Your Complete Stroller Buyers Guide
So you’ve decided, it is now time to buy a stroller for your little bundle of joy and we couldn’t agree more. A baby stroller is one of the most efficient and practical items a mother can have.
With a huge number of strollers available today, choosing the right stroller for you and your baby can be really confusing and daunting.
Another consideration is the price of course. Baby strollers can be costly, that’s why doing the right research is really important.
We are here to guide you to arrive at the right decision and finally get the right stroller that will fit your lifestyle and provide your baby’s need.
Things You Need Consider Before Buying a Stroller:
Table of Contents
- 1 Lifestyle
- 2 Standard Features
- 3 Safety Features
- 4 Wheels
- 5 Budget
- 6 Size and Space
- 7 Intended Use/Purpose
- 8 Classification/ Different Types of Strollers According to Infant’s Age
- 9 SPECIALTY STROLLERS
- 9.1 Jogging Stroller
- 9.2 Umbrella Stroller
- 9.3 Sit and Stand Stroller
- 10 Pros and Cons of Using a Stroller
- 11 Accessories and Extra Features
- 12 Alternatives to Baby Strollers
You first need to consider your everyday routine.
Do you use the stairs often? If so, you may want to get a stroller that can be fold and unfold in just one click. Will it fit your car? The last that you want is to get stuck with a stroller that will not fit the back of your car.
Are a fitness buff? Do you run or job often? If so, you probably need a specialty jogger stroller. If your family is the type that frequently travels, you will probably need something that’s lightweight and easy to pack.
Will other family members be using the stroller? You need to make sure that the size and weight of the stroller is also a good fit for them too.
So you can make an informed decision it is important that you are familiar with all of the features and terminology that you will encounter when doing your research. This will allow you to determine what features matter to you the most. There will always be a trade off between the number of features and the price of the stroller. If you are clear on what you want then you will not be paying for additional extras that you will not use.
Sturdy and Lightweight Frame
The safety of your child should be your utmost priority. The base frame of the stroller that you are planning to buy has a sturdy and durable frame.
Another thing that you need to remember is that the stroller needs to be lightweight. . Remember, baby strollers are created to help mothers, not to make things complicated.
A reclining seat is a must for strollers. Young babies and toddlers tends to fall asleep inside their strollers. They get tired from sitting or lying down for a long time. It is best to have seats that you can recline at different angles to relieve any pressure on your baby.
Shades or Canopy
You can choose form a detachable or a fixed canopy. The detachable is heaven sent when it comes to cleaning. This is a breeze compared to the fixed canopy.
There are a number of accessories that you can attach to the canopy as well such as a mosquito net.
This is probably one of the most ignored features of a stroller, especially those who are buying strollers for the first time. You may not need foot rest while the baby is small. Once your baby is able to sit up if they cannot reach the foot rest your baby may not have their legs securely in place. There is a risk that they could hit their legs on the frame of the stroller and hurt themselves. Or the blood in their legs may not circulate well if their legs are not supported. This can cause pins and needles in their legs.
Cushion and Headrest
Ensure cushioning is sufficient for your baby. This may vary depending on their size. Strollers with a detachable cushion allow you to adapt this to support your baby.
Effective Folding Mechanism
One of the most effective folding mechanisms is the one-hand fold. This means that you can fold the stroller in just one click. This is a handy feature when you are alone with your baby and have your hands full.
The brake mechanism has been the point of failure in a number of past accidents involving strollers. Human error the most common cause. This is a critical feature that must become second nature to you. A stroller that rolls away on its own could lead to a tragic accident. Some strollers have front wheel brakes, others have back wheel brake. There are strollers that have brakes in all four wheels.
Safety Straps and Harnesses
Again, safety first. Check if the stroller comes with straps to protect your baby from falling off the stroller. It must have a waist straps, crotch straps and a chest straps.
The safest harness option is the five-point harness. You have the combination of two chest straps, two waist straps, and one crotch straps. This is typically needed for smaller babies.
Toddlers will need a three-point harness. This consists of two chest straps and one crotch strap or two waist straps and one crotch straps. For older children, you will need less restraint and a two-point harness should be enough. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, a proper restraining system is necessary to avoid any accidents and falls.
Here are the different strollers wheels available in the market today:
Best Suited For:
- These are tube tires that are best suited for strolling or walking along the busy sidewalk streets.
- Best tires to use when strolling along uneven street pavements.
- These types of tires can make your stroller easier to push and maneuver.
- Mothers who are planning to do a lot of walking withing the neighborhood, air-filled tires is the best option for you.
- Possibilities of getting a flat tire. It is best to keep a small tire pump during long walks.
- Need to check and fill air every two weeks.
Best Suited For:
- These reinforced rubber tires are best to use in tougher terrains such as gravel and snow.
- Best suited for mothers who love to jog.
- These tires are quite heavy and less durable.
Air Wheel With Sealed Ball Bearing
Best Suited For:
- For families who are living along the countryside or in places where there are different types of paths or terrains.
- These are for people who wants the large and stable wheels.
Rubber Coated Plastic Tires
Best Suited For:
- For moms who plan to use the stroller inside malls and stores only.
- This is best for standard commercial areas like banks, grocery stores, and schools.
- Not suitable for all types of terrain.
Once you are clear on your must have features, you can then get a gauge of how you will need to spend to meet all of these needs. There may be some sacrifices to be made if you are on a tight budget. You can buy with confidence that most essential safety features are included in the minimum acceptable standards for manufacturing. You just have to decide on the level of quality you desire.
Some further considerations before you make your selection:
- How many strollers are you going to buy? There are families that will choose to have two strollers – one that’s easy to fold and lightweight or short errands and another one for longer walks and can navigate through any type of terrain.
- Of course, if your family needs only one stroller, it is best to get a versatile one.
- Identify the features that your baby really needs. If you are on a tight budget, pick a stroller that will fit your lifestyle. Do not buy an expensive jogging stroller if you are only goint to the malls or grocery stores on a daily basis.
- Remember the limitations of each types of stroller. Do not expect a lightweight umbrella stroller that you bought for $20 to deliver the same quality and support as a $700 jogging stroller would. You really do get what you pay for.
Below is a general guide for what to expect with each type of stroller. There will be some outliers depending on sales and new brands entering the market.
|Type||Low Range||Mid Range||High Range|
|Sit and Stand||$110-$120||$130-$150||$160-$250|
Size and Space
- When the stroller is collapsed will it fit in the trunk of your car? Buyers remorse will kick in the first time you hit the road if you get this wrong.
- The same question is relevant for your house. If you live in a one bedroom condo a jogging stroller without an exceptionally clever design will still take up half your lounge room when folded up.
- How big are you? It is dangerous to push a stroller when you do not have clear vision over the top of the stroller, and an unobstructed view in your peripherals. If you are a tall girl then you may be wondering what I am talking about. For those in the five foot nothing club this is a genuine safety concern and it will not be an enjoyable experience anyway.
Most likely you will have to do a lot of lifting with your stroller at some stage. So the dimensions when collapsed and weight will play a big part in whether you develop a back problem over the next three or four years. Some attention here will save you a world of hurt!
The New Mom
- Activities: Sleep…. sleep… and more sleep. The baby, not the mom. Running errands and visiting relatives & friends.
- Suitable models: Travel system for easy transport with minimum disturbance for the baby, basic model with canopy and
The Multitasking Mom
- Activities: Running errands (grocery shopping, bank, doctor’s appointment), morning and afternoon strolls, school meetings (if one has older children), community volunteering, part-time jobs.
- Suitable Models: Basic model with foldable features, Double Stroller for twins, Combo Stroller with Travel System, All-Terrain Stroller for those strolls
The Fitness Mom
- Activities: Jogging on off-road trails, brisk walking.
- Suitable Models: Jogging Strollers, all terrain stroller.
The Soccer Mom
- Activities: Varied day-to-day activities together with other older siblings (a soccer or football game, different classes (ballet class, voice lesson, swimming lessons), vacations/travel.
- Suitable Models: A stroller with infant carrier/car seat, basic model with key features. It is also applicable to have a secondary lightweight umbrella stroller.
The Working Mom
- Activities: Balancing career with motherhood, trip to daycare, doctor’s office, or nanny’s place.
- Suitable Models: Basic model with complete travel system, adjustable seats, and secure straps and harness.
Classification/ Different Types of Strollers According to Infant’s Age
If you are buying a stroller for your newborn baby, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind. First is that your baby still has no head and neck control which means they cannot lift their own head or keep it in an upright position on their own. The second thing is that you need to be able to transfer your delicate newborn hassle-free.
Efficient Travel/Transfer System
This is a necessity for a busy, or first time parent. A travel system is consists of a car-seat base, an infant car seat, and of course, a stroller. All of these pieces need to work in harmony. An efficient travel system will allow you to transfer your sleeping baby safely from the car into the stroller then into the house without any disturbance.
Safety must be your top priority in the stroller that you are buying. Basic requirements are stability, well-structured, and sturdy. Your baby’s comfort is also important. A soft and well-cushioned seat, coupled with a good suspension system will ensure a smooth ride and a happy baby.
6 months to Toddler Age
At this time, your baby will be able to sit upright. They already have head control and are now eager to see more of what’s out there. This is a great time to bond with your child, while they learn about their surroundings – taking walks together, strolling and even running.
Check what type of harness or strap that they have on the stroller. The safest is the five-point harness. Make sure that there are straps to help secure your baby.
Proper cushioning is essential. It should also have enough room for ventilation and movement. A seat that reclines and adjustable is highly recommended to accommodate all type of activities.
This is also the right time to consider the lifestyle of your family or your personal lifestyle as a mom. Maybe you need a jogger stroller if you love to run. Are you busy mom? Do you have other kids to take care of? If so, choose a lightweight, easy to pack, easy to fold umbrella stroller.
This is a new breed of strollers that has been developed over the years. Traditional strollers have been used before on runs but the mom or the dad need to map out the trail to make sure that the route will only include flat roads and smooth surface.
Most jogging strollers have a front wheel that can be locked in a straight position when you are running. It can also be unlocked to activate swivel motion, making it easier to turn if you choose to walk or even brisk walk.
This stroller is made for avid runners. Families living in mountainous or hilly places will also benefit from a jogging stroller because it is easy to maneuver and is more durable.
Wheels – The wheels of a jogging stroller is the real deal. It is typically made of rubber and is around 16 inch in diameter at the minimum. The large, pneumatic tires are helpful in reducing stress for your baby when you encounter bumps along the road while running.
When you compare this to the plastic tires of traditional strollers, the pneumatic tires of a jogging stroller is definitely made for running. The wheels are also easy to take off.
Suspension System – A jogging stroller has an effective and efficient suspension system. This is another feature that can help in the absorption of stress because of road conditions.
Safety Tether – This is a safety feature that prevents your stroller from rolling away on its own. A safety tether strap can be worn around your wrist to prevent any accidents from happening when you absent mindedly let go of the stroller’s handle, especially in high traffic areas.
A jogging stroller also has the basic features of traditional strollers such as cup holders, canopies or shades, and reclining seats.
Because jogging strollers are made to absorb road stress and run in different terrains, it is bulkier and heavier than your traditional strollers. It also occupies more space inside your car and of course your home.
A typical jogging stroller cost anywhere between 100 USD to 500 USD
Learn more about the best double jogging strollers on the market here.
Umbrella strollers are lightweight and handy strollers that you can carry anywhere. As the name implies, this stroller looks like an umbrella when folded. That’s how small and handy it is. Handy enough for it to be store in the trunk of your car or to bring during vacations and travels.
This is suitable for those who wanted a lightweight, alternative stroller. It is suitable for those quick errands on the go.
This is suitable for babies from four to six months old and above.
It is lightweight and easy to fold. It usually has aluminum frames and reclining seats. It has canopy for added protection against UV rays.
- Not suitable for newborns because it lacks the right support.
- Not suitable if you are looking for a travel system.
- It doesn’t have the features of a traditional stroller.
This stroller is relatively cheap. The price range is generally from 30 USD to 80 USD, but the higher quality brands can get up near $200.
Learn more about the best Umbrella Strollers on the market here.
As the name implies, a Sit and Stand stroller is a double stroller that allows one child to stand and the other one to sit.
- This stroller is suitable for mothers with two children – one of which can now walk on and while the other is a young baby.
- Best for families that are always on the go.
- Advisable for families with one independent child and one young baby. The other child can help attend to
- It’s a double stroller where you can put children with different age.
- One portion has the full features of a standard stroller.
- Another part of the stroller has a chair for your older child to sit when they gets tired from walking.
- It cannot handle tough road terrain.
- Sometimes, there’s not enough seat for the older child to seat on.
This stroller costs anywhere between 100 USD to 250 USD.
Learn more about the best Sit and Stand Strollers on the market here.
Pros and Cons of Using a Stroller
Ease of Transportation
A stroller is the ultimate fatigue saver! Without having to carry your baby, or keep them on a tight leash you will find a leisurely stroll to be exactly that.
There is a stroller type to suit every lifestyle and activity. A leisurely stroll could be on the wish list, but frantic movements around shopping malls, parks, even when travelling. You can find something that will make your life a thousand times easier.
A stroller can literally take the weight off your shoulders. As your child gets older, they also get heavier. While there are carriers designed to accommodate larger babies, and even twins. But you still have to be up for it physically.
A well-structured stroller can offer great support for your baby. It has cushion, neck and head rest, and reclining seats.
A quality stroller will last years, and could get you through multiple children. Modern materials used are easier to clean so you can maintain a fresh look for a long time if you look after it.
Protection Against the Elements
A stroller can also protect your children against UV rays and prevent sunburn. Very important for a baby’s delicate skin while on longer walks or while you’re running. Having a wind breaker will also make sure your baby is protected at all times.
Sleep on the go
There is no faster way to ruin your day than by having an over tired baby. A comfortable stroller will allow your little one to nap while on the go. The gentle rocking that they will experience when on the move can be very soothing and relaxing for some babies and will help them drift off to sleep.
Less Face Time
You will be physically separated from your baby in a stroller. Babies will respond to this differently, and all should adjust to this eventually. It is a sacrifice not to have them close for those who love baby wearing, and the bonding time that this presents.
It will become more difficult to navigate crowds and tight spaces compared to wearing a baby carrier. You also need a relatively flat surface to push your stroller along. While there are all terrain models that can accommodate a less predictable surface, it is quite obvious that stairs or trails could be off limits.
A good quality stroller will cost you far more than a top of the line baby carrier. It is a more complicated piece of equipment to manufacture, plus it is very bulky in comparison so shipping to you is also more expensive. So you
No matter how advanced your stroller’s features are there is still the risk of human error. The brake mechanism is only as good as the person operating it. Anyone can be prone to a moment of distraction that could lead to a stroller rolling away unknowingly. In fact most stroller accidents have been caused by this problem.
Other safety risks can include:
- A fault folding mechanism could cause an unexpected collapse of the structure that could lead to:
- Entrapment or strangulation
- Amputation or laceration
- Faulty restraints allowing an unsafe level of mobilization inside the stroller from:
- Buckles that could unlatch unexpectedly
- Seat belts that may not restrain adequately, or loosen while in use.
- Brakes that do not lock in place.
- Risk of seat detaching from frame of stroller causing injury.
Read more on our comparison of Strollers Vs Carriers here
Accessories and Extra Features
These are a great little saver for your back. You can hang your handbag and diaper bag over the hooks with ease, and without having to go into a storage compartment at the base of the stroller. The husband will also appreciate not being left holding the handbag when you are busy.
This can help you organize things in stroller. You can use it to store diapers, extra clothes – whatever you may need during strolls or running errands.
Extended Sun Canopy. If you and you’re child is frequently outdoors, it is necessary to have additional protections against UV rays.
Cup Holders or Water Bottle Holders. It has different styles and designs but serves one purpose – to make carrying drinks and water easy especially if you’re running or out for a walk.
Head supports are very handy for newborns and young babies. Babies at this age have little or no head control at all. A cushioned head support can help keep their head in place thus avoiding injuries or accidents when you suddenly hit a bump on the road.
Baby stroller liners are a mom’s best friend especially when it comes to messes. Not all stroller comes with easy to remove fabric. So let’s say your baby spilled something or you spilled something, you have no choice but to spot clean it. With a baby liner, you can wash it. Maintaining hygiene and cleanliness is easy when you use baby liners.
There are also padded stroller liners which can give added support. Choose fabrics that are well-ventilated to make sure that your baby will not sweat a lot while inside the stroller.
Alternatives to Baby Strollers
Baby slings and wraps are a piece of garment that you can use to support your baby while carrying him or her. These are great for newborns or smaller babies as the support level can be customized by the wearer so the fabric is tighter.
Check out our Baby Wrap articles and reviews:
A baby carrier can help you carry your child with proper support and proper weight distribution. This is a great option for babies as they grow older and want to interact with their environment more, but still want to stay close to the mom.
This one is for the over active toddlers. They may be too restless for the stroller and can be best entertained by walking. It can be very tiring chasing them around. A harness is a great accessory that will keep them within a safe distance at all times. There are mixed opinions on the look of having your child on a leash. So it is not for everyone, but some parents swear by it, and if it keeps the child happy then that is half the battle won!