When it comes to safety, features, ease of use, fit to multiple lifestyles, price and excellent customer service, the Baby Jogger City Mini (Est. $200) is far and away the top choice of expert and user reviewers. It's a super-safe, highly maneuverable stroller that accommodates newborns to 50 pounds. For city folks, it's easy to push and maneuver, has a one-handed fold and locks when folded -- making it a great choice if you have to take public transportation. At 16.8 pounds this stroller will not be a problem for suburban parents to lift in and out of car trunks.
The buckle on the padded harness includes a sheath that keeps escape-prone toddlers from fiddling with it, and the harness is a no-rethread type that can be adjusted from the front of the seat with a simple readjustment. The stroller's other features are just as easy: The recline is a one-step, one-handed move; the front wheels lock with a tap, and the rear wheels pop off easily with the push of a button. Its linked rear brake is foot-operated and flip-flop friendly.
It's a great stroller for outdoor use because it has a practically full-coverage canopy with two viewing windows. The seat has a large, mesh ventilation window in back and a retractable weather cover. The wheels are not all-terrain, but users say they do well on multi-terrains like grass and playground mulch. The large under-seat basket is easy to access.
The drawbacks to this stroller are its lack of an adjustable handle and its lack of convenience features. All accessories are sold separately -- even the cup holder -- which can quickly jack up the price. However, owners say they have had success with off-brand cup holders and, since it accommodates infants in the seat, you probably won't have much need for a pram-style attachment anyway. It's car seat compatible with a number of car seats, but the adapters are sold separately as well.
Very similar to the City Mini, the Britax B-Agile (Est. $175) is less expensive and includes car seat adapters that work with several of its very popular Britax car seats. Adapters for other seats are optional accessories. The City Mini has more optional accessories than the B-Agile, like a bassinet and pram, and the Britax B-Agile is just a few ounces lighter. Other than that, this stroller is so similar to the City Mini that Baby Jogger is suing Britax for patent infringement.
We went with the City Mini as our best reviewed, though, for several reasons. Baby Jogger has a much longer tradition of quality strollers than Britax, which gives us a good feel for their durability. For urban dwellers who walk a lot, the optional accessories available with the City Mini, such as the bassinet, are almost considered necessities.
In addition, as this report was being prepared, Britax, in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, announced a voluntary recall of about 225,000 strollers due to significant finger injuries in the folding mechanism. This includes the B-Agile single and double. The hinge on the strollers' folding mechanism can partially amputate consumers' fingertips, break their fingers or cause severe lacerations when they press the release button while pulling on the release strap. If you own a Britax B-Ready, you should stop using it immediately and contact Britax to receive a free repair kit. Contact Britax at 866-204-1665 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET Monday to Thursday and 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday. You can also visit the company's websites at www.britaxusa.com or www.bobgear.com and click on "Safety Notice" in the top right corner, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
As good as the City Mini is, not everyone can, or wants to, spend $200 on a stroller -- and even more for cup holders, parent trays, etc. For them, the Graco LiteRider (Est. $60) is a stroller that gets great reviews from experts and parents alike. It offers a surprising number of features for the price, including cup holders and parent and child trays. It's easy to fold and, at 17 pounds, isn't a beast to lift and carry. Best of all, it's compatible with the Graco line of top-rated infant car seats.
However, without the car seat, it's probably not the best stroller choice for children under 6 months. While Graco says it's suitable from birth, it does not have a full recline, and the American Academy of Pediatrics says a newborn should be able to recline fully until they are about 3 to 6 months old. Another issue is that the single stroller only has a three-point harness, which is why we do not recommend it as a main stroller, but if you just need a stroller for occasional use, or a stroller to keep at grandma's house, it's a great deal.