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Hands-on Gear Review

Bugaboo Bee3 Combo Review


Stroller and Car Seat Combo

The Bugaboo Bee 3 is the easiest stroller to attach a car seat to. We used the Chicco Keyfit 30 seat and adapter in our tests.
Top Pick Award
Price:   $719 List | $688.88 from Amazon
Pros:  Easy car seat attachment with the Chicco
Cons:  Bulky fold, wheels, storage
Bottom line:  Stylish with easy car seat attachment
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Bugaboo

The Skinny

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

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Analysis and Hands-on Test Findings

Review by:
BabyGearLab Review Team


Last Updated:
Sunday
June 19, 2016
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.

Performance Comparison


The Bugaboo Bee works with many different car seat brands including Chicco (seen here).
The Bugaboo Bee works with many different car seat brands including Chicco (seen here).

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


This is an example of a click in adapter where the seat drops into a metal frame. This one belongs to the Bugaboo Bee for use with the Chicco Keyfit 30.
This is an example of a click in adapter where the seat drops into a metal frame. This one belongs to the Bugaboo Bee for use with the Chicco Keyfit 30.
There is no easier car seat attachment than that found on the Bugaboo Bee. The Bee earned a 10 of 10 perfect score tying with its bigger brother, the 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.

The Chicco car seat adapter fits easily to the Bee frame.
The Chicco car seat adapter fits easily to the Bee frame.
The Bee does not have native seats made by Bugaboo, but is compatible with the 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.

The Chicco car seat adapter frame requires assembly with 4 parts and 4 screws. Assembly is easy and you only need to do it once.
The Chicco car seat adapter frame requires assembly with 4 parts and 4 screws. Assembly is easy and you only need to do it once.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 attaches to the Chicco adapter in a similar fashion to how it connects to the car seat base.
The Chicco Keyfit 30 attaches to the Chicco adapter in a similar fashion to how it connects to the car seat base.
The car seat adapter for this stroller is an aluminum loop that requires a Phillips head screwdriver to assemble. The loop consists of 4 parts with 4 screws that are relatively easy to assemble, but even if you struggle you only have to do it once so it doesn't impact your daily use of the adapter. You will need to remove the seat and canopy to use the adapter, but removal is easy and they slide out with the push of a button. The adapter clicks in place using the seat connectors on either side of the frame. The carrier sits in the middle of the loop and it virtually installs itself by clicking into place once you let go of the carrier handle. This seat and adapter did not require any additional pressure in our tests fully connected on its own test after test. We did not have any trouble installing the seat correctly every time and at no time did we think it was installed when it wasn't. removing the carrier is also easy using the release handle on the back of the seat in much the same way you release it from the car seat base.

The Chicco car seat releases from the adapter on the Bee by squeezing the release handle on the back of the seat.
The Chicco car seat releases from the adapter on the Bee by squeezing the release handle on the back of the seat.
The Bee and the Chicco Keyfit 30 are one of the nicest combinations in this review of stroller and car seat combos. Given that the majority of the car seat adapters for the Bee incorporate the use of the loop, we think that there is a chance that other seats will be about as easy as this one. However, we did not test any other seat with this stroller.

Weight and Folded Size


The Bee is fairly light for a standard stroller at 15 pounds with no seat  but it is sort of bulky when folded at 10 886 cubic inches.
The Bee is fairly light for a standard stroller at 15 pounds with no seat, but it is sort of bulky when folded at 10,886 cubic inches.
The Bee is about 15 pounds with the car seat adapter attached, which makes it one of the lighter standard stroller options in the group with only the 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.

Maneuverability


The wheels on the Bee all have coil shocks and are smaller than the majority of wheels for standard size strollers.
The wheels on the Bee all have coil shocks and are smaller than the majority of wheels for standard size strollers.
The Bee earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability tying with the Vista and the 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.

Safety


The large brake pedal on the Bee 3 is very easy to use.
The large brake pedal on the Bee 3 is very easy to use.
The Bee earned a 7 of 10 for safety which is 1 point below the high and above the average for the group of 6. The larger Bugaboo product the Cameleon and the 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 storage bin on the Bee looks large  but it has some cross bars to contend with and the lowest maximum allowable weight limit in the group at 4 pounds.
The storage bin on the Bee looks large, but it has some cross bars to contend with and the lowest maximum allowable weight limit in the group at 4 pounds.
If there is a metric where the Bee struggles to keep up with the competition it is ease of use. It earned a 4 of 10 for this category of tests tying with 3 other strollers, but coming in lower than the high of 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo LE. But, given the lower score the Bravo earned in other metrics, the high here is still not enough to move it into real contention for awards. The low for the metric is 3 for the Chicco Liteway Plus, an umbrella stroller that is more difficult to manage than most and frankly heavier than a lightweight stroller arguably should be.

The UPPAbaby Cruz storage bin is considerably larger than the Bee and holds 21 more pounds compared to the Bee's 4 pound limit.
The UPPAbaby Cruz storage bin is considerably larger than the Bee and holds 21 more pounds compared to the Bee's 4 pound limit.
The Bee has a medium size storage bin that fit our large size diaper bag. It has access from the rear and front with no side access. A flaw with the bin on the Bee is the limited allowable weight capacity of 8.8 pounds. This is likely not enough for all the things you'll need for an outing with baby, with the average for strollers in this review being closer to 11 pounds and 2 having limits higher than 20 pounds. Baby's diaper bag, diapers, wipes, bottles and other supplies are likely to weigh more than 8.8 pounds, which means you will only be able to carry a minimum amount in this bin and it could decrease the length of your outing given the limited supplies you'll be able to carry. If your plan is to run errands or do a little grocery shopping the Bee is a definite no go with no place to store items heavier than a loaf of bread. Both UPPAbaby products have extra-large storage bins with capacities up to 30 pounds and are better options for all day fun or trips to the store.

The canopy on the new Bee 3 (right) is far larger than that found on the previous Bee (left).
The canopy on the new Bee 3 (right) is far larger than that found on the previous Bee (left).
The canopy on the Bee is nice looking and on the larger side. Unfortunately, with this stroller the canopy will need to be removed in order to use the car seat. So while some of the competition allows for the canopy to be used in conjunction with the car seat carrier canopy, this is not one of those and you will need to rely on the car seat canopy for protection from the elements.



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.

Quality


The Bugaboo products  including the Bee  deliver on quality with the second highest ratings in the metric.
The Bugaboo products, including the Bee, deliver on quality with the second highest ratings in the metric.
The Bee scored a 7 of 10 for quality, tying with the Cameleon, Cruz and Mountain Buggy Swift Combo. The high for the metric is 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista Combo and the Revolution.

The Bee has a complicated frame with lots of plastic components.
The Bee has a complicated frame with lots of plastic components.
The Bee has a complicated frame with several parts and connectors to contend with. Surprisingly it manages to still look sleek and function without a lot of flex or rattle to contend with. The tires are foam filled rubber that provides all the benefits of rubber tires without the fear or worry of getting a flat tire. The wheels turn easily with little resistance, but their smaller size inhibits maneuverability and prevents this stroller from being great over rougher terrain. The Bee has 4 wheel shocks that are not adjustable. The fabric on the seat and canopy fit tightly to the frame with no wrinkles or bunching giving the product an overall nice fit and finish that stands out in a crowd.

The handlebar on the Bee 3 telescopes in and out to adjust the height.
The handlebar on the Bee 3 telescopes in and out to adjust the height.
The Bee has an adjustable handlebar that telescopes in and out as opposed to rotating on a pivot point. We like the telescoping handles because it allows for taller people to find a good height without bringing them too close to the rear axle that results in kicking the back of the stroller while strolling. The handlebar adjusts from 34.5 to 42 inches from the ground and is smaller in circumference than some of the competition. So, while it is fairly comfortable in hand, it isn't as nice as the thicker bars for pushing long distances.

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 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.

Best Applications


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.

Value


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.

Conclusion


The Bugaboo Bee 3 is the easiest stroller to attach a car seat to. We used the Chicco Keyfit 30 seat and adapter in our tests.
The Bugaboo Bee 3 is the easiest stroller to attach a car seat to. We used the Chicco Keyfit 30 seat and adapter in our tests.
The Bee is a kind of a cool looking product that looks sleek and is sure to turn a few heads. It offers all wheel suspension, foam filled rubber tires, and one of the easiest folds in the group. The Bee is compatible with several car seats and the metal loop attachment is easy to connect to the frame and even easier to connect a carrier too. Combining this frame with the Chicco Keyfit 30 created the easiest to use combination in our review, making the Bee a top pick for car seat attachment on a stroller that will likely appeal to the style conscious urban family. The Bee earned the highest score in this review and impressed us in its ability to work well with an infant car seat carrier.

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.

Video


BabyGearLab Review Team

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User Reviews


Most recent user review: June 19, 2016
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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Average Customer Rating:     (0.0)
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
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