5 Best Learning Towers – Top Helper Stools for Toddlers


Toddlers are often eager to help out in the kitchen, and some just love hanging out to see what their parents are up to. But when a young child needs to reach the countertop, safety concerns arise. That’s where a good learning tower comes in, as it can be a a great way for young children to reach various heights without the same worries of falling from a step stool.

“Inspired by the Montessori methods of teaching, the learning tower is designed to help kids learn and explore,” says

Rachel Rothman, Chief Technologist at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Also known as a kitchen helper tower or Montessori tower, a learning tower is a unit with typically four sides and a step stool. Rothman says they’re designed to allow your child reach tabletop height alongside with you.

What is the purpose of a learning tower?

“In a busy kitchen, a learning tower can help children safely access the work surfaces and feel more on level with adults, which is good for confidence,” says Amanda Gummer, a Ph.D. in neuropsychology. “I love that learning towers allow my kids to more carefully watch as my husband cooks,” Rothman says. “We use them for science experiments and hand-washing, too.”

Are learning towers safe?

Always adhere to the age and weight specifications provided by the manufacturer, but many have a starting age limit of 18 months and up, Rothman says. “Every child is different, and parents know best whether or not a learning tower is intellectually and physically developmentally appropriate for their child,” she suggests. “I make sure to use one with a safety net with my 18-month-old and turn the open side against the wall or counter so he can’t crawl or accidentally fall out.” And with her older toddlers, she lets them crawl in and out freely since they have the motor skills to execute this safely. “This helps foster a sense of independence and allows them to experiment, of course under careful supervision,” Rothman says.

How to keep kids safe in a learning tower

To maximize security when using a learning tower, Rothman recommends the following:

  • Regularly inspect the unit to make sure all parts are appropriately fastened and screwed tightly and that there are no splinters or visible damage.
  • Sign up for recall notifications and be mindful of what is near or within reach (i.e.: Can they hoist themselves onto the table? Are dangerous objects like knives or the stove within reach?)
  • Remember that parental supervision is essential.“We remind our children they can’t move the learning tower,” says Rothman, “but alas, they do still try!”
  • Make sure it provides sufficient protection for your child, adds Gummer. “There’s no point in using a learning tower if the top bar is below the child’s knee,” she says.

Below, find the best learning towers for toddlers in 2021, based on testing led by Rothman:

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Best Overall Learning Tower

Kids Learning Tower Step Stool

Little Partners


This model is believed to be the original learning tower created, and the brand now carries varying models of learning towers. This one earned a Good Housekeeping Parenting Award and our pros gave it high marks for easy assembly and solid construction. “I like that it can be attached to other Montessori-inspired functional learning objects,” says Rothman, and that it has an adjustable height and fun attachments.” 

Ages 18 months and up
Weight limit: 250 lbs

  • Four adjustable heights
  • Optional easel and chalkboard
  • Grows with child from toddler years through childhood
  • Large footprint
  • Can’t fold away for easy storage

Best Value Learning Tower

Toddler Tower Children’s Step Stool



Made of plastic, this learning tower is easy to transport and generally easy to clean. It doesn’t take up too much space, so it’s good for apartments or smaller homes. Our Lab experts found that it was easy to assemble and noted that it’s at a fairly low price point compared to its competitors. It can adjust to three heights and at its lowest, can be stowed away under island counters after use.

Ages 18 months and up
Weight limit: 60 lbs

  • Three adjustable heights
  • Good for smaller spaces
  • Plastic construction means can support a smaller weight capacity

Best Learning Tower for Smaller Spaces

Classic Kitchen Helper Stool



During testing, Rothman loved the folding capabilities of this hardwood and hard plywood unit, which makes it a great option for smaller spaces. This learning tower is height adjustable at three varying levels so it can grow with your child. It’s also available in an array of colors and style options. The included non-slip mat and two Kitchen Helper Keepers (a.k.a. safety nets) help provide additional security. 

Ages 2 and up
Weight limit: 125 lbs

  • Three adjustable heights
  • Includes a non-slip mat
  • Folds away for easy storage

Best Accessible Learning Tower

Sous-Chef Toddler Tower

Sprout Kids


Our Lab experts appreciated the relatively small footprint of this learning tower, and that the little step up mechanism makes it easier for toddlers to climb into. For maximum security, it includes a guard plate for children under 32 inches. No tools are required to assemble or break down the tower.
Age requirement not specified
Weight limit: 150 lbs

  • Three adjustable heights
  • Guard plate adds extra security

Best Learning Tower with Activity Center

Limited Edition Learning Tower Step Stool

Little Partners


This model was designed by a Montessori educator and hails from a top brand that manufacturers learning towers. This limited edition unit features removable panels, so parents have more control over the enclosure levels around their child. Also included is an activity center for kids to draw, scribble and practice their letters and numbers.

Ages 18 months and up
Weight limit: 250lbs

What to look for when buying a learning tower:

  • Adjustable height capabilities allow learning towers to grow with your child, plus lets multiple children of various heights use it.
  • Foldability makes for easy storage in smaller spaces.
  • Footprint matters when you live in an apartment or smaller home, but bigger models usually mean extra features like a chalkboard or accessories to keep your child engaged.
  • A step up mechanism is nice to have to help the child get in and reach the appropriate height.
  • Sturdiness: Wooden learning towers will be more stable than plastic ones.

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