The best double strollers have

  • Secure harnesses and brakes. Five-point harnesses offer the best protection and should be simple to adjust. The buckle should be easy for parents to use but hard for children to undo. Rear brakes should engage with one step; front swivel wheels should lock into stationery position for smoother strolling on uneven terrain.
  • Good maneuverability. It should be fairly easy to push and steer, even with two children. It should navigate through doorways, over multiple surfaces and up and down curbs with relative ease.
  • Independently adjustable canopies. They should be large enough to provide ample sun protection for both children and, ideally, have a peek-a-boo window in the seat closest to the handle.
  • An uncomplicated fold. Though you may not be able to fold a double with just one hand, it should still be easy to collapse and hoist into most car trunks. A locking fold is a bonus.

Know before you go

What are the ages and weights of your children? Some double strollers have seats that recline fully for newborns; others can only accommodate children from the age of 3 or 6 months. Side-by-side double strollers are best for twins or children of roughly equal weight. Tandems and convertibles are best for children of different ages and sizes. Check to see how much weight each seat holds and how much leg and headroom they allow for growing children.

What are your car seat transport needs? If you need your double stroller to be a complete travel system for two children, choose one that can accommodate two car seats.

How and where you will use it? If you need a stroller for long, tiring outings, you may want to look at dedicated two-child seats. If it's only for outings to the zoo, museum or park where the kids are in and out, a detachable seat or standing board may work best.

How strong are you? Double strollers can be very heavy. Whether you live in the city or suburbs, you're going to need to lift and carry it -- into trunks, up the stairs, or onto public transportation.

What is the size of your trunk or car? And bring a tape measure to the store too, so you can measure the double stroller when folded, to determine whether it will fit into your trunk. Some double strollers are difficult to fit in compact cars.

Value expectations -- the dollars and cents of it

A good double stroller can be very pricey, and most come with just the very basics. Convertible strollers, for example, often only come with a base that includes a seat that's suitable for 6 months and up. Bassinets, car seat adapters, standing platforms and second seats are an additional purchase. Even things you would expect to find on expensive, higher-end strollers – cup holders, child snack trays and parent organizers -- are often an optional purchase that can run up the tab several hundred dollars or more.

All that doesn't even include the infant car seats, which have to be factored into the cost as well. When assessing affordability, make sure you include in the price all the extras you will need.

One helpful tip: Buying universal-type accessories like cup holders and stroller organizers is much less expensive if you steer away from the brand that is manufactured for your model and look for a generic brand. These are often not only less expensive, but more stylish and innovative than the accessories that the stroller manufacturer sells.

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