How We Tested Jogging Strollers

How We Test
By:
Juliet Spurrier, MD, Carrie Vickers, and BabyGearLab Review Team

Last Updated:
Tuesday

The Urban Glide earned the top score for run-ability thanks in part to an adjustable handlebar creates better running biomechanics.
The Urban Glide earned the top score for run-ability thanks in part to an adjustable handlebar creates better running biomechanics.
We took each jogging stroller through the city and outdoor trails running, jogging, and walking to see how they each compared when being used for their intended purpose. The hands on testing provides a lot of information on performance and features and what kind of experience you'll have once you buy one. While most of the product look good to some extent, not all of them performed well in our tests and others we think shouldn't even be used for jogging. In addition, we also performed a series of controlled in house lab tests designed to compare the strollers side-by-side.

Over four months, we ran, jogged, speed-walked and walked with these 16 jogging strollers in all types of terrain; smooth, rough, hilly, bumpy, muddy, sandy, rocky, snowy, dry and wet. We used them indoors and outdoors. In crowded stores and open parks. We pushed and pulled them up. We folded and unfolded them and got them in and out of the car trunk. And we did all of this with baby and baby's gear in tow. Exactly the way most parents use this kind of stroller in the real world.

Run-ability


Run-ability tests included rating the strollers for their handlebar shape and adjustability, their rolling resistance, and how well they tracked and whether or not they offered adjustable tracking. We took all of the strollers running with multiple tester on different surfaces including sidewalks and dirt hiking trails. We assessed how difficult it is to push them and whether or not they are easy to run with or a wrestling nightmare.

One key source of ratings and critique of run-ability performance was input from the running expert on our review team, Carrie Vickers, who put each of the strollers through the wringer during her ultra distance race training, with her twin girls, and 5 year old daughter. In addition, we had testers of different heights, both male and female, run each product and assess field performance.

Maneuverability


A group shot of the strollers we tested getting ready for their on trail performance testing
A group shot of the strollers we tested getting ready for their on trail performance testing
All of the strollers were put through a series of tests on different surfaces and multiple environments to determine their maneuverability and stability when used for their intended purposes. We jogged with them two handed and one handed, over flat hard surfaces, across the grass, dirt, and gravel, and up and down stairs and curbs, to determine which products were up to the challenge. The important part of being a jogging product is the ability to move well in tight spaces and various terrains at speed. Navigating on hard surfaces is a must, moving at speed is just as important. While these products were designed to be stable when running, it is also useful if they can move in tighter places without bumping into obstacles. We scored each stroller against each other based on which did the best moving through our obstacle course and real life scenarios. The strollers that were easy to turn earned higher marks, the fixed wheel options that required less tipping or were shorter in length scored better than those that were hard to tip or knocked into things when turning.

Ease of Use


The under seat storage bin of the Thule Urban Glide is easy to access and the zippered top helps keep items clean and safe from falling out. The additional back zipper pocket can be used for smartphones and keys.
The under seat storage bin of the Thule Urban Glide is easy to access and the zippered top helps keep items clean and safe from falling out. The additional back zipper pocket can be used for smartphones and keys.
Testing ease of use required that we compare the features of each product and how easy they were to use under normal circumstances. Some of the conveniences looked good on paper, but weren't good in real life, and other features seem almost useless for a stroller you plan to run with. Points were earned for nice large canopies that were easy to adjust and covered most of the passenger, peek-a-boo windows that were large enough to see baby, cup holders that held bottles even when running, storage bins that can actually hold diaper bags, and reclining seat backs.

Some of the strollers didn't have much in the way of conveniences and unlike other types of strollers we didn't consider this to be a big downfall. Products designed for running don't necessarily need a lot of bells and whistles and having too many means it might be difficult to use them when you are actually jogging. However, we felt if they are going to have the features they should be well done, of good quality, and easy to utilize. Strollers were compared against one another so parents can get a feel for which options are better than others.

Safety


In the metric of safety we considered safety features that could possibly affect everyday use. Most safety concerns depend on parents using the product as directed while heeding warning labels and cautions. We looked at how easy the features related to safety are to use and operate or potentially ignore.

For harnesses we assessed how easy they were to get on and adjust, and how difficult it is to get a proper fit for smaller babies. We think if a harness is hard to use then parents might neglect using it, if it is too easy children might be able to "get out of it" when parents aren't looking. Products earned more points if they were easy to adjust and use.
The Glide's 5 point harness is easy to adjust  but requires 2 hands to release the buckle
The Glide's 5 point harness is easy to adjust, but requires 2 hands to release the buckle
We gave more points to single action brakes over double action brakes believing that they are easier to use and more likely to be set properly. We also gave more points for less play in the brakes once set, feeling that stroller brakes should move very little when used properly. We also tested how much pressure it required on the product to move it forward or backward. We gave more points for strollers that required more pressure before moving.

You might have noticed a difference between the weights for back tipping for the BOB Revolution Flex and the Baby Trend Expedition in this review versus the standard stroller review. This is a result of slightly different testing methods used for each review. To determine back tipping in this review, the weights were placed where a diaper bag would normally hang on the handlebar. For the standard strollers the weight was placed on the far end of handlebar. The difference in testing resulted in different amounts. However, the same methodology was used for each product within in each review, for true side-by-side comparisons regardless of testing methodology.

We also tested the tipping tendency of each stroller and at what degree the products would fall over. Weighted down with 20 pounds of "rock baby" the products were tested on a tilt table to determine the angle they would tip over sideways, and how much weight could be placed on the handlebar before it flipped over backwards. Because joggers are designed to be lightweight and easy to tip to turn while running these products required significantly less weight to fall back than most of the other categories.

Products were compared and ranked with higher scores going to the products that tipped at deeper angles before falling. Testing the back tip consisted of hanging weights on the back of the stroller with a simulated "baby" in the seat. This is done to simulate parents hanging a diaper bag on the back of the stroller or shopping bags. Something you shouldn't do, but most parents will at some point. These strollers required very little weight compared to strollers in other categories. The products were compared to one another with those requiring the most weight earning higher scores.

Quality


Quality factors are based on our overall experience and how the materials and fit and finish of each stroller compared to each other. For fabric we gave points for the weave, stain or water repellent properties, snag-ability, straight stitching, and how it attached to the frame. We reviewed the frame materials, hinge points, connectors, and if the frame flexed or the handlebars wobbled. We also compared the wheels of each product and how well they connected to the stroller. Quality scores were awarded by comparing each stroller and how well they held up after their brief period of time during testing.

Weight and Folded Size


Once folded it is difficult to see too much of a size difference in the jogging products side-by-side
Once folded it is difficult to see too much of a size difference in the jogging products side-by-side
For weight and folded size we measured each product instead of relying on manufacturer specs. We wanted to ensure that all the products were rated by using the same scale for weight and the same measuring methods. The strollers were weighed fully assembled with all their parts, and measured with the same device by the same person. The values were then compared to each other and ranked. The smaller, lighter joggers earned more points in this metric, though the overall scores were weighted less in the overall scoring than in other stroller categories like umbrella products.

Ease of Setup


We used a stopwatch for timing how long it took to get the products out of the box and ready to run using the instructions provided in the box. Products earned more points for taking less time, having easy to read manuals, no tool assembly, and useful photos or illustrations. They lost points for clumped together multi-language instructions that take longer to read, photos or steps that are not necessary for assembly, and hard to follow or unclear instructions. The easiest products have clear text, nice pictures, and the majority of the product already assembled.