Buying a stroller is like buying a car
You know you need it, but all of the models, features, and options can be confusing… Sound familiar? With my first child I chose the SUV of strollers, a travel system that included both the infant car seat and a conventional stroller. I didn’t try out the stroller before I bought it; I had no idea how to fold it, how much it weighed, or if it had adjustable handles; and I didn’t even check for cup holders. I wanted a behemoth to encase my little one—and I bought one.
Yet after getting the stroller out of all the packaging, I couldn’t even figure out how to fold it. Twenty minutes later, stroller folded, I discovered it barely fit into the trunk of my car. I could take my baby to the mall, but anything I purchased wouldn’t fit in the trunk.
So how do you find the right stroller for you? Invest some time (instead of just money) in deciding exactly what you need and try out several strollers before you buy.
Types of Strollers
The granddaddy of strollers, travel systems combine a car seat and a stroller, making it possible for you to use the system throughout your baby’s infancy and toddlerhood. The car seat locks into the stroller for easy transport. Once your baby can support herself, use the stroller alone as you would a traditional stroller.
Pros: The all-inclusive system gives you more for your money. Plus, it offers a smooth ride and good coverage from the elements.
Cons: These strollers can be the bulkiest of the bunch, and once you decide on a travel system you must choose the stroller and the car seat contained in that system.
Price Range: $150 to $500
Within this group, you will find everything from high-end brand lightweight strollers to inexpensive umbrella strollers. Some strollers may be convertible, switching from a carriage (with baby riding in a bassinet-like compartment) to upright seated stroller with only a few mom-friendly flicks of the wrist.
Pros: Traditional strollers are generally easy to use and fold, and are also rather lightweight.
Cons: Depending on the model, you won’t be able to use these during the first few months of your baby’s life.
Price Range: $20 to $900 and beyond
Favored by moms for their classic style, pram carriages are essentially bassinets on wheels. Built with an elegantly curved lightweight metal frame and oversized wheels, traditional prams function as a cozy place for your newborn to nap while you take a stroll. Prams are intended for infant use only, meaning you will need to purchase another stroller once baby is able to sit up.
Pro: Suspension springs give these classic buggies a super-smooth ride.
Cons: Almost all classic prams on the market in the US are made by exclusive European manufacturers and come with a hefty price tag.
Price Range: $800 to $1,200 and beyond
Becoming more and more popular, carriers offer a simple frame to hold your baby’s car seat. Some seat carrier models come with an extra seat for an older sibling.
Pros: You pick your own car seat. Seat carriers are easy to use, lightweight, and inexpensive.
Cons: Seat carriers can only be used with a car seat.
Price Range: $50 to $190
Special Purpose Strollers
If you’re looking for adventure with baby on board, jogging strollers are the way to go. Once expensive options reserved for the jogging enthusiast, these strollers have come down in price and status, making them more practical.
Pros: Joggers are good for all sorts of roads—and even places without them.
Cons: Joggers can’t be used with a car seat and most joggers are designed for use with babies at least six months of age and beyond. According to Consumer Reports, the three-wheel design sometimes proves less stable over curbs than four.
Price Range: $90 to $800
Strolling with two? Double strollers come in two styles: tandem, where you have one child in front and one behind, and side by side.
Pros: Holds two children.
Cons: Double strollers can be harder to maneuver and heavier.
Price Range: $80 to $600
Within each of the stroller categories you can find hybrid strollers such as double jogging strollers.