Top models from Consumer Reports' tests include strollers from Chicco, Graco, Peg Perego, and others
A CR engineer measures how far a stroller seat reclines to determine whether it's suitable for an infant.
By Keith Flamer
Running errands with a baby or toddler can be a grind. Toss in a 25-pound stroller and they’re a workout. So when it’s time to hit the road with your little one, you’ll want a kid cruiser that’s not only safe, but also sturdy, agile, and lightweight.
These attributes don’t always coincide. And it’s hard to know which stroller to buy when there’s little or no opportunity to buckle up your toddler for a test drive. Even if you’re able to try one out in a store, you won’t encounter the curbs, gravel or hills you’ll have to deal with in the real world. Fortunately, Consumer Reports engineer Joan Muratore makes a living taking strollers for a spin—so you won’t need to gamble on a bad roller.
How We Picked the Best Strollers
A stroller isn’t a car, but it is a transport vehicle that should offer your child a smooth ride and car-seat-like safety, and allow you easy handling as you lug it from trunks and push it around town.
You can score a great stroller in a wide price range—from a $100 umbrella to a $900 jogging stroller. Some fancy stroller wagons and double strollers for twins and multiples can cost more than $1,000. In our ratings, you’ll find a wide variety of strollers that we score based on ease of use, maneuverability, and safety. They include strollers from more than 30 brands divided into categories that include traditional strollers, double strollers, and travel systems. Below, we highlight the models that rose to the top in several of those categories, because choosing the ideal stroller depends on your family’s specific needs.
“There’s no one ‘best’ stroller,” says Muratore. “The best stroller for any given person is the one that best fits their budget, their baby’s age and development, and their lifestyle.”
Parents, she said, should expect to invest in more than one stroller for the different stages from infancy through the toddler years.
“For a newborn, you’ll need either a stroller that can accommodate your infant car seat, or a stroller whose seat reclines fully, since babies don’t have head and neck control until about six months of age,” says Muratore. “Once your baby can sit up on his own, you can switch to—or add—an umbrella stroller or traditional stroller without a full seat recline.”
Also, consider where you live and how you’ll use the stroller. If you live in a city with public transportation and have little storage, you’ll want a lightweight stroller that folds easily. If you have more than one toddler, a double stroller is your likely choice. Do you exercise with your child? You might try a jogging stroller.
What Features Should You Look for in a Stroller?
Once you’ve settled on the type of stroller that accommodates your child’s age and development, think about features, such as:
Harness: The harness and ease of buckling is vital for safety reasons. While toddlers can use three- or five-point harnesses, it’s critical for kids under 6 months of age to use a five-point harness so they don’t get jostled during strolls. A seat that folds back for nap time is very useful too.
Onboard storage: Will it store a diaper bag, purse, or cell phone? And does it have cup holders?
Stroller weight and size: Is it easy to lift and to navigate narrow spaces like crowded sidewalks or theme parks?
Folding and storing: Ideally, you’ll want a stroller that easily folds tightly (preferably with one hand) and fits into a trunk or closet without a hassle.
Canopy: Find a stroller with a safe canopy that shields your child from the sun and elements.
How CR Tests Strollers
CR tests dozens of strollers in our Yonkers, N.Y., lab: traditional strollers (including umbrellas and joggers), doubles, travel systems, joggers, convertibles, side-by-sides, and even car-seat strollers. We put each of these strollers through its paces, just as a parent would—evaluating it for ease of use, maneuverability, and safety.
To assess ease of use, we adjust the safety harness, fold and unfold the stroller, adjust the backrest, lift and carry it, engage wheel brakes, and gauge car seat removal and installation. We navigate each stroller—loaded up with a weight in place of a tot—through an S-curve test course, steering them between cones, up and down curbs, and over obstacles that simulate grass, mulch, and tree roots. In our stroller ratings, we even note which strollers satisfy strict requirements at Disney theme parks.
We also subject each stroller to standard safety tests patterned after the CPSC/ASTM standard, as well as CR-designed stability and breaking tests. When CR discovers a stroller is unsafe, we make sure consumers know about potential dangers.
If you’re just starting your stroller search, check out CR’s free stroller buying guide. CR members can access test scores and all the details on all our top picks below, as well as full ratings for nearly a hundred strollers we’ve tested in our labs.
Best Single Traditional Stroller
Peg Perego Booklet
CR’s take: A traditional all-purpose stroller, the Peg Perego Booklet cruises on busy sidewalks, paved streets, and trails. This sturdy stroller is the only one in its category with excellent performance in all our tests: safety, maneuverability, and ease of use. The stroller seat reclines to a nearly flat position. And the car-seat adapters are built in, making it easy to attach the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 infant car seat. This stroller stands on its own when folded and has generous storage space. The trade-off? It’s a bit bulky at 20 pounds.
Best Umbrella Stroller
Chicco Liteway Stroller
CR’s take: At 18 pounds, the Chicco Liteway umbrella stroller is compact, simple to use, and folds/unfolds easily. It’s responsive, sturdy, and maneuvers well for its small size, even on rough terrain. Unfortunately, the basket access is limited with the seat reclined, and our diaper bag did not fit completely in the basket. The harness also requires some rethreading to adjust. However, this stroller earns top marks for safety.
Best Double Stroller
BOB Gear Revolution Flex 3.0 Duallie Double Jogging
CR’s take: This top-rated BOB side-by-side double stroller is also an easy-to-maneuver jogger. It seats two kids, including infants under 6 months old. It aced our safety tests and offers a smooth, shock-absorbed ride (thanks in part to its air-filled tires) and a large storage basket. But this heavyweight cruiser leaves a large footprint when folded, and its weight and bulk make it less than ideal for quick trips in and out of a car.
Best Travel System Stroller
Chicco Bravo Trio
CR’s take: The Chicco Bravo Trio is our top-rated travel system and is ideal for car-based jaunts. The versatile system includes an infant car seat, a car-seat base, and a stroller—which will transport your child from infancy through toddler years. Both the stroller and its matching car seat performed excellently in our tests. Travel systems tend to be bulky, and this one is no exception. The stroller itself weighs 23 pounds, typical of its type. The warranty covers one year.
Best Jogging Stroller
Thule Urban Glide 2 Double
CR’s take: The Thule Urban Glide 2 is a sturdy, well-built jogging stroller. The adjustable handle is comfortable, and the hand brake gives you more control when running. The seat doesn’t recline to a nearly flat position, so it’s not supportive enough for use with a baby 6 months old or younger unless you snap an infant car seat into the stroller. (You shouldn’t jog with an infant in the car seat, though; wait until your child is old enough to sit upright safely while you jog.) This stroller is large and weighs 25 pounds, but it’s exceptionally easy to maneuver. It stands upright on its own when collapsed.
Best Car-Seat Carrier Stroller
Graco Snugrider Elite
CR’s take: The Graco Snugrider Elite tosses a lifeline to parents who’d otherwise find themselves buckling and unbuckling a newborn in and out of seats all day. As the top-rated car-seat carrier stroller, this model alleviates much of the baby travel-and- transfer hassle. Parents can just click the infant car seat onto the lightweight frame (14 pounds) and go, even if baby is sleeping. Running errands just got easier. This stroller’s ease of use and safety is stellar, and it has very good maneuverability. There are some limitations though: It lacks one-touch breaks, adjustable handles, and it doesn’t stand when folded. But it does meet Disney theme park requirements. Note that once your baby outgrows the infant car seat, you’ll need a new stroller.
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