Whether you are expecting multiples or just have your regular sibling set-up, you may be in the market for a double stroller. What features should you be considering? What is worth paying for and what is just another bell and whistle? That depends on how varied your needs are, the space you have available, and the temperaments and ages of your children. We always recommend asking yourself these three questions before going through this guide:
Where you will take your stroller?
What are your children's temperaments like (how well do they get along)?
How much space do you have on a regular basis in your car trunk?
Got your answers? Good! Lets get you on your way to finding the double stroller of your dreams!
IN-LINE vs. SIDE-BY-SIDE
When it comes to double strollers, you have two main options: the in-line (tandem) stroller, which has one seat in front of the other; or the side-by-side, which has seats next to each other. Each has its pros and cons, so let’s take a look at what works best for you.
THE IN-LINE DOUBLE STROLLER
In-line strollers are one of the fastest growing categories in the double stroller industry. Parents love their sleek looks, versatility, and easy handling.
Although there are some in-line strollers with two seats permanently attached to the frame, the up-and-coming models are modular strollers, which means either one or both seats can be turned to face forward or backward (towards the parent). These in-line strollers are incredibly versatile!
Say you have an infant you would like to keep an eye on and a toddler who wants to look out at the world. A modular stroller allows you to arrange the seats so your infant faces you and your toddler faces forward. Or maybe you have a 3-year-old who loves to entertain the baby--just turn the seats so they face each other. They play while you shop (hopefully!).
In any case, versatility is the name of the game when it comes to parenthood, so it's no wonder in-line modular strollers are quickly making a name for themselves.
The Baby Jogger City Select 2 features 24 different configurations.
Maneuverability can be a lot to ask from double strollers, but that is where in-lines are a mom's best friend! Because of their "stacked" design, they tend to be shorter than the old "limousine" models that you may have grown up with. This makes for easy turning in tight corners and spaces. Do keep in mind, though, that the weight is centered on a line ahead of you, so some models can be more difficult to push than others. That's why when looking for in-lines, the tires matter.
How big are the wheels? When it comes to wheels, the larger they are, the smoother they roll. So if you are looking for a stroller that rolls smoothly and can handle rougher terrain, make large wheels a priority.
What are the wheels made of? There are three types of stroller wheels: small hard plastic wheels, hybrid wheels filled with gel foam, or air-filled all-terrain tires (like small bicycle tires). The best in-line strollers feature hybrid tires. Hybrids combine the smooth suspension and easy handling of an air-filled tire with the resilience of a plastic tire (meaning they don’t pop).
Fold Size and Type
Some double modular strollers do not allow folding with the second seat attached. You must remove it prior to folding, then reattach it when you unfold again. The process requires a little more effort and the extra fold and bulk of the seats will take up more space in your trunk; however, double modular strollers that can fold with both seats attached do exist, so if the extra step is a deal-breaker for you, make sure you know how the stroller folds before you buy!
Also consider how much space you have in your car for the stroller. If you choose a stroller that requires you to detach the second seat, make sure you still have room in the trunk for your groceries, shopping bags, and your stroller with its extra seat.
A major plus of in-line strollers for parents of twins is that, unlike most side-by-sides, the majority of in-lines will accommodate two infant car seats with the help of adapters. This makes in-line strollers ideal for parents who want the convenience of using a travel system, which allows them to simply click their car seats into the stroller and be on their way.
What kind of parent should use an in-line?
At The Baby Cubby, we recommend an in-line double stroller if you:
Are expecting multiples.
Will be using the stroller in tight spaces.
Want the added versatility of modular seating.
Aren’t planning to use it in rugged outdoor conditions.
THE SIDE-BY-SIDE DOUBLE STROLLER
Side-by-side strollers are the more traditional setup. The good news is that newer models are getting slimmer, easier to maneuver, and easier to fold than ever before!
Although you can’t change which way the seats face like you can on an in-line stroller, the side-by-side has its own kind of versatility--with a side-by-side, each child gets a comfortable seat with its own canopy and recline options. Plus, they are fully separated. When one kid wants to recline, he can! When he wants the canopy up, he can have it. He won't ever have his sibling in the way, which means no kicking each other (on purpose or on accident), which can sometimes happen on an in-line double stroller. The side-by-side has the benefits of two separate strollers packed into one.
Side-by-sides have a reputation for being bulky and hard to maneuver. They are, if you're in a tight space; however, side-by-sides are starting to slim down. Many models are about 1.5 times the width of a regular stroller rather than 2 times. So while they will be able to fit through doorways just fine, they may still not fit through those tight clothing racks at the store.
Side-by-sides either have all-terrain tires or hybrid tires. This means they can handle gravel, grass, and bumps easily. Some strollers like the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double maneuver wonderfully with just one hand, even with two kids weighing it down. When your stroller is that easy to handle, you’ll have the confidence to take it almost anywhere.
Fold Size and Type
Side-by-side doubles are known for having great two-step folds. With a majority of side-by-sides, you simply fold the top half of the stroller down and then pull up on a strap (usually located under the seat) to fold completely.
Other side-by-sides, like the Baby Jogger City Mini GT Double, fold in just one step. One pull upwards on the straps in the middle of the seats and it will collapse the stroller completely. Strollers that fold in two steps tend to be shorter and wider, while the one-step folds are usually taller with a slimmer profile. If you have a tall trunk, either fold should work fine for your space; however, if you have a smaller trunk, you will need to decide if you prefer a wide profile or a tall one.
Unfortunately, the majority of side-by-side double strollers can’t accommodate two infant car seats, so if you are a mom of twins who wants the convenience of a travel system, these strollers probably aren’t for you. However, because many of these strollers' seats are able to lay completely flat, you can place an infant in them from birth to create a makeshift bassinet. Plus, as they get older, your twins will have their own space in the stroller. They won't have to fight about who gets to sit in front or be closer to mom, and they won’t be able to kick and bug each other as much as on an in-line. Those features alone can save a twin mom's life!
What kind of parent should use a side-by-side?
At The Baby Cubby, we recommend a side-by-side double stroller if you:
- Want to go jogging with it.
- Plan to take it on rugged outdoor adventures.
- Travel a lot.
There are no joggers or all-terrain strollers currently on the market that are in-line doubles, this is due to the weight balances and suspension considerations when it comes to jogging or being outdoors. If you're traveling a lot, side-by-side double strollers make it easy to create more space in your trunk and are easier to fold. They may also be lighter (if they are not an all-terrain or jogging double), making them easier to carry through airports!
OTHER THINGS TO NOTE
In-lines can save you money in the long run.
If this is your first child (when people are more willing to help you out on big purchases), an in-line stroller may be the way to go. Unlike a side-by-side double, you can use an in-line double with one child and wait to purchase the second seat until you have a second child. Just purchase the frame and the first seat now! Second seats usually range anywhere from $80-200, while a decent side-by-side could cost you at least $300--that’s after you’ve already bought a single stroller for your first child.
Some models of both in-lines and side-by-sides can add a glider board.
This means that your double stroller can now carry three children. If you have children fairly close in age, this could be a lifesaver. We especially love the glider board on the UPPAbaby Vista V2 since the stroller can fold with it still attached.
Second seats on some in-lines have a lower weight capacity.
Most second seats are referred to as "rumble seats", meaning they are smaller and often more simplified. For instance, the second seat may not have an adjustable footrest, or may have a smaller canopy. Be sure to find out if you are getting a full-featured second seat or a rumble seat to avoid any surprises.
There you have it. You are now a double stroller expert. Remember, just find the features that fit your lifestyle and go from there! It doesn't need to be a stressful purchase. Check out all our options on babycubby.com.