Making purchases for your infant children or babies can lead to many difficult choices. Sometimes it feels as though every single item you can buy for your child comes in a cheap version available at department stores and high-end luxury models that cost the better part of a month’s salary. For most people, the majority of the time, the best choice is somewhere in the middle.
Expensive strollers can be worth the purchase, but a price tag will not always equal its efficacy. Before buying any stroller, consider how many children you have, their ages, whether you live urban or rural. Most effective strollers sit in a mid-cost range between budget and expensive models.
Like most child-rearing items, there is no single best stroller for every parent’s needs. As such, it is essential to review how strollers differ to ensure that you find the right one to suit your requirements.
As mentioned above, strollers cover a vast range of sizes, features, and other differences, but overall, most strollers fit into one of six different types. These types include full-sized strollers, lightweight or umbrella strollers, double strollers, jogging strollers, car seat carriers, and travel systems. Note that many strollers will not fit entirely into one of these categories, and you will find many options that are hybrids between two or more styles.
In an effort to make your purchasing decision more manageable, the following is a breakdown of four of these six main types of strollers with their advantages and disadvantages. Use this list in combination with specific brand research to find the best possible option for your child’s needs.
If you are looking to invest in a stroller that will be able to ferry your baby around even as they age into a toddler, a full-sized stroller will be the best place to start. These strollers are characterized by their large size and generally durable construction and are, for many parents, the go-to stroller for most activities.
One of the premier benefits of full-sized strollers is their ability to have nearly everything you could possibly want readily available. When shopping for your stroller, try to find one that includes as many of these features as you may desire.
- A well-padded seat that is both wide and comfortable for your child that also deeply reclines to allow for them to sleep comfortably.
- The ability to attach a car seat can make vehicle transitions much simpler.
- The capability to mount the seat either rear-facing or forward-facing.
- Canopies that can expand or retract as needed.
- Modular design that can grow as your child does.
- High-quality tires with enough suspension to absorb the impact of rough terrain.
- Large storage basket for blankets, bags, and other items.
- Telescoping handlebars give the ability for comfortable use when parents vary in height.
- Quality of life features like cup holders.
The downsides of a full-sized stroller are the opposite side of their benefits. As they are usually large, heavy, and bulky, they are not always the best option if you need to navigate stairs, public transit, or a small home with limited storage.
If full-sized strollers are the equivalent of a family SUV in terms of size, storage, and features, lightweight or umbrella strollers are like a bicycle. These strollers are built to be light and easy to handle.
- Umbrella strollers often weigh less than fifteen pounds and are built with portability as their primary concern. Many designs even come with a shoulder strap.
- As the name would imply, umbrella strollers are easy to compact and aren’t obtrusive on a plane, bus, or train.
- These strollers often include individual benefits of full-sized strollers. Shop around to find the one that contains the features you need to have when on the go.
- While there are a handful of models that can safely carry newborns and younger babies, most umbrella strollers can only be used with babies that are six months or older.
- Convertibility is not an option for most umbrella strollers, which means you will likely need to purchase a second stroller if you have another baby within a few years.
Conversely, double strollers exist specifically for parents of twins or those with babies that are close in age. Most double strollers are either designed to be tandem where one child sits behind the other or side by side seating.
- If you have multiple stroller-age children, this is the go-to option to avoid juggling various strollers.
- Since most double strollers are large enough to accommodate two passengers, they usually include significant storage space.
- The trade-off for all that extra room is size and weight. These strollers are not staircase or public transit-friendly. Though there are a few lighter options available, they usually compromise the stroller’s mobility or durability.
These strollers live up to the name by being the perfect choice for parents who frequently exercise and jog on trails. Most strollers of this variety include excellent suspension and high-quality wheels to handle faster-paced travel on less-than-ideal terrain.
Even though most three-wheeled strollers tend to be referred to as joggers, not all strollers in this category are actually designed for running. If you are a serious jogger, check to see if the model you consider purchasing has the appropriate safety features before buying.
- Jogging strollers provide a wealth of customization options depending on your needs, such as a front wheel that swivels to allow for easy turns or a fixed one to accommodate higher speeds for enthusiastic runners.
- In addition to the wheel benefits, jogging strollers have various features like car seat compatibility, reclining seats, and other options. When shopping for a jogging stroller, ensure that certain key safety features are present, such as a hand brake, wrist strap, and a five-point harness.
- These strollers tend to be heavier to create stability while jogging.
- Jogging strollers are not designed to fold up as tightly as other styles like an umbrella stroller.
- In what may be a surprise to some, many jogging strollers are actually wider than full-sized strollers, making tight spaces a nuisance.
While it may seem obvious to some that the price is less important than the stroller’s quality, or the features it comes with, it is worth stating. Instead of searching for a stroller to fit a price-point that you imagine is required to be a good parent, look instead for ones that suit your lifestyle and needs.
It is also important to remember that certain varieties of strollers are worth more investment than others. For example, the full-sized stroller mentioned above can carry your child from a newborn until they are ready to walk on their own, so it is worth putting more investment into this style than an umbrella stroller that will need replacing as they age
Above all, remember that you will receive a lot of conflicting information when looking for a stroller. Every parent will have an opinion on what they believe is best or used throughout their children’s lives. However, these opinions are significantly less important than your understanding of your needs, as well as your child’s views. If they don’t like their stroller for one reason or another, they will undoubtedly let you know, and it is essential to remember to take their experience into account. Keeping the needs of you and your child at the forefront of your mind while shopping will ensure that you find the best stroller regardless of its cost.