How to buy the best pushchair

How to buy the best pushchair

by Lisa Galliers
Get the best pushchair for your baby, your budget and your lifestyle by knowing the pushchair pitfalls to avoid.

The best pushchairs are a walk in the park to use and won't be full of of annoying or frustrating features. Plus, the pushchair should last the test of time. Find out which pushchair, travel system or stroller is really worth spending your money on.

Take a look at our Best Buy pushchairs to discover the models that Which? recommends.

How much do I need to spend on a pushchair?

You can spend less than £100 to more than £1,000 for a pushchair, but a desirable name and fancy fabrics won't always mean it will be a dream to push. With Best Buy pushchairs from as little as £200, you'll have cash left over to invest in a safe car seat, too. 

Best baby pram or newborn pushchair

Not all pushchairs are suitable for newborns. Before you set your heart on a Bugaboo or an iCandy, find out all you need to know about baby prams. 

Newborns can't support their own weight when they're so small, so have different needs from older babies and toddlers.

The best three options for a newborn are: 

  • From-birth seat This is a pushchair seat that reclines to 150° or more
  • Pram format Some pushchair seats can convert to a pram format by unclipping or unzipping the fabrics
  • Carrycot It's best for babies to sleep on a firm horizontal base, so if you’re expecting to use the pushchair for lengthy daytime naps, or whole afternoons in the park, choose one that can take a carrycot. Most pushchairs come with a carrycot option, attached either straight onto the seat or by adaptors.

It's best to wait until babies are around six-months old, or when they start to sit up on their own, before you use a pushchair seat in its most upright position.

What makes a good baby pram or pushchair?

Small niggles and frustrations will become majorly annoying when using your pushchair on a daily basis, so choosing the right one is essential. Before you splash out, read our pointers below to avoid a dud:

Reversible seat Many parents like to have their new baby facing them to maintain eye contact, so a reversible seat is a good feature. This means you have the choice to keep them parent-facing while young, then world-facing when they're older.

Adjustable handles Being able to easily adjust the height of the handlebars will make it much more comfortable for you to push, especially if you're a different height to anyone else using the pushchair.

Shopping basket size Parents tell us the bigger the shopping basket, the better, so a large useable space underneath the pushchair, with big sturdy sides, and good access, even when the seat is reclined it's worth looking out for. Additional storage pockets around the pushchair are also useful.

Padding Prams that come with extra padding, such as a head hugger, will help keep your baby supported and snug in their new pushchair.

Folding An easy-to-use folding mechanism is essential. You'll be folding the pushchair day in and day out, so try this out before you buy. Many pushchairs claim one-hand folding, but not all deliver on this promise.

Uninterrupted stride Probably not the first thing you'd think of when choosing a pram, but check you're able to walk with the pushchair using your normal stride, and that you don't scrape your shin on a rear axle, brake bar, shopping basket or any other accessories.

Brake pedals Large pedals, clearly labelled, that are easy to apply and effective. Look for brakes that can be pressed on and off to avoid scraped toes or shoes.

Size and shape Bulky and heavy pushchairs can be hard to push, lift and generally manoeuvre. A good pushchair can be big without being difficult to use.

Travel system compatible All the benefits of a pushchair with the option of using a car seat on it. Travel systems, that can be used with a Group 0 or Group 0+ car seat, are a good choice for regular car users, as you can transfer your baby from pushchair to car without waking them up. Just bear in mind the current safety advice that babies shouldn’t be confined to their child car seat for long periods of time.

Check out the 10 best travel systems.

Pushchair dos and don'ts from parents

Parents share tips on what they wish they'd known before they bought their first pushchair, so you don't have to make the same mistake in our video. 

Pushchairs for older babies and toddlers

Some pushchairs come with a seat that can only be used with your baby from six-months old.

This is the usually around the age a baby can start sitting up on their own and supporting their own weight. These pushchairs will usually come with a carrycot or a seat unit that converts to a pram, so you can still use them from birth and just swap to the seat unit once your baby is ready.

Travel systems, with multiple seat recline positions, can be used from birth with the seat in its lowest position (or a carrycot). Older babies and toddlers can then use the seat in its most upright position. Our tests check the ergonomic support given at each stage for every pushchair we review.

Strollers, or buggies, are a lightweight and basic version of a pushchair. Some can only be used with older babies and toddlers, from six-months old, as they don't recline far enough to be used from birth. But there are some models, such as the Babyzen YoYo, Quinny Zapp Xtra 2 and the Silver Cross Reflex, which can be used with an accessory pack to turn them into a from-birth pram.

Practical pushchair shopping tips

  • Try before you buy Always try a pushchair before you buy it, either in the shop or borrow a friend's, so you can get a proper feel for how it handles and folds, and storage.
  • Don't leave it too late! Trying out pushchairs with a large bump can be tricky.
  • How heavy is it? A lightweight buggy can make life easier for getting on and off buses or up a flight of steps, for example.
  • Does it fit in your car boot? Our pushchair reviews tell you whether it'll fit in a standard sized family car and with how much room to spare.
  • An older design might save you money Pushchairs are subject to fashion; patterns, designs and materials regularly change, so last season's designs can often be found cheaper.
  • What's included in the price? You can only make meaning full price comparisons once you know what accessories are included. For instance, a rain cover is optional on some models and sometimes even a hood is extra.
  • Can you add it to the gift list? Some baby shops and online stores, such as Mamas & Papas, operate a baby shower gift list service along the same lines as a wedding list, which means you can ask friends and family to chip in for the pushchair you've set your heart on.
  • Buy now, pick up later – some retailers will let you buy your pushchair then hold onto it until nearer your due date to save you space at home.
  • Plan ahead If you're thinking of extending your family in the future, check to see whether the pushchair you're planning on purchasing can be easily converted into a double buggy.

Now find the perfect pushchair for you by checking out our pushchair reviews.