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 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 testers 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.
Ease of Use
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 didn't drop items, storage bins that can actually hold diaper bags, and reclining seats.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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
Weight and Folded Size
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.