The Ultimate Stroller Buying Guide
Strollers are one of those BIG purchases that can very easily become overwhelming. Until you started looking for your stroller did you have any earthly idea that there are so many options with so many different features? Probably not! Even if you have a certain stroller in mind, you want to make sure that you do your research. After all, this stroller is basically becoming another member of your family. It has a big job, so let’s make sure you find the right fit for your precious cargo!
GENERAL QUESTIONS YOU NEED TO ASK
Knowing the answers to the following questions BEFORE you start your research can save you quite a bit of time. With these answers you can avoid falling in love with a stroller that just doesn’t fit your families needs.
- Will you ever want to accommodate more than one child with your stroller? If your answer is no, then definitely look into single strollers. If your answer is ‘yes’ or ‘possibly’ then we suggest that you spend most of your time researching strollers that can grow with your family. It may seem useless to pay for that much stroller in the beginning, but it will save you money in the long run.
- Do you want a side-by-side or modular? A modular stroller is essentially a customizable stroller in the sense that you can use one or two seats, and even add accessories for a third child on some models. These models are typically in-line strollers, meaning that (when you have multiple seats) one seat sits directly in front of the other one. You will have more length, but less width. Side-by-sides are pretty self explanatory. The seats sit side-by-side so they are a bit wider, and most of them are fixed. This means that you cannot change or configure the way the seats sit, BUT you also don’t have to deal with attaching and unattaching them.
- How big is the stroller when folded? How much trunk or cargo space do you have available for a stroller. Consider traveling with all of the family luggage in the car too. You want a stroller that you love, and most importantly literally FITS into your life easily!
Before you get lost in all of the fancy features and new updates of strollers, answer these two questions; How will I use my stroller, and what do I want or need from it? Because there are so many strollers out there, we find it easiest to narrow your choices down by classifying your lifestyle. So, we have done our best to do that for you here!
THE PARK GOER
Whether it is a neighborhood park, a ball park, or a national park. You plan to take your stroller on some uneven terrain quite often, and to stand up to thechallenge effortlessly.
Tire type: The tire can make or break the stroller for you. Since you are planning on using your stroller on multiple terrain types you want to be sure that your stroller has larger tires that are either hybrid or all-terrain. Suspension will help you stroll smoother and keep your stroller passenger more settled while riding. The UPPAbaby Vista and Baby Jogger City Lux have suspension on all four tires!
Seat recline: Kids don’t always nap when you need them to, so be prepared to let them snooze on the go in their stroller without a kinked neck. Most strollers on the market today have a recline option, some just go further back than others do so make sure to test that feature!
Canopies and sun shades: Protecting your kiddo from the sunshine while you’re out on your adventures is so important! When looking at strollers pull that canopy all the way down to see just how much it will shield your little human. The UPPAbaby shades are even made with UPV/SPF 50+ fabric!
Car seat compatibility: When you have infants in the group, it is so nice to just keep them in their car seat, and click that into the stroller. Make sure your your stroller has the capability or accessories to do this!
Size of storage basket: Perhaps you are leaving your car for the entire day, or you just don’t want to bother with multiple trips from the car to your picnic blanket. You want a storage basket that can carry the load!
THE CITY DWELLER
The hustle and bustle of the big city is your daily life! You use public transit, hail a cab or Uber often, and really use your stroller as a main mode of transportation for your kids.
Fabrics: Your stroller is going to come into contact with lots of things passing by. Find a fabric that won’t be easily nicked or marked up. Be mindful of that as you pick the color of your fabric too! Baby Jogger strollers have a very sturdy nylon type fabric that hold up wonderfully to wear and use, but are still soft to baby's skin!
Tire type: Since you typically use your stroller on city roads and sidewalks, you don’t need to worry as much about a specific tire type. Test out a few different types to see what you like best. Smaller tires obviously weigh less and keep the footprint of the stroller smaller, which is a great thing in crowded areas.
Fold and stroller weight: Since you may be folding and unfolding your stroller multiple times in the day, a simple one handed fold like on the Baby Jogger City Mini GT and the Britax B-Agile the could be very beneficial for you. A lighter stroller is obviously going to be easier to fold and to get on and off of public transit.
Canopy size: Being out in the city all day doesn’t means lots of sun in warmer months, and lots of weather in the colder ones. A large canopy will help keep kids sheltered from whatever the sky has in storefor you that day. Nuna strollers all have an extension that easily unzips and pulls down to add so much more coverage!
Storage basket: Understandably so, your storage basket is really put the test. You need one big, and sturdy enough to carry the loads you have for it. Most baskets have a weight capacity of about 15-20lbs, but some can accommodate up to 50lbs (almost as much as the seat on the stroller!) The storage basket on the Nuna Tavo, the stroller to the left, is an awesome size!
Overall size: Take a moment to make a list of places that you will frequent with your stroller. Then, think about the size of the stroller within those places. Will you have space to maneuver well, or will you be frustrated?
You hit the pavement and run hard almost every day. You want a durable option to make it through the miles, and to be comfortable and safe for your riders. For everything about jogging strollers, you can see our Jogging Stroller guide! In the meantime, here are the basic things you will want to look for.
Company statement and safety certification: The stroller should be certified suitable for jogging by the manufacturer, and through a safety certification organization
Tire size, type, and placement: Larger tires with the front wheel placed out in front of the stroller. Air-filled tires are ideal for safety and comfort. As mentioned above, in depth information on this can be found here.
Suspension: Tires with suspension provide a much smoother ride for you and for your passenger. True certified joggers, such as the Bob Revolution Flex, will always have suspension, so make sure you're really getting what you think you are!
Seat: The seat should be a sling seat in an incline, with a five-point safety harness. This keeps your babes spine safe from unnecessary jarring and discomfort from a rigid seat back.
Large Canopy: Protect all the little features and limbs on your jogging partner(s) from the elements. Some strollers even have UPV resistant canopies, bonus!
Hand Brake: You need to be able to control the speed of the stroller while you are mid stride, so you will want a hand brake with a decelerator feature. The decelerator allows you to slow the stroller without jarring to a complete stop immediately.
Adjustable handle height: Running with a stroller can be quite the adjustment. A handlebar that you can place in the exact spot that is most comfortable for you is so necessary.
Strict jogger or hybrid: There are strollers on the market that are licensed as joggers, but also have features (like the option to have the front wheel be fixed or swivel) that make them fitting for other settings as well. The Baby Jogger Summit X3 and the Bumbleride Indie are two great examples! These are also often referred to as All-terrain strollers.
Your terrain is mostly smooth, but you do have to maneuver around those shopping racks and mall hall corners. You of course need space to carry your finds to the car, and the needs of your tiny human accommodated for a whole day of shopping!
Seat recline: The stroller is often the second crib when you are out shopping for long periods. A full recline, like on Baby Jogger's City Select, will keep baby much more comfortable, which hopefully means a nice long nap!
Brake: Because you will be doing a lot of stop and go, and grabbing things other than the stroller you will need to use you brake frequently. Hand brakes or easy click brakes are your friend.
Tire placement and maneuverability: Although you don’t need to focus on finding one specific tire type, you still need them to move well! Give them a good test before sticking with your stroller. Since you will be strolling between racks and people it is smart to be aware of how far out your tires stick on each side.
Storage basket: An easily accessible storage basket is greatfor all of your finds. The bigger the basket the more treasures you can take home too! The UPPAbaby G-Link has quite the basket for an umbrella type stroller!
Accessories for the stroller: When you’re going to be out and about for a while snacks will surely be involved. A snack tray for the kids, and a parent console for your little treats are a must. Most strollers have quite a few accessory options so be sure to check them out! Baby Jogger has a plethora of accessories to make everything you do with your stroller more convenient!
Car seat compatibility: If you have an infant in tow, will you want to be able to just transfer their car seat from the car right into the stroller? Be sure to check if the stroller does that, and if it is compatible with the car seat you have or are going to purchase.
Fold: Putting the stroller in and out of the car between store locations shouldn’t be annoying to you every time you do it. Know what your stroller fold entails so you don’t find yourself irritated later on! For some a one handed fold will be a must, for others it just won’t matter too much.Winners for this category:- UPPAbaby Vista, G-Link, and G-Luxe - Baby Jogger City Mini Zip, and Lux, - Britax B-Ready, and B-Agile Single or Double-
You wouldn’t buy a car without a test drive, so don’t you dare buy a stroller without test driving it. It is, after all, like a second vehicle! Keep in mind what you determined are the most important features for you, and test each option to find the best fit.
- Fit in car
- Does your child fit well (head and leg room)
- Do you feel comfortable pushing it
- Do the accessories work how you would like them to
At The Baby Cubby you can push-test any stroller in stock on our stroller track and in the parking lot! The track has sections of gravel, cobble stone, wood chips, speed bumps, and you can push or jog with the stroller around the asphalt parking lot. If you are not local, ask your local stores if you can test drive on the sidewalk or in the parking lot. Maybe you can even test it on some grass out front to throw in another terrain!
Now go get your research on! We obviously have not covered every scenario here, but hopefully it gets you headed in the right direction. If you take your time now to make sure you truly consider what you need will make you a happy stroller owner for years to come. Need some more help figuring that out? Stop by our baby the store in Utah to see the strollers for yourself and take them on a test drive. Cubby Moms are always standing by in the store to give you the facts, and even an opinion or comforting word when needed!
Double Side-by -Side
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