Updated January 2017
On this page: Our favorite baby strollers for infants and toddlers, including car seat stroller frames (for 0-12 months) and full-size strollers for use with or without a car seat.
For the first six months or so, most parents use an infant car seat in conjunction with a very lightweight, simple stroller frame (translation: wheels for your car seat). However, you can certainly use a full-sized stroller as well, provided that it’s a travel system (i.e., a stroller that accepts a car seat) that is compatible with your car seat.
The lightweight frame stroller is ideal for a newborn for so many reasons… the stroller frame itself is inexpensive, lightweight (10 lbs vs. 18-30 lbs for a full-size stroller), and compact. Tip: buy it used on Craigslist!
After heaving this thing in and out of your trunk 50 times, you will come to understand why being small and lightweight is of the UTMOST importance, especially if you’ve had a C-section.
When folded, it takes up very little space in your car or trunk. Also, the undercarriage storage basket is absolutely ginormous, so you can go on a major shopping trip and not have to worry about lugging around your loot. Shoot, you can even go grocery shopping with this thing.
And as a practical matter, moms and dads, the logistics of getting out of the house with your new baby can be shockingly overwhelming. The LAST THING you want to worry about is how to operate some big, heavy, complicated stroller. Your sleep-deprived brain is not going to have the wherewithal to deal with ANYTHING that isn’t super simple. Trust me on this one 😉
The universal solution is the Baby Trend Snap N Go, but again, you’re better off if you can get a stroller frame that specially goes with your seat because you will have assurance that it will be compatible without having to use straps or modifications.
Graco SnugRide infant seat ~ goes with the Graco SnugRider Elite
Maxi-Cosi Mico and Prezi or Cybex Aton(s) ~ goes with the Maxi-Taxi
*For Britax seats, if for some crazy reason you aren’t getting the B-Agile travel system, there isn’t really a good alternative for a lightweight frame stroller (sorry).
Sexy they are not; the beauty of these stroller frames is that they are super lightweight, affordable, and easy to collapse and fold.
*Got twins? Check out our recommended stroller frames for twins guide.
Full-Size Baby Strollers
The car seat/stroller solution mentioned above is a wonderful *general purpose* item for the first year and a must-have for air travel. But afterward (when your baby-in-car-seat becomes too heavy to carry), you’ll probably want a real stroller (i.e., a medium or full-size stroller) that will take you into the toddler/preschool years.
In my opinion, these are the top five criteria when selecting your long-term stroller:
What is your access-to-the-street situation?
Meaning: Do you have a garage at ground level that you can roll right out of? Or perhaps you live in a walk-up apartment (stairs, no elevator)? Think about where you will keep the stroller and how you will get it outside each time. This is probably the most important factor to consider (e.g., size and WEIGHT). If you need a super lightweight stroller to carry up and down stairs and such, you may just want a simple umbrella stroller.
What is your budget?
Strollers range from $60 to about $900 for luxury strollers, and some are more (ridiculous!). Think about how much you want to spend. Keep in mind you can probably find a high-quality used stroller on Craigslist without too much difficulty.
Do you have plans for another baby in the next three years or so?
If you’re pretty darn sure that another baby is in your near(ish) future (less than three years or so), you may want to consider a stroller that upgrades to a double, also known as a “convertible” stroller. Check out our favorites here. Got twins? Check out our recommended full-sized twin strollers guide.
What terrain will you (predominantly) be rolling over?
For those of you who have to roll over bricks, sand, gravel, or any other unpaved surface, you’ll want an “all-terrain” stroller with large tires and good suspension (not to be confused with a true jogging stroller, which is for actual running).
Parent facing or no?
Strollers with a seat that can rear-face, or “parent-face” are all the rage. The formal name for this is a “modular” stroller. Typically, modular strollers are heavier and more expensive, although they are getting lighter and cheaper every year. See full Reversible Stroller Smackdown.
With all of that in mind…. let us begin.
Best Baby Strollers
When it comes to medium and full-size strollers (non-umbrella), here are the all-time favorites:
1. Baby Jogger City Mini – 17.6 lbs ~ $249
The City Mini was my original love — I was horny for this stroller the first time I laid eyes on it; so compact, sleek, sporty, easy to fold. Mmmmmm mmm. Since I lived in the city (SF) and had to walk up a flight of stairs to get to my apartment, I needed something lightweight that also had some suspension. A 28-pound stroller the size of a small golf cart (sneeze: BOB) was not going to fit the bill.
Here’s the thing: the City Mini collapses into a neat, carryable package with one lift of the arm (see my quick demo here, previous model). That’s it! When you’re at the subway station and you realize the elevator is out of service, this is the stroller you wish you had. [Everyone else has since mimicked their fold, but they were the original].
The City Mini has a pivoting front wheel, which makes it easy to steer with one hand (you are so demanding!). It scoffs at bumps and curbs. The seat lies down flat for a napping baby (what I call the “first class” position) and sits up for “coach” — and every position in-between. It’s also beautifully designed and has a fabulous sunshade that pulls alllll the way down.
If you really want *just one* stroller in your life, you could get this stroller with the car seat adapter and be done with it.
A couple of downsides:
1. The cargo basket is not huge, like with a frame stroller. Hence, you can’t take this one to the farmer’s market or mall and plan on filling it up, sadly (you can only fit about 4 bottles of wine in the bottom… so I’ve heard).
2. Because the upright position is slightly still reclined, some babies/toddlers get annoyed that they aren’t sitting all the way up; whether or not this will be a problem just depends on the temperament of your child.
Baby Jogger is really good about making a plethora of car seat adapters, including the Graco SnugRide Click Connect and the UPPAbaby Mesa!
2. 2016 Britax B-Agile 3 – 18 lbs ~ $249
- Travel system w/ B-Safe 35 ~ $439 retail/$349 on sale
- Travel system w/ B-Safe 35 Elite ~ $469 retail/$376 on sale
See above. Just kidding! Sort of…
So… Britax came out with the B-Agile, which was SHOCKINGLY similar to the City Mini. SO similar, in fact, that they were then sued for patent infringement. Oopsie!
Britax gets props for packaging the stroller with a fantastic infant car seat, the B-Safe 35 for an awesome price. Yes, the Britax B-Safe 35 + B-Agile combo is a great package. Get the newer version together for $349 — and THAT, my friends, is an amazing deal.
If you own a Chicco KeyFit or KeyFit 30, Graco SnugRide 32 or 35, or Peg Perego Primo Viaggio, you can use your car seat with the purchase of an adapter. * This stroller does not work with the Graco SnugRide Click Connect models.
3. 2016 Baby Jogger City Mini GT – 22.5 lbs ~ $349
* $100 more than the regular
Don’t overlook the City Mini GT, which is the lovechild of the original City Mini (above) and the beloved all-terrain City Elite (no longer available). The GT has all-terrain “forever air” tires that never need to be re-inflated, a higher weight limit, a taller seat, and a handbrake on the side.
The City Mini GT is an awesome all-terrain option for those who can’t handle the size and bulk of a traditional all-terrain baby stroller. Worth every penny.
* Note that all of these come in a double version as well.
4. Graco Modes – 23.36 lbs ~ ($249 stroller only, $369 with car seat) or
The Graco Modes is a “modular” stroller, which means the seat can come off to face forward or rear. This is usually something you only see in luxury strollers.
In addition to facing forward or rear, you can also remove the seat altogether and use it with just the car seat alone (like a frame stroller). At 23.36 lbs, it’s definitely heavy for a non all-terrain stroller (typically, only joggers weigh that much) — that’s my only beef.
However, the new 3-wheeled Graco Modes 3 Lite made our “Best in Show” for 2015 list. At 19 lbs, the weight is much more palatable. Nineteen pounds for a fast-folding, modular stroller is really phenomenal.
Both the Modes and Modes 3 Lite have a standing fold, an extra large basket, and come with a parent tray with two cup holders. Yeah, it’s kinda everything you need. Again, not the highest quality, but Graco delivers great value for the money.
5. gb Lyfe – 22 lbs ~ $379
*Check out our full review here.
The gb Lyfe is perfect for the everyday parent. Sporting features typically available on luxury strollers (but without the luxury price tag), the newer gb Lyfe is also a great value!
6. Baby Jogger City Premier – 28.5 lbs ~ $389
*Note: the City Versa has been replaced by the City Premier.
Baby Jogger strollers are and have always been an outstanding value and the new City Premier is no different. This stroller is still somewhat compact and easy to fold like its predecessor, the City Versa. And just like the Versa (and the aforementioned Lyfe), the Premier is modular, which means the seat can face forward or rear. You’ll get a little nicer “fit and finish” in the Premier vs. the Lyfe, but for a slightly bigger price tag. And no bassinet.
Unlike other rear-facing strollers, you DON’T have to switch the seat back around [to face forward] in order to fold it. And that’s why the Premier is much better than most other reversible strollers.
The City Premier also has a large, accessible storage basket, lies flat for napping, and has great suspension… I can only find good things to say about this stroller.
Except for…. the weight.
This bad boy weighs 28.5 lbs, which is… just really quite heavy. Just as heavy as the BOB. I really wish it were lighter. Alas.
Note that the Premier is essentially a single version of the convertible “Baby Jogger City Select” stroller (yet with a less complicated fold), which retails for about $140 more. Thus, if you think you’ll need a double stroller in the next couple of years, definitely consider the City Select. You’ll get more bang for your buck.
The notorious B-O-B is the Land Rover of strollers. It’s expensive (~$449, although usually on sale), it weighs 28.5 lbs, and it does not care what you think of it. If you have to walk up steps to get to your door, don’t even think about buying this stroller. However, if you live in suburbia (which I imagine most of you do) or you have a garage in the city (i.e., you’re loaded!), this is our favorite all-terrain stroller. Don your yoga pants and you can pretend like you’re out to get exercise. Kidding (sort of)!
- In 2016, they phased out the SE, and now it’s just the Flex or the Pro. The Pro model is the Flex, plus a hand-activated rear drum brake. If you have serious hills or need extra braking control, I would pick the Pro.
With 16″ rear wheels and the ability to roll right over just about anything, it is the ultimate all-terrain stroller. The BOB Revolution pushes like a dream and holds up to 75 pounds of human flesh, so you can actually use it for your 4’10″ grandmother. See, very versatile!
This is an all-terrain stroller (although it can double as a jogging stroller) with a state of the art, adjustable suspension system. The real beauty of BOB is that his front wheel locks OR swivels. Lock the wheel for jogging or for heavy terrain; use in swivel mode otherwise.
On the downside, it’s heavy (as all joggers are) and takes up a lot of space in your trunk. The fold is a two-handed, two-step process and the storage basket is smallish. But seriously, the push of this stroller is like no other.
Editor Hack: The Scout stroller rack fits nicely in your tow hitch and allows you to transport your BOB without filling up valuable trunk space. Get 15% off with code lucielovesscout.
Car seat-wise, you can buy an adapter for a plethora of different car seats — including the Graco Click Connect!
Bottom line: If you need a heavy-duty, super durable, all-terrain stroller, this is the stroller for you. Ask anyone who owns this stroller and they will tell you it is well worth the money.
If you’re getting a BOB, do yourself a favor and get the Britax B-Safe 35 (Britax owns BOB, so their gear plays nicely together). Hey, and if you’re a matchey-matchey kind of gal, they came out with the new 2016 Bob B-Safe 35 car seat that matches BOB colors. Oh, won’t you be the envy of your Stroller Strides class!? Shoot.
* Consider this stroller if you have to roll over grass, sand, gravel, brick sidewalks, or any other non-paved surface in order to get from A to B.
* The Revolution also comes in a double version if you have two kids — or twins!
8. BabyZen Yoyo+ – 13.6 lbs ~ $495
Amazingly lightweight, compact stroller for urban users.
Full review pending. See our video from the baby show below. It will answer most of your questions 😉
9. 2016 UPPAbaby Cruz – 21.5 lbs ~ $499+
…is the lighter, peppier, more affordable UPPAbaby offering — and just got a facelift (and a “pricelift,” LOL) this year. Update: The 2017 Cruz is still not available (as of Jan 17), but stay tuned here for more info. In the meantime, chow down on the 2016 version.
“Compact without compromise,” the Cruz is lighter than its larger counterpart, the Vista (21.5 lbs vs. 27.5 lbs) and more compact, yet still boasting the key features of the Vista.
Like the Vista, the Cruz is also modular, which means the seat can face forward or backward. It’s super easy to fold, has the same amazing sunshade, telescoping handlebar, an extra large basket and includes a bumper bar.
The tires on the Cruz mimic the cushioned ride of an air-filled tire with the lightweight benefit of foam. * This is not an all-terrain stroller, per se, but still a darn good ride!
The Cruz does not come with a bassinet, like the Vista, and cannot convert into a double stroller later on. But all-in-all, this is a rock solid everyday stroller that will serve you well for years to come. I wish it were more affordable, but alas…
If I were to do it all over again and had to pick ONE stroller, this would be the one.
- If you are getting the Cruz or the Vista, do yourself a favor and get the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat.
10. Bumbleride Indie – 22 lbs ~ $529
A lesser-known brand, the Bumbleride Indie is a cult favorite. It’s an amazing, lightweight, all-terrain stroller/light jogger. Please see full review here.
In the running department, please see also the Bumbleride Speed.
11. 2016 UPPAbaby Vista – 27.5 lbs ~ $839+
- The 2017 model ($899, dang!) is coming soon!
The Vista is a versatile, fancy pants, modular, all-terrain stroller. It’s UB’s larger, pricier, full-sized stroller offering (vs. the Cruz). For your newb, the Vista comes with a beautiful bassinet so your babe can slumber comfortably.
The seat can face forward or backward, which is actually a very cool feature (it’s MUCH better to be able to see your baby and make eye contact rather than have him face away from you). Attention tall people and NBA players: this one has adjustable handles (up to 6’6″), which is key for us Amazons. This, and the floating arch “no kick” rear axle, mean you will never kick or trip on the back with your long stride.
The sun canopy is extra large (HUGE and amazing) and comes with a zip-in weather shield and mesh bug/sun shield. The storage basket is probably the best on the market — it’s so huge and accessible.
To me, the Vista is better than Bugaboo’s all-terrain stroller, the Bugaboo Cameleon 3, because the Bug is way more expensive (if that’s even possible) and requires you to remove the seat in order to fold it (seriously?), then just flops onto the ground. For that price, I’d expect more, but hey that’s just me. Also, the Vista can become a double, so it’s much more versatile.
Yes, the Vista can convert into a double stroller (above) with the added 2nd seat (the “rumble seat“). You can buy the seat separately or buy the whole thing as a double for $1,010. This is also a great stroller for twins.
For the newer Vistas (2015 and later), the rumble seats can face the front or rear AND CAN RECLINE (woohoo!) – it is a bit more reminiscent of the Baby Jogger City Select, except the weight is further back to the rear which makes it easier to steer. And no, the 2015 rumble seat cannot be used with previous versions of the Vista, sorry ’bout that. [Full review of the double Vista here.]
For your bassinet, you can also buy this beautiful bassinet stand (below), which converts to a laundry hamper when you’re done with it. ISN’T THAT COOL?? So cool. Gosh, I love UPPAbaby.
The stroller weighs 27.5 lbs as a single (warning: not light!) and can be used until your kiddo is about four years old. If you need to heave your stroller in and out of the car a lot, I would not recommend this stroller due to its weight.
Those are our Top 11 Favorite single strollers. Choose wisely!
Next: Baby Carriers →