As you tick off the list of must-have baby gear, the stroller might give you pause. With so many styles, models, and price points available, how can you possibly choose one? Relax—we’ve got you covered. Buckle your seatbelt, raise the sunshade, and grab a sippy cup of your favorite drink, as we cruise through how to choose the stroller that best suits your needs.
List Your Priorities
You can check out your favorite blogs and ask your friends for advice, but the choice boils down to one thing: How do you plan to use your stroller?
- Do you plan to take long walks through downtown, hit the trails often, or simply use your stroller for short trips through the mall?
- Will you be using your stroller for travel and bringing it to the airport?
- Do you have a large trunk for storage, or is space a factor?
- Will you be out in different types of weather?
- Do you need a stroller to accommodate a growing family for years to come?
- Do you want to splurge, or are you seeking a budget-conscious model?
Consider these types of factors as you begin to explore your options.
Special Stroller Features to Consider
You may not need all the bells and whistles, but a few never hurt. Think about your desired features so you know what to watch for while shopping. Here are some options you might encounter:
- Snack trays for eating on the go
- A seat that reclines flat (or nearly flat) for naps
- A five-point harness for safety
- A canopy to protect from sun, wind, and/or insects
- A storage basket
- Locking wheels and sandal-friendly brakes for safety
- Removable cushion for easy washing
- A peekaboo window so you can check on baby on the go
- An adjustable handlebar for comfort
- A reversible seat
Types of Strollers
Like cars, strollers come in a range of models to suit virtually every lifestyle.
A typical standard stroller, though it comes in many variations, generally features a comfy seat that reclines virtually flat. Usually, babies face forward, but some models offer the option to face backward. Options range from basic models to top-of-the-line rides equipped with fancy features.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT2 stroller is a bit on the pricier side, but moms love it. It has forever air rubber tires and all-wheel suspension, so you’ll be able to take it on any terrain with ease. It also has a one-hand fold, making it easy to store even with your baby in your hands.
UPPAbaby Vista V2 Stroller’s intuitive design allows for multiple configurations, making transporting a second and third child a breeze — all while strolling like a single. The included Bassinet is perfect for naps on the go. With just one hand you can detach the Bassinet and carry your sleeping infant anywhere. The back of the Bassinet canopy unzips for additional airflow, and the pop-out sunshade shields your child from harmful UV rays, keeping baby cool and comfortable. The VISTA one-step fold is easy and intuitive. The stroller stands on its own when folded and can be folded with or without the toddler seat attached.
For quick trips, sometimes a simple lightweight stroller (aka umbrella stroller) is all you need. Generally, they don’t come with many features, but they fold up quickly, they’re easy to carry, and they’re small and compact so you can tuck them in virtually any closet or trunk. One caveat: Many don’t recline nor offer much head support, which means they are definitely geared to toddlers rather than infants.
The JOOVY New Groove Ultralight Umbrella Stroller is only 14 pounds, but it offers plenty of extras that many umbrella strollers lack: cup holders, a zippered storage pocket, a shoulder carry strap, and the ability to recline nearly flat so even younger babies can nap.
For quick trips out, weekends away, and everything in between—the Nuna MIXX is the one. This upgraded stroller features a no-rethread harness for custom height adjustments and a removable & reversible two-piece seat pad that grows with baby. Plus its smooth maneuverability allows you to push with one hand, for some fun spins along the way.
If you’re going about your day with two little ones in tow, a double stroller might be your ideal option. Consider the ages of your children: Do you have twins, a baby, and a toddler, or simply a big kid who likes to rest those tired feet once in a while? Double strollers come in various styles, including side-by-side, tandem (front and back), and sit-and-stand.
Our Pick: The Graco Ready2Grow has twelve riding options for children ranging from infants to toddler. Have your baby face you while they’re younger, then remove the back seat as they get older to have a bench and standing platform. It has a one-hand fold and an extra-large storage basket, so you’ll be able to carry everything you need while out with two kiddos.
Sometimes you want the whole shebang—a travel system that pairs a matching infant car seat with a stroller that carries it. Then, when your baby is too big for the infant car seat, the stroller is still suitable for years to come. Travel systems are a bit more spendy, but for good reason.
Chicco already offers one of the top infant car seats. Pair it with a stroller and you get the great Bravo Trio Travel System. The stroller has a one-hand fold, auto-positioning wheels, and stands up on its own when folded. While your baby is still little, you can remove the strollers chair to hold the car seat. As your baby grows, you can put the seat back in to accommodate your growing toddler.
Doona’s infant car seat and stroller combo was designed to provide parents a safe and practical solution for their baby, both in and outside of the car. It is the world’s first infant car seat and stroller in one, providing a complete and fully integrated travel system, allowing you to move from car seat to stroller in seconds.
Doona, with its unique hybrid functionality, has been tested to meet the strictest US standards for Car-Seats, Strollers and Hand-Held Carriers.
These sporty strollers are sturdy enough to keep baby comfy while you get some exercise. Keep in mind these are generally made for babies 6 months and older and they’re not compatible with car seats. You’ll want to consider factors such as comfort for both you and your passenger. Look for a five-point harness, a reclining seat, reliable brakes, and safety tether to prevent runaway stroller situations.
Our Pick: The BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 Jogging stroller accommodates babies from birth (with an infant car seat adapter and infant car seat) to 75 pounds. The locking swivel-front wheel makes it easy to navigate, while the high-tech suspension system and air-filled tires give baby a smooth ride.
Pro Tip: Take It for a Test Drive
You wouldn’t buy a car without first taking it for a spin—and if at all possible, you should do the same when you’re considering a stroller. Can you steer it easily? Is the handle a comfortable height (or adjustable) so you’re not forced to stoop over or reach too high? Is the harness easy to use? Can it collapse easily? Does it have a spot to carry your essentials? Is it easy to clean? Don’t make a snap decision that you’ll regret for the next few years.