February 23rd, 2017
Is baby getting too heavy to carry around in his car seat? Probably. This guide will help you find the best umbrella stroller in each price category so you can simplify your life.
After many months of using a heavy, full-featured stroller, many moms are ready to ditch it for a lightweight umbrella stroller that can easily be thrown over the shoulder and tossed in the trunk.
Yes, being able to easily carry a stroller is key in places like Europe and other big cities where elevators aren’t always an option. They’re also essential for airline travel. See also: Travel Gear Guide
An umbrella stroller is called so because it folds up into a lightweight, stick-like thing that resembles a large golf umbrella (see below). Note that there are some other really cool lightweight travel strollers out there, like the Zoe XL1 Deluxe, that have a traditional square fold but are great for travel nonetheless.
Some basics: Umbrella strollers are generally cheaper than full-featured strollers — just remember you are trading features for size and weight. The handles on an umbrella stroller are independent, so you’ll always have to use two hands to steer it. And please don’t plan on taking it jogging or to the beach (in fact, I laugh when I read reviews that say, “This stroller isn’t very good on hiking trails.” No sh!t?). Don’t expect a huge storage basket or a fancy parent tray… you get the picture.
Remember, people, when comparing umbrella strollers — every pound/kilo counts!! There’s a huge difference between an 8 lb and a 15 lb umbrella stroller. Anything above 15 lbs is a disgrace — Chicco (Liteway, my ass) and Graco, I’m looking at you.
Best Umbrella Strollers
$ – Best Umbrella Stroller: Economy
1. Summer Infant 3D Lite ~ $79, 14 lbs – Economy Pick
The Summer Infant 3D Lite gives you some pretty good bang for your buck. The anti-shock front wheels are more robust than on similar strollers and work well on light terrain like cobblestone and dirt (don’t use on gravel or rough terrain). It has a large storage basket (for an umbrella, at least) and a cup holder (w00t!) because going without coffee is not an option, people.
For your napping kiddo, the seat has four recline positions, a canopy and a pop-out visor; though like many umbrellas, the canopy/visor doesn’t provide the greatest coverage. One of the best features of this stroller is the one-handed fold — perfect for when your hands are full of… child.
Bottom line: the 3D Lite is a solid economy umbrella stroller that’s easy to fold and carry, has 4 recline positions, a cupholder and a larger-than-most storage basket. Build-wise, it feels a bit cheap, especially compared to more expensive models on this list, it’s one of the heavier ones of the bunch (the true weight) and the sun canopy leaves something to be desired. But hey it’s $79, so if the airline loses it, you won’t cry too many tears.
See also: Chicco Echo ~ $88
~ a good economy option with better build quality, but the weight, my god! 17+ lbs really defeats the whole purpose of having an umbrella stroller. Seriously, it’s offensive. And they don’t list the weight anywhere — and when you ask the company, they’re all, “Oh, the weight!? Ohhhh, I don’t know. Let me see if I can find someone who knowwws”. No, sorry. It’s not working for me.
$$ – Best Umbrella Strollers: Super Lightweight, Non-Reclining
1. UPPAbaby G-Lite ~ $159- $179, 10.7 lbs
At 10.7 lbs (its TRUE weight, ahem), the G-Lite is a very popular lightweight, full-size umbrella stroller.
It’s the MacBook Air of umbrella strollers: beautifully designed, stands when folded, easy to collapse, and has a superb sunshade (an inner shade that pulls down in addition to the regular shade). Yes, the UV-rated sunshades on all UPPABaby strollers are the cat’s pajamas. It also comes with a high quality cup holder (it’s the little things that count, yes?). Note that this stroller does not recline (otherwise it would weigh more, ya know?).
The G-Lite includes a mesh sling seat for better breathability and removable fabric for easy cleaning. Yes, UPPABaby umbrella strollers are pricier than most others, but the build quality is excellent. If you’re looking for a lightweight, heavy-use umbrella for a non-napping child — especially if keeping the sun off is a high priority — look no further.
2. Maclaren Mark II ~ $160, 7.4 lbs – Editor’s Choice (featherweight)
Maclaren – the original inventor of the umbrella stroller concept – released an incredibly innovative, lightweight stroller, the Mark II.
7.4 lbs ??? Yeaah. You heard me (and we thought 11 lbs was light)!
At 7.4 lbs, it’s truly a featherweight dream. And it’s not even stripped down! Nay, the lightest umbrella on the market still has some awesome features, including ergonomic, anti-microbial handles, a large-ish sunshade (for an umbrella, at least — though not as big as UPPAbaby’s sunshades), a peekaboo window, a linked braking system, a large-ish basket, and a rain cover. You get the easy, one-handed fold that Maclaren is known for and (wait for it…) four-wheel suspension. Again, that one-handed Maclaren fold is superior to UPPABaby (I’m making this so hard for you, no? I hate it when I do that).
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an all-terrain stroller and the wheels are quite small, but to have suspension on an umbrella stroller at all is unheard of. 7.4 lbs. That is all.
Again, this stroller does not recline, but if you’re past the napping stage and the tiny wheels are good enough for the terrain you’ll be rolling over, the Mark II is a great bet. This is the stroller I would choose if weight is your top priority.
$$ – $$$ – Best Umbrella Strollers: Lightweight, Reclining
1. Inglesina Net ~ $149, 11 lbs
Speaking of strollers that excite me, let’s discuss the Inglesina Net (replacing the Inglesina Swift).
In the same class as the G-Luxe and Joovy Groove Ultralight, the Inglesina Net delivers similar features and — is a bargain compared to the G-Luxe ($130 less, day-umm). And who doesn’t love the Italian design?
The Net delivers a smooth ride, has two recline positions, and is the lighter, hipper (hipper?) of the two Inglesina strollers at 11.2 lbs. It has a removable/washable seat pad and comes with a shoulder strap, cupholder and storage pocket. The canopy is nice, but not as large as UPPABaby’s. Everyone agrees this stroller is stable, sturdy and well-made.
This stroller is a happy medium for many vis a vis price and features.
** For about $199, also check out the Inglesina Trip. At 15.4 lbs, it includes a cup holder, a rain cover and a peekaboo window. The Trip also has a lower recline position, so it can be used for newborns. Overall, a VERY highly-rated umbrella stroller.
2. Joovy “new” Groove Ultralight ~ $189, 15 lbs
Weighing in at 15 lbs (meh), the newest version of the Ultralight (2017) offers a very comparable stroller for roughly $100 less than the G-Luxe. The 2017 version lies flat, so it can be used from birth. It’s great for tall parents, both in handle height and for stride length, as reported by someone who is 6’4″. Like the Ingelsina and UPPABaby, this stroller is very sturdy and well built.
What we love about this stroller:
- the oversized UV sun canopy (like UPPA)
- a cup holder AND a parent organizer on the back (UPPA has just a cup holder)
- inside mesh pockets
- near-flat recline and newborn “boot”
- easy, one-handed Maclaren-like fold + carry strap
- peekaboo window (very unique!)
Bottom line: This is a great stroller if features are more important than weight, especially if you’re using it with a young infant, and extra especially if you or your partner is tall.
3. Maclaren Triumph ~ $225, 12 lbs
Back to Maclaren….. the inventors of the umbrella stroller, the Triumph is a tried and true friend. This is a tough category because there are so many great contenders, but don’t overlook the Triumph in your search.
Weighing in at 12 lbs (it’s true weight, not the weight of it stripped down with no canopy or basket) the Triumph has many of the same features as its competition: a continual recline (almost flat), a decent storage basket (though remember it’s an umbrella, so they’re all quite small), and a nice buckle and seat. It has a carry strap and comes standard with a rain cover, which is great for your stormy summers and wet winters.
Again, the canopies on Maclarens are not as good as UPPABabys or even Joovys, but Maclaren’s folding mechanism and build quality are superb. There’s nothing in particular that stands out about it, but it’s a solid choice nonetheless.
4. UPPAbaby G-Luxe ~ $279, 15 lbs
Weighing in at 15 lbs, the G-Luxe is perhaps the most popular full-featured umbrella stroller.
The updated model has a single brake (instead of two individual ones) and a more robust frame. Oh yeah, and the price went up. Again. Now it’s about the same price as the City Mini/B-Agile strollers, so… hmmm. Is UPPAbaby getting too big for their britches? Maybe. Compared to the new competition, this stroller is getting to be a tougher sell. 15 lbs and $279 doesn’t really make anyone jump for joy.
This stroller stands up on its own, reclines almost flat, has a cup holder, and the superior sunshade that UPPA is known for. Yeah, I mean, it’s a great stroller! Nobody’s saying it isn’t. In fact, I have used my 2011 G-Luxe for years now and it still holds up.
At the end of the day, the G-Luxe is a wonderful umbrella stroller for everyday/heavy use. It looks great and steers very well for an umbrella, plus it stands on its own. It’s also a good pick for tall parents. However, I don’t love the fold (requires 2 hands) — or the price, for that matter. Thus, if you’re looking for something for more infrequent use, you might be better off with the Joovy Groove or the Ingelsina Net.
$$$$ – Best Umbrella Strollers: Big Pimpin’
1. Cosatto Supa ~ $329, 24.5 lbs
With beauty and brains, the new (to the States, at least…) Cosatto line is turning heads. The Supa is really a fashion statement. Yes, a very, very heavy fashion statement (24.5 lbs). Seriously, the weight is outrageous, but anything for fashion, non???!!! (laughing). And entertainment!! This guy has an MP3 attachment and speakers on the hood so you can jam all the way to the park. But really? my favorite feature is the adorable matching “kangaroo pouch” and the reversible zip-off fleece liner. It also includes chest pads, a head hugger, and a rain cover. Yes, this one’s good for your colder/wetter climates.
The seat has a one-handed adjustable seat with 4 recline positions. Check out our quick review of these strollers here.
This is the stroller for you if you don’t mind the weight and want something that’s super adorable and unique.
2. Maclaren Techno XT ~ $369, 16 lbs
The Maclaren Techno is truly in a class of its own. At 16 lbs, you get the convenience of an umbrella stroller with the features of a luxury stroller (well, kinda). This is for the parent who needs a solid, everyday stroller with lots of features, but doesn’t have much space to store it — either in their car or at home (or both).
The Techno has shock-absorbing suspension, which makes it glide like butter (you know, for an umbrella stroller and all…). For tall people, it has height-adjustable handles — it’s the only one in this group that does. With an extendable canopy (with a flip-out UV visor), a rain cover, a peekaboo panel in the rear, and storage pockets… all your bases are covered.
The Techno also reclines nearly flat, so it can truly be used from birth. It comes with a lifetime guarantee. (Maclaren USA kinda went bankrupt a few years ago, but they’re back, baby!).
If you’re looking for a small, compact, easy to lift-and-carry stroller with luxury features, this is your dogg. Also great for your worldly travels, especially when navigating tight spaces and tiny trunks (“boots”!) in Europe.
** For a smaller version of this stroller with slightly fewer features, check out the almost-as-luxurious Maclaren Quest for $210 on Amazon.
You’re probably also looking for a convertible car seat too, right? Come hither, my pretty –>> Top 5 Convertible Car Seats
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