How to choose the best stroller and stay within your budget

  • December 7, 2017

This is a tough question.

There are so many great strollers and several great reviews - How should you choose? It is easy to get lost.

Is a stroller a mothers tool or a baby accessory? Is it both?

Is a stroller a fashion statement?
Or functional device? Is it both?

A stroller is a baby moving device.

A baby bed and a baby chair all in one with wheels and a bar to push it around.

Today we have the luxury to choose from many brands and models of strollers to accommodate our lifestyles.

A great stroller is one that is very practical for mom, easy to maneuver and most importantly it is a stroller that supports the baby the right way as she grows.

stroller with thick rubber tires


Does looks matter?

“Oh, look at that stroller!? “- have you heard this before? - I have, from moms and grandmothers, many times.

What is it about strollers that make us look at them like that. Like what exactly?
Why do we notice strollers like man notice cool cars?

I don’t know, but it seems, that looks do matter.

My choice of a stroller has to look good of course, but how it looks, is very personal. What I like you might not like.
I will leave that to you. 

If you figured out the mystery of the “cool stroller” syndrome, please leave your analysis in the comments below!

Your budget

A stroller is a major investment, and a stroller should serve your baby and you for several years. To make sure the stroller meets your needs take time to collect many details of your dream strollers to avoid the possibility of being stuck with a bad stroller or end up replacing it.

Decide your price range before you buy a stroller. Avoid falling into the hype of new features. Look at the features of high priced strollers through a strict lens: are they functional, do they make the stroller better? If, so look for similar features in the strollers in your budget.

If you are one of the lucky ones, and you can spend as much as you like, still look for the best quality and features in a stroller. You have to do the homework of research to know what is the best stroller out there.


Best stroller for your baby’s development

A stroller is your baby’s bed and chair away from home.

It needs to keep her safe, warm or cool, happy and it needs to support her in her sleep, while playing and while she is contently observing the surroundings.

Points to consider:


  • How does the stroller supports a newborn baby?
  • Can the stroller recline to support a baby who cannot sit independently yet?  
  • Are the harnesses adjustable to support a newborn and a 5-year-old? Are they padded? Is it easy to buckle and unbuckle a fussy baby?
  • Is the stroller wide enough to be comfortable as the baby grows? To accommodate his blanket and toys as well?
  • Can the handle be switched positions so you could face the baby towards you or let her sit looking outwards?
  • Is the shock absorbency good to reduce shacking for baby? Are the wheels soft enough so baby won’t feel every rock?
  • Is the steering easy for mom, so the baby does not shake or slide much at turns and curbs?



How does the stroller supports a newborn baby?


Babies have very little head and body control up to 3 months of age. The baby will flop wherever gravity pulls her. In a stroller this could mean your newborn baby could be sliding, flopping all over or slouching into one bad position and being stuck.

Babies at this age have to be very well supported. Some car seats do a great job supporting the newborn, so if your car seat keeps your baby well aligned, you can use a stroller system or car seat frame to stroll your baby around in the first few months.

However, keep your outings as short as possible. Car seats keep your baby in one position only, and that is not good for development.

infant sleeping twisted in carseat

If you are not using the car seat, then your choice of stroller should be able to recline to a totally flat position or have a bassinet.  Bassinets are best as they give your baby a snug location, protecting her from harsh noise and the weather elements.

Is the stroller supportive for a baby who cannot sit independently yet?


The head and body control is pretty good by the 4th month, but until your baby cannot sit independently, your baby is at risk in a stroller that does not recline to an almost flat position.

You can still use the car seat to stroll around, but it is best to give your 4+month-old baby to move more than the car seat allows.

If you are planning to stroll around for a while I suggest taking your baby out of the car seat to make sure she can stretch, move, straighten her spine.

If your stroller can be reclined totally flat or you have a bassinet, then you can place your baby on his belly to stroll around while he is awake.


Can the stroller recline to allow baby sleep flat or almost flat?


Even when your baby can sit independently, she will slouch, flop, hang her head if she is sleeping in a sitting position.

Her neck, spine hips could end up in a bent, twisted position that affects her posture development, her breathing, and other organ functions while she is sleeping.

I recommend buying a stroller, whether an all in one stroller or an umbrella stroller that can recline fully flat or very close to it.

Be sure to check this feature in a double stroller carefully and for both seats

toddler sleeping twisted in stroller

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Is the stroller wide enough to be comfortable as the baby grows?
To accommodate his blankets, toys as well?


Your stroller should be able to have enough room and recline to almost flat position to accommodate even a 5-year-old child. Alternatively, you could buy a second stroller for your growing baby.

toddler sleeping with hanging head in stroller


Can the handle of the stroller be switched from the front to the back position?


This doesn’t seem that important, but it is a great feature. When your baby is very small, it is best to have her facing you. You can keep an eye on her easily and address any needs that might occur.

As the baby becomes more mature and curious, it is better for his cognitive development to stroll around facing outwards. Let him see the world without any obstructions.

However, you might want your toddler facing you if he falls asleep, the handle switch comes in handy then.

Is the shock absorbency good enough to reduce shacking for baby?

Are the wheels soft enough so baby won’t feel every rock?

As you stroll along even on a paved road, you will encounter bumps and barriers like cracks, rocks, sticks or roots. Strolling over them will give your baby a bumpy ride. Just like in a car, if shock absorbency is not designed well you will feel every bump.

Newborns will startle faster due to bumps than older babies, but most babies do not like rough shaking. On the other hand, lots of babies love gentle rocking especially if they are tired.

If you have soft rubber wheels and great suspension you can stroll along with your baby on almost any surface and enjoy the ride.

These two strollers are quite similar and reasonably priced. They have all the features a baby needs to have best support for his body.

CYNEBABY being a bit more feature dense than BELECO.

I would be very happy if most of babies would be growing up with a stroller like this. It hurts me to see babies and toddlers twisted in inappropriate strollers. 

Visit the Stroller page to find more details about these and other strollers


Best stroller from the Mothers perspective


Your baby’s well being greatly depends on you.

It is important to choose a stroller that fits your height, your stride, your strength, your health to make sure you don’t get injured while handling the stroller and your baby together.

If the stroller is too heavy for example and you hurt your back while maneuvering it your baby will lack in her care because you injured yourself.

family strolling in sunset



Points to consider when buying a stroller


When you are buying a stroller you need to consider several points from different perspectives:

What are you planning to use the stroller for?

Who is going to use the stroller primarily?

Where are you planning to use the stroller?

How long are you planning to use the stroller for?

Convenience features.

Manufacture quality of the stroller.

Make a list of all the functions you will need your stroller to possess. Create a separate list of all the extra features you would like the stroller to have. With these lists, it will be much easier to decide on the right stroller in your budget.

Who is going to use the stroller primarily?

If you are a tall person, you need a different stroller that if you are a short person. If you are athletic, strong, you will need a different stroller than if you are frail.

Here are a couple of things to consider:

 
1. The height of the handle.

2. The height of the bassinet and baby chair.

3. The ease of maneuverability, the wheels material, and swivel function.

4. The weight of the stroller.

5. The difficulty of fold-ability and assembly of the stroller.

6. The brake system.

Many reviews go into detail of the above functions of a stroller. Read them carefully and if you have a chance also try the strollers in person.
Read several professional reviews, consumer comments. Read reviews of different sites.



What are you planning to use the stroller for?


Depending on your situation you could use the stroller very differently.
 
Consider these point when deciding on a stroller:


1. Are you living in the city and going to use the stroller to run errands?

2. Are you living in the suburbs and need to put the stroller in the trunk of your car easily?

3. Are you planning to stay home most of the time and take the baby out for long walks in the neighborhood?

4. Are you a jogger and will take the baby out jogging with you?

5. Are going to travel a lot with your baby? On the plane, on the train, by car?

6. Are you going to encounter a lot of stairs? On the street or in your apartment house?

In each situation, you would need a different stroller. A jogger stroller might be good for the city mom as well, but a city stroller is not going to work for the jogger mom. Choose carefully, plan and invest well.

The ZIPPI umbrella stroller by Inglesia is truly an innovation. 

Visit the Stroller page to find more details about these and other strollers


Where are you planning to use the stroller?


This issue is similar to the above question. However, we can look into the details a bit further.

1. Do you live in a hot, cold or mid-range climate?

2. Do you need a stroller that keeps your baby well ventilated in the heat most of the year? Like in Florida?

3. Do you need to keep your baby warm most of the year? Like in Canada?

4. Are you going to stroll mostly on paved roads? Are there cracks in the pavement or you will have to stroll on gravel, snow, ice, or dirt roads and trails, or beach-sand, or all?


How long are you planning to use the stroller for?


In today's tremendous stroller selection, you can buy a stroller for every stage and every activity and climate. Some strollers are multi-functional and can last you years; some are very limited in their use. Depending on your plans, budget, and lifestyle you have to decide if you are going to buy one or more strollers.

There are frames for infant car seats, bassinet strollers, multi-stage strollers, umbrella strollers, double strollers, shopper strollers, fashion strollers and more.

Your strollers’ lifetime will depend on the quality, size, and functionality against your life situation and use.

If you have the budget, the room and if you are “bit” by the stroller craze you could own 3+ strollers for every baby you have and don’t worry about how long the stroller will function correctly.

The difficulty in today's lifestyles is to find the one stroller that will fit all your needs and make it last around 5 years.


Convenience features


Most of the stroller reviews I read put heavy emphasis on convenience for the baby and mother. Convenience is just as important, but depending on your budget, this might be the last things on your list.

Manufacture quality of strollers


“You get what you pay for” – is a statement that holds true for strollers as well. However, price does not always reflect the true quality. Sometimes price also reflects the hype of the stroller industry.

Quality can be assessed best in person. Go to the stores and try the strollers. Bring a 10lb or if you are strong a 20lb backpack and put it in the stroller so you can feel the strollers’ maneuverings with an approximate baby’s weight in it.

This is where consumer reviews come in handy. Reading veteran moms opinions of the strollers are the best true reviews.

Just remember, there are lemons in any manufacturing. If the stroller has overall great consumer reviews peppered with a few of bad experiences, it is probably still a good stroller.

MY NUMBER ONE CHOICE STROLLER

This is a stroller that has modern features mixed with the best of the classical old-fashioned prams.

It is a bit bigger when folded, a bit heavier (33 lb~15 kg) and has no swivel tires. However, this is my number One choice of stroller. I actually own a very similar stroller that is 15+ years old and is ready to serve the next generation.

Visit the Stroller page to find more details about these and other strollers


Enjoy the process

Choosing the best stroller for your family is a big decision. We tend to associate big decisions to be stressful. They don't have to be.

Buying a stroller is a fun experience if you give it ample time and know want you want.

I wish you a joyful time in this exiting endeavor!

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