The Best Stroller
Buying a stroller is just as complicated as buying a car. All you want to do is take your baby for a walk, but we're talking about hundreds of different ways that you can push your kid around the block. Out of all of them, we think the Britax B-Agile is the best choice for most parents' needs.
I have spent the last 5 months obsessing over baby strollers: reading about them, testing them, and stopping random parents on the street to talk about them. There are dozens of websites that discuss strollers, but many of them are vague and unreliable. For example, Good Housekeeping, an otherwise decent source of information for parents, picked the Bumbleride Indie as their favorite stroller…and that stroller was recalled in February 2013. Parenting.com, the website of Parenting magazine and a thundering voice in parent-focused media, also had its favorite stroller recalled back in 2009! Neither sites have updated their reviews to reflect these recalls.
The biggest problem with most stroller reviews is the limited scope. With so many brands available, the “top 10″ lists that are prevalent at parenting sites are so varied that they feel arbitrary in their selections. Even some of the most reliable sources in my research—namely, Baby Gizmo, Baby Gear Lab, and Consumer Reports—had gaps in their coverage, and didn’t do a great job of comparing strollers within categories. So it’s hard to decide on what the right ones are by online research alone.
Nothing beats seeing a stroller in person, and when you’re actively looking for strollers, you realize that you see them everywhere. I know that not every parent’s opinion is the same, but I have stopped a lot (well over a hundred) of parents in the last 5 months to talk about their strollers and what they do and don’t like about them.
And then of course, there’s the testing of them. There’s no way to test every single stroller out there because of the amount of brands, and then models within those brands. After extensive web research, I focused in on the brands that were consistently referenced at the major websites to make sure I got to see them in person. These brands are:
- Phil and Ted’s
- Jeep Explorer
- Baby Jogger
- First Years
The nice thing about these brands is their availability. It helps to see your stroller in person before you get it, and I was able to find these strollers at pretty commonplace stores, like Babies”R”Us. You won’t have to hunt out specialized boutiques to give one a spin of your own.
What To Look For
With over 25 hours of reading and testing, and then who knows how many hours talking to parents on the street, I’ve come across a few clear criteria for what makes a stroller great, which has a lot of overlap with Consumer Reports’ Stroller Buying Guide. Every stroller I considered has the basics down: sturdy wheels, a good canopy for shade protection, a 5-point harness for strapping the baby in, some type of storage for diaper bags, reliable brakes for locking the stroller in place, and the ability to recline so the baby can sit up or lean back. These are non-negotiables in today’s stroller world, although of course they can vary greatly.
For example, lighter strollers tend to have limited storage space, while heavier ones have a lot more room for tucking away bottles, snacks, and diapers. Storage is a bit of a tricky issue with a stroller—sometimes it feels easier to have too many things handy when you’re with your child, rather than too few. But don’t forget, the more you weigh down your stroller with crap (do you really need 5 diapers for a one-hour walk?), the bulkier and clunkier the stroller itself becomes.
Another example: brakes. You need a brake for your stroller, so that when you’re standing around you can lock the stroller in place and not worry about it rolling away on you. This is one of the pivotal safety issues of a stroller, and every stroller I reviewed has good brakes. They wouldn’t be approved without reliable brakes. However, some have separate brakes for each wheel, while others have a single brake for the entire stroller. Truth is, all of these work–the stroller would be immediately recalled if the brakes didn’t work–but I found that it’s much more convenient to have a single brake, rather than both.
But points like storage size and single-wheel or all-wheel brakes, are the nitpicky details. In all my time with strollers, I found that the heart of the matter is in a few key issues. The three variables that will steer your decision the most are how heavy and bulky the stroller is, how much terrain it can handle, and the cost.
Cost is a tough issue with purchasing a stroller. There is a wide range of prices, from $100 all the way up through $1,000. This wide range creates a false sense of what a “mid-range” stroller should cost. You’d guess it’s probably somewhere in the middle, around $500 or so. But in truth, the overwhelming majority of strollers are under $500, and in fact, most are closer to $300 and below. Once you cross over $500, there are far fewer options available, and in fact, they tend to be more like $750 and above.
To illustrate this: at the BabiesRUs.com website, there are 622 strollers available. The cheapest is the Graco Mosaic Stroller at $101.99; the most expensive is the Stokke Xplory at $1099.99, which is the most expensive stroller you can purchase anywhere. With so many strollers and a $900 price range, I think the BabiesRUs online stroller store represents a good sampling of the market at large.
If you break them down by price, only 75 of the 622 strollers cost more than $500, which is around 12%. Meanwhile, 381 of the strollers are less than $300, or 61%. So if you’re looking for the mid-range price, $300 is a good starting point.
I’ve looked into many of the cheapest options, and for the most part, they are not worth it.
Instead, I have focused mostly on “mid-range” strollers, meaning those that are above $100 and below $500–and again, most are actually in the neighborhood of $300. There are many excellent strollers in this price range, which should come as a relief to those who don’t want to spend a thousand bucks to get something that will work for your family. But again, don’t cop out and go thrifty, either. Because of how much you’ll use your stroller–my wife and I probably take our son out for 15 hours of strollering a week–it’s definitely worth spending a little extra money to get something that is right for you, rather than just good enough.
Of course, that raises the question of just how much extra money makes sense? With this in mind, I also checked out the luxury strollers, mostly out of curiosity, to see if the extras that come with a luxury stroller merit a price tag that is three, four, or even five times what you’d pay for an excellent mid-range stroller. The extras tend to focus on materials, or amenities that cater to the pusher, rather than the pushee, with things like cupholders, places to store your keys, beefier warranties, or even a USB charger on one model. For the most sake, I’ve found that these are neat, but you can live without them.
One Stroller To Rule Them All
I should clarify that I’m working under the assumption that you want to purchase only one stroller for your child. I realize that many families have two strollers: a main stroller for everyday use, and a second stroller for other purposes. Maybe the second stroller is a lightweight stroller for short walks and easier travel, or maybe one that’s better for jogging. But here I’m focusing on finding the stroller that will work best as the stroller for your family. This is an important distinction to make. With every stroller I found, I asked myself: “Could this be the only stroller that a family uses?”
After a full survey of the field, I’ve grouped strollers into three main categories:
Standard Stroller. This is your go-to, all-around stroller, the type that you’ll take on walks, to the nearby market for shopping, the one that is meant to be easily loaded into the car, etc. The only thing you can’t do with this stroller is go running, so if you don’t plan on taking the baby on jogs, but want to do everything else, go with a standard.
Jogger/Off-Trail. This is the most durable genre of stroller, and is meant to handle rougher conditions, like trails, beaches, gravel—you name it. They come with sturdy suspension systems and heavy-duty, inflatable tires to handle the terrain. These strollers work just fine for schlepping around town, except they tend to be heavier and clunkier than your standard stroller, something to consider if you use public transit a lot.
Doubles. If you have twins, or have more than one kid who is of stroller age, you’ll need a double, or a stroller that can convert into a double. Even if you plan on more little ones to follow your first, I wouldn’t recommend starting with a double. Many families purchase either a standard or a jogger for their first child, and then sell their first stroller and upgrade to a double once they have their second kid.
There’s a fourth category, the lightweight aka “umbrella” stroller, but I’ve kept these strollers out of this review because they cannot be the only stroller your family uses. They do not accommodate car seats so they do not work with kids under the age of 6 months, so this is definitely an optional second stroller.
Here are the Sweet Home’s recommendations for the best stroller.
Our overall pick
Standard strollers can range in price from $50 to well over $1,000, but all of them accomplish the basic purpose of getting your baby from Point A to Point B. The Britax B-Agile is our pick for best standard stroller because it has the look and feel of a high-end stroller, it’s incredibly lightweight and easy to carry around, and it’s a great deal at only $180—hundreds less than what you will pay for strollers that are not noticeably better in quality.
The Britax B-Agile gets a lot of love from reviewers. It’s the Top Seller for strollers on Diapers.com, which is pretty impressive since Diapers.com is one of the premiere parent shopping websites. BabyGizmo.com, which has reviewed a grand total of 93 strollers (holy crap!), recently crowned the B-Agile as one their top picks, replacing it with the otherwise popular City Mini by Baby Jogger. As they put it, “the B-Agile is similar to our beloved City Mini but has a few improved features that makes it even better.”
Of course, B-Agile is not the only stroller that is light and folds easily, but I found it to be the best in this regard.
Looking beyond weight and foldability, the B-Agile does very well compared to the competition. Its wheels are arranged in a triangular pattern, and the front wheel (which is actually two wheels side-by-side) pivots to allow for a tight turning radius. In general, I have found that three-wheel strollers can handle tighter corners much easier than four-wheeled strollers. (And who doesn’t like a good turning radius?) Also, it has a 2-year warranty which (like all strollers) covers damage in the stroller itself, but not anything that might be caused by use.
The wheels on the B-Agile are hard rubber tires that can handle flat surfaces really well, and even do decently on gravel, but you’re not going to want to go off-road with them. The rear tires can lock when you are in the stationary position.
The seat is wide (Schultz calls it “huge” and says the stroller works great all the way up to preschool age and beyond) and the cushioning is soft and doesn’t feel cheap—especially compared to Graco and Chicco strollers, which are popular budget brands that use materials that feel very synthetic and plasticky.
The canopy for shade coverage is large, and you can purchase an attachment to make the stroller work with most major car seat brands for when the baby is under six months old.
It’s not perfect; no stroller is. The handle is not adjustable, while other strollers allow you to raise or lower the handle so taller people don’t have to hunch over to push. But the B-Agile’s handle is high enough at 40″ that it should accommodate parents of most sizes. Another drawback: there’s no tray for the baby to put things on, even though many strollers have trays. In the name of saving weight, the B-Agile also has a smaller-than-average basket. You can still store snacks, a bottle, and a few diapers below, but probably not your typical over-stuffed diaper bag. At $180, you only get the basic stroller, and any amenities—like a tray, or extra storage space—you’ll pay extra for.
As for that $180 price tag…I think it’s worth pointing out that Britax sells the B-Agile for $250 on their website. It’s at sites like Amazon and ToysRUs that you can get the Britax for so much cheaper, which makes the stroller even more appealing.
The strengths of the B-Agile serve to highlight the many drawbacks of the competition, with one exception. The City Mini by Baby Jogger is without a doubt the most obvious competitor of the B-Agile, and it’s an excellent stroller. There are entire forums on parenting discussion sites like Babycenter.com and TheBump.com that try to figure out the differences between the B-Agile and the City Mini, and I have to say, they are negligible. The B-Agile is slightly lighter (16.5lbs compared to 16.8lbs); the folding mechanism on both is almost identical; the two strollers even look similar. The main difference is that the B-Agile is $60 less at $180, while the City Mini is $249. I’ve held these two strollers up next to each other and have read every single item of description for them, and I can’t find any game-changing decisions besides the price. To me, that’s a no-brainer. Save the $60 and go with the B-Agile.
Graco and Chicco have about 10 models that could be considered standard strollers. I checked them all out, but focused in on Graco’s Vie4 ($109) because it is Consumer Reports’ best pick for strollers. (They put B-Agile and Britax in the middle of the pack based on the size of the storage basket.) I’m surprised at Consumer Reports’ heaping praise, because I think the stroller feels clunky and cheap. It’s nowhere near as mobile, easy, or lightweight as the B-Agile. Even user reviews on the Consumer Reports website panned the stroller, giving it only 3 out of 5 stars. It’s a good price at $108, but then again, it feels like a stroller that only costs $100.
The Chicco Liteway ($140) is a common competitor to Graco’s many models, and I’m not a fan. It has the same drawbacks of the Graco strollers in that it feels cheap. It also touts itself as being such a lightweight stroller, when in fact it’s a few pounds more than the B-Agile.
There were a few other stand-outs in the field of standard stroller, each with their own defining characteristics that make them unique. Again, I love the B-Agile because I think it’s the best at being portable and lightweight for the cost, but these other strollers are also cool for less-essential reasons. For example, the Contours Option 3 ($153) is cool because its seat swivels, so the baby can face forward or backward. I think this is a really fun feature to have for parents and kids, but the stroller is a tank that weighs almost 30 pounds. I don’t think the annoyance of such a heavy, bulky stroller makes the swivel feature worth it.
As far as weight goes, the lightest is First Years’ Indigo ($140), which is superlight at 14 pounds, but many reviewers on Amazon point out that the stroller started to fall apart after only a few months of use.
The InStep Safari Swivel ($104) is a classicly over-heavy stroller…it weighs 30 pounds, and doesn’t come with any of the fun features like swiveling seats. It’s just heavy, and although it calls itself a jogger, it’s flimsy and I certainly wouldn’t take it on a jog.
And let’s not forget, I have mostly ignored umbrella strollers, since they cannot accommodate car seats. The standout in umbrella strollers is Maclaren, which makes pretty legitimate umbrella strollers that collapse neatly. Unfortunately, you can’t attach your car seat to any of their models, which severely limits the usability for the first 6 months. Peg Perego suffers from a similar problem, with their slightly beefier four-wheeled strollers. While you can attach a car seat to their strollers, you can only attach a Peg Perego car seat, which is limiting and annoying.
What About More Expensive Strollers?
While there are $1,000 strollers, and those can be easily considered way too expensive for a stroller, but many parents think that if they want to splurge on their kid, splurge on the stroller. Think about it: if you use your stroller every day, a $365 stroller only costs you a buck a day to use. That’s not too much.
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at strollers that are expensive, but not ridiculous–$300 to $600–and there are unquestionably many great strollers in this price range. Strollers that any of us would love to have. But with each stroller, I found myself asking the same question: are the differences in quality between this stroller and the B-Agile worth twice the cost? Because if I’m paying twice the cost, I want something twice as good, not something that is hardly any better. Because let’s not forget, a $365 stroller might cost you a buck a day to use, but the B-Agile only costs you 50 cents each day.
A popular stroller is the Phil and Ted’s Explorer. I really liked this stroller. Its folding mechanism is easy, it’s sleek, and the sun canopy is very good. The big difference that I found between the B-Agile and the Explorer is that the Explorer’s seat is well-ventilated. In fact, the seat ventilation is one of the main selling points of the stroller. This is a great feature. Who wants their baby to get hot in the stroller? But the Explorer is more than double the B-Agile at $390. I don’t think seat ventilation merits an additional $200. Also, the stroller has middling Amazon user reviews (3.2/5 stars), many of which cite bad tires on the stroller. So you’ve got better ventilation, but questionable tires, and the stroller is $390. I’ll save my $200 and stick with the B-Agile.
The Mountain Buggy Urban Jungle Stroller probably has the best name in the industry, and is a quality stroller many compare to Phil and Ted’s Explorer. I got to see this stroller and I like it–except there’s really nothing that exceptional about it. Its defining features are common to almost every stroller: a front wheel that pivots 360 degrees, a 5-point harness for the baby, a sun canopy, soft grip on a handle….these are standard features, and nothing worth writing home about. As far as features go, the Phil and Ted’s Explorer is better than the Urban Jungle, whose biggest selling point is its appearance, which definitely looks cool and very “urban jungle.” But it’s $390 and I’m not going to pay an extra $200 for something just because it looks a like more urban chic.
The Quinny Buzz Stroller is noteworthy because it can unfold with the touch of a button. That’s really cool. It’s a sleek-looking stroller that has its drawbacks, like how bulky it is at 27 pounds, but it’s otherwise a very nice, fancy stroller. For $580. I’m inclined to give it credit for the automatic unfolding, but the folding mechanism on the B-Agile is so easy that an automatic unfold in no way justifies the $400 difference in price.
You are probably getting the point here. Strollers that are twice the cost of the B-Agile are definitely good strollers. But they’re not twice the quality of a B-Agile, they don’t have twice the features, they aren’t twice as easy to use in an urban or suburban environment. I understand the urge to spend up for your kid, but a few more hundred dollars than the B-Agile is not getting you a huge upgrade. It’s instead a minor upgrade, if even an upgrade at all. You might gain one feature, but you’ll lose in getting a stroller that’s bulkier, or less easy to fold. And besides, there are expensive strollers that are noticeably worse than the B-Agile, like the Inglesina 2012 Avio Stroller, which is all looks, and no functionality. Its bright, flashy colors and sleek design are clearly meant to attract attention, but the thing is clunky to fold and very difficulty to put together in the first place. Not at all designed for a parent whose hands are full with a child, diaper bag, car keys, and groceries. But it does come with a pretty hilarious product description: “Unparalleled, made-in-Italy smoothness and effortless thrust, even after long use.” Funny, but I’m not paying $390 for it.
The B-Agile by Britax is the best all-around standard stroller because it is a top performer in functionality and quality, and costs much less than any stroller of a similar caliber.
And finally, there are the top-dollar strollers. These are much, much more expensive than the B-Agile. As one Amazon reviewer unabashedly put it, these are “the Manhattan strollers.” And it’s true. Out in the streets of Manhattan, I saw an impressive amount of of Bugaboo ($889), Uppababy ($730), and Stokke ($1,100) strollers. Almost anywhere else in the country, these strollers are endangered species, rarely seen amidst the sea of Graco’s, Chicco’s, City Mini’s, Britax, etc. Not that I’m calling these snobby strollers, but there’s no denying that they are expensive, and often for features that revolve around aesthetics as much as anything else. Granted, if I was to win one of these strollers in a raffle, I’d keep it, but I’m not going to seek them out in a store to pay close to a thousand dollars. The Amazon reviewer who called these type of strollers “Manhattan strollers” ended her review with a telling sentiment: “I like my Uppababy a lot, but truth is I wonder if I really needed it.” In fact, she admitted that she used her second stroller–a much cheaper stroller from Chicco–much more than her expensive Uppababy.
Not quite as popular as the Bugaboo is the Uppababy Vista, which also comes with an attachable bassinet. The Uppababy Vista does have excellent storage space below, so much that it can almost double as a shopping cart while you’re out. But like the Bugaboo, it’s very large and heavy, and I imagine it being hard to get around on the subway or any other public transit. It’s cheaper than the Buggaboo at $730, which actually makes it one of the cheapest of the high-end strollers, and $150 less than the comparable Buggaboo. But it’s still $730.
The most expensive stroller I checked out was the Stokke Xplory which costs $1,100 and that is just ridiculous. If it doesn’t change your baby’s diapers for you, then why the heck are you spending that kind of money on a stroller. The big selling point is that the stroller is really high. As in your baby sits much higher above the ground than in other strollers, which is Stokke’s big innovation. Height.
I can’t mention high-end strollers without ranting about the most “technological” stroller, the Origami by 4moms. This stroller has an LCD screen on the handle that shows speed, temperature, battery level, and distance traveled. It also lets you know when a kid is in the seat (in case you can’t just look and see yourself), because when the stroller is empty, it folds with the push of a button. Oh, the handle comes with a USB-charging dock, too. As far as I’m concerned, this stroller represents everything that is wrong with technology. It’s gadgety for the sake of gadgety, not to effectively improve your walking experience with your baby in any way. Please do not buy the Origami. It’s $849 worth of whistles and bells.
The Best Jogger Stroller
The critical factor in getting a good jogger that does double duty is to pick a stroller whose front wheel can lock into place for stability while jogging, but can also unlock and pivot for greater maneuverability at walking speeds. It’s best to have a locked front wheel when taking the baby for a fast jog, like if you’re running faster than a seven-minute mile pace. If you go that fast, you don’t want the unpredictability of a pivoting front wheel to catch something and cause the stroller to wipe out. But many of the jogging strollers, and especially the cheaper ones, don’t give you the option to unlock the front wheel. That’s fine if you’re running, but any time you are walking the stroller, you have to do a mini wheelie by lifting the front wheel and pivoting around the back two. Not acceptable if this is your only stroller.
This is why I have only looked at strollers with front wheels that can both lock into place and unlock into a pivot: they can be the only stroller that you need in your family.
With this in mind, let’s get into the BOB Revolution SE. For starters, it is a huge crowd favorite. Everyone loves it. It’s the top choice for jogging strollers on Diapers.com, Babble.com, BabyGizmo.com, and BabyGearLab.com, who say that the Revolution SE is the “best combination of performance and versatility, totally worth the price.” So my pick shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.
The company was started in the ’90s by a cyclist and bike mechanic, and they originally focused on trailers for kids riding behind bikes. But it wasn’t long before they tackled the jogging stroller market, and they have basically dominated ever since.
What jumps out most immediately about the Revolution SE is the smooth ride, and the ease of use. I’ve taken the Revolution SE out on roads, running trails, and even the beach, and it feels great. The stroller is equipped with inflatable tires that look like mini mountain bike tires, which can handle almost any terrain. The back wheels have an excellent suspension system (which can creak a bit after a lot of use, so spray WD40 to keep it quiet) that handles bumps in the trail and curbs effortlessly.
Joggers are bulkier than standard strollers, so most require two hands to fold and collapse. The Revolution SE is a two-step fold system: snap the two levers on the handle to make it collapse, and then grab a red cord to finish the deal. The pivoting front wheel can make the stroller a bit awkward to store flat when it’s folded, but the tire is easy to snap on and off, so for long-term flat storage, just take off the tire.
It’s 23 pounds, which really isn’t that bad for a jogging stroller considering what you’re getting. The shade canopy is humongous, one of the biggest on the market, so your baby will get good sun coverage, too. There’s a little panel you can flip open to have a window into the stroller if the canopy is up, so you can still see your baby. Lastly, there is a footbrake that locks into place that you can use when the stroller is stopped. This is nice, and pretty standard for jogging strollers. The warranty is 5-years on the frame, and 1-year on small parts.
If you’re looking for a drawback, it’s not cheap at $336, but this is in-line with what you should expect to pay for any decent jogging stroller.
Jogger stroller competition – UPDATED
Just like our top standard stroller pick, the Revolution SE has a very similar competitor also made by Baby Jogger, the Summit X3. The Summit X3 is a brand-spanking-new stroller from Baby Jogger, featuring a few improvements over their classic jogging stroller, the Summit XC. The Summit X3 is a great stroller and has some very appealing features. It has a 3-wheel suspension, rather than only the back two. Unlike the Revolution SE, it can be folded with one hand, which is pretty nice for ease of use. And its canopy has vents for allowing fresh air in.
These are all pretty handy features, but the BOB wins on width, which is more important than you might think. The Revolution SE is 23″ wide; the Summit X3 is 25.5″. (I should clarify: the older Summit XE was 27,” which got some criticism for being too wide. Baby Jogger has clearly responded to that criticism by making the X3 slightly more narrow.) and Baby Jogger has responded to criticism of the width by making the X3 slightly more narrow.) The difference in width between the BOB and the x3 is 2.5 inches, which might not seem like much, but it’s a noticeable difference in getting the stroller around, especially when you’re talking about doorways, elevators, stores, and crowded streets. Consider that most doorways are 30″ across. With the x3, you have 4.5″ to spare; with the BOB, you have 7″ to spare, almost double the amount of space to clear your doorways. From all my testing, I can promise you that this nit-picky point matters more than you might think.
Because the Summit X3 is so new (it only has 4 reviews on Amazon so far–glowing reviews, but only 4), there are very few side-by-side comparisons with the BOB Revolution SE available. However, there are many comparisons between the BOB and the older Summit XE, since they were both such clear competitors. StrollerGuru.com and StrollerSnob, two decent stroller review websites, preferred the BOB because of the width issue. 27″ was just too clunky to maneuver. 25.5″ for the X3 is definitely an improvement, but it’s still wider than the BOB.
I’m going to keep my eyes open for experts who compare the two strollers and see if the width reduction makes the X3 worth it, because one obvious point of difference between the two strollers is the price. The BOB is $336; the Baby Jogger Summit X3 is $430. This $100 difference is what makes the BOB our obvious favorite. Granted, I acknowledge that the Summit X3 has some great features and has gotten more narrow, but I’m not convinced it’s worth the extra $100. And for now, few others seem convinced, since the BOB Revolution SE continues to be the most popular jogging stroller on many parenting sites.
The Baby Trend Expedition is a cheap jogging alternative at $191, but you’re getting what you pay for. There are no shocks, and the seat is narrow and has shotty padding. As BabyGearLab.com advises, it might be ok for short runs, but you’re not going to want to take the baby out for a long time in something that isn’t particularly comfortable.
Another budget option that got the abysmal rating of 1 star out of 5 at BabyGearLab.com is the Instep Grand Safari, which is heavy, has a bad braking system, and uses cheap shocks.
There are other joggers out there, but most of them are the locked-wheel variety that make them horrible for everyday use, like the Schwinn Free Runner or the Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller. These are cheaper than the BOB, so they might be an option if you’re looking for a second stroller for running only, but don’t count on them for all-purpose use.
The best double stroller
There are two types of double strollers. The first type puts the two kids next to each other, almost like you’ve glued two stroller together side-by-side. These are obviously wider than single strollers, but tend to fold easily and handle well, at least for such big rigs.
I’ve tried out various models of both, and without a doubt, I prefer the side-by-side approach. Yes, the stroller is wide, but you’re pushing around two kids—the stroller is going to be big no matter what. The side-by-side strollers are much more stable than the bunk-bed styles, some of which almost feel fragile (like Graco’s double stroller) and make you think twice about going any faster than a slow walk. Most of all, the side-by-side strollers collapse easily and are still pretty easy to handle.
There is no stroller company that focuses exclusively on making doubles, so I looked at the same companies I researched for the standard stroller: Graco, Chicco, Phil and Ted’s, Baby Jogger, Britax, BOB, etc.
In the category of the double stroller Baby Jogger finally gets its moment in the sun with its City Mini Double Stroller. No other company has done as well in taking their features for a single and compiling them into a double.
What I liked best about Baby Jogger’s City Mini Double Stroller is that it doesn’t feel huge. Many double strollers feel like you’re pushing a tank down the street, but the City Mini Double Stroller is still lightweight, agile, and best of all, folds up incredibly easily. I can’t imagine the nightmare it would be to have an overly complicated double stroller, while trying to also wrangle two kids. It costs $449, which is consistent with other quality double strollers.
Double stroller Competition
Like I said, there are a slew of double strollers that stack kids up one behind the other, or even in some cases, on top of each other. I’ve seen and handled enough of them to not like them. I think they are awkward for the kids, and feel a lot less steady than the side-by-side strollers. The same companies who make mediocre standard strollers make mediocre double strollers, and they all put one kid behind the other: the Graco Duo Glider, the Chicco Cortina Together, the Jeep Traveller Tandem.
The one double stroller I actually would consider as a viable alternative to the City Mini Double is BOB’s Duallie, which is basically two Revolution SEs next to each other. I’ve seen them out with jogging parents quite a bit, and they’re pretty massive. Sturdy, but massive, and much harder to manipulate than the City Mini Double Stroller. Since the City Mini Double is smaller and lighter, it’s the better pick.
Of honorable mention are the strollers that allow one of the children to actually stand up. These are pretty cool if you have an older sibling who might need a ride, but who doesn’t want to sit down. It’s a bit of a novelty act that I doubt gets a ton of everyday use, but I bet it’s perfect in certain situations. My favorite in this genre is the Joovy Caboose which is ultralight at 21 pounds, cheap at $230, and very maneuverable.
Wrapping it up
For standard strollers, you can beat the ease and price of the Britax B-Agile. It’s lightweight, effortless to fold, and has tons of comfortable room for the baby. There may be nicer strollers on the market, but you’ll pay at least double for them what you’ll pay for the Britax B-Agile, and you won’t be getting that much more for what you’re spending.
If you want a jogging stroller, go with the BOB Revolution SE. It dominates the market, and for good reason. You’ll get a sturdy, smooth, comfortable ride at a great price…and it can work well as your everyday stroller, too.
For doubles, Baby Jogger’s City Mini Double is our favorite. Baby Jogger is a great company, and was runner-up for our standard and jogger pick, but it takes the cake with its double. When you’re toting around two kids you want something light, sturdy, and secure, and that’s the City Mini Double.
The Best Jogging Stroller Review, Baby Gear Lab, December 14, 2012,"Best combination of performance and versatility, totally worth the price."
Stroller Reviews, Baby Gizmo, over several months,This is the full list of Baby Gizmo's review for all of their strollers. They don't do a great job of comparing strollers to each other, but their examination of each stroller is pretty damn thorough.
Strollers, Consumer Reports,While Consumer Reports generally does a reliable job testing their products, their list of recommended strollers was extremely suspect, and often contradicted what we had otherwise read at other sources or experienced first-hand.