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What Type Of Stroller Should I Buy?

If you have small children or are expecting one soon you definitely need a stroller or two. We can thank William Kent, a landscape architect from England, for designing what was likely the very first variant of modern day strollers in the mid 1700's. Unlike his version you probably don't want your stroller to be powered by livestock. Over the years there have been many design iterations, built-in safety features, and advancements in materials. We're sure William Kent would be amazed at just how many iterations of his idea there have been and how ubiquitous strollers are today.
William Kent Stroller
So what's the perfect stroller? Well that depends largely on you. The two biggest considerations you need to make though are your lifestyle and your budget. Once you have those two items figured out you can start shopping around for the right type of stroller at a great deal. Since strollers are often outgrown long before they're worn out you should consider picking up a gently used stroller which could save you hundreds of dollars depending on the make and model. Ok, lets take a closer look at some of the more popular variations of stroller designs that are available today and highlight some of the major pros and cons of each one.
There are basically six different types of strollers. Fortunately some of them are considered special use and you'll probably be able to scratch them off your option list pretty quickly making your decision process a little easier. The stroller types include:
- Full-Sized Strollers
- Lightweight/Umbrella Strollers
- Double Strollers
- Jogging Strollers
- Travel Systems

Let's briefly touch on each of these types in the order they're listed. We'll try to highlight the major pros and cons for each stroller type in effort to make you a more informed shopper. A knowledgeable shopper gets what they need and can avoid making bad purchases. The alternative to educating yourself usually leads to scouring the trash can looking for their receipt you threw out so you can return an item. We've been there and it's not fun. Yuck!

Full-Sized Strollers

You can think of the full-sized strollers as the minivan of strollers. They have fair amount of storage space and they're loaded with creature comforts for both the driver and passenger. Sorry, but there's no air conditioning or cruise control options available. Not yet anyway.

Peg Perego Booklet
Source: Amazon - Peg Perego Booklet
- Adjustable back rests. If your passenger wants to sleep the back goes down and if they're awake you can put the back rest into the upright position.
- Adjustable handle. Being able to adjust the handle will make a long day of pushing much easier. Especially if the drivers are of different heights.
- Cup holder. It sounds silly but having a stable place to put down your drink or your passenger's is a nice thing.
- Under seat storage. If you're a mega shopper having that under seat storage allows you to keep both hands on the handle and the stroller in control.
- Extra seat padding. A comfortable passenger is a happy passenger or at the very least less cranky.
- Collapsible canopy. A canopy will let you shield your passenger from the sun, rain, cold and wind.
- Sturdy frame. If you're lugging around shopping bags and a toddler having a sturdy frame will help stabilize the stroller and reduce twisting.
- Usable for toddlers. The larger size means you can accommodate larger passengers which generally translate into a longer usage window for your stroller.

- Bulky. Full-sized strollers are generally on the bulky side. Fitting them into tights spots a bit of challenge and in some cases impossible. If compactness is important this option might not be for you.
- Heavy. While you may not have to walk up 20 flights of stairs carrying one loading and unloading it from the trunk of your car several times in a day might get old.
- Cost. While they may not be the most expensive they certainly aren't the cheapest either.

Lightweight/Umbrella Strollers

If you live in the city or are always on the go you probably know what it means to travel light and move fast. A lightweight/umbrella stroller will pretty much get you anywhere you need to go as quickly as possible. It's the no nonsense no frills version of the bunch.

Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller
Source: Amazon - Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller
- Lightweight. Shaving off all the features of a full-sized stroller means you save a lot of weight.
- Compact. The thinner frame and lack of bulk means this stroller will collapse down and occupy an impressively small space.
- Maneuverable. The narrower stance makes weaving in and around things a breeze.
- Cost. One of the more cheaper options you have when it comes to buying a stroller.

- No storage. Sorry you're gonna have to hang your stuff off the handle or hold onto it yourself.
- Little to no padding. Since this is basically just a canvas seat your passenger might get restless if they're kept in it for long periods at a time.
- No cup holder. Yet one more thing you're going to have to hold if you go with this stroller option.
- Not adjustable. The frames are generally not adjustable in any manner so if your passenger likes to sleep on the go this could result in your passenger contorting into some really uncomfortable positions while sleeping.

Double Strollers

If you have twins or children that are just a couple years apart in age you might want to consider a double stroller. The main benefit to the double stroller is you can accommodate two passengers at once. There's some variation with double strollers. Some strollers position the seats side-by-side while others place them one in front of the other. If your kids are constantly fighting over just about everything you should probably go with the front and rear seating option just to create a little bit of a buffer zone.

Joovy Scooter X2 Double Stroller
Source: Amazon - Joovy Scooter X2 Double Stroller
- Seating for two. You don't have to make your children take turns, they can both go for a ride.
- Stability. The extra seat means an either longer and/or wider stance which will make it more stable.

- Bulky. Adding that extra space means the stroller is going to be longer and/or wider than a single seat version.
- Heavy. More material usually means more weight.
- Less maneuverable. If you frequent department stores you might find it a bit challenging to weave in and out of those clothing racks without knocking things off.
- Cost. You're probably going to pay a premium for that extra seat.

Jogging Strollers

If you're a runner or enjoy going for a walks in the great outdoors you should consider getting a jogging stroller. Don't worry just because it's called a jogging stroller doesn't mean you have to jog with it. Jogging strollers in general are built for higher speeds, greater maneuverability, and better performance on bumpy or uneven surfaces. Many joggers include over-sized wheels for better handling on uneven terrain and suspension systems to help protect your passenger from the dips and bumps. There are also some other safety features that you're less likely to find with other stroller types including hand breaks and wrist straps.

Graco FitFold Jogging Stroller
Source: Amazon - Graco FitFold Jogging Stroller
- Handling. Better handling while running or on uneven surfaces.
- Speed. If you're a lead foot this stroller is built for speed.
- Safety. More safety features than you might find on the other stroller types.

- Weight. They generally have more substantial frames which makes some of them a bit heavy.
- Bulky. Although the frames fold up those large wheels wont. That can make storing them in tights spots a bit of an issue.
- Cost. That high-tech engineering and added safety features don't come cheap.

Travel Systems

If you're getting ready for your firstborn you might want to consider purchasing a two in one travel system. Travel systems combine an infant car seat with a stroller. Many travel systems include a car seat adapter that will allow you do snap the car seat right onto the back seat of your vehicle without the need to adjust any buckles or straps each time. Another benefit to this type of system is there are several options on the type of stroller. You could get a jogger inspired design or you could get a more traditional stroller design. Once your little one starts to get bigger this becomes less viable of a solution. It just wont be practical to leave your child in their car seat when you put it in the car or take it out.

Graco FastAction SE Travel System
Source: Amazon - Graco FastAction SE Travel System
- Easy loading/unloading. Being able to load/unload your child from the car while they're still in their seat is a plus.
- Dual use. You're getting a stroller and car seat in one. That saves you some from having to make two purchases which could lead to saving some money.

- Shorter lifespan. Many travel systems are geared towards infants so you might only get a year to a year and a half of use from this solution. - Single source manufacturer. Since the stroller and carseat generally use a proprietary locking system you have to use the car seat and stroller pair that are sold together.

Our final take.

Deciding which stroller to pick out won't be the hardest decision you'll have to make as a parent but it is important nonetheless. Above everything else consider your lifestyle and budget when looking for that perfect stroller.
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