Stroller Guide: Everything You Need To Consider When Buying A Stroller

Stroller Guide: Everything You Need To Consider When Buying A Stroller

Apparently, when you’re a mom, you need more than one type of stroller. 

Who knew?

Silly me thought I was good to go when I registered for a lightweight, umbrella-style model.

My girlfriends started making fun of me right away one day when we were out to lunch.

They informed me that I’d need a traditional stroller, an umbrella stroller, and a jogger stroller (if I wanted to exercise with my little guy). 

Yikes!

So many strollers, so little time. Who has the time?

So, I decided to get savvy and study up on strollers.

Here is a stroller buying guide to help you make the right purchases!

Do You Need a Stroller?

Yes, you certainly need a stroller.

It’s one of those items that is deemed as a baby necessity

Although some moms prefer to participate in “baby wearing”, your back and body will need a break from time to time (or depending on where you're going). 

In my opinion, a stroller just makes life easier.

It allows you to have your hands free and it gives your shoulders a break since they can accommodate your baby bag and other small items, thanks to its storage features.

Some of my fondest baby moments with my son was when we’d take our daily walk together. 

Without a stroller, we definitely would have missed out on those bonding opportunities. 

Do You Need More Than One Stroller?

I ended up getting three strollers.

One for jogging and rough terrains, one for navigating through public places (like the mall and the zoo), and one that always stayed stored in my car (an umbrella version—great for boardwalk strolls with older toddlers and overall emergency situations). 

Do you need three? Probably not.

PRO TIP

But, it depends on what you want to use one for, where you live, the number of children you have (or plan on having), and how active you want to be with a baby.

For me personally, I loved having the different versions for different uses. 

But, if you’re on a super tight budget, if you don’t plan on using it for jogging, and you only have one child to worry about, you could definitely get by with just one!

What's Your Budget?

Strollers are flipping expensive!

But, the good news is that there’s one to complement every budget.

On average, expect to pay anywhere from $150-$1,000 for a stroller, depending on its model, size, and usage.

How Many Kids Do You Plan on Having?

If you think you’re going to have more than one child, and soon after your baby is born, you should invest in a sit and stand stroller.

This allows parents to push a baby around in the front section of the stroller and a toddler in the back part.

The toddler can sit on a small bench, or stretch their legs and stand as they ride. 

Thinking ahead will help you save money and you won’t have to purchase a double stroller later on, in addition to the single stroller you already bought (which you won’t have a use for anymore).

Or, if you already know you’re pregnant with multiples, you’ll need to take advantage of a specialized stroller that accommodates two or more babies—there’s actually a lot of cool models on the market that aren’t as big and bulky as you’d think they’d be.

Where Do You Live and How Do You Get Around?

If you live in the city, you have unique stroller needs, just as you would if you live out in the country.

City goers will hit the pavement frequently. So, you’ll need something that boasts a smooth, comfortable ride, and that isn’t overly large since you’ll need to maneuver through crowds and sidewalks.

Suburban parents will be driving more often, and they’ll be doing more grass strolling, rather than pavement hitting. 

Regardless of where you live, if you want to take your stroller anywhere, you’ll need all-terrain tires.

If you only plan on pushing your baby around at malls or other places like the zoo, you’ll be fine with a standard model. 

The weight of a stroller and how it folds up is also key if you live in a small apartment and don’t have a lot of space.

The same goes for transportation.

You’ll need to purchase a stroller that will be compact enough to fit in your car (without always popping the wheels on and off).

Types of Strollers

Once you can identify how you wish to use your stroller and consider your living location and quarters, there are specialized categories of strollers to check out.

They include:

Lightweight Strollers

These strollers are also referred to as umbrella strollers because they are as lightweight and compact as an umbrella.

They fold out and up with ease and aren’t loaded with many bells and whistles. 

Pros

  • Easy to transport and use
  • Super lightweight
  • Ultra-affordable
  • Can be used for a long period of time
  • Simple to wipe down
  • Usually boasts a sunshade
  • Easy to get a baby in and out

Cons

  • Ride isn’t smooth
  • Wheels aren’t overly sturdy or all-terrain
  • Not the most comfortable seat (lacks padding and cushion)
  • Not designed for infants or babies that can hold up their own head yet
  • Can’t accommodate the weight of a diaper bag when a baby is not in the stroller itself
  • Lacks storage
  • Low to the ground—toddlers must keep their feet on the foot strap or their feet will drag.
  • Lacks cup holders and a tray 

Travel System

A travel system allows for a one stop shopping item. It can be used in conjunction with 

your baby’s car seat carrier by allowing it to click into it. Once your baby is old enough to sit on their own, you can use it as a traditional stroller.

Pros

  • Long-term use/maximum return on investment
  • Safe & comfortable
  • Smooth ride
  • Usually designed with all-terrain wheels for off road purposes
  • Loaded with bells and whistles—trays for baby and parents, storage, padded bars
  • Large canopy and reclining positions 
  • Safety lock/brake system 

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Tend to be heavy
  • Somewhat tedious to fold up and store since it’s on the larger side
  • Lots of nooks and crannies to clean

Jogging Strollers

A jogging stroller is for parents who wish to take daily walks and even jog with their baby in tow.

Jogging strollers are also used for outdoor event strolling, as it can handle a wide range of terrains.

Pros

  • Smooth ride
  • Large, front-swivel wheel
  • Comfortable, padded, supportive for rider
  • Ultra-safe, five point harness with adjustable straps
  • Snack and drink tray for mom and baby
  • Reclines
  • All-terrain wheels
  • Lightweight
  • Large, mesh sunshade

Cons

  • Large and can be bulky to store
  • Moderate difficulty with folding and unfolding (as well as storage)
  • Costly
  • Wheels needs to be maintained frequently for those who wish to use it daily or hard
  • Lots of nooks and crannies to wash and wipe down

Double Strollers

A double stroller is meant for parents with twins. The stroller either rides side by side or front to back, depending on the design you want or need.

It mimics the traditional stroller set up, but just as an extra seat. 

Pros

  • Accommodates two babies at once
  • Padded, comfortable, supportive (infant inserts)
  • Lots of storage
  • Boasts trays for baby and mom
  • Safe & sturdy
  • Smooth ride
  • Double sunshades

Cons

  • Large—very large!
  • Heavy & bulky (even when folded up)
  • Expensive
  • Difficult to maneuver through small spaces, on narrow streets, and doorways
  • Can be tricky to push through non-smooth surfaces (like grass or gravel)

Features to Look For When Shopping

Now that you understand the pros and cons of each type of stroller, you can also think about important features your stroller should have prior to making a purchase:

  • Safety. Look for something that has been certified by the JPMA to provide you with peace of mind so you know it meets current safety standards. A 5-point harness should also be a top priority, as well as a buckle that is easy for you to undo (but not necessarily for a child to).
  • Reclining seat. Your baby will need to be put in a variety of positions while riding, or napping in some cases. Look for an easy to use, single handed design.
  • Easy to maneuver. It shouldn’t take much effort to push your stroller forward or to make turns. Swivel wheels in both the front and rear are going to be your best bet.
  • Braking system. Brakes should be simple to operate and offer you two choices-foot brakes and hand-operated (for those jogging).
  • Large canopy. The stroller should come with a canopy and it should be able to cover the entire seat. This helps provide your baby with shade from the sun, wind, and rain. It also helps keep them cool when they nap.
  • Ease of cleaning. Choose something that has waterproof fabric (which is pretty much all of them these days), and that has padding and a cover that can be removed for washing purposes. This will also help you get in every crack and crevice for some deep cleaning!
  • Storage. The whole point of a stroller is to make life easier. Be sure that your stroller boasts some for of storage, whether it be a lower compartment, a hook, an organizer, or even something as simple as a place for you to stash your keys and phone.

Add-Ons & Extras

While the following add-ons and accessories are nice, they aren’t actually necessities:

  • Cover. A stroller cover is great because it allows your stroller to stay outside and protected from elements.
  • Stroller tray. This helps your baby eat snacks on the go, store their juice cup, and even have a small place to play with a toy or stow a teether.
  • Parent tray. Parent trays hold bottles of water, phones, keys, and cash.
  • Stroller fan. For keeping baby cool during those hot summer days!
  • Bug net. This slides over top of the canopy to protect from mosquitoes and other pests on outdoor strolls.
  • Handlebar comfort. A padded handlebar is generally standard, but it depends on the kind of model and style you are looking at. If you’re going to be running with your baby or taking very long walks daily, a padded bar is nice, but not so much a necessity. 
  • Removable wheels and accessories. Some strollers have wheels that will pop on and off with ease. This helps them fit a stroller of pretty much any size in a compact car. Same goes for a removable drink tray.

The Importance of Testing Before Buying

When you test a stroller out prior to buying it, you know what you’re signing up for.

You’ll experience firsthand how it handles, folds up, how it feels to lift, and you’ll gage just how large it is when it’s folded to help you determine if it will fit in your car or not (If you don’t have an SUV). 

Pay close attention to its wheels, and how it takes turns. 

If you plan to use it for exercise purposes, don’t be afraid to jog it around the store! After all, that’s what you’ll be using it for, so you’ll want to make sure you are especially comfortable.

You’ll also have the opportunity to determine if you like its safety features, how it brakes, and how the harnesses buckle, adjust, and unhook.

If the stroller doesn’t feel steady or sturdy, or if doesn’t stay in a locked position, you should pass and look for a different model.

Wrapping Up

A stroller is one of the most important purchases you'll make for your baby.

Whether you buy one, two, or three of them, you want to ensure you get something that is first and foremost safe.

You also want something that is enjoyable and easy to push, as well as comfortable for your baby to ride in.

Consider where you live, what you want to use a stroller for, and how often you’ll use it before testing one out.

Your stroller will be with you for many years, so find one that you and your baby will love!

Kate Trout
 

Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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