Consumer Reports announces top strollers of 2018

Best strollers for travelers, joggers, urban animals, suburban schlepper

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor, Paul Hope, Consumer Reports

Ask five new parents what they want in a stroller and you’re likely to get five different answers.

“There’s no single type of stroller that’s best for everyone,” says Joan Muratore, who oversees stroller testing for Consumer Reports. “An umbrella stroller might be ideal if you take your little one on mass transit frequently, but if you live in the country and want to walk on wooded paths, you’ll struggle to maneuver it.”

It’s all about your lifestyle.

CR’s extensive stroller testing looks at not only the big-picture issues such as safety and durability but also the experiential details of everyday use. They’ve combed through our deep data, weighing the strengths and weaknesses of top-rated strollers, to bring you these selections of the best strollers for different needs.

How Consumer Reports Test Strollers

CR starts the test process by using each stroller the way a parent would, complete with a weight that simulates a child for most of our testing: They adjust the harness, backrest, and wheel brakes, and fold and unfold each model as you would when moving it into and out of a car. They collapse and carry each stroller, too, noting the folded size and weight.

They push each stroller through a test course with S-curves, and steer it between cones and over obstructions, including grass, mulch, and tree roots. And finally, we assess safety by subjecting each model to standard industry tests as well as CR-designed stability and braking tests.

The 80-plus models in our current stroller ratings are divided by category: traditional, combination, umbrella, travel systems, and car seat carriers. They range in price from less than $100 to more than $1,200, and come from brands such as 4moms, Baby Jogger, Baby Trend, Britax, Bugaboo, Bumbleride, Chicco, Evenflo, Graco, Jane, Joovy, Maclaren, Maxi-Cosi, Mountain Buggy, Peg Perego, Stokke, Uppababy, and more.

To get a feel for the categories most relevant to you, start with the stroller buying guide. Then CR members can read below for ratings and reviews of seven top picks, tailored to where and how you live.

1. Best Stroller for City Dwellers: Peg Perego Booklet

Overall Score: 88 (Excellent)
CR’s take: The Peg Perego Booklet is considered a traditional stroller—it has four wheels and is a little leaner than convertible models that can accept car seats. The Booklet hits the sweet spot for most urbanites: comfy enough for a long walk in the park but easily collapsed with one hand, so you can still cling to your little one when you need to jump on a bus or subway. The seat is roomy, and there’s generous storage below to help with errands. At 20 pounds, the Booklet weighs twice as much as some ultralight umbrella strollers, but it drives so well—earning an Excellent rating for maneuverability—that you can’t compare. Buy for $349.99 on Amazon.

2. Best Stroller for Suburban Living: Chicco Bravo Trio

Overall Score: 81 (Excellent)
CR’s take: The Bravo Trio is a travel system—a car seat and stroller sold together. It’s large, comfortable, and sturdy—a great option for the suburbs or the country, where kids might spend as much time in a car seat as in a stroller. (The size isn’t an issue if you’re not trying to get it up and down apartment stairs.) Easy to collapse and stash in a trunk, the Bravo Trio earns a rating of Excellent in CR’s critical ease-of-use test. And snapping in the included Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat, which gets stellar marks in our extensive car seat testing, is almost effortless. The seat itself earns ratings of Excellent for ease of use and fit, with either a seat belt or a LATCH mechanism. Buy for $379.99 on Amazon.

3. Best Stroller for Athletic Parents: Thule Urban Glide

Overall Score: 85 (Excellent)
CR’s take: If you’re a runner, a jogging stroller can be a life-saver. The Thule Urban Glide is among the best joggers in our ratings. Sturdy and nimble, it earns an Excellent rating for maneuverability. With large, air-filled tires (cushier than the solid plastic wheels on most strollers); rear shocks; and a padded seat, it provides a comfy ride for your child. The front wheel locks into a straight-ahead position for running, making it safer, and you can easily adjust the handlebar for your height. The shocks and oversized wheels also make it great choice for hiking on wooded paths. In town, it handles tall or uneven curbs with little effort. All that robust capability comes with a compromise: The Urban Glide is large and on the heavy side, and it will take up some space in the garage. Not a great option if storage space is at a premium. And not the choice to maneuver through crowded store aisles. Click here for price.

4. Best Stroller for Traveling With Infants: Chicco KeyFit Caddy

Overall Score: 79 (Very Good)
CR’s take: The only safe way to take an infant on a plane is in a car seat. The Chicco KeyFit Caddy is little more than a collapsible frame that totes a car seat—and that’s the point. It’s a nimble tool that makes navigating crowded airports less of a nightmare. Boasting a rating of Very Good in our maneuverability tests, the KeyFit is also a cinch to collapse. Drive it to the gate, and drop it flat for boarding. You can leave the cumbersome full-sized stroller at home, keep your baby safe and comfortable, and be ready to roll (in any taxi or Uber) when you reach your destination. The Graco SnugRider Elite, $100, is another great choice in a car seat caddy, but we give Chicco the edge because the brand’s infant car seats tend to fare better than Graco’s in our tests—Chicco’s KeyFit and KeyFit 30 earn scores of 86 and 84, respectively. The top-scoring Graco infant car seat in our tests, The SnugRide Click Connect 30, earns a score of only 63. Buy for $94.99 on Amazon.

5. Best Stroller for Traveling With Toddlers: Summer Infant 3D Lite

Overall Score: 74 (Very Good)
CR’s take: “Lite” is an understatement for this 12-pound, top-scoring umbrella stroller. The Summer Infant 3D Lite is among the lightest strollers in our ratings, yet it’s notably sturdy for this category, with a structured rigid seat and back. A cinch to collapse and carry, thanks in part to a shoulder strap—it earns a rating of Very Good for ease of use—this model is suitable only for kids 6 months and up (like most umbrella strollers). Because it lacks the larger wheels and substantial frame of a traditional stroller, the Summer Infant 3D Lite is not the best choice for long walks. Instead, use it as an easy-to-transport secondary stroller. Click here for price.

6. Best Stroller for Folks Who Do a Lot of Everything: Baby Jogger City Select

Overall Score: 86 (Excellent)
CR’s take: Don’t let the name fool you: The Baby Jogger City Select is a solid choice for families that don’t live in cities, too. It’s a combination stroller, meaning a big traditional stroller that adapts to take your kid from birth through toddlerhood through the end of the stroller years. The City Select fully reclines for newborns and can accommodate a number of car seats from different brands (through the use of an adapter). It provides a smooth, comfortable ride and has a giant storage compartment beneath the seat. The City Select earns a rating of Excellent for ease of use, partly because it’s a breeze to collapse with one hand. Click here for price.

7. Best Stroller for Twins: Joovy Scooter X2

Overall Score: 70 (Very Good)
CR’s take: The Joovy Scooter X2 is a side-by-side double stroller that performs a difficult job solidly at a reasonable price. It earns a rating of Excellent for safety, largely because it’s sturdy and difficult to knock over. Side-by-side strollers are generally easier to maneuver than tandems (in which one child sits in front of the other), but they can be tough to fit through some doorways. The Scooter X2 is narrower than many models in its class, which makes that problem less likely. It’s lighter, too—at 30 pounds, it weighs less than lots of single strollers—and fairly nimble in most applications. If you’re carting two kids of different ages, tandems tend to be better than side-by-sides.
Buy for $209.99 on Amazon.

For a fuller comparison see “3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a Double Stroller.”

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