The best jogging strollers have

  • Extra safety features. In addition to a padded, five-point harness and secure rear parking brakes, jogging strollers should have a wrist strap or runaway leash and a handlebar brake for better speed control on hills.
  • An easy push. After safety, ease of pushing is the most important feature for a jogging stroller. It should move along almost effortlessly and not exhaust the runner.
  • Adjustable tracking. Even the best strollers occasionally can begin to veer right or left. Some strollers have easier tracking features than others. Some don't have adjustable tracking.
  • Wheel stability. The wheels, the front wheel in particular, should seem stable and secure with no wobbles. This is particularly important on a fixed-wheel stroller.
  • Locking fold. Because jogging strollers, in general, tend to be heavier than other strollers, a locking fold is important to make the stroller easier to lift and carry.
  • Good padding and suspension. Jogging strollers tend to be more well-padded than other strollers, but a few get lower marks for sparse padding. They usually have springy suspensions as well, which helps to keep the child stable. Some have adjustable suspensions based upon the weight of the child.

Know before you go

Before you choose a jogging stroller, consider:

If you need an everyday stroller. The most common complaint we see on consumer-review websites is that a reviewer bought a jogging stroller with a fixed wheel and finds it difficult to maneuver. Fixed-wheel strollers are meant for jogging or running only. If you need a jogging stroller that you can also use every day, buy a swivel-wheel stroller with a fixed-wheel option. Also, car seat compatibility is important with an everyday stroller, but even if you have a jogging stroller, you should never run with a car seat attached.

How you run or exercise. Serious runners or distance/road runners should consider a dedicated, fixed-wheel stroller. Power walkers, light joggers or those who walk long distances can get by with a swivel-wheel stroller with a fixed-wheel option.

Where you run. Some jogging strollers are meant for running on smooth surfaces like sidewalks, roads or running tracks. Others have sturdier wheels that work on dirt, gravel, sand and other multi-terrain surfaces.

Your storage space. Jogging strollers tend to be bulky when folded because they're made long and lean with large tires. Many people just roll their strollers into the garage and keep them there, opened, much like a bike. Others have to fold and store them. Be sure the one you buy fits where you want it to live.

Your strength. Jogging strollers also tend to be heavy. Even a stroller that almost floats when being pushed may be difficult to lift if it tops out at close to 40 pounds. Be sure you know how much weight you can lift and whether you can comfortably lift that weight multiple times in a day if you are using it as an everyday stroller.

An adjustable handle. Parents who run together and take turns pushing the stroller may want to consider an adjustable handle if there is a significant height difference. There are also stroller fitness programs with exercises that work better with an adjustable handle.

Buying tactics and strategies

The following shopping tips will help you find the jogging stroller that will take you through many workouts:

Try it out in person. It's best to test a jogging stroller in person to see how it fits and if it seems to push easily. It's also important to take your children with you and try it out on them as well. With the jostling inherent in running, comfort and fit are more important in a jogging stroller than other strollers.

Get last year's model. Stroller manufacturers often update models yearly. Like a car, a brand-new jogging stroller that's last year's model can often be found at a deep discount. Since jogging strollers are rarely discounted because there isn't much competition, this is a good way to get a deal.

Don't buy used strollers. Strollers are often subject to recalls, and even high-end brands aren't immune; BOB and Kelty jogging strollers have both been involved in recalls. The older the stroller, the more likely it is to have been involved in a recall since they're often retroactive. If you buy a new stroller, your product registration will alert you to recalls as soon as they're announced. If you're set on buying a used stroller, check for recalls at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) website.

What's to come

The stroller market is highly competitive and highly regulated, a fact that is causing some manufacturers with a diversity of products to discontinue their stroller lines. Kelty is no longer manufacturing the popular Speedster Swivel-Deluxe single and double. The double has already virtually disappeared, the single won't be far behind. Schwinn has discontinued two models that also regularly appeared on most expert's "best of" lists -- the Free Runner and the Schwinn Arrow Fixed Wheel Jogger.

After much hype in early 2012 over the Joovy Zoom ATS and Zoom 360 jogging strollers becoming car seat compatible, Joovy has sent the adapters back to the drawing board and say the Zoom no longer accepts a car seat -- although a spokesperson says that may change in the future.

Jogging strollers already have little competition with each other, which is why prices stay relatively stable. Expect that to continue as more models are discontinued and none take their place.

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