Our Top Ranked Strollers of 2016Katie Loeb
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I started working on this particular review post a full year ago. I didn’t intend for it to take this long, but I found quickly that to get a good sense of the strollers I couldn’t just pull them out of the box, buckle my kids in for a minute and do a quick once over. I had to really use them.
I had to use them at home. I had to toss them in my car. I had to use them in the community and at the store. I had to actually put miles on all these wheels to really wanted to find out where each stroller excelled and which family would get the most out of which stroller. And hopefully all that hard work will pay off for all of you reading.
There are several different kinds of strollers and I think it makes the most sense to compare those that are the same type, so I’ve broken this piece down into full sized single strollers, single umbrella strollers and full sized double strollers.
These strollers were provided to me by the companies to test out and review. I am not being compensated by any of these companies to provide a positive review and the opinions expressed are those of me and my family only.
Full-Sized Single Strollers
Best All-Around Single Stroller: Uppababy Vista
It was actually super easy for me to pick my top stroller, and this is unquestionably the best of all the strollers I tried, categories be damned. It drives like a dream, has the biggest basket of the bunch, can transform into a double stroller seamlessly and it’s nice to look at and easy to use. This is the stroller that I will recommend to any parent, without hesitation.
Pros: The Vista comes in a variety of bright colors, with high quality fabric that is easy to wipe clean. I was even able to get sunscreen, which is the killer of stroller seats, off the yellow seat with just baby wipes. The basket is enormous- we actually used it for grocery shopping on several occasions. The handle has multiple positions for shorter/taller parents, the main and second seats can face either forwards or backwards and they recline pretty deeply or sit fully upright. The Vista comes with a bassinet for younger babies and you can add an extra seat to make it a double or a ride on board for an older child who doesn’t like to stroll in a seat.
Cons: This is not an inexpensive stroller, but you are getting what you pay for in terms of quality. It requires 2 hands for folding, though it is still an easy fold.
Runner-Up Best All-Around Single Stroller: Phil and Ted’s Verve
This was a close second for best all-around and the things that kept it out of first were relatively minor. It’s spectacularly well made, but where it excels is in it’s navigation. It is the smoothest drive of any of the strollers I tested.
Pros: This is a very versatile, incredibly well made stroller. The handle has multiple height options and it handles like a dream. The fold is extremely compact for a full sized stroller and this seat has incredible growth potential for older, bigger kids to ride comfortably. It can also convert to a double stroller and you can purchase a bassinet for smaller infants. It has a decent sized basket and about a million awesome accessories for purchase. The handle break is also a nice easy-to-use feature that is a bit uncommon on the market today.
Cons: This may sound silly, but my biggest frustration was that the instruction manual comes attached to the seat, but the stroller is folded and it took me, no exaggeration, 10 minutes to figure out how to open the stroller to get to the instructions that show you how to open the stroller. The manual itself is not user friendly at all, but there are YouTube videos put out by the company that are extremely helpful.
Runner-Up Best All-Around Single Stroller: Bumbleride Indie 4
If I was giving an award for the prettiest stroller, this would be it, without question. The color palette on all the Bumbleride strollers is absolutely gorgeous and the strollers get a lot of attention. I mean this literally — people stopped me on the street to ask what kind of stroller it was and to compliment the colors.
Pros: Beyond being eye-appealing, the Indie 4 has a generous sized basket and high quality tires that create a very smooth drive on a variety of different surfaces. The fabric is made of 50% bamboo and 50% recycled bottles, making it beautiful and eco-friendly. Once folded, the Indie 4 is very compact and can stand up for storage. The materials, especially the fabric seats and canopy, are very high quality. It just has the look of a very nice, well made stroller.
Cons: The fold is a little more complicated than other strollers in this same class, and the set up was a bit less straightforward than some others.
Best High-End Single Stroller: Mima Xari
You may not be familiar with this brand, I know I wasn’t until I was introduced to it at a children’s product expo a few months ago. I was immediately taken with their design. These are cream of the crop strollers that we see celebrities pushing. If you are in the market for a high-end stroller, look no further.
Pros: This gorgeous stroller has almost limitless options in terms of different color options including the different colors for the frame, the seat and interior. The fabric is easy to wipe clean, the seat itself transitions between a bassinette and a typical stroller seat in a quick second and it can be positioned at different heights on the frame.
Cons: The biggest con for typical families is the cost. This is a seriously pricey stroller, but you’re getting quality and fashion. My stroller was also a bit squeaky, but this may not be a widespread issue.
Best High-Tech Single Stroller: 4Moms Origami
4Moms has burst onto the baby gear scene with a variety of high-tech products and the Origami is no exception to their collection.
Pros: Right off the bat, this is a stroller with built in battery power for folding and unfolding. You literally push a button and that’s it and it’s amazing. It also has running lights on the bottom for nighttime walks, which I thought wouldn’t be terribly useful, but I actually really grew to love them. The console will tell you how far you walked and how long, which is great if you’re planning to use the stroller as a workout tool. The colors are also gorgeous and bright and you can buy multiple color packs. Both my kids seemed extremely comfortable in the seat.
Cons: My biggest gripes are the size of the basket, which is quite a bit smaller than it’s competitors and that the seat can only hold kids up to 40 pounds.
Most User-Friendly Single Stroller: Britax Affinity
I had a hard time categorizing this stroller, not because it isn’t great, but because it was just all around awesome and I wasn’t sure how to best describe it. In the end, I think the user-friendliness is the biggest asset of this stroller.
Pros: It’s extremely easy to push, easy to adjust the seat, the footplate, the handle, the recline. It’s lightweight and folds compactly, but has an enormous basket, probably one of the biggest around. The price is also user-friendly, which isn’t terribly common in the full sized single market.
Cons: The biggest issue we had is that the seat isn’t particularly generous for height. So even though it goes up to 55 pounds, my 30-pound preschooler, who is not very tall, had basically already outgrown it both in terms of head space and leg room.
Most Versatile Single Stroller: Chicco Urban
One of the most important qualities in a stroller is versatility. A stroller must be able to work for a number of different sized and aged kids. It needs to be able to adjust quickly and easily because, as anyone with children will know, the situation changes at the drop of a hat.
Pros: This stroller has 6 different seating options, when including using a Chicco Keyfit car seat. The car seat, the bassinet (converted easily from the stroller seat) and the standard seat can each be positioned forward or backwards, which is a bit unusual. Most strollers with bassinets can only face inward, so this versatility is a welcomed change. The stroller handle extends and the material is very nice and plush. It’s also lightweight and folds pretty compactly.
Cons: Even with the handle extended, I had a habit of kicking the underside of the stroller basket because it was just kind of compact. Other than that, I really liked this reasonably priced, insanely versatile stroller.
Best Single Jogger: Bumbleride Indie
Let me just be super upfront with the fact that I am not a runner. I did not put the joggers through terribly rigorous running programs, but for science (okay, Babble), I put on running shoes, loaded up a child and went for a run.
Pros: As mentioned with the previous Bumbleride stroller, these strollers are gorgeous and the material is very high quality. The front tire can be locked or left to swivel and it can be used essentially from birth because of the full recline and full footrest. Like the other Bumblerides, the fabric is made of half bamboo and half recycled plastic bottles, so in addition to being gorgeous, it’s also eco conscious. The tires are air filled and it makes the drive super smooth.
Cons: I am not fond of the seat recline adjustment (you have to pinch a tab and then pull a harness string) and it’s tough to bring it back to upright with the child in the seat. Otherwise, I found this to be a great jogging stroller, even for a novice jogger.
Runner-Up Best Single Jogger: City Mini
Much like the Bumbleride, I ventured into the world of jogging to give this stroller the fairest review possible. I also took it with me on a trip out of town because some of it’s best features also make it an excellent travel options.
Pros: One of the biggest assets of the City Mini is the fold. It’s a one-hand, one-tug fold and the stroller becomes super compact once folded. It handled rough terrain like a champ and has a break on the handle, which makes it both easy for a parent, but tougher for a four year old who likes to unlock the brakes of standard strollers as often as possible.
Cons: The handlebar is not adjustable on this and it’s pretty short, so this may be an issue for taller stroller pushers. The other major complaints I had were that the basket is a bit less accessible than many other full sized strollers and it has the same seat recline adjustment as the Bumbleride where you have to squeeze a tab and either let out slack in a harness, or pull it taut.
Best Travel Single Stroller: Recaro Easylife Ultra-Lightweight Stroller
I actually went back and forth several times about whether to put this in the single or umbrella category, but ultimately, I think it’s a lightweight full-sized single more than an umbrella, especially since it can be used with the Recaro infant car seat. But it is that compact size and lightness that makes it a truly ideal travel stroller. If you’re going out of town and need a full sized stroller that folds compactly and won’t add weight to your load, then this is THE stroller for you.
Pros: Besides being lightweight and folding very compactly, this stroller has a generous canopy and mesh sides that keep the sun out but allow air in. It has a one hand fold and stands upright once folded. It reclines deeply and has a decent sized basket that is super easy to access, even with the seat folded.
Cons: The recline is a little tough to do with the child in the stroller and the basket, while easy to access, isn’t as wide as most full sized strollers (because it’s a smaller stroller in general — not because the basket is disproportionately small).
Best All-Around Umbrella: Uppababy GLuxe
If I didn’t label it as an umbrella, there’s a solid chance that many families wouldn’t realize this wasn’t a full sized stroller. It has many features you wouldn’t expect with an umbrella stroller, like squeeze-handle recline and a large basket, but it stays in this group with it’s compact design.
Pros: It is compact without sacrificing quality, which I think is the mark of a great umbrella stroller. The fabric is plush but breathable, the sun shade is large and the basket is pretty good sized, especially for an umbrella stroller. The recline function is especially great-squeeze and lean the seat back or forward and the adjustable leg support is just icing on a wonderful stroller cake. The carrying handle is seriously one of my favorite features and makes this stroller my favorite to bring on trips. This is a very well designed and high end umbrella stroller.
Cons: The sunshade comes unvelcroed very easily and the brake is really tough to lock and unlock when wearing non-firm shoes (especially flip flops).
Runner-Up Best Umbrella: Maclaren Mark II
I have heard, for years, nothing but good things about Maclaren strollers, so I was beyond excited to get my hands on one. The Mark II is their lightest weight stroller and it is legitimately the lightest stroller I have ever seen. Despite it’s feather weight, it is stable and solidly built.
Pros: As I mentioned above, it’s almost unbelievably light. Like, I’ve handled a lot of strollers claiming to be light and this one surprised me the first time I threw it in my trunk. The fabric is super breathable which should reduce heat for the rider and the colors are bold and gorgeous. There are multiple strap slots and the basket is pretty good for an umbrella stroller.
Cons: Like many umbrellas, it can’t be used until 6 months, and even then, the straps were a little large on my 6-month-old model. Also, the straps are the most difficult to adjust of any that I worked with. It also doesn’t recline, which is a bummer.
Best Budget Umbrella: Baby Cargo Series 50
One of the biggest issues when it comes to umbrella strollers is the inability to easily stow a diaper bag or carry any necessary supplies. Baby Cargo solved this issue by integrating a diaper bag into the design of the stroller.
Pros: As mentioned, it has an attached diaper bag on the back that matches the colors of the stroller itself. It also comes with a plus toy for baby, as well as an infant insert for positioning. It has a smart phone pocket and several internal pockets, in addition to a small basket. The color options are bold and beautiful, the fold is super compact and simple, but the seat doesn’t feel flimsy.
Cons: The basket, as with many umbrellas, is pretty small and the recline isn’t as deep as some others on the market.
Runner-Up Best Budget Umbrella: Cosco
Sometimes, no frills are the best. There’s less to break, less to lose and less to learn how to use. The Cosco umbrella is a low frills, low fuss, good umbrella stroller.
Pros: Easy to set up, easy to fold, nothing to break. It can hold kids up to 40 pounds and has a 3-point harness to keep them positioned in the seat. And the price. It’s almost unbelievably affordable.
Cons: No recline options, no adjustments on the footplate or the handlebars. And sadly, no basket.
Best High-End Umbrella: Nuna Pepp
The umbrella market is pretty varied, from low frills to high end, and the Pepp definitely excels on the upper-end. I actually considered not listing it as an umbrella, but size and function wise, it really fits best here, though it is a bit fancier than the others in its category.
Pros: The Pepp has 3 positions for recline and adjustable leg support. It can be opened with one hand, which is pretty uncommon and the fold is predictably compact. It can be used as a 3 or 5 point harness for growing kids. The Pepp can easily be driven with one hand, which is a great feature for an umbrella, especially since often older and heavier kids use these.
Cons: It is pretty pricey for an umbrella stroller and the basket, much like most umbrella strollers, is pretty small.
Best All-Around Double: The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie
So let me be clear before I say anything — I’m not a jogger. I only run when being chased, so I wasn’t able to really assess this as a jogging stroller in the way a real runner would, but I have used it at an exercise class, in the mall, at Disneyland and several other places. I might not be a jogger, but I’m a stroller user and this is a winner. It is a great, great stroller and it was easy to put this one as first all around. No hesitation whatsoever on my part.
Pros: I cannot possibly overstate how easy this stroller is to push. This is the downfall of most doubles and it’s not easy to push 55 pounds of weight smoothly, but somehow it is with the Duallie. I push one handed all the time, it turns, it goes, it stops, I can even jog without using both hands and then I can push it with my body when I’m too exhausted to stand up straight after attempting to jog. It is easier to push than some single strollers I’ve used. It comes in a variety of colors with very large canopies. I also love that this stroller accommodates much bigger kids than some of the other doubles – my 4-year-old still has growing room. There are netting on the backs of the seats for smaller items and an adjustable push handle with a running tether.
Cons: The recline adjustment is very hard to do while a child is in the seat and especially if they happen to fall asleep and the seats don’t really get fully upright. The harness rests behind the child’s head/shoulders and has left red marks on my kids’ heads on occasion. Also, the basket, which obviously if you’re jogging you’re not going to carry much so that’s not a huge functional loss for runners, is both small and next to impossible to fully access.
Runner-Up Best All-Around Double: Uppababy G-Link
While I was very fond of the other Uppababy strollers, I wasn’t sure how the new G-Link would stand up. I am used to more substantial double strollers in size, and I wasn’t sure how a smaller double stroller would compare, but my concerns were completely unfounded. My 4-year-old fit, my 5-month-old nephew rode in it and was secure and completely safe and it was both easy to push and fold. It’s just a great, great stroller that we use virtually daily, sometimes multiple times a day.
Pros: The G-Link is about as lightweight as you can possibly find in a double stroller and though it is big enough to haul a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old, it fits easily through standard doors. The seats recline fully or they can be completely upright and the adjustment is done with a squeeze handle rather than loosening a harness or a convoluted pinch and pull. They have nice sized canopies with a hidden storage compartments for keys and other small items. Both seats have 5 point harnesses that are adjustable in width and height and the leg rests are also adjustable. The G-Link can be fully reclined and comes with infant inserts, an optional/adjustable barrier at the top and netting at the bottom to safely accommodate even a newborn. And, though this doesn’t seem like a big deal, it has a cup holder, which is a delightful addition.
Cons: The drive is good for a side-by-side double, but it’s not as smooth as some others in this class, mostly I think due to the small size of the wheels. Also, the handles are not adjustable, unfortunately. The basket is split sort of in half, but it’s easily accessible and large for a double.
Best Side-by-Side Double: Combi Fold-n-Go
Side-to-side strollers have the benefit of being easier to push than most in line doubles, however, they can also be too wide and cumbersome. The Fold-n-Go avoids both of those traps and is a really user friendly, high quality, compact side-by-side double. It was also just a tiny step out of first place for this whole category.
Pros: The seats has a number of extra touches that set it apart. It’s got a one hand fold (once you lock the wheels), and comes with 2 full cup holders and a smaller central snack holder in addition to a parent cup holder, all of which are removable for easy cleaning. The canopies are huge and have pockets for small item storage.
Cons: The fold instructions require you to lock the front wheels before folding. I found that it wasn’t necessary to do this to get a good fold, but it’s an extra step that is recommended and annoying. The recline function is a little less user friendly than other strollers in this class.
Best In-Line Double: Contours Options Elite
This was really a dark horse in this whole thing. I was not terribly familiar with it and I did not expect it to be as amazing as it is, especially for it’s entirely reasonable price tag. We have taken this stroller all over the place, including Disneyland, and it served us very well, in addition to being super cute and eye catching.
Pros: This stroller is extremely versatile with both seats facing in or out, infant ca car seat adapters and removable infant inserts. It handles well for how large it is front to back and the seats recline well and easily with a squeeze handle. The fabric options include some super cute choices (we have turquoise chevron and people stop us regularly). Also, the price tag is really pretty incredible for how much stroller you’re getting here.
Cons: The handlebar on this stroller is not adjustable and it’s a bummer. The fold takes some practice, but isn’t terribly difficult. The only other real bummer is that the basket, while really good sized, is hard to access because of the configuration of the seats. We had to take a kid out to get to the basket on a few occasions, which was not ideal.
Best Double for Different Ages: Joovy Caboose
I was super excited to get my hands on this stroller. Knowing Joovy as a company, I knew it would be well thought out and high quality and it did not disappoint. We loved this and it was the perfect stroller for us, having two differently aged kids.
Pros: This stroller comes with two different seating styles — the front seat is a standard stroller seat and the back seat is a bench seat that can be used as a seat (it has a 3-point harness), but there is also a built in standing platform for an older child. It allows a bigger kid a few options and a lot more freedom. The frame is lightweight, making the stroller not much bigger than a single with an amazing drive, while holding both kids comfortably. The basket is enormous and the fabrics are gorgeous and high quality. We found the adjustments, including front-seat recline, to be pretty easy overall and the functionality of this stroller is incomparable. The price is also pretty great.
Cons: The fold was a little tricky and though the basket was large, it was definitely harder to access than some other strollers, when the older kid is seated or standing in the back.
Best High-End Double: Bugaboo Donkey
If you’re familiar with Bugaboo, you know that everything they make is pretty much of the highest quality. I was super excited to get my hands on a donkey after seeing a friend with one. It was so versatile- switching from a side-by-side double to a single, and the multiple canopy options made me pretty green with stroller envy.
Pros: This is a really neatly designed double. It is a side-by-side double, but it can be narrowed into a single, that looks like a normal single, and works like a normal single. The canopies can be exchanged and swapped out and there are a huge number of patterns. The seats recline nicely and the canopies are enormous. The basket is generous and easily accessible. The seats can face forward or backward, it can be used with a car seat or the bassinet and can even fold with the bassinet, which is basically unheard of. The fold is extremely compact, especially for how significant of a stroller this is.
Cons: The only significant con is the price. It’s on the high end, but you are getting a ton of stroller for your money.
Most Versatile Double: Orbit G3
Being a car seat enthusiast, I had heard of the Orbit car seats, but the strollers were new to me and I was impressed with the unbelievable versatility of this stroller. Not just with adding the double extension, but with the way the seats could be used and swapped as well.
Pros: Each seat can rotate 360 degrees and fully recline independent of the other. The frame can be a single or a double can be added and up to 2 ride on boards can also be attached, making this the most versatile stroller on the market for kids of all ages and sizes. The toddler car seat, which is unique in and of itself, can be moved from your car and onto the stroller. I’m not sure if you could physically move it with a sleeping kid, but theoretically it might be an option, which would be appealing to the stronger parents among us. Mostly, it just gives you the freedom to take your kids anywhere in a comfortable, flexible stroller, that fits your family. They also use environmentally friendly fabrics and do not use certain kinds of flame retardants that are a concern for some parents.
Cons: The storage isn’t a basket like most, it’s detachable bags, that are, for us, a bit too small. Also, the price is pretty significant, though you’re getting a lot for your money.