There has been so much buzz about this stroller, they can’t seem to keep it in stock! We wanted to know if it was really all that, so we picked one up and gave it a whirl.
Yes, a lightweight, side-by-side stroller for $329 (even less if you can get the XL2 Deluxe, $179) is every parent’s dream.
While the Zoe brand is new to the stroller scene, the founders are not. They’re a small, family business who’ve combined their fashion design expertise along with their baby product experience, and set out to make an affordable, double stroller that parents of twins would love.
One of the best things about this company is that they allow you to test the stroller inside your home, and return it if you aren’t satisfied…care for a stroll in the family room, darling?…
After putting this stroller to the test, I’m happy to report that it’s great for convenience and travel, however there are some caveats [keep reading…]. While it’s not as sturdy as its heavier, pricier counterparts, I’d still opt for this stroller in my trunk most days of the week.
Size & Weight
Stroller companies know parents crave a lightweight double stroller. This stroller is the lightest general purpose side-by-side on the market. At 17 lbs, it will comply with all airline gate-check weight limits (yes, even on American Airlines, pssh).
For comparison sake, most double strollers are in the 25-35 lb range; similar strollers include the Graco FastAction Fold Duo (36 lbs – yikes) and the Joovy Scooter X2 (32 lbs) — both are double (or more) the weight. The Zoe XL2 Best V2 is even lighter than most umbrella strollers, like the UPPAbaby G-Link (24.5lbs), though technically it is not an umbrella due to the fold.
At only 29 inches wide, it fits through most standard ADA doorways (though the parent cup holder may pose an obstacle).
Folding & Carrying
When folded, the stroller is extremely compact. Some of you will likely relate to my limited trunk space, so you’ll be happy to know that it can squeeze into the trunk of my Mazda 5… even with the third row seats up!
The quick fold is modeled after Baby Jogger; simply pull up the straps on each seat et voila!! If you have the seat inserts in, you do have to dig under those for the straps. Once folded, the stroller locks itself; it will also stand on its own if the front wheels are facing the correct direction.
It’s also relatively easy to schlep up stairs, making it an ideal pick for urbanites whose comings and goings require a stair climb.
For a lightweight stroller, the storage basket is surprisingly large. Unlike most doubles, this stroller has one BIG storage basket (instead of two smaller ones) with an elastic entry. Depending on how *stuffed* my diaper bag is, it fits along with couple of other bags below.
If the storage basket is full, your diaper bag can hang over the handlebars without fear of the stroller tipping backward.
With a recessed rear axle and tall(ish) handlebars, tall parents with a long stride won’t be kicking the back of the stroller, like we do on most. Conversely, if you are petite (under 5’4″), you may find the stroller a bit too tall for you.
It comes with a detachable belly bar, two kid cup holders, a parent cup holder and one kid snack holder. We tried out both, my fave are the cup holders and snack cup. These are perfect for when we are out; the twins each have their own sippy and I can pour some snacks in the middle for them to munch on! Note that they do fall off when folded if you aren’t careful putting the stroller in the trunk.
Seats & Canopies
The canopy has a hidden zipper which holds an additional panel that covers down to the belly bar. No one else has four-panel coverage on a side-by-side. And we parents love coverage, oh yes we do!
Each canopy is independent and has a peek-a-boo window with magnetic closures and a handy dandy pocket for quick access (phone, keys, sunglasses, bottles…).
You can tell the canopies and seats are constructed of high(er) quality fabric, giving you a taste of luxe while remaining on a budget. You can also select from a variety of colors to customize your kiddo’s ride.
Each seat has a maximum weight limit of 50 lbs, which is super generous for a travel stroller (can we imagine for a moment pushing around 100 lbs of kids and all the additional baggage? Me thinks not). The high weight limit makes it great for traveling with older kids on a late night flight, for example.
The seats recline 165 degrees (180 being flat), so still not fully flat; thus, it’s not appropriate for the newborn crowd. Babies will at least need head and neck control (approx. 6 months) to use this stroller.
What this stroller is not –
Let me be very clear: it is not made for all-terrain use. To make the stroller lightweight, they had to sacrifice the wheels, so it’s really at its best when pushed along flat surfaces, like the floor at the mall or airport. The newer version, the XL2 Best V2, has 50% larger wheels than the previous model, which will make steering and going over big bumps on the sidewalk, a little easier, but not ideal. Be advised of this, especially if you’ve been spoiled by using an all-terrain stroller in the past.
Yes, pushing the XL2 on flat surfaces is easy. The front wheels have suspension and the option to lock or swivel depending on what surface you’re strollin’ on. The wheels have a lifetime guarantee; if they break Zoe will replace them at no cost.
Bottom Line: We now understand what all the buzz is about! They clearly nailed some big requirements with this stroller: lightweight and small footprint, generous canopies, decent storage, a chic design and great accessories. And price! The price makes it a great value.
It has many of the luxuries of a higher-priced stroller for less than $350. It’s not going to feel as sturdy or ride as well as a heavier duty stroller, but this is the trade-off you make for the lightweight. Thus, I wouldn’t use it for regular treks across grass or other places with rough terrain, but it’s great for keeping in the car for errands and a top pick for airline travel. Perfect also for parents of twins (older than 6 months).
Note that you can still purchase the previous model, the XL2 Deluxe until supplies run out.