How To Choose the Best Stroller – Quick Guide
When it comes to buying a stroller there a great number of things to consider. We help you break it down in this ultimate guide to buying a stroller to help you think about and decide what is right for you and your family. From lightweight holiday buggies to travel systems to top grade umbrella strollers, we’ve got you covered.
While it’s tempting to buy for the right now, it pays to consider the future. Are you for example planning and hoping to have other children in the near future? The answer to this question might affect whether you invest in a more solid option in the hope that it will last the long haul.
You also need to consider whether you want to have a buggy for a baby, something else for when they are older / sitting up or a combination that will see them through from day one to no longer needing a stroller or buggy of any type.
This will be one of your most important considerations. When kitting out a baby for their first years there are a number of pieces of equipment that you really do need or should have, some that you could maybe do with and others which are purely fashionable, pretty, cute or the latest “in thing”. How you furnish the nursery and what stroller you buy will depend on how much you have in the bank to dedicate to that particular purchase.
Thankfully choosing the more affordable option these days does not necessarily mean settling for something not as good or suffering poor quality. Shopping around the sales, choosing brands which aren’t considered premium and yet are perfectly good will save you a decent chunk of money. That said you might be in a position to really splash the cash when it comes to your stroller. If the designer label and the iPod docking station for those long walks or jogs is what you are looking for, then thankfully there are plenty of options for you too.
New or Used
Lots of people “um and ah” about buying used pushchairs / strollers, travel systems and the like. There is nothing wrong with buying second hand and it will certainly save you some money which is important if you are on a strict budget. When looking at a second hand stroller consider whether or not linings and reins are in good condition, whether they may be removed and washed and check for overall signs of wear and tear. You might bag yourself an absolute bargain on a great condition stroller that has only be used a few times as it has been parked at the grandparent’s.
The flipside of buying second hand is that of course there may be wear and tear that you can’t see. Something advertised as “used lightly” might mean light to the seller but not necessarily to you. It’s like buying a car; you want to know the mileage before you buy so that you will have a decent idea of where things might be wearing thin, need fixing and whether or not it will last as long as you’d hoped.
Also bear in mind that second hand strollers don’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty or guarantee so if anything goes wrong or you find yourself needing replacement parts this could work out very costly and difficult to arrange (most manufacturers sell some spares such as wheels and so on but not all).
Please note: Experts advise against buying and using a second hand car seat in the interests of safety. There is no way to be absolutely sure that the car seat hasn’t been damaged. Even the smallest of weaknesses may make all the difference in the event of an accident.
Believe it or not terrain is something you do need to consider when buying a stroller. Think about where you live and where the majority of the stroller use will occur. Do you live in a fairly urban area with lots of well-maintained paths, pedestrian areas and soft grass parks? If so your wheel choice and perhaps entire stroller outlook will be different to someone who lives in the country, spends the majority of their time in a town with wonky cobble-stones and who enjoys off-road walks and fancies giving jogging with their stroller and buggy keep fit a go.
Think carefully about this choice as thankfully there are a wealth of options and features available these days which cater for all lifestyles and geographical areas.
Once upon a time you got a pram, it had a hood and if you were lucky a tray underneath for your shopping. These days the possibilities are endless when it comes to special features and accessories. At the very minimum you would expect your stroller to come with a rain cover and hopefully somewhere to put your shopping or changing bag.
Just a few of the features that you may expect to come across includes:
- Cup holder
- Storage area (for keys, children’s bits and pieces)
- Padded reins
- Toy clips
- Different types of rain covers (some Velcro on, some have poppers, some even have zips)
- A sunshade net or umbrella to protect little ones from the sun
- A tray or section for shopping bags or clips to hang bags from the handle (with weight restrictions and balance in mind)
- A cosy toes or other liner which keeps little ones warm and snug
- Changing bag which matches the stroller
And much, much more!
Generally speaking, the more accessories you add to your stroller the higher price tag. It is worth then considering what you do really want and need and whether some of these accessories may be purchased separately cheaper.
More than One Child?
When looking at strollers you might be looking for one for more than one child. You might have twins or triplets or you may have a new baby with a sibling still of an age where they need to be in a stroller. This will affect your buying decision.
Consider how children grow and whether you need a buggy for two or whether a stroller with a buggy board would do the trick. This all depends on where and how you use your stroller. How long you’d expect the older child to still use the stroller before changing over to a single one is also something to think about when choosing a stroller. You might not want to spend a huge amount on something that will only be used for as little as six to eight months.
Do also consider whether you want both children side by side, in front or behind and how this will work given your lifestyle and where you walk and shop.
Congratulations! You have purchased a mini tank that will see your child through until they are walking. Now think about where in your two-bedroom flat with little to no storage you will keep it when not in use. Folding a stroller up is a great idea for reducing its size however will you want to be constantly folding and unfolding? Some people like to be able to park their stroller up in the hall or elsewhere ready and waiting for when they want to get going.
Have a really good think about how and where you might store your stroller and bear this in mind when you look at different models.
Thinking again about how you plan on using your stroller, consider how easy it is to move around from place to place when not in use. If for example you have a new car with a small boot you might not want to look at a stroller that is very large, even when folded up.
Also consider how you will cope if you use public transport. On the bus there is usually a space dedicated for wheelchair users that strollers may be parked up in assuming no-one in a wheelchair needs it. You won’t know if this is free however until you get on and of course if someone in a wheelchair comes on a few stops down the road will you be able to quickly take everything off the stroller, find a way to safely put the baby down, fold it up, store it and get yourself sat down?
One hand closing and a small space footprint in cases like these can be a real help.
A stroller isn’t a fashion accessory. Or is it? Obviously the practical decisions have to come first however there’s no reason why a pretty design and fun accessories can’t feature into your decision making. Do consider however how much you’ll love that neon green or loud or busy flower print after a couple of month.
Also, white strollers and accessories, unless they have some magical shield around them or keep-clean coating are going to look grubby fairly quickly, especially if you are going in and out of the car and like walks in the park.
Keeping up with the Jones’
At no point should your stroller buying decision take into account what other people have. Trying to keep up with other people is tiring, expensive and often disappointing. Yes, they may have a swanky pram and yes it does look pretty cool but the interest you are going to pay on credit card after charging such a huge amount will sting all the more when you realise that what works for them doesn’t necessarily work so well for you and your family.
Base your buying decision on your likes and dislikes, your own budget and enjoy a stroller that does everything you need to which makes life a lot easier. You never know, the Jones’ might have stroller-envy when they see how nice and how easy to use a stroller you’ve bought at half the price.
Review and Recommendations
With a ridiculously scary amount of strollers to choose from which one do you choose? If you follow the points in this article closely you should now be forming a list of wants and needs and have an idea of what you do and don’t want in a stroller. Add your budget into the mix and you have now reduced the number of strollers in your search to over a hundred (on the first site you’ve looked at).
Recommendations from friends as well as reviews such as this “top five umbrella strollers guide” review can be great for pointing out features (and downsides) that you perhaps hadn’t thought about, narrowing down the field considerably.
Buying a stroller is a very personal thing. What suits one home, one family and one lifestyle may not suit another. Stroller buying can also be very exciting; just make sure that you temper your enthusiasm long enough to really consider what you are looking for. Getting caught up in the excitement is a sure-fire way to find yourself with a great looking stroller which blew your budget and actually isn’t as practical as you’d hoped.
If you are looking for a stroller right now our advice is to take a deep breath, sit down with a notepad and a cup of tea and work back through the points in this article. Note down your wants and needs, consider your budget and take on board advice from friends, family, professional reviews and articles and then start looking.
Once you have your perfect stroller make sure you come back and comment below to tell us what it is and what features you like the best.