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Differences between Highboy, Tallboy, and Lowboy Dressers

Dressers are a crucial component of every bedroom or hallway's storage system. Finding the ideal kind of dresser, though, might be challenging while you're shopping. The three primary varieties of dressers are tallboy, lowboy, and highboy. Depending on your demands, one dresser type may be the best option among the several types because each has distinctive features and advantages that set it apart from the others.

Tallboys, highboys, and lowboys vary mostly in size, price, and style. The design of a highboy and a tallboy differs despite being of comparable size. Unlike a highboy, which has two chests of drawers, a tallboy has a wardrobe on top of one. A more compact option are lowboys, which are made entirely of drawers. There are advantages and disadvantages to each because of their differences.

We recognize that there are a lot of considerations you must make before selecting one of these popular dresser models. To make the choice easier, we have devoted this post to comparing highboy, tallboy, and lowboy dressers based on their most significant similarities and differences. We promise that after reading this article you will know which dresser is ideal for you.

Are Tallboy Dressers the Same as Highboy Dressers?

We'd like to start by dispelling a myth regarding highboy and tallboy dressers before delving too far into the comparison between all three dresser styles. Many people believe that these dresser types are interchangeable and thus the same thing. We are here to inform you that this is untrue.

Highboy and tallboy dressers are two separate types of dressers, although sharing many characteristics, particularly in size and some of its design aspects. The dresser's top layer, which includes an additional chest of drawers on a highboy and a wardrobe on a tallboy, is the main distinction.

This misunderstanding stems from the fact that tallboys were highboys with a few minor architectural changes.

In the past, highboys were invented and made popular in England in the 1600s. They were originally made in the straightforward William and Mary style, then in the baroque Queen Anne style in the 18th century, and ultimately in the opulent early Georgian form.

While English decor and storage favored highboys, Americans preferred to refer to them as tallboys and created their own version of the English dresser with a few changes.

Although the two categories are technically distinct, Americans frequently referred to English highboys as tallboys in the 17th and 18th centuries. But this clarifies where a lot of the misunderstanding about whether highboys and tallboys are the same comes from.

A contemporary tallboy

The fact that there has been a considerable increase in a new design for the tallboy, known as the modern tallboy, adds to the confusion in the highboy vs. tallboy dispute.

You would assume that an 18th-century tallboy and its contemporary counterpart were two entirely different dressers if you put them side by side, and in a sense they are. The modern tallboy is just a small chest of drawers more akin to a highboy but on a much smaller size, as opposed to the traditional tallboy's iconic clothing compartment.

These dressers typically have five to six drawers stacked vertically and are between 45 and 50 inches tall and 29 to 22 inches broad. These drawers may be found all over the house and are used to store things like clothes, linens, tablecloths, dining room cutlery, and several other little items that you wish to neatly put away.

There is a sleeker, more contemporary variant if this is the dresser you had in mind when you read "tallboy," but that isn't the kind of dresser we're talking about.

Comparison of Highboy, Tallboy, and Lowboy Dressers

The last thing you want to do when looking for a new dresser is waste time debating which type of dresser to choose because you don't understand the distinctions between them. Here, we'll compare the design, function, price, and size of each highboy, tallboy, and lowboy dresser to provide you all the information you need to know about them.

For a brief recap, highboys and tallboys typically cost about the same and range in height from 65 to 80 inches, but they differ in the upper half designs, as we've already explained. Due to their different storage needs, tallboys and highboys are frequently slimmer than one other. Lowboys are a more affordable, compact dresser alternative that resembles a dressing table or console more closely.

While this may be all you need to pick between a tallboy and a highboy, it may not be enough to determine whether you prefer a lowboy to the larger choices. We therefore encourage you to continue reading for our detailed comparison.

Conceptual Comparison

The design of each of these dresser kinds is unquestionably the most important factor in determining which best suits your needs.

Highboys As we already mentioned, highboys are intended to be very tall dressers that are constructed in two pieces. A large chest with typically one to three drawers is located on the bottom of the dresser.

A second, thinner chest of drawers that can have three to eight drawers is positioned on top of the first. For greater storage options, the ones with more drawers often divide the top row into two or three smaller drawers.

Due to their function, which we'll talk about in a moment, many highboys are made of fine woods and have elaborate decorations, making them more expensive than tallboys, which are often a little less ornate. This makes vintage highboys rare antiques that many people actively seek out.


Tallboy dressers are another type of unusually tall dresser that is made up of two sections, similar to the highboy. They have a large chest of drawers with one to three drawers on the bottom that is modeled after the highboy. The top component, though, is the obvious difference.

Instead of another chest of drawers like the highboy, a tallboy has a wardrobe compartment over the bottom one. Unlike the highboy, which often has a slimmer chest of drawers on top, the wardrobe will match the width of the chest of drawers for a unified appearance.

Depending on the size of the closet, the tallboy's design can vary. As an illustration, some tallboys only feature a wardrobe on top of the chest of drawers, which is accessible via double doors.

Alternately, some tallboys divide the top portion, creating a single-door wardrobe and several drawers on opposite sides. Of the three types of dressers, this one offers unquestionably the most flexible storage options.


Although much lower in size than the tallboy and highboy dressers, the lowboy is nevertheless a perfectly acceptable storage choice. These dressers are created with a number of smaller drawers since they are substantially smaller in size, perhaps one-third to a fourth of a tallboy or highboy in height.

A lowboy typically has three to six drawers, but it is not unusual to see lowboys with 10 or more drawers that are exceptionally wide. Lowboy dressers offer slightly more width flexibility than the other dresser alternatives because of their shorter height.

Which lowboy you purchase will determine how ornate it is, which is arguably true of both highboys and lowboys.

In contrast to highboys, which are typically ornately decorated, and tallboys, which tend to be a bit simpler, this dresser type can be put in a broad range of locations throughout the home, so you'll find some that are really decorative and some that are pretty basic.

Find out more about desk closets here.

Comparison of Purposes

You can choose between the three dressers more quickly if you consider their intended use, which has a big impact on how ornate they are. We strongly advise outlining your goals for the dresser before comparing them to the information below, allowing you to choose the choice that is most appropriate for you.


Highboys are frequently employed in areas where you need as much storage as you can get because of their endless rows of drawers. If a property doesn't have a linen closet, some people opt to utilize smaller highboys instead, however the dining room is usually where they are found.

In the dining room, where more upmarket and formal events are conducted, highboys are frequently used to hold precious china and other fragile and valuable goods. In order to complement the design of the space and stand out as a focal point to be noticed, many are ornately carved with the best wood, lavishly sculpted brass handles, and elaborate carvings.

Of course, some people would get a highboys dresser for their bedrooms if they want as much dresser storage as possible. Since they are typically chosen for functionality rather than aesthetics, they tend to have simpler designs.


The wardrobe in tallboys completely transforms its function from a straightforward chest atop chest of drawers to a dresser solely devoted to clothing. There are countless drawers in a highboy that can be used to store almost anything, but you'd be hard-pressed to find anything else that can be kept in a tallboy's wardrobe but hanging garments.

The tallboy dresser is most frequently found in bedrooms since it is typically used to store apparel. Owners will occasionally buy them to put in their mudrooms or foyers, where they can hang jackets and neatly store things you'll need as you enter and exit the house.

As you might have imagined, tallboys have less décor than its nicer counterpart, the highboy, because they are found in less formal or high-traffic areas.


The lowboy is the most versatile dresser in terms of its uses and the locations where you would typically find them in a home, but the tallboy is the most versatile dresser in terms of its storage capabilities.

Lowboys were initially utilized as dressing tables or vanities in people's bedrooms to store everyday items like jewelry, cosmetics, hair accessories, and even toiletries. Lowboys are no longer only found in the bedroom or bathroom; but they are still frequently used as bedside tables.

Is a mirror really necessary for a dresser?

Modern homeowners will use lowboys as foyer entryways, a tiny chest of drawers in their dining rooms, or simple storage in their living and family rooms. These dressers' wide range in breadth affects both where you can position them and what you can store inside of them.

Comparison of Size and Price

Throughout this post, we've made passing mention of the differences between tallboys, highboys, and lowboys in terms of size and price. Here, we'll make that point more explicitly.

Highboys and tallboys are generally more expensive and, with an average height of 65 to 80 inches, are around the same size. A highboy typically has a width of 36 to 45 inches compared to a tallboy's typical width of 18 to 35 inches. In contrast, the lower-priced lowboys rarely exceed waist height (28–38 inches) and can vary widely in breadth (25–65+ inches).

Although we'd want to provide you an exact price for each, the cost varies greatly depending on the dresser. Lowboys will almost always be less expensive than highboys or tallboys, but the price varies greatly depending on the size, style (number of drawers, ornateness), and age of each dresser.

Highboys are frequently more expensive than tallboys since they are more elaborate, however this isn't always the case. The highboy is wider than tallboys and the lowboys are noticeably shorter. Size, on the other hand, is often consistent.

This is crucial information to understand in light of the space you need to fill and the function of your dresser. For instance, a wide highboy might be difficult to fit in your bedroom compared to a smaller tallboy, and if the purpose is only to store clothes, the tallboy would be a better option.

Final Reflections

With our comparison coming to an end, maybe you feel more comfortable in your ability to distinguish between a highboy, tallboy, and lowboy dresser. Of course, the crucial question of which is ideal for you now arises. While any of these dresser styles won't go wrong, we advise basing your choice on the items you plan to keep and the available space.

Larger areas can be furnished with a highboy or long lowboy, while smaller spaces should be matched with a tallboy or tiny lowboy. It is ultimately up to you which option best suits your needs, preferences, and even aesthetic.

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