A wooden high chair can be a strong, functional and attractive choice for your child. Compare some of the best baby wooden high chairs around to find the right fit. Understand the key features and consideration for buying one for greater peace of mind.
Dinner time with a baby or a toddler falls into one of two categories. It could be a joyful bonding experience as your child learns about flavours and practices their speech. Or, it could be a nightmare as they have a tantrum about the menu and would rather be anywhere else. Either way, you need a convenient, safe place for them to sit as they eat. A high chair is a great idea – if you choose the right product.
So, how do you find the best baby wooden high chair for your child?
I know what it is like to feel overwhelmed by products and “helpful” relatives telling you what to buy. It is OK to politely turn down an outdated product that looks like a deathtrap in favour of something more modern. The great news for new parents is that there are lots of brands out there with clever, functional high chairs. Some of the more unusual designs are actually Scandinavian classics. Then there are more old-fashioned handcrafted models that should last a lifetime.
In this guide, I want to share some of the best wooden high chairs that I have found. Most of these cover all our needs and safety concerns as parents. I have also included some of the options to avoid for a better comparison. All of the reviews here are objective, so I will highlight any disadvantages too. Afterwards, you will then find my buyer’s guide with more information about choosing the best high chair for your child. Topics include:
1) The choice of wooden vs plastic high chairs
2) Important safety considerations
3) The recommended age range for using a chair
4) How to treat vintage wooden high chairs
5) Important questions to ask when buying a high chair
6) Where to buy your new chair.
My pick for the best baby wooden high chair
This chair is a Scandinavian design (by Peter Opsvik) that first appeared in 1972. Since then, the minimalist approach with the adaptable seat and baby set has grown in popularity. Some parents that remember this classic from their own childhood want the same experience for their kids. There is a range of colors with the more traditional blue and pink but also 11 others with bright colors and neutral tones. Be aware that you can also get the “full” product with a harness for an additional cost. Also, some parents are using a different harness for convenience. Otherwise, most users seem to like this product.
1) Easy to clean
2) Simple, attractive design
3) An adjustable seat and footplate for different ages
1) Issue of the paint rubbing off with the adjustments.
2) You need to remove the backrest to the harness on and off.
The reason I have chosen this as my top pick is that it ticks so many boxes. It offers security with the harness, style with the colour and design and adaptability with the frame. It is also easy to match the chair to the personality of your child or the décor of the room. It is a classic for a reason.
1) 5-point harness for safety
2) The footplate is strong and secure
3) Multiple colors that look great in any home
The following wooden high chairs are also worth consideration
I appreciate that the style and specification of this model won’t suit everyone. You deserve to find the perfect fit for you, your child and your home. That is why I have also included the following options. They may be runners-up but they still have a lot going for them.
This is another Peter Opsvik design – which shows that this 70s designer really knew what he was doing. Again, there are lots of combinations to choose from here with the 4 types of wood and the 7 colors. The design is striking with the simple curved stem running down the back. This is more sturdy than it looks and holds the seat and footrest with ease. It is a Scandinavian Design with a strong wooden stem.
1) The ease of use for parents
2) A choice of colors
3) The secure harness
1) Only meant for smaller children
2) Not many extra features
So why did the Tripp Trapp design edge ahead as my top choice? One reason is that this doesn’t have the same lifespan. It is best recommended for children up to 24 months only. There is a different product without the baby harness that you can upgrade to.
1) Another Scandinavian design that looks great
2) A sturdy wooden support for peace of mind
3) A secure harness to stop kids climbing out
At this point, I need to talk more about this related product. Nomi also has a chair that is almost identical to this high chair. The difference here is that it is for kids 24 months and up. There are advantages here. The “toddler through teenager and beyond” approach means a long-lasting product. It all about giving children a secure seat at the right height with a supportive footrest.
One of the things that I like about this wooden high chair with footrest is the multifunctionality. This is their chair to use whenever they want to sit at the breakfast counter or any table in the house. They can eat here, but also do their homework after school, paint paintings and read books.
The main selling point of this model is that it is both an adjustable and foldable wooden chair. Personally, I had dismissed this option when I saw it because there was so much going on. It looks like a large, cumbersome item that parents could struggle with. However, the chair adapts into different modes for different ages – acting as both a child seat and a ladder. The folding frame also folds down into a surprisingly small space for transportation.
1) The number of adjustments in the seat and the frame
2) The simple folding process
3) Additional features to improve transportation and storage
1) A bit big for some dining rooms.
2) Not the nicest looking chair compared to the Scandinavian classics.
As a result of this further reading, I could now see parents making the most of this if they have family nearby. You can fold up the chair, put it in the back of the car and reassemble it for holidays with grandma. This large, practical system is unusual but it will work for lots of parents. The fair price also means it could be a great investment piece.
1) Transportation system with the wheels and collapsible frame
2) Strong steps for a ladder function
3) Quality pine used throughout
This high chair has a lot going for it in terms of the features provided and the adjustable nature. The wooden frame has a series of slots for the footplate and the chair. This allows users to transform it from a baby’s high chair to a toddler seat as needed. There is also removable, dishwasher safe tray (although this is plastic) and cushioning on the back and the seat. The harness is also adaptable from a 3 point to 5 point system. It is cute, user-friendly and a practical choice.
1) The adjustable frame
2) The quality of the padding on the seat and backrest
3) The one-handed system on the removable tray
1) The use of plastic
2) Overpriced for some parents
This all means that this product is a great choice for those that are more concerned with their child’s comfort. The padding and harness are important aspects here. However, there will be some parents that believe they can get more for their money. Is cute really enough here?
1) a 3 or 5 point harness for extra safety
2) Removable parts for easy cleaning
3) Lots of padding to keep kids more comfortable
There are actually three different versions of the Keekaroo Height Right chair out there with different features. There is a basic chair with a harness, one with the additional tray and another that has the infant insert seat. The full package is adaptable with the molded baby seat, the removable tray and the different heights for the seat and footrest. The idea is that kids can start at 6 months and still use this long into childhood.
1) The different removable features to customize the chair
2) Height adjustable up until a late age
3) Made to be resistant to damage yet soft to the touch
1) Some of the practical features are plastic
2) Heavy so needs two people to put it together
This is easy to recommend if you decide to pay a little bit extra and get the full set. There isn’t much point getting the lesser model when this one has such a broad age range. The assembly issues are a drawback, but possibly worthwhile for the right home.
1) The dishwasher-safe removable tray cover for easy cleaning.
2) The moulded seat that comes in different colours
3) Lots of adjustment settings for the footrest as your child grows
Assembling high chairs isn’t the best idea for all parents. I know that I would be too scared to put my kid in anything I put together. However, some parents will gladly go through this get a cheap wooden high chair within their budget. This Winco high chair is one such product. There is a boxy walnut frame with minimal design and also minimal restraints. The process isn’t too difficult and the low price tag is impressive. However, it is easy to question the value for money.
1) The simple shape for easy construction
2) The use of walnut throughout
3) The low cost
1) The restraints are minimal
2) There is no tray or footrest
This unassembled high chair is a good option for those in need of a budget item. But, there are too many downsides for those that need a more secure, feature-rich item. If the harness was better and there were a tray and footrest, this would earn more praise. Expect a restaurant-style high chair because that is what this is.
The key features:
1) A solid, reliable walnut frame and seat for sturdiness
2) A strong strap across the waist with a buckle
3) Familiar design that kids quickly get the hang of.
This next eco friendly model is about as basic as you can get in terms of the design. There is a wooden build throughout with the adjustable frame, seat, footrest and tray all made from the same material. The light color and simple branding are also gender neutral and work with almost any home. This is one of those products that ticks a lot of boxes in terms of the ease of use and user-friendly features. However, it might be a little too stark for some. The harness is quite basic and there isn’t much shape to the seat or backrest.
1) The gender-neutral appeal
2) The adjustable elements
3) The ease of use
1) The basic harness
2) Perhaps not the most comfortable
The low price tag and the long age range might be enough for most parents. If it really does last up to 10 years then it is a bargain. However, I can understand if you want a little more with the comfort, security and ergonomics here.
1) Adjustable from 6 months to 10 years
2) 3 point harness
3) Built-in footrest and tray
Amish wooden high chairs are a more romantic idea with a sense of reliability. This model is authentic and kid-friendly to a point. There are lots of practical elements here with the tray, the optional waist strap and the sturdy build. It has a large tray with a lip that is practical for younger users. However, there is also a small footstand halfway down the legs. It is also not adjustable and won’t be comfortable for all children with the spindles in the backrest.
1) The craftsmanship in the design
2) The finish on the wood
3) The shape of the tray
1) The use of spindles on the backrest
2) The small footrest
These old wooden high chairs will appeal to a more niche audience. It is a gorgeous, old fashioned design for a rustic home. But, there is a sense of style over practicality here. I would fall in love with this design if it were a kid’s rocking chair or playroom chair – not a high chair. This might work better for older children unless you add your own padding.
1) All one type of wood
2) A food tray with a lip
3) An optional waist strap
This last model is another one that has a retro style. This 1950’s wooden high chair from DaVinci draws you in with the shape of the chair and the work on the fully-turned spindles. Then, it keeps your attention with a couple of useful features – such as the slide-in tray and the three-point safety harness. The original 1950s model may not have had the latter. A downside here is that there isn’t the strong, wide footrest that we hope for. It is also a one-size-only option.
1) The quality of the workmanship
2) The beauty of the oak
3) Some practical features
1) No practical footrest
2) Not adjustable in any way
I understand why some people would get excited by this product when looking for a Jenny Lind wooden high chair for sale. There is a lot of beauty and craftsmanship in the spindles and the woodworking. This looks like the sort of chair our own parents may have used. There isn’t a whole lot wrong with it. But, modern designs are just a little more practical and interesting now.
1) The strong oak construction that will last
2) The additional harness for extra security
3) The slide-in tray for ease of cleaning
What about IKEA?
IKEA is such a popular one-stop shop for many families now, so it makes sense to get a high chair here too. There are pros and cons here. On the one hand, you can get some simple designs at affordable prices. On the other, they don’t always have the best safety records or specifications.
The IKEA Gulliver High Chair has been prone to faults in the past. Chairs bought between January and February of 2008 has issues where the crotch restraint came loose. This was a major concern for all those parents with one of these chairs at the time because of the safety implications. While 2008 was a long time ago – and there was a product recall – some chairs may still be out there. So, if you have a relative with a second-hand IKEA high chair, check the date and the structural integrity of the item. If you have any doubts, don’t accept it and blame IKEA for your decision.
If you think that I’m being a little harsh on IKEA then check out this option instead. For the most part, IKEA items are pretty reliable and user-friendly. There is also no doubt that they can provide a much more affordable solution for new parents. This BLAMES chair looks a little stark compared to some others in this guide. It doesn’t have quite the tactile feel of the Scandinavian options at the top of the list. There is a basic black frame in wood, with a fibreboard backrest and a simple restraint.
2) Mass appeal with the design
3) User-friendly adjustments
1) The plastic tray
2) The useless footrest
The reason this ranks so low here is not due to any bias against the company for those recalls. Instead, it is down to two key features. First of all, the footrest is just one thin bar and not practical for young children. Secondly, the detachable food tray on the top is plastic. While there is every assertion that the materials are kid-friendly, this isn’t the right choice for all parents.
1) The basic seat and a frame
2) A food tray
3) The simple restraint
The Graco wooden high chair with plastic tray is another example of a product recalled due to safety issues. This shows that it really is important to research brands carefully. If they have slipped up in the past, are you prepared to trust future products?
What about second-hand high chairs for babies?
I mentioned before that you shouldn’t feel pressured to receive a second-hand product that you aren’t sure about. However, there are some well-made second-hand items out there that need a new home. If they are in good condition, they could prove to be safe and practical for your child. Eddie Bauer is a great example of a brand offering discontinued products.
This chair receives praise for its solid build and the different features included. There are a removable fabric pad, a dishwasher-safe tray and different adjustable positions. It is old-fashioned and not the most attractive chair. However, there are also parents that have used this for all their children. The biggest downside here is that the parts aren’t replaceable because the company doesn’t make them anymore.
It is a similar story with this wooden high chair. There is a classic look that is out of fashion with the design of the wood and the dark stain. The purple cushion pad on the back is a nice touch, but you will have trouble replacing it.
How to find the best baby wooden high chair for your child
Now that we have seen some of the best products on the market – and some of the questionable alternatives – we need to know more. Below is a buyer’s guide with information about choosing the right high chair for your needs.
Are baby high chairs necessary?
The high chair is something that we are all used to as parents. We sat in them as babies, we bought them for our own kids and our own parents probably had one too. But, do babies need high chairs? The most important thing here is that your baby has a secure place where they can eat safely. There may be other chairs that are more comfortable or convenient depending on your personal preferences.
However, many families find that high chairs are preferable because they bring their child level with tables and counters. It is easier to keep an eye on them and help them feed when they are a convenient height at which to do so. Personally, I also found that the traditional high chair brought our youngest child to the table and made them a part of dinner time. They may have had their own food and little interest in the dinner conversation but they were part of the family dynamic.
Wooden chair vs plastic high chair: which is best for your child?
The products above have many features in common – but the most obvious is that they are all made from wood. Wooden high chairs aren’t always the most obvious choice when there are cheaper, folding products with metal frames and lightweight seats. However, these products can be more durable, well-crafted and more attractive.
Here you can read reasons why to choose a wooden high chair for your child.
Each product above has its own pros and cons. The best baby wooden high chairs also share a series of advantages and disadvantages over plastic high chairs.
1) Wooden chairs are more durable and may also be more hygienic
2) Wooden chairs are more attractive and come in some beautiful styles and colors
3) Wooden chairs are more eco-friendly
1) Plastic chairs are often more affordable for new parents
2) Plastic chairs are often foldable and portable
3) Plastic chairs can be easier to clean at first
Is a wooden high chair really the safest option for your child?
I understand your concerns about wood as a material for a high chair. Before we converted to a wooden high chair for our second child, we assumed that a smooth, modern plastic option would be best. That was until we read about the risks of BPAs in cheap plastic and the way that scratched plastic harbours bacteria. Some poorly-finished wooden chairs may come with the risk of splinters. However, most quality items are safe enough to use if they have the same safety features as a plastic high chair.
Important safety features to look out for include:
1) a secure restraint
2) smooth edges
3) a comfortable seat
4) a footrest
A secure restraint:
The need for a restraint depends on the age of the child. Younger kids that may want to climb around need something secure to keep them in place. There are different options here. Some basic chairs have a waist strap while others go for a built-in 5 point system with no room for escape. I would rather have the latter and know that my kid isn’t going anywhere if I need to turn my back.
This may sound like a simple request. But, it may surprise you the number of cheap products with hard corners or rough finishes. A good finish shows consideration for the user and the chair should feel good to touch. Don’t forget that your child will want to put their hands and mouth all over this when they are young. Smooth edges on the seat and tray – if included – can make a big difference.
A comfortable seat:
This is something that surprises me about the different baby high chairs out there. Some come with no padding in the slightest while others have thick cushions. I know that I would much rather spend my afternoon in a plush seat than on a hard stool. Kids are more resilient than us adults. Still, consider some of the ones with padding and addition cushions.
A wooden high chair with footrest:
Do high chairs really need a footrest? I, and many designers, would argue that this is an essential feature. There is an idea that kids are happier and able to focus on their meal with something under their feet. Perhaps this is something that we take for granted as adults. My feet touch the floor as I sit at my desk to write this guide. They rest on a footbar on a stool in a coffee shop. Imagine taking that bar away. Would you feel comfortable? That is why it helps to look at the shape, width and strength of the footrest on these chairs.
Is it safe to use an antique wooden high chair?
Your concern over the safety of a chair may increase if you have a vintage or antique wooden high chair. On the one hand, these chairs may not have had the same safety standards. They may have a toxic finish or fewer safety features. On the other, you know that the chair is going to last if it is still functional after all these years.
Prepping a vintage wooden high chair and cleaning modern wooden chairs
If you are lucky enough to inherit a vintage model from a family member, it might be a good idea to give it a little TLC first. Some older chairs have varnishes and finishes with questionable substances and paints. There may be a small lead content or other chemicals on there. Be grateful for the gift but let your relative know that you will freshen up the chair for your own child. Sand down the finish and repaint the wood with an appropriate product.
A well-finished antique wooden high chair shouldn’t be too difficult to clean. It might take a little more elbow grease than a plastic chair but the effort is worthwhile. If you are like me, and don’t want to use chemical cleaners around your toddler, you can make a solution of vinegar and water. Spray the chair to soak the food particles and scrub them off.
Questions to keep in mind before buying the best baby wooden high chair
In addition to those safety features mentioned above, there are also other features to look out for when choosing the best wooden high chair for your child.
1) What materials are in use throughout the product?
2) Does the chair have any form of restraint?
3) Is the chair adjustable?
4) Is the chair portable?
5) Is it built to last?
What materials are in use?
The products I have highlighted above are wooden high chairs. However, there are still variations in the materials used. For example, some of those wooden chairs have a wooden frame but a plastic tray. Others don’t use hardwood all the way through the design. Some brands craft the best wooden high chairs from one real type of timber. But, this can increase the cost so others will use fibreboard and cheaper cuts. Think about materials that are eco-friendly.
Is the chair adjustable?
Adjustable wooden high chairs are a great idea for parents that want this product to last. I have one with an adjustable seat and footrest that has adapted with my child for a few years now. The further the range on those settings, the longer the chair can last. In some cases, you may be able to remove the tray, lower the seat and use it once your kids are in school.
Does the chair have a restraint?
Restraints are important when handling small children that may try and get out of the chair or topple over. A simple harness will do the trick, much like a booster seat or car seat. Having said that, not all chairs come with this product as standard. Check the product listing to see if there is an “original” chair and one with a full specification. Does it cost a lot more to add this feature?
Is the chair portable?
This is a feature we don’t see that much with wooden chairs. The most solid ones – especially hand-crafted wooden high chairs – are heavy and don’t fold away. However, there are some models with folding frames that compact down into portable shapes. This could make a big difference for trips to relatives’ houses over the holiday season.
Is it built to last?
Durability is important for the security of your child. It is also important because these high chairs may be in use for a long time. It is better if your child can grow with this treasured item – rather than receive a new one each year. This raises some important questions about the what age high chairs are appropriate.
How long can my child use the high chair and is there a minimum age for use?
The age range on the high chair can vary depending on the type of product you buy. There are some models that aren’t adjustable and are only suitable for very young children. Others are adaptable into early childhood with adjustable seat and footrest heights. Then there are those that go even further for use in later childhood. This is why it is important to read the specification and recommended age on a product. The best can last longer than you might imagine.
This recommended age range should give an upper and a lower age limit. The lower limit is a good indicator of the safety features provided. Chairs without trays, crotch restraints and harnesses won’t be safe enough for the very young. You need to be sure that they can support themselves unaided and be comfortable enough as they eat.
Where to buy a baby high chair?
In the guide above, I mentioned some of the pros and cons of shopping in IKEA for a high chair. There are plus sides to heading to a brick-and-mortar store like this. You can see the product with your own eyes to get an idea of the shape and size. A nice sales clerk isn’t going to kick you out for giving the chair a test run with your kid either. The downside is that you might not get the same amount of choice and mass-produced items might have quality control issues – such as that IKEA high chair.
The best alternative is to head online and browse options through Amazon. There are lots of brands here with a diverse selection of chairs. You can compare the specifications to be sure of the materials used and the features included. You also get more customer feedback here for a more informed decision. Even some of the best artisan makers and small-scale producers have online listings now.
Is the chair within your budget?
While many of us would like to think that money is no object when it comes to our kids, this isn’t always true. Some of us do need to work within a budget when buying items for our kids. There are two approaches here. You could pay a little more for an adjustable model that will last longer. Think of it like an investment piece. Or, you could find something for a specific age range that its a lot more affordable. There is no point in exceeding your budget for an item with little longevity or worth just because of a design or a brand name.
Find the wooden high chair with a footrest that suits you – not what is popular
I have covered a lot of different products and styles in this guide – more than some of you will find interest in. It is important to appreciate the breadth of options out there. We don’t all have to have the same type of chair. The timeless Scandinavian designs are a favorite due to their look, practicality, and durability. But, there is no reason you can’t go for an antique or Amish option if you fall in love with it.
Remember these key points before you buy the best baby wooden high chair:
1) Does it have all the right safety features – including the treatment of the wood?
2) Is there a footrest to improve your child’s comfort?
3) Can you adjust the chair as your child grows up?
4) Does the style suit the space and décor of the dining room or kitchen?
5) Is it in your budget?
In the end, my advice here is just a starting point to help you out. No one can tell you which high chair to get except you and your child. Friends may insist you get the same “must-have” chair as them. But, it’s no good if your baby hates being in it or it is difficult to use. Parents may advocate an antique option or something homely, but it might not be practical for your apartment or that nice to look at. Focus on you and your child. As long as it is safe to use, fits the space and makes your life easier then that is all that really matters.