Portable High Chairs
A portable highchair is not a must have investment but it sure does make taking your baby out to eat much easier. My daughter started joining us at the table even before she started eating solids. We think it’s important for the family to enjoy mealtime together and we wanted to start her off early. However, taking her to a restaurant wasn’t as easy, especially when she did start eating solids. We found that if the restaurant had highchairs available that they were way too large for our baby, kept her too far from the table, made it hard to place her food in front of her and they weren’t usually clean. Now that we own a portable highchair our daughter is always part of the mealtime fun. We take it everywhere- to friend’s houses, on vacation and to restaurants. We find she is better behaved because she is snug in her seat right up at the table alongside mom and dad. Dad loves the portable highchair so much we now have one always attached to the kitchen island for more casual meals and one in the trunk ready to go. In fact, if you are looking for a low profile highchair for home a portable highchair is a great option over a standard highchair.
Mountain Buggy Pod
Lets first start with the Mountain Buggy Pod since it’s the lesser-known product here in the States and because it’s the one we have owned the longest, about ten months. The biggest plus side of this portable highchair is that it only weighs 2.2lbs and folds nicely into a compact flat carry tote that can be tossed in your stroller basket, placed in a large diaper bag or carried using the provided handles. Once removed from the tote the only set-up needed is securing it to a table using the screw on clamps. It’s incredibly sturdy in its build and I have no concerns what so ever when my toddler is in it provided it’s attached to an appropriate surface. The frame is made of solid aluminum and the clamps are covered in thick non-slip rubber so the chair will not move once in place.
There are two issues I do have with this portable highchair that if fixed could possibly make it one of the best baby products of all time. The first is that the fabric does not detach from its frame to clean. It does of course wipe clean, but about once every few weeks I have to take it out to the yard and spray it down with our hose. Having the ability to remove the fabric from the frame to clean it would be very convenient. The second issue is that the chair will only clamp on to tables that are less than 1.8” in thickness. There are times I have been unable to use this chair at friend’s houses or restaurants because their table or counter was more than the allowed thickness. I do however love that this highchair can usually accommodate tables that have a small lip, which the Lobster cannot.
Second up is the Phil&Teds Lobster. This is for sure a popular US option and after owning it for about two months it’s obvious why. The Lobster, like the Pod has a very durable frame, this one made of brushed stainless steel. The fabric used for this product is thicker and more padded than the Pod and comes with a much more functional 4-point harness for keeping your baby put. I do have to admit I’ve never once secured my baby in the Pod or the Lobster but I imagine as she grows into a more unwieldy toddler I may have to. A huge bonus with the Lobster, the fabric does remove from the frame!
An additional feature on the Lobster that you don’t see on the pod, though it needs some improvement, is the tray. It slides into place once the chair is set up however, it’s much too easy for a child to remove. I like the idea of it and we do use it with success on occasion but it would be better if it actually clicked or locked into place. Also, you will notice in the pictures above the Lobster does seem to seat your baby up a bit higher than the Pod though Ona doesn’t seem to care either way.
Like the Pod, the Lobsters set up is a snap right out of the provided carrying tote. The Lobster is not quite as compact when folded or as light as the Pod. It weighs in at 3.9lbs. Where the Lobster does beat out the Pod is its ability to accommodate much thicker tables measuring up to 3.7”. However, there can be absolutely NO lip since the lobster uses a screw on clamp system resembling lobster claws, hence the name, The Lobster.
|The Mountain Buggy Pod||The Phil&Teds Lobster|
|Cost||$60||$60-$80 (pending sale)|
|Age Range||Baby sitting on own to around 3 years||Baby sitting on own to around 3 years|
|Folded Dimensions||12.2″ x 13.4″ x 1.6″||13.7” x 13.4” x 3″|
|Harness||Around the waist only||4-point harness with padded shoulder straps|
Please follow the instructions when using either of these products and don’t attach them to unsteady or glass surfaces. Use common sense.If you’re trying to decide, you really can’t go wrong with either product. Neither portable highchair can accommodate every table option out there so no matter which product you chose there will be times you can’t use it. If light and compact is your biggest concern, the Pod is the winner. If you need it to accommodate a specific table that is thicker than 1.8” and you’re a clean freak like me, the Lobster is the winner. If price is your biggest concern, get the one that is the cheapest on sale, again they are both great options. And if you have any brand loyalty to either comapny it’s worth noting Phil&Teds actually owns Mountain Buggy as of 2009.
Do you own one of these products? Which On? Are there any features you love or hate?