wide base and topple-free design, but it’s also worth mentioning that ciao! have decided to integrate a 5 point safety harness that exceeds US/European requirements.
The manufacturer has also taken great care to ensure that there are no sharp edges, or exposed metal pieces. You’ll be able to strap your baby in and relax; safe in the knowledge that they can eat in peace.
So what’s the catch? First and foremost, it’s important to highlight the fact that the tray isn’t made of hard plastic, which means that it can be pulled down by particularly destructive babies. We didn’t really have a problem with this, but if your little one likes to make a mess at mealtimes, you should be aware that they could grab on to the tray, and cause their food to slide straight onto their lap.
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Secondly this chair is a top-quality product, produced by a leading manufacturer. This is great if you’re looking for peace of mind, but it does also impact the price tag. If you’re shopping on a tight budget, you may be able to get something that’s almost as good at a lower price point.
That said, if you’re looking for something that’s durable, well-built and safe, this portable high chair is a fantastic buy.
- Incredibly easy to unpack and put away
- Lightweight, low maintenance high chair
- One of the safest options on today’s market
- Tray could be more secure and durable
- High price point
- Some complains about small leg area
2. Summer Infant Pop and Sit Portable High Chair
Summer Infant’s Pop and Sit Portable High Chair is one of the most versatile chairs on our list. It’s built to comfortably seat any baby up to 45lbs, and it has an age range of 6 months to 3 years, which means it’s a great option if you’re looking for something that’ll grow with your little one.
Better still, it’s studded with great little QOL features: There’s a handy storage pocket on the back and Summer Infant have also taken great care to ensure that machine washable fabrics are used throughout, so all the bits that could get stained are nice and easy to wash.
The seat fabrics are hard wearing too; boasting a dense weave that’ll stand up to plenty of abuse. When it comes to the actual frame of the chair, it’s also worth noting that the legs are made of hollow steel tubes. This gives the chair plenty of structural support, but it also keeps the overall weight so low that you never have to worry about carrying it to the car, or lifting it into the trunk.
The plastic tray is BPA-free too, which is something we always like to see. Research into the dangers of BPA is still ongoing, but several studies have highlighted a link between BPA exposure and a number of lifelong illnesses, so it’s always better to look for BPA-free plastics whenever you possible can.
When it comes down to actual build quality, this chair is up there with the best. An ergonomic seating position ensures that your child will be able to sit comfortably at meal times, and we were also impressed by how much support the simple fabric seat offered.
The manufacturer has also used a 3-point safety harness. This harness isn’t quite as good as the safety strapping on the ciao! portable high chair, but it is more than enough to keep your baby in the chair, and it’s also very easy to adjust.
The Pop and Sit does look attractive too: Green might not be everyone’s cup of tea but its sleek lines and modern finish mean that it’ll look good in most spaces, and it does feel like a top-tier product too.
The main downside? Definitely the leg holes. To seat your baby in the chair properly, you have to slot their legs through two round holes that are designed to keep your little one nice and secure. Unfortunately, these holes are about the same size as the leg holes on a supermarket trolley so babies at the upper end of the chair’s age limit may struggle to fit.
- Easy to use and maintain
- Offers plenty of comfort
- Lots of handy features, like a rear storage pocket
- Leg holes may make the chair uncomfortable for infants 30+ months old
- Not quite as safe as some other models
- Still relatively expensive
3. Chicco Pocket Snack Booster Seat
As the name implies, Chicco’s Pocket Snack Booster Seat is one of the most compact high chairs we’ve ever seen.
Rather than the freestanding design preferred by other mainstream manufacturers, this chair takes a truly minimalist approach, and converts a normal dining chair into a safe spot for your baby.
The upside of this design choice is the fact that the whole chair weighs less than 3 bags of sugar. It’s also small enough to fit into carry-on luggage, and it can be set up in a matter of seconds, making it a great choice for those times when you have to travel light.
The Pocket Snack booster chair is still a good high chair in its own right too. It has a surprisingly spacious, hard plastic tray and it’s also built to offer three different height settings, which means that your all-but guaranteed to find a position that’s comfortable for your little one.
Beyond considerations of convenience and utility, it’s also worth pointing out that this high chair did offer plenty of comfort when we tried it.
The back provides plenty of support and the plastic seat is also shaped so that your child can sit naturally. Despite its relatively Spartan aesthetic, it’s a great option for fussy eaters, or babies that are only just learning to sit on their own.
The Pocket Snack is safe too. It might lack the wide legs of competing products, but it does still have a sturdy three-point harness and Chicco have also added a second safety strap that can be used to fix it to a dining chair.
This prevents the seat from wandering while in use, and ensures that your little one can enjoy their meal in complete safety.
There are a few ‘cons’ with this product though. First and foremost, its compact design does mean that it has a low upper age limit, so it probably isn’t the right pick if you’re looking for something that’ll grow with your child.
The high chair does look relatively Spartan too. It’s made out of high-quality materials, but the lack of soft fabrics means that it looks quite bare, and it is quite obvious that there isn’t any extra padding.
Plus, you do need a suitable dining chair to be able to use this product. This isn’t an issue if you’re staying at a friend’s – or renting a holiday home – but it does mean this particular chair isn’t really suitable for camping trips or impromptu hotel visits.
- All-plastic construction makes it easy to keep clean
- Weighs next to nothing, which makes it very easy to transport
- Safe chair made of high-quality materials
- Low upper age limit
- Not the comfiest chair on the market (or the most attractive)
- Only suitable for certain types of holiday
4. One2Stay Portable High Chair
The One2Stay Portable High Chair is definitely one of the stand-out products in its class. Alongside top-tier build quality and a veritable cornucopia of safety features, it also boasts unparalleled comfort and an incredibly light carry weight. In short, it’s the go-to high chair for those of us that aren’t shopping on a budget.
First things first, we want to highlight this product’s build quality. We do try to keep our excitement in-check when we’re reviewing products for the site, but as soon as we slid the One2Stay out of its box, we could tell it was in a league of its own.
Soft fabrics, a strong metal frame and a nice, open construction means that this fantastic high chair always offers plenty of support. Better still, it can comfortably seat children up to 36 months (or 50lbs) so you never have to worry about small leg holes or restrictive straps here!
The seat fabrics are waterproof and easy to clean as well, and the plastic tray is BPA free, which means your baby will have a safe and sturdy place to eat their meals.
Telescoping metal legs and one-touch locking clips mean that you can unfold the One2Stay in seconds, and have it meal-ready in well under a minute. The seat is nice and easy to remove too, which means it’s a breeze to keep the whole thing clean.
Beyond utilitarian concerns, it’s also good to see that the manufacturer has decided to use a robust, 5-point harness, and a particularly sturdy footrest.
The only downsides are its relatively large silhouette, and its high price point. Despite its lightweight construction (weighing in at just 2.5kg) this chair is still on the larger size, and it does take up a fair amount of room.
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This is unavoidable, given its high upper age limit, but it does still make the chair a poor fit for very cramped spaces, and it is worth noting that this chair will require a fairly large trunk.
Plus, as mentioned above, it is a relatively pricey chair. We think it’s well worth the price tag – what with its top-quality materials and its safety features – but if you’re shopping on a tight budget, it may not be the best fit for you
- Unrivalled in terms of safety
- Robust and durable enough to go the distance
- Incredibly comfortable
- Convenient travel bag
- Slightly larger than most portable high chairs
- The most expensive chair on this list
- A poor fit for people who need a compact portable high chair
5. Graco SimpleSwitch Portable High Chair
Like all Graco products, SimpleSwitch Portable High Chair is well-built, and we were really impressed with the quality of materials used throughout.
This chair is a versatile option too: The top part can actually be detached from the legs, and strapped to a normal dining chair so that your little one can sit at the table as they grow.
This makes it a great option for parents that are keen to include their children in meal-time conversations, and it’s also ideal if you’re going to be staying in relatively cramped accommodation. After all, regular portable high chairs do still take up a fair amount of room, and it’s great to have a space-saving option available.
In terms of comfort and durability, the Graco is also up there with the best products in this category. Unlike a lot of portable high chairs, it boasts a fully-cushioned seat, with a machine-washable cushion to ensure that your child always has somewhere clean to sit.
Better yet, the open leg space and strong footrest mean that it’s comfortable to sit in, and supportive enough to seat infants at the upper end of its weight limit. If you’re looking for a chair that’s as comfortable as your regular high chair, this one is hard to beat.
We also loved the huge tray that Graco has opted for. A lot of portable high chairs sacrifice tray space to keep the weight down – and make the chair easy to move – but this particular option offers an expansive, BPA-free plastic tray that gives your child plenty of space.
This might seem like a minor convenience, but it can make the world of difference, particularly if your little one likes to slide their food around at mealtimes. It’s also great for children that have not fully mastered the mechanics of eating, and it’s the go-to option if you’re worried about making stains on the carpet of your holiday home!
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Unfortunately, the large tray and padded cushions do compromise the ‘portable’ aspect of this chair. It does pack down quite small, but it’s definitely not as compact as the other options on our list so if you’re trying to travel light, there are definitely better options.
It’s also worth noting that the SimpleSwitch is heavier than other options on the list too; weighing in at around 7kg. This may seem like nothing, but it does make lifting the chair in (and out) of the trunk a little more arduous. That said, if you’re looking for something that’s comfortable and robust, it’s still a fantastic option.
- Hardwearing and durable
- Incredibly comfortable for a portable high chair
- Lots and lots of tray space
- Larger (and heavier) than most portable high chairs
- Removable cover is quite tricky to detach
- Takes around 10 minutes to put up
There’s a portable high seat to suit every parent: Whether you’re camping, heading abroad or just driving down to stay with your family, you’ll find a chair to suit your requirements. There’s also a chair to suit every child, irrespective of whether they need space, comfort or security.
Browsing this list, you should be able to find something that fits your needs. We’ve tried to highlight the most important pros (and cons) of each product and we’ve also done our absolute best to give an honest impression of what it’s like to use each product.
If you’re struggling to make a final selection, remember that the upper weight limits are important – particularly if you want the chair to grow with your little one – and try to prioritize safety and comfort. After all, the main thing is making sure that your child enjoys each and every meal!