Hi all! I’ve been wanting to write a Britax B-Lively review ever since it debuted last year. Here we are!
The B-Lively replaced one of Britax’s bestselling strollers, the B-Agile. Like its predecessor, the B-Lively is proving to be an all-over winner in the category of “three-wheeled compact, yet full-featured” strollers. “Lightweight” would normally be implied here as well, though its lightweight status (20 lbs) is somewhat questionable (yes, 2 to 3 additional pounds really does matter!).
First, a brief history…
The B-Agile, was exactly that: an agile, easy to fold compact 3-wheeled stroller that rode and steered quite well and offered an exceptional value. Debuting in 2011, it was a near exact replica of the Baby Jogger City Mini, one of the most popular and beloved strollers of all time — still to this day. Note that the 2019 version of the City Mini just came out, which happened while we were writing this Britax B-Lively review.
This is Britax’s MO: copy another successful stroller, pair it with a high-quality infant car seat, and undercut the competition (in this case, Baby Jogger). If you don’t believe me, check out the 2019 BOB and compare it to the Thule Glide (ummmm….). But because you (the consumer) are the beneficiary of these shenanigans, I’m (somewhat) okay with it.
Bottom line, a quality compact stroller paired with a high quality infant car seat for $399 is a pretty damn good deal in anyone’s book.
Car Seat Compatibility
The first thing you should know is that this stroller is only compatible with one brand of infant car seat: theirs. You see, most stroller brands offer adapters that are compatible with car seats from other brands. The City Mini, for example, pairs nicely with a multitude of infant car seats, though you’ll have to pay $30 extra for an adapter. Britax includes the “Click & Go adapters” with the B-Lively, which is a nice touch.
The good news is that Britax makes high-quality infant seats (and all car seats, for that matter — it’s really their strong suit). So if you’re ready to commit to their brand, there’s really nothing to worry about. In summary: unless you’re past the car seat days, investing in this stroller means you’re committing to their car seat as well. If you already own another brand’s car seat, this stroller is probably not for you.
All in all, the B-Lively stroller offers a simple yet full-featured stroller that’s easy to steer, fold and transport. Though the “build quality” isn’t quite up to the level of the Baby Jogger City Mini, the B-Lively has better access to storage than the City Mini; when packaged with a quality infant seat — for many, this tips the scale in their favor.
Suitable for newborns up to 55 lbs, the B-Lively seat has a full recline and generous legroom and headspace, which is great for taller/older children. The 5-point harness system easily adjusts as your child grows, but a few reviewers noted the lack of crotch pad, which would make for a more comfortable ride.
Yes, the B-Lively has better under-basket storage and, more importantly, access to it. Access is available from 360 degrees, through the side, front and rear. The City Mini, on the other hand, has a curved metal bar that impedes access to the storage basket from the rear.
There’s even a “secret compartment” (below) in the front by your kid’s legs. This is extra nice when your kiddo is taking a nap with the seat fully reclined and you can’t get access to your bag from the back.
Neither of these strollers comes with a cup holder or snack tray, though you can buy them separately. The B-Lively comes with a zippered, built-in organizer (below) that has plenty of room for your keys, cell phone, tissues, and two closed bottles (the B-Agile didn’t have this). However, it is not for a hot coffee or any other cup that you can’t securely close. For that, you’ll need to buy the real cup holder, though you’ll be better off with the Britax stroller organizer, which is worth every penny (owned it, loved it).
Another ding is that the B-Lively is 2 lbs heavier than the B-Agile (and heavier than the City Mini, which weighs 18 lbs). That said, it does (barely) meet all airline gate-check requirements, including American Airlines. See also: Best Travel Strollers
Aside from the storage basket, the fold is the stroller’s most talked-about feature.
The one-handed, compact fold is intuitive and easy, and it’s especially convenient for those using public transportation, though not as compact as something like the Yoyo+ or Minu (see also: Best City Strollers). Many note that it fits nicely in their city apartment; it doesn’t have a “self-stand”, though it can be coaxed into it.
Brake, Canopy and Handlebar
The linked parking brake, which is flip-flop friendly, allows you to lock both rear wheels with just one single step. We also love the large, ventilated UV 50+ canopy, which is perfect for long walks in the sun; and a reviewer who was caught in the rain with the stroller noted that it is also waterproof.
When used with the infant seat, the stroller canopy complements the car seat canopy perfectly to give you full coverage (with ventilation!).
Like other strollers of its ilk, the handlebar does not adjust, so it’s not ideal for the very tall or very short. Those people will be better off spending a little more money for a luxury stroller that has an adjustable handlebar.
The Britax B-Lively and Baby Jogger City Mini both have a double front wheel, making it a breeze to steer and make tight turns. Like the City Mini, the B-Lively also boasts all-wheel suspension, but I have to say — the wheels are my least favorite part about this stroller. They feel rather plasticky; many users agree.
Though it has all-wheel suspension, the rigid wheels won’t give you a very good ride over anything other than paved surfaces. But remember it’s all relative: if you’re switching from an umbrella stroller, you’ll be pleasantly surprised; if you’re used to a sporty stroller with bigger tires, you’ll be disappointed with the ride. Just remember: the B-Lively is marketed as a compact stroller, not an all-terrain one, so keep that in mind. If you’re looking for something with a better ride, check out the Britax B-Free, which is analogous to the City Mini GT; both are what I would consider “compact, lightweight all-terrain”.
Like its competitor, the Baby Jogger City Mini, the Britax B-Lively is a quality compact workhorse stroller that’s great for everyday use on paved surfaces. It has a nice, zippered pocket for your personal items and better access to storage than the City Mini, though the wheels are not our favorite. It’s only compatible with Britax car seats (which we generally love), though bundling them together makes for an affordable, high-quality package that won’t disappoint.
Enjoy! ~ Meg