You need a stroller but where do you even begin? There are so many options. It can be a big investment for many families and you want to make the right decision! Of course you want it to last, be safe for your baby, but it must be the right fit for your family so be sure to read on for what to look for in a stroller.
So, what to consider BEFORE buying it? There’s lots to take into account.
A stroller isn’t just something to take your baby from A to B.
It’s somewhere to keep your baby safe, and comfortable. It’s a place to store your belongings, or your groceries (if you shop on the run like me). It’ll either save your back or break your back – which is why you need to read this post!
It’s a vehicle and the vehicle needs to fit your lifestyle.
How to Choose the Best Stroller
Throughout my nannying years I had the opportunity to test drive many (MANY) different strollers in different cities, in and out of many homes, and toting around lots of different kiddos. So when I was expecting my own little munchkin, I knew exactly what things I needed to consider before deciding on which stroller was right for my family.
But there’s the point to the post. It needs to be right for YOUR family.
So this post isn’t trying to sell you any specific stroller. I’m not even going to mention specific brands. The information provided is so that you will know what kind of stroller is right for your family.
If you’re on the fence about making such a big purchase, you’ll want to consider the pros and cons of buying a stroller.
Don’t base your decision on what works for others as you need to find one that works for you. Make sure you check out the most important factors below!
(If you want to know which stroller I chose, take a peek at my Newborn Essentials Shopping List post.
What to Consider When Buying a Stroller:
- Main use (lifestyle)
- Future use (family size)
- Size of stroller
- Wheel type/shape
- Basket (storage space)
Related Article: Do I Really Need a Stroller for My Newborn?
What to Look for in a Stroller:
Take a step back for a minute and try to forget all the recommendations you’ve received from friends, family, coworkers, and probably complete strangers. Forget about the ads that have bombarded your web searches and social media pages. And even remove from your mind the other blogs you’ve already read with their top suggestions when buying a stroller.
Take a minute to think about what you will be using it for.
Ok, sure, that sounds easy. Duh, I’m going to push my kid(s) in it.
Yes, a stroller is meant to wheel your tots around. But you need to really think about your daily life.
Questions to ask yourself when buying a stroller:
- What places will you likely be frequenting?
- How will you be transporting the stroller? And what, besides your baby(ies), will you be transporting?
- Are you an avid traveller? Commuter? Runner?
- Will you need one that’s adaptable to inserting a car seat? And if you can’t insert the car seat, can you even use it with your sweet newborn?
- Where will you store the stroller when it’s not in use?
- Will you need to collapse it every day?
- What’s the weather like where you live?
It may sound overwhelming now but it’ll be helpful when shopping around for strollers in person to narrow your search based on your requirements. You’ll really need to consider your lifestyle or the lifestyle you want to have with your family when shopping for a stroller.
Ok, now that you’ve thought about your strolling life right now or in the near future, take a minute to think past that.
Sure, you want to consider how you’ll use the stroller now, but what about in a few years’ time?
For me, I knew either additional children of my own (ideally close together) or child care was in the plan so I wanted something with the option of additional seating. Perhaps a toddler ridealong board will be all you need. But is that option even available for the stroller you’re wanting?
Some parents may be happy to just have a single-seater stroller for their family. Others may want to sell theirs within a few years.
Taking future use of a stroller into consideration could save you money and hassle down the road.
Strollers are not one-size-fits-all. And this can really narrow down your search results when buying a stroller.
The stroller size should be right for the people pushing it, collapsing it, and possibly carrying it. It also needs to fit the area where you’ll park the stroller at home. Trust me, I live in a downtown apartment at the moment, and extra space is hard to come by!
Speaking of space, if you use public transit or travel frequently, it’d be worth taking a look at the measurements to make sure you get one that is sufficiently slimline for such adventures.
Perhaps you’ll need to go up/down stairs or will need to toss (gently place?) the stroller into the car trunk often, then you’ll want to take a look at the overall weight (and think about your growing baby on top of that!) to make sure it’s manageable for those who are managing.
When getting a small, slim, light stroller, do your due diligence to make sure it has good reviews. You still want the pieces to be sturdy and definitely not one that will tip backwards or sideways easily.
Is it strange that I feel downright passionate about the wheels? This was a BIG one for me!
Maybe it’s due to a few “less than stellar” stroller wheels I’ve had to use in the past (once again, from my nannying days). Wheel positioning, size, and material can really affect the comfort of pushing a stroller.
Personally, I’m a HUGE stickler for four wheels with an isosceles trapezoid shape! If you know what that shape is off the top of your head, then WOW I’m impressed!
What I mean is four wheels with a slightly triangular position (front wheels slightly closer together than back wheels).
From what I’ve used, this gives me the easiest steering power over diverse terrain while maintaining control of the vehicle.. err.. I mean stroller. But that is just what’s best for MY lifestyle!
There are three-wheeled jogging strollers available. Some people swear by three-wheelers even when not using jogging-specific styles. Others prefer the more traditional square layout with four wheels. Some four-wheelers even have the wheel-locking option to head out on the occasional jog without buying a separate stroller.
This is where you need to consider what kind of area you live in and where you’ll mostly walk to (or will you be running?).
While we’re on the topic of wheels, make sure you’re happy with the wheels’ material as well. Rubber, plastic, foam, and the other types available will all drive differently across different grounds.
Ease of steering will also be fundamental and this will come from a combination of wheel size, shape, and material.
Well, I told you I was passionate about the wheels so I’ll try to make this next one a little more concise.
Do you love grabbing a cup of coffee while on the go or need one hand holding an umbrella? Perhaps you like to walk and talk? Well, you’ll probably want a solid push bar rather than two handles. Two handles are very tricky to steer with one hand, or an elbow.
Are there different people who will be driving? If different heights is a concern, try to find one with a telescoping handlebar so that you can adjust accordingly.
Lastly, think about the material that’s on the handlebar. It’s an idea to find one with decent grip but that can be easily cleaned or washed.
I’m just going to say it: I have no idea how anyone survives with a basketless or tiny basketed stroller!
I always need a place to put all my belongings, my children’s belongings, and everything we pick up along the way. There have been many occasions when I’ve done full-on grocery shops with just a child and a stroller to carry everything home.
I need a place to store snacks, a diaper bag, a water bottle, my coat, a rain cover, baby carrier, beach toys… Heck, I’ve even seen people toting their small dogs in the basket area – not that I’m recommending this!
Realistically, the list could go on and on.
Personally, I love a good-sized sturdy basket that can take some weight as I’m the kind of person who would rather push the load rather than wear it.
Perhaps style or space-saving is a much more realistic choice for you, then look for something with the minimalist basket version.
The basket, in my opinion, is fundamental, but try not to get too hung up on other fancy accessories strollers may offer as there are lots of separate parts to buy, and you’ll probably realize that you don’t even need many of the extras available or that some strollers sell as “special features” with their design.
Well, if I could’ve left this one out I would have. However, the reality is that (almost) everyone buying a stroller has a budget so of course the perfect stroller that really ticks all your boxes may be out of range.
If this is the case, you could always consider second-hand. Many families only use their stroller for a few years, especially if they only need it for one child. And there may be others looking to sell if they didn’t find a great list of factors to consider before they made the big purchase!
Another idea is to keep an eye out well in advance so that you can jump on any great sales or discounts on your favourite stroller!
Buying a Stroller (Final Thoughts)
Sometimes it can seem overwhelming to decide on which stroller is best for your baby. Now you know what to look for in a stroller. Take some time to think about who, where, and how you’ll be using it and I’m sure you’ll be able to narrow down your options and make the right purchase.
Once the research is done, be sure to go to the stores to test the strollers out! Even if you want to purchase a stroller second-hand, make sure you’ve done a test drive on several models to make sure it really is right for you.
Lastly, see if the company offers quality customer support and look online to check reviews to ensure there are no major concerns reported by previous customers.
If you’re expecting a baby soon, be sure to check out The Only 6 Items Your Newborn Needs.
Related: What to Consider When Buying a Sun Tent