Buying a baby stroller is like shopping for any other kind of baby gear. It can be a tad confusing if you’re a brand new mom or dad. But when it comes to baby gear that relates to your baby’s safety, mistakes can be costly in every sense. In this baby stroller buying guide, I’ll take you through all the features you should consider before parting with your money. I’ll also highlight every other small and big detail or consideration you should prioritize.
It’s a lengthy read, so buckle up!
What’s the Best Baby Stroller?
The best baby stroller for your child is one that offers all the fundamental features you and your little one need. A good stroller prioritizes safety.
Pick a stroller that isn’t too expensive, is safe, and has a solid construction. You can’t go wrong with most Chicco, Graco, and a few other stroller brands.
Honestly, there’s no single stroller that works exactly the same for and satisfies everyone. That’s why spending a little time reading this resource isn’t a waste of time.
By the time you’re done devouring this stroller shopping guide, you should feel confident enough to choose one that works conveniently for you while guaranteeing adequate safety.
Whether you’re looking for a compact, lightweight stroller, a solid one for suburban living, one that makes grocery shopping easier, or a travel option, I got your back.
Types of Baby Strollers
There are three main types or categories of baby strollers namely:
- Single strollers
- Double strollers
- Convertible strollers/Modular strollers
1. Single Baby Strollers
- Traditional strollers/All-purpose strollers
- Travel systems
- Umbrella stroller/lightweight strollers
- Car seat frame carriers
- Car Seat/stroller
- Combination stroller
- Jogging strollers/joggers
Traditional/All-purpose Strollers/Full-size Stroller
When a mom who notices everything says, “I saw Jenny and her new hot boyfriend pushing a stroller,” this is the stroller type they’re likely talking about.
An all-purpose stroller is typically heavier and bulkier compared to others types. It’s also noticeably sturdier and gives the impression it can take abuse no matter where you ride it.
You can use a full-size stroller in parks, over rough roads, forest trails, sidewalks, pavement, and everywhere else.
Because full-size strollers are more massive than most, they can be slightly harder to fold down after use. And they don’t fold small, which means they might not fit in small car trunks.
With some, you can change the direction of the seat so that your baby can face you or forward. Others will let you add an extra seat down the road or connect to a stroller board.
Some have fully reclining seats for infants and newborns while others allow you to put in an infant car seat. The rest offer compatibility with various car seats while still offering a deep seat recline.
Note: some full-size strollers may not be safe/suitable for babies under 6 months.
Many offer the basic stroller features plus a couple of extras depending on how much you’re willing to invest. At least, get one with a sun canopy, a cup holder, and a storage basket underneath. And if you and your hubby aren’t close heightwise, look for one with adjustable handlebars.
Extra Features a Full-size Stroller Might Offer
- Snack tray
- Adjustable sun cover/canopy
- Expandability allowing you to add a car seat in the future
- Some will let you attach a bassinet for your newborn’s comfort
- A wider, comfier seat
- Parent-facing or forward-facing seating positions
- Premium tires with sophisticated suspension for when the ride gets rough
Reasons to Choose an All-purpose Stroller
- Grow with your baby
- Many are newborn friendly
- Solid construction that lasts years
- Features rich
Disadvantages of Full-Size Baby Strollers
- Big and bulky
- Don’t typically fold small
- Not ideal for public transit
- Some can cost a pretty penny
For many families, this stroller type works just fine. And in many cases, you won’t need to buy another stroller even when you add a baby to your brood.
A travel system combines a seat car base, a stroller, and an infant car seat into an easy-to-use one-click system. There are different styles of travel systems including jogging, full-size, and lightweight styles for variety.
This type features a built-in adaptor that lets you snap the car seat into and out of the stroller without waking your tot. Some systems are compatible with different car seat brands while others can only be used with specific models.
What’s the difference between a travel system and a car seat carrier frame? A car seat frame remains useful until the day the baby outgrows it while you can get more use out of a travel system past that stage. A travel system is a multi-developmental-stage option.
Reasons to buy a Travel System
- Can be used past the infant car seat phase
- Features a built-in adaptor that allows the car seat to be attached to the stroller without disturbing baby
- Tend to be cheaper than buying the car seat and stroller separately
- Many typically last through toddlerhood
Reasons Not to Buy a Travel System
- Some travel systems can be cumbersome
- Some aren’t compatible with certain car seat brands
- Multiple-car families have to get either extra bases or car seats to use with the other cars
Umbrella stroller/lightweight strollers
Usually featuring curved handlebars, umbrella/lightweight strollers are surprisingly compact and portable kid-movers that fold small. They’re super light, typically weighing under 15 pounds.
It’s a pretty basic stroller and may have plastic wheels (they wear down fast!). Most umbrella strollers aren’t designed for newborns because the seat in most models doesn’t recline fully. They’re for kiddos who are 6 months or older. However, few lightweight models will let you attach a bassinet or use an adaptor to accommodate a newborn.
Note: most umbrella strollers don’t convert to something you can use for an older, bigger baby. If another little angel shows up down the road, you’ll have to buy a new stroller for the new family member.
Also, some options offer little to no suspension and zero seat support which makes them pretty uncomfortable. I’d stay away from such.
This kind is what you want for when you need to do a quick adventure out across town with your tot. It’s also a good bet for light traveling.
However, umbrella strollers are not, strictly speaking, travel strollers.
Reasons to Choose Umbrella/Lightweight Strollers
- Compact and quite easy to fold
- Most are pretty affordable
- They fold small
- Not very comfortable
- Light enough for air travel
Reasons to Stay Away from Umbrella Strollers
- Not for newborns and children under 6 months
- Don’t grow with your child/don’t offer a convertible design
- Some have fast-wearing plastic wheels, lack suspension, and may not maneuver very well
Jogging Baby Strollers
Joggers are for fitness junkies. They usually have 3 air-filled/pneumatic wheels. The rear wheels are bigger than the front wheel and usually offer excellent suspension. They can take quite some beating and rarely complain when rolled over tough terrain.
When running outdoors, lock the front wheel so that it travels only straight ahead. A removable front wheel makes packing this type easier. And when you’ve cleared the bumpy terrain and are now on smoother terrain, switch back to the swivel mode for better maneuverability.
Make sure the removable wheel attaches safely. Your local bike shop can show you how to correctly detach and attach the front wheel. When running at high speeds, keep the front tire locked to avoid tip-over accidents.
There are single joggers and double joggers. Most are large and heavy may not always fit in small spaces such as your car’s trunk.
These strollers don’t come with a fully reclining seat, which means most aren’t newborn-friendly. According to Consumer Reports, it’s not safe to carry a baby under 6 months in a running stroller. In fact, some experts believe it’s a bad idea to run with a baby while pushing a stroller.
Maybe you’re wondering how old a baby needs to be before you can jog with them. A California-based pediatrician, Florencia Segura, thinks parents should wait until month 6-8 before they can exercise with a baby.
Safety Tips While Using a Jogging Stroller
- Keep the front wheel completely when going fast.
- Learn how to add or remove the front wheel correctly.
- Choose a stroller with a hand brake/bike-type brake for fast-paced runs or rolls down steep hills.
- Do not put your newborn in a jogging stroller.
- Always secure your little one with a 5-point harness and make sure it’s used correctly for maximum protection.
- Use a wrist strap for even more safety.
Some running strollers offer infant car seat compatibility, though. And some may have deep-reclining seats. But do you really want to run with that infant?
Advantages of Jogging Strollers
- Some options come with roomy storage baskets
- Some may offer height adjustability
- Some models offer stroller/car seat compatibility
- Some have deep-reclining seats
- Most are easy to maneuver because the front wheel swivels
- The front wheel boasts a locking mechanism for safety when riding over bumpy trails
Disadvantages of Joggers
- Not safe for babies under 6 months according to experts
- Some can be heavy and big and won’t fit in limited spaces
- You must keep an eye on tire pressure
- Flats can happen anytime
Infant Car Seat Carriers/Stroller Frames
An infant car seat carrier is essentially a lightweight frame without a seat. This type of stroller is designed to accommodate an infant baby car seat, meaning it’s newborn-friendly.
It instantly converts an infant safety seat into a lightweight stroller. With some of these frames, you can carry two or more tots.
Simply detach your infant seat from its base with the baby still in and put it in this stroller type. And you can do that without waking the tot.
It’s super light, and you won’t struggle to switch from car to carrier. Some stroller frames work with specific brands, and you can buy those if you like.
But if you want a seat carrier frame that won’t tether you to one manufacturer’s car seats, go for a universal carrier frame. A universal carrier frame offers compatibility with car seat models from multiple brands.
When should you choose an infant car seat carrier stroller instead of a full-size/all-purpose stroller? If you have an easily detachable infant car seat and need to lug it in and out of your minivan or sedan, consider this option.
Most car seat frames stay useful only for the newborn and infant phase. But there are few full-featured stroller frames that convert to a toddler stroller. Still, it’s best to view this as a short-term solution.
Advantages of Stroller Frames
- A universal car seat carrier stroller works with models across multiple car seat brands
- Typically cheaper than most car seats
- Super compact and lightweight
- Very easy to connect to a car seat
- A great option for travel
- Some models accommodate 2 or more kiddos
- Few options convert to a toddler stroller
Disadvantages of Stroller Frames
- Most are for the infant phase only/short-term use
- Most lack important features such as cup holders or a storage basket
Car Seat/Stroller Combo
This is like a car seat frame, but the car seat integrates into a stroller frame. The stroller’s frame folds to someplace under the car seat. So, you can remove this combo car seat/stroller and mount it onto a base in a different car. If you’re a multi-car family, this can be a good choice.
While this might sound like what you need, a car seat/stroller can be quite heavy. Transferring it to another vehicle can be challenging even without a baby in.
Pros of Car Seat/Stroller Combos
- Offers convenience to multi-car families
- You don’t need to buy a stroller (seriously)
- The car seat integrates into the stroller, which means less fuss
Cons of Car Seat/Stroller Combos
- Can be pretty heavy to lift out of the car
2. Double Baby Strollers
Double strollers are designed for twins. You can also choose a double for tots who’ve yet to accept that they’re past the stroller phase.
There are two kinds of double baby strollers:
- Tandem strollers/inline strollers
- Side-by-side baby strollers
Strollers for twins tend to be bigger, heavier, and bulkier than single-child options. But there’s an upside: more storage space underneath.
Tandem vs. Side-by-Side Double Strollers
Tandem strollers are like tandem bikes. One child rides at the front while their sibling sits behind them. And a side-by-side stroller has the twins/two tots sitting beside each other.
Tandems fit through most doorways without problems, which isn’t always the case with their side-by-side counterparts. When navigating curbs, side-by-side strollers tend to push better compared to tandems. Also, side-by-side options steer a tad better because they’re generally shorter and lighter. But if you place two children of different ages in a side-by-side stroller, there’s a tendency to pull to one side.
Additionally, side-by-side options roller over curbs better than tandems. Further, steering or maneuvering a tandem can be a tall order if you’re not strong enough. However, a tandem generally folds smaller than a side-by-side stroller.
Does Age Difference Matter When Choosing a Double Stroller?
Yes, it does. So, keep your children’s age difference in mind as you shop. Because a double stroller that works well for twins may not work very well for a newborn and a toddler.
Most parents find that tots whose age difference doesn’t exceed 2 years can use pretty much any double stroller. Where the age difference is in the 2-4 range, a tandem or side-by-side double stroller almost always works better.
Pay attention to the maximum weight capacity each of the seats on a double stroller offers. 40-45lbs weight limit per seat is common, but with some options, it’s 50lbs. The higher the limit, the longer you can use the contraption.
Reasons to Buy a Double Stroller
- It may save you money because you don’t need to buy a second stroller
- Most offer lots of storage underneath
- Ideal for twins, but kiddos with an age difference can also use them
- Side-by-side options fit through most regular doorways including on elevators
- Tandems fold relatively small, occupying as much space as most mid-sized strollers
Disadvantages of Double Strollers
- Most are big and bulky
- Lighter double strollers aren’t great at shock absorption over bumpy terrain
- Some can be too wide and may not fit through regular doors, plus that width might not be within Disney’s size limits. (More on this below)
- Tandems don’t transition to curbs very well
- Tandems can be difficult to steer or maneuver if you’re a small person
- Some tandems don’t offer adequate legroom at the back
If you’re expecting twins, consider getting a side-by-side kid-mover that lets you install infant car seats on both sides. Be sure the seats offer a near-flat recline.
If your kiddos aren’t twins, consider a tandem that accommodates an infant seat in at least one seat. Some tandems can also let you fit in two infant safety seats. Understand what car seat models work with whatever choice you’re eyeing. Will you have to use an adaptor? Learn that too.
3. Modular Baby Strollers (Most Versatile)
A modular stroller is essentially a stroller that features a removable seat. If there’s too much sun or windchill, you can remove the seat and re-install it facing the other direction.
Modular seats are reversible and allow you to walk around building a child-parent bond that’ll last a lifetime. Because you can position baby facing toward you or away from you so they can enjoy the sights in front.
There are two main types of modular strollers namely:
- Convertible strollers
- Combination strollers
Convertible Reversible Strollers
A convertible stroller got that descriptive name because it offers tons of versatility. It’s a modular/parent-facing/rear-facing stroller. And it is one of the most versatile choices that can be had.
Add in a bassinet or an infant road safety seat, and bam! you have a cute pram or a travel system. Another great feature is the capability to convert to a double stroller from a single stroller.
A convertible choice represents multiple seat setups/configurations. For example, you can have one stroller seat and one car seat. Or have two car seats instead. Or you can have two rear-facing car seats. Or you can have a rear-facing setup.
What’s more, some convertible strollers feature a detachable seat underneath which is a bench-type seat that can accommodate a third more mature kiddo.
But that’s not all. Some convertibles allow you to attach a standing platform, a feature some older children seem to like a lot.
If you anticipate having twins, ensure that the combination stroller can fit in two infant car seats. In addition, make sure that these two car seats can allow the two kiddos to sit facing each other. Because you want your babies to ride face-to-face when they transition to toddlerhood.
Advantages of Convertible Strollers
- Offers multiple seat configurations
- Converts to a travel system or pram
- Converts from a single-child to a two-children stroller
- Grows with your tot: No need to buy a second stroller
- Some allow children to sit facing each other
Disadvantages of Convertible Strollers
- Tend to be heavier than regular fixed-seat strollers
- Most aren’t cheap
- Most are two-hand folds
- Some require you to remove the seat when folding
- It’s hard to find modular strollers for jogging
Combination Reversible Strollers
These are reversible modular strollers, which means they come with a removable seat. Like convertible strollers, combinations evolve with your child to meet their changing needs.
You can tweak the seat’s position to have your baby facing away or toward you for better connection and supervision. Some combination strollers are available as a complete set comprising a bassinet and a reversible seat.
Others accommodate an infant car seat and have a bassinet while others may have a stroller seat that reclines to an almost flat configuration. In most cases, you need to buy a car seat and its base as well as an adaptor.
Which means they can be surprisingly spendy. And it’s not uncommon to receive an expensive package that lacks essential features such as a rain cover.
Most of them offer a weight capacity of 40bs, and you can use them right from day 1 through toddlerhood.
They’re generally heavier than fixed-seat choices.
- Feature a reversible seat
- Some recline fully and are newborn-safe
- Versatile and evolves with baby
- Not the most lightweight
- Some can be pricey while lacking some critical features
4. Smart/Intelligent Baby Strollers
I’ve not seen or pushed a smart baby stroller. But I remember reading somewhere that some startup was raising capital to engineer such a product.
Would you be comfortable walking behind a self-driving stroller with your baby strapped in? The invention was supposed to climb hills, roll over flat surfaces, and roll down hills all on its own.
That scares me. No, the very thought terrifies me. And that the company intended to sell the tech-packed stroller at $3000 or somewhere in that neighborhood didn’t help things.
I wouldn’t advise anyone to shell out for a smart stroller because technology fails, sometimes spectacularly.
What to Look for When Buying a Baby Stroller
Below is a list of things to keep top of mind when shopping for a baby stroller. Whatever you end up choosing, be sure it’s an option that keeps your child safe and secure while increasing your convenience.
Size That Stroller Right Or…
You won’t be allowed into any Disney World park.
Stroller width or length is an important consideration, but it’s a factor new parents don’t always pay keep in mind while shopping.
Prior to 2019, Disney’s stroller size standard required strollers to be 52 inches long and not any longer than 36 inches. But then Walt Disney changed its stroller width restrictions to now require that all strollers in the park be no wider than 31 inches. Stronger length remained the same at 52 inches, though.
Fortunately, most single-baby and jogging strollers measure anywhere between 20″-27″ width-wise. Most of the types of stroller have their dimensions falling within Disney’s size restrictions. Source: azcentral.
As for double strollers, many are within the current Disney stroller size restrictions. However, some doubles are too wide for Disney parks.
Below is a list of…
Double Strollers Within Disney Width Limits
|Name of Doble Stroller||Width||Length|
|Graco Ready2Grow LX Gotham||23.5″||42″|
|BOB Revolution Flex Duallie 2.0 Jogging Stroller||30.5″||48″|
|Maclaren Twin Triumph||31″||41″|
|Scooter X2 Joovy Double||30″||32.25″|
|Evenflo Mino Twin Double||27″||26.75″|
Two-tots Strollers Disney Won’t Allow In
|Navigator Double Jogger Baby Trend||32.5″||46″|
|2016 Summit X3 Double Baby Jogger||32.5″||53″|
|Foundations Quad LX4-Passenger||33″||48.5″|
And no, wagons stand banned, too. Many parents were unhappy with the ban, but there’s a good reason for the rules. Weaving your way through crowds with a space-devouring wagon with storage bins and cloth roofs can be extremely difficult.
What Safety Features Does the Baby Stroller Have?
Safety should be the most important consideration when buying a baby stroller. If a stroller is lightweight, easy to assemble and fold/collapse, comfortable, and pushes super smoothly, that’s great. But if it won’t restrain your little one or has sharp edges and protruding components that threaten safety, pick something else.
Strollers Are Generally Safe, But Injuries Happen
Modern strollers are much safer than they were in the 1990’s, and deaths don’t happen as they did then. Even though many families use baby strollers safely, injuries still happen.
A recent study published online in the Journal of Academic Pediatrics found that falls were the most common stroller injury. As a sensitive parent, I really struggled writing this section, but what you don’t know can harm you.
When buying a stroller, make sure it’s stable whether stationary or in motion. Cases of strollers tipping over even with the baby seating inside have been reported. And when shopping for an infant or newborn that reclines fully, make sure that the leg hole openings can be closed.
The CPSC carried out a survey in the 1990’s that found that most of the deaths of tots aged under 9 months were related to slipping in the leg hole and getting entrapped. Fortunately, the CPSC and the industry worked together and made safety-focused changes to the then voluntary standard.
Go for a 5-Point Stroller Harness
A more recent study found that fully 67 percent of stroller injuries are falls vs. 63 percent of falls off carriers. Even though you can use a 3-point safety that secures the child at the hips and crotch, safety experts unanimously agree that 5-point harnesses are the safest option.
A 5-point harness restrains the child at 5 locations: at the shoulders, at the hips, and between the kiddo’s legs. With such a secure stroller harness, you’re almost certain that your baby will remain in the seat even when sudden momentum tips the pushchair.
The child is less likely to slide or wiggle out of the restraint and fall off when your eyes are busy checking out the endless distractions of today’s hectic living.
Strollers Have Been Known to Tip Over
Stroller tipping over was another common area of concern, accounting for 16 percent of all stroller-related mishaps. Cases of strollers tipping over even with the baby seating inside have been reported.
So, when buying a stroller, make sure it’s stable whether stationary or in motion.
Check the Harness Straps and Buckle
The straps of the safety device need to be adjustable. Also, the straps should be firmly anchored. Make sure the harness has several slots for easier shoulder height adjustment.
As for the buckle, they should be easy to clip into place when securing the little stroller passenger. However, they should not be too easy to unclip that even small but busy hands can unfasten them comprising their safety.
Sun Canopy/But Net
No matter when you live, you’re going to want to protect your child from UV rays and inclement weather. Some strollers feature a sensor that tracks UV index inside baby’s room on wheels. Past a certain limit, the sensor activates the canopy to roll out into a full canopy for maximum UV light protection.
But then there are skeets out there and they like buzzing near smooth soft skin and sometimes biting. If there’s tons of skeets where you’re at, you’ll want to install a bug net as well. Fortunately, there are bug net/sun cover combos that work well.
You can choose a reversible canopy or a pull-down/adjustable canopy to protect your little one against wind and the sun’s glare. A reversible canopy is a 180-degree-travel option that offers protection from the front or behind. And a pull-down canopy keeps the entire front of the kid-mover shielded from the elements.
Some canopies have a viewing port or a clear window on top so you can keep a watchful eye on them while protecting them. Most new parents would find this feature that keeps the baby in constant view throughout the stroll particularly useful.
Leg Holes, Sharp Edges, and Protrusions
If you’re wanting to buy a newborn or infant stroller, it’s critical that it features leg holes. Infant and newborn strollers typically recline to a near-flat position. Infant stroller manufacturers are required to incorporate leg holes that close into the design of all strollers that recline fully.
These leg holes close so that the newborn or infant may not stick their little legs through and who knows what might happen. To close these holes, stroller makers use hinge-based molded footrests or mesh.
Though not a legal requirement, strollers whose leg holes don’t close don’t recline fully. That is, if the hole doesn’t close, it’s not an infant stroller.
In the 1990’s, the CPSC did an extensive survey on stroller injuries. The entity found that the majority of deaths of children under 9 months happened as a result of entrapment in the leg hole openings.
Sharp edges and protruding parts can also cause problems. So, be sure that the option you’re interested in has been used safely by many parents. Be sure to read user reviews before purchasing.
And when shopping for an infant or newborn that reclines fully, make sure that the leg hole openings can be closed.
Pay Attention to Stroller Brakes
If you want to slow down while jogging or come to a complete stop for whatever reason, you need reliable brakes on your stroller. A good stroller braking system can save your child’s life, literally.
3 kinds of stroller brakes
There are 3 types of brakes found on strollers namely:
- Hand brakes
- Foot brakes/parking brake
- Stroller auto stop brakes
Make Sure the Pushchair Features a Good Parking Brake
A well-designed foot brake should be flip-flop friendly. If when you test the braking mechanism with light shoes such as flip-flops it hurts your feet, that can’t be good. A good stopping system should be convenient to use and should work without hiccups.
When evaluating strollers, be sure that each option you’re eyeing features a fully effective parking brake. A parking brake makes sure that your pram stands safely stationary when you want it to.
To activate the brake, all you need to do is step on some lever once or twice to lock the rear wheels. It’s best if the brakes lock two wheels instead of one. It’s even better if you only need to press the foot-operated brake tabs once to activate the parking brake.
Some options have a brake status indicator that lights up red when the brake is engaged and green when it’s not. You don’t really need this extra feature, but if it increases safety in some way, why not?
If Buying a Jogging Stroller/Jogger, Consider a Hand Brake
Many modern strollers have a hand braking system (not unlike a bike hand brake) in addition to the parking brake/foot brake. The thing with a hand brake on a stroller is that it tends to drive the cost up.
So, do you really need a hand brake on a running stroller? Yes and no. You don’t need a hand brake on a jogger if you’ll mostly ride it for regular strolls on mostly flattish surfaces.
But if you live in the hilliest place on Earth and are always doing hilly hikes and walks, definitely go for hand brakes. Hand brakes are designed to help you slow down when cruising fast with a jogging stroller. Read stroller reviews to learn how the brakes on specific models perform before buying.
Wheels Contribute to Stroller Safety
Wheel configuration affects how a baby stroller steers and how pushes over different kinds of terrains. Good stroller wheels have a solid construction and sit level/uniformly on the ground. If the wheels seem incorrectly aligned, those aren’t safe wheels. The same goes if the wheels are loose.
Front-wheel configuration matters, too. Many strollers today come with double front wheels that swivel or lock. These capabilities allow you to navigate varying terrain without issues.
When pushing the stroller over a smooth surface, you want to keep the front wheels in the swivel mode for easier steering. But when the paved path transitions to a rough surface, you want to be able to lock the wheels so that they stop swiveling and roll facing forward only.
Most 3-wheeled strollers have a non-swiveling front wheel. Swiveling supports steering, and a wheel that doesn’t swivel causes maneuverability to suffer to some degree.
What About Automatic Brakes on Strollers?
Britax, a well-known car seat/pram/baby stroller brand, is no stranger to product recalls thanks to faulty handles on car seats. But those are not the only trials and tribulations the company endured.
A few years back, two Aussie children died in disastrous pram accidents because the automatic braking system failed. Fortunately, the company has been adding a parking brake and a wrist tether for improved safety ever since.
As long as there’s a parking brake in addition to the auto brake, you’re good. But you really don’t need an auto braking system.
Handlebar Height: Consider Adjustable Options
If you’re a tall or rather short dad or mom, stroller handlebar height is something you’ll want to keep your eyes peeled for.
Tall parents slouch over their stroller and end up killing their backs if the handle is too short. And petite moms and shorter dads struggle to get wrist fatigue if the handlebar sits too high.
The market offers quite a few brands that fit taller parents comfortably and many models that fit shorter people without wrist discomfort.
One of the best ways to solve this short parent/tall parent handlebar height mismatch is to choose a stroller with adjustable handlebars. Another situation where a stroller with adjustable handles is when you and your spouse have a huge height difference. Preferably go for a choice that offers a wide range of handle height settings.
Strollers that work for tall parents
- BOB Revolution Flex
- Thule Urban Glide
- Chicco Activ3
Strollers that fit short/petite parents
- Evenflo Pivot Modular (handlebar sits 40″ above the ground)
- Chicco Viaro (handle 40″ above the ground)
Strollers with expandable handle height:
- UPPAbaby VISTA with telescoping handlebar
- Baby Jogger City Mini GT
- Mountain Buggy Duet
Please read reviews to know specific models that will work for your height.
And if no model fits your height, consider using stroller handle extensions.
Ease of Use: Who Likes Complicated Things?
Regardless of the type of stroller you’re considering, ease of use should be a top priority. If you’re wanting to buy a travel system, make sure that you can snap a car seat in and out quickly and easily.
You want a single-click system that makes things super convenient while providing all the safety your kiddo needs during the stroll. Go for a simple, clean design that doesn’t incorporate tons of components such as straps or even an adaptor.
What if you don’t like any of these complete infant car seat/stroller systems? In that case, you can buy a stroller and infant car seat separately and connect them using the right adaptor.
There’s nothing wrong with using an adaptor, though. An adaptor helps you attach an infant car seat to a stroller. But with some travel systems such as Chicco, Nuna, and Graco, there’s no need for adaptors and these travel systems don’t come with an adaptor.
Foldability is another important consideration. Many strollers today are marketed as being one-handed folds. With such a unit, you can quickly open and close the stroller with one hand. That’s a SUPER important feature because it lets you hold the baby in the other arm as you fold the stroller.
However, not all one-fold strollers are actually easy to assemble or fold with one hand. I encourage you to read around before purchasing so you can learn what recommendations are truly one-handed folds.
Choose an Age-appropriate Stroller
If you’re buying a stroller for a newborn as opposed to a six-month baby, you want one that’s designed to accommodate their unique needs. Newborns are different in that their necks aren’t strong enough to support their heads.
And as you might already know, the head of children that young are out of proportion with the rest of the body. In fact, a child’s head measures roughly half the body length in centimeters plus 10cm according to the University of Rochester Medical Center.
Here’s the point: a newborn needs a stroller that’ll support their weak neck and head. If they don’t get adequate neck and head support, they’ll likely slump over, and that can’t be good.
So, for newborn babies, it’s best to choose a stroller that reclines to an almost flat position. Alternatively, you can select a stroller that doesn’t recline all the way/fully, but that option MUST provide sufficient approved newborn support.
A travel system is a good example of such an option. And the good thing is that you can use a travel system past the newborn stage.
5. Stroller Weight Limit
Most baby strollers on the baby gear market are rated for a weight limit between 45lbs and 65lbs. That said, the 50-55lbs weight limit is the most common range.
What if you have twins or intend to use the stroller for wheeling around two young children? In that case, be sure that the stroller you’re eying has a combined weight limit that accommodates the two tots.
If you’re shopping for a newborn and have decided to go with a travel system, make sure that its infant car seat can support your child’s weight for at least 1 year. At 1 year, they’ll be at 35lbs give or take.
Portability Matters, Too
Choose something that you, granny, grandpa, your partner, or other caregivers can lift up with ease. You don’t want a stroller that’s too heavy that lugging it in and out of your vehicle will literally break your back.
If you take an elevator or climb upstairs to get into your apartment, buy a reasonably light stroller. Good thing is that there’s quite a few super light strollers.
And if you’ll travel a lot with your tot, wrangling a heavy full-size stroller can be extremely challenging. Look for a lightweight travel stroller that packs and unpacks quickly and effortlessly. Choose a compact stroller that fits well in small spaces for when you want to use a cab or use the overhead storage on a plane.
How Much Should a Baby Stroller Weight?
A reasonable weight of a newborn stroller hovers around 11-16 pounds. But if you’re shopping for an older, heavier baby and want the lightest umbrella stroller you can find, there are options in the 8-10 weight range. A 25-pound stroller isn’t a lightweight choice even if the manufacturer describes it that way (they do that all the time).
If you’re a new mom who’s yet to regain their strength after childbirth, stay away from heavy, bulky all-purpose strollers.
Stroller Wheel Quality and Style
Stay away from plastic stroller wheels. Why? Because plastic wheels have zero to little rebound, which means they suck at shock absorption. Even worse, plastic stroller wheels wear down pretty quickly. No mom or dad deserves such crappy wheels.
Larger wheels give smoother rolls and are what you want for rough roads and conquering curbs. But bigger wheels make a stroller heavier and bulkier, which isn’t desirable if you have trunk space constraints.
Plastic Wheels vs. Air-filled vs. Foam-filled Wheels
Go for foam-filled wheels or pneumatics/air-filled wheels. In terms of rolling performance, air-filled wheels roll somewhat better than foam-filled options. That means a pushchair with pneumatic wheels pushes a tad better than one with either plastic or foam-filled ones.
Another reason inflatable stroller wheels are great is that they’re the lightest wheels that can be hard. But there’s a downside to pneumatic wheels. They leak air. And flats suck.
3-wheeled vs. 4-Wheeled Strollers, What’s Better?
Three-wheeled strollers tend to be heavier, bigger, and more maneuverable than 4-wheeled strollers. However, they’re less stable, pricier, and tend to offer fewer extra features compared to their 4-wheeled counterparts. For stability and maneuverability in tight spaces, choose a three-wheeled option with a sit that’s as close to the ground as possible and a swiveling front wheel with an optional locking system. Alternatively, choose a 4-wheeled option with close front wheels for better handling.
3-wheelers usually have two larger rear wheels and a smaller front wheel that swivels. A swiveling front wheel makes steering the stroller easier and more maneuverable in tight spaces. For the most part, you can push a stroller with three wheels with one hand.
The vast majority of all-terrain and joggers have three wheels instead of four. Most double joggers are 4-wheeled for increased stability, though.
Use a 3-wheeled all-terrain stroller if your typical day outdoors takes you through parks, trails, rough roads, and everything else in between. And if you like exercising with your kiddo even on snowy trails, definitely choose a safe 3-wheeler. Be ready to spend more, though.
When should you buy a 4-wheeled stroller? Buy a four-wheeler when you want something for everyday use on mostly smooth or not-so-crappy surfaces. Or if you like things that easily fit in your trunk. Or if you like getting extra features such as canopy extensions, cup holders, storage baskets, and more while spending less.
Four-wheelers have a wider turning radius compared to three-wheelers. Fortunately, you can choose an option with front wheels that are close together for greater maneuverability while not sacrificing stability.
Don’t Forget Stroller Suspension
If you’ll be jogging with your baby over rough terrain or you’re into trail running, choose a stroller that offers a decent suspension system. A good stroller suspension system absorbs road or trail shocks pretty well so your child won’t.
An all-terrain baby stroller is the best option for all kinds of smooth and not-so-smooth. And NO, an all-terrain stroller is NOT a jogging stroller. While the two types of baby strollers share certain characteristics, they’re different.
A jogging stroller has a front-wheel locking mechanism that fosters balance while jogging at speed. You can roll an all-terrain stroller over all kinds of surfaces. And the same goees for a jogging stroller.
You won’t struggle with a jogger or an all-terrain option when pushing it through mulch, beachside sand, mud, dirt, and everything in between.
Consider Buying a Stroller That Offers Adaptability
If you want to buy a stroller that you’ll use just for the infant stage, that’s fine. You’ll likely save money because that’s most probably a basic stroller.
But if you can see another baby on the horizon, maybe you should buy something that offers expandability. An option that offers adaptability can save you money because you won’t need to buy another stroller when another child comes.
A stroller that lets you fit in aftermarket accessories that boost safety or convenience would be a great choice. For example, you want to be able to install an extra seat for a second child.
You also want to be able to attach a stroller board for when you want to carry another kiddo without investing in another expensive stroller.
What Extra Features Does the Stroller Offer?
Stroller add-ons can make your stroller even safer while taking convenience to a whole new level. Some extras you’ll appreciate include
- Adjustable, reversing handlebars
- Toy attachments
- Bunting for cold-weather strolls
- Stroller boards
- Cell-phone clip
- Sun canopy
- Snack tray
- Storage basket
- Built-in holders for baby bottles, cups, cellphone, car keys, and whatnot
- A versatile seat that offers forward-facing or rear-facing positions
If you’re wanting to buy a lightweight baby stroller, you’ll want to have at least the following accessories/extra features:
- A rain cover
- A drink holder
- A UV parasol
- Netting for bugs such as skeets
Durability: Will the Stroller Endure Abuse?
Durability is a super important consideration if you want to buy a stroller that’ll last from infanthood through toddlerhood. Nothing sucks like buying a kiddo stroller that falls apart in 4 months despite it not being exactly cheap.
A mom I know bought a Maxi Cosi (I don’t remember the model) that broke before their newborn reached 6 months.
That felt bad. The utterly surprised mama had to spend on a brand new one, this time a BOB, and no more problems.
A good quality stroller feels sturdy, and its components aren’t flimsy. If you’re looking for the most solid, most durable stroller on the market, pick a traditional stroller. These are the biggest, sturdiest options that can be hard, but portability can be an issue. And they tend to cost a pretty penny.
When buying a stroller online, read what moms and dads on the web who’ve used the item you seek out think about it. It shouldn’t take you more than a couple of minutes to find 2 or 3 stroller recommendations that work for the vast majority of parents.
Baby Stroller Maintenance
Strollers get dirty. Because babies sometimes spit up and seem to enjoy spilling yogurt and crumbly snacks. Obviously, you’ll have to clean up the baby mess regularly.
Go for something that’ll be easy to disassemble and deep clean. Choose a stroller with a removable seat cover. You want a seat cover made of a washable fabric, something you can toss in the washing machine.
How Do You Clean a Stroller?
To clean a baby stroller, take off the seat cover and clean it in a washing machine if it’s machine-washable. Most are. Next, remove the wheels and use a damp cloth to wipe off dirt and debris. Then, give the frame a nice wipe-down. Actually, wipe down the frame every time you stroll through inclement weather. Once everything is clean and dry, attach the wheels back after applying some lube on the wheel shafts. Finally, stow away your stroller in a dry place.
You can store your clean stroller in the trunk, under your bed, or on your balcony. You can also hang the stroller in the garage using a hook or something, or even secure it with a bike lock.
How Much Storage Does the Stroller Provide?
If you’re a city mom or dad, choose a stroller with a big storage basket. The biggest storage basket you can get holds no more than 10 pounds of stuff. Such a basket (an XL basket underneath the frame) would be spacious enough to accommodate your grocery shopping, pulse, bag, and whatnot.
If there’s one stroller feature I’d advise any new mom to have, it’d be a roomy storage basket. I’ve never come across anyone who regretted choosing a stroller with too big a basket.
Will the Stroller Support Your Lifestyle?
How you live your life each day should be a big deciding factor when shopping for a stroller. Are you into daily exercising over twisty trails? Pick a jogger in that case.
And if your lifestyle packs lots of travel, pick a lightweight, compact stroller that fits tight spaces without difficulty.
Maybe you work from home and don’t travel much at all? What if you use public transit or need to go up subway stairs with your baby? You probably need a basic stroller for wheeling your tot from the car to the occasional dinner date with your SO.
If you live in the suburbs and anticipate hiking with your baby, you most likely need a super sturdy travel system. Maybe you’ll also need a smaller, lighter stroller for when you travel to the city.
Will you drive some of the time and walk the rest of the time? Maybe you need a combo car seat and stroller.
Still undecided? Pick an all-purpose stroller and add new styles such as a jogger or travel stroller as your life evolves.
How Many Kids Are You Buying For?
If shopping for one tot and aren’t planning a baby down the road, definitely go for a single stroller that works well with your budget and lifestyle.
If you’re expecting twins or have an 8-month old baby and are pregnant with twins, go for a double stroller. Look for something that’s stable, safe, and affordable, of course.
And if you’re going to have triplets, you’ll want to invest in a wagon or a triplet stroller. Triplet strollers can be hard to find in some places. Plus multiple-seat options cost more than most single-child or double strollers which isn’t surprising.
Stroller Cost: How Much Should You Pay for a Stroller?
There’s tons of cheap strollers that cost as little as $100 and pricey ones that’ll have you part with over $1000. So, is a $1000 stroller worth it?
Honestly, there’s no correlation between how pricey a stroller is and how much you cherish your kiddo. And stroller price doesn’t always correlate with quality or performance or even safety. It’s always best to
You sure can drop $1000 into a new fancy baby stroller, but that’s not something I’d advise anyone to do. In my opinion, it’s smarter to spend somewhere in the $200-$300 and invest the difference in a college fund or something.
Many parents buy a $300 Chicco stroller and usually don’t need to upgrade to something better or replace it due to breakage. Here’s two situations where buying a $100 makes complete sense:
- When you’re insane and have tons of money to burn, literally.
- When the $1000 baby stroller comes with $300 hidden in it ha ha.
Brand: What Are the Best Baby Stroller Brands
Brands don’t matter that much if you ask me and most parents. As long as the stroller is safe, stable, offers the essential features, is maneuverable, and pushes well, you’re good.
That said, be sure to check if the model you’re looking at has been recalled. Also, I suggest that you stay away from brands no one’s ever heard of, though. You don’t want to deal with any of those fly-by-night brands that seem to be sprouting everywhere.
If you’re not sure what brand to choose, try BOB, Chicco, and Graco. These are pretty popular stroller brands, and there’s a reason for that. For me, Chicco and Graco are the best of the best. But that’s not saying they’re the only decent places to buy strollers. And remember, not all products from even the finest companies work every time.
Final Word on Choosing a Baby Stroller
Whoa! That was a mighty long read.
But picking a high-quality stroller isn’t as simple as these contraptions seem. There’s tons of seemingly good options to choose from, which makes settling on a particular one a daunting process.
I hope you found this baby stroller buying guide useful. Now, what’s next? Head over to Amazon and see if you can find something that’ll work for your adorable tot.
I'm Esther Moni, a proud stay-at-home mom and a psychology graduate of the United States International University (USIU) . I hate it when anyone calls me a housewife, because what does housewife even mean? Being a mother of two babies and a pup, Bailey, as well as being Ricky's wife tires me to no end, but I still manage a smile at the end of it all. And when my boys aren't done doing mischief, I juggle writing a post on parenting or baby gear performance for this blog and running my little counselling office based out in Nairobi. <a href="https://www.facebook.com/esther.moni/">Visit my Facebook profile here</a>, and this is my <a href="https://ke.linkedin.com/in/esther-moni-3841b573/">LinkedIn profile</a>, and here's my <a href="https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCKcVb3NNDrURDH8C0KiAE1g/">nascent youtube channel.