CHOICE reveals the best bargain high chairs in the market

Photo: supplied
Photo: supplied 

Do you need to buy an expensive high chair? Short answer. No.

CHOICE tested over 60 high chairs from a range of brands across all budgets and found that in some cases, the bargain highchairs outperformed more expensive ones from BabyBjorn, Stokke and Joie.

So which bargain highchair is the best buy? The three highchairs above might look identical, but there's a 14 per cent score difference between the top model and the lowest-scoring of the three, and it's enough of a score difference to put 26 models between them.

The IKEA Antilop ($24.99) has long been a parent (and cafe) favourite, with those in regional areas in past years going to great lengths to obtain the easy-clean, attractive high chair from IKEA's metro stores.

These days you can order them online, but there are now some similar contenders such as the Kmart Prandium High Low Chair ($29) and the Target Snacka ($29) for around the same price.

CHOICE decided to pit them against each other! All three passed key safety tests.

1. Kmart Prandium High Low Chair

This light, easy to clean and assemble highchair was the clear winner of the pack. 

What set it apart from the others:

  • Five-point harness - safer compared to the three-point harness of the other two models.
  • Converts to a low chair - multi-functional for different stages and tables.

2. Target Snacka

CHOICE says the Snacka is identical to the Kmart high chair in every way but one.

"It didn't score as highly as the Kmart high chair in our tests because of a minor safety fail: the harness isn't permanently attached, making it possible to remove and then lose it or forget to reinstall it, which could be a safety issue."

If it's used sensibly, however, with the harness remaining in place, it shouldn't be a problem.

3. Ikea Antilop

The downsides of this ageing model? The tray can be extraordinarily difficult to remove and it only has a three-point harness, which isn't as safe as a five-point harness.

IKEA could consider a redesign in order to keep up with its competitors.

What about the expensive models?

Paying more doesn't mean you get a better high chair says CHOICE baby products expert Rebecca Ciaramidaro.

For example, the BabyBjorn high chair costs $350 but scored just 64 per cent in the tests - thanks to its three-point harness without shoulder straps and the fact that it's quite small so you won't get as much use out of it. 

​"Some people go for aesthetics while others go for what's practical. If you want a high chair with extra features such as one that's reclinable, adjustable or convertible, then it will cost you more," she says.

"Keep in mind that all these extras can sometimes make them more bulky and a pain to clean, though." 

Costly models can be a waste of money, with bells and whistles meaning more cleaning for you.

"I was given a high chair that had all the features and I hated it," she says. "Food got into every possible crevice and it was bulky and a real pain to clean, so I ended up opting for a cheaper, more practical one." 

Take a closer look at CHOICE's full report on 62 high chairs from leading brands available in Australia - you'll need to be a member.