Buying a stroller can be a tough choice, I’m sure you’re asking yourself “where do you even start?” Possibly you’re looking to buy the hundred dollar one that looks pretty basic and simple or maybe you can take out a second mortgage and invest in the Cadillac of strollers. There is a lot to think about and it can seem overwhelming or confusing, especially when the price range can vary hugely. I saved about five hundred bucks on the stroller I chose, thankfully! However, I knew exactly what I wanted and needed in my investment. I am so happy I made the choice I did, I strongly reccomend you get to know exactly what you want before jumping in to a purchase, here’s how to choose a baby stroller that is right for you.
How much money are you willing to spend?
This is the most important factor when it comes to choosing a stroller. This also does not mean that because you only have $400 instead of $1000 to spend you will get a crappy stroller. There are a TON of great strollers out their that are AFFORDABLE. And truthfully, if you are budgeting the big bucks for an expensive stroller, you are most likely paying or some very convenient awesome features or simply just a hot baby fashion item. Anyways, know your budget!
Do you plan on having more kids?
Alright this is the part you need to think about how you really feel about the size of your family, are you considering having more babes? Do you plan to do this while they are close in age, and they might both need a stroller, or will you plan to have more kids with a bit of an age gap so only one child will need the stroller. If your done at one than ignore this question!
What is your lifestyle?
If you are a social butterfly than perhaps you want a stroller that easily gets into the coffee shops, malls, elevators etc. Perhaps you have a fur baby and need to have one hand pushing and one had holding the dog leash, look for a swivel wheel jogger with a bar handle ( trust me, this is my life now and it makes maneuvering much easier when you’re short a hand). Maybe you actually plan on jogging with your baby, but really think if this is a reality or a dream, because their are real joggers for running and joggers like the one I have which I would never actually jog with. Jogging joggers are usually very long and sometimes bulky, not the easiest stroller for your everyday life. There are four wheel strollers, three wheel, swivel wheels, front facing, back facing, ones that can do both. Some that have an easy click out seat that can be used as a car seat, and some that turn from a fully lay down pram into a sitting stroller as your babe gets older. Try to realize what is really important to you and what will make your life easier.
Do you want a stroller car seat combo?
There are great strollers available today that offer a multi-purpose function called a “travel system”. This is probably the most popular demand in a stroller functions, it allows you to use your stroller from newborn age until your child no longer needs a stroller. This is a great all in one function for those looking to only buy one stroller. What is a travel system? Basically their is an attachment that either comes with your stroller or can be purchased separately (not all strollers have this option so make sure to look for travel system compatibility when purchasing). The attachment acts as a car seat base, but on the stroller, so you can than easily move your car seat from the car to the stroller. Take into consideration that your baby will need at least six months before he/she can actually sit in a stroller and be able to hold their head up. So this function can be very valuable to most parents. It also helps reduce the cost of buying multiple strollers as you baby grows.
Is Versatility important?
As mentioned above travel system adds to versatility, being able to move a sleeping baby from the vehicle to the stroller without waking them is very appealing, especially if your about to sit for coffee with some friends to catch up and you just want to have a relaxing break while your little one naps! One important feature for me was the width of the stroller and the tires. Width depends greatly on where you live, how accessible stores, shops, and malls are with a stroller. I wanted one that was not to wide so it could fit into the small door sizes of the local coffee shops and stores. I have seen many parents have to leave their stroller outside of a store simply because it does not fit through a single door, this means taking your baby out and carrying them around while you try to shop…..no thanks! The tires were also a big deal because I have a dog, we go to dog parks which are not always well groomed. I opted for solid rubber tires so I never had to worry about a flat or deflation. However, solid rubber tires do add a bit of weight, not enough for me to care. I have an absolutely fantastic one hand folding option which has been amazing since I always have a dog in one hand a baby in the other. So many things to consider, but we will all have different comparisons depending on out lifestyle.
How often will you use your stroller?
Okay this goes back to the good solid tire part where I have to say I use my baby jogger EVERY DAY at least once in the dog park and always once more after that during the day…… all year round. That baby vehicle is the getting a lot of mileage and I sure feel I’ve got my moneys worth. I have never had to worry about bad tires anywhere we have gone, and trust me I have pulled that bad boy up stairs backwards, through snow and on cobblestone roads. I have also traveled from Canada and all over Europe with out stroller without any issues. Look for something that is durable enough for your lifestyle.
Where will you take your stroller?
If you’re a routine parent, who plans to walk to the park and past the coffee shop and than back home, perhaps you want to look for a lightweight stroller that is easily collapsible. You know if that’s your lifestyle, your stroller isn’t going to get beat up so heavy-duty options can be crossed off your list. If you share a car between your partner, or are a car free family than you might want to check out a stroller that offers a large storage basket underneath for when you are out shopping. Will your car be able to fit the kind of stroller you want? Make sure your trunk space or back seat is large enough to fit you stroller if you plan to pack it for car rides.
What terrain will your stroller be used on?
My requirements where tailored to the rugged dog park we go to, I knew this would be the most harsh terrain out stroller would see. So take into consideration, what is on your routines agenda. Think about the most inconvenient place you might frequent but with a buggy now, this will help prevent having to avoid that place just because your new stroller cant make it their. Like I mentioned above, I have literally seen parents in dead of winter have to leave their stroller outside because it didn’t fit through the door of the shop they needed to go to.
What kind of stroller accessories would you like to have?
Hanging toys, snack trays, drink holders are these important to you? Usually these items can be added on after your purchase, however check with the manufacturer if you want specific items. I actually never purchased any of these items, however I went back later on and bought a cloth drink holder that velcro’s to the handles. Now both my son and I use it to carry our drinks on our walks, great purchase! He is now almost two and he likes to eat a lot, so I might even go back and buy the food tray for him to prevent the stroller from becoming ultra disgusting. Okay a few other accessories I want to mention before we sum things up, one I already covered was the travel system, also a rain cover! I was living in Vancouver when my son was born so this was AMAZING to have, actually a key piece for getting outside. Now we have moved to a place where thankfully only half the year is winter and the entire other half of the year is summer, its fantastic, other than the bugs. So another accessory is a bug net, either the stroller you buy will offer their specific one, or you can usually pick up a generic one for a reasonable price. I honestly think the bug net and rain cover where the absolute best options to purchase right from the get go, along with the travel system, especially if you live in a place where you need to survive each season. Oh and one more wonderful item if you live in a place that GETS WINTER, is a foot muff (a sleeping bag fitted for strollers), it sure gave me piece of mind that my baby was warm in his stroller when we ventured the dog park in the cold.
Now do you know which stroller is the best for you?
Now that you have read through my advice on how to choose the right baby stroller, I hope it has given you some insight on where to start looking or at least point you in the right direction. Just keep in mind to consider your lifestyle and your routine so you don’t regret your decision. I’m just going to share this story quickly. I actually had one parent who went and purchased a very expensive stroller, simply because it was a popular brand and quite possibly more of a statement piece than anything, however when she asked about my stroller and the capabilities she ended up selling hers and buying the same one I have, which was half of the cost. Later on she told all her mom friends how amazing her new stroller is and how happy she was to have taken my advice, I believe a few of them ran out to purchase the same one too.
Good Luck on your stroller hunt, if you are still having a hard time deciding, watch for our future post targeting specific parent approved brands the are highly recommended for when you are ready to purchase a baby stroller.