best portable high chairs

The Top 10 Best Portable High Chairs For 2017

The Top 10 Best Portable High Chairs For 2017

Have you ever tried to feed a baby?

Oh. My. God. THE MESS.

Taking a baby with you to a restaurant is about like taking a raccoon into a grocery store and hoping, praying that nobody notices the chaos that ensues.

Before kids, picking a restaurant was about ambience. It was about the drink menu. It was about being the first to try that new Indian cafe on the corner.

Now, it’s about who has the cleanest bathrooms and the best corner booth for nursing while you polish off a plate of nachos.

We still refuse to settle for those crappy franchise chains, but suddenly, we’re thinking less about tapas and more about the abominations that are restaurant high chairs.

Already convinced you need a portable high chair? Then check out our top picks now…

Do You Really Need a Portable High Chair?


Restaurant high chairs are probably some of the most neglected parts of a restaurant, being shuffled by harried waitstaff between baby after messy baby. I don’t care to think about how rare it is for them to see a little cleaning, much less some maintenance.

Rather than hope and pray for the places we go to eat on the road to have a clean high chair (or even a high chair at all), Ryan and I always make sure we have a portable high chair with us no matter what.

They’re easy to pack with you, ensure you’re never settling for a wobbly, crusty old restaurant high chair, and give your baby a safe place closeby to eat, without sitting in your lap and reaching for your steak knife or knocking over your wine.

#momoftheyear.

Protip
If you loved going out for dinner before your baby was born, don't give it up!
Buying the right portable high chair makes all the difference.

We wouldn’t be able to dine out nearly as comfortably or conveniently without our #2 ranked phil&teds Lobster high chair.

What To Look For In A Portable High Chair

In my always over-the-top approach to finding the best of everything for Poppy, I’ve become kind of an expert on portable high chairs.

That’s right, it’s going on my resume.

Before we dive into it, you need to decide what design of chair you want. Because there are basically three kinds of portable high chairs:

  • booster seats
  • clamp on chairs, and
  • complete chair setups.

And there’s no point in reading about one if you definitely aren’t in the market for a booster seat, for example. Oh, and some chairs include trays, and some don’t. Not having one isn’t a deal breaker, but they definitely help with cleanup. Just sayin’.

OK, here’s what to pay attention to in those product descriptions:

Portability
How compact is it when it’s folded up? Does it weigh a ton or can you easily carry it in your diaper bag on the way to the restaurant?

Function
We’re talking things like: Is it easy to set up? Easy to clean? Is the tray large enough? And does all the design features work well together? Oh and don’t forget ease of cleaning here…Because my god, babies are messy eaters. Read through reviews to get a sense of how easy they are to clean—don’t trust the product descriptions.

Safety
Some high chairs, portable and otherwise, can be top heavy. Read reviews and product descriptions carefully to get a sense of what age the seat is appropriate for, and how it’s secured.

Style
Now I’m not going to lie, initially I thought style points on a high chair was silly. But after checking out a few chairs I realized that some are way cooler than others (and that totally counts in my books). See what I mean and just check out #1—it’s Saaaaweeet.

Price
Is it worth the money? Or would you be better off spending a little more on something better?

I’ve combed the web looking for the best of the best, and I’ve found ‘em—here are the best portable high chairs for foodie parents.

The Top 10 Best Portable High Chairs for Travelling Babies


Summer Infant Pop N’ Sit Portable Booster

Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Function: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Safety: 4.5 Stars ( 4.5 / 5)
Style: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:4.9 Stars (4.9 / 5)

A super affordable, ultra portable, multi-use pop-up style high chair wins the race!

This little booster is designed to be used at table height (atop another chair—it comes with straps and buckles to secure it), but can be used on the floor during play time or at the beach.

On top of all that, it’s lightweight and comes with a carry case. We couldn’t quite give it full safety marks because there's been some concerns over the placement of the straps, and while not dangerous, they can be a bit awkward for baby.

Pros

  • Super affordable.
  • Easy to set up and put away.
  • Easy to use – opens and folds with one hand, auto-lock mechanism.
  • Multiple uses as a booster, beach chair, or play time chair.
  • Comes with carry case and straps.

Cons

  • Securing straps might be underpowered for large kids.
Phil&ted Lobster High Chair

Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Function: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Safety: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Style: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:4.8 Stars (4.8 / 5)

Okay, I know this one's spendy. But seriously, it’s the bee’s knees.

This is the chair that Ryan and I wound up getting, and it’s super portable, folding completely flat when not in use, so you can fit it in a lot of diaper bags (or carry it in the included bag). The best part though? The fabric slides off the frame for machine washing, and the tray is 100% dishwasher safe.

SCORE.

This seat works for babies up to 37 pounds, and has an awesome deep dish seat and 5-point safety harness to keep wiggly littles where they need to stay.

Pros

  • Super secure clamps.
  • 5-point harness system for securing your precious.
  • Lightweight and compact, yet very strong.
  • Machine washable cover.
  • Quick setup and teardown.
  • Tray and carry case included.

Cons

  • A bit more expensive.
  • Requires a table to clamp to.
Inglesina Fast Table Chair

Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Function: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Safety: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Style: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:4.6 Stars (4.6 / 5)

The Inglesina is the same clamp-on style as the the #2 ranked Lobster and has all the bells and whistles (read: Pocket on back of seat, carry bag, washable cover) and we almost bought it over the phil&teds…

But in the end, the extra safety feature of the 5-point harness and included tray on the Lobster won us over (the Inglesina uses a 3-point harness and doesn’t include a tray).

Nonetheless, this one is a great option and a little more moderately priced. And what’s really cool about it is that the company has confirmed that they don’t use any flame retardant chemicals on it—a win for crunchy parents everywhere!

Pros

  • Built-in carry bag (stowed under the seat).
  • Pocket on the back of the seat (to stash baby utensils).
  • Lightweight yet very strong (rated to 37 lbs just like the Lobster).
  • Machine washable cover.
  • Flame retardant chemicals not used on it.

Cons

  • 3-point harness system (crotch and lap belt)
  • Tray not included.
The First Years On-the-Go Booster Seat

Portability: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Function: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Safety: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Style: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:4.2 Stars (4.2 / 5)

Okay, so check this out: this booster seat is self-inflating. Pretty sweet, right?

Even at #4, this little booster is a win because it's ultra affordable, compact, and lightweight (it weighs only 1 pound!). While it's not the best looking, it’s still very functional.

Although, the problem is, your kid is sitting on air, which can shift, and since this booster is attached to a chair, it’s very easy for the straps to loosen and littles to knock over the entire deal.

Definitely only use this one with baby within arm’s reach.

Overall, it’s super portable, crazy cheap, and easy to wipe clean, so it makes our list for stable sitting babies.

Pros

  • Crazy cheap.
  • Super portable and compact.
  • Ultra lightweight (only 1 pound).
  • Zips up into itself during storage.

Cons

  • Air cushion not super stable.
  • Light duty waist belt and crotch strap.
  • Not very stylish.
Chicco Caddy Hook On Chair

Portability: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Function: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Safety: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Style: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:4 Stars (4 / 5)

The Chicco Caddy has a substantially bigger footprint than my Lobster chair, even when folded flat, so it fails a bit on portability (and because it’s heavy at 7 pounds versus the others that are under 5), and users complain that it can be a real pain to take apart and clean.

That said, this one is substantially cheaper than the #2 ranked Lobster, so if you’re on a budget, it might be the next best thing. Just note, it doesn’t come with a carry bag, so you’ll have to figure out how you want to stow it.

Pros

  • Proven clamp style design.
  • Easy setup and teardown.
  • Folds flat.

Cons

  • Heavier than other clamp on models.
  • Large footprint once setup.
  • Hard to clean.
  • No tray or carry bag provided.

High Chair #6:
Bumbo Multi Seat


Bumbo Multi Seat

Portability: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Function: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Safety: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Style: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:3.8 Stars (3.8 / 5)

The famed Bumbo seats have finally made their debut into something that you can use somewhere besides the floor.

The foam shells on these seats make them a great snug fit for littles that are just learning to sit up and SUPER easy to clean, but also means that this thing absolutely, 100% does not collapse. It’s bulky, guys.

Another drawback is that we’ve heard reports of the detachable tray (that hides away on the back of the seat) getting moldy after a while because it’s mostly hollow and can trap food particles in the void…But, if you’re handy, there’s a workaround—just drill some holes on the back side so you can flush it out once in awhile and you’re good to go.

Pros

  • Very stable.
  • Multiple uses as a booster, beach, or play time chair.
  • Tray cleverly stowed on back of seat.
  • Easy to clean (except inside of tray).

Cons

  • Bulkier than other high chairs.
  • Mold can grow in the tray.
  • Reportedly bad customer service.
  • Straps not long enough to attach on some chairs.
Beanstalk Child Care Booster Seat High Chair

Portability: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Function: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Safety: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Style: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Price: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Average:3.6 Stars (3.6 / 5)

This interesting chair works for babies with good back and neck control 6 months and up. It actually braces against the back of the chair, so it may not work on a booth bench. It also has no front support, so baby has to be able to sit up on her own without falling forward to use it.

However, it’s incredibly portable, easy to setup and clean, and is a great affordable portable high chair option. Plus, your kid will never outgrow it because you can dismantle the chair parts to make two walking canes.

Pros

  • Innovative design.
  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Your child will never outgrow it—components turn into walking canes (jk!).

Cons

  • Child must have good neck and back control (limited support offered here).
  • Doesn’t work on all seating (e.g., a bench).
  • Babies won’t be super secure due to lack of sides and only 3-point harness.
Fisher-Price Healthy Care Booster Seat

Portability: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Function: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Safety: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Style: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Price: 5 Stars ( 5 / 5)
Average:3 Stars (3 / 5)

Though this one’s a bit bulky for frequent use in our opinion, there’s no doubt that the Healthy Care Booster Seat has got to be one of the easiest to clean thanks to its dishwasher-safe tray and completely plastic composition (it actually has the highest amazon product review rating of all of them (4.8 stars). Ha!).

This chair attaches directly to another chair with a series of straps, and for less than 20 bucks, it’s a steal. But be warned, it has the style of a burlap sack.

Pros

  • Easy to clean.
  • Easy to setup.
  • Crazy cheap.

Cons

  • Bulky and not collapsible.
  • Low sides offer little support to wiggling infant
  • It’s not going to win queen of the ball.
Ciao! Baby Portable Travel High Chair

Portability: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Function: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Safety: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Style: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Price: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Average:2.8 Stars (2.8 / 5)

While a little spendy for what it is, and with better options out there, this camp-chair style high chair is incredibly easy to use and packs nicely into carrier bag that’s included. Having said that, it’s way heavier and bulkier than the rest (at 8 pounds vs 4, and it’s long when folded up).

This chair also doesn’t come apart to clean, but the fabric is quick drying, and any major messes can be sprayed off using a garden hose. Ha!

Overall, this chair reminds us of a “Canadian Tire special” and we don’t recommend it for the serious foodie.

Pros

  • Stand alone high chair.
  • Tray included.
  • Collapsible and comes with carry case.

Cons

  • Heavier and bulkier than others (8 pounds vs 4).
  • Fabric is only hand washable (or hoseable).
  • Reminds us of a “Canadian Tire special”.

High Chair #10:
IKEA Antilop High Chair


IKEA Antilop High Chair

Portability: 1 Stars ( 1 / 5)
Function: 4 Stars ( 4 / 5)
Safety: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Style: 2 Stars ( 2 / 5)
Price: 3 Stars ( 3 / 5)
Average:2.6 Stars (2.6 / 5)

This IKEA chair is minimalist sleek in design, and while it probably works great at home as a permanent high chair, it doesn’t seem easily portable. You’re literally putting together an entire high chair when you take it somewhere. But it is freakishly easy to clean and very stable.

If you do decide to travel with it, ignore any stares as you put it together—haters gonna hate.

Pros

  • Stand alone high chair.
  • Easy to clean.
  • Very stable.
  • Very lightweight (1 pound!).

Cons

  • Not compact when legs are removed.
  • Requires complete assembly every time it’s setup.

OK.

With great [high chair] power comes great [eating] responsibility…

Or something like that.

Either way, go choose your favorite portable high chair with killer confidence and this gear guide in hand. Because whether your choice is based on portability, function, safety, style, or price, taking the time to find the best portable high chair to suit your needs is critical for those, still to be had, romantic dinners out.

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