The Search for the Best Stroller Is Off
Venture beyond the baby gate.
Published Nov 23, 2021 1:39 AM
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For many parents, buying their first stroller may feel like purchasing their first car: tinged with excitement yet completely overwhelming at the same time. From the many different types (do you, for example, prefer a full-size or combination model?) to the array each brand has on offer, navigating the world of how best to transport your little one can be confusing at first glance, all while trying to find something that unites both form and function. In a bid to discover the best one out there, here’s a bird’s-eye view of the stroller universe.
Our Top Picks
- Best overall: Bugaboo Fox 2
- Best value: Babyzen Yoyo2
- Best for twins: UppaBaby Vista 2
- Best for mobility: Thomashilfen EasyS Modular S
- Best for runners: Thule Urban Glide 2
Best Overall: Bugaboo Fox 2
“We have a Bugaboo Fox, and it’s really well made and robust, which makes it super-reliable,” says product designer Jamie Wolfond, whose son, Hart, is still under a year old. “After eight months of use, it certainly hasn’t shown any signs of quitting. The stroller is not just something we take out with us but has actually served as a very handy mobile bassinet, especially during our first few months with the new baby. Driving it in circles around the kitchen gets him to sleep every time.”
Stylist Apphia Michael couldn’t agree more. “The Fox 2 is Bugaboo’s high-performance, versatile all-arounder,” she says. “For all the bells and whistles it brings, it’s still relatively compact—handy for city home storage, yet so sturdy and luxurious it will sometimes feel like you’re pushing your precious cargo in a Rolls-Royce rather than a baby stroller. The only downside to owning it is you’ll wish you were napping in it yourself.”
Best Value: Babyzen Yoyo2
If value is defined as what pays off in the longest term, then Babyzen’s Yoyo2 leads the pack. Kathy Minh Bach, cofounder of clothing label Kaarem, which is based in New York City and Ho Chi Minh City, says, “My child is almost 5 and she’s still in the same stroller since the day she was born. We love the Yoyo2 so much and it’s been with us through it all—NYC subway rides from Brooklyn to her Chinatown day care, annual flights to Vietnam, and bullet trains throughout Japan. It’s still in the greatest shape after all we’ve put it through! It’s superlight and compact yet strong enough to carry all our bags.”
Best for Twins: UppaBaby Vista V2
“Two months ago I became a mom of not one but two little ones, so choosing a stroller was very much about answering the question: How do we even do this; how do we handle two?” recalls Design Time producer Ali Alquiza Klidonas. “I chose the UppaBaby Vista V2 stroller because of its ability to stack upward and keep the narrow shape and size of a standard stroller. It’s made navigating tight spaces in our favorite NYC spots a breeze.”
Our own executive editor, Alex Redgrave, agrees: “There are a lot of stroller/car seat travel systems out there, but we went with UppaBaby, knowing that the investment is for the long run. On the frame, you can click in a car seat, bassinet, and stroller seat (plus a ride-along board for toddler years), and the Vista model allows you to double up with one of each in different configurations for when siblings come along for the ride.”
Best for Mobility: Thomashilfen EasyS Modular S
For Alexandra Bonnesen, choosing a stroller for her 4-year-old son, Oscar, was guided by a different set of requirements. A stroller for Oscar, who was diagnosed with acute flaccid myelitis (AFM) at age 1, not only had to meet all the needs of an active toddler but provide additional support, safety requirements, and storage space. “Insurance was generous with helping us cover the cost of the chair. The features we love about the EasyS Modular S, especially because Oscar was so little when he transitioned to that wheelchair, is that it still felt like a stroller,” says Bonnesen. “Storage below; a canopy for rain; a wide enough handle to hang storage for water bottles, wipes, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen. You can customize parts like the headrest, footrest, etc., based on the needs of your child.”
Best for Runners: Thule Urban Glide 2
JP Collett, father of three and CEO of wellness brand Nature of Things, can attest to the functionality and versatility of owning a jogging stroller. “We have had every stroller under the sun (because my wife is an addict), but the best and most versatile for both of us has been our Thule jogging stroller. It is a supersmooth ride and relatively compact and folds in one piece, which makes it easy to get in and out of the car.”
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Types of strollers
Whatever your priorities, chances are there will be a stroller pretty close to perfect out there for you. If you’re in and out of the car a lot, think about investing in a travel system, which is basically a stroller with an infant car seat that attaches into it. This can help save on time in general and any heartache that might come from having to wake a sleeping baby in the car seat in a bid to transfer them into the stroller. You can buy a stroller frame and matching car seat from the same brand, or customize a combination stroller that suits your needs by mixing and matching components from different brands.
If you need to cart around two kids, either twins or children who are close in age, a double stroller is the one for you. Often equipped with two seats (one higher than the other or placed side by side), it makes life a whole lot easier when moving as a pack. There are also car-seat–compatible options.
For active and outdoorsy parents, a jogging stroller will help maintain the lifestyle you had before the onset of kids. Designed to handle different types of terrain, it often boasts a superior suspension system so that you can cart your little ones along with you on your next adventure.
Once you’re past the infant stage, parents who are on the go a lot can opt for a foldable umbrella stroller, which is considerably easier to stow away and carry than its full-size counterparts. Lightweight and portable, an umbrella stroller tends to be streamlined, so it’s set up better for parents who have already pared down their diaper bag to the essentials.
If you ultimately decide that you want it all, the traditional full-size stroller is an all-around workhorse that ticks all the boxes. Need room for groceries and a diaper bag? Check. Want a smooth ride while you’re walking to the park? Check. Looking to control the recline of the seat should your child happen to fall asleep? Check. Sturdy and equipped with all the bells and whistles, this all-purpose stroller is set up to become your most trusted companion.
When shopping, don’t forget to keep an eye out for certification from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Those products that bear this seal have been tested by an independent facility and meet standardized requirements. The JPMA seal is an additional threshold for quality. Although not all baby products are JPMA certified, they must meet federal safety guidelines in order to be sold—so you can breathe easy, seal or not.
Spare yourself additional back pain by tuning in to how much the handlebars of your prospective stroller can be adjusted. Aside from catering to different heights, adjustable handlebars help maintain good posture while you’re pounding the pavement with your little one. Top tip: Handle extenders can further increase mobility beyond the usual range, as well.
Probably the best feature of all, it makes your stroller do double duty as a grocery cart, picnic wagon, beach buggy, and storage space in general with a spacious basket to stow all that you need when you’re out and about. Many stroller baskets boast intuitive folds and safety guards that prevent your accessories from falling out.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews to know that they pass the test IRL.