Baby stroller buying guide

What to Know When Buying a Baby Stroller

Mom-Baby-Stroller-225x300Purchasing a stroller is about as complicated as purchasing a car, at least it seems like that at first.

There are countless options and brands to choose from.  You can spend more than two thousand dollars or less than a hundred.

The key is to understand your needs and to be aware that your needs will change as your baby grows.

Initially, you’ll need a stroller that is suited for infants.

It will need to recline and have safety features that can meet the needs of an infant meaning straps to keep them safe.  Infants need to lay flat or nearly flat.

There are a lot of options even within these parameters.  There are prams, which are old fashioned strollers with large wheels, and have a large canopy.

These are not widely available and are often exceedingly expensive.  Also, they are not suitable long term, once your baby is even a little mobile they are not a safe choice.

Most common are regular strollers that have a seat that can recline. They are much more practical in the sense that they can be used for a long time and are usually not as expensive as other options (there of course is a pretty wide variation in price).

As your baby grows you can sit the seat up.  These are commonly sold in travel systems with a compatible car seat.  Although it is tempting to leave your baby in the car seat and put that on the stroller, research indicates this is not the wisest choice.

Another option are strollers that come with a detachable bassinet and convert in regular strollers with adjustable seats.  One popular brand is Bugaboo.

While financially out of reach for most people- good deals can be found through second hand stores or online.  There are several varieties even within the brand.

The Many Varieties of Baby Strollers

Collapsable StrollerThere are also jogging strollers and umbrella strollers to consider, and all of this is before adding a second child, requiring double stroller purchasing!  If you are having twins then adouble stroller is something you need right away.

There are two basic kinds, a front and back (stadium seating) and side by side, there are also sit and stand varieties but they are not practical for young infant twins.  When purchasing a double stroller it is even more important to see if it will work for your life as they can be extremely awkward to push and exceptionally heavy.

If you can, find a local twins club and talk to the moms and find out what works for them- often there is a popular one that is well designed for your particular area.

Jogging strollers are good for jogging and running.  If you are an avid runner, it is worth the money to get a high quality jogger.  They have large wheels that are either air filled or foam allowing for a smooth ride over bumps.

These area also be best option if you heading to the beach- they are the only strollers I have successfully used on sand.

Remember that most jogging strollers are not meant for infants.

If you are planning on doing serious running, or any running at all really, make sure that you can lock and unlock the front window otherwise if you it a bump it will go off course making it difficult if not impossible to steer.  There are joggers that collapse and those that not, consider your options and shop around.

Umbrella strollers are collapsible (thus the name) and are essentially a fabric seat on a lightweight frame.  There may or may not be a sun canopy and there is usually not a roomy basket- but there are exceptions.

Again, these are not the choice for infants as the seats do not recline all the way.  These can be as cheap as $20 or as expensive as a few hundred dollars.

While the widest selection of strollers is clearly available online, it is worth actually going and getting your hands on them first.  After determining which stroller you choose, go online and find the best deal you can.

What to look for in a stroller – what kind of features do strollers come with?

  • See if the handlebar adjusts to fit you and your partner- this is easily overlooked, but can be a big deal if there are drastically different heights to accommodate.
  • Is it easy to collapse? Bonus points for if it can be collapsed with one hand.  You’ll never need it until you need it, and then it will be a super important feature to have.  Make sure you can lock it in the folded position, if you have to travel with it- this is very important.
  • Is there a basket or a place to put your things?  Whenever you go out with your infant- it requires a lot of accessories.   You may need to use your stroller to help transport groceries or other purchases, is there room for them or a way to attach them?
  • Is it steerable? Sometimes pushing a stroller is like driving a bus.  Which is not good, especially when you consider you’ll be steering the stroller for the foreseeable future.  Make sure it is steerable.
  • Does it fit? In line with the steering, does this stroller fit where you need it too? If you have a small car or space to store it, will it fit? Will it fit in doorways? Through shop aisles? Give it a test spin through the store.  Make sure it works for what you need it to do.
  • Can you lift it? If the stroller is too heavy for you to lift how will you put it in your car or get it upstairs if necessary? Strollers that are ultra-light weight seem to be made more for older babies, but they are usually in the 8 -10 lb category.  Having a baby is a lot of physical work.  Expect to develop some decent arm muscles.
  • Yet another consideration, as if there are not enough is to consider whether or not your stroller has the features that you are looking for.  Features may not the biggest deal but they can make things easier.  Some things to consider: does it have a snack tray for your little one? A cup holder for you and your child? What about a parent organizer?

Compare Stroller Features

A hook to hang bags? One handed push? One handed fold/unfold? Is it well balanced; if you hang a diaper bag on it will it tip over?  If it lacks a great sun canopy can an aftermarket one be added? What about a cup holder? A tray? Other accessories? A lot of baby retailers, such as Babies R Us have dedicated stroller consultants who can help you zero in on what you need.

When you have a baby it can seem overwhelming; there are countless things to worry about and consider but you can handle this.  Babies are a lot of work but they also are the most amazing things in the world.  Imagine how incredible it will be taking your baby out for a walk and seeing him or her seeing a butterfly or a bird for the first time, it makes having the ‘right’ stroller or accessories so insignificant.

One of the things that I neglected to consider was whether or not I could wash the seat covers, or purchase spare parts.  Kids are inherently dirty, the stroller will need to be washed at some point. Seat covers wear out as do wheels.  If you can purchase replacements, this is a great help and can save you from replacing a while stroller for a worn out wheel or a stained seat cover.

When you purchase your stroller definitely purchase the extended warranty.  Strollers usually get heavy use.

Realistically, plan on purchasing more than one stroller, as your needs will change as your baby grows. But, if you plan it out and take your time to do research it does not have to cost a giant amount equal to a few months mortgage payments.

Best Stroller For The Least Amount Of Money

Searching on the internet for the best stroller for your money can leave you with a lot of questions. One of which is how much you should spend for a descent stroller. After all, a cheap stroller just sounds like it would be bad quality.

In your search you’ve probably noticed the HUGE price ranges of strollers. There are strollers out there selling for four-digits! Is such a huge price really worth it though for a simple stroller?

If all you really want is something that is safe and reliable to wheel-around your little one in, you don’t need spend hundreds of dollars. Buying cheap doesn’t mean you are short-cutting, it just means you are being frugal with your hard earned money!

What is the best stroller to buy for parents on a budget?

The least expensive stroller that is also the best for the money is The First Years Jet Stroller

It has everything you could need. You don’t have to get caught up in the fancy-shmancy features of over-priced strollers.

Buy this stroller for cheap knowing you are being financially wise and at the same time feel secure knowing this is a trusted & reliable stroller with a PROVEN track record. It has over 500+ positive reviews at Amazon alone.

This Is What You Get

 -> A variety of colors and styles to choose from

 -> An easy to handle, light-weight stroller at only 11 pounds

 -> A strong, durable frame that is safe to use up to 50 pounds

 -> Large parent console and lower storage basket

 -> A 5-point harness and wide, comfortable seat base

 -> Rear wheel brakes for safety

 -> Fully adjustable and removable canopy

 -> Easily storable, with an easy 1-hand fold ability

Overall this stroller is all you need – simply the best budget stroller available. Don’t stress about paying top-dollar, keep it frugal. However if you are willing to spend more money we bring you reviews on the best strolles on the market.

What Are The Best Strollers On The Market?

Stokke Xplory Newborn Stroller

stokke-xploryThe Stokke Xplory Newborn Stroller is claimed to be the highest quality stroller on the market.

The “Rolls Royce” of baby strollers.

I’ll tell you what is most certainly true – this is definitely not cheap stroller. The question is, is the Stokke Xplory worth the money?

What makes this stroller so special?

One of the key selling points of this stroller is that you can adjust the height higher than other strollers.

This is actually a great feature because it allows you to be closer to and more easily interact with your baby.

With some strollers it can feel like your baby is miles away, and you must constantly bend to interact.

This is also great from your baby’s perspective. Other strollers give your baby limited scenic view at such a low level – a higher level means your baby has a much better view of the world.

You can also adjust the height to a low level for when you are sitting down.

Beyond adjusting the height, you also have 5 different positional options + the newborn bassinet carry cot option.

Stokke Xplory Newborn Stroller Positions

Stokke Xplory Bassinet Carry CotThe Bassinet carry cot has a soft interior lining and a comfortable one inch mattress that your baby will love.

And of course, you have a Visor for extra protection from wind and light. The Visor can be folded back or completely removed if you wish by simply unzipping it from the hood.

You also have an optional opening for ventilation through 30% of the hood to prevent your child overheating

Stokke Xplory Ventilation

Also included in your purchase is a mosquito net and two rain-covers when you buy from Amazon.

Even more adjustable options..

An excellent feature of the Stokke Xxplory is its adjustable footrest that ensures no dangling feet. Whatever the height of your child as they grow, the foot rest will adjust to fit.

The stroller is also fitted with a removable seat insert to accommodate the smallest of babies.

Maneuverability 

This is the point where most parents fall in love with this stroller. The first thing you will notice when you take this out for a stroll is the exceptional smoothness of the ride (especially if you’ve used lower-grade strollers in the past).

The two-wheel function makes it easy to stroll on rough and uneven surfaces and the swivel front wheels make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces.

Storage & Cleaning

Stokke Xplory folded You can actually fold this thing almost one handed very easily, however it is still rather bulky compared to some other strollers.

As for cleaning, this is a snap. All of the fabric can be removed and can go in the washing machine.

Multiple Color Options

Stokke Xplory Color Options

Get the Stokke Xplory Newborn Stroller at Amazon.com

Britax B-Agile Baby Stroller

BritaxThe Britax B-Agile stroller provides safety and comfort to its passengers. With an adjustable seat, large canopy, and a great suspension this is the perfect stroller for any child.

I’m not the only one who thinks so, a very large majority of customer reviews at Amazon give this stroller a 5 out of 5 stars, with little negative reviews to be found.

The Britax B-Agile stroller is made of lightweight aluminum keeping the stroller under 17 lbs.  Even with its light weight this stroller is suitable for children up to 55 pounds.

There is a one hand quick fold design and the 3 wheels provide improved steering and maneuverability than other brands.

Also, the strollers have a click and go integrated adapter system. This means any Britax infant car seat can simply snap into the stroller.

If you do not have a Britax car seat there is no need to worry. There is a car seat adapter sold separately if needed.

What I like the Britax B-Agile stroller:

When my daughter turned 6 months old and spring was on the horizon my husband and I started out search for our stroller. We had received a stroller at the baby shower prior to her birth but it was huge, and heavy. Not to mention they were hard to open or close and even harder to steer or recline the seat.

After a lot of test-driving at the local Toys R Us we still could not find anything that would do all that we wanted. So we hit the internet, stumbled across the Britax B-Agile, and fell in love!  It had everything we wanted and much more. Most importantly the stroller is small and extremely easy to fold.

All you need to do is press a single button the side of the stroller and there it is. You just need to latch it close to keep it secure when you are done with it. This too is very easy to do. It might not be as small and compact as an “umbrella fold” stroller but it is still very small. I can easily lift the 17 lbs into my trunk while holding my daughter.

I do wish I would have found this stroller earlier because we would have purchased it with the seat adapter as soon as my daughter was born. Christmas shopping would have been much easier. I do love how you can just snap a car seat right into place. Simple and very secured.

Now that my daughter is a little older we use the basket much more often than the car seat. It is a large basket and it fully reclines!  This is awesome! When she is tired I can just lay back the seat and tuck her in. Another great feature is how sturdy it is. The three wheel design allows me to have the seat back and also hang the diaper bag over the handle without tipping the stroller over.

What I dislike about the Britax B-Agile:
There are a few things I think Britax could improve on. For starters there is no parent console.  I would be jealous of my daughter but she does not have a tray either.  This does not make or break the stroller but I think it could be helpful for both of us.  On the other hand without the trays I give her less toys and I am not stopping to pick things up off the ground like I use to. Also, since one hand steering is super easy I can have my coffee in one hand and steer with the other without a problem. Overall, I love this stroller! I would recommend it to anyone.

 

Baby Strollers for Jogging Parents

Lots of parents are eager to incorporate their new baby into their active lifestyle. This is great! Being raised in an active family reduces the likelihood that your baby will develop a weight problem or related health issues.

Choosing a jogging stroller is, of course, something that deserves some thought and research.

Jogging Stroller

Jogging strollers are not inexpensive.  They can cost upwards of a thousand dollars, which is a lot of money to spend on a stroller with a pretty specific purpose. Therefore really researching and considering what you need is a good choice.

Before jogging with your baby it is crucial to wait for your baby to have some neck and head control.  Some stroller manufacturers recommend waiting until a baby is a year old and others recommend 8 months of age before going for a serious run with your little one.

If you are a serious distance runner, it is more important that you have a stroller that is dedicated for running.

The best performing strollers for running often are not maneuverable and sometimes not even collapsible. But, they outperform every other cross over stroller when running.

Mom jogging with baby

Most jogging strollers with a swivel front wheel offer the choice to lock it.  This is definitely valuable, but is not as good as a fixed front wheel.  The resistance also increase, even if only slightly, over many miles adds up to a lot.

Types of Jogging Strollers

Bike Trailer Conversion Sets

These are a great way to get the most bang for your buck.  There are some manufacturers of bike trailers that have developed products that switch between a trailer and a stroller.  This seems like a great idea, and they genuinely can be useful, but for serious runners or joggers, these are not the greatest choice.

Hybrid Strollers

Jogging strollers are a trendy thing right now.  It is really fashionable to take your baby out for a stroll in a very expensive jogging stroller down a busy sidewalk, which is not a nice way to share the sidewalk as these strollers are bulky and hard to steer at times.  These strollers though are quiet popular and as I said, very trendy.

Fixed Wheel Joggers

Jogging strollers with a fixed front wheel are the gold standard for distance runners.  Typically, they have bigger rear and front wheels which provide a smoother ride.  The fixed wheel position means that even after hitting a bump in the road, the stroller will not shoot off in some other direction, and potentially tip over.  These strollers though are the best stroller for committed distance runners. They are annoying to maneuver though as the fixed wheel is not easy to turn with.  Additionally, if they do collapse they do not collapse small.  Requiring a pretty decent size space to store it in.

Jogging Strollers with a Fixed Front Wheel

The intention of these strollers was to give parents and caregivers some options and the best of both worlds.  Despite this, these strollers do not perform nearly as well when running as their counterparts with fixed wheels.  They are suitable for light jogging though.  These strollers also do not fold up as compactly as their conventional counterparts.   They can be big and bulky thus hard to maneuver through tight congested areas.  Often these strollers have smaller front wheels than back wheels which does sacrifice some smoothness of ride.

Collapsable StrollerLike choosing a regular stroller, it is important to consider the features a stroller has, most often there are aftermarket parts and kits that can be made to remedy these issues but they come at extra expense.  This can drive the cost of a stroller up significantly.

Tether- This is something not found in conventional strollers but it can save your baby’s life, use it. It is a strap that ties around a parent’s waist or wrist so if he or she trips the stroller can’t roll off into traffic.

Parking Break- Most strollers have some kind of break.  Jogging strollers’ breaks are often a little more heavy duty. Again, this can be a life saver.

Extra deep cup holders- When running or jogging bounces and bumps are amplified necessitating extra deep cup holders.  This also helps with keeping the stroller more aerodynamic.

Seat Padding- As with the cup holders, bounces and bumps are amplified, the increased padding is great for your baby’s comfort.

Suspension system- Because of the bumps and bounces, joggers often have a suspension system to help absorb them.  In some strollers they are even adjustable to tailor the strollers’ ride to the terrain.

Sun Shade- having an adjustable large sun canopy is particularly important for jogging strollers as parents often run when the sun is either rising or setting.  Being able to position the sun canopy offers your baby nice protection and comfort.

Most often a jogging stroller is not the best choice for a family’s only stroller.  Especially, if they are going to need to travel with it or ride on public transportation- for these situation a smaller stroller is definitely preferable.

As you can see choosing a jogging stroller is something to think about and consider carefully before spending several hundred dollars. The best thing to do is to go somewhere and test push several strollers so you can see how each feels.

Looking for a fun way to keep in shape? Try fit4mom.com With over 1,300 locations nationwide, it offers moms an opportunity to get in shape, meet other moms and have fun with their baby.

Stroller Strides® is a stroller-based Fit4Mom  fitness program designed for moms with little ones. Each 60-minute, total body workout incorporates power walking, strength, toning, songs and activities. Certified fitness instructors offer a variety of fun class formats both indoors and outdoors.

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