How we test pushchairs
By Lisa Galliers
Only Which? pushchair reviews combine safety and durability tests, expert assessments and parent trials to help you get the best pushchair.
Watch the video above to find out what exactly makes a Best Buy pushchair, and how it will make your day-to-day life much easier.
Our extensive independent testing combines lab-based strength, safety and durability tests with an expert assessment of how easy each pushchair is to use and how comfortable it is for both parent and child. Our tests also include convenience ratings from parents pushing their own babies over our specially designed course.
Our pushchair reviews answer the most crucial questions about pushchairs, including:
- Is the pushchair safe and durable?
- Is the seat comfortable for your baby?
- What's the pushchair like to push?
- Is it easy to fold and store the pushchair?
- Is there anything I should watch out for?
- Should I buy it?
Only our pushchair reviews combine safety and durability tests, expert assessments and parent trials to help you get the best pushchair. Join Which? to access all our in-depth pushchair reviews.
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Is the pushchair safe and durable?
Which? pushchair reviews are based on more than 30 tough safety and durability tests according to that latest British Standard BS EN 1888:2012.
- Rolling road tests Each pushchair is wheeled for over 200km of bumpy treadmill – roughly the distance from London to Birmingham – loaded with the weight of a baby in the seat and a full shopping basket. This means you can be sure they'll stand up to uneven pavements and potholes.
- Safety tests Pushchair experts search out any choking hazards and traps for arms, legs or fingers. Special equipment tests the strength of the handlebars by repeatedly pushing them up and down 10,000 times.
- Harnesses We dangle a test-dummy baby from the pushchair's harness to make sure it's strong enough to keep your baby safe and secure.
- Brakes We check a range of things, from the brakes' actual effectiveness to whether they'll scratch your toes or get in the way when you walk.
Pushchair, travel system, pram and buggy reviews – find out which models pass safety and durability tests.
What's the pushchair like to push?
A pushchair may look great, but the worst ones can be an effort to push - not what you want on a daily basis. Our parent testers get hands-on, putting each pushchair through its paces on our specially designed obstacle course.
They rate how easy each pushchair is to push, steer, fold, carry and adjust to suit their child. They also comment on other useful or not-so-useful features.
- Obstacles Parents and experts navigate around a course with tight corners and dead ends to see how nippy or nimble the pushchairs are.
- Kerbs Pushchairs are taken up and down kerbs to replicate daily life on the move with a baby. You'd be surprised how many pushchairs struggle with this seemingly simple task.
- Uneven surfaces and rough ground Our course is designed to replicate gravelly, pot-holed car parks and lumpy, bumpy grassy areas. It reveals which models cope best with this tougher terrain.
Pushchairs are marked down if they have wobbly frames or handlebars, uncomfortable handles or inconvenient shopping baskets, or if they are difficult to fold, lift and carry.
Is the seat comfortable?
How long it will last Pushchairs are claimed to last from birth or six months up until, usually, three or four years of age. Our experts measure each seat so we can tell you if it will really last as long as stated, or if your toddler's head will start to hit the hood, or their legs will dangle over the edge long before that, meaning you have to fork out for a second pushchair.
Ergonomics We also check seat shape, padding, angle of the seat's backrest and height of the backrest to assess how much support the pushchair gives your child and whether he or she will have a comfortable ride.
Is the pushchair easy to fold and unfold?
Based on the kind of real-life situations you'll encounter every day, we uncover the hidden problems that can turn a pushchair from a dream ride into an unwieldy shopping trolley with a hood, so you don't have to worry about wasting money on the wrong pushchair.
Our parent testers and experts get to grips with each seat, folding and unfolding it. This helps them work out which seats really can be folded and unfolded one-handed, and which definitely have some sort of knack to completing the job without getting frustrated.
Is there anything else I should look out for?
Our experts and parent testers work hard to weed out the annoying frustrations of all the pushchairs we test, from using them on public transport to cleaning the covers.
Car seats and carrycots Attaching and removing car seats and carrycots can be a fiddly nightmare, risking broken nails and pinched fingers. We find the pushchairs that make it easy, to save you time. We even check the risk of the adaptors being fixed the wrong way round, a common safety mistake.
Public transport Not all pushchairs fit on public transport, and no one really wants to block the aisle with a bulky buggy. Our experts look at the size, weight, turning circle, size of the wheels and manoeuvrability of the pushchair to work out a public transport rating. The more stars, the more public-transport friendly it will be.
Car boot tests New babies come with a lot of stuff. Our experts load each pushchair into the boot of a typical family car to check whether you'll need to wrestle a wheel free to squeeze it in, and whether you'll still have space for your other baby bits, or even some shopping.
- Cleaning Whether it's sick, snot or puréed food, we can tell you how easy or fiddly the covers will be to remove and replace, so you know how simple it will be to get your pushchair clean again. Some are very easy, some are a real pain.
Child car seats – Which? crash tests every car seat we review, find out which ones are the best.
Should I buy it?
We analyse the data from our parent trials, expert assessments and the safety and durability tests to give each pushchair a total test score, so you can easily see the best and worst and compare different models.
The score we give each pushchair is made up of a combination of the elements of our tests, ignoring price, and broken down as follows:
- 75% - Daily use (40% manoeuvrability, 20% using the pushchair, 15% child set-up, 10% transporting, 10% travel system, 5% cleaning)
- 15% - Ergonomics
- 10% - Storage
To become Which? Best Buys, single pushchairs must score at least 81% overall in our tests and double pushchairs must score at least 71%.
Don't Buy pushchairs
Any pushchair scoring 45% or less will be rated as a Which? Don't Buy.
If any of the pushchairs we test break during our testing, or our experts feel there is a serious durability issue demonstrated, we will take this into account in the pushchair's overall total score and points will be deducted.
A pushchair's score will be limited depending on the severity of the issue. If we see multiple durability issues, breakages, or if at the end of testing the pushchair is unusable, the score may be lowered so much it could be rated as a Don't Buy.
If our pushchair experts uncover any serious safety concerns about any of the pushchairs we test we will rate the pushchair as a Don't Buy.
Update for 2018: Improvements to our tests
We're constantly seeking to improve our testing, to ensure that only the very best models can earn our Best Buy logo.
Some of the pushchairs you'll see reviewed on our website have been assessed under an older test programme (anything reviewed before September 2018) and aren't entirely comparable to our newer results. The review date is shown at the top of the main review page for each product.