Due to a lack of research on my part and a changing family situation, I think we’ve spent enough money on strollers that we could have sponsored a whole village in Africa. In retrospect that would have been a much better use of our funds. Here is what I have learned, take it or leave it, but hopefully you can spend your dollars more wisely than we did. As a side note, I am not affiliated with, on the take from, or in any way connected (that I’m aware of) to any of these companies. These are just my opinions.
The net of my experience is that in a climate with snow, a wheel base with three wheels is easier to maneuver all year round than four wheels. I’m a city dweller so the amount of storage space the stroller requires and the amount of space it takes up on the sidewalk are important to me. My kids are a year and a half apart so I needed something versatile. With that in mind here are the best and worst that I’ve used.
Best All Around Bang for Your Buck
Phil and Ted’s Sport (with double kit) : Retail $700
Hands down my favorite stroller. The inline model of stroller is an ingenious design. It is a little more on the expensive side but when you consider all of the ones I went through to finally get to this one I would have been better served just going with this one in the first place. It is adaptable to fit the needs of growing families, it allows for an infant to lie flat (with optional cocoon, buy it, its awesome), or has a car seat adapter. It has a top/bottom seat design so one child sits infront/on top of the other which is perfect for space saving at home and on the sidewalk, the bottom seat also pops off if you only want to take one child out in it. It has a three wheel design with large wheels which is great for snowy weather. You can easily maneuver in and out of any doorway and store aisle. Two cons: It is a little on the heavy side but I don’t have too much trouble getting it in and out of my car (up a couple of flights of stairs might be tough) and I wouldn’t check it on an airplane because I’d be worried that it would get trashed, that’s where the trusty umbrella stroller comes in. Phil and Ted’s doesn’t offer the Sport anymore but after a quick comparison the Classic looks to be comparable. I think any stroller in the Phil and Ted’s inline line up offer the same benefits with slight variations.
Update: Phil & Ted’s has recently recalled the sport v1 and v2 models of the single stroller (different than this one)- you can find the details in the recall section of Modernmom
Peg Perego Aria : Retail $160
This was the first stroller we purchased before my first child was born. At the time, I loved it, we had the compatible car seat and it was easy to click in and out. I would travel with it on a plane thinking it was pretty portable until the day I was exiting an airplane, last of course, right before the pilot and flight attendants who were making fun of me for how big of a ‘chariot’ (they were calling it) I was lugging around. It was then that I started noticing people with their sleek Orbit systems quickly realizing that I was carrying around a lot more bulk than I needed to – however those run $900 retail and only hold one child. As a newbie mom, I didn’t have an issue with this stroller, the only real downside was the wheel design. If you live in a climate with snow four small wheels is far more difficult to maneuver than three. But otherwise it was a very good value.
Pretty and Cool
Bugaboo Chameleon : Retail $979 (their site says $880)
I don’t even know how to categorize this stroller. It was great, but unfortunately I got it just before I got pregnant with my second child so I didn’t get as much use out of it as I would have liked. This stroller is great for the city. We have an easy entry way from our house to get outside and it was perfect for walking around the neighborhood and going to local shops. It has car seat adapters, an optional bassinet and the seat can face forward or backward and tilt to accommodate sleeping or young babies. My big beef at the time that I owned this stroller was the brand’s inability to support more than one child throughout their entire product line – now they make a double called the Bumbleride Indie Twin that retails for $679. Their multiple child solution to the Bugaboo Chameleon (which is the one I had) is a ‘wheeled board’, basically a platform that attaches to the back of the stroller to allow an older child to stand while the younger one sits in the seat. This was not an option in my situation as my eldest was too young. It too, has the four wheel configuration, with a little better design than other brands since the front and back tires are different sizes and can be easily switched around for easier movement through snow. This thing is also a beast to fold up and is expensive enough that I wouldn’t ever want to bring it on an airplane unless I bought the hard travel case for it.
Worst All Around Stroller
Baby Trend Sit and Stand : Retail $130
I bought this stroller to use for travelling with an infant and a toddler. When you fly into Toronto on their new Porter airline, you fly into the Toronto Island Airport which requires a 2 second ferry ride to get to mainland – a big winner for kids, they love it. On our last trip I was milliseconds away from tossing this stroller into Lake Ontario. On the way home when it wouldn’t fit in our trunk my husband and I almost left it in the parking deck at Midway airport, but alas a little rearranging and it fit. I can’t stand this stroller. It seems like a good idea when you have two kids (with an option of fitting a third) but the wheel base is so long that it requires two hands and my whole body to steer it, and I’m strong. I can’t use it and pull a suitcase and I’ve had to rely on strangers to help me get through the airport which is so not in line with my ‘I got it’ attitude. My girlfriend bought the same one because she is pregnant with her third and both of us have commented on how we wish we had spent the extra money on the Joovey for $300.
Best Stroller for Travel
McLaren Umbrella Stroller : Retail $170
This is a great travel stroller, it is sturdy, comfortable and easy to throw in the back of your car or check at the gate while flying. It is a little cumbersome to collapse getting through security, but it could just be me and my inadequacies. While it is a great stroller, a regular $10 umbrella stroller would fit the bill just fine for checking at the gate.
I looked at the double McLaren option (retail $350) for my airline travel and the price at the time just seemed unreasonable for the amount of time I would use it. So I opted for the less expensive Baby Trend Sit and Stand which I would be quite happy if it were run over by a plane on the tarmac. The price of the double McLaren has come down 50% since I was looking at them so it seems a reasonable alternative for getting through the airport with two young kids.
Brilliant Travel Accessory/Stroller
Go Go Babyz Kidz Travelmate – Travel attachment for car seat – Retail $80
I love when people come up with ideas that totally fit my need. On most vacations we take we need to rent a car and car rental companies offer infant seats and car seats which is such a bonus. However on the rare times when we need to take a car seat with us, it is really helpful to have this attachment because your car seat can then be used as a stroller in the airport. I love it and I’ve used it many times. If you’re traveling in bad weather and need to gate check the car seat then this cover is nice to have so that your child doesn’t get wet when you have to use it once you land. I’ve only used the cover twice though and have lent it to friends a few times.
There you have it, all the strollers I’ve used so far. Life keeps changing, as do our mobility needs but I’m hoping that it won’t be long before walking is our preferred mode of transportation. Happy shopping.