Stroller shopping guide
Strollers have as many different features as cars do. I spent countless hours researching and stressing over which stroller would fit into our perfect little family’s lifestyle. The brand you get not only gives you quality but also status. Strollers range in weight, attachments, and style. I think I just about read every stroller research guide there is and finally bought two of my own, a light weight one, the Peg Perego Si and a high end, full feature luxury stroller (Mutsy 4Rider Light Stroller). In hindsight, I would probably have just stuck with the one Peg Perego Si.
Here are the things I would advise any new parent to look for when shopping for a stroller.
As a mom who will be lugging around a baby that grows from 8lbs to 30+ lbs (before they cannot be carried anymore) you will want to keep everything else surrounding your baby light. The stroller is the biggest, heaviest, and bulkiest thing you tote around with you wherever you go. I did not realize how important this factor was when I bought our first stroller. It folded down flat but still took up the majority of our trunk space. After we got our second lightweight stroller, I left our full sized one in the garage to take out for neighborhood strolls only. Here are my favorite lightweight strollers: Peg Perego Si, UPPAbaby G-Luxe Stroller, and the Bumbleride Flite
There are two different aspects of size: the open, strolling position, and the fully collapsed position. If you’re going to be using your stroller whenever you go shopping, going to museums and theme parks, or even to visit a friends’ home, you’ll want to consider the width of your stroller. Some stores have narrow aisles. At Disneyland or other theme parks, you want to be able to navigate crowds. You’ll feel more comfortable with a narrow stroller that doesn’t take up extra unnecessary space as you stroll through these places. When it comes to the collapsed size of your stroller, you will need to decide if you want it to fold down flat or collapse even more like an umbrella stroller. This is the main reason my Peg-Perego Si is my favorite stroller. It’s not the fanciest looking stroller, but it collapses so small and is lightweight yet offers a full recline, a huge canopy, and good maneuverability. It does have a crappy storage basket though.
Babies do not like the sun in their face. If your stroller doesn’t have a large canopy, you’ll have to drape a blanket to keep your little one out of the sun, but that will block out his view of the world. As you look for your perfect stroller, open and close the canopy and see how far it extends. Recline the stroller seat and see how much the canopy still covers. If the stroller of your dreams doesn’t have a nice sunshade, you can always add on the RayShade® UV Protective Stroller Shade. Some of the strollers with the best canopies are the: Baby Jogger 2012 City Mini, Joovy Groove Umbrella Stroller, and the UPPAbaby Vista Stroller. My Peg Perego Si has an awesome sunshade too that covers his face nomatter where the sun is and still allows him to have a view.
4. All-Terrain Wheels:
Even if you think you may not ever use the stroller on dirt paths, I’ve found that having larger wheels make a difference on many different terrains. Paved roads and grass will be much smoother to stroll on with larger wheels. No, you don’t have to get a jogging stroller to have the smoothest ride. There are many strollers who have medium sized wheels that will do just fine. Here are some strollers with larger wheels: Bugaboo Cameleon Stroller, Britax B-Agile Stroller, and JJ Cole Broadway Stroller
5. Compatibility with infant car seat:
Both of my strollers allowed the infant carseat to fit nicely on the stroller frame. This was a very nice feature because many times my son would fall asleep in the car and I didn’t want to disturb him when we arrived at our destination. I was able to easily attach his carseat securely to the stroller and be on my way in no time. This feature is not a must, but just a nice convenience. He’s 16 months old and I can still put him in his stroller with the carseat.
Strollers will range in price drastically. You can get cheap umbrella strollers for $40 or spend $1000 on a nice Stokke Xplory Stroller. I got one expensive one and one mid-level one, both for more than half off by finding them on craigslist and ebay. Once you find the one you want, look for alternative ways to get them. You may be lucky enough to find it brand new or in gently used condition. The most important thing to remember about price is that you may be able to resell it after you’re done using it. If it’s a brand that is in demand, you’ll get a decent purchase price, such as the Bugaboo Cameleon, Orbit Baby, or the Quinny Moodd Prezi. And remember that you’ll be using the stroller for 3+ years so this is an area that you may want to invest in when it comes to baby gear.
Are you going to have more than one kid? If yes, you will want to consider the ability of your stroller to grow with your family. There are some neat features strollers have these days that enable you to purchase attachments that allow you to tote along two or more kids. Some strollers have a double seat (UPPAbaby Rumble Seat) to attach onto the single stroller. Some have a skateboard attachment (Baby Jogger Glider Board) your older child could ride along on while you push the stroller. And then there are the double strollers. Here are my favorites in this category: Bugaboo Donkey, the Peg Perego Duette, UPPAbaby Double Stroller, Baby Trend Double Jogger, the Maclaren Twin Triumph and the Joovy Scooter.
I have a small 10lb toy poodle who loves to ride along when I take a stroll with our baby. He has the perfect little seat in the stroller basket. You may not have a dog, but I’m sure you’ll still love having extra storage space to put your diaper bag, blankets, food, or anything else you want to lug along. Make sure the basket is sturdy. Our second, lightweight stroller had a weak basket that dragged along whenever we put stuff in it. Test out the stroller at the store by putting stuff in the basket and pushing it around. You’ll be able to see how well it maneuvers this way too.
That’s my complete list of things you should consider when shopping for that perfect stroller! Good luck!