Updated May 2017
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Having your second (or more!) baby is a very different experience than having your first.
You quickly learn that the long, blissful days of staring into your baby’s eyes, the hour-long nursing sessions, tummy time and “napping when the baby naps (ha!)” were first-kid things because you still have to take your toddler or preschooler to the library, swim class, or to school. But with a baby.
Difficult? Yes. Impossible, No.
Being able to physically get both/all your children around on your own is not always easy, but it’s key to surviving the early years with multiple children. It’s also paramount to maintaining your confidence and sanity.
You can do it!
The Lay of the Land
With a couple of exceptions, double strollers are generally BIG and heavy.
They have to be; most of them are rated for 80-100 lbs (or more) of total baby/child meat. Generally, double strollers are pretty darn expensive, so it’s not a decision to make hastily.
The age difference between your children matters. The strollers we recommend for twins are very different from those for a newborn and a young toddler, for example.
Children who are close in age (less than two years) seem to do well in almost any double stroller, while children who are 2-4 years apart often do better in a side-by-side stroller or in a tandem with one “primary” seat and a smaller seat.
For children with larger age differences… since many double strollers have an upper weight limit of 40 lbs, look for one with 50 lb seats so you’ll be able to use it for longer.
If your oldest will be four or older by the time your 2nd baby arrives, you may not even need (or want) a double stroller – or – you may only need it on occasion. Outside of the weight capacity problem (usually 40-45 lbs per seat), most 4-year olds are too big (height-wise) for many double stroller seats. But don’t worry, there are alternatives…
A preschooler who is too cool to sit in a stroller may still want the option to ride in a sit and stand. In fact, many preschoolers seem to prefer standing (vs. sitting) in a sit and stand stroller (below), but every child is different.
Another alternative to a double stroller is using a riding board (below) or putting your baby in a carrier while your older child rides in a [single] stroller. Most preschoolers are just fine walking alongside the stroller, but sometimes it’s nice to have them both contained and under control, like in a crowded market.
Best Double Strollers
If you thought it was hard to choose a single stroller, just wait! Shopping for a double stroller is even more confusing, not to mention much more expensive. Not to worry, we’ve selected our favorite doubles of 2016/17 and broken them down into nine distinct categories (below).
Like asking, “What’s the best car?” The question of what’s the best double stroller depends on your needs and your budget.
Tandem vs. Side-by-Side
There are two basic styles of double strollers: tandem and side-by-side. Each has its pros and cons.
A tandem, or “in-line” stroller, has one seat behind the other. Sometimes they are stacked up stadium-style, other times not. The main benefit of a tandem stroller is that it’s the same width as a single stroller, allowing you to get through doorways with ease.
The down side is that tandems are harder to maneuver due to their length. This “length problem” also makes it tough to fit some of them into smaller trunks. Another downside of tandems is what I call “seating inequality,” where one seat is more desirable than the other. Once your youngest is old enough (about 2.5) to recognize this fact, it could be a source of tension (until then, they are blissfully unaware). For others, it’s not a problem.
A side-by-side stroller is double wide, like two single strollers smooshed together. Side-by-sides are generally easier to push and steer, but much harder to get through doorways. They can also monopolize a narrow sidewalk, which many people feel is discourteous to others, especially in crowded urban areas. On the upside, the seating equality of a side-by-side means less fighting.
They both have their pros and cons, so it’s just a matter of lifestyle and personal preference.
Best Double Strollers
Click on a category name for recommendations ~
A. Double Umbrella Strollers – are lightweight strollers with small wheels that fold compactly and are very easy to get in and out of the car, but few bells and whistles and limited storage space. Perfect for airline travel and car outtings. Prices range from $100-$500.
B. General Purpose Double Strollers – A “regular” side-by-side stroller with medium-sized wheels, mid-range weight and more storage and features than an umbrella stroller. Prices range from $200-$580. Best when used on smooth, paved surfaces; not great for all-terrain use.
C. All-Terrain Double Strollers – have heavy-duty all-terrain wheels, usually with a front wheel(s) that will swivel or lock. Many can be used for “light” jogging. All terrain side-by-sides are all pretty heavy, bulky and generally take up a lot of trunk space, but are downright delightful to push and steer. They are full featured and tend to be the most expensive. Prices range from $200-$750, except for the Bugaboo Donkey (~$1,300).
* These are the most popular in the doubles world.
D. Double Joggers – Double joggers are for serious runners and have either a permanent fixed front wheel or a high-quality swivel/fixed wheel and large, 16″ air-filled tires in the back. If you’re a serious runner, this is where you want to look. These strollers range from $300-$650.
A. Twin Car Seat Frames – Twin stroller frames are designed to carry two infant car seats at the same time. They are lightweight (as lightweight as possible), compact, easy to fold, and will last for roughly 0-12 months. They run $100-$300. See also: the Complete Twin Stroller Guide
B. Convertible (All-Terrain) Strollers – A convertible stroller is one that can be used “normally” as a single, or, with a 2nd seat added on to make it a double. Even in singles mode, convertible strollers are bulkier and heavier than regular single strollers, but they are very versatile and last a long time. Convertible typically denotes all-terrain as well. They run around $500-$1,000.
C. All-Purpose Tandems – All-purpose tandems have smaller wheels that won’t go over heavy terrain and are generally less expensive. They are typically loaded with convenience features and are best used on smooth surfaces. They run from $160-$300.
D. Sit and Stands – Sit and stand strollers are good for those who have an infant and an older child at least 2.5 years old. Older children often want to hop in and out of the stroller on their own. Your older child can sit or stand in the back with (or without) being buckled in. They run from $130-$400.
Our favorite is the Valco Baby Tri-Mode Double plus Joey seat, which costs about $700-$800.
Please click a category above to explore more. If it’s too much for ya, I suggest our Top 10 Favorite Doubles.
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