This weekend kicks off the month-long string of weekends full of travel, keeping us jet-setting till December 3rd. Prior to this weekend when we traveled with Max, our one and a half-year-old, we took his Chicco Key Fit 30 Stroller…which is a bit bulky for a 3 day trip to Houston. Yesterday I picked out seven umbrella strollers to test. We have known for a while it was time to buy an umbrella stroller and today we pulled the trigger. Like when we bought the Chicco Key Fit, we went to Babies R Us because I have found them to be the most knowledgeable about how strollers work and are great at pairing you up with what works best for your needs. As in the past I was very impressed with the customer service and our representative helped us make a very informed decision.
We pulled out all the strollers I had been interested in (and some I had never heard of) and tested each one. The front-runner was the Chicco Liteway for sure. Fun colors, easy operation, and I have come to trust the Chicco brand. A big plus for me on strollers is the ability to collapse and unfold with one hand because your other hand is always full…soon it’ll be full with another baby! I also prefer strollers that auto-lock once folded. The Chicco Liteway met all these standards and was in our budget of under $100. However, the foot section would always pop up in infant mode when you unfolded it, meaning every time you unfolded the stroller you would need two hands to fold down the foot section for Max to get in.
The Jeep Wrangler Sport All Weather was a cheap piece of crap and I couldn’t see it lasting more than a trip or two so we dismissed it as well as the First Years Jet. The Inglesia line was over $100 and Kate felt this was too much to spend on an umbrella stroller so that cancelled them out. All of the strollers under $50 fell into the “cheap piece of crap” category and our sales rep simply told us “you get what you pay for.” We even looked at the $15 models…but the image of it being gate checked on the plane and coming back mangled was pretty clear in my head.
Next we tried the Babies R Us Deluxe Umbrella and it quickly became the front-runner over the Chicco Liteway. Easy operation, fun colors, and everything we liked about the Chicco without the foot section issue. Plus it was only $69 and designed by Babies R Us (which is a good thing). The only downside was that it clasp-locked instead of auto locked. I know that sounds minor but when we use a stroller it is usually when we are jumping in and out of cabs in a major city and not having to fuss with a lock is a huge bonus. I was very torn.
We were ready to pull the trigger on the Babies R Us brand stroller when we tried one last one: The Maclaren Volo. My sister had a Maclaren and they are well-known as a product that will last. Side-by-side they were extremely comparable…then the dissection began! The Volo had an auto lock, larger bonnet, better handles, a larger storage basket, and the basket was easier to access. The only downside was the $120 price tag. So we bought the floor model for $100.
This weekend will be the true test but I am confident we made a smart decision. It rides smooth, the bonnet locks into place, the basket was the biggest, it has a washable seat, and the strap used to collapse it doubles as a shoulder strap for carrying it when not in use. It is simple in design, lightweight, and by picking up the floor model we stayed within our budget. My suggestion to you if you are looking for a stroller is to go to Babies R Us or a local resale shop where you can find knowledgeable people to help demonstrate how they all work. Target had 3 options (none of which were assembled), Toys R Us has a smaller selection than Babies R Us, and I avoid Walmart at all costs. Every parent has a different need and the Maclaren Volo seemed to fit ours. Second place went to the Britax B-Agile Stroller which I highly recommend. It folded up to smaller than expected, was so smooth, and only slightly larger than the Maclaren. However we were 100% in the market for a lightweight stroller or umbrella since we will be needing a dual stroller in February. Third place goes to the Babies R Us Deluxe which if you could care less about brand name and auto locking when folded I highly recommend this great product. Full report on the performance of the Volo to come next week!
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