File under problems I never thought I’d have: Agonizing over double strollers. With a 17-month-old in tow and a brand new baby, I’ve been feeling the pressure to pick the perfect ride.
If I was still in New York where my primary means of transportation were my own two feet and unpredictable winter weather was inevitable, I just might be plunking down serious cash for a Bugaboo Donkey. But now that I drive just about everywhere in sunny California, my priorities have changed. How easy is the stroller to fold? How heavy and wide is it? Will it fit in my trunk? Is side-by-side or inline (front-to-back) a better choice? Do I even need a double stroller?
Lucky for me and you, the wonderful Sheri Gurock, stroller expert and co-founder of the fabulously well-stocked baby gear and toy store Magic Beans, kindly answered my questions and shared some of her favorite double strollers available right now. She also gave us the inside scoop on a few new strollers hitting the market as we speak and in the months to come,
So for you parents of multiples or babies just a year or two apart, sit back, relax and start your pros and cons list of double strollers. Hope this helps you narrow your choices down!
Related: The best affordable jogging strollers
CMP: What do parents need to consider before buying a double stroller?
Sheri: Parents need to consider two major things. First, they should consider whether they really need a true double stroller. Parents of twins will need a stroller with two full-sized seats, since their kids will be at the same developmental stages at the same time. But if they’re shopping for a second (or third or fourth) kid, they may have more flexibility to choose a stroller with a smaller second seat.
Second, they need to consider their lifestyle and confront their car and storage realities. Make a list of priorities: What do you need the stroller to do for you, and what features would be nice to have? Be prepared to make more compromises with a double stroller, because no matter what you get, it’s going to be bigger and heavier than you’d like it to be. Hauling around a big piece of gear feels a lot better when that gear is consistently making your life easier, and not making you crazy. If you have a lot of steps or very small storage spaces or a tiny trunk, you need to prioritize getting something that will be easy to move around and store. If you love to be active, you should invest in something that will enable that lifestyle!
In general, some double strollers are “jack of all trades” types, and can fill a wide range of roles, but may not do any one specific thing perfectly. Some are specialists: An umbrella-style double will be small(er) and light(er) than other options, but you wouldn’t want to take it to a Renaissance Fair, because those small wheels need smooth surfaces. A double jogging stroller will be durable and easy to maneuver, but you may not be able to fit it in your front closet. Be realistic about what you’re expecting from your stroller.
CMP: Are you seeing more side-by-side or inline (front-to-back) strollers nowadays? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both? Is there any reason to consider getting both?
Sheri: Both models are popular. The side-by-side models are nice because they usually handle better than the front-to-back models and both kids have a good view. But they are also very wide and can pose a challenge getting through doorways and store aisles, and it can be harder to fit them into a small trunk or closet. Inline strollers are a little harder to maneuver because of the weight distribution between the front and the back, but they fit much more easily through small spaces. Convertible double strollers are really nice because you can use them with one or two children, which provides a lot of flexibility in the long term. When my girls were little, I had a Mountain Buggy and a phil&teds, and I used both of them a lot. So if you have the space and the budget, certainly it could make sense to get both, but I think if I was shopping in 2015 (and not 2005) I would probably do things differently.
CMP: What are your top five double stroller recommendations?
If the Bugaboo Donkey is an option, go for it. It’s such a great stroller. It’s big, but it handles really nicely and it has a lot of flexibility, since you can use it as a single or a double, with carrycots, seats, or car seats (or any combination thereof). There’s great engineering inside this model and the quality is really exceptional. It will also hold its value when you’re ready to re-sell it. (Bugaboo Donkey, $1,239.05-$1,705.10)
2. BABY JOGGER CITY MINI GT
I love this stroller. It’s lightweight and has a zippy feel. It folds really easily and has two nice, roomy seats with huge canopies. It’s a great option for two. The regular model (City Mini) is also fabulous, but I personally prefer the more robust tires on the GT, especially here in the northeast. (Baby Jogger City Mini GT, $579.99)
3. BOB REVOLUTION FLEX DUALLIE
If you’re all about the active lifestyle, this is a great option. It’s great for running, trails, or any other outdoor pursuits. It pushes beautifully. (BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, $552)
4. BABY JOGGER CITY SELECT
This is another convertible double. You can use it as a single or a double, and it can be configured in a range of different ways. Unlike the Donkey, this is a front-to-back model. When it’s weighed down, the handling can suffer a little, but you get a lot of flexibility in exchange. (Baby Jogger City Select, $499.99)
5. MOUNTAIN BUGGY DUET
We don’t have this at Magic Beans anymore, but it’s still a favorite of mine. I love the sturdiness and smooth handling of the Mountain Buggy, and this double is barely wider than a single stroller. The seats are a little on the narrow side, so you’d need to assess whether it will work for your family in the long term, but for the right age and size configuration it’s a great option. (Mountain Buggy Duet, $561.15, Amazon affiliate)
CMP: What new double strollers or convertible strollers are you excited about? And when will they be available? (Asks the eager new mom of two who really needs one now…)
2015 UPPABABY VISTA
Sheri: Uppababy has revamped their bestselling Vista so that it will be a convertible inline double stroller. The Rumble Seat (the Vista’s second seat) has been upgraded substantially so that it can face in or out and it reclines. It is pretty awesome, and you can pre-order it now.
2015 BABY JOGGER VUE DOUBLE UMBRELLA STROLLER
Baby Jogger is coming out with the Vue Double Stroller, which will be an umbrella-style side-by-side double with reversible seats and car seat compatibility. That’s a lot of function in a small footprint. It is coming out in February or March 2015.
[UPDATE Jan 2015: Baby Vue has decided not to move forward with this model, but will have a similar umbrella stroller instead.]
2015 UPPABABY G-LINK DOUBLE UMBRELLA STROLLER
UPPAbaby is also making the G-Link Double Stroller, which is a double version of their popular G-Luxe stroller. The whole thing weighs just 20 pounds! It’ll be available in the summer of 2015.
VALCO SNAP DUO2 DOUBLE STROLLER
Valco has a great new lightweight double, the Snap Duo2. It has a nice, easy fold and roomy seats. It is available now!
Alternate option: BUGABOO COMFORT WHEELED BOARD
If you have an older toddler or preschooler, or your first child rarely naps in the stroller anymore, you may be able to get away with a wheeled board on a single stroller. Something that’s new and exciting in this area: Ride-on boards with a seat attachment. Happy Kids makes one for Bugaboo, but Bugaboo is also coming out with their own this spring called the Comfort Wheeled Board. Lascal is also coming out with their own, more universal version. It’s a great idea in many ways; you can use your single stroller, which will save money. You also have different options depending on what kind of mood your child is in. You also don’t have to push a double around if you only have one kid with you.
Be sure to check out our archives for more stroller reviews and recommendations. And visit our friends at the family-run Magic Beans for all kinds of wonderful baby gifts and gear. We love them!