The Bugaboo Cameleon3 is a modular stroller that includes a bassinet for newborns to 6 months and a toddler seat for children from 6 months to 37.5 pounds. Reviewers love its modern looks, reversible seat and handle, but many other strollers can handle infants without having to keep them in a bassinet for so long and also accommodate children to 50 pounds. The Cameleon has an awkward, two-piece fold, and all accessories are sold separately.
No locking fold. The Bugaboo Cameleon3 comes with a five-point, fully padded harness and a bumper bar for an added layer of protection. In addition to the parking brake on the handle, it has a brake block to keep it from slipping when engaged. Some owners complain that the seat and bassinet do not click in easily and, unlike some other high-end strollers, there is no indicator that the seat is securely attached. There is no locking fold, which bothers a number of parent reviewers who say they worry it will open back up when they're trying to lift it.
Glides with a pinky push. Expert and consumer reviewers agree that the Bugaboo Cameleon3 is super easy to push and does well on any terrain. One unique feature is the ability to become a two-wheeled stroller, so it can be pulled over very difficult surfaces, such as beach sand. The seat is easy to remove and place, as is the bassinet. The handle reverses smoothly, and the fabric cover is removable and machine washable. The big problem is its awkward, two-piece fold. You have to remove the seat, then it's a two-handed fold and you still have to wrangle two pieces.
Not as versatile as some other convertible strollers. The Bugaboo Cameleon3 accommodates infants, but only with the bassinet. The seat is not supposed to be used until the child is 6 months or has full head control. The problem is that, by 6 months, most babies aren't content with just a bassinet -- they want to sit up and see the world. The upper weight limit on the Cameleon's seat is 37.5 pounds, quite a bit less than the 50 pounds that is now common on most strollers. It is car seat compatible, but adapters are sold separately; price varies depending upon the adapter. A Wheeled Board (Est. $100) allows an older child to ride along.
Not for everyone. The best reviews we found for the Bugaboo Cameleon3 came from city dwellers who walk a lot, don't use public transport, and rarely have to fold the stroller. Beachgoers also like it for the two-wheeled feature that glides over sand. The two-piece fold makes it unsuitable for public transportation and may pose a dilemma for the suburban parent as well. You need to be sure your child is secured before dealing with the stroller. Even those who love the C3 complain about the awkward, drawstring storage bag and the small canopy that lacks a peek-a-boo window. All accessories are sold separately.
1. Baby Bargains
"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. The Bugaboo brand in general, as well as the original Cameleon and the C3 are discussed at length.
Review: Strollers, Denise and Alan Fields, 2013, 10th edition
The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 comes in eighth overall, out of 21 strollers tested, earning an overall score of 70 out of 100. Spurrier says that it stands out in a crowd and is versatile, but is also bulky, heavy and pricey.
Review: Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Review, Juliet Spurrier, MD, Nov. 9, 2013
The Bugaboo Cameleon 3 only has a handful of reviews and they're scattered between three different models, which makes it hard to determine the average rating -- but reviews are definitely mixed. One model has 2.4 stars out of 5, with complaints about various design flaws. Another model gets 4.8 stars, but most reviews are not very specific.
Review: Bugaboo Cameleon 3, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2014
Baby Gizmo founder Hollie Schultz gives a detailed, critical review of the redesigned Bugaboo Cameleon 3, showing how its various features work. She says it's somewhat easier to use overall. She also loves the big canopy, but notes that it lacks the peek-a-boo window that is usually standard on strollers.
Review: Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Stroller Review, Hollie Schultz, Oct. 1, 2012