Buggy v travel system v all-terrain pushchairs

Pushchairs

Buggy v travel system v all-terrain pushchairs

by Lisa Galliers

Find out which type of pushchair is best for you, your baby and your budget.

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Which pushchair is best for you?

Buggies

Buggies, also known as strollers, come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the lightest, most basic buggy to more robust models with lots of added features. As a result they suit a wide variety of parents. However, some strollers aren't suitable for babies under six months old as the backrest doesn't recline far enough or they don't have enough padding. 

Travel systems

Travel systems with child car seats are aimed at people who use their car a lot. They will suit people who want to be able to transfer their child between car, pushchair and home without disturbing them too much. Travel systems are versatile but they can be pricey, and it's important to remember that babies should not spend long periods of time in a child car seat.  

All-terrain pushchairs

All-terrain pushchairs suit parents who spend their free time in the countryside or in parks., or who live in areas where the pavements are poor. They provide a smooth ride for your child and cope well with rough ground. However they're often too large to use on public transport, or in crowded places such as supermarkets. Plus you'll need a big boot to transport them and a large storage space at home. 

You can compare the key differences between the features of buggies, travel systems and all-terrain pushchairs below to find out which type of pushchair is the best fit for you and your baby. 

Buggy or travel system or all-terrain pushchair
 

Buggy

Travel system

All-terrain

WheelsTend to have hard, plastic wheels.  If you want to take your stroller across bumpy ground, look for swivel wheels that can be locked for extra stability.  May come with plastic wheels, foam-filled wheels or wheels with pneumatic tyres.Some have large, chunky, pneumatic tyres (the same as on a bike) and some have foam-filled wheels. Pneumatic tyres need pumping up with a bicycle pump. And keep a puncture repair kit on hand.
SeatMay have a forward-facing seat which can't be reversed which means your baby won't be facing you. Usually can't take strollers or car seats.Flexible. Could be a pushchair seat, could be a car seat or a carrycot. Check out our car seat reviews.All-terrain models may take car seats or carrycots. All-terrain pushchairs designed purely for running will often only have a forward-facing seat.
Storage basketAn umbrella fold buggy usually has a small basket. Access to it will often to compromised, especially when the seat is full reclined.Basket sizes vary tremendously. Look for a basket with sides that aren't too shallow so your shopping won't slip out.Plan on doing lots of off-road walking? Consider a basket which zips or closes shut to protect your stuff from mud.
SuspensionUnlikely to have suspension and if it does will be limited.Expensive, premium models will have rear or all-round suspension.Usually have good, all-round suspension that may even be adjustable.
HandlesTend to have split handles which mean they can be folded down smaller, but this does make them harder to push one handed. The height isn't usually adjustable.Can be a single or split handle. Most have adjustable height handlebars. Height can be changed either telescopically or by altering the angle.Will be a single handlebar that is height adjustable by altering the angle.
FoldingThe smallest option, ideal if you have a tiny car boot. Small wheel base means there's usually not much room for shopping.Bigger than an umbrella fold stroller, but there are some impressive compact folds on the market now.Often wider and longer than non off-road models, so harder to store on fit in the car boot. Choose something you can lift or fold without having to come into contact with muddy wheels.
BrakesMost tend to have linked brakes operated by a lever at the back. The mechanism can be small, so make sure you are able to operate it and that it's not too hard to click on and off.Watch out for brake pedals that project beyond the pushchair's wheels as these can catch on stairs and engage the brakes accidentally. Also watch out for pushchairs with a rear brake bar as this can obstruct your feet.Many all-terrain models and pushchairs approved for running will have a handbrake (sometimes in addition to a footbrake). Make sure it's easy to operate with one hand.
BackrestNot all buggies are suitable for newborns as the backrest won't recline far enough. Cheaper models often have strap reclines which need two hands to operate. Lever operated systems are generally easier to use.Most can use a carrycot to create a lie flat for your newborn. Or make sure the pushchair seat reclines to more than 150 degrees and is not a bucket seat if you want to use it for a newborn.Pick a model with a backrest that reclines to more than 150 degrees to give the lie-flat position that's best for a newborn, or a model that can take a carrycot. Bucket seats can only be used from six months. Check padding is supportive enough.

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