After your car seat, your stroller is probably the decision you’ll spend the most time thinking about. Should you get a full size stroller? Convenience? One with a bassinet? Three-wheels or four? The list of variables is endless, and the decision can seem a bit daunting… but we’re here to help!
First things first: most strollers break out into a few categories: Full-Size Strollers, Jogging/Off-road Strollers, and Umbrella/Convenience Strollers.
- Full-Size Strollers
These bad boys are your ‘everyday’ all-in-one stroller. They typically come equipped with a toddler seat that your babe will use once they have full head/neck control, and have car seat adapters (simple snap-on attachments that make the stroller compatible with any brand of infant seat), so you can easily click in your babe’s car seat for use when they’re fresh from the oven. This is key – when you have a sleeping newborn tucked in their car seat, finally, the last thing you’ll want to do is wake them up to transfer them into a stroller. Trust us. Save yourself the hassle and embrace the car seat adapters.
- Jogging/Off-road Strollers
These strollers typically have three, larger diameter wheels, that are inflated rubber – much like a bike tire. They tend to have increased shock absorption (for those bumpy roads and trails), and have a smaller cargo area (because you don’t want to lug a ton of things around with you on a run or a long hike). These strollers typically don’t have car seat adapters available, and are only recommended once your babe has full head/neck control (at this point the bumps they’ll feel while on a run are safe for them). There are two formats: fixed wheel (the front wheel doesn’t pivot to steer) and non-fixed wheel (the front wheel pivots to steer the stroller). If you’re looking for something that’s really jogging and trail friendly – the fixed wheel is for you. It’s a little less convenient to steer, but will ride over bumps and trails much better, without getting snagged.
- Umbrella/Convenience Strollers
These strollers are the ones you’re going to want to have with you on a trip. Whether you’re on a plane, or on a bus full of kiddos on the way to the zoo, having a stroller that’s light weight and folds up (just like an umbrella) into a super convenient and portable size is the way to go. These strollers tend to have fewer frills and features, and instead focus on being lightweight and sleek. Note: the wheels on a convenience stroller will be much smaller in diameter, so this isn’t the rig you’re going to want for off-roading, but it’s well suited for sidewalk strolls, and generally flat terrain.
Sooooo, now you’ve got the general lay of the land, but you need to know the specifics. So we’ve taken our favourite stroller in each category, and broken down the ABCs to show you why we love them! Here goes:
You’re looking for an awesome Full Size stroller with all they key features, but don’t want to spend a fortune? The guzzie + Guss Connect is the stroller for you.
AFFORDABILITY: The Connect retails for $499 CAD – which sounds like a lot (and it is), but in the realm of full-size strollers, it’s actually got an excellent bang for it’s buck. Why do we think it offer great value for your money? Here’s what we love:
- The Connect comes with a toddler seat that has a full size canopy (really full size – and UV treated for safety!) and a breathable seat, but can also accommodate your infant seat of choice with an array of adapters (check out our car seat recos here).
- Rubber tires, and a height-adjustable handle make for a smooth and comfortable ride that’s easy for mom (or dad!) to push
- The cargo area is fully covered – a pretty unique feature and great for those rainy/slushy Canadian days, when your wheels are bound to kick mud up on your diaper bag
- It’s pretty. A superficial reason, yes, but this stroller design is lovely, and small design details like the leatherette handle cover make it feel very high end.
What’s unique about the guzzie + Guss Connect? There’s no rear axel – this makes the stroller look pretty cool, but also makes it easy for you to walk comfortably. You won’t kick the axel when you decide to power walk to Starbucks for an emergency latte and seriously lengthen your stride.
Are you on the hunt for the best Luxury Full-Size stroller with all the bells and whistles? The UPPABaby Vista is your answer.
AFFORDABILITY: If you’re shopping in this bracket, price isn’t going to be a major factor in your decision. So it shouldn’t be a huge surprise that the Vista retails for $1,249. That being said, if you’re in the market for a stroller, you’ve likely heard people talk about the Vista, and for good reason. UPPABaby is really, really good at what they do. Here’s what we love about it:
- The Vista comes with a Toddler Seat AND a Bassinet, for use right from birth. The bassinet is one of the few stroller bassinets that’s rated for overnight sleep, which saves you from having to buy an incremental bassinet for sleep time. It’s also completely infant car seta friendly, and you can use the UPPABaby Mesa car seat without any adapters, or add the adapter for the car seat of your choice to make it easily interchangeable.
- The cargo area is really big. You could easily throw your groceries in there, along with a diaper bag – and it’s rated to hold up to 30 lbs of cargo.
- There’s a large sunshade on both the toddler seat and the bassinet that are both UV rated.
- There are shock absorbers in both the large front and back wheels, which makes the ride very, very smooth (and helps on snowy days in Canada!).
- The Vista is easily adaptable as your family grows.
What sets the UPPABaby Vista apart (other than what we’ve mentioned above)? Their Customer Service is amazing. Like really amazing. If you have any issue with any of their products, they ensure that it’s resolved with speed, efficiency and kindness! UPPABaby gets a huge gold star in my books for great service.
So maybe you’re a runner, or you spend a lot of time on off-road terrain, and you’re looking for a Jogging/Off-road stroller that can keep up? We recommend the Schwinn Arrow.
Frankly, the price point on this stroller is one of it’s finest selling features. In the jogging stroller category, where $500-$1000 models seem to be the norm, the Schwinn Arrow is a steal at $249.99 (this is the lowest price I’ve found in Canada, check it out HERE). We’ll get into the key features in the Blueprint section below, but after talking to both serious runners, and casual 3-wheel stroller enthusiasts, the consensus is that all of the key features are present on the Arrow, and the price/value comparison is stellar.
BLUEPRINT: So why do we recommend it?
- The Arrow has 16” inflated rubber tires, with aluminium rims
- Exposed shocks on both rear tires – I’ve seen these in action!
- A comfortable 5-point harness that keeps your babe strapped in, and an adjustable seat to suit your desired amount of recline (there’s a nylon strap across the back to operate this)
Now, despite the amazing value of this stroller, you’re bound to give up a few small conveniences vs. the $1000 models. So here are my notes on things to watch out for:
- There’s a smaller canopy on this stroller that some of it’s luxury counterparts. Don’t fret! I’ve found a quick and affordable fix! We found this elasticized netting that both helps to keep bugs out, and is UV treated to reduce harmful sun exposure. The best news? It’s under $15! You can buy it HERE
- A quick reminder that the hand brake only activates the front wheel. So, if you happen to be lifting the front tires to steer, while going down a bumpy cottage hill, it will not prevent you from almost falling on your face behind the stroller as you trip over rocks… ahem… FYI.
We’ve mentioned above that there are a number of jogging stroller available, and many of them have similar features to the Schwinn Arrow. However, solving all of the key needs of a jogging/off-road stroller, at a price point that keeps it accessible and reasonable as a second stroller for families, is pretty darn creative in my books!
Lastly, maybe you’re on-the-go with your tot, and you’re looking for the perfect Convenience/Umbrella stroller? The Summer Infant 3D One Convenience stroller is the answer to your prayers.
Convenience strollers are affordable – by nature they’re a pared down version of their full-size counterparts – and their price tags are pared down too! The Summer Infant 3D One retails for $169, making it a reasonable ‘second stroller’ addition. Why do we think it’s an awesome buy?
- The 3D One folds up umbrella-style, and includes a kickstand to help balance itself upright once folded. (If you’re planning to fly with a stroller, you’ll need one that folds compactly like this one… otherwise you’re likely to face incremental baggage charges!)
- For a convenience stroller, the sun canopy is big! The seat reclines almost flat, and with the large canopy, on-the-go naps are completely do-able.
- The cargo area is very large for a convenience stroller as well, and you’ll have room for a diaper bag, snacks, or the theme park prizes your toddler accumulates.
The 3D One is light – that’s what sets it apart. It’s only 16 lbs (compared to most full-size strollers that range from 25-30 lbs), making it very reasonable to carry along with you on a trip (it also has a shoulder strap – even better!). Some umbrella stroller manufacturers have added incremental features to their convenience models in an effort to attempt them ‘do it all’, but they’ve added additional weight along with them. Summer Infant does a great job striking a balance within this category – with the 3D One you’ll feel like you have a useful, functional stroller, but you also have something that’s reasonable to carry with you under one arm!
NOTE: None of the above content is sponsored. Our Gear Guide is simply a space where we share our upfront opinions on which products we’d buy if we had to do it all over again! The posts do contain affiliate links however – and if you decide to buy one of these items, buying it through our affiliate links won’t cost you anything, but it helps keep the blog running! And we so appreciate it!