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How to Buy a Baby Stroller
Whether you’re headed to the park for a leisurely stroll or to Paris to see all of the sights, a stroller is a must-have for life on the go with baby. The right stroller not only gives baby a safe place to sit or snooze, but it also provides a place for you to stash all of those must-have essentials, from wipes and diapers to a change of clothes and an extra pacifier.
But finding the best stroller isn’t easy. The market is saturated with all different types of models and prices that vary widely from as little as $30 to upwards of thousands of dollars. So when you begin your hunt, first consider your budget. Then, think about how you plan to use your stroller to narrow down your options. Ask yourself some key questions, like: Where are you going to use it? Where are you going to store it? How many babies will be using it? And how much stuff do they have?
A basic lightweight umbrella stroller makes travel (and storage) easy, while high-function stroller systems boast helpful features like extra storage and snap-on bassinets or car seats. For some, a basic model for occasional use is perfectly suitable. For others, the splurge on a more advanced model is well worth it — even if it feels like a big investment. If you frequently take baby out and about or plan to have multiple kids, your stroller will likely get miles and years of use.
Before you purchase, don’t be afraid to try out your top choices. A trial run goes a long way in making sure it works for baby’s needs — and for the needs of other family members who will be pushing it, folding it and stowing their things within it along the way.
What are the different types of strollers?
There are six basic types of strollers:
Lightweight or umbrella stroller
Car seat carrier
It’s worth noting that although many strollers do fit squarely into the above categories, there are plenty that don’t. Some strollers can have characteristics of more than one type (i.e. a double jogging stroller).
What it is: If you’re hoping to invest in one stroller that’ll wheel your baby right through the toddler years, look no further than a full-size stroller. Bigger, sturdier and usually more durable, these strollers are the standard option. Plus, many models come with a full range of features that not only make baby’s ride a joy, but also make your life easier.
Full-size stroller benefits: The go-to option for many families, a full-sized stroller covers all the basics and offers nifty bells and whistles that usually include:
Wide, comfortable, well-padded seat
Deep seat recline
Option to mount the seat forward-facing or rear-facing
Option to attach a car seat
Convertible design that grows with baby, from newborn use with car seat (or optional bassinet, in some cases) to toddler use
Sturdy tires with decent suspension to absorb shock
Roomy basket for storage
Telescoping handlebars (especially helpful when one parent is tall and the other is petite)
Useful nice-to-haves, like a cup holder or snack tray
Full-size stroller downsides:
Can be bulky and heavy (if you take public transportation, climb stairways frequently, or navigate busy streets or small stores with your baby, this can make it tougher to travel with)
May also be a tight fit for a small-space home with limited storage.
Options to consider: See our roundup of the best full-size baby strollers.