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How to choose a stroller

A stroller is a big, costly purchase, and with so many models available on the market, it’s no wonder why shopping for one is nerve-wracking for new parents.

The right stroller will make it easier for you to take your baby along when you venture outside, whether to take a walk around the block or to go to the mall. Read on to discover the different types of strollers, so you can go for the one that best suits your needs.

Types of strollers

1. Full-sized stroller

Sometimes referred to as all-purpose stroller, full-size strollers are ideal for everything from a family trip to the zoo to a laidback walk around the neighborhood.

They are big, sturdy, and durable, and many models come with a wide range of features that not only make your life a bit easier but also make your little one's ride a joy. Some of these features include:

  • A deep seat recline
  • A spacious, comfortable, well-padded seat
  • Expandable canopies
  • Sturdy tires that effectively absorb shock
  • Option to mount the baby seat rear-facing or forward-facing
  • A roomy basket underneath the seat for storage
  • Attachment points for a car seat
  • Extendable handlebars, which are especially useful when one parent is petite and the other is tall.
  • A convertible design that grows with your child
  • Additional features such as a snack tray or cup holder

While full-size strollers are great for everyday use, they can be bulky to push around, especially if you often take the stairs or take public transportation. They also take up quite a bit of space, so they may not be suitable if you have limited storage.

2. Jogging stroller

A jogging stroller is a great option if you love running and want to take your little one along with you. They are also ideal for maneuvering on bumpy, uneven terrain. Some noteworthy features include:

  • A superior suspension system that absorbs the unsteady motion that comes with uneven surfaces and intense speed
  • Three oversized wheels with a front wheel that can swivel (for increased flexibility) or remain fixed (for increased stability at higher speeds)
  • Some models have hand brakes to give you more control over the stroller.
  • Extra-large canopy to shade your little one from the sun when spending time outside.

Because of their reinforced suspension systems and large wheels, many jogging strollers are bulky, and although some models feature an infant car seat that can be used from birth, it's not recommended to run with your baby in a jogging stroller until they're at least eight months old.

3. Lightweight stroller

This type of stroller is also known as an umbrella stroller or a travel stroller. It weighs less than an average stroller and requires less effort to bring on public transportation or lift in and out of your car. Other notable qualities include:

  • A slimmer profile makes it easy to navigate this stroller on crowded sidewalks and narrow doorways.
  • They can be easily folded up and stored in a car trunk, airplane overhead cabins, or in trains and buses.

Most lightweight strollers are non-convertible, plus they may not be suited for babies younger than six months.

4. Travel system

A travel system is simply a stroller and a car seat that can be attached to it. You can use them right from birth, plus you don't have to worry about waking your little one to move them from your car to the stroller. They can also save you quite a bit of money since you're buying both components together.

5. Double stroller

For parents with twins or children born close together, a double stroller may be ideal. Doubles come in two main designs: side-by-side seating or tandem also called single-file or in-line (one seat is in front of the other). As you might expect, most of them are bulky and heavy.

Factors to consider when choosing a stroller

1. Newborn friendly

Not all strollers are ideal for newborn babies. That’s because infants at this stage of life lack neck and head strength, so they’ll slump over when put in a stroller that doesn’t offer proper support. If you intend to use your stroller from the very first day, here are features you need to look for:

  • A seat that can fully recline to bassinet mode
  • Attachment points for a car seat to clip into the stroller

2. Cost

The prices of strollers vary wildly. If you are willing to pay top dollar, pricier strollers will often have added convenience features such as better suspension systems, higher-end fabrics, spacious undercarriages, rain shields, and even multiple seats.

That said, you don't have to worry too much about breaking the bank trying to buy one as it is possible to get a stroller that meets your needs for much less.

3. Lifestyle 

Your lifestyle plays a significant role when deciding on a stroller. Are you city dwellers in need of a stroller for everyday use, or suburban dwellers who will mainly need it for an occasional trip away from home?

Will you need to carry your stroller up stairs or onto the subway? How much space do you have in your home? Figuring out the answer to such questions will help you determine what type of stroller to go for.

4. Family size

If you are a one-child family or plan to wait a couple of years between siblings, a single stroller is ideal. However, if you plan on having more children over the next year, you might want to go for a single stroller that can be converted to a double, or one that can accommodate up to three children.

5. Ease of use

You want a stroller that you can steer smoothly, open and close quickly with one hand, and is self-standing.

6. Ease of cleaning

Babies can’t help but be messy. Your stroller seat will unlikely get covered in drool, spit-ups, snack crumbs, and snot. A model with easily washable fabric will help keep the stroller in good shape for longer.

7. Safety features

Make sure to choose a stroller that least meets the basic safety requirements. Some safety features to consider include a five-point safety harness, well-made hinges and edges, and effective brakes.

Final thoughts

A stroller is an item that you will likely use often and for a very long time, so make sure you choose one that is long-lasting and well-equipped to serve you during that period. It’s okay to take your time and do your research before buying one.

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