Reviewers say the Bugaboo Bee maneuvers well and folds easily. The seat is reversible, so baby can ride facing you. Based on the most recent evaluations by experts and owners, Bugaboo gets top marks for safety, maneuverability, ease of use and durability. Customer service still gets panned for its response time, but overall this stroller appears to be a good choice -- particularly for the city dweller with enough money to spend on the stroller plus accessories.
Seems safe, but multiple recalls are an issue. Seven thousand strollers were recalled in December 2011 for wheel problems and 22,500 Bees were recalled in June 2009 for brake issues, but those problems seem to have been solved. However, if you have any Bugaboo Bee stroller that was manufactured before September 2011, visit Bugaboo's website to get information on how to fix the problem.
The Bee has a five-point harness, wrist strap and one-touch linked brakes, all safety features we like on a stroller. The fact that there have been two recalls in a fairly short period is disquieting; will something else come up down the road?
Great reviews on ease of use. One thing all reviewers seem to agree on is that the Bugaboo Bee is very simple to use. This includes ease of push; maneuverability; changing the seat, bassinet and car seats out; changing the seat to front- or rear-facing; and folding/unfolding. In addition, the fabric is removable and machine washable.
Targeted to the urban lifestyle. Bugaboo calls the Bee "the complete urban stroller" that promises to be highly maneuverable, narrow enough to fit in shop aisles, easy to fold, and light enough to pick up and carry onto public transport. Reviewers say it fits all of these requirements.
At 18.5 pounds, the Bee almost fits into our lightweight category of 17 pounds or less, has a compact fold and, when folded, can be pulled along behind you like a piece of luggage. The only thing the Bee seems to be missing is good storage. Several owners complain that the basket is small and hard to access, which isn't great if you have a few errands to run. Also, it doesn't come with cup holders or a baby or parent tray, although a cup holder (*Est. $25) and organizer (*Est. $30) are sold separately.
The Bee is compatible with several popular brands of car seats, with adapters sold separately. Since it folds so compactly, it's great for small car trunks.
The upper weight rating on the Bee isn't very high, only 37.5 pounds; today the trend is much higher -- up to 45 or even 50 pounds. However, it's suitable from birth with or without the optional cocoon (*Est. $100), and the reversible seat is something parents of infants like to have. A large canopy provides full coverage, and both the canopy and seat back are adjustable up and down to fully cover smaller children. The canopy doesn't have a window, but the package does include a rain cover.
The main drawback to this stroller, lifestyle-wise, may be the expense. But if you don't need or want any extras -- such as a car seat, cocoon or cup holder -- the base price will be all you'll pay.
Good warranty, but price doesn't guarantee help. The Bugaboo Bee comes with a limited two-year warranty, but Bugaboo has a poor reputation for dealing with their customers. One respected source called the support slow and arrogant. At least one owner waited for weeks for the parts to fix her wheels for the recall. We called customer service to ask for folded dimensions after an email to the PR department went unanswered. They answered promptly and, since they didn't have folded measurements on their product sheet, the rep measured the Bee that was nearby.
This seems like a good stroller for just about anyone; however, two recalls in three years are a concern. So is the fact that the Bee gets mediocre safety ratings from one well-respected product review source.
1. Baby Bargains
Excellent "Baby Bargains" is a popular and well-organized guide to baby-related products. Authors Denise and Alan Fields conduct hands-on testing as well as parent, manufacturer and retailer interviews. Their section on strollers is detailed and offers a wealth of useful information. Both the Bugaboo brand in general and the Bee are reviewed and rated against dozens of other popular strollers.
Review: Strollers, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition
2. Which? magazine
Excellent Editors of Which? magazine give thorough reviews of all 32 strollers they deem to be "Best Buys," including the Bugaboo Bee. Maneuverability, ease of use, convenience and safety are taken into account. There are quite a few owner comments, as well. This review has been updated for 2012 to include the 2011 recall and Bugaboo's response to it.
Review: Pushchairs: Best Buys, Editors of Which? magazine, As of Aug. 2012
Very good The editors at ConsumerReports.org rate 35 full-featured strollers for ease of use, maneuverability and safety. While the testing is commendable, editors give virtually no written details about the strollers and the report is outdated, with several models having been discontinued. Durability and the reality of long-term, everyday use aren't taken into account.
Review: Traditional Stroller Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, As of Oct. 2010
Very good The Bugaboo Bee doesn't get a lot of reviews here, but does earn 4.5 stars out of 5. Owners say it's highly maneuverable, opens and closes easily, fits well in smaller trunks and is very comfortable for their children. One poster complains about the wheel recall issue, saying there was a wait to get replacement parts. A couple complain about the stroller's high price, but still rate it highly.
Review: Bugaboo Bee Base Stroller, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of Aug. 2012
Very good The Bugaboo Bee earns an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 in more than 70 user reviews. Newer comments give it better ratings, saying it's comfortable and easy to use. There are complaints about the wheels in older reviews, but this is what the recall was to have fixed, and later reports indicate they were.
Review: Bugaboo Baby Lightweight Strollers: Baby Bee Stroller, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of Aug. 2012
6. Good Housekeeping
Good The Bugaboo Bee earns a B rating in this test of 36 strollers by the engineers at the Good Housekeeping Research Institute (GHRI). There are no safety issues noted and it gets points for ease of use, but editors say it's not easy to unfold and doesn't do well over more challenging terrain. However, the review doesn't cover the new Bee models, so it isn't as credible as it could be.
Review: Bugaboo Bee Stroller, Editors of Good Housekeeping, Nov. 2010
Good Schultz gives the Bugaboo Bee a thorough review, testing it with children of two different ages/sizes. She likes the way the seat back and canopy adjust, not only to grow with a child but to provide younger and smaller children with full coverage. She points out the lack of baby tray and cup holder, but says the stroller folds easily and can be pulled behind you like luggage. This isn't the most recent version of the Bee and it's no longer called the Bee Plus, but there haven't been a lot of changes to the model since this review.
Review: Bugaboo Bee Plus 2010 Stroller Review, Hollie Schultz, July 25, 2010
Fair Weiss, an About.com guide for pregnancy and childbirth, gives a brief, non-comparative review of the Bugaboo Bee. She says there's a learning curve to folding the stroller, but in the end it's worth every penny she paid. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Bugaboo Bee Stroller, Robin Elise Weiss, Not dated