Updated October 2018
Strollers are one of the more vexing items on the list of must-haves. First of all, it’s a big ticket item – and second, there are SO many of them out there. Gah!
For the first six months or so, most parents use an infant car seat in conjunction with a very lightweight, simple stroller frame (translation: wheels for your car seat). However, you can certainly use a full-size stroller as well, provided that it’s a travel system (i.e., a stroller that accepts a car seat) that is compatible with your car seat.
The “stroller frame” concept is ideal for a newborn for so many reasons… it’s inexpensive, lightweight, and compact (tip: buy it used on Craigslist!). After heaving this thing in and out of your trunk 50 times, you will come to understand why being small and lightweight is of the UTMOST importance.
When folded, it takes up very little space. Also, the undercarriage basket is heee-YOOOGE so you can go on a major shopping trip and not have to worry about lugging around your loot.
The universal solution is the Baby Trend Snap N Go, but again, you’re much better off if you can get a stroller frame that goes with your seat because you will have assurance that it will be compatible without having to use straps or modifications.
Brand-Specific Frame Strollers
Graco SnugRide infant seat ~ goes with the Graco SnugRider Elite ($99)
Chicco KeyFit infant seat ~ goes with the Chicco Caddy ($99)
Maxi-Cosi Mico or Cybex Aton(s) ~ goes with the Maxi-Taxi ($129)
Britax seats ~ goes with the B-Mobile ($159)
*For Nuna and UPPAbaby, I really wish they would make a lightweight frame stroller!!
Again, the beauty of these stroller bases is that they are super lightweight, affordable, and easy to collapse and fold. You can also fit TONS of stuff in the under basket, which is key for flying, shopping, etc.
Having twins? Check out our recommended twin stroller frames here.
Full-Size Baby Strollers
The car seat/stroller solution mentioned above is a wonderful *general purpose* item for the first few months and a must-have for air travel, but after 6-9 months or so (when your baby-in-car-seat becomes too heavy to carry around), you’ll want a real stroller that will take you into the toddler/preschool years.
In my opinion, these are the top five criteria when selecting your long-term stroller. See also: Best City Strollers.
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.
What is your budget?
Strollers range from $60 to about $900 for luxury strollers, and some are more (ridiculous!). 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.
So… in addition to the car seat/skeleton combo mentioned up top, here are some other strollers that parents love.
- Baby Jogger City Mini – best lightweight/compact
- Britax B-Lively – best lightweight/compact (lower price than City Mini)
- Baby Jogger City Mini GT – best lightweight/compact all-terrain
- Graco Modes – comes with car seat, great value (though heavy)
- BOB Flex/Pro – favorite full-size all-terrain
- Baby Jogger City Select – best reversible, all-terrain convertible
- UPPAbaby Cruz – favorite lighter-weight, reversible stroller
- Bumbleride Indie – beautiful all-terrain, somewhat compact
- Austlen Entourage – best multi-purpose (travel, convertible) stroller
- UPPAbaby Vista – favorite full-feature, convertible stroller
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