The frame stroller mentioned on the previous page is a wonderful *general purpose* item for the first year (and a must-have for air travel). But later in the first year of life, when your baby-in-car-seat becomes too heavy to carry, you’ll need a real stroller (i.e., medium- or full-size stroller) that can take you into the toddler/preschool years. What’s the best stroller, you ask? It depends on which type you’re after…
Single Strollers – Big Picture
In my opinion, these are the top five criteria when selecting your long-term (aka one-and-done) full-sized stroller. See also: Best City Strollers.
Considerations for Infants and Toddlers
- 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 or a travel stroller.
- What is your budget?
Strollers range from $60 to about $900 for luxury strollers, and some are even more! 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 favorite convertible strollers 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.
Full Size Strollers: the Nitty Gritty
When it comes to medium and full size strollers (non-umbrella), here are our all-time favorites. If you’re a city dweller, please see also: Best City Strollers.
Graco Modes ~ $159
Weight: 23 lbs
“Hey Charlene, what’s a good all-around stroller that doesn’t cost much?”. My answer is the Graco Modes, our top pick for an economy stroller. Learn more: Graco Modes full review
- Modes travel system w/ SnugRide SnugLock 35 ~ MSRP $299
- Modes 3 Lite DLX Travel System w/ SnugRide SnugLock 30 ~ MSRP $279
For more reversible picks, go here.
Our next category of full featured strollers is compact, lightweight — and is (by far) the most popular stroller type.
There’s also a beefier all-terrain version of this stroller body, the Baby Jogger City Mini GT (more about that in the next section).
All three of these strollers weigh in about 19 lbs, which is okay considering the features you get. They all fold with one swift motion and fit in most trunks.
The seat on these 3 strollers only faces forward, which is why they are lightweight (unlike reversible strollers, which tend to be much heavier). They also do not have the huge storage baskets you see on bigger strollers.
The last stroller in the compact, lightweight department is also our urban pick, the 4-wheeled Bugaboo Bee. This is a pricier, luxury stroller that does have a reversible seat, which can fold with the seat facing either direction.
Baby Jogger City Mini 2 ~ $279
Weight: 19.3 lbs
Britax B-Lively ~ $239
Weight: 19 lbs
Product Update: The B-Agile 3 has been discontinued. It has been replaced by the B-Lively.
Bugaboo Bee6 (luxury urban/compact pick) ~ $749
Compact All-Terrain Picks
Strollers that fall in this category check all the boxes of a compact stroller, but with all-terrain capacities. This means, you can take them around town just as much as you can take them out on the trails for a family hike. Here are our faves:
Baby Jogger City Mini GT 2 ~ $359
Weight: 22.5 lbs
*Note that City Mini and the City Mini GT come in a double version as well.
Bumbleride Indie ~ $619
Convertible prams are some of the most popular full-size strollers out there. They’re an especially great fit for parents who know they’ll have more than one child. They’re decked with all the features of a full-size stroller, plus the ability to expend to two seats (and many of them can also attach a stroller board for a third child). Do note that they tend to be on the heavier, bulkier side. Here are our faves:
UPPAbaby Vista V2 ~ $929
Weight: 26.6 lbs
Mid-Weight Luxury Picks
This category features single strollers that serve you well for everyday use. They are usually sleek, modern and boast tons of features and chic, luxury details, all of which explains the higher price point. Our top pick:
UPPAbaby Cruz V2 ~ $649
Weight: 25.5 lbs
All Terrain Strollers
All terrain strollers are the largest of all the strollers. They have large, air filled tires and absolutely have the best maneuverability and easiest push.
Some of them were made specifically (and work well for) running; some do not. Downside: they are the largest and heaviest stroller type.
Thule Urban Glide 2 (jogging pick) ~ $549
Weight: 24.4 lbs
See also: Best Jogging Strollers
Runner Up (jogging pick): BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 ~ $499
Weight: 27.3 lbs
The Revolution also comes in a double version.
*For those who own BOB strollers (or are planning to purchase a used one) manufactured before 9/30/15, please refer to BOB’s education video about how to properly and safely use the front wheel and quick release.
Bugaboo 9Fox (luxury all-terrain pick) ~ $1,299
Weight: 21.8 lbs
Ok, friends, that was the hard part! It gets easier from here. The next thing you’ll need is a comfortable baby carrier for going about your day.