Choosing the best stroller or buggy
Whether you're looking for a baby stroller you can use from birth, or a cheap stroller to chuck into the car boot to use on days out with your baby, here's everything you need to know before you buy plus our pick of the most popular strollers.
What is a stroller?
A lightweight stroller is a pushchair that's not as big and bulky. It probably won't take a carrycot, but may take a car seat.
Strollers are also known as buggies or lightweight buggies, and they come in a variety of shapes and sizes, from the lightest, most basic strollers to more robust models with lots of added features.
Often parents buy a pushchair or travel system first when their baby is young, then either move to a stroller when their baby is older, or keep a stroller in the boot as a spare pushchair for trips out in the car as it's lighter and easier to pack and use than bigger pushchairs or travel systems.
lf it's not a from-birth stroller, you'll usually begin to use one when your baby reaches around six months old, as that's when they start sitting up unaided and can support their own weight.
The small size and light weight of strollers make them a must for urban parents who regularly use public transport and are a good choice to take on holiday or on day trips.
- A good lightweight stroller or buggy will be light and nippy to push, as well as easy to manoeuvre.
- It should be simple to fold down and easier to store than larger pushchairs.
- They're usually cheaper than more elaborate travel systems, so they also make a good second pushchair to leave with the grandparents or your childminder.
- Not all strollers are suitable for newborns and babies under six months old as the backrest won't recline far enough, or they won't have enough padding to support a young baby.
- Strollers tend to have a small wheel base, which means there's not much space for storing lots of shopping and their small, hard wheels means they're more suited to pavements than off-road or rough terrain.
Which brands make strollers?
Strollers are made by pretty much every pushchair brand. The five most popular stroller brands searched for on Google at the time of writing are Silver Cross strollers, Cybex strollers, Joie Strollers, Babyzen strollers, and Bugaboo strollers.
What's the best stroller?
The best stroller is one that's lightweight and easy to push, while offering a comfy ride for your baby. You also want one that's easy to fold and store and that's durable enough to last.
Here we round up the most popular lightweight strollers, based on what parents have been looking at on our website over the past three months. Some are great, some not so good.
Which? members can follow the links to read the full reviews, where you'll find out how your favourite scored and any pitfalls our testing uncovered.
Table updated December 2020.
How much does a stroller cost?
You can pick a cheap stroller up for less than £50 – just don't expect much more than a frame, a fabric seat and some wheels.
A mid-range model will likely set you back around £150 and will have a few more features, such as a hood, shopping basket, possibly some extra pockets for storage and an adjustable leg rest or a seat back that will recline to make daytime naps a bit more comfy.
Top-of-the-range models can cost much more. But for this you'll get a pretty sturdy stroller that you can use from birth, a nice padded seat, larger wheels with some suspension and a whole host of adjustable features.
Double strollers start at around £300 for a basic lightweight model that can carry twins or two children.
Strollers for newborns
There are some strollers that can be used from birth; this means the seat back can be reclined to a lie-flat position or you'll be able to buy a newborn accessory pack to convert the seat.
It may sound tempting to buy a stroller or buggy to use from birth right up until you no longer need to use a pushchair, but there are a few things to consider:
- A stroller can be less sturdy than a pushchair, or may not have much suspension, so tend to give a bit more of a bumpy ride.
- On some strollers for newborns your baby can actually be closer to the ground which means more bending down for new parents.
- Check whether the seat unit is reversible, otherwise you'll be using a forward-facing seat with your baby and you'll miss out on that all-important eye contact and interaction.
Stroller travel systems
There's a new type of stroller - stroller travel systems.
These are more sturdy than the traditional buggy, can be used from birth and can take a car seat or sometimes a carrycot.
They are pricier than your average lightweight stroller, but as they’re suitable for newborns, you should get more use out of them than a cheap stroller that's only suitable for babies over six months.
Top five stroller choosing tips
1. Think about your lifestyle
If you'll stick to pavements, the park and shops, a basic stroller will be fine, but fans of long country walks should look for a model with bigger wheels and suspension for a more comfy ride. Car users should choose a model that can take a car seat.
2. Do you want to use your stroller from birth?
If you want to use your stroller from birth, look for one that has a seat unit that reclines far enough, or has a newborn accessory pack to convert the seat to a lie-flat position. Otherwise most strollers can be used once your baby reaches six months of age.
3. Think about storage
Will the buggy fit in your car boot when folded, and will it fit in your home unfolded? Also check that the buggy has a large enough shopping basket for your needs – strollers don't usually have much storage space. Our reviews will give you the space measurements.
4. Check what's included
The cheapest and most basic buggy may not even include a hood, some buggies won't come with a rain cover, and you'll probably have to fork out for a footmuff to keep your baby cosy. Check any accessories before setting your heart on a model or you could end up paying a lot extra.
5. Try before you buy
If you can, head to the shops and try out the model you want. Try folding it and unfolding, and walking around with it. Use the brakes and recline the seat, and get a feel for it before you buy. Don't forget to do this before your bump gets too big if you're buying a stroller to use from birth!