Oct. 28, 2013 at 8:26 PM ET
There are many things no one tells you about before you have a baby. When it comes to strollers, it's this: You'll probably own two. You'll have your regular full-size infant stroller—and then you'll have a lightweight "umbrella" stroller. (It's called that because it folds compactly.) This is the stroller you'll throw in the trunk, carry with you on the subway or check at the gate before boarding a plane. To help you find the one that's right for you, we put the best-rated umbrella strollers to the test—each model has been reviewed by an expert and road-tested by parents. Here are the best umbrella strollers out there so you can find one that fits your needs.
Peg Perego Pliko Mini
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 45 lbs.
Stroller Weight: 13 lbs.
Dimensions: Assembled: 19.25" x 40.2" x 33.3" Folded: 37.5" x 13.5" x 13"
Get it Now:Right Start
Expert Review: Weighing in at only 13 lbs, the Pliko Mini isn't light on features. The handles can extend up to 1.5" longer -- a feature rarely offered in umbrella strollers. The canopy provides excellent coverage and a mesh peekaboo window that lets you see your baby and improves airflow. The 3-position recline including a close-to-flat position for letting kids nap in comfort. There is also an adjustable leg rest to provide support for little babies and a 12" drop from the seat to the plastic footrest bar giving older tots the legroom they need. Maneuvering is easy though can be a bit noisy with the 4-double wheels. The two-step fold is simple, can be done one-handed and leaves the stroller standing upright or carryable with its side carry handle. One-touch brakes on each back wheel provide a secure stop, but are also easy to flip with a sandal. The basket provides moderate storage and while access is a bit limited from the back due to the position of a crossbeam, it does have decent side access as well. The Pliko Mini also comes with a parent cup holder.
What We Love: easy, 3-position recline; extendable handlebar; included parent cup holder; large canopy with peekaboo window; one-handed fold; ability to stand upright when folded
What We Wish It Had: foam handles; more seat padding; machine washable fabric; sturdier side carry handle
Great For: traveling; errands; sidewalks, streets, store aisles; public transportation
Bottom Line: At $250, the Pliko Mini is a pricey umbrella stroller. But it also offers a lot more than those that are less expensive. For the price, you are getting a fashionable and durable stroller with a deep recline, large canopy, adjustable handlebars, cup holder and an easy, one-handed fold.
"I love the striped pattern! It's modern, bright and unisex, which is helpful because I have two girls and two boys, so I'm always looking for gender neutral products."
"I liked that the seat reclined to three different angles, offering both upright and nearly horizontal positions. My two-year-old son was able to comfortably nap in the Pliko Mini while running errands."
"The x-shape of the stroller makes accessing the basket storage a little awkward, but, that said, the space can hold several smaller items—just nothing larger."
"The built in cup holder is appreciated, it’s nice that you don't have to purchase that as an add-on. Though I do wish there was built-in storage for keys or cell phone."
"The Pliko Mini has the biggest canopy I've ever seen. Even if the sun was directly on my son's face, I just reclined the seat to the second position and it was gone—that's a huge plus for me."
"I like how high the seat is. My youngest son is tall for his age and he has a tendency to drag his feet on the ground. But with the seat height of the Pliko Mini, he wasn't able to do this."
"Because the stroller can be folded with one hand and only weighs 11 pounds, it makes this stroller ideal for running errands, city living, traveling or public transportation."
"Pushing the Pliko Mini is a breeze, it can be done one-handed, and thanks to the narrow size, it’s easy to maneuver through doorways, store aisles, etc. The tires are a bit noisy, but I was able to easily push over gravel and old, bumpy cement sidewalks."
—Kelly and her 2-year-old from Chatham, NJ
Weight Capacity: 3 months up to 55 lbs.
Stroller Weight: 13 lbs.
Dimensions: Assembled: 43" x 30" x 19" Folded: 41" x 10" 12"
Get it Now:Inglesina
Expert Review: Available in four rich, gem tones, we fell in love with the lightweight Inglesina Swift right out of the box—it comes fully assembled! The seat back is nicely padded and offers four positions of recline, from very upright to a deep recline. The Swift's canopy is the highlight here. Larger than most, sturdy when locked open plus an effective fold-out extension for added coverage make it one of our favorites. Storage options include a zippered pocket on the back of the canopy and a medium-sized underseat basket with uninhibited access from the back when the seat is upright—even for a lightweight bag of groceries. Tight turns are no problem for the Swift, and it handles best on smooth sidewalks, city streets and store aisles. The traditional two-step umbrella fold is fast, simple and can be done one-handed. It has an auto-frame lock, but sometimes the frame needs an extra push to engage it. We also wish it held the frame a little more tightly closed so it was more compact when carrying it by the side handle.
What We Love: canopy coverage with fold-out extension; 4-position seat recline; underseat basket access; maneuvering; quick and easy fold; no assembly needed
What We Wish It Had: optional accessories like a cup holder; tighter hold on auto-frame lock; harness pads
Great For: smooth sidewalks, city streets and store aisles; sunny outings; errands; shopping
Bottom Line: An excellent canopy on the Inglesina Swift pairs well with its comfortable seat, versatile recline and easy-access underseat basket.
"The seat reclines, although not all the way back. It was definitely sufficient for a rest and since the sun canopy is fairly long, I could easily put my daughter in for a rest, put the sun canopy down and it was relaxing for her. The back was easy to adjust, but it does require two hands."
"The storage basket is a decent size -- definitely bigger than my other umbrella stroller and is a bit more accessible since the whole stroller seems to be a bit higher than others I’ve used. You can fit a small bag, definitely some sand toys for the park or a purse or grocery bag."
"I liked the zippered pocket attached to the back of the seat to hold my keys and phone. It kept them out of sight, protected and freed up my hands. I do wish it had a cup holder though."
"The stroller requires two hands to push -- if you push with one, it veers off to that side. But it is very small and lightweight so it makes tight turns with ease."
"I tried the stroller on grass, bumpy and smooth sidewalks, and the street. It wasn't great on the grass as expected, but performed perfectly on the smooth sidewalk."
"The Swift is easy to fit in your trunk. It folds down quickly and easily, locks when it's folded and is super lightweight to pick up."
-- Sherrill and her 2-year-old and 4-year old from Newton, MA
Weight Range: Up to 50 lbs
Stroller Weight: 11 lbs
Dimensions: Assembled: 36”L X 15”W x 42.5”H Folded: 40”L X 12”W X 14” H
Type: SinglePrice: $189
Get it Now: Wayfair Expert Review: At 11 lbs., the UPPAbaby G-LUXE is the lightest stroller currently on the market that offers a deep seat recline. While the seat doesn't recline completely flat, it does go back to about 120° making is suitable for infants 3 months and older. The seat recline along with the adjustable footrest are the central differences that separates the G-LUXE from UPPA's G-LiTE. All of the other features are nearly the same -- a comfortable, removable, well-padded seat liner in four StainGuard fabrics, a large canopy with the additional pop-out extension and UV-50 protection and a medium-sized underseat storage basket. The G-LUXE has slightly bigger wheels than the G-LiTE (5.5" vs 4.5"), but offers the same all-wheel suspension, easy maneuvering and smooth steering. The G-LUXE folds down easily and compactly (though two hands are required), stands when folded and can be carried up stairs, onto buses or into tight subway cars with the shoulder carry strap. Plus you can do all that while staying hydrated/caffeinated with the included cup holder.
What We Love: comfortable seat; great sun coverage; suitable for babies from 3 months +; excellent maneuvering; included cup holder; deep seat recline
What we wish it had: peekaboo window; more color options
Great for: compact storing; napping kids; sidewalks and store aisles; sun protection; all-day outings; errands; light shopping
Bottom line: With an impressive length of use (3 months up to 50 lbs), the UPPAbaby G-LUXE maintains its lightweight frame while providing comforts for baby and parent.
What our parent tester thought:
"It looks modern and fairly minimalist without drawing attention to itself."
"This stroller turns on a dime. It's really smooth in terms of pivoting in tight spaces. Compared to our other two strollers it is far superior in this respect -- a must when negotiating narrow city grocery store aisles."
"The storage basket is high-quality but, in my opinion, too small. Once you get your diaper bag in there you only have room for a few grocery items or toys."
"The stroller was easy to handle. Just be careful not to hang too many bags off the handles or it gets tippy, especially when the baby is not in seat."
-- Collin, dad to a 7 month old baby girl
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 55 lbs.Stroller Weight: 10.6 lbs (without hood or shopping basket)Dimensions: Assembled: 40.5" x 31.5" x 18.5"; Folded: 4.1" x 9"Price: $160Get it Now: Pish Posh Baby
Expert Review: The latest addition to Maclaren's collection of lightweight strollers is the Globetrotter. Lightweight, sleek and maneuverable, the Globetrotter's best feature is its expansive canopy. The unique rectangle shape provides 19.5" of sun coverage -- we just wish there was a peekaboo window so we could check in on our shaded tot. The seat back is only 17" tall which is on the shorter side for umbrella strollers, and it offers odd support -- the center of the seat back has a sturdy support piece, but the sides are just fabric, making the support for the seat floppy and uneven. The seat has a multi-position recline that doesn't offer a very upright or a very reclined position. The underseat basket is nice and deep, but only accessible from the sides. Turning is not problem with the 4" wheels, but sidewalk bumps and cracks can be. The Globetrotter does fold up easily and compactly and can be carried with the shoulder strap.
What We Love: large canopy; lightweight frame; mesh sides; easy fold; automatic frame lock; padded handles
What We Wish It Had: larger tires; better basket access; easier seat recline; included cup holder
Great For: quick errands; traveling; subways, buses, taxis; providing excellent sun protection
Bottom Line: If a recline is important to you, it will be worth the extra $30 to upgrade from the Maclaren Volo to the Globetrotter to help your tot snooze.
"It's very sleek and simple. My neighborhood is jam-packed with strollers, so the narrow seat and the simplicity of the features makes it easy to get out and about."
"The seat reclines which is great if my son wants to take a nap. However, I wish it could be adjusted to sit up straighter. The highest it goes is still a slightly reclined position."
"For a stroller this narrow, the basket holds quite a bit. I can put one to two full grocery bags in there and hang a few off the handles."
"It's SO easy to open and close, and the strap on the back is a lifesaver. I can throw the stroller over my shoulder and hold my son's hand when we have to get out and walk up or down the subway stairs."
"It performed best on sidewalks. It's definitely not the 'off-road' type of stroller, but it didn't freeze up on the grass. It survived the crazy Brooklyn sidewalks just fine!"
-- Jessica and her 23-month-old from Brooklyn, NY
BEST TO USE FROM BIRTH
Weight Capacity: infant up to 40 lbs.Stroller Weight: 17 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 47" x 21" x 33.5" Folded: 45" x 12"Price: $140Get it Now: Babies R Us
Expert Review: The new Chicco Liteway is a full-sized stroller in a lightweight frame. Our favorite feature is the ability to use the Liteway from birth with its flat seat recline, well-padded seat and "foot retention boot" that folds out from a pocket under the footrest to create a bassinet-style enclosure for the seat -- all unique features for a lightweight stroller. The seat has a one-handed, 5-position recline and a large canopy with a peekaboo window -- though we wish there was a foldout extension for additional coverage when the seat is fully reclined. The storage basket is good-sized, easy to access when the seat back is upright and uniquely designed to be removed and used as a backpack -- perfect for carrying groceries home from the store or your picnic to your lunch spot. Larger-than-average 7" wheels and rear-wheel suspension help the Liteway maneuver over rough sidewalks, and swivel wheels make it a breeze to use in narrow store aisles. A one-handed, two-step fold leaves the stroller compact, automatically locked shut and portable with the side carry handle. If you're comparing the Liteway to other full-sized strollers, you may be left wishing for a bumper bar or bigger canopy. But compared to other lightweight strollers, the Liteway is full of features to love.
What We Love: 5 levels of seat recline including flat; padded seat and harness pads; bassinet-style enclosure; included cup holder; underseat basket accessibility and ability to use it as a backpack; smooth maneuvering
What We Wish It Had: foldout canopy extension
Great For: a lightweight stroller to take you from infancy through the toddler years; sidewalks, stores, grass, gravel; nappers; light shopping; errands;
Bottom Line: A full recline and lightweight boot make this stroller suitable for infants -- a rarity among umbrella strollers.
"The recline on this stroller adjusts virtually flat, so it works great for my 4-month-old and my toddler. Adjusting the recline can be done one-handed right off the bat."
"We've taken this stroller to the farmer’s market a few times already, and can fit a fair amount of fruits and veggies in the underseat basket -- it holds more than it would appear to. You could also fit a medium-sized diaper bag in the basket."
"I wish it had a bigger sunshade. Plus the viewing window doesn't have a cover, so sun can shine in from the top."
"My favorite features are the large wheels that can be locked into a fixed position if needed. I also like the self-locking mechanism when you fold the stroller. The lock automatically clicks when the stroller is folded, so it doesn't flop back open if you grab it by one hand."
"The stroller maneuvers really well for an umbrella stroller and can easily be pushed with one hand. Tight turns aren't a problem. This stroller’s biggest asset are its big sturdy wheels that can be fixed if needed and provide really good maneuverability for an umbrella stroller."
"This stroller is good for shorter trips to the store, market, or around the neighborhood."
-- Claudia and her 20-month-old from Chicago, IL
COMPATIBLE WITH A CAR SEAT
Stroller StatsWeight Capacity: 6 months (or from birth when used with an infant car seat) up to 55 lbs.Stroller Weight: 13 lbs. without canopyDimensions: Assembled: 27.5" x 19.5" x 41" Folded: 41.5" x 12" x 9"Price: $170Get it Now: Just Kids Store
Expert Review: The B-NIMBLE, the lightest member of the Britax's family, packs lots of comforts into a compact frame. At only 13 lbs. the B-NIMBLE is easy to maneuver over sidewalks, curbs and even gravel or mulch thanks to lockable front wheels and all-wheel suspension. The 13.75" wide seat is covered with a soft, reversible seat pad in 4 color options including Britax's unique black-and-white pattern "Cowmooflage." The seat has a 5-pt harness with a one-touch release -- a potential negative for those with tiny escape artists. A one-handed recline adjusts the seat just shy of flat and the adjustable footrest can move straight to provide additional support for young nappers. The B-NIMBLE canopy has a peekaboo window and lots of headroom for older kids. It provides good overhead coverage and even has a fold-out extension though unfortunately it lacks the sturdiness to stay in position. Storage often gets sacrificed on umbrella strollers, but the B-NIMBLE has a good-sized underseat basket that provides accessible storage when the seat back is upright. Plus there is a pocket on the back of the canopy that can be used to hold the included rain cover or snacks and a cell. In addition to the rain cover, the stroller also comes with a parent cup holder and infant car seat adaptors to work with Britax car seats and most other major brands. The three-step fold is simple and can be done one-handed, and once folded, the stroller can easily be lifted into a trunk or up stairs with the shoulder carry strap.
What We Love: soft, comfortable seat padding; peekaboo window; one-handed, multi-position recline; included rain cover, cup holder, car seat adaptors; great maneuvering; storage pouch on back of canopy
What We Wish It Had: sturdier canopy extension; side carry handle
Great For: sidewalks, store aisles, curbs or city streets; errands; trips to the park; day at the amusement park; being used as a travel system with an infant car seat from Britax or other brands
Bottom Line: With its included extras, excellent maneuvering and durable design, the B-NIMBLE is sure to keep your kid comfortable while you're on the go.
"I really like the seat on the B-NIMBLE. It's wide, deep and according to my child, very comfortable. It fully reclines and the leg rest folds up, providing a mobile toddler bed."
"The canopy is beautiful! It's a great color, large with adequate sun and rain coverage, but still has a sleek look. It tilts forward to block light from a sleeping fully reclined child, and it has a peekaboo window, so it's easy to check if your child fell asleep or has finished his snack. Finally, it has a handy pocket in the back to hold a wallet (or the rain cover)."
"The seat reclines to anywhere from fully upright to almost horizontal for stroller naps. It moves via a button on the back of the seat. It is easy to adjust down, but difficult to adjust up, even empty. The button must be pushed in and the adjuster slid forward with some pressure, requiring two hands. It's more cumbersome to adjust when my child is in it -- I need to lift the back flap of the canopy, find the button and slide it up the adjuster."
"For an umbrella stroller, the underseat storage is very spacious. You can grocery shop and it will hold 3 half-gallons of milk along with other groceries. It can also hold park toys, winter accessories or a picnic lunch."
"I tried the stroller on sidewalks, cobblestone streets and grass/packed dirt. It performed well on every surface. It can be pushed with one hand for short distances, but given the design of two handles, it is controlled best with two hands."
"The Britax B-Nimble can work for most every stroller need. It is great for walking around the city, providing enough basket storage for a day's activities and a comfortable seat for a child. It is good for an activity where my child will be getting in and out of the stroller because it is small enough to push empty with one hand and hold a child with another. It would work well on a car trip because it folds easily and can fit into a relatively small space. It also would be good for airplane travel, folding easily for security checks and gate check-in, but providing easy transport through the airport and at my destination."
-- Jeannine and her 4-year-old from New York, NY
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 50 lbs.Stroller Weight: 17 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 25" x 17.5" x 41.5" Folded: 37" x 12.5" x 11.5"Price: $290Get it Now: Babies R Us
Expert Review: Though on the heavier side for an umbrella stroller, the 17 lbs. Maxi-Cosi Mila offers lots of full-sized features including a generous 13" seat width, large underseat basket (best accessed from the front or sides), the ability to pair with the Maxi-Cosi Mico infant seat to form a travel system and an included parent cup holder, rain cover and car seat adaptors. The stroller seat is lined with comfortable (though not plush) material and does include padded harness covers, a 4-position adjustable footrest and a moderate, halfway seat recline. The canopy is decent-sized, unfolds smoothly and locks open, but would benefit from an additional fold-out extension or peekaboo window. Our favorite feature is the large underseat basket though you'll need to access it from the front or sides for the easiest use. The Mila also has a storage pocket on the back of the canopy that stays at the perfect height for your keys or cell phone whether the seat is up or reclined. The Mila's 5" plastic wheels offer good maneuvering on a variety of terrains though the stroller performs best on sidewalks and store aisles. Folding involves 3 steps and leaves the Mila able to stand upright on its own, be pulled behind you, or lifted into a trunk with the handle.
What We Love: full-sized seat; included parent cup holder, rain shield and car seat adaptors; ability to use with the Maxi-Cosi Mico as a travel system; large and accessible underseat basket; unique color offerings; solid plastic footrest
What We Wish It Had: canopy extension; peekaboo window
Great For: neighborhood walks; errands; parents wanting a sturdier umbrella stroller; a lightweight travel system;
Bottom Line: Perfect for parents that need a sturdier stroller with lots of storage room.
"The Maxi Cosi Mila is modern-looking and stylish. It has a similar look and feel to other upscale brands. I like that it comes in plenty of color options (mine was mustard yellow, which stands out in a crowd and is easy to pick out from the collection at our son’s daycare). The stroller is also solid and sturdy-looking compared to some umbrella strollers that can look rather flimsy."
"The basket is amazing, especially compared to other umbrella strollers I’ve seen. Not only is it fairly large (enough to fit a few small shopping bags) but it’s completely accessible -- no stuffing or pulling to get things in and out. I walk my son about a mile to his daycare every morning and found this basket terrific for storing his backpack, my work laptop, and more."
"I think the sturdiness of the stroller is one of it's best features, especially for this category of stroller. The back and seat are so supportive that they don't sag at all (my son weighs about 25 pounds) and it seems very comfortable for him. The straps are also very comfortable and easy to buckle and unbuckle."
"I love how it easily folds and unfolds. I like that is easily stands upright when folded, so you don't have to lean it against a wall."
"My husband, who is 6'2", commented that the handles were a tad short for him; it would be nice if they could be adjustable for users of different heights (I am 5'3")."
-- Lauren and her 22-month-old from Great Neck, NY
Quicksmart Backpack Stroller
BEST FOR TRAVEL
Weight Capacity: +6 months to 45 lbs.Stroller Weight: 11 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 30.5in L x 13in W x 40.6in H Folded: 22.8in L x 13in W x 12.2in H,Price: $170Get it Now: Baby Age
Expert Review: The unique design of the QuickSmart Backpack stroller is geared for parents and kids who travel. The stroller comes compactly packaged in a backpack which itself has padded shoulder straps, and 3 storage pockets for easy access to bottles, diapers or snacks. Open the stroller up to reveal a compact, 3-wheeled umbrella stroller. This stroller's main asset is its easy portability for travel by plane or train (it's less suited to the quick open-close needs of subways, buses or taxis), so its list of features is minimal. Available in two colors, the seat fabric is sturdy and offers more durability than comfort. There is no seat recline or underseat basket but there is a mesh pocket on the seat back for lightweight items. There is a canopy and while modest, it does provide decent overhead coverage. With only a slight angle from being vertical, the handlebar design suffers in this compact stroller and left us wishing for an adjustable one. But the QuickSmart does not disappoint with its ability to fold compactly and transport easily with the carry handle on the stroller or in the included backpack.
What We Love: compact fold; easy portability; carrying backpack with extra storage room; ability to fit in airplane overhead storage bin; no assembly needed
What We Wish It Had: adjustable handlebar; underseat storage basket; softer seat material; easier and more secure wheel brake
Great For: traveling by plane or train; a stroller that you can tote with you
Bottom Line: For trips by plane or train, the QuickSmart Backpack stroller makes bringing your stroller along simple, convenient and compact.
"The stroller is easy to maneuver with one hand and fits in tight spaces when not in use. The stroller also has a tight turning radius that made it easy to maneuver in store aisles. The handle is one solid piece, which helps with one handed-steering and was extremely comfortable to use."
"The seat does not recline which makes nap time challenging."
"My favorite part of the stroller was the compact size. It is light and easy to carry, perfect for traveling, and can easily fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane or the trunk of a car."
"The QuickSmart does not have any underseat storage. I would say this is one of the biggest downfalls of the stroller. But there is one small pocket on the back of the stroller that is good for your keys and a cell phone."
"The backpack that came with the QuickSmart Stroller had padded shoulder straps and was very comfortable to wear. But there is no place to put the backpack when the stroller is in use, so we just ended up wearing it."
"I wish the stroller came with a bigger sunshade. The one that came on this stroller only helped when the son was directly overhead."
"The folding process is somewhat complicated. It definitely needs two hands and is a multi-step process. It would be impossible to perform without reading the directions. But this stroller is one of the smallest I have seen when stored. The fact that it folds into itself to fit in the backpack is amazing."
-- Reiden and her 16-month-old from Ventura, CA
Weight Capacity: newborn up to 45 lbs.Stroller Weight: 13lbsDimensions: Assembled: 32" x 19" x 39.5" Folded: 41.5" x 10.5" x 9"Price: $250-$270Get it Now: Pish Posh Baby
Expert Review: The Flite is Bumbleride's lightest weight stroller. Available in eight fabric options such as the Movement (water-resistant, sports fabric) and Natural options (50 percent recycled materials), the Flite comes with a lot of extras, including a parent cup holder, infant headrest and shoulder pads as well as a universal car seat adapter. The mesh peekaboo window and SPF 45 lining on the canopy keep your baby cool and protected while a zippered parent storage pocket keeps keys and your cell close at hand. The Flite has easy maneuvering and a good turning radius though the small wheels aren't made for handling off-road terrain. The only downsides: While the one-handed seat reclines to various positions, it does not lie completely flat and the dual brakes are tricky to reach between each set of back wheels. One of our favorite features is the simple, two-step fold that leaves the stroller narrow, compact and tightly auto-locked shut. A side carry handle and optional shoulder strap make stairs and public transportation a breeze.
What We Love: compact fold with an auto-lock, carry handle and optional shoulder strap; included infant headrest, shoulder pads and car seat adapter
What We Wish It Had: more accessible basket; adjustable handlebars; more back padding; sturdier cup holder; smoother canopy opening
Great For: parents who frequently use public transportation with their kids; crowded sidewalks and narrow story aisles; airports; stairs;
Bottom Line: An umbrella stroller with an excellent canopy and compact fold for exploring narrow spaces in style.
"The seat recline has a smooth adjustable strap that allows you to change the degree of recline. When my son was in the seat, I found it easier to adjust the recline down for him to nap than to adjust it back up, but overall it's easy to use."
"The underseat storage is smaller than I'd like, and unfortunately it's not easily accessible from the back of the stroller."
"My favorite features are the reclining seat and the adjustable footrest. Together, they made it comfortable for my baby to nap."
"It's very easy to maneuver. I steered it one-handed several times. I used the stroller on paved sidewalks, city streets and the subway -- it handled and steered well on all."
"I think city parents would appreciate this stroller -- it's sturdy but still lightweight, and handles well on city streets and sidewalks."
"The sun canopy has an SPF level of 45 which was nice though I wish it came down a little bit farther to provide extra sun protection. It's also very stiff -- the very first time I pulled it open I had to pull so hard I was afraid I was actually doing something wrong!"
--Erika and her 13-month-old son, from Jackson Heights, NY
Graco Ipo Platinum
Weight Capacity: up to 50 lbs.Stroller Weight: 17.5 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 41.5” x 26.5” x 19” Folded: 10” x 43” x 10”Price: $90Get it Now: Albee Baby
Expert Review: The best feature of the Graco Ipo is its one-step, one-hand fold which leaves the stroller super compact and easily portable with the side carry handle. Just as easy to open, the Ipo has a comfortable, soft, padded seat for your child as well as a convertible 3- or 5-point harness, and foam, ergonomically designed handles for you. A one-handed recline and adjustable footrest also make for cozy snoozing. The canopy provides good but only overhead coverage and includes an uncovered peekaboo window for easy viewing and a fold-out, tinted sun visor that we wish had built-in UV protection. Be warned -- the canopy is especially easy for busy, little hands to pop off the stroller frame. A small, but accessible underseat basket provides room to stash a few small items, and the maneuvering, while a bit noisy from the 6" plastic wheels, preforms wells on sidewalks and other smooth surfaces.
What We Love: one-handed, one-step fold; compact folded size; accessible underseat basket; soft, padded seat
What We Wish It Had: more color options; optional accessories like a cup holder; UV protected canopy
Great For: traveling; compact storing; easy, one-handed folding; public transportation; errands; light shopping
Bottom Line: Though on the heavier end of umbrella strollers, the Ipo's one-step, one-handed, compact fold makes it convenient for public transportation, parents with multiple children and those on the go.
"This stroller is sleek! With its classic black and silver body, it is appropriate for both boys and girls. Simple strollers like this one are sure to still be in style years down the road, which is perfect if you plan to buy one umbrella stroller and continue to use it for future children."
"The underseat storage on this stroller is quite small. I wouldn't feel comfortable taking it to the mall for any extended period of time because there just isn't enough room to store purchases. It is fairly easy to access when the child is in the upright position, but when the seat is reclined, it is difficult to get to."
"I wish that the stroller had a tray for snacks or a cup holder. I also would like to have seen a more stable sunshade…this one snaps on and off very easily."
"I love the mechanism for opening and closing the stroller. Our previous umbrella stroller frequently pinched my fingers when I tried to open and close it because of the cheap design. This stroller is so much easier to open and close!"
"The handlebars are high enough for even my 6'3" husband to comfortably push the stroller."
"The stroller is very easy to maneuver. The wheels pivot very easily, making it simple to make tight turns around corners. I can push it one-handed, but it is certainly easier using both hands."
"Compared to a typical umbrella stroller, the folding process is a breeze! Plus, the curved handles make it easy to lift or carry the stroller, while it is in the collapsed position. I was able to hook the handlebars over one arm, and walk without any problem."
-- Jennifer and her 2-year-old from Harrisburg, NC
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 50 lbs.Stroller Weight: 8.8 lbs. (without hood or shopping basket)Dimensions: Assembled: 425" x 22" x 18.5"; Folded: 42" x 15.5" x 11"Price: $120Get it Now: Peppy Parents
Expert Review: The lightest member of the UPPAbaby family is the G-LiTE which weighs in at under 9 lbs. In spite of its slender build, the G-LiTE has a full-sized seat (13" seat width, 21.5" seat back) and a plush seat pad which is soft, removable, washable and covered in one of four colors of StainDefend fabric. Keep in mind the seat does not recline so the G-LiTE is not ideal for kids still taking long naps. The large canopy provides good overhead coverage and comes with a pop-out extension with UV 50 protection -- perfect for protecting baby's eyes when the sun is low. The underseat basket is medium-sized and easy to access from the back or sides though we wish the sides were a bit higher to ensure sippies and stuffed animals didn’t bounce out. Maneuvering is smooth and tight turns a breeze thanks to the wide, dual wheels with built-in shock absorbers on all four wheels. Closing the stroller does require two hands, but it's only hands -- there are no feet needed. Once closed, the frame locks shut, can stand upright on its own or can be carried easily with the attached shoulder strap. Our one complaint is when opening the stroller -- compared to the competition, opening the frame is physically harder to do and trickier to know if the frame has locked into position, a safety must before having your child hop in. (Note: Be sure to read the manually carefully to understand what to look for to ensure the frame is locked open.)
What We Love: included cup holder; pop-out canopy extension; soft, padded seat; underseat storage basket; ability to stand when folded
What We Wish It Had: easier to know when frame was locked open; better side support for underseat basket; more color options
Great For: light shopping; all-day outings; sidewalks, streets or shopping malls Bottom Line: Though very similar to the Maclaren Volo, with the UPPAbaby G-LITE you’ll be getting plusher seat padding, 4-wheel suspension and a canopy extension -- for less money.
"I love the look of this stroller -- very streamlined and modern. And it was a nice bonus that it came with a cup holder."
"The most original feature of this stroller is that it can stand up on its own once you fold it. This is incredibly convenient when storing your stroller."
"I like how you can fold it from the handlebars. My one complaint would be that I kept having to check that the stroller was truly locked in the open position. I really had to push both sides down hard to be sure that it clicked open."
"It was super-easy to maneuver the stroller in narrow store aisles and on the street. When I carried it folded, I was aware of how lightweight and easy-to-carry it is."
-- Debra and her 2-year-old from New York, NY
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 55 lbs.Stroller Weight: 8.8 lbs. (without hood, rain cover or shopping basket)Dimensions: Assembled: 40.5" x 32" x 17.5"; Folded: 40.5" x 9.5" x 8.5"Price: $130Get it Now: Magic Beans
Expert Review: This classic umbrella stroller from Maclaren offers parents a simple, yet sturdy frame that is lightweight, easy to fold and compact. But there are no frills. The seat while good-sized (13" wide, 18.5" tall) offers no padding on the back or bottom and does not recline though it does have mesh side panels for airflow. The canopy is large and provides 19" of overhead sun coverage, but there is no peekaboo window and the canopy can't rotate forward for strolls into the sun. The small 4.5" wheels can lock straight, but don't handle bumps and cracks on the sidewalk well. The Volo does have a deep, medium-sized basket that is always easy to access from the back or sides since the seat doesn't recline. Folding is simple and leaves the stroller compact, locked shut and easy to carry with the shoulder strap.
What We Love: large overhead canopy; lightweight frame; accessible storage basket; included rain cover and tether; padded handles; easy fold and carry shoulder strap
What We Wish It Had: seat padding; peekaboo window; canopy extension; included cup holder
Great For: errands; light shopping; buses, subways or trains; traveling; smooth sidewalks and store aisles;
Bottom Line: While not ideal for kids who still need a nap due to the lack of recline, the Volo is a durable, no-frills stroller that provides parents with a lightweight, compact option for errand, outings or traveling.
"I love the look. It's sleek, lightweight and no-frills."
"The basket is a good size and it's easy to get to. It's a very useful feature."
"I like the mesh sides which will make it cool and comfortable in hot weather."
"It's very easy to maneuver and push. This would be great for city parents who use public transportation a lot, or parents who travel and need a lightweight stroller to take in airports and use in other cities."
"To unclick the harness, you have to press the button both in front and in back, which makes it a lot harder for an older child to unbuckle himself. It's a good safety feature."
"There's a reason the Maclaren Volo is the stroller you see everywhere! It's sturdy, stylish and so lightweight. It's really a great umbrella stroller."
-- Lara and her 14-month-old from Weston, CT
Weight Capacity: 37 lbs.Stroller Weight: 11 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 40" x 30" 15.5"; Folded: 45" x 8" x 9"Price: $80Get it Now: Baby Viva
Expert Review: The Chicco Ct0.6 is the quintessential umbrella stroller -- lightweight, compact and affordable. It also means it's pretty light on features. The lightly padded seat reclines by unzipping each side, but only to about 45 degrees and it isn't recommended while a child is in the seat. The underseat basket is mid-sized but hard to get in anything bigger than a small lunch box due to the crossbeams across the back. The ribbed, plastic handles aren't super comfortable though the stroller maneuvers well over sidewalks, streets and store aisles. Our favorite feature is the surprisingly big canopy that delivers ample coverage and can rotate all the way forward to provide shade where it's needed. The fold is simple and compact though, and once folded, the stroller locks shut and can be carried over your shoulder with the adjustable side strap. The Ct0.6 also comes with a color-coordinated travel bag held in a clear plastic pouch that attaches to the stroller -- though unless you need the bag, we'd recommend using the pouch to hold diapers, snacks or back-up pacis instead.
What We Love: lightweight; compact fold; large, rotating canopy; adjustable side or shoulder carry strap; included travel bag
What We Wish It Had: higher weight limit; deeper seat recline; padded handles
Great For: light stroller users; quick errands; short trips, walks to school or the park; traveling
Bottom Line: Not many bells and whistles on this umbrella stroller, but cheap, portable and with a nice canopy to boot.
"I really liked the underseat storage. For a stroller this size, the underseat storage is fairly good-sized. It's perfect for storing a few toys, snacks, and even a small bag or purse."
"I wish that the stroller handles were a bit taller. I'm 5'5" tall and the height was fine for me. However, my husband is 6'0" and the handles were a bit too short for him."
"This stroller handles exceptionally well. I tried the stroller through my neighborhood, at the mall, and on our local walking greenbelt. The terrains were fairly flat and even, and the stroller performed great on them all."
"My son is fairly good-sized for his age and the stroller is a bit on the small side for him. While he likes the stroller and enjoys using it, the harness straps are quite tight (even when fully extended) and the seat back isn't quite tall enough for him to sit comfortably.”
"This is by far one of the easiest strollers I've ever used in terms of folding and storage. It takes up such little room and is perfect to take along on quick trips and while traveling. This stroller also has a very convenient strap attached for lifting and carrying it. You can easily put this on your shoulder and it makes it quite easy to transport the stroller."
-- Kristy and her 3-year-old from Nampa, ID
Mamas & Papas Tour
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 50 lbs.Stroller Weight: 14 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 42” x 19” x 31” Folded: 11” x 9” x 31”Price: $200Get it Now: Bambi Baby
Expert Review: While the regular seat of the Mamas & Papas Tour stroller has lining similar to other lightweight strollers, the Tour jumps ahead in plushness when you install the included reversible, extra-padded seat cushion. In addition to the pad, the Tour also comes with a rain cover and parent cup holder. The canopy is large, adjustable up and down on the frame and does include a peekaboo window. Plus there is a toy loop inside the canopy to dangle a favorite toy to keep your traveler entertained. Storage is mixed on the Tour -- there is a deep underseat basket, but it is hard to access, even with the seat back upright. The Tour does have a large pocket on the back of the canopy for storing smaller items, but we often found that the shoulder carry strap interfered with access to it. The 4.5" wheels are smaller than standard umbrella strollers and don't handle bumps or sidewalk cracks well, but the Tour does turn well in stores. The 2-step fold leaves the Tour compact and easily lifted with its side or shoulder carry straps. One oddity? For having such a plush seat, the 5-point harness buckle seems large and heavy for younger kids.
What We Love: plush, reversible, washable seat padding; peekaboo window; included cup holder and rain cover; toy loop in canopy; one-handed recline; carry handle and shoulder strap;
What We Wish It Had: better access to underseat basket; larger wheels; more color options
Great For: smooth surfaces; store aisles; kids who love a comfy seat;
Bottom Line: If comfort is king in your search for a lightweight stroller, the Tour has you plushly covered.
"I really love the look of this stroller. It does NOT look like a regular umbrella stroller. It looks much nicer."
"The seat is easy to recline. My one issue with it is that my daughter is 2.5 years old, and I only think I will be able to use this for a few months. I have the straps positioned on the top rung in order to fit her."
"The underseat basket is pretty small. I fit in a bottle of water, my child's milk, my wallet, my keys, my phone and Blackberry. But then I noticed the small pocket on the back of the canopy where I could put my personal items. I like that it's more hidden and more secure than the underseat storage."
"For me, it required two hands to maneuver. I used it inside my house, in stores, in the street, on the sidewalk and down and up a few steps outside my house. It struggled to handle the bumpy sidewalks and didn’t do well on steps."
"I wish it had bigger and better wheels to be able to handle bumps and stairs better."
-- Jayme and her 2.5-year-old from Plainview, NY
Delta Ultimate Convenience
Weight Capacity: 6 months to 45 lbs.Stroller Weight: 16 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 32" x 19.9" x 40.5"; Folded: 11" x 8.9" x 40.4"Price: $59Get it Now: Walmart
Expert Review: Delta's Ultimate Convenience stroller tries to make life easier for both parent and child. Kid comforts include a multi-position seat recline, shoulder harness pads and a sturdy, overhead canopy (not floppy and ineffective like some inexpensive umbrella strollers). Parents get curved, foam-covered handles, a deep, underseat basket with great accessibility from the back and sides and an included parent cup holder. The most convenient thing about this stroller -- the quick and easy, two-step, one-handed fold. There is even an auto-frame lock though it would have been nice if it held the frame closed a bit tighter. The stroller also has shock-absorbing, foam-covered wheels which help it handle bumps better, but they also sometimes struggled to keep up with tights turns making the maneuvering less than smooth on store aisles and crowded sidewalks.
What We Love: ample and accessible underseat storage basket; included parent cup holder; quick and easy fold and open; side carry handle
What We Wish It Had: more canopy coverage or fold-out extension; longer distance between seat and footrest; tighter frame lock
Great For: light shopping; errands; trip to the park; amusement parks; zoos; museums
Bottom Line: Delta's Ultimate Convenience stroller lives up to its name with its sturdy canopy, mid-sized basket, included parent cup holder and easy open and close.
"The seat reclines using a pulley-type system so you can actually position it any angle you like which is a positive. A negative is that it doesn't go as upright as you would like due to the same design system."
"The underneath storage is amazing and easily accessible. You could store kid's toys, all snacks and even some of your own shopping bags under the stroller."
"I wish the stroller had adjustable stroller handles and washable seat material."
"The stroller maneuvers easily and you can push it with one hand but it's way more stable with two. It is very easy to make tight turns in a store with a stroller of this size. We used the stroller on black top streets, cement sidewalks and grass and it handled well on all of them."
"Although this stroller folds easily and fits easily into a trunk, I wouldn't use it for traveling on public transportation due to the weight. It's a good stroller to take to a suburban mall not the subways/buses of a cosmopolitan city."
"For me, this stroller isn't light enough to be a true umbrella stroller and its also not luxurious enough to be your main walk-around stroller due to the lack of adjustable handle bars, the inability to let the child sit fully upright, lack of additional storage besides the underneath basket and the material not being machine washable."
-- Lauren and her 3-year-old from Manhasset, NY
BEST FOR HOT CLIMATES
Weight Capacity: up to 40 lbs.Stroller Weight: 10.8 lbsDimensions: Assembled: 18" x 28.5" x 38.25" Folded: 10" x 9.5" x 42.5"Price: $35Get it Now: Target
Expert Review: One of lightest strollers in our review, the Jeep All-Weather Umbrella Stroller weighs in at just 10.8 lbs. and is perfect for parents looking for an inexpensive ride for their tots. The All-Weather's unique seat has two parts -- a cover can be left down for added seat padding and warmth on cooler day or folded up into a comfortable headrest and to reveal an airflow-inducing, mesh back panel perfect for hot days at the amusement park. More good news -- there is a parent cup holder, and the canopy, while small, can rotate all the way forward allowing you to position it where you need sun protection. Plus, the fold is quick (press a lever over and up with your foot and fold the handles forward), and a manual lock keep this skinny stroller compact and portable. But there is no seat recline or adjustable handlebars (we did find ourselves occasionally kicking the back tires). Plus, between the 3-point harness and the 40 lb. weight limit, this stroller has a smaller length-of-use window than similar strollers.
What We Love: super lightweight; compact fold; adjustable canopy; included cup holder.
What We Wish It Had: bigger underseat basket; adjustable handles; more color options; higher weight limit or 5-pt harness
Great For: 2-3 year olds; keeping in your trunk for emergency kid-refusing-to-walk moments; occasional errands; quick trips to and from the school yard, bus stop or subway station
Bottom Line: For being so lightweight and inexpensive, we love the Jeep All-Weather’s adjustable canopy, versatile seat back and parent cup holder.
"The storage under the seat is very small, but it seems proportional to the size of the stroller. It is not large enough to hold more than a few personal items or snacks, but it is easily accessible."
"The stroller came with a parent cup holder which is great. I like that it is the hard material cup holder, as opposed to the mesh, soft console that some strollers have for the handlebars. It felt more secure."
"I wish the stroller had a bigger sun canopy."
"My favorite feature is the comfortable handlebars and the ease with which the wheels turn. It is very lightweight and simple to push around."
"The stroller is easy to maneuver on smooth pavement, but a little tougher to push on the street and negotiating curbs. I found it hard to push with one hand -- the stroller kept veering to one side."
"I felt my child was completely safe and secure in the stroller. There was no issue of her leaning too far out where she could fall forward or to the side. The seat depth is good to keep her positioned with her back against the seatback."
"This stroller was so simple to fold. It took me a couple of times to practice because it was a new stroller but now, in less than 30 seconds, I can collapse it and get it in my trunk."
-- Rebecca and her 2-year-old from Solon, OH
phil&teds Smart Bundle
Weight Capacity: 6 months to 33 lbs.; peanut carrycot – newborn up to 20 lbs.Stroller Weight: 18 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 30 x 21.5" x 38" Folded: 39.5" x 21.5" x 10"Price: Smart Bundle $360; just smart $250Get it Now: Pish Posh Baby
Expert Review: The philandteds smart bundle comes packaged with the stroller frame, seat, versa adaptors to reverse the seat to parent-facing and the plush peanut bassinet. The unique seat is lined with seat technology that seems to do it all -- shock-absorbing, ventilating, insulating, hypo-allergenic, UV-resistant, waterproof, non-toxic and super easy to clean. But, it's not colorful: philandteds does sell their Cushy Ride liners to add additional comfort and color to your smart stroller. The seat reclines, but only to one additional position about 1.5" different. Also with a 9" interior width, the smart seat is narrower than many other strollers. A large, lightweight canopy provides excellent coverage and can rotate all the way forward to provide shade wherever the sun is. But since the canopy does not attach to the back of the seat, some toddlers may turn it in to a toy. A mid-sized underseat basket provides the only storage on the smart. We love the 9" back and 7" front wheels for excellent maneuvering and turning, but the smart still performs best on smooth surfaces, indoor walkways and grass. The front wheels do not have the ability to lock straight making it difficult to maneuver on gravel or playground mulch. The smart's fold is 3 steps -- undo a latch on either side, press a secondary release button and pull up on the seat back to fold the stroller. You'll need to redo both latches in order to lock the frame shut. At 18 lbs., the smart is still carryable, but there is no handle except the seat back which leave the stroller about 42” long with the front wheels hanging down -- a built unwieldy if you're trying to lug it up stairs.
What We Love: versatility to use with a car seat (additional adaptor needed), stroller seat or bassinet; large, adjustable sunshade; underseat basket accessibility; plush bassinet
What We Wish It Had: adjustable handles; ability to reverse seat without adaptors; lockable front wheels; deeper seat recline, deeper underseat basket; side carry handle
Great For: parents wanting a lightweight, versatile stroller to grow with their child; suburban living; smooth sidewalks, grass, store aisles; easy seat cleaning
Bottom Line: The philandteds smart provides a mixed bag of features. Perfect for those who love an easy-to-clean stroller seat, seat versatility and good sun protection. Not ideal for those looking for a reclining seat, lockable front wheels or a super compact fold.
"The stroller has a sleek look. It has a slim profile so it doesn’t look like a massive stroller rolling down the sidewalk."
"This stroller only has 2 recline positions. I found it tricky to adjust, so it wouldn't be something I'd ever do on the fly for a nap mid stroll."
"I like that for a lightweight stroller it has the ability to easily click in several seating options -- the car seat, bassinet or seat."
"I was concerned that it would be difficult to push one handed since it doesn’t have one single push bar, but even with two handles it was easy enough to push one-handed."
"I took the stroller across sidewalks, through dirt and sticks, across a ridiculously broken and bumpy stretch of sidewalk, and across a blacktop path. It performed fine on all, but it was a bumpy ride."
"My biggest complaint is that the handlebars should be longer. While I'm tall for a woman (5'9"), I imagine most men would find the handlebars too short. I didn't feel like I was hunched over, but I did constantly kick the stroller. I also felt that when I needed to lift up the front wheels to go over a curb, the bar I would step on to cause the front wheels to lift was up too high."
-- Julie and her 1-month-old from Brooklyn, NY
Baby Trend Euroride
Weight Capacity: 6 months up to 50 lbs.Stroller Weight: 18 lbs.Dimensions: Assembled: 42" x 19.5" x 37" Folded: 13.5" x 9" x 44"Price: $100Get it Now: Target
Expert Review: The new Baby Trend Euroride stroller is available as both a solo stroller and packaged with their Flex-Loc infant car seat as a complete travel system. We love the simple, modern look, padded, ergonomic handles and mid-sized underseat basket. The seat also has good padding for an umbrella stroller as well as shoulder harness pads and an adjustable footrest for added comfort. The canopy does have a mesh peekaboo window and locks open, but provides only mediocre coverage, even overhead. Though the canopy offers 24" of clearance from the seat bottom, the seat back is only 17" which may not provide enough head support for taller kids. The Euroride seat reclines more than halfway back, but we found the one-handed strap didn't provide a smooth recline. The stroller handled well on store aisles and sidewalks, but the wheels were noisy -- even on smooth surfaces. We liked the simple, two-step fold of the Euroride, but the manual lock system is a bit odd and not quick for public transportation users. Plus there is no carry strap for easy lifting. Still, the Euroride wins points for having a decent-sized underseat basket that you can access from the back or sides -- at least when the seat isn't reclined.
What We Love: travel system option; seat padding and shoulder harness pads; comfortable handles; quick fold; basket accessibility
What We Wish It Had: better frame lock; more color options; better canopy coverage; smoother seat recline; carry strap; adjustable handlebar height
Great For: walks around town; errands; used from birth to toddler years with infant car seat; compact fold; traveling
Bottom Line: Combined with a Baby Trend car seat, the Euroride can last you from infancy through the toddler years. But for the price, we wish the stroller had a few more standout features and extras.
"The recline is operated by a toggle ('a cord and spring loaded adjuster') so you can adjust it to any position you would like. This is nicer than having to pick between pre-set positions."
"I wish the stroller had a better sunshade. It is very flimsy and bent immediately when my daughter grabbed it and tried to pull it down further. It does not adjust at all, so it really only functions as an overhead canopy. If you are pushing directly into the sun there is no shade at all!"
"The handles are very comfortable for pushing. It is very lightweight and very easy to fold. I have taken the stroller in and out of NYC cabs with no trouble at all."
"The stroller does require two hands. Because it is lightweight, the maneuverability is still good, but you have to be careful going over curbs or bumps because the wheels can't handle uneven terrain. The plastic wheels don't seem to absorb any shock and do get stuck on bumps."
"Folding the stroller is very simple. I could almost do it with one hand and one foot. It folds almost as well as other more expensive strollers that I have used in the past. However, you do have to manually lock the stroller to keep it from unfolding."
-- Marybeth and her 2-year-old from New York, NY
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.