The Graco SnugRider should be used only with Graco infant car seats, but experts and owners say it's a great way to transport an infant without the hassle of folding and unfolding a full-sized stroller. It's sturdy, easy to use and safe, and offers a number of convenience features. In 2012, Graco released an upgrade to the SnugRider, the SnugRider Elite (*Est. $90).
Safe and secure fit. The Graco SnugRider is meant to be used with Graco infant car seats, and we found no complaints of those seats coming loose or not fitting securely. Owners do grumble about a few other brands of car seats not fitting well, but they're not meant to be used with the SnugRider. Its rear brakes are individually activated, and the front swivel wheels lock for greater stability. The updated SnugRider Elite has a slightly different frame design, helping Graco infant car seats to fit even more securely.
Almost entirely one-handed. The fold on the Graco SnugRider is described as one-handed by most users, although a few say it takes two hands. Owners note that you must be careful to line up the wheels before folding the stroller or they can catch on the frame, making the stroller more difficult to open.
The SnugRider locks automatically when folded, so it won't open when carrying or lifting. At 12.5 pounds, it's light enough to lift and carry with ease. The car seat snaps in with a firm push, and is released by unlocking the latches and squeezing the release handle, then pulling up on the car seat.
The SnugRider Elite also stands when folded, and owners say it has an easier one-handed fold than the original SnugRider.
Less pricey alternative to a big travel system. If you already use one of Graco's popular infant car seats, the SnugRider is a lightweight, inexpensive alternative to a travel system. It can also buy you time to decide just which of the hundreds of strollers available will fit your child and lifestyle. It has a very low cost of ownership for the six to nine months that your baby will use an infant car seat.
Reviewers say the Graco SnugRider has a compact fold that fits even in the trunks of small cars. They like its two cup holders, but say they're too small in diameter to hold anything larger than a water bottle. A number of critics are puzzled by the fact that one cup holder has a square shape, saying they use it for storing keys and other small items. Owners rave over the large, easily accessible basket, but the stroller frame's most popular feature may be its adjustable handle, something even high-end strollers don't often have. The handle has a bar between the two cup holders that a number of parents say they use to dangle toys from to entertain their baby.
Some users say this stroller frame doesn't work well on anything but the smoothest terrain, and that its lack of shock absorption makes for a bumpy ride. To be fair, stroller frames aren't intended for long outings, but rather for errands and other activities in which you're in and out of the car often. The SnugRider Elite adds shock absorbers, which may solve that problem. One expert source calls this a stroller frame for the suburban parent who drives everywhere. Many parents say it's great for travel with an infant because it takes up little space in a trunk, and can easily be gate-checked after transporting baby and car seat through an airport.
There are a few scattered complaints about the Graco SnugRider feeling flimsy and "plasticky," but most owners love this stroller frame. The Elite is more sturdily constructed.
One-year limited warranty. Graco is renowned for its responsive customer service. A few customers who had various issues with the SnugRider say the company replaced the product immediately.
1. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent This well-researched book includes buyer's guides and ratings for all types of baby gear, including car seat and travel system strollers. The authors conduct hands-on testing, and interview parents, manufacturers and retailers. They discuss the Graco brand in general and the SnugRider specifically.
Review: Strollers, Diaper Bags, Carriers and Other to Go Gear, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
Review Credibility: Very Good The Graco SnugRider earns 4.6 stars out of 5 in more than 400 customer reviews, with virtually no negative feedback. The few complaints posted either have nothing to do with the stroller itself or seem to be rare and isolated incidents. Owners say it's easy to use, has great convenience features, and is secure, sturdy and durable.
Review: Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Stroller Frame, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of December 2012
3. Babies 'R' Us
Review Credibility: Very Good More than 750 reviewers give the Graco SnugRider an average rating of 4.6 stars out of 5. Most praise the stroller frame for its great value, ease of use and light weight. A few say it's hard to push on terrain that's less than smooth, and the basket is hard to access with some car seats attached, but complaints are few and far between.
Review: Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Frame Stroller, Contributors to BabiesRUs.com, As of December 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good The Graco SnugRider gets a perfect 5 stars out of 5 in more than 100 reviews at Target.com. Its adjustable handlebars are a big hit, but owners also rave about its ease of use and included cup holders. As at other sites, there are a few complaints that the cup holders are small and one is square-shaped.
Review: Graco SnugRider Infant Car Seat Frame, Contributors to Target.com, As of December 2012
5. Travels With Baby
Review Credibility: Fair Rivoli, who writes guidebooks devoted to traveling with a baby, reviews three car seat frames here; one is the Graco SnugRider and another is discontinued. She recommends the Graco because of its many bells and whistles, including two cup holders, height-adjustable handle and large storage basket.
Review: Best Car Seat Stroller Frames for Travel, Shelly Rivoli, Not dated
Review Credibility: Fair Corley, the About.com guide to baby products, rates four stroller frames, but two are discontinued. The review is very brief, consisting of little but an overview of the Graco SnugRider's features. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Top Stroller Frames, Heather Corley, Not dated