Overwhelmed by Options? How to Choose a Stroller with Ease
As a new parent, finding the right stroller for your baby can feel stressful and overwhelming. You may be wondering how to choose a stroller, what to look for in a stroller, what features do you need, how much do you want to spend, will it grow with your baby? Rest assured that although picking the “right” stroller may seem daunting, we are here to break it all down so you can feel confident that you’re making the best choice for you & your baby!
Which Stroller Type To Buy
Before nailing down a specific brand or model of stroller, it’s important to understand the different types of strollers available. If you aren’t familiar with the types of strollers out there, we created an in-depth post for New Parents’ Guide To Stroller Types which we highly recommend you check out! If you don’t have time to check that out, here is a quick summary of the main stroller types. Knowing what type of stroller you are looking is step 1 in understanding how to choose a stroller that’s best for you :
A Travel System will most likely be your first stroller purchase. It’s essentially your all-in-one option and will include a Full Size Stroller, Car Seat & Car Seat Base – essentially everything you need to get from the hospital to your home and will grow with your baby up to 50lbs.
This will be your everyday stroller for the first few months of your baby’s life. It has all the bells & whistles you need when out & about - ample storage, large seat, bigger wheels, a good canopy, etc. Bonus – you can often turn your Full-Size Stroller into a travel system with the additional purchase of a Car Seat (ultimately becoming a “Build Your Own Travel System”! Note that it can get very $$ however). The biggest downsides of a full size stroller are that it’s a bit heavier and not very compact when folded (especially when compared to a lightweight/umbrella stroller - keep on reading for those!).
Quickly growing in popularity, Modular Strollers are a part of the Full Size Stroller category and allow you to add additional seats and car seats to your stroller frame as your family grows. That means you can start with a single seat for your first and if you have a second baby, you are able to add another seat/car seat and both kids have a place to sit. You can also arrange the seats to be rear facing or forward facing, use one seat + one car seat, 2 car seats, etc. It’s a very customizable option that parents love!
Lightweight Strollers are fan favorites for parents who are on-the-go and frequently out and about. As the name implies, they’re much lighter than a Full Size Stroller, fold down much more compactly & are much better for traveling because they won’t take up as much trunk space. They also tend to be a bit more affordable – score!
Umbrella Strollers are a subcategory of Lightweight Strollers. They are very affordable and ultra lightweight however they often lack parent favorite features such as a large canopy, storage, comfy seat and good suspension. Typically they are not very durable and often you will only get about 1 (maybe 2 if you’re lucky) season of use out of them before the wheels start squeaking, fabric begins to rip, etc. They don’t last as long and are often thought of as disposable (which we personally aren’t huge fans of)
The name is a bit deceptive here because you don’t HAVE to be a runner to use a jogging stroller and they are more commonly used as all-terrain strollers. They have robust suspension, an incredibly smooth ride & a large canopy so your baby can straight up *chill* no matter where you are. The biggest downside of a jogging stroller is that they are absolutely monstrous when folded and generally very heavy.
Parents of multiples – this is for you! Double strollers can be found in each of the preceding categories (double joggers, double lightweight strollers, double full size strollers & double umbrella strollers) and, yup you guessed it, they seat 2 kiddos!
Pssst when considering which stroller to buy, know that 80% of parents have more than 1 stroller so you will have a chance to test out a few different types!
What to Look for in a Stroller
Now that you know how to pick a stroller, let’s move on to what to look for. With so many brands, types and price points on the market, it can be tough to identify what features are the *MUST HAVES* when stroller shopping. But we are here to help! We have surveyed hundreds of parents, read thousands of reviews & hosted more focus groups than you can imagine to understand exactly what parents need in a stroller. Here are the features parents find most meaningful:
Easy To Use
This may seem like a “cheater feature” because it’s not one specific feature, but stay with us. Now, you may be saying “OMG of course you want something easy to use” but seriously take our word for it: if a certain feature bothers you on the first stroll it’ll make you MAD by the 100th. When testing a stroller, see if you can easily recline the seat, lock the brakes, unbuckle/buckle your baby, push the stroller, fold/unfold… you will be using your stroller almost daily and it will be with you for years! Make sure it functions EXACTLY how you want it to.
When considering which stroller to buy, a simple fold is KEY! We cannot tell you how stressful it is to be in a parking lot, baby crying in the back seat & not being able to fold the dang stroller. Make sure your stroller is super simple to fold AND unfold. There will be times you are in a rush, have your hands full, holding your baby, etc. – wondering if your stroller will fold/unfold easily is not something you should worry about. You’ve got enough stress, don’t let your stroller fold be another 😉
Plenty Of Storage
You have stuff. Your baby has stuff. Together you have a LOT OF STUFF. We suggest making sure there is a place for your diaper bag (big basket underneath), parent storage pocket for essentials (phone, keys, chapstick, etc.) and a pocket or tray for your baby (toys, bottles, snacks, paci, etc). Bonus if there’s a cupholder for you!
High Quality Wheels
You know when you get the bad shopping cart at the grocery store? Yeah, you don’t want that for your stroller. We recommend looking for all-wheel suspension because it’ll make the ride smoother for your baby (aka they won’t notice every bump) and high-quality ball bearings so it pushes effortlessly for you!
You Can Pick Your Stroller, You Can Pick Your Nose, But You Can’t Pick Your Stroller’s Nose… Right?
Picking out your stroller is such an exciting time in your life because you’re either welcoming a new baby into your family or your little one is growing and you need something for their new milestones! While it may seem overwhelming, we hope we were able to break it down to make it a little easier to understand which type of stroller to buy, what features to look for and how to pick a stroller that’s best for you and your baby!
If you’re looking for a stroller that checks all of these boxes (with the exception of being a double), check out our Bēbee Lightweight Stroller. It combines full size features with lightweight convenience and can be turned into a travel system with our available car seat adapter!
As always, we’d love to hear from you - how did you decide how to choose a stroller when you started shopping? What features were most important for you? Let us know in the comments!
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