Picking your pushchair is like buying a car but, in many ways, it’s an even more complex and confusing process - this is essentially your baby’s second home for the next few years, and it needs to fit with your lifestyle too. So you need to understand the jargon.
For the most part, pushchairs fall into three categories. You have your bog standard ones – called “prams” or “pushchairs” - which are sturdy and suitable for most little ones from newborn to toddler. In most cases they will morph from lie-flat prams to easy reclineable seats.
Then you have “travel systems” which are similar to pushchairs and prams, but slightly more diverse, in that the seat can also be used in your car. You just detach it from one and put it in the other. These tend to be a bit more expensive, but then you don’t have to splash out on a separate car seat.
There are “strollers”, which are generally compact, lightweight, and will often fold away in a style not dissimilar to a good brolly. Traditionally these were geared towards toddlers (from six months onwards), but there are now a fair few out there for newborns onwards. Lots of parents switch to them when babies stop sleeping so much in the pushchair. They’re less cumbersome and easier to store.
And then there are sportier options, which tend to only have one front wheel, and wheels that are more like all-terrain tyres.
So with all of that in mind, and with a demanding 15-month-old to impress, here are the 10 best on offer for a variety of different budgets.
1. Mothercare Orb Pram and Pushchair: Mothercare, £429
Like the very best buggies, this goes from a lie-flat pram for newborns to sit-up pushchair for toddlers, so it’s a worthwhile, long-term investment. Plus, at a very reasonable price, it won’t cast too much of a shadow over your bank balance. It can also be turned into a travel system.
2. Bugaboo Bee 3: £420, John Lewis
A compact, lightweight stroller that’s good enough for Posh Spice - the Dutch company Bugaboo have marketed this as an “Urban Pushchair”, because it’s made to fit with life in a metropolis. Simple to manoeuvre, recline and collapse, and unlike more traditional strollers, this suits newborns to toddlers, which means that it can be your only buggy. A strong choice from the cheaper end of the Bugaboo range.
3. Stokke Xplory: £849, Mamas & Papas
If they’d had buggies on Star Trek, this is probably what they’d look like. The unique adjustable seat means you can position your baby high enough so they can look you right in the eye, which is said to be great for bonding parent and child, even when you’re darting around the shops. With a few extras, it can also be converted into a travel system. Expensive, though.
4. Phil & Teds Sport 2 Pushchair, Mid Blue: £449, John Lewis
Here’s one for healthy parents who don’t let a little thing like child rearing get in the way of an exercise regime. This is a lightweight, three-wheeled sports buggy, with tyres suitable for numerous different terrains. It’s perfect for scampering around the park on a Sunday morning, or for off-road use. There’s also a great break system on the handle, which ensures that your little one can’t roll away unexpectedly.
5. Bugaboo Cameleon 3: £899 John Lewis
Suitable from birth onwards, and at the top end of the Bugaboo range, this stroller has got everything you’d want and expect from a Bugaboo product - only it’s all been tweaked and modified to be lighter and simpler to use. It’s car seat compatible, so can be transformed into a travel system, and you can change the wheels to suit different terrains too. The only downside is the cost.
6. iCandy Strawberry 2: £550, John Lewis
This one is a sturdy, functional buggy - its big selling point being that you can fold it away without removing the seat, which is a huge bonus for parents in a hurry. This will suit your little one from newborn to tot, and should you want to, it can be adapted to fit a car seat.
7. Cosatto Yo! 2 Stroller, Go Brightly: £250, John Lewis
This is a colourful, lightweight stroller, which folds away like an umbrella, making it great for storage. You’ll also find a fleecy footmuff for cold feet, a kangaroo pouch for cold hands, and an iPad pocket for cold gadgets – it’s very much a millennial product. Like the Bugaboo Bee, this is a decent stroller that can also comfortably house newborns.
8. Silver Cross Reflex Stroller: £200, John Lewis
The British brand Silver Cross comes with a royal seal of approval – Kate Middleton owns some of its more traditional products, although little George hasn’t been seen in one of these. He’d presumably enjoy its extra roomy seat. And with some add-ons (sold separately) it can be converted into a pram for newborns, or a travel system.
9. Mamas & Papas Barnie Buggy: £70, Asda George
For those operating under a much tighter budget, this is a basic buggy that does exactly what it says on the tin. It’s lightweight and easy to fold, and it’s suitable for children from six months onwards. It could even serve you well as a back-up buggy, or one you can take on holiday or leave with the grandparents.
10. Maclaren Techno XT Stroller: £275, John Lewis
A great, dependable choice for first timers, this has everything you need without over-egging the pudding: a nice modern design from a trusted brand, an umbrella fold making it easy to store or put in the boot, and four handy reclining seat positions to suit the mood of your baby. It comes in a variety of colours, and can be used for newborns.
There are a lot of pushchairs out there, and in general, most of them can be modified with add-ons to suit your needs. Strollers that suit newborns, pushchairs that can be travel systems - if you’re willing to spend a bit extra, you can upgrade most models to suit your specifications. In terms of pure value for money, the Mothercare Orb Pram and Pushchair is an amazing price, and the Bugaboo Bee 3 will always be a top choice for people living in cities – it's certainly the ideal urban pushchair.
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