Pushchair reviews: Features explained
The most important features on pushchairs
Find out which features will make your life as a new parent a whole lot easier. Or just jump to our list of the pushchairs we recommend.
Pushchair brake pedals
Good pushchairs should have brake pedals which are easy to put on and off. Brake pedals that project beyond the pushchair's wheels can catch on stairs and engage the brakes accidentally.
Some pushchairs have one button which clicks the brakes on, and another one to click them off. This feature is popular with our pushchair testers.
A bar which connects the rear brakes can obstruct your feet.
Folding mechanisms on pushchairs
Pushchairs with a good folding mechanism can be the difference between a simple one-handed motion with your baby on your hip, or having to put your baby down while you struggle with clips, catches and buttons.
Look for pushchairs with a one-handed motion and accessories which don’t need to be detached; don’t take the manufacturer's word for it, try before you buy.
Choose a pushchair with handles that turn inward to help support the wrist in a natural position and make pushing more comfortable.
Check you can find a comfortable position if you are particularly tall, small or amply-proportioned. Pushchairs with height-adjustable handles are worth paying more for, if people of very different heights will be pushing your child.
We often find that separate handles seem to flex quite a bit when you apply pressure to turn the pushchair, but they are tested to ensure that they comply with the British Standard for handle strength.
A handle bar is sometimes a more comfortable option, but a surprising number of bars are oval or square-shaped, and can become uncomfortable to use.
Pushchairs with reclining backrests
Look for pushchairs with a mechanism that makes it easy to lower the backrest with your child in the seat; some are much smoother than others.
The best pushchairs for newborn babies have a recline greater than 150 degrees.
Pushchairs with suspension
Pushchairs with suspension generally give a more comfortable ride, but the level of padding and seat design will also influence comfort.
If your pushchair will only ever see the inside of a shopping mall or roll over well-finished pavements, you don't really need to pay more to get a pushchair with suspension.
Adjustable leg support
Smaller children who can't reach the foot rest often end up with their lower legs hanging off the end of the pushchair seat in mid-air.
An adjustable leg rest prevents this by adding to the length of the seat, providing good calf support, which helps to keep a toddler's legs comfortable.
Pushchairs usually have between two and six positions for an adjustable leg support. Some are simply yanked into position, other pushchairs have a push-button or lever mechanism to release before you can raise or lower it.
Pushchairs with pneumatic tyres, as on a bicycle, give a smooth ride on bumpy surfaces. However, they can be a real headache if you get a puncture.
The tyres arrive flat and need pumping up, which you can do with a normal bicycle pump. Pumps are supplied with some pushchairs.
It's worth keeping a puncture repair kit on hand if you opt for a pushchair with pneumatic tyres, and you'll have to let down the tyres if you want to take it on a plane.
Pushchairs with swivel wheels
Some pushchairs have swivel front wheels, which rotate to move in any direction with very little pushing and pulling, making it easy to manoeuvre on normal ground.
But these pushchairs are less suitable for rougher ground, where the swivel wheel can easily be knocked off-course by bumps and dips. Pushchairs with fixed wheels are best on rough surfaces.
For the best of both worlds, choose a pushchair with swivel wheels that can lock. Use the Which? product finder to compare pushchairs and find the best model for your needs.