There are hundreds of strollers on the market and choosing the right one can be bewildering. Full-featured models are discussed in this report, but many parents have specific needs for other types of strollers. Serious joggers should read our report on jogging strollers. Adventurous parents who like to hike or live where they have to stroll through snow or sand will want to see our report on all-terrain strollers. If you practically live in your car, check out our report on car seat strollers. Our umbrella stroller report is a great resource for parents who like to keep a smaller, lighter stroller on hand for travel or quick trips. Having twins, triplets or several children close in age may require a double stroller or stroller for multiples, and our double stroller report can help demystify those, as well.
A full-featured stroller can take a child from infancy to at least 3 years old (approximately 33 to 37 pounds). Some models accommodate children up to 55 pounds. They're almost always car-seat compatible, because at some point every baby will need a car seat and it's much easier to transport sleeping babies without removing them from their seats. Many full-featured strollers, particularly those designed for urban parents who walk everywhere, have bassinets that are either optional or included.
A good full-featured stroller should be safe, with a five-point harness and a buckle that can't be easily undone by a toddler. Bumper bars or baby trays add another level of security. One-touch, linked brakes are easiest to use, and a wrist strap is a nice extra.
Baby products are often subject to recalls, and strollers are no exception. There have been several recent recalls of some big-name models, including Bugaboo, Peg Perego and Kolcraft. We carefully consider the reason for the recall and the manufacturer's response in our research.
Parents typically like a generous canopy to shield their baby from the sun and prying eyes, and at least a medium storage basket that's easy to access. Included cup holders and a child or parent tray are also appreciated, but many strollers require you to purchase those items separately. Another feature parents love is an easy, one-handed fold. If you're a suburban parent who can pop your youngster in the car to wait while you fold and stow the stroller, this may not be a deal-breaker, but for the urbanite who has no place to set an infant while folding a stroller for a bus or taxi ride, it should be.
Some full-featured strollers are heavy, but others are fairly lightweight. We consider strollers that are 17 pounds or less to fall in the lightweight category. If you must lift your stroller in and out of a trunk a lot, or carry it up stairs to store it, its weight should probably be a primary consideration.
There are cheap strollers everywhere, but they aren't known for their durability or ease of use. In contrast, high-end modular systems can range from $500 to nearly $1,000. Price doesn't mean perfection, though. Some strollers at that upper price point seriously lack in crucial areas; they're hard to fold or don't include some basic convenience features. They can also be big to the point of unsuitable for most situations. We found that a base price for a quality stroller averages around $250 to $500, although there are a few good choices for $150 or less. Important accessories like a car seat will add to the price of any stroller; well-crafted infant car seats range in price from about $100 to $250. See our report on infant car seats for more information on safety and compatibility.
A stroller is a vital piece of baby equipment you'll use for three or more years, possibly even for more than one child. With that in mind, ConsumerSearch picks the best strollers in three categories: basic stroller, lightweight stroller, and stroller under $150. Within those groupings, we take into account safety, ease of use, lifestyle factors and customer service.