If you thought finding the right car to buy was complicated, try choosing a pushchair.
Your first job is to decide which of the four main types you want. First, a pram (lie-flat for newborns) that can later be converted into a buggy (reclining seat for toddlers). Second, a travel system, which does all that, plus has extras including a car seat and carrycot that can be clicked in and out of the pushchair, which is handy when you have a sleeping baby that you don’t want to wake. Third, a stroller, which tends to be smaller, lighter and easy to fold away – particularly good for toddlers (although increasingly, you can get ones from newborn onwards). Fourth - and we’ve got a separate round-up for this one - jogging strollers, aimed at enabling you to keep fit with your baby in tow.
Next up, you’ll need to think about what kind of terrain your littlun is likely to travel across. While some pushchairs have tyres and suspension made to cope with country walks, others are designed with urban pavements in mind. After that, it’s a case of what features mean the most to you. One-hand-fold? Revisable seat? Flip-flop friendly brake? Adjustable handles? Big storage basket? And so on. Oh, and don’t forget to keep your budget front of mind. While some pushchairs come in at as little as £50 others approach, or even go over, a grand.
Ideally, try it out before you buy – you need to feel for yourself how easy it is to navigate, whether it suits your height, how easy you find it to fold and so on. Don’t forget to consider storage too. You’ll feel a right fool if you get it home only to find it won’t fit in your car boot or it blocks your front door, even when stuffed into the corner of your hall. And weight is arguably as important, particularly if you’re going to need to take it on public transport or lug it up stairs.
1. Mothercare Genie Pushchair: £314, Mothercare
This stylish buggy with a reversible seat does pretty much everything its more expensive counterparts do, but for a fraction of the price. Easy to manoeuvre, tick. Works on and off road, tick. Smooth ride for your baby, tick. Converts into a travel system, tick. It goes from a lie-flat pram for newborns to sit-up pushchair for toddlers and you can even buy a second seat (only another £100) if you want to turn it into a tandem pushchair at a later date. But make sure you have strong arms and a big car boot though, as it’s heavy and big.
2. Stokke Xplory Pushchair: £849, Mothercare
This travel system-compatible buggy boasts futuristic looks, is ready to use straight from the box and has a unique adjustable seat that lets you position your baby so high that they can look you directly in the eye, even while you’re rushing around, which is great for bonding. Everything about it feels beautifully engineered and it's easy to steer and adjust - and this latest version, with black chassis, looks uber-chic too. It’s better for urban use rather than rough tracks, though and the carrycot costs another £170. Extras include rain cover and mosquito net.
3. Joie Nitro Stroller: £79.99, Argos
If you’re on a tight budget – or you want a back-up buggy – this lightweight stroller is the easiest to steer, recline and fold for under £100 that we could find. The shopping basket is large, the brake works well and it stands the test of time. While it’s not as robust as some of the more expensive strollers, it’s steadier and less rickety than most at this price point and although the handlebars aren’t height adjustable, they are well padded and high enough not to give you an aching back. It’s suitable to use from birth, too.
4. Britax Affinity 2: £499.95, Kiddies Kingdom
This minimalist-looking pushchair comes in a variety of colours, making it an instant win aesthetically, while practically it performs well in the city and on country walks. It’s lightweight yet sturdy and folds like a dream. It’s a breeze to steer and can be used from birth, when used with the carrycot, which is easy to attach but does cost extra. We also like the height-adjustable handle, good suspension and reversible, roomy and easy-to-recline seat. The basket could be easier to get to, however, and it takes time to set up.
5. Baby Jogger City Premier Stroller: £449.99, Amazon
If you rarely have both hands to spare when trying to get your stroller to work in your favour, then you’ll love this one, with its one-hand recline, one-hand fold and easy-to-reach-with-one-hand shopping basket. It’s so easy to push that you can even use just one hand when moving short distances. It’s not the smallest or lightest of buggies though, but it’s surprisingly compact when folded and the roomy seat and top-notch suspension makes for a super-comfy ride on and off road. Can use from six months, or from birth with additional carrycot or car seat.
6. Nuna Mixx: £450, Nuna
New for this year, this pushchair manages the bumpiest of country tracks well and has one of the biggest baskets we’ve come across, yet it’s also stylish and impressively compact. It’s got a reversible seat and isn’t too heavy. We also like the spacious seat, deep recline and the fact that the brake works even if you’re wearing flip-flops. You can’t fold it with one hand, though. Suitable to use from birth.
7. Omnio Stroller: £389, Paul Stride
Known as the Brompton of strollers, this multiple award-winner is stable and easy to steer thanks to the wheels with 360-degree manoeuvrability. It’s also lightweight and can be folded down to backpack proportions so that parents can either wear it or stow it away in the tiniest of spaces in the home, car or train. It even fits in the overhead locker of a plane. The wheels can tackle a range of surfaces, all the while keeping your little cherub stable, secure and comfy. Suitable from six months, it’s best for those with more active lifestyles and comes with a raincover, travel bag and fully detachable all-weather hood.
8. Cosatto Supa Stroller: £179.90, Kiddies Kingdom
If you want to stand out from the crowd, without breaking the bank, this magnificent-looking buggy is available in a glittering array of colourful and quirky designs. Functionally-wise, it’s reasonably light and compact, and it’s well-engineered so that it reclines and folds with ease, while the hood is big enough to deal with both rain and sun. It’s not as robust as some, however, and the harness can be a bit fiddly until you get used to it. Suitable to use from birth.
9. I-Candy Peach Pushchair: £755, Mothercare
The big selling point for this smart-looking travel-system is that it can easily be transformed into a double buggy without adding on too much bulk, making this a good investment in the long-term. It gives an exceptionally smooth ride even on rough terrain, requiring nothing but the lightest push, and the attention to detail is striking, including the huge hood and decent-sized shopping basket. But it’s heavy and there’s a knack involved in reclining the seat. It can be used from six months (or birth if you buy the extra carrycot) and it’s available in a wide variety of colour combos.
10. Quinny Yezz Stroller: £175, Mothercare
If you're looking for a buggy to keep at your parents or use on holiday, you could do a lot worse than this funky-looking three-wheeler that’s suitable from six-months-old. No-frills it may be (there’s no seat recline or adjustable handle height) and it’s quite noisy, but it’s sturdy and easy to push, fold away and store, and it’s great for public transport too.
11. Ickle Bubba Stomp v3: £399, Kiddicare
If you’re after a full travel system for a great price, this is well worth considering. Including carrycot, car seat and isofix base - and even a changing bag – you won’t have to buy anything else to transport your little cherub, and it’s all a cinch to put together, as well as being lightweight. The ride could be smoother, but there’s a well-padded seat to help and it’s easy to push and has more walking room behind it than many pushchairs. It’s easy to fold and fits into most boots. Can be used from birth.
12. Bugaboo Bee 5 Pushchair: £549, Mothercare
Brought to you by the brand of choice for Posh and Becks, not to mention some of the Royals, the Bee 5 is compact, lightweight and suitable from newborns upwards with the carrycot. It’s a sheer joy to steer, with fabulous suspension, and there’s also very little chance of someone having the same one as you - there are over 792 style combinations from which to customise your buggy, including base, canopy, seat fabric, handlebar grips and even wheels. Not for rougher terrain though and it’s pricey (although positively cheap compared to some other Bugaboos).
13. Graco Evo XT Pushchair: £399.99, Mothercare
We were torn between including the original version of this buggy, the Evo – or its newer equivalent that’s built for off-road, the Evo XT. We’ve gone with the latter, only because it’s such a godsend for outdoorsy people who are as likely to be pushing their littlun up hills as they are tarmacked pavements. There’s ample storage room too, but there is a knack to fitting a car seat on, if you want to change it into a travel system. Suitable to use from birth.
The Verdict: Pushchairs
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