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Cheapism: Best budget high chairs

Sep. 11, 2013 at 4:43 PM ET

High-end high chairs evoke Danish Modern design and Eero Saarinen tulip chairs. They blend into carefully styled rooms rather than sticking out like sore thumbs. What they don’t necessarily do is afford any additional comfort or safety, and they may even have fewer features than cheaper chairs. You can find a safe, comfortable, easy-to-use high chair for $80 or less. And you don’t have to welcome cutesy critters or garish colors into your dining area unless you want to.

Here are four top picks from Cheapism.com.

· The Fisher-Price EZ Clean (starting at $80) lives up to its name, reviewers say, with smooth, coated straps that wipe off easily and no crannies to collect crumbs. This high chair adjusts to four different heights, folds up for storage, and supports up to 50 pounds. (Where to buy

Graco Simple Switch 250
Cheapism.com
Graco Simple Switch 250

· The Graco SimpleSwitch (starting at $70) has detachable legs and converts to a booster/feeding chair, so parents don’t have to buy one separately. That extends the life of the chair until a child reaches 60 pounds, making it an excellent value. Several reviewers appreciate the way that stains disappear into the pattern of the seat. (Where to buy

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· The Fisher-Price SpaceSaver (starting at $50) sits atop a regular chair, rather than standing alone, yet it’s designed to function like a conventional high chair. It also becomes a booster chair, adjusts to three different heights, and holds children up to 50 pounds. Just heed the warnings of a few reviewers and don’t use this seat on a chair that could be ruined by a spill. (Where to buy

· The Graco Meal Time (starting at $77) is lauded for its convenience. Parents can adjust the height of the seat to four different positions and fold up the high chair to stow it out of the way. Wheels make this model easy to move around and lock securely for mealtimes. The weight limit is 40 pounds. (Where to buy) 

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Perhaps the first thing to look for when buying a high chair is a “JPMA Certified” seal from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association. This means the high chair has been tested and meets voluntary safety standards set by ASTM International (formerly the American Society for Testing and Materials). Among the requirements is a three-point harness, which belts a child in with straps around the waist and between the legs, but experts recommend a more secure five-point harness with straps over the shoulders, as well.

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All the high chairs listed here have five-point harnesses and all but the Fisher-Price EZ Clean can convert to a three-point harness when a child is older. The seats recline to three different positions for easy bottle feeding and have machine-washable seat pads. The trays (or inserts) are dishwasher-safe and can be removed with just one hand. 

A final safety tip: Before you buy any high chair, check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to make sure it hasn’t been recalled.

More from Cheapism:

Full report on cheap high chairs 

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