How to Choose a Stroller

How to Choose a Stroller

May 7, 2019

How to Choose a Stroller

How to Choose a Stroller
Photo by @xo_mrsdolan
No stroller is perfect, but this cheat sheet will help you answer (in ten easy questions) what stroller is perfect for YOU. How to Choose a Stroller

Deciding what stroller to get for your new baby can be tough when you don’t know exactly what you need or what to look for. And let’s face it: That set of wheels is pretty important when it comes to making outings with your baby easier, whether that means strolling a farmer’s market, going for a run, navigating the streets of Europe or just getting out of the house for a walk around the block.

It’s a big decision, but here’s all the information you need to help you make the right stroller choice for you and your family. When you finish reading this quick guide, you’ll know the major stroller types, what to keep in mind as you shop and the features parents appreciate most.

In this article:

What to Consider When Choosing a Stroller

When picking out a stroller, you’ll want to think about what’s best for you and your family. Keep the following in mind:

  • Cost: First-time parents are often shocked by how much strollers cost. While higher-end strollers can cost upwards of $800, you can get a solid stroller that fits your needs for much less. (Here’s a guide to strollers under $300.)
  • Family size: If you’re a one-and-done family or want to have several years between siblings, a single stroller will work just fine. But if you think there’s a chance you’ll have another child within the next three years, consider a single stroller that can convert to double stroller or even accommodate up to three kids (two seats and a stroller board). Babylist parents say one of their biggest stroller regrets is not investing in one that would convert to a double.
  • Lifestyle: Besides keeping your baby comfy and safe, the most important aspect of a stroller is that it’s suited to your lifestyle. It should be designed to meet the needs of your everyday activities.

For example:

  • If you’re a city dweller or frequent traveler, a lightweight stroller for crowded spaces and public transportation is a good choice.
  • If you live in the suburbs, an all-purpose stroller might be perfect for you.
  • If you’re a die-hard runner or live for the outdoors, a jogging stroller is probably the best option as long as you have enough trunk space and don’t mind (or plan on) using it in narrow spots.

Types of Strollers

There’s a stroller type for nearly every situation—from jogging to traveling to everyday activities. Here’s a breakdown of what’s what:

All-purpose stroller

britax-single-stroller-red

Also known as a “normal,” “everyday” or “full-size” stroller, this type of stroller is ideal for everyday activities like going to the mall or for walks around the neighborhood. These are typically solid strollers that combine a smooth ride with convenient features like cup holders and storage baskets. Some are also “modular” and have the ability to change the seat direction or add on another seat or stroller board (an area for a toddler to stand and ride) down the road.

Lightweight stroller

chicco-liteway-stroller

Like the name implies, this type of stroller weighs less than your average stroller, so it’s less taxing to lift in and out of your car trunk or bring on public transportation. Also, lightweight strollers usually have a slender profile to more easily navigate through narrow doorways and on crowded sidewalks. Lightweight strollers also are great for travel—some fold up small enough for overhead airplane bins. They vary widely in price, so don’t expect a lot of extras in the less-expensive versions. (See the best lightweight strollers.)

Jogging stroller

bob-revolution-jogging-stroller

If you love to run, these strollers allow you to take your baby along for the ride. Super-sturdy with suspension systems to smooth out bumpy rides, they have three wheels with a front wheel that swivels or can be fixed in place, depending on whether you need it to quickly turn or be more stable at fast speeds. Most come with hand brakes as well, for stopping or slowing on the downhill. (See the best jogging strollers.)

Double stroller

graco-ready-to-grow-double-stroller

For twins or kids born close together, a double stroller can be helpful. There are two designs to choose from: side-by-side seats or single-file seats (also called tandem). If you have twins and want to use a double stroller from birth, make sure to find a stroller that allows for two infant car seats at one time, like the Baby Jogger City Select. (See the best double strollers.)

Travel systems

nuna-travel-system-stroller

These come with an infant car seat that attaches to the stroller, so you can use it with your baby right away. Travel systems are a popular option, as you don’t have to wake your baby up to move them from the car to stroller, and you can save a little money by buying your car seat and stroller together. (See the best travel systems.)

Key Stroller Features

Even among the same type of stroller, features can vary a lot. Here, too, it helps to keep in mind how you plan on using the stroller the majority of the time. Evaluate these popular features to see which ones are most important to you:

Accommodates newborns

Believe it or not, many strollers aren’t suitable for newborn babies. That’s because they don’t have enough support for newborns who can’t hold their necks up or keep from slumping over (this usually doesn’t happen until around six months old). For a stroller you can use with a newborn, look for the following:

  • A seat that can fully recline to a flat surface
  • Ability for an infant car seat to clip into the stroller (a travel system)

One-handed fold

Being able to quickly open and close the stroller with one hand is a feature worth its weight in parenting gold, especially when you’re balancing a baby in your other arm. Even better? If the stroller is also self-standing, meaning when it’s folded it stands upright all by itself without tipping over.

Washable fabric

If you know babies, you know they’re messy. Your stroller seat will take a beating from spit-up, drool, drippy bottles and snack accidents, so it’s great if you can remove the seat cover and throw it in the washer.

Adjustable handlebar

Having an adjustable handlebar makes the stroller comfortable for everyone to push, no matter their height. This is a great option if you and other caregivers are on entirely different latitudes.

Sun canopy

A bigger canopy provides more shade and privacy for your little one. Many canopies, especially larger ones, have peekaboo windows for you to check on your child without breaking stride. Some also come with a magnet closure so it’s nice and quiet.

Stroller basket

A typical stroller basket, located under the seat, is certified to hold 10 pounds (for context, one gallon of milk is about 8.6 pounds). If you plan on doing a lot of shopping with your stroller, look for an extra-large basket. Also, you’ll want a basket that has a wide opening to access your items. Some stroller baskets only have a narrow gap to pull your stuff through and you end up having to squeeze and wriggle items in and out.

Stroller Accessories

The right stroller accessories can make being out and about with your baby easier and more comfortable. Some to consider:

  • A raincover
  • Bunting for colder climates
  • Toy attachments
  • Snack and cup holders
  • Stroller boards

Find out more about which accessories may be useful in our stroller accessories guide.

Choosing the Right Stroller for You

Ready to start shopping? Browse the strollers that other parents voted best of the bunch in our Best Strollers Guide, keeping in mind the features you really need or want. With so many options, we’re confident you’ll find one that meets most, if not all, of your criteria. Before you know it, you’ll be showing your baby this big, beautiful world.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content.