The recommendations and scores in our tables above were correct as of July 2022.
Video: avoid an expensive mistake when buying a pushchair
Watch for our tips on what to look out for and the pitfalls to avoid, whether you're buying a new pram or a toddler pushchair.
What are the different types of pushchair?
A simple buggy or stroller is very different from a travel system or an all-terrain pushchair, both in terms of price and features.
If you're unsure which one you need, we explain the differences in features between a standard buggy, an all-terrain (off-road) buggy and a travel system as well as their notable pros and cons.
Lightweight buggy or stroller
Lightweight and compact
Easy to manoeuvre in shops and restaurants
Generally cheaper than other pushchairs
Typically forward-facing only
Not ideal for off-road
Some only suitable from six months
Also known as strollers, these come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but the most popular are lightweight buggies, as they’re easy to carry and compact when folded.
Some are suitable from birth, while others are only suitable for babies over six months old, as the back rest doesn't recline far enough, or they don't have enough padding.
Basic buggies are ideal for nipping around town, and they’re the go-to for many parents who regularly use public transport or live-in large towns or cities. They’re also handy for holidays, as they’re much more convenient to carry around with you, and some even fold down small enough to be cabin luggage.
Previously it was rare to see a buggy that’s also travel-system compatible, but in recent years there’s been an explosion of strollers that you can use with an infant car seat and/or a carrycot. These are more expensive than standard buggies, but they're much more versatile.
Traditionally buggies are forward-facing only, but many travel-system strollers have a reversible seat, so you can choose whether your baby faces you or looks out at the world.
Carrycot suitable only for 0-6 months and car seat from 0-9 months
A large number of pushchairs and prams (as well as buggies and strollers) are travel-system compatible, giving you multiple options in terms of transporting your baby.
These pushchairs are suitable to use from birth, as you can use them with a Group 0/0+ car seat. For more information, read our guide to car seat weight groups.
Some also come with a carrycot or a seat unit that converts to a pram, so you can still use them from birth and swap to the seat unit once your baby is ready.
You’ll usually pay more for this functionality, but it’s worth investing in a travel-system pushchair if you use your car often, as it will make it much easier to transfer your baby from car to pushchair without disturbing them too much.
Bear in mind that long periods sleeping in infant car seats may be dangerous for young babies, as it can restrict airflow to the baby’s lungs and can put a strain on their developing spine.
It’s recommended not to keep a baby in a car seat – whether it’s in a car or attached to a pushchair – for longer than two hours at a time. This doesn’t apply if it’s a lie-flat car seat, though.
Useful for being outdoors and getting fit after having your baby
Not suited to public transport due to size
Can be very expensive
If you're using a running buggy, you should only run with it from when your baby is six months
If you plan to venture off the beaten track with your baby, then you might want to opt for an all-terrain or off-road pushchair with large tyres and all-wheel suspension for tackling the rugged outdoors.
These can be four-wheelers or three-wheelers. Some three-wheel pushchairs are also running or jogging buggies.
Although all-terrain pushchairs are a practical choice for outdoorsy and active parents, they’re often longer, and can be too large to use on public transport or in crowded places such as supermarkets.
Because of their size you'll need a big car boot to transport them, and enough space to store your off-road pushchair at home.
Buying a newborn pushchair or baby pram
Not all pushchairs are suitable for a newborn baby. Before you set your heart on a Bugaboo or an iCandy, check whether the seat is suitable from birth or can only be used by babies more than six months old.
Newborn babies can't support their own weight when they're so small, so they have different needs from older babies and toddlers. It's important they lie flat in order to support their developing spine and allow them to breathe easily.
The best three options for a newborn are:
a from-birth seat: one that reclines to 150 degrees or more
pram format: some pushchair seats can convert to a pram by unclipping or unzipping the fabrics
a 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, which attaches either straight onto the seat or using 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.
Buying an older baby or toddler pushchair
Pushchairs with bucket seats have a fixed angle, so they're only suitable for babies older than six months. This is usually around the age a baby can start sitting up on their own and supporting their own weight.
When you recline a pushchair with a bucket seat, the angle your baby is held in doesn't change, and you're effectively only tipping them back. Some experts believe this isn't the most comfortable way for your baby to sleep.
Travel systems with multiple seat-recline positions are suitable to use from birth with the seat in its lowest position (or if you use 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.
A stroller, or buggy, is a lightweight and basic version of a pushchair. Some can only be used with older babies (more than six months) and toddlers, as they don't recline far enough to be suitable from birth. But there are some models, such as the Babyzen YoYo2 and the Silver Cross Reflex, that can either recline far enough or you can use with an accessory pack to turn them into a from-birth pram.
Pushchair features to look out for
Small niggles and frustrations will become very annoying when using your pushchair daily, so choosing the right one is essential.
Before you splash out, read our pointers below to avoid a dud.
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.
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 from your partner or anyone else using the pushchair. Separate handles, common on strollers, tend to flex quite a bit when pressure is applied, but we safety test them to ensure they comply with the British Standards for handle strength. A handle bar can be a more comfortable option, but a surprising number of bars are oval or square and can become uncomfortable to use after a long period of time.
If you're going to be heading to the park, across gravelly car parks or out for country walks, your baby will get a more comfortable ride with decent suspension. This can be on some of the wheels (called front or rear suspension) or on all four of the wheels (all-wheel suspension).
Shopping basket size
Capacity varies from 1kg to 15kg, but the average pushchair shopping basket can hold 4 or 5kg. Look for a basket with sturdy sides and good access, even when the seat is reclined. Additional storage pockets around the pushchair are also useful.
Prams with extra padding, such as a head hugger, will help keep your baby supported and snug in their new pushchair. Check if the padding goes up the side of the seat as well as just on the base.
Swivel front wheels rotate to move in any direction with very little pushing and pulling and they make it easy to manoeuvre on normal ground, but they can make it harder to navigate across rougher ground or gravel. For the best of both worlds, choose a pushchair with swivel wheels that can lock, so you can turn this feature on and off depending on where you are going.
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. Also make sure you don't scrape your shin on a rear axle, brake bar, shopping basket or other accessories.
The angle of the recline on the backrest of your pushchair is important because newborns can't support their own weight and need to be in a lie-flat position. The best pushchairs for newborn babies are those with a recline of 150 degrees or more on the lowest setting. Some recline mechanisms are smoother than others and the best ones can be operated with one hand and are easy to use, even with the weight of a child in the seat. Recline options include a lever, buttons, a back bar and a strap or drawstrings. The latter two are usually the hardest to use.
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 and avoid pushchairs where you need to remove accessories before it can be folded. Many pushchairs come with claims of having a one-handed fold, but our tests prove that reality can be very different.
The best have large pedals that are clearly labelled, easy to apply and effective. Watch out for brake pedals that stick out as these can catch on stairs and a bar connecting the brakes as that can obstruct your feet when walking. Look for flip-flop friendly brakes that you can press 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.
Leg rests and 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 provides good calf support, and usually have between two and six positions to help keep your toddler's legs comfortable.
All the benefits of a pushchair, with the option of using a car seat on it. Travel systems, which you can use 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 car seat for longer than two hours.
How much will a good pushchair cost?
Pushchairs vary enormously in cost. You can spend anything from less than £100 to more than £1,000, but in some cases, you'll be buying a desirable name and fancy fabrics rather than a practical pushchair that's easy to use and push.
In a Which? survey (February 2022) of 2,004 parents with a child under the age of five, 38% spent between £100 - £300 on their most recently purchased pushchair. 22% of parents spent between £301 - £600. Some of the more expensive brands of pushchair include iCandy, Stokke, Bugaboo and Silver Cross.
We've found Best Buy buggies from as little as £150, so you don't necessarily have to spend a large amount to get an excellent stroller.
There's a sizeable market for second-hand pushchairs if parents want to save money. Very often they're sold via local Facebook groups, on eBay, Gumtree or Shpock – our 2020 survey of 1,500 parents found 38% will sell their pushchair via an online marketplace when it's no longer needed. Or, you may be able to buy one from a local mum's group, friend or family member. There may even be one going for free on Freecycle.
If you go down this route, it's better to buy it from somewhere that lets you inspect it before you hand over your cash. Look for 'collection only' sales. You should also check or look over the following:
Seat padding, hood and basket: check for any areas where the stitching might be coming loose, or for any tears or holes
Wheels: depending on the age of the pushchair, those wheels could have seen a fair amount of use, so take a look to ensure they're not coming loose or appear rickety. If the pushchair has pneumatic tyres, are there signs of cracking of the rubber near the rims? And does the pushchair come with its own pump? It's worth taking the pushchair for a quick circuit to make sure the wheels are aligned and it steers well
Chassis frame: run your eyes (and hands) over the frame of the pushchair to check for any cracks that could be a weak spot over time or any dents that might affect the smoothness of the fold
Folding and unfolding: is it easy to fold and unfold? Have a few tries to make sure you feel comfortable with the mechanism and ensure it doesn't get caught at any point
Brake: make sure the brake still holds the pushchair securely, particularly on a slope
Additional accessories: the pushchair might come with a rain cover or bumper bar, so make sure that's included. Ask the seller if they also bought any additional accessories that would go with the pushchair including a carrycot, footmuff or car seat adaptors
Is it safe to buy a second-hand pushchair?
The safety risks from buying a second-hand pushchair or pram are far less than those for a car seat. However, it's worth checking if the model you have in mind has been subject to any product safety recalls. You can do this by visiting the Trading Standards website.
You should also take a look at our Don't Buy pushchairs to check if it's included there. Many of our lowest-scoring pushchairs have failures with strength and durability, which could be a warning sign if you're buying it second-hand.
What can I do with my old pushchair?
If you’ve got an unused pushchair (or two) lurking about, here’s some ways to free up storage space and maybe make some extra cash while you’re at it.
Sell your pushchair online: there’s a thriving second-hand market online for pushchairs – particularly when it comes to models in good condition from popular brands such as Bugaboo, Mamas & Papas, iCandy and Silver Cross. Don’t forget to factor in listing and selling fees.
Use NCT and second-hand baby product sales: alternatively, try a Nearly New sale organised by your local National Childbirth Trust (NCT) group. There you can sell unwanted baby products (minus a commission payable to the NCT, or set fee) as well as socialise with other parents. If there aren’t any in your area, check online for details of upcoming car boot sales.
Give your old pushchair to friends and family: offering up an unwanted but functioning pushchair to extended friends and family remains a great way to reuse your buggy – and they’ll appreciate the helping hand from a trusted source.
Freecycle your buggy: if your pushchair is still in safe working order but you’ve had no luck selling it, you could give it away to others that need it through a community-based re-use scheme such as Freecycle or Freegle.
If all else fails: if your pushchair isn’t in good-enough condition to pass on to someone else, contact your local council for recycling or disposal options in your area. Because pushchairs are made up of multiple materials, you might need to take the pushchair apart to dispose of it in separate pieces.
How we test pushchairs
We want to help you make the best buying decision for your family, which is why we send the latest prams, buggies and strollers for testing at our lab throughout the year. Find out what exactly makes a Best Buy pushchair and how it will make your day-to-day life much easier by reading all about how we test pushchairs.