Ultimate Baby Stroller Buying Guide 2017

baby stroller

Image Credit: Parenting.com

In this modern days, we can argue that strollers aren’t so much of a luxusy anymore, but rather, a necessity for every parent. With parents getting busier with every passing year, and having one car for each parent is being the norm, mobility is now a very important part of babycare. No wonder, that the baby stroller industry is a massive billion dollar one, with so many different brands available in the market today.

For new parents, however, the number of options available in the market can be a daunting one. On the other hand, parents having their second or third child might also be surprised by how the stroller industry is rapidly evolving. Let’s be honest, all the marketing jargons deployed by the manufacturers are confusing! What’s actually the difference between a ‘pram’ and a ‘carriage’? Why are there so many different car-seat stroller options available?

Strollers are definitely not a cheap investment, and hence, we are here to help you cut through the chase, and make a better purchase decision. Let’s begin with the basics, shall we?

What Should You Consider First?

Let’s face it, having a baby is always a stressful, tiring, yet happy moment. The first rule of any baby-related product, for us, is that it shouldn’t add more stress to the parent. While all the marketing jargons, different features, and trends might confuse you, in the end, choosing a baby stroller will boil down to these important priorities:

Budget

Stroller is not a cheap investment, and the whole having-a-baby business is definitely expensive. While it’s cool to keep up with the trends to get the most popular strollers today, don’t let it be a hinder to the other aspects of babycare. Decide how much are you willing to spend for the stroller, and to help you with deciding a budget, you will have to consider this one….

Longevity

At the very least, your stroller will be essential until your baby can walk a distance on their own. It may differ with each baby, but typically they will reach that point by age two to four years old. Many parents nowadays are even using strollers until their child is entering 2nd or 3rd grade of elementary school. So, you might want to choose a stroller that can last long, both in durability and flexibility is size.

However, such holy grail of longevity will be an almost impossible task, and you will most likely will need to buy more than one. Yet, it’s good to plan ahead and make the most of what you can get.

Safety

Obviously a no brainer, safety will be really important factor in deciding a stroller. One good benchmark to check whether the product is safe is the JPMA (Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association) certification. You should also remember that the approach regarding safety will be different for newborns and toddlers above 1-year of age, which is also part of the reason you might need to change strollers as your baby grow. We will discuss the safety requirements for newborn-strollers and toddler-strollers further below in their respective sections.

However, one thing will apply for both: the restraint system. The safest possible restraint system is a 5-way harness, securing the area between the legs, shoulders, and waist. Regarding restraint, one other thing will also need to be considered:

Ease of Use

Imagine an emergency situation where you will need to unbuckle your baby fast, yet the restraint system is a hassle to unhook. Not only such situations are annoying, they could also lead into potential accidents and disasters. Simplicity and ease of use not only should apply to the restrain system, but the whole features of the stroller, such as the movable seat, brakes, adjustable canopy, and all the others.

Remember the first rule: it shouldn’t add more stress, no matter how fancy it is.

Means of Transportation

Yes, your means of transportation will be a big factor in your stroller choice. Consider this:

Car-Seat

If you mostly travel by car, you will be surprised how often you will need to get the baby in and out of the car all the time, especially during the first few months. Whether it's a trip to the pediatrician, daycare, or shopping, you will want to be close to the baby at all times. Hence, owning a stroller with a built-in or removable car seat, or compatible with your existing car seat, will help the whole parenting process tremendously.

If you are mostly travelling by car, it will also mean that you can opt for a sturdier, more durable strollers, as long as it can fit easily in the back seat or trunk.

Mass Transportation

If you rely mostly on mass transportations, or you often visits shopping malls or other similar busy areas, you will need a lightweight stroller that can be folded in a quick manner. For infants older than 6 months, you can use the popular umbrella stroller, or other lightweight travelling options.

Heavier stroller can be a challenge to carry up stairs and on buses and subways, so weight should be your deciding factor.

Test-Driving

Thanks to the advent of YouTube and many other video streaming services, you can easily find video reviews on the internet from peer parents, which can act like a virtual test-drive for you. Some manufacturers also provide such videos on their websites, such as this one from BOB. If possible, however, test drive the stroller at a physical retailer, even if you are planning to buy online.

Here are some considerations you may have while test-driving the stroller:

  1. Check the overall height and how the grip feels. The most annoying part is when your feet hit the wheels all the time as you walk, so that’s an issue you should address while testing. If possible, ask your partner to also try it out.
  2. Check the brake mechanisms, some are more complicated than the others. Remember, simple is always better for babycare.
  3. How heavy is it? Both when folded and opened.
  4. How easy to adjust the seat, and how quick you can fasten and unfasten the security harness.
  5. Check the overall maneuverability, how easy to turn with the stroller. Add a heavy enough item to the stroller seat while you push to simulate a baby’s weight.
  6. Check the folding mechanism. It’s okay if it will need two hands to operate, as long it can be opened easily.
  7. Last but not least, check for the storage space. Decide whether it will be enough room for your baby gear.

Different Types of Strollers

We have come to the most daunting part: all the different types of strollers. Honestly, the vast diversity can be downright confusing! But don’t worry, we’ll take the extra care to explain to you in the most comprehensive ways possible. They are, admittedly, a lot of overly complicated types available, but in the end, they will boil down to just these types:

Standard-size

baby stroller

Image Credit: UPPABaby

The most common and widely available of all types, and chances are, the first one you will consider.

As the name may suggest, you can expect this type to be quite well-rounded in every aspect. It is heavier than umbrella strollers, yet lighter than combination strollers or travel system. It is relatively maneuverable, although not as well as lightweight strollers.

Well-rounded and traditional don't really mean mediocre, however, as standard strollers can fit in a wide variety of situations. Some traditional strollers are not suitable for infants under six months old, so make sure to check the specification.

Almost all of the standard full-sized strollers available in the market will feature a car-seat adapter. However, only small minority will offer a fully reclined seat (for infants) and only higher end models will include an infant bassinet.

Car-Seat Frame

baby stroller

Image Credit: Amazon/ Graco Snugrider

With this type, you will only get the basic frame of a stroller (wheels, handle, frame, and storage), hence they are also sometimes called the 'stroller frames'.

The basic idea with this type is that you can attach whatever car-seat you need, which is sold separately. Thus, they are typically very cheap up-front, although the overall cost in the long run can add up.

Typically, you can use this type from the first day of the baby's life until they outgrow the chosen car-seat, in that case, you will simply neeed to switch to a bigger car-seat, as long as it can still fit the frame.

It is relatively less well-known, but in our opinion, it is one of the best and safest options for infants under 6 months old.

Lightweight/Umbrella

baby stroller

Image Credit: UPPABaby

The lightweight umbrella strollers are increasingly popular today, mainly because of its light weight and relatively affordable price tag. The name 'umbrella' came from its curved handle, which resembles that of an umbrella.

Although they are generally affordable, they are typically not suited for infants under 6 months old. However, newer models are offering great features, such as car-seat compatibility and infant cushioning, but come at a more expensive price. Typically however, they provide less safety measures compared to other, bulkier types, so you will have to sacrifice a bit of safety for lightness (and price).

One thing to keep in mind is that most of the umbrella strollers won't offer a car seat adapter, and you won't be able to use them until the baby is at least 6-months old. The wheels are also smaller, so they are generally less maneuverable on rough terrain.

Jogging

baby stroller

Image Credit: B.O.B.

You can easily identify jogging strollers from the three-wheel configuration. Jogging strollers utilized larger, air-filled tires completed with some sorts of shock absorbing system, so you can expect greater maneuverability accross most terrains.

Many parents are now using jogging strollers for all-purpose use, just keep in mind that obviously, you won't be able to use any infant car-seat with this type, so wait until your baby is 6-months old or older.

Travel Systems

baby stroller

Image Credit: Chicco

Travel systems are incrasingly popular today, but technically, it's just a marketing jargon for a car-seat and stroller package. Although then can offer a great overall value, most of them are lower in terms of overall quality compared to standalone products. Some, however, offer great quality, so stay tuned for our reviews if you are planning to get one.

One thing to keep in mind, however, is that travel systems are obviously bulkier and heavier, and thus less maneuverable.

Double

baby stroller

Image Credit: Baby Jogger

​As the name may suggest, the double stroller is your answer if you are having twin babies, or several kids with close age difference.

​Modern double strollers are not as heavy, and are narrow enough to fit standard doorways, so they are almost as convenient as standard ones.

For twin infants, you might want to consider ​double car-seat frames, which will be a safer overall option.



Our Picks

Choosing the right stroller can be a really confusing task, so we suggest that you take the time to carefully consider your choice. Start by figuring your exact needs, based on your activities and routinity. We know that it won’t be easy, and hence here are some of our recommendations for you. You may use this list as a starting point for your journey:

 

Best Premium Standard Stroller

Image Credit; UPPAbaby

UPPA Baby Vista (2017)

Why We Recommend It:

Brand new and simply amazing. The key value of the 2017 Vista is longevity. It can fully recline with one-handed control, comes with a bassinet, and are compatible with MESA infant car seat. On the other hand, it is sturdy enough to handle toddlers and even older children. Completed with a reversible toddler seat and the option to use multiple seats, if you are looking for longevity and quality, the UppaBaby Vista is simply the best option.

To Keep in Mind:

Priced at $839.99, the UppaBaby Vista is definitely not a cheap option. However, for its relatively hefty price tag, you get a great stroller in both quality and longevity. You can even still use the UppaBaby Vista as you get your second or third child with its multiple seat feature.

Best Jogging Stroller

baby stroller

Image CreditL B.O.,B

B.O.B Revolution Pro (2016)

Why We Recommended It:

B.O.B won't have the guts to claim the Revolution series as the 1# jogging stroller if not without its reasons. The Revolution Pro is the best-selling jogging stroller available today. It's very sturdy and durable, rich in features, and built with extreme safety in mind. If you are looking for a jogging stroller, this is simply one of the best you can get.

To Keep In Mind:

The Revolution Flex model is almost $100 cheaper, with the only difference being the hand-operated brake on the PRO model, besides the different color options. If you don't need the extra brake, you might want to opt for the Flex version. Also, a double model is available for your twin.

Best Lightweight Umbrella Stroller

UPPA Baby G-Luxe

Image Credit: UPPA Baby

Why We Recommend It

While most of the umbrella strollers are low in quality, durability, and maneuverability, that’s not the case with the UppaBaby G-Luxe. Being only 15-pound, the G-Luxe is equipped with a reclining seat and adjustable footrest, very decently-sized storage basket, and very easy to push and hold. Not to mention, it is very durable for an umbrella stroller. The UppaBaby G-Luxe is simply one of the better umbrella strollers available today.

To Keep in Mind

The cheaper, G-Lite version is also available, which is lighter at only 11-pounds, in the sacrifice of the reclinable seat and footrest. With a significant price difference, you might want to consider it. The 4-pound difference could be significant if you are more active, or frequently using public transportation.

Our Picks For On-Budget Strollers

We understood that not every parent are willing to spend too much for their strollers, and here are our picks when the budget is tight:

Best Overall On-Budget Stroller​

baby stroller

Image Credit: Summer Infant

Summer Infant 3Dlite

Why we Recommend it

Very affordable, yet still very decent for its price of only $63,99. The 3Dlite Convenience offers a fully reclinable seat with 5-point safety harness, making it suitable for infants, which is a rarity for its price range. It is quite durable, and very easy to use with a quick folding system. Not to mention, it can withstand a child weighing up to 50 lbs. A great bargain, period.

To Keep In Mind

No matter what, you shouldn’t expect any of the great features and qualities of the more premium models. It does the job really well for its price, but it doesn’t have the durability, maneuverability, and extra features from (significantly) more expensive products.

Best Value Full-Sized Standard Stroller

baby stroller

Image Credit: Chicco

Chicco Bravo LE Stroller

Why We Recommend It

For a standard full-sized stroller, longevity is the most important value. The Chicco Bravo LE achieved the long-term viability by being able to switch into three different modes:

  • Infant carrier using the removable KeyFit or Fit2 infant car seat
  • Travel system using both the stroller seat and infant car seat during your child’s transition from infancy to toddler
  • Full-fledged toddler stroller than can hold up to 50 lbs

The Chicco Bravo LE is also very easy to use and can be folded in a very quick manner. For its value, it’s almost a steal.

To Keep in Mind

The Bravo LE is technically a cross between a standard stroller and a travel system, and as we have mentioned, the overall quality is below that of the more premium models. However, it’s overall quality is fairly decent, especially for its price tag of just $249. Also available as a travel-system package with included car-seat for just $429.

Best Value Car Seat Frame



baby stroller

Image Credit: Amazon

Graco Snugrider Elite

Why We Recommend It

When opting to go for a full-sized on-budget stroller can sacrifice a lot in features and quality, that won't be the case with a car seat frame. Graco Snugrider Elite can go with the ever popular Graco car seat products, which are also very affordable with very decent qualities. Lightweight, easily maneuverable, and very easy to use for just $61.60 (Graco car seats sold separately)

To Keep In Mind

You will still need to invest on a car-seat, and you can only use Graco's Products. However, it's still a great overall value. One thing about Car-Seat frames is that they don't look very trendy, and it might not be for everyone.

Best Value Double Stroller

baby stroller

Image Credit: Amazon

Joovy Scooter X2 Double

Why We Recommend It

While having a twin, or two kids can be a headache, this product makes sure that you won't get any. It is very affordable, yet very easy to use and provides all the great basic features you will need. One common problem about double strollers is their width, which often won't fit standard doors. The Joovy Scooter X2 tackled that issue really well, making the stroller only 30-inch wide, while still being roomy enough for your babies.

To Keep in Mind

Although the Joovy Scooter X2 functions really well, it doesn't look as good as other more premium options, which is expected. The handlebar height cannot be adjusted and might be too short for some, make sure to try before buying, if possible.

Leave a Comment: