Best Baby Strollers (from Lucie's List)
When it comes to medium and full-size strollers (non-umbrella), here are the all-time favorites:
1. Graco Modes ~ $370-$400 (stroller + car seat) or
— Modes 3 Lite ($230 stroller only, $330 with car seat).
The Graco Modes is a “modular” stroller, which means the seat can come off to face forward or rear. This is usually something you only see in luxury strollers.
In addition to facing forward or rear, you can also remove the seat altogether and use it with just the car seat alone (like a frame stroller). At 23.5 lbs., it’s definitely heavy for a non all-terrain stroller (typically, only joggers weigh that much) — that’s my only beef. * Available only at Babies R Us.
However, the new 3-wheeled Graco Modes 3 Lite made our “Best in Show” for 2015 list — you should definitely check it out. At 17 lbs., the weight is much more palatable. 17 lbs. for a fast-folding, modular stroller is really phenomenal.
The Modes (regular, 4-wheeled version) comes only as a travel system (i.e., with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 35 infant seat). At $369 for both, it’s a great value. The Modes 3 Lite comes as a system or by itself.
These strollers have a standing fold, an extra large basket, and come with a parent tray with two cup holders. Yeah, it’s kinda everything you need. Again, not the highest quality, but Graco delivers great value for the money.
2a. Baby Jogger City Mini – 16.8 lbs. ~ $250
The City Mini was my original love — I was horny for this stroller the first time I laid eyes on it; so compact, sleek, sporty, easy to fold. Mmmmmm mmm. Since I lived in the city (SF) and had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to my apartment, I needed something lightweight that also had somesuspension. A 25-pound stroller the size of a small golf cart (sneeze: BOB) was notgoing to fit the bill.
Here’s the thing: the City Mini collapses into a neat, carryable package with one lift of the arm (see my quick demo here). That’s it! When you’re at the subway station and you realize the elevator is out of service, this is the stroller you wish you had. [Everyone else has since mimicked their fold, but they were the original].
The City Mini has a pivoting front wheel, which makes it easy to steer with one hand (you are so demanding!). It scoffs at bumps and curbs. The seat lies down flat for a napping baby (what I call the “first class” position) and sits up for “coach” — and every position in-between. It’s also beautifully designed and has a fabulous sunshade that pulls alllll the way down.
If you really want *just one* stroller in your life, you could get this stroller with the car seat adapter and be done with it.
A couple of downsides:
1. The cargo basket is not huge, like with a frame stroller. Hence, you can’t take this one to the farmer’s market or mall and plan on filling it up, sadly (you can only fit about 4 bottles of wine in the bottom… so I’ve heard).
2. Because the upright position is slightly still reclined, some babies/toddlers get annoyed that they aren’t sitting all the way up; whether or not this will be a problem just depends on the temperament of your child.
Baby Jogger is really good about making a plethora of car seat adapters, including one for the Graco SnugRide Click Connect! Full list of Baby Jogger adapters.
2b. Baby Jogger City Mini GT – 20.9 lbs. ~ $350
* $100 more than the regular
Please don’t overlook the City Mini GT, which is the lovechild of the original City Mini (above) and the beloved all-terrain City Elite. The GT has all-terrain “forever air” tires that never need to be re-inflated, a higher weight limit, a taller seat, and a handbrake on the side.
The City Mini GT is an awesome all-terrain option for those who can’t handle the size and bulk of a traditional all-terrain baby stroller. Worth every penny.
* Both the City Mini and Britax B-Agile (see below) also come in a double version.
3. 2016 Britax B-Agile 3 (New) ~ $270 retail ($350 travel system)
See above. Just kidding (sort of).
So… Britax came out with the B-Agile, which wasSHOCKINGLY similar to the City Mini. SO similar, in fact, that they were then sued for patent infringement. Oopsie!
Anyway, I’m torn. City Mini gets props for doing it first, buuut the B-Agile gets props for packaging it with a fantastic infant car seat, the B-Safe, then selling it CHEAPER than the City Mini.
That said, it seems that people are generally happier with the City Mini than with the B-Agile. Apparently, a front wheel re-design makes the B-Agile much harder to steer than it used to be, which is a real shame.
Regardless, I still think the Britax B-Safe (now, the B-Safe 35) + B-Agile 3 combo is a great package. Get the newer version together for $350 on sale — and THAT, my friends, is an amazing deal. They also make a 4-wheel version called the B-Agile 4, which is a little more stable and slightly heavier at 20 lbs.
For the 2014 model, if you own a Chicco KeyFit, Graco SnugRide Classic Connect, or Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, you can use your car seat with the purchase of anadapter. * This stroller does not work with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect 30.
* Please see our review for the Valco Baby Snap, which you should also consider in this price category.
4. Baby Jogger City Versa ~ $300
* This stroller has been discontinued, so scoop it up while you still can — it’s hella discounted too!
Baby Jogger strollers are soooo thoughtful and well made; the Versa is no different. This stroller is still small(ish), compact, and easy to fold like his brother, the City Mini. BUT, this stroller is modular, which means the seat can face forward or rear.
Everyone will tell you it’s MUCH better/easier/happier for baby to face you rather than to stare off into space. If he’s eating, you can make sure he’s not choking. You can see if he’s sleeping (yada, yada). You can be much more… in touch when you’re facing your babe.
Unlike other rear-facing strollers, you DON’T have to switch the seat back around in order to fold it. And THAT’S why the Versa is the best modular stroller in the strollersphere (among UPPAbaby Cruz, Bugaboo Bee, Mamas & Papas Urbo2, etc.).
The Versa also has a large, accessible storage basket, he lies flat for napping, and he’s got great suspension… I can only find good things to say about this stroller. You will love it. I can’t believe they discontinued it, but the good news is that it’s being replaced by a *very similar* incarnation called the “City Premier.” Coming sometime in 2016. Watch for it.
The notorious B-O-B is the Land Rover of strollers. It’s expensive (~$499, although usually on sale), it weighs 28.5 lbs, and it does not care what you think of it. If you have to walk up steps to get to your door, don’t even *think* about buying this stroller. However, if you live in suburbia (which I imagine most of you do) or you have a garage in the city, this is our favorite all-terrain stroller. Don your yoga pants and you can pretend like you’re out to get exercise. Kidding (sort of)!
With 16″ rear wheels and the ability to roll right over homeless people lying across the sidewalk (Oh please! I would never! – Okay, just that one guy who used to pass out on our stoop in a pool of urine), it is the ultimate all-terrain stroller. The BOB Revolution pushes like a dream and holds up to 75 pounds of human flesh, so you can actually use it for your 4’10″ grandmother. See, very versatile!
This is an all-terrain stroller (although itcan double as a jogging stroller) with a state of the art, adjustable suspension system. The real beauty of BOB is that his front wheel locks OR swivels. Lock the wheel for jogging or for heavy terrain; use in swivel mode otherwise.
On the downside, it’s heavy (as all joggers are) and takes up a lot of space in your trunk. The fold is a two-handed, two-step process and the storage basket is smallish. But seriously, the push of this stroller is like no other.
Car seat-wise, you can buy an adapter for a plethora of different car seats.
Bottom line: If you need a heavy-duty, super durable, all-terrain stroller, this is the stroller for you. Ask anyone who owns this stroller and they will tell you it is well worth the money.
The FLEX is the same as the SE, except with more color options and a height-adjustable handlebar.
The PRO model is the Flex, plus a hand-activated rear drum brake. If you have serious hills or need extra braking control, I would pick the Pro.
If you’re getting a BOB, do yourself a favor and get the Britax B-Safe 35 or Britax Chaperone car seat (Britax owns BOB, so their gear plays nicely together). Hey, and if you’re a matchey-matchey kind of gal, they came out with the new 2016 Bob B-Safe 35 car seat that matches BOB colors. Oh, won’t you be the envy of your Stroller Strides class!?
* Consider this stroller if you have to roll over grass, sand, gravel, brick sidewalks, or any other non-paved surface in order to get from A to B.
* The Revolution also comes in a double version if a second child or twins are in your future.
6. Bumbleride Indie (and Indie 4) ~ $525 retail/$499 on sale
A lesser-known brand, the Bumbleride Indie is a cult favorite. It’s an amazinglightweight, all-terrain stroller/light jogger. Please see full review here.
7. UPPAbaby Vista 2015 ~ $839
The Vista is a versatile, fancy pants, modular, all-terrain stroller. It’s UB’s larger, pricier, full-sized stroller offering (vs. the Cruz). It boasts an easy, one-step fold mechanism – the 2015 model has an even easier fold (more like theCruz). For your newb, the Vista comes with a beautiful bassinet so your babe can slumber comfortably.
The seat can face forward or backward, which is actually a very cool feature (it’s MUCH better to be able to see your baby and make eye contact rather than have him face away from you). Attention tall people and NBA players: this one has adjustable handles (up to 6’6″), which is key for us Amazons. This and the floating arch “no kick” rear axle mean you will never kick or trip on the back with your long stride.
The sun canopy is extra large (HUGE and amazing) and comes with a zip-in weather shield and mesh bug/sun shield. The storage basket is probably the best on the market — it’s so huge and accessible.
To me, the Vista is better than Bugaboo’s all-terrain stroller, the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, because the Bug is $350+ more expensive (if that’s even possible) and requires you to remove the seat in order to fold it (seriously?), then just flops onto the ground. For that price, I’d expect more, but hey that’s just me.
The new Vista 2015 has a redesigned rumble seat that can face the front or rear AND CAN RECLINE (woohoo!) – it is a bit more reminiscent of the Baby Jogger City Select. And no, the new rumble seat cannot be used with previous versions of the Vista, sorry ’bout that. [Full review of the double Vista here.]
For your bassinet, you can also buy this beautiful bassinet stand (below), which converts to a laundry hamper when you’re done with it. ISN’T THAT COOL?? So cool. Gosh, I love UPPAbaby.
The 2015 Vista stroller weighs 27.5 lbs. as a single (heavy!!) and can be used until your kiddo is about four years old. If you need to heave your stroller in and out of the car a lot, I would not recommend this stroller due to its sheer weight.
8. UPPAbaby Cruz 2015 ~ $499
…is the lighter, peppier, more affordable UPPAbaby offering. It too underwent a redesign in 2015, thus the higher price tag.
“Compact without compromise,” the Cruz is lighter (21.5 lbs. vs. 27.5 lbs.) and more compact, yet still boasting the key features of the Vista.
Like the Vista, the Cruz is also modular, which means the seat can face forward or backward. It’s super easy to fold, has the same amazing sunshade, and an extra large basket. For 2015, they added AirGo tires, which are larger (8.25”) rear wheels that mimic the cushioned ride of an air-filled tire with the lightweight benefit of foam. New also in 2015, is an included bumper bar. * This is not an all-terrain stroller, per se, but pretty close!
The Cruz does not come with a bassinet, like the Vista, and cannot convert into a double stroller later on. But all-in-all, this is a rock solid everyday stroller that will serve you well for years to come. I wish it were more affordable, but alas…
If I were to do it all over again and had to pick ONE stroller, this would be the one.
Again, if you are getting the Cruz or the Vista, do yourself a favor and get the UPPABaby Mesa car seat.
Basically, a travel system is a car seat/stroller combo that is specifically made to go together, except the stroller is bigger and is meant to be used for a longer period of time (i.e., into toddlerhood). The car seat snaps into the stroller (for infants) and can be used without the car seat as your child gets older. Great, sounds perfect, right?
Well, the big beef people have with these is that they tend to be very bulky and heavy (about 25 lbs. – whaaat?). Everyone I know who bought a travel system (other than the ones I’ve listed above) ended up ditching it pretty early on for a lighter weight, less bulky stroller. Hence, I do not recommend.
BTW — there are waaaaay more strollers than what I’ve listed above (about 200, in fact); these are just the most noteworthy.