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Hands-on Gear Review
Bugaboo Bee3 Combo Review
Price: $719 List | Available for $719 from Amazon
Pros: Easy car seat attachment with the Chicco
Cons: Bulky fold, wheels, storage
Bottom line: Stylish with easy car seat attachment
The Bugaboo Bee 3 earned the highest overall score in this review with a 77 out of 100 final tally. It is the easiest product to attach a car seat to, and it has an nice easy to use one hand fold and auto-locking mechanism. With all around shocks, single action brakes, and a under seat storage bin the Bee is a good choice for car seat combination and won a Top Pick for Urban Use. There are some downsides to this stroller however, including the higher price tag and the 8.8 pound storage capacity (which is low compared to the competition), but depending on your lifestyle and needs, you might be able to overlook these flaws in favor of the sleek design and stylish good looks.
RELATED: Our complete review of stroller and car seat combos
Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings
The Bugaboo Bee is a high end stroller with an aluminum alloy frame and 4 wheel shocks. The stroller has a removable canopy and toddler seat leaving the basic frame and storage bin available for car seat adapters and infant carriers. This stroller has an easy one hand fold, foam filled rubber tires, and some infant car seat adapters that allow for easy simple car seat carrier installation. The Bee has an all over simple design that looks sleek and steals the show when compared to most of the competition for fit and finish.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Combo that offers the same kind of installation accessories. The low score in this metric is the BOB Revolution Flex Combo with a score of 1 and car seat attachment that has two steps including a restraint strap to secure the carrier to the frame. We are not fans of this kind of attachment with a worry that many parents will forget or intentionally forgo the straps for various reasons.
Britax B-Safe, B-Safe 35, and B-Safe 35 Elite; Chicco Keyfit and Chicco Keyfit 30; Cybex Aton 2 and the Aton Q; Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico AP, Mico NXT, and the Maxi-Cosi Prezi. We tested this stroller with the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat, an award winning seat from our infant car seat review.
Weight and Folded Size
UPPAbaby Cruz Combo weighing less at 14.3. All of the dedicated frame strollers weigh less than the Bee and the other standard stroller options. The Bee earned a 7 of 10 for weight and folded size. The high for the group is 9 shared by the Chicco Keyfit Caddy, the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go and the Graco SnugRider Elite.
For folded size the Bee is sort of on the large side for a standard stroller measuring in at 10,886 cubic inches. There are 7 non-frame stroller options in this review that fold smaller than the Bee. The largest folded stroller and the heaviest option is the BOB Revolution. However, given that it is a jogging stroller with additional features for jogging this isn't really a surprise. If you are looking for a lightweight and smaller standard stroller the UPPAbaby Cruz is both smaller and lighter than the Bee even though it looks larger and has a larger storage bin weight capacity.
The Bee requires 2 hands to fold, has steps and auto-locks when folded. It does not self-stand, but it does have a carry strap that makes carrying easier. The fold is very easy to accomplish, does not require bending and the folded product can be rolled on its own similar to rolling luggage. The car seat adapter does not interfere with the fold, but the toddler seat does. You can unfold the Bee with one hand if you need to. It is an easy unfold with 1 step and no bending. Unfolding the Bee is sort of different and it might take a little practice, but it certainly isn't hard to do and we think most parents will sort it out quickly.
Commuting with the Bee is pretty good compared to the competition with an 8 for the features we think are important for commuting. The lighter weight and relatively smaller fold make it easier to fit in trunks without parts getting hung up or the weight being prohibitive to lift. It is important to note though that many new moms will be unable or not allowed to lift this much weight shortly after childbirth and will need help with this stroller.
The Bee conforms to the 2X4 rule on some public transport so you may not have to fold it on Buses or the subway, which is good since it doesn't self-stand. It has a narrow footprint that makes moving in narrow spaces or making tight turns fairly easy. Unfortunately the stroller isn't the best at eating out with a longer length and a lower seat that cause it to stick out relatively far from the table or require baby to sit under the table; neither of which are really good options.
Baby Jogger City Mini Combo. This is 2 points lower than the high for the group of 9 earned by the easy mover the BOB Revolution. The low for the metric is 3 for the Chicco Bravo LE Combo which scored lower than even the bare bones frame strollers that aren't known for their maneuverability.
The Bee is easy to push over most terrain, excelling the most on hard flat surface and negotiating tighter turns and smaller space. You do lose some control over carpet and with the handle fully extended thanks to flex in the frame that makes it more difficult to push. Overall, it is one of the easiest to maneuver if the ground is flat, but the smaller wheels had trouble in the grass and gravel or over small bumps where the wheels simply struggled to make it up and over. You might be able to manage it over a green belt on the way to a play park, but it isn't going to perform well on a gravel trail. The flex in the frame also make it a poor choice for going over curbs or up and down stairs. While the manufacturer will caution against use on stairs and we do too, if you live in a walk up it may be a necessity and this won't be your best choice.
To learn more about the Bee and maneuverability please take a look at the in-depth review presented in our best stroller review.
Britax B-Agile 3 Combo both share the high score for this metric with the low score of 5 for the Chicco Liteway Plus Combo.
The Bee has single action brakes that lock both sides at the same time with one pedal. They are very easy to set and are sandal foot friendly. Releasing the brakes can be achieved by either lifting the pedal from underneath with your toe or by pressing the pedal a second time if you want to spare your shoe or foot from scuffing. We consider this a big deal, depending on how much you love your shoes or sandal feet. The brakes have relatively little play in them once set with only 0.25 inches of movement on the test hill and what we consider to be good sliding resistance compared to the competition.
This stroller does not come standard with any cup holder or parent console so it has no inherent safety concern for items falling out of the holders and onto baby or into the carrier. If parents choose to purchase a holder accessory we caution against placing tall, heavy or hot liquids in the holder to prevent possible injury to baby should the items fall out while stroller, something we found most cup holders near the handlebar have in common.
The side tip angle for the Bee decreases with a carrier attached like it does for most of the strollers because the seat gives the product a higher center of gravity causing it to tip sooner than it would with the toddler seat in place. The Bee tipped at 18 degrees from flat with the Chicco Keyfit 30 attached. This is down from an angle of 22 degrees. The back tip weight for the Bee is a little over 29 pounds on the handlebar. This is about average for the group with the most weight of 56 pounds belonging to the B-Agile. It isn't safe to put any weight on the handlebar of any stroller, but in the event that it happens the Bee required more weight than some of the competition with a 20 pound simulated baby in the seat.
To learn more about safety issues related to the toddler seat or harness we recommend you review the standard stroller gear review for the Bee. These are not covered here because the seat is not attached to the frame when combined with an infant car seat carrier.
Ease of Use
The Bee does not offer any other conveniences for storage for baby or parents. It does not have an adjustable footrest, but it does have adjustable recline on the toddler seat that is easy to use with a push button, and has many angle options to choose from. The Bee does come standard with a rain cover when you purchase it with the toddler seat, but it doesn't look like the rain cover is really intended for use with a car seat. It is also probably good to note that you can purchase just the Bee frame by itself for use with your car seat, and buy the toddler seat/canopy combo at a later date to save on the initial cost.
Mountain Buggy Swift Combo. The high for the metric is 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista Combo and the Revolution.
The Bee has machine washable fabric and a 2 year warranty on the frame with a 1 year for components.
Ease of Setup
The Bee is one of the most difficult strollers to put together because it comes with very little pre-assembled. This product took us over 23 minutes to put together from taking it out of the box to ready to use. This is over twice the amount of time it took to assemble the next longest product. The documentation for assembly is poor compared to the competition, relying solely on illustrations with no words to relay information. We put several portions of the product together incorrectly the first time with about ¾ of the time spent on the canopy and seat. The chassis is easier than the rest of the product to assemble. Thankfully, you will only need to assemble the stroller once, so the experience will not need to be repeated.
One of the best applications for this product is use with a car seat carrier. The Bee managed a higher score in its ability to create a nice car seat and stroller combination that it did in our standard stroller review. For parents looking for a stylish stroller that is simple and easy to use with a car seat it is hard not to be drawn to the Bee and its one of a kind look and fold. While it didn't score highly in the standard stroller review, we think that most parents in an urban environment will enjoy what it has to offer, and are unlikely to miss what it doesn't offer or do well.
This is the third most expensive stroller in this review. With a price tag of $720 for the frame and toddler seat combination it might be a hard price to justify for many parents. It is however cheaper than the Bugaboo Cameleon that has a list price of $1150. So if finding a fancy high end stroller is a must, some parents might feel it is a good value for what it offers in the way of easy car seat attachment. Alternatively, the UPPAbaby Cruz has a list price of $500 and earned Editors' Choice award in this category and for standard strollers. UPPAbaby makes a good looking quality product that is almost as easy to use with a car seat and is lighter and smaller when folded.
Other Versions and Accessories
Bugaboo also makes the Bugaboo Cameleon that we looked at in this review. The Cameleon came in third place tying with the UPPAbaby Cruz and impressing in its own right. It might be a good choice for some parents depending on what they are looking for in a stroller, but it did not win an award in this review thanks to a higher price tag that many options that earned higher scores.
— BabyGearLab Review Team
Most recent user review: June 19, 2016
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