So what are the best features you should consider when you’re looking for the best stroller to buy? There are many options to consider and questions you should ask yourself first, from the type of wheels it has, the weight it supports, whether the backrest reclines, is it compatible with a car seat, and that’s just to name a few.
Are you looking for a light stroller that you just want to walk around the block with a few times, or pop in with to the shops. Or do you need something for more longer trips that can store all your bits and bobs in easily. Do you need to push it over grass or not? Many places you will visit will not have a smooth level ground, so you want it to move easily on rough areas. What about the beach, is taking a stroll along the sea front something you’ll be doing? Also, some parents are looking for a stroller they can use while jogging, like the value-for-money Baby Trend jogging stroller.
With so many different strollers and brands to choose it can seem overwhelming. I mean let’s be honest, strollers aren’t that cheap and if you chose the wrong one you can kind of be stuck with it and likely to get really frustrated. .
To help you decide, we’ve put our thinking caps on and written this guide to give you a list of things to consider when purchasing a stroller.
The different kinds of strollers
Lightweight umbrella stroller
These strollers are typically much smaller, lighter and have a small umbrella canopy but have no or less storage available. They often don’t have extra accessories like child trays. They are a little less stable or smooth but you generally use these strollers for quick walks around the neighborhood or quick trips somewhere where you want to something lighter, and don’t want a bulkier stroller. They also fold up quite small so are easy to transport.
Your typical stroller is larger than the umbrella stroller, they take up a bit more space when folded and are heavier to carry but stable and comes with a host of extra features and accessories.
Your double strollers are generally for pushing two babies or toddlers and the same time. They come in a few different varieties such as the side-by side, tandem (one seat behind the other) or sit-and-stand double stroller. You can also read our handy guide on how to choose a double stroller to help you.
These strollers are purpose built for jogging, and usually have a fixed single front-wheel to keep the stroller stable while running. They also typically have bigger wheels due to the faster speed to ensure a smooth ride and many will come with inflatable tyres. A versatile, quality and budget friendly jogging stroller is the Baby Trend Expedition stroller.
A travel system is a versatile piece of baby equipment. It’s actually three different pieces of baby gear combined into one — a stroller, a car seat, and a base. The base is installed permanently into your car using the seat belt or the LATCH system and the car seat simply clicks into place. You can take the car seat out of the car and click it into the stroller so you never have to worry about waking up a sleeping baby by taking him out of the car seat. Once the baby outgrows your car seat, you can use the stroller as a regular stroller.
Quick stroller buying guide
|Big wheels (air-filled is best)||Large wheels are very important for a smoother ride. Air filled wheels are even more stable, smoother and easier to push. They are also great for the outdoors like a park, forest or walk along the beach.|
They do take up a bit more space when folded though.
|Small wheels, solid wheels, swivel front wheel, double front wheel|
|Single piece aluminium frame||Lightweight and durable and obviously corrosion resistant and weather & rust proof.||Rough joints and plastic fittings. Other metal frames which are heavier and likely to rust.|
|Reclining seat*||A reclining back rest makes it possible for the child to be comfortable or sleep if needed. Some strollers don’t recline back far enough so make sure the one you choose does. Some can even recline almost flat which is best and allows your child or infant to sleep comfortably.||Vertical sitting canopies, or seat backrests that are ridged or don’t recline much|
|Big Basket*||To store and keeps things when your out. Comes in very handy for shopping or baby changing necessities like nappies, bottles etc||Strollers without a basket, since you will be much more limited|
|Parking brake||Having a handbrake or parking brake is a very important safety feature to ensure your stroller doesn’t just move or roll away unattended||Models without this can be unsafe. Especially when you want to do things like transfer your baby to or from your car and the stroller keeps moving|
|Adjustable handle*||Allowing you to adjust the handle to whats most comfortable for your height when pushing||A fixed handle which might be uncomfortable and not be best for your height|
|Takes a car seat||Being able to take a car seat is very convenient when trying to move a baby to and from the car everytime, especially when they sleeping. So check that the stroller can take the car seat you have or intent purchasing. Some strollers can take an adapter base that allows them to be compatible with most car seats on the market.||A stroller that isn’t compatible or doesn’t take car seats|
|Has a good Canopy/Umbrella||Most have canopies or umbrellas but ensure it is large enough and can be pulled right down over the child to protect them fully from the sun, rain and wind||No umbrella or canopy, or a small one that does give much protection|
|One-handed folding||Trust me, if you’ve ever tried to balance a bag, the baby and try to fold a stroller at the same time….then you’ll appreciate one that lets you fold it with one hand.||A stroller that requires two hands to fold or doesn’t have a simple one push button fold mechanism|
|Tray and cupholder||You’ll want a place to put your child’s bottle or an area where they can rest their hands or food on or use to play with a toy.|
*Extra bonus if the stroller has a tray/cupholder for the parent too
|No tray or cupholder. Note, some strollers require you to buy them separately|
|Washable cover||Some strollers have covers that can be taken off and washed, which is great and more hygienic for your little ones||A fixed cover that can’t be washed tends to get dirtier over time, and those hard to reach places become quite grubby|
|One-handed folding*||Trust me, if you’ve ever tried to balance a bag, the baby and try to fold a stroller at the same time….then you’ll appreciate one that lets you fold it with one hand.||A stroller that requires two hands to fold or doesn’t have a simple one push button fold mechanism|
Things to consider when buying a stroller
How many kids should the stroller support – and what about the future ?
The decision on whether to buy a single or double pram might seem straight forward, and usually starts with how many little ones you need to push around? If you have twin babies it’s pretty obvious that you’ll need some sort of double stroller that caters for two infants. Double strollers normally come in two options, a side-by-side double stroller (seats next to each other) or a tandem double strollers (where one seat is in front of the other) – you can read our post about our tips on buying a double stroller for more info
And if you have just one child a single stroller will be fine, or will it – what if you plan to have a second child later on and want to let your first born who’s now a toddler hitch a ride, there’s an option for that called sit and stand strollers.
First time parents are usually surprised at the prices of strollers. A high-end stroller could cost $800 or more, but you can get good strollers that fit your budget for a lot less.
Which direction should my child face?
These days strollers don’t just come in the traditional forward facing option. You get all sorts of different options now, and there are a lot more strollers on offer that allows you to have your baby or toddler facing backwards towards you.
Does it fit in my car trunk?
It’s very important to looking at how compact the stroller is when folded. Most of strollers and prams will give you the exact dimensions when it’s folded up, so we recommend measuring the trunk of your car or where you intend to store the stoller to make sure it will fit easily.
Seat and backrest
The height of the seat is important, because sometimes with older toddlers there heads can be higher the the top of the seat and they will flop over the edge of the seat. Another important factor is that the back of the seat can recline properly. A stroller that offers as many reclining positions as possible is best so that you can adjust it for the most comfortable angle depending on your child
Some strollers recline all the way flat which besides being good for a sleeping baby is useful for changing them – almost like a built in changing table.
A bigger canopy provides more shade and privacy for your little one. Many canopies, especially larger ones, have peekaboo windows for you to check on your child without breaking stride. Some also come with a magnet closure so it’s nice and quiet.
How heavy is the stroller?
Heavier strollers might be a bit more effort to travel with, but they are also generally more sturdy and feature packed. Strollers are generally between 7.2 pounds (3.3 kilos) to over 35 pounds (16 kilos), and averaging around 16 pounds (7.3 kilos) – also depending on if you buy a single or double. Travel systems by nature are also larger and heavier, but more convenient. So you’ll need to decide what’s the best fit for purpose.
What are the Storage options
Will my diaper bag fit underneath, another BIG thing I found was a concern at times.
baskets, zip storage, cup holders for parents and todlers
Does it have a cup holder many high end ones dont and let me tell you, when you are out shopping you want a place to put your drink,sippy or the bottle other then just below. More then one holder is best, if it doesnt come with one check to see if htey have an option to get one that snaps on, some do.
How big is the visor, some are tiny and do very little to block sun or rain.
Type of Stroller wheels
Wheels are super important on a stroller. But before deciding on which type of stroller wheel is best, it’s crucial to know what you’ll be using the stroller for most. Is a smooth strolling experience most important? Or do you want to run with it on the beach? Are you going to be jogging with your stroller?
There are basically 4 different types of stroller wheels: pneumatic tires, air filled, and air wheel tires with sealed ball bearings. Each one has its advantages.
Standard Rubber Tires
These are generally rubber coated plastic. They are normally best for smooth flat surfaces. One benefit is since it’s a solid piece of plastic and rubber, they don’t go flat so there’s less maintenance.
Air Filled Tires
-Tube tires; similar to bicycle wheels
-Gives a much smoother and less bumpy ride
-Geared for lots of walking and uneven surfaces (city street walking)
These have a better overall grip and smoother ride and consist of reinforced rubber with compressed air inside. They are also more versatile and work very well for jogging or taking your stroller more off-road on surfaces such as the beach, gravel or forests. They don’t have an inner tube so
3 or 4 wheels?
One noticeable difference between the two is that the four wheel stroller is sometimes considerably less expensive than the three wheel stroller. Another noticeable difference between the two is that the wheels on the three wheel stroller are larger when compared to the four wheel stroller.
Are the tires air-filled? Why do I care
Great question! Air filled tires give you a much smoother ride than plastic or rubber because they absorb most of the impact from bumps and cracks in the sidewalk. This means baby sleeps soundly and isn’t woken up every time you roll over a pebble. Believe us, you care about that.
Is the handle adjustable?
Another important thing overlooked is whether the stroller has a height adjustable handle bar. You want one because you’ll then be able to set the push bar at a height that is comfortable for you personally. It’s a nice extra feature but usually only found on more premium strollers.
Car carrier compatibility
If you want more convenience between switching your bundle of joy between the car and stroller all the time, then we highly recommend looking for an all-in-one stroller travel system, or a stroller that is compatible with a separately purchased car seat that lets you just clip it in and out of the stroller. This means you’ll save a ton of time and effort needing to physically take your infant out of their car seat and place them into the stroller each time, and visa versa. It’s especially useful when your baby is sleeping and you don’t want to disturb them switching them back and forth.
What Accessories does it have
Is there a tray for my child and does it come off? I had one without the tray and it was such a pain! My son cant leaning forward to touch the wheels and I was afraid he’d get hurt.
Top stroller brands
Other notable stroller brands
- Baby Trend
- Mamas and Papas
- Mia Moda
- Mountain Buggy
- Orbit Baby
- The First Years
- Tike Tech
- Valco Baby
- Delta Children’s Products
- Go-Go Babyz
- Hauck Fun for Kids
- JJ Cole
- Silver Cross.