The Race for the Best Jogging Stroller
Wondering which stroller is the best one for jogging or running? This review focuses on 16 top jogging strollers that we tested to determine which products are the very best in a category that is packed with stiff competition. Whether your plan is to use this product as your primary stroller with occasional jogging, or you are a serious runner that doesn't want to miss a run once baby is old enough to ride, our tests are designed to provide important information to find the right stroller for every family. We tested everything from rolling resistance and tracking, to ease of use and maneuverability to determine the winners. Read on to find the best jogger for your needs.
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Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
The Expedition scored a 5 for running, so we don't think it will make the best stroller for a dedicated runner, but the score is high enough to use for the occasional jogging excursions. The maneuverability score on the other hand is great and part of what makes this product a great buy for the price. It navigates well in tight places, is easy to turn, and even does well off road in grass and gravel. If you are on a budget, looking for a good stroller for everyday errands and around town fun, with the occasional jog to keep fit, then the Expedition is a good choice. In addition, it has a list price that is significantly lower than the top ranked models by more than half and it is the cheapest product in our review.
While it is the heaviest option in our review this stroller will accommodate two children and be able to switch from trail running fixed jogging kit to regular 2 wheeled strolling with just a quick swap of wheels stored on board. This stroller is likely not the solution for every family and with a price tag close to $1500 you better be certain that outdoor adventures are in your future. However, if you loved outdoor exercise before baby, then you are likely to want to continue the trend after baby and this stroller will definitely get you there. This is why we gave it a Top Pick for Outdoor Versatility in this review.
Analysis and Test Results
For safety sake you should not run with baby until he/she is at least 8 months old for smooth concrete or paved paths, and 12 months for bumpy/hiking terrain. Read more in our Buying Advice article.
The best way to avoid confusing yourself or getting overwhelmed is to focus on how you plan to use the stroller and being honest with yourself on how often you will truly be running. Knowing your intended use and budget can help narrow the field and help you find the stroller of your dreams.
Types of Jogging Style Strollers
Figuring out which products are really optimized for running can be a bit confusing. Surprisingly, there are a lot of strollers designed to look like jogging strollers, but they aren't really any better for running that an ordinary stroller. With 3 wheel all-terrain tires and hand brakes on the handlebar, it's hard to decipher which products will get you where you want to go smoothly and safely, and which are just for show.
There are 5 key characteristics that jogging strollers have in common:
Historically, strollers with a fixed front wheel have been the go to item and those made by BOB, like the BOB Ironman and BOB Sport Utility, were considered essential baby gear for serious runners and fitness enthusiasts. However, the fixed wheel design is also not the best at maneuverability and you have to tip it slightly back and raise the front wheel off the ground to turn it. While this might work fine on the trail while running, it makes this style of stroller a real bear to navigate around a store.
In the past even the best locking swivel wheel options seem to have more wobble than serious runners thought was acceptable. Even just a little wobble in the front wheel can make a long run more difficult and potentially dangerous. However, some of the locking swivel wheel strollers in this review, like the Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex, are so good we think even serious professional runners will agree they are great options and a good prospect for the only stroller you need to buy.
Never move faster than a quick walk with a swivel wheel that is not locked. All jogging and running should be done with a locked swivel wheel or a fixed wheel stroller.
Why Consider a Jogging Stroller?
If you are a jogger or runner you probably already know the answer to this question. However, if you are not someone who regularly runs you might wonder what all the fuss is about and why these strollers are swiftly becoming the most sought after kind of stroller.
Criteria for Evaluation
We put each of the 16 strollers in our review through the paces that they are likely to face in everyday use with families. We literally ran these strollers with multiple testers and assessed every little nook and cranny in a side-by-side fashion to determine which products were worth consideration when making the purchase of a jogging stroller.
The worst stroller in this review is for running is the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger. In our tests this stroller had a front wheel that veered significantly to the right and its lack of tracking adjustment meant it wasn't something we could fix. In addition, the heavier weight of this stroller meant a full body workout in our running test trying to keep it on course. Our professional runner felt this stroller was a non-starter due to its lack of shocks (and we agree), but even if it had them, no testers liked using this stroller.
Each product was put through the same course and used on the same trails and paths. We tested products on and off the pavement, on and off the dirt trail, and around an obstacle course to see which offered the diversity to make the leap from one situation to another. In short, a swivel wheel stroller, that also locks, is the best in our book for parents who want to run regularly and be able to use their stroller for everyday use.
The worst scoring product in our tests is the Graco FastAction Fold Jogger. It is so difficult to maneuver that we had trouble whether the wheel was fixed or not. In addition, our particular stroller had an issue with the front wheel locking when we didn't want it too. After further investigation we found our problem is one shared by other reviewers online which left us feeling like this issue is a model problem, not just our problem.
All of the products have some kind of canopy for protection from the sun and weather. The better strollers have a canopy that is large enough to cover the passenger or can rotate and adjust for better protection. The canopies on the BOB strollers are some of the largest in the bunch and they have a great peek-a-boo window, cover most passengers down to their knees, and can rotate forward. The Thule Glide, Thule Urban Glide, and the Burley Solstice all have large sun shades that stay taunt when extended and cover past the knee of the passenger. These Thule shades also have a mesh visor that increases protection from the sun while still allowing little ones to see the landscape. The Schwinn Arrow has the smallest shade in our test and we don't think it covers enough of baby to be considered adequate protection. Overall, we thought it was a disappointment.
Some of the products in this review offered parent consoles and child trays. Those that didn't come standard with them have them available for purchase as an accessory. We felt that during testing the parent consoles were more of a hassle than an asset when running. So parents who are planning on regular running trips might find items falling out of a cup holder annoying, other parents, who want to use this ride for errands might feel lost without the cup holder and wallet storage features. Where you fall on this spectrum and how much you use them is up to you. The Mountain Buggy Terrain has the nicest hydration holders by way of long water bottle sleeves that are easy to use and keep contents in place.
All of the products also offered some kind of under seat storage. The storage on the Thule Urban Glide is large enough for our large diaper bag and it has a waterproof cover that zippers on to prevent the contents inside from falling out or getting dirty. The Terrain has the highest allowable weight limit at 22 pounds, and it has pockets on the back for easier organizing, plus a zippered cover, but the cover is mesh and will not keep items clean or dry. The Schwinn strollers both had large baskets, but they were nearly impossible to access and we couldn't fit any of our diaper bags inside. The design of the stroller and a weird supportive crossbar prevented us from really using the whole bin. The Joovy has a similarly weird design with a bar and strap limiting access to the bin. This will require parents to put items into the bin one at a time. In addition, to the under seat bin some of the products offered rear back pockets and inside stow pockets for passengers. The Thule, Burley, Terrain, and BOB strollers all offer these added bonus features.
All of the seats recline and most recline with a one hand operation. While baby should be relatively upright at only a slight angle when running it is good to know that most of the strollers offer a nice place to nap during a cool down stroll. The leg rests are all not adjustable, but most are padded and slope down to nice footrests. We preferred the strollers with a sling style seat for added comfort and the products with suspension all scored higher than those without.
The highest ranking products for quality were Thule and BOB strollers. These two brands offered strollers that were well designed, thoughtfully constructed, and used parts and materials that are durable and good looking. The fabric for these strollers is high quality, has a tight weave, and is snag resistant. The fit to the frame is tight, and in some places has no visible connection. These strollers offered stiff frames that had little to no flex, and suspension and connections that increase performance. The Burley Solstice and the Mountain Buggy Terrain were close in quality to these strollers with scores of 8, just below the 9s and 10 of the BOB and Thule.
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have conducted studies to analyze hospital injury databases that identify falling injuries as the most prevalent safety related issues for children using strollers. Falls represent more than half of all injuries related to strollers between 2008-2011. Tipping injuries were the second most common injuries. Many experts expressed that proper use of a 5 point harness could have potentially prevented these injuries.
Baby Jogger Summit X3. The lowest scoring product is the Schwinn Turismo that received a 4 for safety. While our review doesn't mean to imply any product isn't safe, it is meant to get you thinking about safety considerations and your children. Possible brake concerns, harness adjustments, and pinching hazards are features we consider when scoring and reviewing strollers.
For safety sake we recommend that parents do not utilize cup holders when running. In our tests almost every cup holder failed to hold a standard water bottle and most ended up falling out and landing on our "baby".
Weight and Folded Size
The products in this review vary in weight between about 20 pounds and 32.
The Thule Glide is the lightest in the review at 20.4 pounds and the Urban Glide came in at 22.6. But unfortunately the weight of a stroller is only part of the story. How big the stroller is when folded is also something you likely have to consider. If you can't fit the item in your car, it means you aren't going to use it as frequently as you might otherwise be able to. The Thule Urban Glide is only about 14,500 cubic inches when folded, but the Glide is larger at closer to 18,500 cubic inches. The Best Value winner the Baby Trend Expedition is the smallest once folded at 13,200 cubic inches, but the smaller fold will cost you a heavier weight of 23.6 pounds. These variations aren't that much and you might not notice a few pounds here or there, however, given that a few of the strollers came in over 30 pounds it is important that you consider weight and folded size before making a purchase. If you can't lift it or fit it in your car, then it probably isn't the best stroller for you. The Graco FastAction Fold Jogger and the Chicco TRE are both over 30 pounds and can't even claim double seating like the 32 pound Thule Chariot Cougar 2 with Jog Kit.
The Graco earned a 10 for ease of folding with the Burley, Baby Jogger, and Mountain Buggy coming in a close second with 9s. Folding and unfolding is an important consideration if you need to do this frequently for commuting or storing. Using one hand, being able to do it quickly, or having the stroller self-stand are important considerations when thinking about stroller folding.
Ease of Setup
Ease of setup is likely not the most important metric in the group. While it is certainly a consideration, none of the products were that difficult to assemble and with any luck you'll only be doing this operation once. However, given that some of us are more challenged than others in getting baby gear together and functional, we think it is important to note the products that were the easiest to get strolling.
The Thule Glide and Thule Urban Glide both assembled with no tools and required the wheels to be slid on and not much else. They won top marks for the metric with a 9 and 10 respectively. If you're worried you will get overwhelmed with parts, tools, and poor manuals then either one of these strollers should work well for you. The hardest strollers to assemble earned 6s. These strollers included both Schwinn models, the BOB Revolution Flex, BOB Ironman, and the Baby Jogger Summit X3. Most of these products required the use of a screwdriver, which lost them points for ease of setup.
What didn't make the cut?
You might be wondering where the Orbit products fit in all this hubbub as the Orbit Baby O2 is pitched as a "hybrid jogging stroller" that "gives you a full-featured everyday stroller and a high-performance running stroller in one". In our standard stroller review the O2 failed to perform well enough during testing earning a 3rd from the bottom rank. Given its overall heft and poor ease of use score in that review, we felt it would likely continue to struggle when compared to the true jogging products designed specifically with running in mind. While it did score well for maneuverability, we think the other issues with this stroller are enough to prevent it from being a real jogging contender. Therefore, to spare this 37 pound monster the disappointment of comparison, we opted not to include it in the jogger review.
Jogging style strollers are a hot baby gear items whether you plan to jog or not. Their three wheel design, rubber tires, and ability to traverse various terrain make them a parent favorite even for parents that don't plan to run. We think joggers are great options for being your only stroller because they offer diverse uses and most of the features parents will be looking for for everyday use as well as running. There is something for everyone in this group of products, no matter what your goals, and our award winners are a great place to start your search.
About the Review Team
We used these jogging strollers extensively over a four month testing period, both running and in day-to-day use. In addition to our normal testing process, we were joined by running expert, Carrie Vickers, in our analysis of each jogger. More information on our testing process can be found in How We Tested.
Carrie's impressive running bio includes:
— Juliet Spurrier MD, Carrie Vickers, and BabyGearLab Review Team
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