MAMA PICKS: best strollers

Strollers: of all the baby gear you will buy, the right stroller may be one of the most important decisions you make. I don't say that lightly, because in my three years of parenting experience, I have gone through at least seven strollers, trying to find the best option for one kid, two kids, walks, parks, malls, jogging, and otherwise containing children when I don't want them running amuck. I have read countless reviews, exchanged with friends, bought and sold on craigslist, and I have come to one conclusion: stroller shopping is hard, and the wrong stroller can be a pain in the butt. Or lower back, to be precise.


We wanted to take some of the guesswork out of the equation for our readers, so for the last two months, we have been testing a variety of strollers in every category, to find the perfect fit for every need. Here are our favorites:

{Best Daily Double}

When you have two children, it makes the stroller quest all the more challenging. It's particularly hard to find a stroller for two that is not cumbersome and limiting while shopping. If you go for the side-by-side, it often won't fit through doors and store aisles. Yet if you go for the tandem, it can be long and hard to push, and very heavy to get in and out of the car. Enter the Joovy Caboose Ultralight.

Designed for use with an older toddler and an infant, this tandem stroller is a compact, lightweight, easy-to-use alternative to bulkier, heavier double strollers. It turns easily and tightly, and the distance between the front and back wheels is shorter than other tandem strollers, so it doesn't feel like a train.

This stroller is a dream for those with kids close in age, since it allows lots of options for the older child (sit, stand facing forward, stand facing backward, walk). A mobile child can easily climb on and off by themselves, so it fosters some independence. But at the same time, you can still strap the child to the second seat, for those squirmy moments that require a bit of containment. And I love, love, love the fact that this stroller is compatible with most carseats, so that you can easily transfer an infant from car to stroller without waking them up.

One other feature we love: it comes with a parent holder - so you have a place to stuff your keys, water bottle, cell phone, and other things you need to reach easily.


{Best Double Jogger}
Not a jogger? Jogger strollers are not just for athletes! It took me a long time to finally invest in a jogger, because I didn't exactly jog, and it seemed like a big step. But I could feel the strain of pushing my kids in a standard stroller on longer walks - it was killing my back and even my wrists. The first time I finally switched over, I was sold!! The wheel size of a jogger will totally change the experience of pushing your kids around town . . . even if you are just a walker. And if you compare it to the price of childcare and a gym membership - it may even save you some money as you drop the baby weight.

If you are in the market for a jogger stroller, there is one feature that is most important: a swivel wheel. I REPEAT: a swivel wheel is critical!
This is what allows a jogger to handle corners and take turns. So unless you plan to spend all of your time running or walking in a straight line, go for the swivel.

The best double jogger, and the one I currently use with my kids, is the BOB Revlution Duallie Jogger. It has both of the features I just mentioned - huge, shock-absorbant wheels that practically push the kids themselves, and a swivel wheel so it turns on a dime. The Revolution is designed to strike a balance between a walking and jogging stroller. I have used it on neighborhood walks and even on a 3k run, and it is a dream. One of the things I love about the BOB is that they have designed the wheels a bit closer than most double joggers, so that it is narrow enough to fit through a standard 32-inch door. Actually, anywhere a wheel chair can fit, this stroller can fit.

The other thing I love are the independent sun canopies, which fold down to practially cover my children completely. It's great for when one child is napping and the other wants to see the sights. I also love that there are two decent sized baskets on the back of each seat. I highly recommend the handle bar console/cup holder. Without it I was lost. It stores my keys, phone, wallet and two water bottles. Even if you have a different version of a jogger, the BOB handlebar console will likely fit and is a great convenience item for under $25.


{Best Lightweight Single}
If you are in the market for a light, compact stroller that is a step up from the umbrella stroller, look no further. The Mutsy Spider is a great option from a trendy new company. It's as easy to fold as a traditional stroller, but with a wide-wheel base that is designed to be easy to push and very maneuverable and comfortable for baby. Truly able to be collapsed with just one hand, it folds with ease into an incredibly compact unit for storage or even subway rides.

It has some features that are hard to come by with a stroller this compact: a basket that is easy to access, a generous canopy, and a cozy seat that is padded and reclines for tuckered-out tots. It has modern, eye catching design and comes in lots of fun colors. The Spider handle is a single bar covered in soft foam, that adjusts to varying heights. It is comfortable to push and the open design allows toddlers a great view of the world around them.





{Best All-Around}

Finding the stroller that can take you from the mall to the bike path is a challenge, one that Bumbleride seems to have met with their Indie Stroller. And while there are some $800 with the same feature, the Bumbleride has all the function and style for half the price.

Folding and transporting this stroller is easy. The Indie only weighs 20 lbs, so it's light. There are straps that keep it folded, and a carrying handle too, so it's great for a compact car or urban mama.

The Indie is easily compatible with most infant carseats, and it's really easy to attach the car seat bar and strap the seat to the stroller. The larger inflatable tires provide a smooth ride, which makes it function almost like a jogger, but without the size and weight. It's easy to steer with one hand.

It features a seat that reclines almost completely flat so it could be used as a bassinet, and a large, adjustable canopy perfect for a sleeping baby. The adjustable handlebar is great since it accommodates the one foot difference between myself and my husband.

With things like a cup holder, foot muff, and a large storage basket, it's as stylish as it is functional. Best of all, the fabric is totally washable and can be replaced with the newest fashions and color for the next baby!

4 comments:

  1. We're in the market for a new stroller and this was so, so helpful! Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  2. We have 3 strollers ~ each one to meet a different need. I really wish there was some sort of company that rented strollers so you could take them for a serious test ride before the final purchase......

    1. Expensive one we had to have before the baby was born - does not travel well and too expensive to leave at Disneyland.
    2. Jogging stroller so the expensive one doesn't get thrashed on the dirt trail we walk on. So I guess it's really the walking stroller.
    3. Cheap stroller for travel and disneyland

    ***Maybe we should rent our strollers out to people in the market for a stroller....

    ReplyDelete
  3. The stroller renting is a brilliant idea. It is true about needing to have a stroller for places like disneyland. My really nice peg stroller was stolen one day at disneyland! My wallet, car keys and cell phone were tucked inside of the stroller (stupid of me, I know!), and I just kept calling my phone number over and over. Someone had stolen the stroller and taken all the cash and credit cards out of it and dumped the stroller in the bathroom at the main entrance to disneyland.

    I remember thinking to myself, "Wow. If I was really poor, I would be tempted to come here and go stroller shopping. They are all lined up with no one watching" It kind of ruined my disneyland day.

    ReplyDelete
  4. If you live in Southern California, or are traveling to the area, there is a great stroller rental business called OC Travel Tykes. They have a whole "try it before you buy it" business model and I believe they will also deliver strollers to local hotels, etc.

    ReplyDelete

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