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 less than $265 (even less if you get the Best vs. the Deluxe) 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 the Zoe XL2 Deluxe 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 16 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 Scotter X2 (32 lbs) — both are double (or more) the weight. The Zoe XL2 Deluxe 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.
It’s also relatively easy to schlep up stairs, making it an ideal pick for urbanites whose comings and goings require a stair climb. At only 29 inches wide, it fits through most standard ADA doorways (though the parent cup holder may pose an obstacle).
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.
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!
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. 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.
Seats & Canopies
The XL2 currently has two models: the Xl2 Best & the XL2 Deluxe. The Deluxe’s canopy has a hidden zipper which holds an additional panel that covers down to the belly bar, meaning the Deluxe boasts four panels to the Best‘s three. The three panels are comparable to the UPPABaby G-Link — no one else has four-panel coverage on a side by side. And we parents love coverage, oh yes we do! *The Best is being discontinued soon, FYI…
For all the differences watch this video here and keep in mind you can always upgrade your canopy.
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 (as long as they are in stock) 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 Deluxe version comes with an additional seat pad giving your bubs some extra padding; or as I look at it, a stain and pee barrier (thumbs up). On the downside, the seat pads do slide around, making it difficult to find the straps that slide underneath. This can easily be remedied by removing them.
The seats recline a little bit, but definitely nowhere near flat; thus, it’s not appropriate for the newborn crowd. Babies will at least need head & neck control (approx. 6 months) to use this stroller. It’s not the best for napping kids, though napping is still doable.
The Deluxe version comes with a belly bar, two kid cup holders and one 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.
Folds, Wheels & Locks
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.
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. You may even have some difficulty steering and going over big bumps on the sidewalk, especially if your kids are heavier. 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.
You can even get really fancy and get some wheel caps to trick out your ride. The back lock bar is very easy to use, even in sandals.
Bottom Line: We now understand what all the buzz is about! They clearly nailed some big requirements with this stroller: a light weight 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 $250. You can customize it with different colors, different size canopies, wheel caps, belly bar or the cup/snack holders. 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 light weight. 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).