How do I pick a double stroller? 10 Things You Need to Know
Pick a double stroller with ease.
Choosing a double stroller can be confusing. You're not the first parent to scratch your head wondering, "But how do I pick a double stroller that's perfect for my family?"
We’re here to help make it simple.
If you know these ten things, you can choose the right double stroller with ease. This 15-minute read will help you choose the right stroller for your older child and your new addition.
We will talk about the specific needs of purchasing a stroller for twins in an upcoming piece. For this piece, we are going to address the needs of parents expecting another baby while an older sibling is still of strolling age.
1. What does your lifestyle look like?
Have you heard of LBB: Life Before Baby?
This isn’t just a first child phenomenon. Life will change again with a new baby around.
Now you need two of everything. It's time to get used to seeing double.
When it comes to your stroller, an upgrade might only mean purchasing a second seat. Or, it could mean a whole new system.
Ask yourself these three questions about your lifestyle to begin:
Theme parks, malls or crowded city streets often mean much jostling. Older children might want to walk more. An easy to shoulder double umbrella stroller provides the most flexibility in these situations. These strollers, and others like them, fold quickly and navigate tight spaces with ease.
For some moms, a narrow tandem might make more sense in crowds. Keep in mind how often you will need to fold it to use the stairs or fit through tight lines. Lots of moms continue to tell us that maneuverable side-by-sides offer superior flexibility. The newest varieties of double umbrellas offer lightweight and are easy to carry. These days, you won't have to sacrifice many features either.
Our favorite double umbrella stroller right now is the UPPAbaby G-Link.
- How often will I need to load my stroller in and out of a vehicle?
If you spend more time driving than walking, your stroller needs will change substantially. Think about how much time your child spends riding versus time in the car. If your family lives in the suburbs and you drive a lot, a tandem stroller with many parts may be frustrating. Maneuvering these strollers in and out of an SUV five times a day can become a burden fast.When your family prefers four wheels over two feet, keep your stroller simple. A double, like the G-Link, works great here too.
- How much time will we spend outdoors on uneven surfaces?
When your family lives for the outdoors, it’s important to consider stroller suspension, wheel durability and braking systems. Not all strollers can handle off-road adventures.
Families who love parks and nature trails need a stroller built for adventure. These models are larger than others, but will pay dividends in durability and maneuverability.
Our favorite double stroller for outdoor families is the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie.
- Are your roads, driveways, or sidewalks bumpy?
Consider whether you spend time pushing your baby on cobblestone or gravel. These surfaces may not be rustic, but do mean things can get bumpy. Front locking wheels and suspension will save your children from an uncomfortable ride.
Our favorite every-surface double is the Bumbleride Indie Twin.
2. The ages, weights, and heights of your children
The best choice for newborns might not be the right one for older children. Just like your diaper bag, the older your child gets the less stroller you’re likely to need.
By less, we don’t mean fewer features or cheaper material. What we mean by less is weight and attachments. Car seat adapters and bulky bassinets will be a thing of the past once a child can sit up on their own. If you will only be buying one stroller, make sure to think about what you will want for the longterm first. Then, choose attachments or accessories to make the stroller practical during the short time your new baby is unable to sit up alone. Most of today's best side-by-side strollers offer bassinet kits and car seat adapters. Some, like the UPPAbaby G-Link, are made for infants to stroll without any extra attachments.
Children can age out of certain strollers too. This doesn’t usually follow their physical age. Instead, look at their height and weight. A tall three year old might not be able to ride in a tandem second seat, but would be fine in a larger side-by-side. Knowing the height and weight of your child allows you to choose a stroller that can go the distance.
These are the height and weight recommendations for our three favorites mentioned above:
|UPPAbaby G-Link||Bumbleride Indie Twin||BOB Revolution Flex|
Suitable for weight from birth to 50 pounds in each seat.
Suitable for weight up to 45 pounds in each seat.
Suitable from 8 weeks to 45 pounds in each seat.
Seat height is 18 inches, from seat to canopy.
Seat height is 23 inches, from seat to canopy.
Max child height is 44 inches.
3. The width of common doors you want to fit through
The most common complaint about side-by-side strollers is their width. It’s tough to fit through small hallways and doorways with many side-by-sides. Even some tandem versions can be too much bulk for tiny big-city apartments.
We can’t pad the whole world for our babies, and we can’t measure every entryway we might wander down either. But it’s a good idea to take stock of the ones we frequent on a regular basis.
Measure all your common spaces if you’re a city family.
Families most likely to encounter spacing problems are those who live in city apartments. In this case, you will need to carry a measuring tape to a few of your favorite places.
Make sure to grab a quick measurement of these spaces:
- Your apartment door and hallway,
- The elevator opening (if you have one),
- The entrance to your favorite neighborhood bodega, coffee shop, and/or restaurant.
Yes, you might look a little silly in front of your morning java stop with a tape measure. Trust us, it’s worth it! Otherwise, you might find yourself barred from a caffeine fix by a bulky stroller.
Families who live in the suburbs are likely to have large, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant doorways and aisles at the places they visit most often. This means you don’t have to worry about measuring entrances and halls. But the wide open spaces mean you spend time shuffling in and out of a vehicle. In that case, you need to know….
4. The size of your trunk
From the moment your first child is born the size of your vehicle begins to matter. It matters a lot.
The cute two-door coupe is impractical once you need to travel with gear. Odds are pretty good that you’ve up-sized vehicles before shopping for a double stroller. But even practical mid-size cars don't always have decent sized trunks.
If your family vehicle is a large SUV or minivan, you don’t have anything to worry about. If you’re big on gas milage or the environment, then your smaller car might need measuring.
Most sites post the folded size of all their strollers so that you can make sure it will fit in your trunk.
Take a quick measurement of your trunk.
Ask yourself if you can fit the double stroller you’re considering in it. We mean really fit, like the stroller and at least a few shopping bags. After all, a trip to the mall is no fun if you have to leave empty handed because of a lack of haul space.
The two measurements that matter most, when sizing up your trunk space, are the width and depth.
Sometimes it helps to grab a box that’s about the same size as the folded stroller and place it in your trunk. Then ask yourself, “Is this enough room?”
The folded size of our three favorite side-by-side strollers are as follows:
|The UPPAbaby G-Link||Bumbleride Indie Twin||BOB Revolution Flex Duallie|
|18” width x 18” length x 41” height||30.5” height x 13.5” width||44.5” Length x 16 inch Height (wheels on)|
5. What kind of terrain are you strolling on daily?
As we mentioned in step one, the terrain you will stroll on matters. It matters so much that we need to look a little deeper at what factors affect the ride your child will experience.
There are three ways stroller designers deal with uneven surfaces. Let’s look at each one individually.
Think of the wheels on your stroller like the wheels on a shopping cart. The wheels move forward and backwards, but also swivel 360 degrees. This is great for maneuverability, but could cause a major problem if you’re rolling over pebbles or cobblestone. The swiveling wheels causes the stroller to be less stable on uneven surfaces. This could cause unplanned directional shifts and tipping.
Front-locking wheels disable the swivel, keeping wheels in the front-facing position. This adds stability, but decreases mobility. Yes it’s a trade off, but the locked wheels make uneven surfaces safer and less wobbly for your little one.
Pretty much all jogging strollers include some sort of suspension system. Many higher-tech versions of traditional strollers have taken note in the last several years. The suspension system on a stroller, just like on a car, absorbs stress. Usually this happens with shocks on each wheel or at the seat base. The shocks absorb the shaking from uneven surfaces, so your baby doesn’t have to.
If you’re going off-road, a stroller with suspension will provide a smoother ride for your baby.
Wheel Size and Materials
The size and construction of your stroller wheels matters. Double strollers should have durable wheels with a guarantee. Also look for the ability to buy replacement wheels if yours wear out.
When Baby Gear Lab tested dozens of strollers for maneuverability, they found that larger, air-filled wheels significantly improved how well the stroller turned and swiveled.
Once you understand how strollers cope, it’s time to think about the terrain around you.
Ask yourself these two questions, even if you think you never go off-road:
- Does our local park require strolling off the sidewalk?
- Will I be using my stroller in places where winter ice or snow will be on the ground?
Almost every parent spends a fair bit of time in the park. Unless you’re hanging out with the PeppyParents team in Florida, snow or ice is likely to be a factor at some point. These times are the moments when the best double strollers prove their worth.
This is what our three favorites offer for stability and maneuverability:
|UPPAbaby G-Link||Bumbleride Indie Twin||BOB Revolution Flex Duallie|
|4 sets of wheels, for good balance pair with front-locking wheels to add stability, despite the strollers lightweight and slim stature.||12” air-filled tires (with pump included) offer superior maneuverability on almost any surface.||Coil spring and elastomer core shocks feature adjustable shock release knobs. This is the only stroller on our list that allows for shock adjustment based on how much weight is in the stroller.|
|5.75 inch wheels, feature high-performance rubber.||All-wheel suspension, making this stroller perfect for power walks at the park or strolls through the mall.||Pneumatic tires, the rear tires are 16” and the front tire is 12.5”, creating a stable environment for runners or those who like to go off-road.|
6. Your must-have features
One of the reasons choosing a double stroller can be so confusing is the huge list of features on every brand. Each company has their hallmarks. No two use the same language to describe every available add-on. It's up to you to choose what you can’t live without.
The basic accessories, like snack trays, parent trays, and weather shields, are common. Don’t worry about those upfront. Most of the top performing strollers do not include them.
So what should you worry about?
Must-haves for your lifestyle.
If you’re a runner, a stroller with suspension and front-locking wheels is a must-have.
If you live in a tiny apartment, a stroller slim enough to fit in small spaces is a requirement.
If you know you’ll be shouldering your stroller, then something lightweight and compact might be at the top of your list.
Knowing what are absolute must-haves will save you a lot of time and frustration.
So have you asked yourself all these question and still can’t decide?
Use these two final considerations as your tiebreakers. These don’t necessarily affect the way the stroller works, but will make a big difference if something breaks, you have questions, or your stroller is recalled.
(NOVEMBER 2016 UPDATE: Are you concerned about how eco-friendly the double stroller you're choosing will be? Learn more about how to find an earth-friendly stroll in our new Eco-Stroller Guide.)
7. Warranty differences
Not all warranties are created equal.
You can often learn a lot about how well a company thinks their product will last by how generous their warranty is. Of course, their are exceptions to this rule, but it’s a great way to get a sense of a company’s values.
Look for warranties of at least one year on the entire stroller and more on the frame. One of the reasons we love UPPAbaby so much, is their generous three year warranty. When a product is purchased from an authorized retailer and registered online, UPPAbaby stands behind it.
No manufacturer wants to have their product break down, but sometimes things happen. A generous warranty ensures your investment is protected if life happens. Think about it as free insurance for your stroller.
8. Who is available to help
Have you ever sat on hold all day with your cable company?
If you’ve lived through this frustrating experience, you know that it’s one thing for a company to say it offers service. It's something else to actually get it.
When you have narrowed down your choices, checked out the warranties, and still need a tiebreaker we suggest giving the companies a call. Better yet, submit a customer service request on their website. See how responsive the company is.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Do they pick up the phone fast?
- Respond to emails within 24-hours?
- Is the website easy to navigate?
- Are there plenty of how-to guides?
- Are the user manuals archived on the site for you to reference?
A good double stroller will cost over $500, sometimes substantially more. That’s not an insignificant purchase for most people. It’s worth taking a moment to make sure the company you're purchasing from offers better help than the cable company.
9. The pros and cons of tandem versus side-by-side double strollers
The most significant difference between tandem and side-by-side strollers is the width.
A tandem stroller is generally the same width as a full-size single stroller. For families who need to fit through small doorways, this type of double might be your only choice.
It used to be common to think of side-by-side double strollers as “twins”. These were primarily meant for two children of similar weight. But, the newer varieties (like the three we’ve highlighted in this article) are designed with features to combat this issue. These days, it’s much more an issue of size and features.
We think one last thing should be considered before you hit that “Add to Cart” button...
10. Who will use the stroller most?
What seems like a lightweight load to dad might be a little heavy for the mother of a newborn. Is mom way taller than dad, maybe even just when she wears heels?
Who will push the stroller most often matters. Their needs should come first when choosing the stroller. Maybe it’s not mom or dad, but a caregiver or grandparent who watches your kids while you’re at work. Regardless, the person who uses the stroller most will have the best idea what features they need.
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Once you take the time to go through each of these ten questions, you can buy with confidence.
Double Strollers, like the UPPAbaby G-Link, are smart investments for parents of young children. With a little research and a bit of thought, you will use this versatile piece of baby gear throughout the toddler years.
Ready to purchase yours? Ask your questions in the comments below to receive feedback from our helpful community.
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