Arguably the most versatile -- and the most expensive -- stroller around, the Bugaboo Donkey converts from a single to a double, but keeps its great maneuverability even with two passengers. As a single stroller it is known as the Mono, but it can be used for two children in Duo (*Est. $1,500) or Twin (*Est. $1,700) mode with a combination of seats or bassinets. Add adapters to transform the Donkey into a travel system for two. However, the Donkey is awkward to handle when folded.
All the best features are here. The Bugaboo Donkey sits on a stable four-wheel base. The front swivel wheels lock in the forward-facing position, and the rear wheels have a foot-operated linked brake pedal. The modular seat is equipped with a padded five-point harness that you can adjust in height from the front for a secure fit. There is a removable bumper bar for protection in the event of a tipover. Reviewers say the buckles are easy for parents and hard for children to undo. Finally, when you fold the Donkey a self-catching fold lock prevents it from opening accidentally.
In December 2012, Bugaboo announced that it is providing its customers with new and improved carry handles for the Bugaboo Cameleon and Bugaboo Donkey free of charge. In January 2013 this became an official recall, with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) issuing a recall for 46,300 strollers in the U.S. and 4,440 in Canada. No injuries have been reported. The new Bugaboo Cameleon carry handle is available now; the new carry handle for the Bugaboo Donkey will be available at the beginning of February 2013. The white button on the current carry handle may pop out when the Bugaboo Cameleon or Bugaboo Donkey bassinet/pram body is on the ground or on an unstable surface, which may cause the handle to detach on one side. More information is available on the CPSC website.
Top scores on maneuverability. Parents and reviewers say that the Bugaboo Donkey steers well -- even one-handed -- on rough terrain. Product testers say this is a true all-terrain stroller that tackles obstacles such as curbs, stairs or rough or uneven ground with ease. The Donkey can even be placed in two-wheel mode, which allows you to pull it through snow, sand and other mushy surfaces. There is an easy-to-use, height-adjustable, telescoping handle that makes pushing comfortable for tall and short parents and that prevents parents from kicking the rear wheels.
Measuring 23 inches wide in single mode and 29 inches wide in dual mode, this is one of the narrowest side-by-side stroller options available -- great for getting through doorways and store aisles. However, it weighs in at 29 pounds in single mode and 35 pounds in dual mode, and many parents find it heavy on stairs and difficult on escalators. Users say that despite its overall maneuverability it is not a good stroller for public transportation. The Donkey can fold with the seats attached, but the fold is bulky at best. The seats and wheels can be removed to reduce the size, but many find this to be an added hassle because there are then multiple parts to carry and stow.
The Donkey converts from single to dual modes quickly and easily by releasing three locks on the frame and pulling it apart to accommodate side-by-side seating. The seats can easily be faced toward the front or rear. The seat's bumper bars can be used as handles, allowing you to change the seat position or carry the seat with the baby in it. Seat covers are machine washable, and the frame can be wiped clean. Because the wheels are air filled, they will require a little extra maintenance.
Built to grow with your family. With a chassis that expands to accommodate one or two seats, the Bugaboo Donkey offers more seating options than just about any other stroller. Designed for one, the "Mono" (*Est. $1,200) includes an infant/toddler seat that converts into a bassinet and an up-top, snap-in storage basket in place of a second seat. Designed for a baby and a toddler, the "Duo" (*Est. $1,500) includes the infant/toddler seat and a child seat that doesn't convert into a bassinet. Designed for twins, "Twin" (*Est. $1,700) includes two infant/toddler seats that convert into bassinets for two newborn babies.
In all configurations, the Donkey has a large under seat storage basket. All iterations of the stroller include full coverage canopies, rain shields with ventilation, and bumper bars that second as bassinet carry handles. The Donkey seats can be faced forwards or backwards independently-enabling one child to face front while the other faces the parent. Adapters are available to convert the Donkey into a travel system with one or two infant car seats with options for Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Chicco, and Britax infant car seats. If you already have the "Mono" Donkey, a Duo extension kit is available to accommodate a second child (*Est. $245).
The Donkey seat is rated for newborns up to children weighing 37.5 pounds. There is an adjustable footrest as well as a two-position recline in the forward facing position, and three-position recline that goes all the way flat in the rear facing position. The sun canopy provides full coverage all the way to the bumper bar, but there isn't a peekaboo window. Optional accessories include cup holders, a snack tray, a gear organizer, a foot board for older toddlers to ride on, foot muffs, seat liners, a parasol, and a breezy sun canopy.
Two-year worldwide warranty. The Bugaboo website is easy to navigate and information regarding care and maintenance is easy to find. The Bugaboo Donkey comes with a two-year worldwide warranty.
1. Which? magazine
Review Credibility: Excellent The U.K.'s Which? magazine (similar to Consumer Reports) is an excellent review publication, which at times is even more comprehensive. They provide in-depth coverage of the phil&teds Promenade that includes product testing by parents and experts.
Review: phil&teds Promenade Review, Editors of Which?, May 4, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent Reviewer Kate Bayless commends the phil&teds Promenade for its style and versatility, giving it a perfect score of 5 stars out of 5, as does the parent tester. She notes that the stroller transitions well from baby to toddlerhood and as the family expands. She says the Promenade maneuvers well, with a good turning radius. On the downside, she wishes you didn't need extra latches to turn the seat and that you could fold the stroller with the second seat in it.
Review: We Love, You Need: The Best Double Strollers of 2012, Kate Bayless, June 14, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good Hollie Schultz says that she is very impressed with the design and functionality of the phil&teds Promenade. She loves modular designs that grow with a family, providing many options for growing children. She particularly highlights the convertible seat that can be used as a bassinet, and that the rear and forward seats both offer 40-pound weight ratings so that the larger child can ride in either seat.
Review: Baby Gizmo phil&teds Promenade Stroller Review, Hollie Schultz, Feb. 6, 2012
Review Credibility: Very Good There are just a couple of reviews of the phil&teds Promenade on Amazon.com. It doesn't fare well, averaging only 1 out of 5 stars. Contributors say that the Promenade is a disappointment, with major design flaws. One cites the difficult push and maneuverability. Another talks about an awkward design, saying that the seat position feels "wrong" and too far from the parent.
Review: phil&teds Promenade Buggy Single Stroller, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Good The phil&teds Promenade makes the cut in this roundup of 10 top strollers. Reviewers like that the Promenade offers two kids the same amount of space in one stroller, and say that it is safe. They do not mention how they tested or selected their top strollers, and reviews are extremely brief.
Review: Top 10 Strollers: phil&teds Promenade Double Stroller, Editors of TheBump.com, Not Dated
6. People.com Moms & Babies Celebrity Baby Blog
Review Credibility: Good Pratt, a parent tester, gives the phil&teds Promenade a positive review, with reservations. She likes the rear seat for a toddler that allows them to jump in and out with ease. She also likes the zip-flat bassinet option that doesn't require extra accessories. She notes that the Promenade is very heavy and not the easiest stroller to push -- especially in its price class.
Review: Review: Phil & Teds Promenade Stroller, Simone Pratt, March 29, 2012
Review Credibility: Good This review of the phil&teds Promenade is not very detailed. The reviewer compares the Promenade favorably to the Baby Jogger City Select and lists the reasons she likes it more than the latter. Among the review's highlights, she notes the bassinets that work for both seats and the stroller's stylish appearance. She notes that the Promenade is pricey, but worth it with all the options.
Review: The Gorgeous Phil and Teds Promenade…., "The Stroller Girl", Jan. 5, 2012
Review Credibility: Good This mainly positive review describes a mother's day out with her baby. While the reviewer had some difficulties setting up the stroller, she attributes this to not learning to use the stroller before her trip. She describes the phil&teds Promenade as smooth, though not effortless. She loves that the bassinet can be angled -- particularly useful for her baby's reflux.
Review: Out and About with the Phil & Teds Promenade, "Ally", April 15, 2012