Sometimes our littlest family members need a leg up, so to speak. When it comes to step stools made for kids, it seems pretty basic — something junior can use to reach the sink for brushing teeth, get out of reach toys and books, or help out in the kitchen.
Despite a simple and straightforward use, there are important factors to keep in mind when it comes to buying a step stool: chiefly safety, storage, price, versatility, and look. Above all, a kid's stool should be about utility, lending some height so tykes can have some independence.
We searched out the best kids' step stools available on the market, considering our criteria, thousands of consumer reviews, and real-life parenting experience to come up with a list of the 6 best kitchen stools for toddlers and kids.
Safety: Not to overstate the obvious, but safety is by far the most important feature to look for in a stool. Any kids kitchen stool should have non-slip grips on the floor and on the surface where the feet land. It should be sturdy enough to not break, wobble, tip over, or slip. You want it to be easy for your child to move as needed and not wobble off the top as toddlers are likely to do. Stools shouldn't have parts that can pinch small fingers when they fold up either.
Storage: Depending on the space you have, it may be key to have a stool that can fold flat and be stored away for times when it's not in use (bonus points!). Other stools may work if they can slide under a counter or into a cabinet.
Price: The price of stools varies wildly from under ten bucks to up into the hundreds for designer models, even though they all serve essentially the same purpose. When considering price, you may consider how long you plan to use it, if it can be used for another purpose, and if it's something that can be given away or sold instead of getting tossed into a landfill.
Versatility: Can your stool be used for multiple children over several years without breaking or otherwise falling into disrepair? Some stools move on to college for kids to get into loft beds, or graduate into a dog step stool or stool for high bed frames. Others can be used for years by parents for hard to reach kitchen cabinets. There's no wrong answer but how many ways you can use it and for the length of time is worth a moment of consideration.
Look: Some stools are basic plastic steps while others are made from wood to match your decor. The right one for your family all depends on the importance you place on your home aesthetic and how long you want the stool to be a part of it.
This super durable foldable step stool is made of heavy-duty plastic and can hold up to 300 pounds. It folds up by pulling up on the handle, making it easy to store or move from room to room.
It has non-stick pads on the top surface and legs for safety and is a winner at cost effectiveness at only $10. Of the more than 2,000 Amazon customers who bought this item and reviewed it, 81 percent of them gave it a 5-star rating.
Buy it: Foldable Step Stool for Kids, $10; amazon.com
Made from pesticide-free, sustainable bamboo, this light-weight stool is surprisingly heavy duty. Its durable construction can support up to 200 pounds, yet is light enough that junior won't have any problem moving it from place to place.
It cleans easily with mild soap and has no-slip grips on the bottom. Coming in at under $30, this stool earned an 82 percent 5-star approval rating from the more than 1,1000 reviewers on Amazon.
"Purchased so my toddler could reach the sink. Very sturdy and doesn’t slide around," writes one reviewer.
Buy it: Bamboo Step Stool, $29; amazon.com
This two-step stool is made of sturdy durable wood and comes in a variety of finishes and colors. Its handles make it easy for kids to carry it from place to place to reach items on a shelf.
Littler kids may use the higher step, while older kids may need just a small boost as they grow — and the stool can double as a seat. Reviewers suggest this is a strong step stool, one that's going to get a lifetime of use, but many did recommend adding non-slip strips.
"I wanted something sleek and streamlined that wouldn't be an eyesore if I left it by the kitchen sink for my toddler, and voila! Inspired by the safety modifications of some other reviewers, I added some clear non-skid shower tape to the steps which reduces slipping, feels gentler on feet, and blends in better with the white version," writes one reviewer.
Buy it: KidKraft Wooden Two Step Children's Stool with Handles, $31; amazon.com
For economy, this stool is a clear winner, coming in at $9 per stool (Amazon sells these as a pack of 2 for $18), meaning you can buy a few for various spaces in your home. It's among the best-selling foot stools at Amazon, with a simple design that includes rubber foot grips and a non-slip stepping surface.
Made of lightweight and durable plastic, it can hold up to 170 pounds. Making stirring cookie mixes or helping flip pancakes easier, this sturdy stool helps give little ones a sense of accomplishment.
"My granddaughter, two years old LOVES her stool! She carries it anywhere she need to get up higher! She helps me unload the dishwasher and is able to put silverware away when using her stool! They are light but sturdy AND... you get two ! I would highly recommend," a reviewer writes on Amazon.
Buy it: Anti-Slip Step Stool for Kids, $18/2 pack; amazon.com
This birch and plywood step stool features two non-slip steps and non-slip grips on the feet, plus a solid wood guard rail along the top — perfect for little ones who like to help in the kitchen.
Of more than 200 Wayfair customers who reviewed the stool, 165 gave it a five-star rating, saying it was built to last for years and the variation in height was great for children at different ages and stages.
Buy it: Guidecraft Household Helpers High Rise Step Stool, $86; wayfair.com
This adjustable stool is a winner on so many levels: it's light weight plastic, so it can easily be moved wherever it's needed, from kitchen to bathroom to work space; it is enclosed on all sides for the wobbly ones; and the standing platform has three adjustable heights to grow along with your child.
It has easy-grab handles, non-stick feet, and stores under kitchen counter spaces when not in use. Of more than 400 reviews, the majority of the Wayfair customers who bought this item gave it five stars, saying that it is great for toddlers who like to be in the kitchen.
Buy it: Simplay3 Toddler Tower Adjustable Kitchen Stool, $80; wayfair.com