Guide to Buying the Perfect Stroller

Mother with her kid in a stroller having fun outdoors

There are plenty of essential items to shop for if your bundle of joy is on the way. Over the course of nine months, you need to stock up on diapers, baby clothes and much more. Another big item that you will be needing? A stroller.

The stroller-buying process should be taken very seriously. After all, babies spend a lot of time in strollers during their developmental years. The last thing you want is a piece of equipment that isn’t going to last (or one you cannot use for future little ones). Here’s how to buy the perfect stroller:

The logistics

Kids spend a lot of their formative years in strollers, traveling in these mobile chairs until they can walk longer distances on their own (from birth to about age 3 or 4). Even after your little one can walk on his or her own, odds are you’ll be using your stroller quite a bit.

There are plenty of factors that go into purchasing the best stroller for your family, such as where you live, how many children you have, where you’ll be pushing the stroller, how much usage it will get, how much you want to spend, what kind of features you want, etc.

These elements can play a huge role in your decision-making. For example, if you live in a sprawling metropolis like New York City or Chicago where you spend the majority of your time walking outside on streets and taking public transportation, you’re going to need something that is sturdy and can hold up over time, even in harsh weather conditions. On the other hand, if you’ll primarily be using your stroller only for errands, like to the mall or grocery store, a simple and lightweight car seat stroller might be able to do the trick. Be sure to take your everyday life and schedule into consideration before finalizing your purchase.

The benefits of a stroller

These little seats on wheels can make everyone’s lives easier. For one thing, pushing your baby puts a lot less stress on your body than carrying him or her. It’s also much safer. Toddlers love to walk around themselves once they get the hang of it, but moms or dads only have two hands and two eyes. Having babies in a fastened seatbelt keeps them out of harm’s way much more than when they’re allowed to roam free.

Need your baby to take a nap? A nice stroll in the park may help. That’s because the gentle swaying of the stroller can put little ones straight to sleep. And when it comes to naptime tips or tricks, some parents need all the help they can get.

A good stroller can also be a motivator for you, mama, if you’re trying to get back into shape. Pushing your baby in a stroller can work up a sweat. Get together with a fellow mom to exercise just by carting your kids around. The best part? You don’t need a babysitter.

The different types of strollers

Although there are plenty of different models, styles, and brands from which to choose, strollers can essentially be divided into six main categories. After you decide which kind you prefer, take a peek at our guide to the top brands and specific strollers in each category.

Standard

Graco LiteRider Classic Connect Stroller

This stroller is your average style, and it’s the most commonly purchased. It has lots of storage, comfortable seats, and adjustable wheels that move easily. It typically weighs about 16 to 31 pounds but is very durable.

Travel System

Travel systems consist of an infant car seat plus a stroller configuration that all clicks together, making it easy to transfer from the car to the stroller without taking baby out of the car seat. It’s an essential for families who commute by car with new babies. The stroller can also be used without the car seat when babies are older and awake more during the daytime.

Lightweight

Summer Infant 2015 3D Lite Convenience Stroller

These carriers only weigh 8-17 pounds and are extremely compact. They aren’t very durable, but they work great for light errand running. Their wheels are generally smaller, so they must be pushed on smooth surfaces. In addition, babies typically have to be about 6 months old before riding in a lightweight stroller.

Jogging

Baby Trend Expedition Jogger Stroller, Phantom

These strollers are designed specifically with exercising in mind. They are wide with three wheels and are made to roll smoothly and easily so your baby doesn’t experience any bumpiness during your run.

Double

Graco DuoGlider Classic Connect Stroller

A double carrier has two tandem front seats for siblings. They are wider than most strollers however, surprisingly enough, not twice as heavy (weighing in from 21-36 pounds). Most fit through doorways but are still much harder to navigate than a single seat.

Travel systems

Graco Aire3 Click Connect Travel System

These are traditional strollers that can also carry an infant car seat. This option is less practical, heavier and more expensive than most strollers, and yet can still be a good fit for some families. They usually include a stroller and matching infant car seat.

The shopping process

Shopping for the perfect baby carrier may take time. You’re going to want to test as many as you can. Here are some things to look for while browsing:


    • Make sure everything works properly and easily in the store.
    • Test the seat belts to ensure the vehicle is safe for your baby.
    • Try out the brakes to see if they’re easy to operate.
  • Check out how much storage is available.

Be sure to walk the stroller in the store to see if it’s a good fit. In addition, try to buy one that is returnable. That way, your decision isn’t completely final once you leave the store.

Ready to check out some strollers? Take a look at these bestsellers.