Does it need a reversible seat? How essential is an adjustable handlebar? Everything you need to know when buying a stroller, explained.
Lightweight buggies (also called strollers) are designed to be easy to transport and to store. Depending on the brand and price point, lightweight strollers range from simple folding pushchairs to sturdy strollers complete with rain covers, shopping baskets and sun canopies.
Why might you need one?
Lightweight strollers are popular as a second buggy to support a bigger travel system. While you might want a more sturdy piece of kit for longer walks or younger babies, a lightweight stroller is better suited to nipping to the shops, or to take with you on a holiday where you’re trying to minimise your luggage. Once your little one is toddling, lightweight strollers are great to keep in the back of the car for those times they can’t go any further.
Strollers are particularly useful if you use public transport. They tend to be smaller, taking up less room on a bus, and being able to lift them on and off with one hand is going to make your journey a lot easier. However, because they’re lightweight they are often limited to small plastic wheels and no suspension, making them unsuitable for off-roading and less comfortable over long periods than a sturdy travel system. You’ll generally get a smaller storage basket too, although this can vary between brands.
Because they’re usually cheaper than a travel system, lightweight strollers can be a good option for a second buggy to leave at the grandparents’ house or with your childminder.
Things to consider
Prices range from £20 to
€250+, so there’s options to suit every budget. However, you do get what you pay for – so if you’re planning to use the buggy a lot, you’ll need to know what you can compromise on and what you can’t do without.
At the most basic level, you’ll be able to get a simple folding pushchair, such as the Evenflo Stroller Light & Easy (€52.38) or Cosco Umbrella Stroller (€26.59). While these are sometimes flimsy and don’t offer many extras, this may be all you need for nipping to and from nursery. However, a search for a cheap lightweight stroller will give you a surprising amount of options. Cheap doesn’t have to mean basic; many affordable strollers come with extras, and can be lighter than their more pricey competitors.
Around the €100 mark, you’ll get a few more features such as a sun canopy, a reclinable seat (though it’s unlikely to lie flat) and possibly a rain cover. Buggies like the Chicco Oh La La ( Starting from €182.10 at time of review), but offer benefits such as being light as a feather and having a canopy and reclinable seat.
At the top end of the market at €200 or more, you’ll get a sturdy stroller that’s likely to last you through baby one and baby two at least, with a padded, reclinable seat, larger wheels with some suspension and a whole host of extra features. Some of them, such as Chicco® Liteway Stroller , are also suitable from birth.
Most lightweight strollers are for babies aged six months and up, and can be used until your child outgrows them (usually around age four). If you want to use a stroller beyond this, we recommend checking the weight limit, as some brands can carry children up to weights of 25 kg.
There are a few strollers available from birth, although there are some downsides. For one, they’re less sturdy than a travel system or pram, which might result in a bumpy ride for a newborn. They’re also often lower down than your average pram and would require more bending for a new parent, which isn’t ideal, especially if you’ve had a C-section. All in all, we’d recommend something sturdier for a newborn unless you’re really planning to travel a lot.
Traditionally, lightweight strollers have an umbrella folding mechanism, where a switch at the back allows you to fold the stroller in half. However, more recently there have been an influx of more compact models, folding down into tiny sizes often small enough to fit in overhead lockers.For example Babyzen and Baby Jogger have their own compact folding systems.
If you want something to store in a car or house, an umbrella fold is probably enough. The folded stroller can stand upright in a cupboard taking up minimal space. Whereas, the compact folds really come in handy if you’ll be carrying the stroller around – they’re less awkwardly shaped, and may even transform into a bag like the the Babyzen Yoyo+.
It’s worth checking if the fold can be done with one hand. We’d recommend trying out a few in-store to see how easy it is to do, as the ubiquitous “one hand fold” claim isn’t always accurate!
Carrying it around
All types generally come with straps to help with carrying, although some may be comfier or easier to deal with than others. We’d recommend having a go in-store before you buy, as this will probably come down to personal taste.
Rain covers, sun canopies and more
Some lightweight strollers include extras such as rain covers, sun canopies, wheels with suspension and larger shopping baskets.
Strollers that include these usually come in at a higher price. However, one-size-fits-all raincovers can be bought separately for as little as €5, so if you’re on a tight budget there are definitely other options out there.
If you want a stroller that fully reclines (and is therefore suitable from birth), there are options throughout the price range. Some popular examples are the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller (€186.98).
Many lightweight strollers come with adjustable handlebars, so you can set them at your ideal height.
In terms of terrain, most lightweight strollers are suited mainly to urban environments with minimal suspension and small wheels. If you live more rurally or have country walks planned, there are options with bigger wheels and suspension. Phil and Teds stroller is lightweight and all terrain, although any buggy with large air tyres should be able to do the job.
- What do you need to suit your lifestyle – urban, country walks, car seat needed?
- Do you need it from birth?
- Will you have space to store it? Will it fit in your home/car?
- Buggy’s storage – is there room to carry all your things? Is it sturdy enough to take a changing bag on the handles?
- What’s included? Are you paying loads extra for basic accessories or is it good value for money?
- Test it out in store, including the folding mechanism, reclining mechanism, and adjustable handlebar. (Don’t forget to do this before Bump gets too big if you’re buying a stroller to use from birth!)
- Walk around with it. Is it natural to walk with? Does it go up steps (curbs) easily?