- Stroller Weight: 34 lbs
- Weight Limit: 40 lbs per seat (80 lbs combined)
The Contours Options Elite is a tandem double stroller that offers many of the same features as the Baby Jogger City Select (customization, a variety of seating configurations etc… ) but at a lower price tag — here, we like to refer to the Options Elite as the “poor man’s City Select” — HA! We’re always happy to report a bargain, so here is our honest opinion of the stroller (pssst: ours is the only unsponsored Contours Options Elite Review out there!).
This year, the Contours Options Elite comes in Graphite Gray, Carbon Gray and Aruba Teal.
Size & Weight
Being a tandem stroller, the Options is the width of a single stroller, which means it breezes through doorways of any size and navigates through narrow aisles and corners easily. As you know, tandem strollers are longer than side-by-sides and are harder to maneuver, especially as your children get heavier — this one is no exception. But parents generally agree that this stroller is pretty easy to push around, all things considered.
The Options Elite weighs in at a whopping 34 lbs, making it one of the heaviest tandem strollers on the market (it rivals the weight of the necessarily-heavy BOB Revolution Duallie Flex 3.0, which is made of high-strength aluminum alloy, has giant 16” rear wheels, and is designed to hold up to 100 lbs of baby meat… there’s no good reason this stroller needs to weigh this much, but anyway). In the stroller world, the more economical strollers tend to be heavier/bulkier because the engineering just isn’t there.
The Contours Options Elite is not the throw-in-and-take-out-of-the-car stroller, but more the stroller you keep in your garage for neighborhood outings. Seriously, the weight is no joke! Petite women, especially, may have a hard time lifting and handling this stroller.
Car Seat Compatibility
This stroller is compatible with most car seats — hooray! But what I absolutely love about the Options Elite is that it accommodates two infant car seats at the same time – yay! (adapters sold separately.) This is one of the reasons it’s on our list of the best double strollers for twins.
The universal adapter fits the following seats:
- Baby Trend® Inertia and Flex Lock
- Chicco® KeyFit® 30
- Cybex Aton Q & PlatinumTM
- Evenflo® EmbraceTM and LiteMaxTM
- Graco® SnugRide® Classic ConnectTM, Classic ConnectTM 30, and Classic ConnectTM 35
- Maxi-Cosi Mico 30 and Mico Max 30
- Peg Pérego® Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30, and Primo Viaggio 4-35TM
- Safety 1st® onBoardTM 35, onBoardTM 35 AIR, and Comfy Carry Elite
*Brand specific adapters are also available for Graco, Chicco, Maxi-Cosi/Nuna and Britax car seats.
You can also purchase a bassinet accessory (sold separately), which clicks into the stroller (see picture below). The bassinet’s canopy can be removed for increased airflow, and it also includes a boot cover and a machine-washable mattress cover.
Note, however, that the Options Elite doesn’t accept a traditional type of glider board for a third, older child to ride. Rather, you can purchase the Options Elite Sit & Boogie Jumpseat and Platform, which replaces the second seat, and allows an older toddler to either sit facing you, or stand on the ride-on board. The Sit & Boogie is suitable for kiddos from 2.5 years of age to 48 lbs, and works with the Options Elite or Options Tandem Stroller.
The Options Elite stroller features 7 different stadium-style seating configurations (see above), offering the kind of versatility that we absolutely love (note that the City Select offers 16 stadium-style seating configurations, some of which include the use of the bassinet and/or car seats).
Each seat can easily be moved around to face a variety of positions: both can rear or forward face; they can face each other; or both face away. What’s cool is that you can opt to use one seat with a car seat or one seat (for when you have just one child) with nothing in the back to leave ample room for shopping excursions (shown below), something you cannot do with a side-by-side double stroller without looking quite silly.
Turning the seats around is incredibly easy, just as easy as with the City Select. You just press the buttons on either side of the seat and pull the seat out, turn it around, and then snap it back in. Super simple and quick. (This is called Lift-Assist Seat Dismount, a feature added to the Options Elite in 2016).
The seats come with infant head rests and sturdy 5-pt harnesses. They also have mesh pockets for your kids to store their snacks and water bottles. Both seats recline fairly flat in theory, but as a practical matter, they are limited by the amount of leg space taken from the other child. For example, when children are back to back, they can only recline as far back as the other child’s seat back; and when they are reclined in the face-to-face position, one child may wind up with a pair of feet in his face, but this is true for all tandem strollers (laws of physics and all).
Each seat can hold up to 40 lbs (for a total of 80 lbs). Comparatively, the City Select can hold up to 45 lbs per seat (for a total of 90 lbs). Unless your kiddos are on the petite side, don’t expect the Options Elite to get you much past your oldest’s 4th birthday.
The seats also have adjustable foot rests with rubberized material at the bottom — perfect for the dirty soles of your kids’ shoes!
Many of the seating configurations are for “big kid/little kid” situations, but if you’re a twin parent, many of them work well for twins also (especially as they grow older), including the “face-to-face” position and the “eyes on you” (both rear-facing) position. The coveted “double rear facing” position (below) is really hard to find in the stroller world, at least at this price point (note: Baby Jogger City Select and Bugaboo Donkey also offer it).
When both seats are facing each other, the Options Elite does meet Disney Size requirements. Woohoo!
The canopies are not as large as, say, those on a Baby Jogger stroller, but they are VERY nice for strollers in this price echelon. They offer UPF 50+ sun protection, are expandable, and have a mesh panel complete with peek-a-boo windows to spy — ahem, check in — on your kiddos. The peek-a-boo windows have magnetic closures, which is much better than Velcro (nothing worse than waking a sleeping baby while you’re trying to sneak a peek!).
In addition, the canopies are independently operated, which is extremely helpful when one child wants shade and the other wants some sun. They offer great coverage too, though some people say that they tend to slowly slink back up over time.
Note that the handlebar is not adjustable — something to consider if you are very short or very tall.
The linked parking brake on the Options Elite is super easy to use and flip-flop friendly. Just step forward on the brake (like you’re pushing down a lever) to engage it, and step back on the brake to release it.
The storage on this stroller is pretty fab, although the seat configuration will dictate how easy it is to access. Generally, though, access is pretty easy in every mode, except for when the rear seat is rear facing. It also has fabulous side zipper access, which is genius.
The Options Elite comes with a parent cup holder, but most people agree it’s quite small and not very useful. It holds a small beverage can, but even a medium-sized water bottle tips and wobbles. Reviewers agree that the cupholder is not sturdy and falls off easily, which is bad news for all of you (us) latte drinkers.
To remedy this, you can purchase a Contours parent console separately, which includes two bottle holders and zippered storage for your phone, wallet, or other small essentials.
If your kids are snackers, you can purchase child trays so they can enjoy treats on the go.
The wheels on the Options Elite are 8” in the front and 10” in the rear, with shock-absorbing, never-flat tires made of EVA. The rear wheels are also rubber-coated. These wheels are more rugged than you’d expect, and the never-flat tires, well, never get flat or puncture, meaning you’ll never have to scour your garage for the bike pump to re-inflate.
The Options Elite also has quick disconnect wheels for easy assembly and dynamic front and rear suspension. Though it rides pretty well, remember that it is not an all-terrain stroller like its more expensive cousin, the City Select. Nay, this stroller is best for smooth, paved surfaces.
To fold this stroller, simply lift the levers on both sides of the frame and push forward until you hear it lock. Easy peasy. My favorite feature on this stroller is that it folds and auto locks with both seats attached. You don’t have to remove the seats to fold the stroller, as you do with most others (including the City Select). (In order to do so, however, note that both seats must be in forward-facing position.) This makes getting into and out of the car muuuuuuch easier (now if only it were lighter…). Plus, once folded, it self-stands. This helps keep the seats clean by keeping them off the dirty ground. Oddly, the City Select does not stand once folded.
Like all double strollers, it takes up lots of space in your trunk and in your closet when folded. But it isn’t as long as most tandems, so it should fit better than most. If you have a small car, you’ll want to make sure it fits in your trunk before you buy. *The wheels do detach to make it more compact in a pinch (but let’s be honest: detaching and reattaching the wheels every time you go someplace is a huge pain!).
Contours offers a couple other strollers we wanted to let you know about:
You may want to check out the regular ol’ (non-elite version) Contours Options Tandem Stroller.
In many regards, it’s similar to the Options Elite — and even comes with one universal car seat adapter (unlike the Elite version, weird!). However, there are several key differences between these two models.
First, it does not have the same side zipper on the underseat storage basket — a feature that’s exclusive to the Elite model. It also lacks an expandable sunshade; rather, the regular Options has a smaller pop-out sun visor.
In addition, while both strollers have peek-a-boo windows, the base model Options uses Velcro, which is much louder than the Options Elite’s magnetic closures. Next, the regular Options stroller doesn’t have the same mesh seat pockets (for snacks and such). Definitely not a dealbreaker, but in-seat pockets certainly are nice to have.
While the wheels on both strollers are the same size and made of EVA, the Elite’s wheels are rubber-coated for a smoother ride and offer all-wheel suspension (the regular Options only has front-wheel suspension).
Both stroller models have a foot braking system, but the regular Options isn’t as flip-flop friendly as the Elite version. With the regular Options, you step down on the bar to engage the brake, and hook your foot back under the bar and pop it up to release, whereas the Elite model is more of a foot-activated lever.
Lastly, at 38 lbs, the regular Options is 4 lbs heavier than the Elite version (which is 34 lbs). This is because the Options is made of a steel-frame, whereas the Elite is made of aluminum.
Bottom line: if you don’t need all the additional luxury-features that the Elite model has to offer, and you’re not concerned about the heavier weight, for about $130 less, it may be worth looking into the regular Options.
Another (newer) version to consider (and for a much higher price tag):
This version has a unique 6-wheel design, and superior 360-degree turning capability. That means the stroller turns on a dime — seriously, Meg demo’d it at the last baby show and was shocked! You can literally turn it in 360 degrees in place… I only wish the turning radius on my car were this good!
This is significant because tandems are notoriously difficult to steer (especially on hills) and to turn. It also has “curb assist,” which makes popping it up onto a curb super easy (another problem area for tandems). Reviewers say this feature, along with its overall maneuverability, makes pushing this stroller a dream (even with two kids). Like the Contours Options Elite, the “Curve” model also offers multiple seating arrangements and takes two infant car seats (adapters sold separately).
The Contours Curve is Disney Approved when the front seat is facing the parent.
Note that the Curve is much pricier — about the same as the Baby Jogger City Select, though many think the maneuverability is well worth the extra dollars.
Bottom line: The Curve is something to consider if you live in a hilly area, need to pop the stroller up onto curbs with ease (it’s very difficult to do with the non-Curve models!), if you value maneuverability above other features (the ability to move nimbly in tight spaces), and still want to maintain the great seating options the Contours offers.
The vast majority of people who own this stroller love it — like, REALLY love it. We agree it’s a great bargain when compared to competing stroller brands. We also like the simplicity of the stroller, the sleek design, the amazing storage, the better-than-average tires (for an all-purpose stroller), the fact that it accepts two infant car seats simultaneously, and the seating versatility. We don’t love the heavy weight and the inability to take it off-roading. That said, the Contours Options Elite is a highly-functional, economy tandem that fits the bill for many parents of two.