Whether it's your first baby or your last, buying a stroller can be a seriously daunting task. There are so many brands out there to choose from and so many styles and types. The sole purpose of a stroller is to get from point A to point B with relative ease and safety. For many parents, what's in between those points will help determine which stroller they choose.
After researching review sites, retailers and more, we think the best stroller for most people is the Baby Jogger City Mini 2. It's neither the least nor the most expensive, but it’s a reliable, all-around full-size stroller for parents who need to run a few errands on foot or who like to take their daily walk with baby in tow. We loved it because it's the lightest of the full-size strollers included here. Its one-handed folding mechanism is convenient when you're juggling your baby and a million other duties. We also like it because it's compatible with several third-party car seats. The stroller and car seat combination are two essential purchases for your child. You shouldn't have to compromise because of a proprietary fit that makes the two incompatible.
There are other types of strollers mentioned below, including ones that are best for those who put versatility, outdoor activities or the budget first. We'll help you choose which stroller is best for your baby.
These are the best strollers right now
The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 is one of the best strollers for both new and veteran parents. It's one of the lightest strollers available and offers a quick and convenient folding mechanism. Its three-wheel design makes it maneuverable around corners and sharp turns, and its peekaboo windows let you see how your baby is doing. The City Mini 2 is also compatible with a variety of car seats, including the Baby Jogger City Go and third-party car seats like the Britax B-Safe and the Chicco KeyFit 30.
The only drawback is that the storage bag is a bit small compared with other strollers, and it's hard to access when it's filled up with stuff. But if you don't mind carrying an extra bag on you, or you don't plan on using the stroller as a grocery cart, the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 is a surefire choice for getting baby from point A to point B without much fuss.
The Thule Urban Glide 2 is the best stroller for parents who want to stay active after their baby arrives. Not only does it offer plenty of features for everyday use, but it also comes with the fixings of regular full-size strollers, like a giant canopy and covered storage. The Urban Glide 2 is also compatible with a variety of car seats as long as you purchase the $60 adapter.
Since this is a stroller meant for sustained movement, the front wheel is lockable, so you don't have to worry about the stroller going off the path. It's also able to handle different surfaces, from paved roads to dirt trails. You don't even have to be a runner to choose the Thule Urban Glide 2; it's lightweight and versatile enough to use as a first-time stroller for any parent, and its hand-activated brake and tight turn radius make it a good choice for parents who want to get moving.
The Uppababy Cruz is a splurge, but the extra cash will get you a smoother ride that can handle a variety of surfaces, including bumpy city streets. It has extra-large storage space, something to consider if you're prone to go grocery shopping with your little one.
The Cruz is a four-wheeler stroller, though the wheels are small and extra-durable, and the front-wheel suspension makes for a smooth ride. The Uppababy Cruz offers an adjustable handlebar for parents of all heights and allows for reversed seating, so you can stare at your baby while picking through bushels of broccoli. The Cruz is compatible with a range of car seats, making it easy to transfer baby from car to home.
While the higher price may net you more storage space and a smoother wheelbase, consider that the Cruz is a bigger, more cumbersome stroller that requires you to use two hands when folding it up. It's also bulkier when folded up compared with our top picks, which may make storing it in tight spaces and smaller trunks a bit of a doozy.
Another three-wheel, full-size stroller, the Britax B-Lively is as convenient to push around as the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 and offers a large, zippered storage bin that's easy to access. The B-Lively also comes equipped with a simple braking mechanism, though it's not always clear that it's fully engaged, so you'll have to check twice before leaving the stroller. Your baby can also recline in this stroller, so it provides comfortable sleeping for the little one.
If you're looking for a universally compatible stroller, the Britax B-Lively is not it. It's only compatible with other Britax and BOB-brand car seats. And though it weighs only a pound more than the City Mini 2, it requires an additional step when folding up, which might be the last thing you want to think about when you're holding a screaming baby and all your child's items.
The Uppababy Vista sports many of the Uppababy Cruz's features and is also a bonafide transformer for every stage of your child’s life, making it the best stroller for parents who want something that will grow with their kid. When your baby is an infant, you can transport them in the bassinet, which will support the baby until he or she is 20 pounds. Then, you can switch to the toddler seat, which will last until your child reaches a weight equaling the maximum capacity of 50 pounds. In addition to being compatible with your child's growing body and working for growing families, the Vista also accepts up to two infant car seats or toddler seats at the same time. Or, you can add the PiggyBack Ride Along board for a sibling who wants to stand and ride. The Vista's foam-filled rubber tires are also great for handling changing terrains, whether you need to trudge through rain, gravel or snow.
The extremely high-end price of the Uppababy Vista might make it less of an option for you, however, and the entire kit may be more stroller than you need if you plan on having just one little tyke. The Vista and its different accessories also take up a lot of space, and it's not the most intuitive when you're opening and closing it.
If you're operating within a tight budget, or maybe you need a second stroller to keep with the grandparents, the Kolcraft Cloud Plus features everything you need. It's lightweight, not too hard to push forward and around corners, and has enough storage space for a diaper bag and then some. The Cloud Plus also quickly folds up, and it comes with both a parent tray and a child tray, which is often considered an extra accessory on other stroller models.
The Mountain Buggy Nano is a lightweight travel stroller, making it the best stroller for jet-setting parents who want to bring baby along. When it's folded up, it's small enough to fit into an overhead airplane luggage bin, so you don't have to worry about constantly gate checking it. However, you will have to contend with its complicated folding mechanism. It comes with a travel bag equipped with a handle and strap for ultimate portability.
This Nano has a narrow front wheel for a smooth swivel during quick turns. It's compatible with infant car seats, so you can start using it with your newborn until the child is up to 4 years old. There's also an adapter available to make it work with third-party car seats, which is helpful if you're renting a vehicle at your destination and leaving the car seat at home.
What to look for when buying a stroller
If you're taking your kid along for errands and your daily walkabout, you're probably fine with a run-of-the-mill, full-size stroller. If you're an athletic parent, running around tracks and traversing trails, you probably want something a little more robust, with room to grow. And if you're a frequent traveler, taking the baby with you to visit family and friends, or going on adventures, you probably want a stroller that's foldable and lightweight.
For the most part, as you’re looking for a stroller, you’re choosing between three distinct categories:
Full-size stroller: These are the most common types of strollers and they come with the most features. They offer plenty of storage, comfortable seats for your little one, large canopies and easy-to-maneuver wheels. They're also compatible with car seats, though they usually require an adapter of some sort. In many instances, full-size strollers are too large for newborns unless there's a bassinet attachment. Depending on the type of material the stroller is made of and the accessories you include in the package, a full-size stroller can cost anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
Jogging stroller: Jogging strollers tend to be outfitted with air-filled tires and shock absorbers to be just as comfortable for your baby as the pair of runners you have on. They can be a bit cumbersome and are more substantial than a full-size stroller, but they're the right choice if you're planning to be an active parent. They tend to cost a bit more since they’re made with rugged material and require a bit more hardware.
Travel stroller: The term "travel stroller" carries a double meaning here. There's the "travel system," which typically includes various accessories and offers a bit of variability for your child's growing body — kind of like what the Uppababy Vista provides. The "travel stroller" we refer to here, however, is like the ones made to collapse for the plane, train or trunk. You should look for something that's light to carry and collapses enough that it can join you on the flight, so it's with you when you disembark. Don't expect all the features of a full-size stroller, however, such as an accessory tray or tons of storage space. Travel strollers cost a bit less than a full-size stroller but are on a par with how much you’d pay for a durable, TSA-approved suitcase.
Other stroller types. There are strollers specifically for newborns and for carting around multiple kids, and there are wagon strollers if you're the stylish type with a fashionable tyke. These are niche strollers and aren't on this list. But you'll find that models like the Uppababy Vista, our pick for most expandable, also work for families with twins and triplets. We also included one specific umbrella stroller, the Kolcraft Cloud Plus, because it’s an attractive package for the price.
How we picked
First things first: if you're looking at a stroller that's over 27 pounds, slowly back away from it before you hurt your back. Those strollers are too bulky for everyday use and will become heftier once you start layering on the baby, a diaper bag and a few beverages.
When choosing the best strollers, we looked at review sites such as BabyList, The Bump, Wirecutter and BabyGear Lab, as well as user comments on Amazon, Buy Buy Baby and Target. We paid attention to the stroller's overall ease of use, push and maneuverability. There's no point in buying a stroller if it's frustrating to operate, or feels like you're driving a wagon wheel across a fresh marsh. Maneuverability matters as you're turning corners at the mall or in the bodega. Whether in the suburbs or the city, you want a stroller that feels as routine to you as getting into the car or on the bus.
Quality and durability are other factors to take into consideration when making your pick. You can usually find that information embedded in the customer reviews at various online retailers. That's where folks will tell you how well the bearings held after some time, or whether the wheels on a stroller are meant for the kind of terrain mentioned in the description on the manufacturer's website. There's also hints at what it's like dealing with customer service, so if you're worried about what to do down the line should something go awry with your stroller purchase, buyer reviews are worth investigating.
As with every purchase we make, the value of a product plays a significant factor. We looked at the price of each stroller and whether it fell in line with other devices in its class. It's also important to consider how much the stroller can do outside of a controlled situation. If you live in a place where it snows, for instance, paying a little more for a vehicle that can trudge through sleet is worth the investment.
Additional features, like a bumper bar or rain cover, are worth considering if you're willing to pay for them. In most cases, you'll save some cash by eschewing features like the bumper bar. Some higher-priced strollers will include the accessory add-ons as part of the package, though that doesn’t necessarily add to the value of the stroller overall.