How to Choose a Stroller
By Ana Hammer

How to Choose a Stroller

Are you about to give birth and haven’t lucked out on finding a suitable stroller yet?

I know how shopping for a stroller can be a tall order, especially if it’s your first child. You keep coming across features that you don’t know whether you’ll need, and you don’t want to pay extra money for luxuries you won’t use often. Luckily, I came up with a buying guide that made my stroller shopping experience a breeze, and I’ll share it with you!

I’ll tell you what types of strollers to consider, what features to look for, and overall how to choose a stroller for your child, so let’s dive in!

Types of Strollers: What to Buy and What to Ignore

Strollers come in five types that have different uses, Here’s a rundown of each type and whether you should consider buying it.

1. Full-Size Stroller

Full-size strollers are the standard type that every household with babies needs. They’re more durable than any of the other types, so they’re most likely to stay with you if you have more than one child. Also, they’re often bulkier with bigger seats and canopies.

In my opinion, you can’t leave the store without a full-size stroller. Even if you have to buy one of the other types, you should get it. It’s the most suitable for everyday errands and walks, and it’ll fit your kid until they’re old enough to walk.

2. Double Stroller

Double strollers are similar to full-size strollers in features, only they can take two kids instead of one. They’re the perfect choice if you’re having twins or have two kids close in age. While I don’t appreciate how bulky and heavy they are, they make it easier to walk around with two babies. Also, because they’re naturally bigger, they have huge storage spaces.

Double Stroller

Most double strollers are versatile in their setups. For instance, you can put the two seats next to each other or one behind the other. I certainly recommend getting them if you’re having twins for how practical and durable they are.

3. Jogging Stroller

Jogging strollers are for athletic parents who can’t live without their daily morning run. They come with bulky and durable wheels that can take bumps and uneven terrains much better than normal strollers. Also, they have larger canopies to protect your kid from the sun. The idea is to put your child inside the stroller and jog while pushing them.

I don’t really jog, but I can see how practical a jogging stroller can be for parents. Having said that, I don’t think it can replace a full-size stroller because it’s only suitable for children 8 months and older. Also, jogging strollers don’t come with fully reclining seats, so your kid’s seating arrangement will be restricted

4. Lightweight Stroller

Lightweight strollers come in handy for parents who move and travel a lot because they’re much lighter than full-size strollers. While the latter’s weight averages 30 pounds or more, lightweight strollers are usually about 7-16 pounds. Since they’re smaller, they’re suitable for taking on planes and public transportation.

Lightweight Stroller

That said, lightweight strollers are only suitable for kids 6 months and older, so they can’t be the only option you have. Ideally, you should get a full-size stroller as your main and only buy a lightweight one if you need it.

5. Travel System

A travel system isn’t really a stroller. Rather, it’s a package of a stroller and a car seat that can connect to the same frame. It’s a practical option if you like to move with your car seat without disturbing your baby, as you can carry it with them sleeping inside and connect it to the frame.

While buying both as a package will save you money, you should know that they’re often not as high-quality as each product on its own. However, they’re the only option on this list that can replace a full-size stroller entirely.

If you want to learn more, check out my comprehensive guide about the types of strollers!

Features to Consider When Buying a Stroller

Aside from their types, strollers come packing endless features that you won’t know whether you need if you’re a first-timer. You might end up paying a lot of money for useless features or missing out on essential ones. Believe me, I’ve been there!

To save you the hassle, I’ve made a list of the features you might come across while shopping and how you’ll use them.


Safety is always the first and most important feature to consider while buying baby stuff, especially one as important as a stroller.

To check a stroller’s safety, you should look for a 5-point safety harness, easy-to-use brakes, a durable frame, and the ability to recline the seat fully.

The harness will keep your baby in place while walking or jogging, and the brakes will make for easier and safer stops, especially on sloped surfaces.

As for the reclining of the seat, each age has a suitable recline angle that you should adjust. To ensure the stroller is safe for your baby throughout the years, you should look for a seat that can be reclined all the way.

Finally, a durable frame will ensure the stroller doesn’t collapse under your baby’s weight.

Suitability for Newborns

Newborns don’t have enough head and neck strength to sleep on non-flat surfaces, so they need a stroller with a seat that can fully recline. Sadly, not all strollers come this way, so you’ll need to do some research before buying one.

You can also make it easier for yourself and buy a stroller that is compatible with an infant car seat. This way, you can install it instead of the regular stroller seat and push your baby around from as early as the day of birth.

If you haven’t bought a car seat for your baby yet, check out my detailed infant car seat guide! 

Suitability for Newborns

In all cases, this is an extremely important feature to consider while buying a stroller. You don’t want to spend a lot of money only to realize that you can’t use the product you bought for 6-8 months.

Weight and Foldability

Strollers come in a wide range of weights. Some average 25-30 pounds, while some reach a whopping 70 pounds. Since you’ll be carrying the folded stroller nearly every day, you need to consider its weight and whether you can handle it.

Also, let me tell you from experience that some strollers are heavier without any extra features to account for the added weight. Accordingly, the heavier doesn’t always mean the better.

Besides weight, you should also check the stroller’s foldability before buying it. Nearly all strollers are foldable; however, they don’t all come with easy folding mechanisms. Some can be folded with a push of a button, while some are more complicated than that.

Most of the time, you’ll be folding your stroller in a hurry while carrying your baby on your arm, so I recommend looking for a one-hand folding mechanism.


Before buying a stroller, you should check its dimensions while folded and unfolded, especially if the storage spaces in your house are small. Some strollers are extremely bulky, even when folded, which isn’t convenient because they might not fit in your car trunk. Also, they’ll be more challenging to handle and push around while alone.

I personally prefer compact strollers. While bulky ones are often more durable, they come with too much of a hassle.


The perfect stroller canopy should be retractable and large enough to protect your baby’s face from the sun. A feature I also like to look for is a small peek-a-boo window so that I can look at my sleeping kid without turning the stroller around. However, it’s not that essential, so you can skip it.


Some canopies are removable in case you like to take a walk with your kid after the sun sets. While I can see the appeal, I like how canopies also provide protection against wind, cold weather, rain, and more, so I don’t usually look for this feature while shopping.

Washable Fabrics

As every parent knows, babies and toddlers like to drop food and drink all around, so ending up with a dirty stroller is inevitable, no matter how careful you are. That’s why buying a stroller with washable fabrics is something worth considering.

Some strollers come with fabrics that are so delicate you can’t push them in the washing machine, which isn’t practical if you ask me. Between changing diapers, breastfeeding, and caring for yourself, you certainly won’t find the time to hand-wash the stroller’s fabrics. Instead, you should look for machine-washable fabrics that are easy to remove and replace.


A stroller’s wheels are an important feature to consider for your child’s safety. Since there are 3-wheeled and 4-wheeled strollers on the market, you have some thinking to do.

Generally, 3-wheeled strollers are more maneuverable in narrow areas but less stable on the ground. You should expect a lot of jiggling, especially on rough terrains. I personally prefer 4-wheeled strollers because they make me feel more secure while walking.

On top of that, wheels come in many materials, including plastic, foam-filled, and air-filled. Ideally, you should stay away from plastic because it’s the least durable and doesn’t absorb shocks from road bumps.


Between foam-filled and air-filled tires, the former is more durable and eliminates the risk of a flat tire while walking. However, air-filled tires are smoother and lighter on the ground, thus easier to push around.

If you don’t mind filling your stroller’s wheels with air every now and then, I recommend getting air-filled tires because they’re more comfortable. Having tried both, I didn’t appreciate the resistance and heaviness of foam-filled tires over uneven terrains.

Seat Position Versatility

Many strollers come with the option to install the seat facing forward or backward, which is an ideal feature if you like to keep an eye on your baby all the time.

Being restricted to a forward-facing position can be frustrating since you’ll have to turn the stroller around every time your baby makes a sound, so it’s a feature worth considering.

Storage Baskets

Every parent knows the challenges of packing for an errand with a baby. You need the baby’s bag, toys for distraction, a blanket, and more. Now, where will you put all of these and your handbag if your stroller doesn’t have a basket? And the larger the basket, the better, of course!

Storage Baskets

A point you should also check is how wide the opening of the basket is. Some storage baskets have frustratingly narrow openings, so you’ll need to wiggle every item in and out, and some items won’t fit.

Adjustable Handlebars

Adjustable handlebars, while not an essential feature, can make your life much easier. They give you the freedom to adjust the height of the handlebars so that they suit more than one person. This way, whether the stroller is used by a short mother and a tall father or vice versa, both parents will be able to use it comfortably without straining their arms.

Stroller Accessories

With the essential features out of the way, I can now talk about the luxuries. As you might have noticed, some strollers come with extra accessories to make your life easier, like a snack tray, rain cover, mosquito net, cup holder, or standing platform for the older sibling. They cost more money, but some can really come in handy.

My personal favorites are the rain cover and mosquito net because they let me go to any outdoor area with my kids without having concerns about the weather. 

You should note that some strollers don’t come with these accessories in one package, but the brand offers them as separate compatible purchases. Meanwhile, some strollers don’t even have compatible accessories, so you should check before making your purchase.


Strollers come in a wide range of prices. You can land a stroller anywhere between $100 and $1000, but are expensive strollers safer and better?

They definitely come with more luxuries and features than affordable ones, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re safer. You’ll find safety features in all strollers, even the cheapest ones. For that reason, you should stick to your budget when getting a stroller, even if it’s limited.

To Wrap Up

Buying a reliable stroller can be challenging because you might not know which features you’ll need and which are considered luxuries, especially if you’re having your first child.

From experience, you should first settle on the type of stroller you want, with my biggest recommendation being a full-size one. After that, you should consider its essential features, like safety, foldability, wheels, price, and suitability for newborns.

The last thing you should consider is the luxuries you might need, like adjustable handlebars, extra accessories, washable fabrics, and more. With these pointers in mind, I guarantee that you’ll get a suitable stroller for you and your child!

If you’re still having a hard time choosing a stroller, check my reviews of the best strollers for babies and toddlers here!

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  • June 25, 2023

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