Last Updated On November 27th, 2018
You’re almost at the end of your pregnancy and you’re going over your checklist of things to buy. Moses bed? Check. Cot or cotbed? Check. Chest of drawers? Bassinet and changing table? High chair, baby chair and bouncer? Check.
Your home and other family members is all set for the birth of your new bundle of joy. Oops – you purchased and installed a car seat, but knew you forgot something. What happens when you want to actually take your baby outdoors for a stroll?
It’s time to head back to the shops to find the best pushchair or pram to buy.
Many people actually use those terms interchangeably to refer to baby strollers, but there is a difference. A covered pram can be used from birth, providing protection and support as your baby lies flat while facing you; pushchairs are for slightly older children who can support their heads while facing out and watching the world go by (although some are reversible). The term stroller also comes up often, and is used by some people to refer to larger ones suitable for toddlers, while others use it to describe lighter ones that are easy to fold up for transport.
As with many types of baby furniture and accessories, companies have developed sophisticated, convertible systems. Some also include a carrycot to create what’s called a 3-in-1 or a baby travel system. That certainly makes life easier for the parents who choose to buy them, but it also makes the buying decision process even more complicated.
Buggies’ designs and features, naturally, vary considerably. Some are more suitable for city use or spins around the neighbourhood, while others built for mamas and papas with active lifestyles come with stronger construction, larger tyres and extras like holders for water bottles.
Our series of pushchair reviews will highlight the pros and cons of the ten best options on the market, to help you sort it all out so make sure to read on. First, let’s take a deeper look at how to go about choosing the proper model to buy and choosing one that’s truly your money.
Compare the Top 10 Best Pushchairs for 2018
Pushchair Buying Guide
A pushchair will be carrying your most prized possession, so safety will of course be paramount. There are very flimsy (and inexpensive) models available everywhere you look, but we’ve eliminated them from our consideration; all of the products we’ve included in our review are safe for your baby or toddler. However, not all “safe” buggies will be safe in all situations. Some well-made ones may be great on the pavement, for example, but not suited to use on gravel paths or grass. You’ll need one with stronger suspension and tyres if you’re planning to go off-road with it. Know where you plan to use your buggy and perhaps ask for some advice from other parents before you go shopping.
The weight and size of is also quite important in that regard. One which will be constantly lifted in and out of your car boot, taken on public transport, or carried up and down the stairs of your flat should be able to fold into a compact shape, and should be much lighter than a one that’s simply kept in the garden and then wheeled down the driveway to the road. Keep in mind that different buggies fold into different shapes, some long and thin and others short and squat, so give some thought to where you you’re going to store it. A big plus for collapsible models is being able to be folded with just one hand in case help is not around.
There are many more variables which come into play. Most models will have four wheels, but three-wheeled models are often easier to manoeuvre through crowded areas of town. The majority will have some sort of braking system; we particularly like the ones which have the rear wheel brakes linked so one control will stop the carriage easily. Lockable wheels are another major factor to consider. Locks which completely prevent the wheels from moving are desirable, but some models allow you to lock the wheels so that they’ll only move in a straight line instead of swiveling. That can be very helpful on surfaces like grass or gravel.
Since newborns can’t sit upright until they’re between three and six months old, any model purchased for use with a very young infant must be able to convert into a pram-style buggy. Reversible ones (to face mum or face forward) with a number of recline positions also win points in our rankings, because they allow caregivers to adjust it for the child’s comfort, size and age. While we’re on the subject of comfort, the best buggies feature soft fabrics and padding which are also easy to clean. For the “driver’s” comfort, adjustable handles and enough storage space for whatever you like to take with you are also features to look for.
Thanks to our weather it’s more than likely that you’ll have to take your baby out in the rain, so rain as well as sun protection is important. Check the size of the hood to ensure that it completely covers the seat, because you’ll otherwise be forced to add a sunshade or raincover separately.
Finally, there are some models which – if you need what they provide – can make a parent’s life a lot easier. Models which are compatible with and can accept carrycots are usually called travel systems, and they’re extremely convenient if you want to move smaller infants from car to buggy. And you can buy models which accommodate more than one child and they’re a lifesaver for those caring for several children.
Let’s move on to our review of the top ten. Read on to see which ones will be worth your money!
Top 10 Pushchair Reviews
1. Graco Stadium Duo
Well, look at that – we start right off with one of those duo models just mentioned. Graco makes wonderful baby and toddler products, and this product is solid, stable and safe. What’s just as impressive is that this duo model is much less expensive than the super-fancy multi-child systems you’ll see in the shops. The front (with two recline positions) accommodates children from six months to three years old, while the rear reclines fully to act as a pram for newborns through six months, and then can be repositioned as a child seat. There are double hoods with UV protection, lockable wheels and a large shopping basket attached. The Stadium Duo also folds more easily than you’d expect from its size so you won’t really need any help. Very impressive, indeed.
2. Maclaren Techno XLR
You get what you pay for and when you pay the premium price this Maclaren costs, you get a brilliant buggy. It’s larger and heavier than any of its competitors, but that makes it extremely strong and very well-built. The TechnoXLR is designed to be the only one you’ll need for your child from birth. With a four-position adjustment which allows it to lay flat to become a pram for newborns and infants, and can then handle them as they grow older, all the way to 15 kg. There’s a built-in newborn safety system with headhugger and shoulder pads, a sun visor and expandable canopy with UPF 50+ protection, raincover, foot muff, and extendable foot rest, great suspension for off-road walks – the list goes on and on. It’s big, and when folded it won’t fit in every boot, but it’s the best pram that turns into a wonderful buggy. It’s also carrycot compatible.
3. Britax B-Agile Duo
Britax makes great infant and toddler accessories and furniture, and they’ve done an outstanding job with this sturdy side-by-side model which is actually narrow enough to fit through many doorways. It is well-padded and can recline at different angles (including full recline for infants), and each has its own footrest and removable hood with a viewing window. The front wheels are lockable, the rear brake works on both back wheels, the handles are adjustable, extra storage is adequate, and the B-Agile has a one-hand fold system. Even better, you can buy separate adapters to allow the use of both carrycots and carseats. It’s somewhat expensive but terrific.
4. Maclaren Triumph
If you like the Maclaren Techno XLR but don’t need a one that’s also a pram, the Triumph is just right for you since it’s basically the same except without the ability to push it all the way flat. That makes it suitable for ages six months and up, with a maximum weight limit of 15 kg. Features are all the same with the exception of the infant headcover and shoulder pads; it’s also smaller than the Techno XLR so it will fit into more cars for storage.
5. BabyStyle Oyster MAX Inline Duo
We’ve talked about some of our top choices being expensive but this BabyStyle is in another universe, more than twice as much as the Maclaren, for example. It’s a stylish and substantial choice, though, just right if you also want to get the neighbours drooling. The Oyster MAX is an inline duo model with the two children sitting at different levels; both are fully adjustable (one can lay flat as a pram for ages 0-6 months) and they can each accommodate most brands of carrycot, car seat or base. Every feature you could want on a top-end product is included, like large puncture-proof tyres and lockable front wheels. It’s hardware is painted silver too thus making it look more sophisticated. This BabyStyle is what the rich mums (or their nannies) are using, and it’s easy to see why.
6. Kidz Kargo Dual Combo
There are all types of configurations for duo model, and this Kidz Kargo unit will have you convinced that it can morph into all of them. It comes with a carrycot that fits on the top of the chassis (with a large raincover) and can be removed when the time comes. The lower seat is rather small so we wouldn’t suggest it for kids older than about two years, but the combo is great for younger children, particularly since it can be flipped to let siblings face each other. This is lightweight and folds nicely as long as the carrycot is removed. It’s not perfect, but has a lot of flexibility for the price.
7. Graco Mirage+ Travel System
Graco products are not just well-constructed and safe, but well-conceived and practical. This one-click system includes a junior 0+ that fits right into the lightweight buggy; of course, it can also be used on its own and will accommodate children and toddlers up to age three. It three reclining positions, including flat, so it’s one of the best prams for newborns, and it folds up in about one second by using just one hand. And the Mirage+ is very reasonably-priced for a baby travel system.
8. Hauck Lift-Up Three Easyfold
We wouldn’t put Hauck on the same family as Britax, BabyStyle or Maclaren, but they make a great products for a good price. The Lift-up Three is largely marketed based on how easy it is to fold up – and it is – but we don’t think that’s as important as other factors. The aluminum frame isn’t as strong as the ones on our top-ranked models in our review, but it’s fine as long as you won’t be giving the buggy a strenuous off-road workout. The seat is large and well-padded, and will be comfortable for your older infant or toddler; the hood is large as well. The usual features are included, but the main attraction for us is that it’s in a reasonable price range.
9. Hot Mom 3 In 1 Travel System
The “Hot Mom” is a luxury buggy that announces its approach before you arrive: it’s quite fashionable in light brown faux leather with a gold frame. And yes, you pay a premium price for the premium appearance. The good news is that the features are also premium, including an ergonomically-designed egg-shaped bassinet for newborns, outstanding multi-angle and reversible stroller seat, four-wheel independent suspension, rain cover and mosquito net – and it’s easy to push, waterproof and simply gorgeous. If you want to lay out the money for it, it’s definitely one of the best prams in the UK or anywhere else.
10. Graco Evo Mini Stroller
The lightest and “fastest” one on our list, the Evo Mini is easy to
push and manoeuvre, easy to fold and still has lots of storage space. It folds flat for use as a pram and has two positions to accommodate toddlers without issue, there’s a large hood (which is a bit tricky to attach) and the front wheels are lockable. The only real negative is that this is a three-wheeled buggy so it’s not a good choice for anything but flat pavement. For trips around the block or the city, however, we like it.
Time To Shop for a Pushchair
Every mum wants something different in a pushchair. A family may have two young children and need a duo, another will want a stroller that can first serve as a pram for her newborn infant, while a third might want a lightweight model that folds down small enough to fit into a tiny boot. They could each describe their final choice as the “best pushchair” available, even though it would be totally unsuitable for the other two mums and their little ones.
We’ve featured ten great options in the set of pushchair reviews you’ve just read, but the real work is yours – figuring out exactly what you need in a buggy, matching the possibilities to your real-world situation, and deciding how much money you’re willing to spend. When the weather’s nice (or perhaps even when it’s not, but you have lots of errands to run) you’ll be spending lots of time with it, so be sure to take your time and choose wisely.