Babble Blogger Favorites: Single Strollers 2012Michelle Horton
Just as I did with double strollers, I spent months rounding up local parents with a variety of lifestyle needs and putting dozens (and dozens! and dozens!) of strollers to the test. We went from city streets to rural county fairs — off-road running trails to family vacation spots — and put them in and out of countless trunks on all points of the car spectrum.
And 2012 was a big year for strollers. We had crazy innovations with high-tech strollers (like the 4Moms Origami), big-name redesigns (like the Bugaboo Cameleon 3), and brand new first-timers to the stroller market (like Bloom). The strollers have gotten more compact, easier to use, and more stylish than ever — with more options for virtually any lifestyle. But with more options comes bigger decisions, and it’s all about finding the right stroller for you.
To help in your search, I compiled reviews of my favorite strollers for all lifestyles and budgets:
Luxe Bells and Whistles 1 of 43The fanciest shmanciest strollers, sure to turn heads.
Bugaboo Cameleon 3 2 of 43Bugaboo completely redesigned their most popular all-in-one stroller, the Cameleon, with one mission: to make all of their features EASIER — easier open, easier fold, easier adjustability. Unlike other "luxe" strollers on the market, you won't just love the Cameleon for how it looks; you'll love it for what it does. You're paying for utility, not just a label.
Best for: Anyone who can afford it. If you have the money to buy a Cameleon, I can't imagine you being disappointed. More specifically, this is a fantastic option for those who want all-terrain options in an urban-friendly package, and for extra tall parents. It's also best for new parents looking for a stroller that grows from newborn and beyond.
Not best for: …anyone on a tight budget. Listen, there are other great strollers out there — really. You can find something in your price range and be perfectly content. But the Cameleon is added luxury and convenience; it's a piece of gear that you'll truly love.
Favorite features: Above and beyond, the Bugaboo Cameleon is the most supremely maneuverable stroller in existence. If there's one thing that Bugaboo is known for, it's their one-handed, buttery-smooth maneuverability that's recognizable in a blind push test. Everything about this stroller is EASY — which is good, because having a baby can be hard. Do we really need gear that makes our lives more difficult? Folding, unfolding, pushing, adjusting — all easy.
All of the standard stroller features are noticeably better on a Cameleon — the recline, canopy coverage, undercarriage basket, reversible seat, adjustable handlebar, etc. But one of my all-time favorite features of the Cameleon — a feature that sets this stroller apart — is that the handle actually reverses on this stroller, flipping over the seat and turning it from a big-wheels-in-back stroller to a big-wheels-in-front stroller. Why? To tackle any type of terrain — from sidewalks to snow. It's brilliant.
And at only 21 lbs., it's a very manageable weight for a stroller that does so much. It even comes with a bassinet!
Age/Weight limits: Newborn (with included bassinet) to 40 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $980 +
Bugaboo Donkey Mono 3 of 43Quite possibly the most coveted stroller on the planet — the Donkey is made to be a double, but it has some redeeming qualities as a single as well.
Best for: Parents who feel money is no object for a top-of-the-line stroller. It's also best for families who are positive that they'll need a double somewhere down the line, and are buying a single stroller with that purpose in mind. And as a single stroller, the Donkey Mono is best for city dwellers who use their stroller as their shopping cart/car, as it has a huge amount of storage space.
Not best for: Parents on a budget — of any kind.
Favorite features: I'm convinced that there's no stroller with better maneuverability than a Bugaboo — which is consistent throughout their entire line-up of high-end strollers. As a city stroller, the Bugaboo tackles broken-up sidewalks and gravel like a boss, and it has an unprecedented amount of storage space due to a roomy side basket on top of the undercarriage storage space. And as an all-terrain stroller, the Donkey can go into two-wheel mode to effortlessly glide over snow or sand, without breaking a sweat.
It also has a full-coverage canopy, reversible seat, and — most notably — the ability to transform into a double. Not by stacking one baby on top of the other with a smaller second seat, but by simply expanding width-wise — adding another equally roomy, equally full-featured seat, while still being slim enough to fit through a standard doorway.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months 37.5 lbs. for each stroller seat — a a relatively low weight limit, which most kids will outgrow before they hit age 4.
Buy from: Diapers.com, $1,199
Orbit Baby Stroller G2 4 of 43Orbit Baby is one of the biggest "it" strollers for the Stars — packed with smart innovation and a modern look.
Best for: The modern, urban parent who likes to stand out in a crowd.
Not best for: Anyone looking for a simple, basic stroller system. This is a system — best used with car seats and attachments. It's not a cheap system, but it all works beautifully together.
Favorite features: My personal favorite feature is its groundbreaking SmartHub system, which is basically a circular ring where you can dock the stroller seat (or infant car seat, or even their TODDLER car seat) and quickly rotate and spin the seat 360-degrees. A close second for "favorite feature" is its eco-friendly fabrics, certified by Oeko-Tex Standard 100.
More features: Super maneuverable, easy to break down (although the stroller seat is a bit bulky for extra compact trunks), and it also has an adjustable footrest and a (yay!) cup holder for mom. As for the storage — if you need a big UPPAbaby-Vista-sized basket for shopping bags and home-away-from-home storage, the Orbit Baby's "stroller travel bag" is a little on the smaller side, and a little harder to access than a traditional basket. But on the other hand, you can remove it and take it in with you — which is good for urban parents who might leave their stroller outside of museums and shows.
The only downside with some testers was the two separate handlebars (rather than a traditional unibar). Some really liked it; others felt it was difficult to steer over uneven terrain. But BONUS: You can eventually upgrade to the mega-cool Orbit Baby Double Helix
Age/Weight limits: Birth to 40 lbs. (up to 65 lb. when using the Orbit Baby Toddler Car Seat).
Buy from: Orbit Baby, $780 - $940+
Stokke Xplory 5 of 43The Stokke Xplory is one of the most expensive single strollers out there — putting it right up there with the Bugaboo Donkey Mono (except the Donkey has the option of growing into a double).
Best for: Urban parents. It can maneuver in and out of stores easily, it has a smaller sidewalk footprint than other luxe full-size strollers, and it's the best stroller to take in restaurants — seeing that the Xplory can easily double as a highchair.
Not best for: Anyone who needs a stroller that can handle uneven terrain like a champ. If you're in a more rural environment, the Xplory doesn't exactly have the center-of-gravity design that you need (nor the best wheels). It can feel a little rickety going over rocks and grass (which isn't what you want at this price point). And although the stroller easily collapses, and can be easily carried, the non-collapsible seat can take up a nice hunk of room in the trunk.
Favorite features: My absolute #1 favorite feature of the Xplory is that the seat can be raised right up to eye level — which is what every mom wants for parent-facing infants (rather than having them look at your thighs as you walk). This is also extremely useful in restaurants, because you can raise the seat to table height — even in forward-facing mode.
Age/Weight limits: infant to 45 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $1,100
Modern Innovation 6 of 43These strollers are reinventing the stroller industry.
4Moms Origami 7 of 43This is the smartest stroller that's ever been made. It tracks your mileage, illuminates the sidewalk with headlights, tells you the weather — it even charges your cell phone, for Pete's sake. To top it off, it automatically opens and closes with the touch of a button, like a futuristic robot stroller, leaving your family and friends — not to mention that smug playgroup mom always flashing her Bugaboo logo — awe-struck. (That, alone, might be worth the price.) This stroller, without a doubt, will change the future of strollers — so kudos to 4Moms for continuing to shake up a saturated market. That being said, I feel like it's almost a 1.0 model that isn't perfected for the average parent. Not because its unsafe, but because it's not exactly practical for the run-of-the-mill stroller user.
Best for: Honestly, this is best for someone in an urban environment with a ground-level house or apartment. The built-in generator (yes, there's a generator!) makes this — by far — the heaviest single stroller I've ever used. Yes, it has luggage-style wheels so you can pull it along like a suitcase (smart), but you still have to get this thing up and down stairs, and in and out of a car. Lightweight it is not. But if you're just wheeling it down the sidewalk and in and out of elevators, the Origami has a very small, crowd-friendly footprint.
Or, of course, the Origami is best for someone who craves the latest and greatest gadgets, as this is the techiest stroller that's ever been made.
Not best for: Parents who don't like to cause a scene — because you will certainly cause a scene with this bad boy. Listen, in all seriousness, the average parent is looking for a stroller that holds its value — that is functional and useful, and will get them from Point A to Point B without too much hassle. This is not that stroller. Don't get me wrong — I think this stroller has brilliant qualities, and I truly love everything that 4Moms does — but it's way too heavy (over 30 lbs. alone — not including your kid!), the detachable hanging storage bag is a little awkward for diaper-bag-carrying moms (although there are plenty of pockets all over the stroller), it doesn't have impressively capable wheels for all-terrain needs, and it doesn't grow much with a child.
For this kind of luxe price point, I want a stroller with a reversible seat and a higher age limit. Although the stroller is designed to hold up to 40 lbs., most 3 year olds will be cramped in the narrow seat. That being said, the Origami is compatible with Graco SnugRide infant car seats for an extra $60, so that's an option. But still, the stroller recline is minimal, making it just "eh" for stroller nappers, and it's certainly not the type of stroller suited for public transportation. If you fit into any of these categories, then this isn't your stroller.
Favorite features: What the Origami lacks in practicality, it quadruples in safety concerns and "cool" factors. The core design revolves around a built-in generator, allowing it to have daytime running lights (plus nighttime pathway lights), an LCD dashboard (with a thermometer, odometer, and pedometer), an automatic open and fold (WHICH IS SO COOL), and cell-charging capabilities. And the generator charges as you walk, so you don't need to worry about plugging it in for an extended period of time. It also has built-in cup holders (2 for mom, 2 for baby), and a ton of storage pockets — so maybe you wouldn't need to lug around a diaper bag.
As far as safety, the Origami has built-in sensors that prevent the stroller from closing with a child inside. So cross that off your worry list. It's also made from recyclable parts, and you can recycle the Origami through 4Moms when you're done — upping its "eco" points.
Although this very well might fit your lifestyle, maybe the Origami's features would work better in a jogging stroller design — considering the generator would weigh it down (jogging strollers are typically heavy), the headlights would illuminate your path, and the LCD dashboard could track your speed and mileage. Right? If the Origami shows us one thing, it's that the future of strollers is anything but boring.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months 40 lbs. (realistically in the 2-year age range)
Buy from: giggle, $850
Bloom Zen 8 of 43It's interesting that the Bloom Zen and the 4Moms Origami came out around the same time, because they both had similar ideas, but approached it in different ways. What the Bloom Zen lacks in flashiness (no LCD screen or one-button automatic open), it makes up for in every-day convenience.
Best for: This is the best all-terrain, full-featured stroller for parents tight on space. The way that this stroller collapses down flat is nothing short of genius. And where the Origami is best for the modern, innovative, tech-loving parent, the Zen is more suited for the modern, innovative, fashion-forward parent.
Not best for: Well if you like your stroller to blend in with the pack, then this is not the stroller for you. That, and it's pricey for a stroller that doesn't have a reversible seat.
Favorite features: As I mentioned, the best feature of the Bloom Zen is its mind-boggling, super-flat fold — especially for a stroller with such capable wheels and fancy features. THIS is the kind of innovation that parents need.
It also has headlights and flash hazards — but unlike the Origami, which uses a heavy generator, the Zen uses a lightweight solar-powered system. So you might not get the fancy gadgets — like a cell phone charger and pedometer — but you at least get modern safety features, using smart stroller innovation. Plus it comes in bright CMK colors, as well as a sleek monochromatic neutral.
Parents of newborns: Pair the Zen with Bloom's Yoga bassinet ($250) — which is a 3-in-1 lounger, travel bed, and stroller pram, with two recline positions and an impressively flat fold for storage.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months 44 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $800
Strollers that Grow 9 of 43These convertible strollers just might give you the most bang for your buck — with the ability to transform from a single to a double (sometimes even a triple!) stroller. You might invest more up front, but the long-term value can't be beat.
UPPA Vista 2012 10 of 43Put it this way: If I were pregnant, this is the stroller I'd buy for myself.
Best for: New parents looking to get long-term value out of their stroller.
Not best for: Parents who are positive that they'll need a double, and are buying the Vista for its double capabilities. The option to eventually turn the Vista into a double stroller — with its UPPAbaby Rumble Seat ($100) or a UPPAbaby piggyback Ride-Along Board ($90) for a bigger kid (or third kid!) — is a fantastic feature. That being said, there are similar all-in-one strollers (like the Britax B-Ready, for instance) that are actually better in double mode — mostly because the Vista's second seat doesn't recline or fold down with the stroller. Those aren't huge deals, but you should know that there are better convertible doubles for the purpose of, say, two under two. But as a single that can maybe turn into a double? Awesome.
And like all of these full-size, all-in-one strollers, it might not be the best option for someone super cramped on space. It certainly isn't bulky when compared to similar strollers in its class — and not for all of its features — but it's not in the "compact lightweight" category. If you have a teeny tiny trunk, you might need to disassemble the seat and wheels before putting it into your car — so that's something to think about. But that rings true with most of these convertible single-to-double strollers (exception: Phil & Teds DOT).
Favorite features: I'm a practical kind of girl, so I like when a stroller has the basic necessities: a big basket (the UPPA Vista basket is ginormous and amazing), a full-coverage canopy, an easy one-handed recline that goes upright to flat, a reversible seat, an extendable handlebar, and capable wheels. Not only does the Vista have all of those features, but it does them right.
Beyond the maneuverability and the ability to grow from parent-facing infant to forward-facing toddler to double stroller, this is one of the only strollers that COMES with a sleep-grade, well-ventilated bassinet attachment. Not only can you attach the bassinet to your stroller — making it a sweet pram — but you can turn it into a bed-side bassinet with a separately purchased stand. AND THEN when you're done with the bed-side bassinet, the stand turns into a hamper. So smart and so appreciated — from a mom's perspective.
If you're already familiar with the Vista, new changes to 2012 include: better suspension for a smoother ride, a better recline (now fully flat), and a better ventilated "breezy bassinet" with an aerated mattress for air flow. It also comes in pretty new colors, like orange and pink.
Age/Weight limits: Newborn to 50 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $700 +
Britax B-Ready 11 of 43In my opinion, the Britax B-Ready most closely rivals the UPPA Vista — and, of course, there are small differences that will make you choose one over the other (like car seat compatibility, for instance). That being said, you can find a B-Ready 2012 for half the price of a Vista 2012. They're similar sizes, with similar features and equally smooth maneuverability.
Best for: Anyone looking for a single stroller that can grow with their family — especially for parents sure to use a double. Unlike the Vista, the B-Ready's second seat reclines and folds down with the stroller. It's also best for new parents using a Britax car seat, because you can turn the B-Ready into a travel system with its integrated adapter system.
Not best for: Again, families that need compactness. The B-Ready has a roomy seat, roomy basket, and capable wheels — landing it toward the luxe, full-featured end of the stroller spectrum. I don't, personally, feel that the size is cumbersome — especially not in comparison to bigger all-terrain strollers on the market — but there are certainly parents out there who quickly trade in their B-Ready (or Vista or Stokke Xplory) for a more simple, lightweight option. My biggest piece of advice is to assess your lifestyle and preferences before buying.
Favorite features: If you're familiar with the B-Ready of yore, you should know that there's one game-changing feature change for the 2012 model: NEW WHEELS. The wheels were probably the biggest (only?) downfall of previous B-Ready versions, but they've now added foam-filled rubber tires that ride so smooth, you'd swear they were air-filled — except there's no risk of a flat.
More key features: gigantic canopy, gigantic storage basket, four (one-handed) recline positions, a peek-a-boo window with magnetic closures, and the ability to expand into a double (with a second seat) or Britax's stroller board.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months (birth as a travel system) to 55 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $340
iCandy Peach 12 of 43This stunning European import certainly lives up to its name.
Best for: Parents with a taste for luxury, looking for something equally head-turning yet more unique than a Bugaboo. It's also best for parents looking to buy a single stroller that can eventually transform into a double — although it is perfectly lovely and functional as a single and only a single.
Not best for: Like all of these pricey "luxe" strollers, this isn't for the family looking for the best deal. It also might not be best for parents who are hard on their strollers, as I was scared to scratch up its beautiful, shiny frame just taking it in and out of the car. Don't get me wrong — it's functional and useful, but it isn't the kind of stroller that you take off-roading, or cram under a bunch of junk in a closet. It's just too pretty.
Favorite features: At first glance, the iCandy Peach is shiny and luxe-looking, with high-quality, colorful fabrics. But deeper than that, it was one-handed maneuverability, a generous and accessible basket, and a simple fold that even includes a handy carrying strap.
Plus it turns into a double! Read about the iCandy Peach Blossom (the double) in my full stroller review.
Age/Weight limits: newborn to 3 years
Buy from: Amazon, $816
Phil & Teds Navigator 13 of 43Brand new to the Phil & Teds family, this is my favorite sporty inline yet from the popular company. It's maneuverable and lightweight enough for the average parent, and can hold its own on the terrain front.
Best for: Parents looking for a stroller on the lightweight end of the all-terrain spectrum — and something that can eventually turn into a double, if need be.
Not best for: Jogging. The Navigator may look sporty, but it's not a true jogging stroller.
Favorite features: It has a great full-coverage canopy (with little pockets that you can stick your cell or a water bottle, even), a roomy seat, a generous undercarriage basket (big enough for your diaper bag!), and a maneuverable ride — even over broken-up gravel and grass. If you need something crazy compact, then go for the DOT. If you want something more sleek and sophisticated, opt for the Promenade. But if you just want the best stroller to take you where you need to go — and anywhere you need to go — I'm a big fan of the Navigator.
I also especially like that the Navigator is compatible with Phil & Teds' Face-to-Face Parent Seat , which turns it into a mom-facing ride for the littlest babies.
Age/Weight limits: Newborn to 44 lbs.
Buy from: Lullaby Lane, $500
Phil & Teds Promenade 14 of 43Phil & Teds traded in their sporty inline for a chic, sophisticated upgrade.
Best for: New and/or extra-tall parents.
Not best for: Those on a budget. The Promenade is Phil & Teds' most luxe stroller yet — with a price to match.
Favorite features: The very best feature of the Promenade — besides the option to convert into a double — is that the seat seamlessly transforms into a newborn pram, just by reclining and unbuckling two straps behind the seat. This is such a fantastic option for newborns and smaller infants, as there's no need to buy and store a separate attachment. Also, as a single, the basket is gigantic, and the handlebar extends out further than most strollers — yes, to accommodate the second seat, but bonus for really tall parents tired of kicking the stroller frame. It's maneuverable, sleek, and it grows with your family.
Wondering how the Promenade stacks up as a double stroller? Read the full review.
Age/Weight limits: newborn to 40 lbs.
Buy from: DmartStores.com, $850
Mountain Buggy +one 15 of 43An all-terrain stroller with a unique double capability unlike any other stroller on the market.
Best for: Someone hunting for an all-terrain stroller with potential full-time or part-time double capabilities, yet is still a really great single stroller. Like maybe you babysit for your nephew all week, or maybe you're planning on having a second child close to the first. This is a fantastic option for an all-terrain stroller that grows from one infant to multiple kids.
Not best for: Compact trunks. It's not unmanageably big to push around — in fact, especially as a double, it's more compact than most — but it has a bulky fold for small cars. (Hint: Remove the rear wheels for a better fit.) The fold mechanism, itself, takes some getting used to, as well.
Favorite features: I almost like the +one better as a single than a double, only because it has a full seat recline (only in single mode; not double), and an abundance of storage where the second seat would go. It's also super maneuverable — especially for an all-terrain stroller — with a generous canopy, an included cup holder, and a large undercarriage basket (which is plenty of space as is — plusthere's the back storage to use in single mode).
It's also compatible with the Freerider stroller board ($100) for older kids, as well as the Face-to-Face parent-facing seat ($50) to turn the +one into an infant-friendly single stroller.
Age/Weight limits: Newborn to 44 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $650
More Convertible Strollers 16 of 43
All-Terrain 17 of 43Bumps, grass, rocks, gravel — these all-terrain wheels will tackle anywhere you need to go.
Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle 18 of 43Mountain Buggy's Urban Jungle is a compact all-terrain stroller with plenty of add-ons and accessories for any lifestyle — and it's on the lighter end of the all-terrain spectrum (at 24 lbs.).
Best for: Active families who need a stroller to go from rocky trails to city streets. It's also an option for part-time jogging, considering the Urban Jungle has rear-wheel suspension and air-filled tires.
Not best for: Parents looking for an ultra-compact stroller, or a stroller to transition into a double (although the Urban Jungle is compatible with their Freerider Stroller Board for a second bigger kid).
Favorite features: Its 12-inch air-filled tires (that can swivel or be locked) can tackle everything from uneven sidewalks to grass and gravel, but the frame is still a manageable size and weight for every-day strolling. It comes with a detachable bar for baby and a cup holder for mom, a multi-position handle, and a full recline for the smallest babies.
It's also compatible with infant car seats, the Urban Jungle carrycot (to turn it into a pram), and the Face-to-Face seat that turns it into a parent-facing infant stroller. (The Face-to-Face add-on is also an independent baby seat for picnics or playgrounds).
Age/Weight limits: newborn to 55 lbs.
Buy from: DmartStores.com, $500
Bumbleride Indie 19 of 43I'm not shy about being a Bumbleride fan. They might be pricey, but they sure are well made.
Best for: A lighter-weight all-terrain stroller that's capable of light jogging. It's also a good option for eco-conscious parents, as Mountain Buggy offers a Natural Edition — with fabrics made from 50% recycled materials and sustainable bamboo fiber.
Not best for: Super compact trunks, as the 12" air-filled tires aren't exactly space saving. It's also not meant for serious, heavy jogging — even though the wheels can be stabilized for when you feel like going for a run.
Favorite features: Even though the wheels are hefty, the stroller still weighs a manageable 20 lbs. It's similar to the Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle in size, weight, and abilities, but Bumbleride has a few differences: First, it can't turn into a parent-facing seat, except as an infant travel system. (But the Bumbleride has more car seat compatibility options than the Mountain Buggy, by the way.) It also doesn't come with the extras of the Urban Jungle — like the bumper bar and cup holder. That being said, the Bumbleride feels a bit more maneuverable and "luxe," and the full-coverage canopy has SPF 45 protection.
To top it off: The Indie comes in an eco-friendly option (previously mentioned) and an active sport option, with water-resistant, breathable fabric. And the original Indie now comes in a pretty aqua that stands apart in a crowd.
Age/Weight limits: Infant to 45 lbs.
Buy from: Bumbleride, $490 - $520
Looking for more all-terrain options? 20 of 43
Jogging 21 of 43The best strollers for all-terrain fitness.
BOB Revolution SE 22 of 43BOB is synonymous with "jogging stroller" — and there's a reason why.
Best for: Anyone in the market for a jogging stroller, and willing to pay for quality.
Not best for: …Parents lying to themselves about regularly jogging. Even though it's a maneuverable all-terrain stroller, there are more compact strollers out there for non-joggers.
Favorite features: BOB is known for their supremely smooth ride, whether in maneuverable swivel mode or a locked stable position. And because it's not overly bulky, you can even use it for everyday errands — whether you're going to the mall or the Farmer's Market. (That being said, it's still a bulky option for compact cars.)
In comparison to other jogging stroller, the BOB Revolution SE has more luxe, comfy padding and the biggest sun hood of the bunch.
Age/Weight limits: Up to 70 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $315
Baby Jogger Summit 23 of 43Baby Jogger is known for their smart stroller designs — and the Summit is no exception.
Best for: Active parents looking for a no-fuss jogger that's easier to fold and store than the typical bulky jogging stroller. It's also a great option for an all-terrain environment, with its 16" rear and 12" front pneumatic tires, as well as older, taller kids (it has a 24" seat to canopy height and a generous width).
Not best for: While it's certainly a capable jogging stroller, Baby Jogger has a F.I.T. model for "parents looking to take their fitness routine to the next level" — which basically means that it has a more responsive, pro-level hand brake, and a bigger front wheel for "intermediate training."
Favorite features: The Summit is the most compact jogging stroller that I've used — and I don't know about you, but I prefer my strollers to be as convenient as possible. The one-handed close that Baby Jogger is famous for? It snaps the Summit closed in mere seconds, into a manageable flat fold. Beyond all of its capabilities and features — a big canopy, convenient hand brake, all-wheel independent suspension, a roomy seat — the Summit's close is, by far, the best feature.
Age/Weight limits: 12 months (unless using an infant seat) to 75 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $400
Joovy Zoom 360 24 of 43The best jogging stroller for your money.
Best for: Fitness-conscious parents on a budget.
Not best for: Traveling and/or extra small trunks. It weighs about 27 lbs. with big bicycle-type wheels, so compact? Not quite.
Favorite features: For a jogging stroller that costs less than $250, it certainly has impressive features: a stable jogging mode, generous canopy, roomy seat (with a high weight limit!), and a good-size storage basket. Not only that, but it also includes a foam-like cup holder and zippered storage pouch that folds down with the stroller or detaches.
Age/Weight limits: 3 months to 75 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $235
Baby Jogger POD 25 of 43This is an incredibly versatile 3-in-1 stroller: a jogger, bike trailer, and regular swivel-wheel stroller for one or two.
Best for: Sporty, fitness-focused parents who need a stroller that keeps up with their active lifestyle. It's also an option for families of two, because the POD can fit one or two kids in the enclosed cabin.
Not best for: Parents looking for a regular, ordinary stroller that can also be used for fitness purposes. This is more of a fitness stroller that can also be (optionally) transformed into a swivel-wheel stroller. It's a top-notch jogger and a top-notch bike trailer, but it's not the best regular stroller out there — considering there's no recline, no independent seats, and no infant capabilities.
Favorite features: First of all, the POD can transition from a stroller to a jogger to a bike trailer, all with separately sold accessories ($40 to $60 each). Parents love the smooth, maneuverable ride (via bicycle-like tires), adjustable handlebar, and impressive storage capabilities. And even though it looks like an extra-wide stroller, it still glides through a standard doorway, and — just like all Baby Joggers — it has an easy and compact fold.
Kids love the cozy zippered cabin, complete with mesh pockets to hold sippy cups, snacks, or toys. And if you only have one kid, I guarantee you'll be taking plenty of stuffed friends along for the ride.
Age/Weight limits: Up to 100 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $540 (chassis + bike trailer) - $641 (for all three conversion kits)
Lightweight Strollers 26 of 43Full features — including a reversible seat — but in a more manageable weight than their full-size counterparts.
Bugaboo Bee 27 of 43The Bee is what I, personally, used for years — but I always had one complaint: I wished it had a reversible seat. Oh, if it only had a reversible seat then it would be perfect. And now? Now it has a reversible seat.
Best for: For someone who wants the best of the best stroller, Bugaboo is always at the top of the list. They have the most maneuverable strollers on the market (trust me; I've tested them all), except they have an extravagant price tag. For someone who really wants a Bugaboo, the Bee is a more affordable alternative that will grow from infancy on through the stroller-using years. It's also an awesome urban stroller, considering it has a small sidewalk footprint and it weighs under 20 lbs.
Not best for: Your wallet. Even though it costs less than a Bugaboo Cameleon or Donkey, a Bee still costs a nice chunk of change.
Favorite features: As with all Bugaboos, the maneuverability of the Bee is apparent with one push. When we talk about one-handed strollers, Bugaboo is the top example. It's super compact — both when it's open and folded — and even though it doesn't have fancy features (like a bumper bar, cup holder, adjustable footrest, etc.), it has the features that really matter: one-handed recline, roomy basket, adjustable handlebar for taller parents, and a reversible seat. It's even compatible with Graco and Maxi-Cosi car seats, turning the Bee into a travel system.
Age/Weight limits: Newborn to 37.5 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $650
Baby Jogger Versa 28 of 43Baby Jogger's newest stroller is the stroller you always wished for. ***UPDATE: The Baby Jogger Versa was recently recalled for a safety issue, but only strollers manufactured before August 2012.
Best for: Honestly? Anyone looking for a lighter-weight, functional, easy-to-use stroller that grows with their baby.
Not best for: Parents looking for a single-to-double stroller — in that case, go with the Baby Jogger City Select. This is also not a jogging stroller.
Favorite features: It's everything you love about the Baby Jogger City Mini — compact, easy to use, super-fast close — except it has a reversible seat. AND it gets getter: The Versa has that same quick-fold technology whether the seat is facing forward or backward, which is completely genius and wonderful.
To top it off, everything about the Versa is stellar: a big basket, big canopy, one-handed recline, an automatic lock, an adjustable handlebar and footrest, and smooth maneuverability. It's easy to fit in any size trunk, as well as carry up and down stairs — and the weight limit is extremely generous. And even though it's definitely not as lightweight as the City Mini, it's just as easy.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months to 50 lbs. (also compatible with infant car seats).
Buy from: PishPoshBaby, $400
UPPAbaby Cruz 29 of 43UPPAbaby's newest stroller design is a lighter-weight (22 lbs.) version of their popular Vista stroller.
Best for: Parents who want a full-featured stroller without the extra bulk. If you really love the features of the UPPAbaby Vista, but you don't happen to need the included infant bassinet, then the Cruz might be your answer.
Not best for: Parents looking for the most lightweight of all lightweight strollers. The Cruz doesn't have the most compact fold (in comparison to others in its weight class) and there are other strollers better suited for travel. It's also in the mid-range for price.
Favorite features: The Cruz has everything that we love about the Vista, without the ability to convert into an infant pram. It has a big canopy with a magnetic peek-a-boo window, a giant storage basket, one-handed recline, reversible seat, and an easy fold. And even though it's a lighter-weight version of their top-of-the-line showstopper, the Cruz still handles broken-up gravel and uneven terrain better than some of the other lightweight strollers on this list.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months to 50 lbs.
Buy from: giggle, $460
Mamas & Papas Urbo Stroller 30 of 43This UK-import is the brand's most popular stroller.
Best for: The Urbo is built for urban life, and it really performs best on flat, even surfaces. And because it's so extraordinarily lightweight (20 lbs.) and compact, it's a great option for those who frequently use public transit.
Not best for: Bumps, rocks, and grass.
Favorite features: As far as a stroller that grows with your child, the Urbo is the most lightweight, compact stroller that also has a reversible seat. The canopy is nice and big, the seat is roomy and plush, it includes a bumper bar (which toddlers love), and it has a roomy undercarriage basket. (It's not the most supportive basket, but it's spacious.) The one-handed recline, adjustable footrest, and adjustable handlebar is also appreciated.
Because it's an easy, simple, lightweight stroller that doesn't take up too much space, it could be a good part-time stroller for caregivers.
Age/Weight limits: Birth to 50 lbs.
Buy from: Toys R Us, $500
Quinny Moodd 31 of 43This is one of the most unique-looking strollers I've ever seen. Either you like the design, or you don't.
Best for: Parents who want to stand apart in the crowd — tired of the typical "boring" stroller. It's also best for infants (considering it grows from parent-facing to forward-facing) and extra tall parents (it has an adjustable handlebar). Overall, the Moodd is best as a "fashion" stroller.
Not best for: Parents who get a ton of use out of their stroller. As cool as this stroller looks, and as comfy as it is for kids (my son loves that bumper bar), it feels a little top heavy over big bumps and curbs, and the basket is flimsy. It's not best for traveling, it's not best for bigger, heavier kids, and it's certainly not best for strictly utilitarian parents. If you would rather have a high performance stroller over one that looks "stylish," then this is not the stroller for you.
Favorite features: Beyond the unique look of the stroller, the shining feature of the Moodd is its easy fold and automatic open. I also really like the thin, retractable sun hood, the reversible seat option, and the adjustable footrest.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months (or when sitting unassisted) to 50 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $700
Ultra Compact 32 of 43The best strollers for those short on space.
Quinny Zapp Xtra Folding Seat 33 of 43This is — without a doubt — the most compact stroller I've ever seen. And the seat even reverses!
Best for: Anyone tight on space. Do you have an itty bitty trunk that you think is too small for any stroller? The Zapp Xtra Folding Seat will fit. Do you have very little closet space? You can find a spot for the Zapp Xtra Folding Seat. It's also one of my very favorite travel strollers.
Not best for: Really tall parents, because the short, non-adjustable handlebars might make you feel like you're pushing a doll carriage.
Favorite features: The best feature of this stroller is, absolutely, the compact fold and compact size. And unlike previous Zapp and Zapp Xtra strollers, they finally engineered it so that the seat reclines, reverses, and folds down with the stroller. (Note: When the seat is in the parent-facing mode, it has a permanent half recline — so it can't sit fully upright. But it has three positions facing forward, including a full upright position.)
It has great maneuverability, a generous canopy, and a decent storage basket (it doesn't have the best support for extra heavy stuff). Downsides: As I mentioned, the handlebars don't extend, although my 6'1" husband pushed it without kicking the frame. I also wish it had an automatic lock, but that's a small inconvenience for the impressive compactness.
Age/Weight limits: Infant to 50 lbs.
Buy from: Diapers.com, $350
Phil & Teds Dot 34 of 43The newest member of the Phil & Teds family, the DOT is the most compact convertible inline stroller in their popular fleet — and in double mode, it's the most compact double stroller I've ever seen.
Best for: Space-challenged (and trunk-challenged) parents looking for a single that can eventually turn into a double.
Not best for: Parents looking for a true all-terrain stroller beyond city sidewalks. It looks sporty, but what it adds in compactness, it loses in terrain capabilities.
Favorite features: The best feature about the Dot is, hands down, its compact frame — especially folded. When it's open, the Dot is roomy enough for older toddlers (my almost-4-year-old fits in the seat) and not too tiny to push (it even has an adjustable handlebar and a flat recline), yet it folds down to fit in virtually any trunk or closet.
It's also car-seat compatible with Graco, Chicco, Peg Perego, and Maxi Cosi.
Age/Weight limits: Newborn to 44 lbs.
Buy from: Lullaby Lane, $449.99
Baby Jogger City Mini 35 of 43If I had to choose one stroller for a toddler, I'd end up just using the City Mini out of sheer ease and convenience. The seat might not reverse (like the Baby Jogger Versa), but it's quick and easy for any environment.
Best for: Traveling and urban environments — especially if you're frequently going through turnstiles, jumping in and out of cabs, and going up flights of stairs. This is also the perfect stroller for Grandma or a part-time caregiver.
Not best for: Parents who want a full-featured stroller with bells and whistles. The handlebar doesn't extend, the footrest doesn't adjust, there's no included cup holder, the seat doesn't reverse — but it has a genius one-handed fold that makes it quick, lightweight, and simple.
Favorite features: The fold. Baby Jogger nailed this feature, being the first company to create this "quick fold technology." Just pull up on a little fabric handle toward the back of the seat, and the entire stroller folds in half and locks in mere seconds. Add the weight into the equation (under 17 lbs.!), and you have one hassle-free stroller.
Note: In addition to the original City Mini, Baby Jogger also makes a "GT" version, which has a slightly roomier seat, more capable wheels, and an adjustable handlebar. It also has a weight capacity up to 65 lbs.
Age/Weight limits: Infant to 50 lbs. (65 lbs. in the GT model.)
Buy from: giggle, $250
Britax B-Agile 36 of 43Admittedly, the B-Agile is similar to the Baby Jogger City Mini, in that it has a similar quick fold and travel-friendly design.
Best for: Traveling and urbanites — for the same reason as the City Mini. It has a similar weight (under 17 lbs.), a similar fold, and similar features. Who is the B-Agile best for? I'd say a parent using a Britax car seat, considering it can be turned into a travel system without buying any additional adapters. If you have a Britax infant seat, this is the easiest travel system option with the best overall value.
Not best for: Again, parents looking for a bells-and-whistles stroller. The B-Agile functions as an urban, utilitarian stroller — it's simple, easy, and it works.
Favorite features: I don't care if it's from Baby Jogger or Britax, that one-handed fold is brilliant. It's lightweight (a little over 16 lbs.), it turns into a travel system without any additional adapter, the canopy is nice and big, it has an accessible and roomy basket, and it has a generous weight limit. Out of all of the Britax strollers, this is my favorite.
Age/Weight limits: Infant to 55 lbs.
Buy from: Toys R Us, $210
Phil & Teds Smart 37 of 43The lightest stroller in the Phil & Teds fleet.
Best for: Frequent travelers and minimalist parents. If you want the easiest, lightest stroller that still looks sleek and modern, this is a good choice. I see this as a cool summer stroller — compact for summer road trips, ventilated for sticky summer days, and easy to hose down from sticky ice cream.
Not best for: Bigger kids (the seat is on the narrow side and it has a lower weight capacity), or extra tall parents, considering the handlebar doesn't adjust.
Favorite features: The Smart has an innovative design — most notably its ergonomic molded seat, which can be easily cleaned out. Are you tired of cleaning crumbs and scrubbing stains off of a stroller seat? This is the stroller for you. (They also sell colorful cushions, but I've found most kids are perfectly comfortable without the padding.) I also really like that it comes with an adapter that turns the Smart from a forward-facing toddler stroller to a parent-facing infant stroller (yay!). More options for infants: You can buy a bassinet or turn it into a lightweight travel system for a wide variety of car seats.
I also really like the thin, Spandex-like canopy that provides wide coverage and sun protection. It adds to the overall sleek look.
Sure I wish that the handlebars extended and there was an adjustable footrest, and I wouldn't mind a more impressive recline (there's only two positions), but it's meant to be a basic, lightweight option that still looks stylish.
Age/Weight limits: 4 months 33 lbs.
Buy from: DmartStores.com, $250
Babyhome Emotion 38 of 43When I first saw the Babyhome Emotion — which looks plush and comfy — I was shocked to see how compactly it folds and then how feather-light this thing is. I didn't expect to love it as much as I do, but it won me over.
Best for: Anyone without the patience or muscle capacity for traditionally bulky strollers. This would make a great part-time stroller for Grandma or just an overall awesome travel stroller.
Not best for: Extra tall parents, as the handlebar is rather low. That being said, my over-6-ft.-tall husband said that the Emotion is one of his favorites of the bunch.
Favorite features: It only weighs 13 lbs. and is nice and compact to carry around — yet it still feels sturdy and rides smoothly, even with a heavier toddler in the seat. And unlike other super-lightweight strollers, the Emotion has a nice basket and an adjustable footrest for infants.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months to 55 lbs. (although compatible with Graco, Chicco, and Maxi Cosi car seats).
Buy from: Amazon, $240
Umbrella 39 of 43Today's newest ultra-compact lightweight strollers (i.e. Baby Jogger City Mini) certainly compete with umbrella strollers — the original compact stroller. But stroller companies have responded by improving the features and even the accessories for umbrella strollers — all of which weigh less than 15 lbs., making them popular travel strollers.
Joovy Groove 40 of 43Joovy once again reaffirms why I'm a fan with their Groove umbrella stroller — simple and lightweight, but it has the features we need.
Best for: Traveling, or just as a lightweight stroller.
Not best for: Someone who needs a reversible seat, or who wants more bells and whistles.
Favorite features: Like all Joovy strollers, the Groove has a full-coverage canopy, plenty of basket room, and a maneuverable ride (especially for the more affordable price point). The Groove is further set apart from other umbrella strollers with an adjustable footrest, multi-position recline, built-in storage pockets, two cup-holders for mom, and two additional cup-holder-like pockets for the rider (which is where my son likes to stick his little toys and snacks).
It's a incredibly smart design that addresses basically everything a mom could want in an umbrella stroller.
Age/Weight limits: 3 months to 55 lbs.
Buy from: Joovy, $200
UPPAbaby G-Luxe 41 of 43One step below the Cruz, UPPAbaby's G-Luxe is their lightest-weight stroller in the fleet at only 11 lbs. It's also one of my favorite umbrella strollers ever.
Best for: Parents looking for a quality travel-friendly umbrella stroller packed with features. And for extra tall parents, the G-Luxe might be more comfortable to push than a Maclaren.
Not best for: There aren't many umbrella-stroller-seekers who won't love this stroller. Unless, of course, you're looking for a stroller that expands and grows with your family — in which case you won't find that with any umbrella stroller.
Favorite features: Apart from the typical umbrella-stroller features, the G-Luxe has an extra pop-out sunshade (with SPF 50 protection), an adjustable footrest for infants (similar to Joovy's Groove), a deep multi-position recline (better than the Globetrotter), plush fabric, and a removable cup holder.
My favorite feature? It's a toss up: The removable, washable seat pad is awesome, but I really love the fact that it stands when folded (which is useful on public transit).
Age/Weight limits: 3 months to 50 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $190
Maclaren Globetrotter 42 of 43The Globetrotter — Maclaren's most recent addition to their super-popular umbrella stroller line — is basically a Maclaren Volo (their lightest umbrella stroller) that reclines.
Best for: Those looking for the best traditional umbrella stroller that they can find — it's super lightweight (under 11 lbs.), simple, and has the Maclaren stamp of quality. This is an excellent summer travel stroller, considering it has breezy mesh seats.
Not best for: Bells and whistles. Maclaren has a big name behind them, but you're getting quality simplicity. It's also not best for taller kids, as it has a shorter seat back than other umbrella strollers.
Favorite features: Maclaren basically took the best of both their Triumph and Volo and mashed them together into the Globetrotter — it has a lightweight frame, mesh yet padded seats, fairly accessible basket, and a seat recline (like the Triumph's recline). I feel like it's not quite as sturdy as the Triumph, as far as the seat's back, but my son had no complaints.
It handled smoothly when I tested it in Manhattan — up curbs, over cracks, gliding through crowds.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months to 55 lbs.
Buy from: Amazon, $160
Bumbleride Flite 43 of 43An umbrella stroller that doesn't feel like an umbrella stroller.
Best for: Someone who wants an umbrella stroller as their one and only stroller.
Not best for: Again, parents who need a reversible seat or all-terrain wheels.
Favorite features: The Bumbleride Flite is one of the most maneuverable umbrella strollers I've tested — riding smoothly and feeling sturdy, while still being comfy and supportive for little ones. It has an almost-full recline, adjustable footrest, and accessible storage basket — as well as an automatic lock and carrying handle for traveling. It's compatible with a variety of car seats, as well as the Bumbleride carrycot — so it really could be your one and only stroller.
I do wish that the canopy was a little bigger (like the other Bumbleride strollers) and that the storage basket had better support, especially for the relatively high price tag.
Age/Weight limits: 6 months to 50 lbs.
Buy from: Bumbleride, $250 - $270
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Read more of Michelle’s writing at Early Mama.