For years now, Bugaboo has been making the SUVs of the stroller world. The Cameleon (discontinued) and the Donkey, for example, are fancy, rugged and built to last; and in the Donkey’s case, it has the ability to grow with your family. I’ve been a loyal Bugaboo fan for 4 years, so I was very excited to finally write this Bugaboo Ant stroller review!
In 2019, the brand branched out and launched its first-ever compact stroller. The Bugaboo Ant is basically the hatchback of strollers: it’s small, lightweight and mighty, seamlessly sneaking through all the tight spots. This shift is a daring one, considering how saturated the travel stroller market already is. We wanted to find out if it can compete with the well-established giants of the compact stroller world, such as the Babyzen Yoyo+ and the UPPABaby Minu.
The Bugaboo Ant has a smart portable design and an ultra-compact fold. Weighing in at 15.8 lbs, it’s the brand’s lightest, most compact design to date. It’s a bit heavier than the UPPAbaby Minu (14.8 lbs) and the Babyzen Yoyo (13 lbs), but slightly lighter than the Compact Colugo stroller (16 lbs).
Once folded, the Bugaboo Ant measures in at just 20.6 x 14.9 x 9.1”, which is small enough to squeeze into an overhead bin on an airplane. WOW. Living in a small Brooklyn apartment, I appreciate how I can seamlessly tuck it away in the back of my entryway closet.
I also love the pull-along trolley mode, which allows me to haul the folded Ant like a suitcase. It’s great for navigating airports (as the brand suggests on its website), but it’s also surprisingly convenient for everyday commutes. I’m able to lift it in and out of buses and roll it through crowded NYC subway stations with soooo much ease (and without breaking my back — yes, 15 lbs can really weigh on your spine in the long run…), all the while having a handle on my kids. I also periodically pull it to daycare to pick up my son (a 10-minute walk)… So much better than having to carry it on my shoulder (ouch!) or getting annoyed at everyone staring at me for pushing an empty stroller on the way to get him (what’s the big deal, people!?)!
Overall, you can tell Bugaboo built the Ant with the commuting, traveling parent in mind. I do wish that it came with a shoulder strap, for the sake of options — but I heard this is in the works for the 2020 version (yay!).
Bugaboo’s folding mechanisms have never been the brand’s strongest suit — and it is no different with this model. Though the fold is compact and self standing (!), there’s a big learning curve to folding the Bugaboo Ant. It’s not that it’s difficult, or that it takes very long… but it takes 6 separate steps, which need to be done in order, fully, for the fold to actually work.
Note: In order for the stroller to fold well, make sure the front wheels are facing out. This is true of the Babyzen’s fold too.
To summarize: the process is… a few steps too many, and folding the Bugaboo Ant with a toddler who’s always ready to take off is no easy feat. That said, now that I’ve gotten the hang of it, it’s a 20-second process max. Even after you’ve mastered it, though, you’ll undeniably need both your hands. (If that’s a dealbreaker for you, think about the UPPAbaby Minu or the Colugo.)
In short: the seat is where the Bugaboo Ant shines. I absolutely love it!
Get this: it’s reversible! This is a rare feature in the compact stroller department. Other than the Cybex Eezy S Twist (which also has a seat that rotates), virtually all travel strollers have fixed forward-facing seats. In this regard, it’s more like the Bugaboo Bee, but 4 pounds lighter and much more compact. See also: Favorite City Strollers
The rotating mechanism is not unlike the folding process: it has some of the same steps (see video above), and it takes some getting used to. But overall, Bugaboo executed this function beautifully; and though I do not have an infant anymore, I freaking love facing Leon (who’s two and a half) when we’re strolling, and it’s something I’ve missed with our other compact stroller. He’s so chatty and funny, and he makes me laugh — we have the best time when we get to interact on our walks.
The Ant’s seat stands out in other ways too: true to Bugaboo’s standards, it has an actual upright position that supports Leon when he needs or wants to sit up straight. This was a game changer for us. We previously used the Babyzen a lot for getting around town, and both my children got very frustrated with its default slight incline.
You have more reclining options when the seat’s in rear-facing mode. It lays back to a nearly flat position, which is great for naps.
In the forward-facing position, however, the seat only has two recline angles: upright and slightly-less-upright. I learned this the hard way when Leon fell asleep facing outward.
The seat can support babies from day one (in the flat incline, in rear-facing mode) — no additional accessory needed — up to 50 lbs. (You can also use it with a number of different car seats, see below.)
For reference, The weight limits are the same for the MINU (50 lbs), slightly less than the Colugo (55 lbs), and lower for the Babyzen (40 lbs).
But… the seat is narrow (not really surprising for a travel stroller). It definitely felt a little snug for my 32-pound, 2-year-old son. I’m not entirely sure it will fit him (comfortably) past his third birthday, but he seems comfy enough in there for now.
The Bugaboo Ant in 2020
The Bugaboo Ant is already due for a 2.0. In direct response to some consumer complaints, Bugaboo announced a couple of structural changes underway for 2020.
As mentioned, the Ant will now come with a carry strap — a nice addition to let parents choose how they’ll tote it around. The stroller’s seat will also come with a footrest. (The brand claims the footrest will not affect the weight of the stroller.)
If you need an extra seat for your oldest child, you can attach the Bugaboo stroller board in the back — no adapter needed. This has been great for my 5 year old, who loves to ride along.
Car seat compatibility
The Ant is compatible with a variety of the upscale “Euro” car seats: the Nuna Pipa Lite/LX, Cybex Aton 2/Q, Clek Liing, and Maxi Cosi infant car seats. You’ll need to purchase a car seat adapter separately. (Note that it is not compatible with the original Nuna Pipa.)
Bugaboo wheels are seriously one of my faves, and the Ant’s are no exception; they’re small but mighty. Integrated into the frame, they have suspension and provide great shock absorption — smooth ride guaranteed.
The Ant is a breeze to steer and to maneuver, even with just one hand. The push is similar to the Cameleon — it practically glides through streets — but it has a smaller footprint and is lighter, so it actually feels easier to push. I’ve made a point to go over potholes (Greenpoint, Brooklyn has many, MANY of them) at my usual speed, and I never got stuck, nor did I tip the stroller over — not only that, my son barely moved or bounced!
I was happily surprised about the underseat basket as well. It can hold up to 17.6 lbs and features two different compartments: a main one that can hold a diaper bag and a rear luggage basket for essentials you want to access easily — think food pouches, diapers, wipes, water bottles, maybe even some of your must-haves, like your purse.
Once I realized I could access the rear compartment (above) even when the stroller is folded (!!), I started to use it daily. That said, note that you cannot access the rear basket as easily if the seat is facing inward, especially if your babe is a tot — his feet and legs will be in the way.
Not much to say here: the Ant has an extendable UPF50+ canopy that covers your little one pretty well whether he is sitting straight or laying down.
The telescopic, adjustable handlebar also is a unique feature in the compact stroller world, setting the Bugaboo Ant apart from other travel prams. The handlebar, which you can use to pull the stroller like a suitcase when it’s folded, retracts and expands to fit small and tall parents alike. It actually has a surprisingly wide adjustment range. Plus, you can rotate the handlebar to adjust the angle. I personally loved this because I feel like I often strain my wrists, and I like changing it up to stay comfortable on longer strolls.
The Bugaboo Ant retails for $499. It seems like a lot, but it’s actually on par with, if not cheaper than, other luxury travel stroller options on the market — especially considering you do not “need” to buy a newborn kit to use it from birth.
The UPPAbaby Minu costs $399, but you have to spend an extra $129 for the newborn kit (so, around $530 total). The same goes for the Babyzen: the Yoyo 6+ (good from the age of 6 month and up) costs $499, and the newborn pack is $229 (so over $700 for a stroller that’s suitable for newborn). The Colugo stroller costs $295, and its newborn kit retails for an additional $95 ($390). In summary, the price is in line with other luxury travel strollers, though you’ll definitely find cheaper mainstream options in our Travel Stroller Guide.
Bugaboo Ant Stroller Review: Bottom Line
Bugaboo made waves in 2019 with the launch of its first-ever travel stroller. The promise? A smart and compact stroller for the parent on the move. I think the brand delivered. I wish the fold were more seamless, but it’s not a dealbreaker for me. In fact, I think the stroller is packed with other unique features that make it well worth the investment: it’s very compact and light, but has the wheels and maneuverability of a full-sized stroller; it has a unique suitcase-like pull that makes it super portable and easy to lug around; it has a reversible seat with a true upright position and is suitable from day 1 to 50 lbs (without having to purchase any additional accessories); and has decent storage. Yes, the seat is on the tighter side, but if portability and chatty walks are what you’re after, the Bugaboo Ant could be a great option for you.