Joggers, travel systems & umbrellas - oh my! If you’ve spent any time shopping for or researching a stroller, you know the category is absolutely enormous. From modular strollers to all-in-one solutions to travel options, the features, price points, recommendations & expert suggestions for the different types of strollers can feel overwhelming.
That’s where we come in - in this blog we will help demystify the stroller category, break down what you need, when you need it, pros, cons & price points to help make your stroller decision a bit easier! Like any purchase, in addition to this article, we suggest doing your own research because your stroller(s) will be with you for a while - kick the tires, read reviews & at the end of the day make the best decision for you & your baby.
Let’s dive in...
Side-By-Side Comparison of Stroller Types
When it comes to types of strollers, there are 5 general categories:
- Travel Systems
- Full Size Strollers
- Lightweight Strollers
- Umbrella Strollers
- Jogging Strollers
- BONUS CATEGORY: Double Strollers which essentially have options in the 5 categories listed above & we won’t dive into here
It’s important to note that in general parents end up purchasing more than 1 stroller and, on average, will end up owning between 2-3 strollers because:
- The original stroller didn’t satisfy their needs
- Their current stroller is too bulky
- They’re looking for something a bit more compact as their child gets older
So what are the different types of strollers & when do you need them?
This will be your first stroller purchase because it combines 2 of your first major baby gear items into 1: an infant car seat & full size stroller.
There are 2 ways to purchase a Travel System:
- All-In-One (from the same brand)
- Build Your Own (usually from different brands. You select the infant car seat you want and a separate full size stroller. This is usually more expensive than the first option)
This purchase is important because it makes being on the go with your newborn easier from day 1 (your car seat clicks right into the stroller), grows with your baby from birth - 50lbs & oftentimes will be the stroller you use exclusively in the first 6 months of your newborn’s life.
When to use: From birth up to 50lbs
Cost: $$-$$$ Depending on the make & model prices can range from $300 - $1300, Large Investment
- Can include infant car seat, base & stroller OR you have the option to “Build Your Own” (getting the best of both worlds)
- Car seat connects to the stroller for use with newborns
- Grows with baby from birth-50lbs (usually)
- Use with newborn & toddler
- All-in-one solution
- Building your own is expensive
- Full size strollers are bulky, heavy, not as compact as an umbrella/lightweight stroller
- Oftentimes, more affordable options offer stellar infant car seats, but the stroller leaves a lot to be desired
- It can be a very costly initial investment and usually you will purchase a second lighter stroller option when your baby is 6months+
Full Size Stroller
As we mentioned above, some people choose to build their own travel system by selecting a Full Size Stroller that offers an infant car seat adapter accessory - thus turning your Full Size Stroller into a Travel System. You want to do your research here, because this stroller will be with your baby for years to come & you want to make sure it’s durable, built to last & has all the features you need.
When to use: 6 months+ (or if you purchase a car seat adapter you can use from birth with the infant car seat)
Cost: $$+, Investment
- Deep padded seat
- Multi position recline
- Large canopy
- Tons of storage
- Adjustable footrest
- Height adjustable handlebar for parents
- Comfortable seat for baby
- Durable, large tires
- Many have second seat options for more than 1 child*
- Expensive (This will be a big investment piece for your baby!)
- Usually doesn’t fold very compactly
- Takes up a lot of trunk space (if you travel by car) and/or can be difficult to maneuver on public transportation/climb stairs/etc.
*One thing to note about this category is that there are 2 types of Full Size Strollers: First is a modular option that allows you to add a second seat for another child and the second is a non-modular option (cannot add a second seat!)
Lightweight Stroller/Convenience Stroller
Not to be confused with the ultra-affordable Umbrella Stroller, your Lightweight Stroller (sometimes called a Convenience Stroller) will quickly turn into your go-to travel option when your baby is older (6 months+). What it may lack in terms of features when compared to your Full Size Stroller, it makes up for it in weight & convenience (as the name suggests 😉)
When to use: 6months+
Cost: $-$$, Affordable
- Lightweight (most clock in under 16lbs)
- Folds much smaller than a Full Size Stroller
- Most include features like: partial seat recline, an extendable canopy & basic storage options
- It won’t have all the features of your Full Size Stroller
- No additional seat options
- While some have infant car seat adapters others do not - meaning you can only use 6months+
While some may consider Umbrella Strollers and Lightweight Strollers to be the same type of stroller, we have separated them because Lightweight Strollers have come a long way! The biggest difference here is: a Lightweight Stroller is essentially a featured-up version of an Umbrella Stroller (all the things you wish an Umbrella Stroller had, your Lightweight Stroller will include - bigger wheels, recline, larger canopy, more durable design, etc.).
An Umbrella Stroller is going to be your most affordable option, you can even find some for under $30! Unfortunately, while affordable, they leave a lot to be desired when it comes to features & durability. Parents often opt for these strollers when visiting theme parks (like Disney), as a back-up stroller for their Full Size Stroller or an option for grandparents/baby sitter
When to use: 6 months+
Cost: $, ultra affordable
- Can be found at many popular retailers
- Lacks comfort
- Limited features
- Flimsy design (usually only lasts for a season)
- Small wheels
- Small canopy
- Short handlebars
- No/limited storage
This is a popular secondary purchase because they are rugged, durable and have a super smooth ride thanks to their robust suspension. Despite the name, many parents consider these strollers to be a great all-terrain option & use them for everything from everyday trips to trail walking to jogging. While pricey, they are built to last & offer superior comfort for your toddler when out and about.
When to use: 6months+ (note that it is not recommended to jog with your baby before they are 6 months old)
Cost: $$-$$$, Investment - Large Investment
- Smooth ride
- Big wheels
- Rugged design
- Comfortable seat
- Height adjustable handlebar
- Easy to maneuver
- Great for any terrain
- Can use for jogging with baby & also everyday use
- Doesn’t fold compactly
- Takes up a ton of trunk space
You know the types of strollers, now what?
Phew, that was a lot and you may be asking yourself: that’s all great, but now what, what do I really need? Here are some of the most frequently asked questions we hear:
Q: Which of these strollers do I need now?
- If you’re a new parent: Start with a Travel System & build your own. This allows you to have flexibility with the stroller type/infant car seat combo and gives you the opportunity to customize it to what you need, want and your lifestyle. We often hear second time parents upgrade their Travel System stroller to a better quality Full Size Stroller if they have more than one baby because, as we mentioned earlier, the strollers that come in a Travel System Set leave a lot to be desired.
- If your baby is 6months+: Pick up a Lightweight Stroller to replace your bulky Full Size Stroller. You’ll free up trunk space and have something much more compact to push around and store. You may want to check out our new Bēbee Lightweight Stroller - it folds down to about the size of a carry on suitcase & boasts all the features of a Full Size Stroller, but in a much lighter, more compact option!
- If you jog/walk a lot: Check out a Jogging Stroller. They are expensive, but absolutely worth the investment. This is a place you don’t want to cheap out on! Trust us. You can sometimes even turn your Jogging Stroller into a Travel System with the additional purchase of a car seat adapter (will vary by model & manufacturer)
Q: I’m a new parent, how many strollers will I need?
The average parent owns between 2-4 strollers & will often have:
- Travel system/full size stroller
- Lightweight Stroller
- Jogging Stroller
- Optional: Double Stroller
There is no “right” number of strollers to own, only what’s best for you and your baby!
Q: Do I really need all of these strollers?
Absolutely NOT!! Strollers have come a long way & many offer infant car seat adapters which allows you to turn your Lightweight/Jogging/Full Size Stroller into something suitable for your newborn!
Our top tips when stroller shopping:
- Does it fit the age of your child
- How does it fold/unfold (you’ll be happy when it’s easy!)
- How compact is it when folded
- Is the canopy large enough for sunny days
- Check for ample storage (you’ll have LOTS of stuff!)
- Does it have all the features that make YOUR life on-the-go easier?
- Check user reviews - moms love helping other moms!
We hope this was helpful & we’d love to know what types of strollers you own in the comments! As always, happy strolling!
At Bombi we make eco-conscious strollers that are affordable, built to last and perfect for your next adventure. With full size features, compact convenience and a fold that will make you say WTF! (aka wow that fold!) our Bēbee Lightweight Stroller is the travel stroller you’ve been dreaming of.