The Hunt for the Best Umbrella Stroller of 2017
Which option is the best umbrella stroller? We chose 19 of the top ranked and most innovative products on the market, and put them through extensive testing in a head-to-head competition to find the easiest to use, push, and to take when travelling. We rated products on their weight and folded size, ease of use, maneuverability, and quality to determine which lightweight strollers were the best, the most economical, or just the coolest strollers out there. Read on to see which options impressed us and which disappointed.
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Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Updated Jan 2017
We've updated this review to include testing of 19 top umbrella strollers, pitting them side-by-side to find the very best.
The BabyZen Yoyo+ earned the highest score in this review with a top score for maneuverability and nice ease of use and quality scores. This stroller has nice wheels with bearings that make it a pleasure to push and turn. With a smooth canopy and stylish design, the Yoyo+ brings all that it promises to the table by being a great urban dweller that folds small into thirds, is easy to carry, and has the features you'll need for a day on the town. While the price is on the high side for a lightweight stroller, this one is truly a "you get what you pay for" option, and if you can afford it, we think you'll be more than pleased with its performance and looks.
Easy to push and turn
Not great for napping
The Quinny Yezz came in second place out of 19 strollers in this review, shining with a top score for maneuverability and quality, and a good score for weight and folded size. This stroller is super easy and fun to use with an amazing turning radius and one finger pushing. The Yezz is fun to use and moves so well you won't want to stop strolling. While it doesn't offer much in the way of features, you are unlikely to miss them with the innovative design and just enough options to keep you going. The Yezz has skate style wheels with closed bearings, and a comfortable seat with a small canopy and back of the seat storage pocket. It folds small, can be carried hands free, and stows almost anywhere. We think this little powerhouse is a true traveler's dream, and parents and passengers will love using it as often as they can.
Easy and fun to push and turn
Great for travel
The Inglesina Net earned a high score for weight and folded size with a nice score for quality. This stroller is a bare bones option with a breathable seat back, slight recline, easy traditional fold with self-stand, and one of the smallest and lightest combined measurements in the group. This budget friendly stroller is one of the cheaper options in the review, and while it doesn't come with the bells and whistles, it does have what you need to make it through a mid-day stroll. The under seat bin is big enough for a few supplies, and the canopy covers enough to prevent discomfort. This simple stroller will get the job done without breaking the bank, or leaving you frustrated. While it can't double as a primary stroller, or make it for longer trips, it is a good option for travel and is easy to carry and stow.
Small and lightweight
Easy to carry
Hard to push and turn
The Recaro EasyLife earned a Best Value award for offering a high performing product at a reasonable price. This stroller earned top marks for ease of use and quality, with features that function well and provide what you need. The EasyLife has a cool tri-fold design that creates a package small enough for most spaces and a strap that makes it easy to carry. It features a nice size canopy with peek-a-boo window, a cool water bottle sleeve, a decent storage bin, and a recline good enough for napping. We think parents will love the look and feel of this inexpensive option so much that they will be able to overlook any difficulty they may have moving over uneven terrain, the only place where the EasyLife struggles.
Easy to use
Harder to push and turn
The Britax B-Agile 3 earned top marks for ease of use and quality with an impressive score for maneuverability. This standard stroller is lighter than some of the lightweight strollers and has a quick and easy fold that makes it easy to manage on the go. The B-Agile 3 earned a Top Pick award for everyday use because it can handle all day adventures with a large storage bin and canopy, a near flat recline and tight space turning. This stroller is compatible with a variety of infant car seats, works from infant to older toddler, and could be the only stroller you ever need, saving you time and money with a one stroller solution over two.
Easy to use
Car seat compatible
Easy to push
Heavier and larger
Harder to travel with
The Baby Jogger City Mini earned a Top Pick for best everyday use with high scores for ease of use, maneuverability, and quality. This stroller may be one of the heavier and larger options, but it has everything you'll need for almost any kind of trip, making it feel like a small well-equipped outing machine. This stroller is easy to push and turn, has a giant canopy, and folds with one quick step. It has a near flat recline for napping, a large storage bin, and is made with materials that come together in a sturdy practical stroller that works with several infant car seats. The City Mini can do it all and potentially fill two niches with one product saving you money and the energy needed to decide on two products. Combine this option with a compatible infant car seat, and it maybe the only stroller you need to buy.
Easy to use
Car seat compatible
Harder to carry
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Analysis and Test Results
We put 19 of the top and most highly regarded lightweight strollers through a rigorous test. Each product was carefully observed in use, and rating on 4 key performance metrics: weight and folded size, ease of use, maneuverability, and quality. Weight and folded size has the most influence over the final score, because finding a compact, easy to carry stroller, is the primary reason parents decide to purchase an umbrella stroller to begin with. Our ratings are a combination of in-house lab testing and real world experience using the products in everyday life for several months, in side-by-side comparison style tests.
The chart above shows how each of the products we tested scored in terms of overall performance across all of our tests. In the sections below, we'll go through each of the major performance rating metrics, starting with Weight and Folded Size, and summarize how the products performed compared to each other.
Weight and Folded Size
How much a product weighs, or how compact it can fold, is what makes a great lightweight stroller standout from the pack. The most important aspect is finding one that you can fold and transport with ease. You want one that makes travel easier and can quickly go from holding baby to being carried or easily stowed. Some of the products we reviewed were pretty heavy making them harder to carry or lift. Some of them were light, but folded into packages that were longer than average and hard to fit in a compact trunk. For parents looking for a traditional umbrella stroller, this could be the make or break metric when deciding which product to purchase.
The highest scoring product for Weight and Folded Size is the GB Pockit with the smallest folded volume, and the second lightest weight. If you need a product that folds up small, fits in tight places, and can be easily picked up, carried, or moved on public transportation, then the GB Pockit really is best of breed. However, the Pockit did not win an award, because it is difficult to maneuver and hard to use, and in terms of overall performance it scored below average. The Maclaren Mark II is the lightest with a weight of only 8.6 lbs, but it scored poorly in several other tests leaving it well below average in overall performance score. Unless you truly can't lift anything over 9 pounds, we don't think the trade off of poor user experience is worth the lower weight.
The Quinny Yezz (above left) offers the second smallest fold with a reasonable weight of only 12.6 lbs, and it is a stroller we loved to push and had fun using, making it a more compelling all-around choice for travel. The largest folded option is the Baby Jogger City Mini (above right), which may be a poor choice if space is at a premium, and the Graco Breaze is the heaviest (over 18 lbs), which may be prohibitive for some parents to lug for around for very long.
Ease of Use
Ease of use encompasses your daily experience, and the features that make using the product easier, or add versatility. A product that ranks high for ease of use may be more versatile and/or users found it more enjoyable and user friendly. Parents might find that higher ranking strollers are good for a larger variety of adventure types. Having a larger sunshade or storage bin means a stroller might be able to go shopping for longer, or be better for outdoor trips to a farmers market. Having an easy quick fold, can make a stroller better for urban commuting where speed and space are valued over additional features.
Fold and Unfold
Lightweight strollers should be easy to fold and quick to operate for using on public transportation. While folding small is important, being able to fold easily and fast, can be just as important. We preferred strollers that fold with one hand and fewer steps. If they lock automatically or stand on their own they earned even more points.
The Recaro EasyLife is the easiest option to fold, operating with one hand and folding into thirds making a small package that fits almost anywhere. Better still, it unfolds almost by itself and pops open so quick you're ready to go in no time. The hardest strollers to fold are the UPPAbaby products that require two hands with several steps and can be hard to do if you're rushed or flustered (think crying baby and inpatient commuters). The Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini also scored well here with a quick one-handed pull.
Many of the umbrella products have double action brakes that require two pedals to be set for full brake engagement. We worry that parents will forget or choose not to set both pedals and this could lead to unnecessary accidents or injuries. For this reason we prefer single action brakes that use only one pedal. The best brakes are easy to set and release, and are sandal foot friendly. The brakes should engage without sticking or feeling locked when they aren't. The best brakes in this review are on the BabyZen Yoyo+ that has one pedal with plenty of foot room and is press to set and press again to release. The Baby Jogger Vue Lite has the worst brakes. These brakes are super stiff and felt set during testing when sometimes they weren't, and releasing the brakes definitely hurts uncovered feet.
All of the products offered some kind of storage, how much and where were the primarily differences. Most have an under seat storage bin, but they vary in size, maximum weight capacity, and how easy they are to access. The Britax B-Agile 3 has the largest bin in our review and the Quinny Yezz doesn't have a bin at all, just a seat back pocket. In addition to under seat bins, some had parent pockets located on the back of the sun shades, like the BabyZen Yoyo+ and the Britax B-Agile 3. The pocket makes the models more user-friendly than the products without them, and increases their convenience. The Recaro EasyLife and the Britax B-Agile 3 both offer nice storage, while the Quinny Yezz pocket can only hold a few supplies meaning you might end up carrying a separate bag or backpack.
While all the products have a canopy, the simpler strollers have smaller shade, usually without windows. The canopy on the Quinny Yezz is simple, easy to use, and attached to the fabric of the main stroller. However, it is small, doesn't offer much coverage, and it isn't SPF rated. Things are worse with the GB Pockit, which has the smallest shade, covers very little, and only offers direct overhead protection with no side shade. Not surprisingly, both of these strollers earned lower scores for ease of use. On the other hand, some strollers have giant canopies that offer excellent coverage even for a fully reclined passenger. The largest canopy belongs to the ZOE XL1 Deluxe, which is so large that it creates a private cocoon for the passenger, but the cool canopy is really the only thing it did well.
All of the products we looked have 5-point harnesses. Five points is considered safest because the two extra points coming from the shoulder restraint straps help keep children from slipping out, or falling out should the stroller accidentally tip over. We considered how difficult the straps were to adjust for height and correct fit, and how hard the buckle is to use. We also considered whether or not the product has an adjustable crotch strap, and if the lowest height will work for smaller babies.
We feel that parents are more likely to use a harness regularly if it is easy to use and adjust. The UPPAbaby G-Luxe (above left) has the easiest harness and buckle to use, while the Maclaren Techno XT (above right) buckle is so hard even two hands doesn't feel like enough. Some of the harnesses are fairly easy to adjust, but the height adjustment on the shoulder straps is more difficult. The BabyZen Yoyo+ and the Recaro EasyLife have very easy to use harnesses and luckily both score well overall and won awards.
A reclining seat back and adjustable leg rest are nice convenience features that earned products higher scores for ease of use. For little passengers on the go, napping and being comfortable can be the difference between a successful outing and a disaster of epic tantrum proportions. Unfortunately, finding a truly comfortable seat is harder than you'd think when it comes to lightweight strollers in general. Some of the products offer a reclining back, but no adjustable leg rest, others have both a recline and leg option, and some have neither. Many of the recline angles are not that deep and therefore not as nap-worthy as others. Depending on the kind of trip you plan to take, a simple stroller with no comfort options might suffice, but if you are headed to the zoo for the entire day, life will be much easier if little ones can nap and get cozy as they get tired and crabby.
Mountain Buggy Nano (above left) offers additional legroom for nappers, but the zipper side adjustment on the Inglesina Net (above right) doesn't increase the recline angle enough for true napping comfort.
The Baby Jogger City Mini and the Britax B-Agile 3 have some of the most comfortable seats in the group, though the UPPAbaby G-Luxe has the deepest recline paired with an adjustable leg rest, something hard to find in this group together. If your trips are likely to last for hours then a comfortable seat will simply be a must have and might mean you have to sacrifice other things like lighter weights to get one. The Quinny Yezz and the Inglesina Net have some of the lowest scores for this metric with fairly upright seating, little to no recline, and no true leg rest. however, if your trips are short and size is the overriding factor, then these options might be the winner for you.
Although some of the umbrella products claim to be suitable for newborns and infants, we do NOT recommend the use of umbrella or lightweight products for children under 6 months of age. Why? These kinds of strollers only offer the minimal effort for infants and not the level of support and protection we would like to see for babies without head and neck control. Unless the stroller accepts the attachment of an infant car seat, we do not think they should be used for children under 6 months old. Ever. The Baby Jogger City Mini and the Britax B-Agile 3 would be the exceptions as they are not technically lightweight strollers, but are instead standard strollers. Always keep an eye on baby and regularly check to ensure the harness is properly positioned and adjusted.
Car Seat Compatibility
Only a sparse few of the lightweight options are compatible with infant car seats. For the most part this category of stroller isn't known for this capability, so it really isn't a strike against them if they didn't offer it, more of a bonus if they did. The Britax B-Agile 3, the Baby Jogger City Mini and the Mountain Buggy Nano all accept a variety of infant car seats with additional adapters. The BabyZen Yoyo+ works with one infant car seat, the Graco Breaze works with Graco brand seats, and the Recaro EasyLife works with the Recaro Performance Coupe.
Ease of Setup
Most of the products we reviewed came assembled or mostly assembled. The main items requiring assemble were the wheels, canopies, or possibly attaching the seat to the frame. None of the products required complete assembly, but the BabyZen Yoyo+ had a lot of parts and pieces, taking more time than any other stroller to get unpacked and ready to stroll, and in some cases 6 times longer. The GB Pockit and the Quinny Yezz were both very easy to set up, with the GB Pockit taking under 2 minutes including unpacking time. Given that you only need to do assembly once, we don't think it should be a heavy influencer in your buying decision.
Maneuverability can make or break whether or not a stroller rolls smoothly, or struggles and wobbles. Depending on the journey and the terrain you plan to traverse, which product you choose will make a big difference in whether or not you can get where you want to go without frustration. Some of the products were easy to push and turn, while others felt clunky and averse to turning on grass.
The Quinny Yezz has unique skate wheels that make it so agile it feels like you can dance with it, which means you can definitely negotiate even the most crowded city streets with ease and style. We loved using it and think that most parents can forgive any lacking features for its maneuverability alone. The BabyZen Yoyo+ also performed well in our tests for maneuverability, but it was much smoother on the flat roads than the grass gravel.
While we assumed most of the strollers would struggle in the grass and gravel, we were a little surprised that some of them struggled on flat hard surfaces too. The products that struggled in this metric were those with smaller wheels, wheels with fake tread, and the dual front wheel designs (2 wheels on each side that equaled 4 wheels in front). Products with single front wheels (2 total, instead of 4) and the larger wheels performed better overall than most of the others. The hardest stroller to push is the ZOE XL1 Deluxe. This stroller really struggled on the smooth flat hardwood and was very difficult to turn with weight in the seat.
For quality we consider how well a product is put together, the materials that were used, and how the materials withstand daily use. Some of the materials are not as nice or durable as others.
The overall look and feel of the materials, and how they come together and perform under normal use, is a good indicator of the level of quality of the construction and components. The comfort factor of each option was also noted. Other considerations were frame flex, wheel wobble, exposed fasteners, poor stitching, and loose connection points.
Kolcraft Cloud Plus (above right) earned the lowest score for quality with lower end materials and loose connection points that created more frame flex with weight in the seat. This stroller also has the lowest price in the group, so it may very well be a "you get what you pay for" situation for the Kolcraft Cloud Plus.
In the end, it is difficult to say that there is only one best product for everyone. The needs of parents and their passengers vary depending on how often the stroller will be used, the duration it will be used for, and the kind of activities. Some of the strollers are better for quick trips around the city, while others are better for longer trips to the park or shopping. Some have so many features they could mange double duty as a primary stroller, while others are so minimal they make great commuting products, but possibly not much else.
There are several good options for everyone no matter what your specific need or budget. It is our goal to provide the information you need in order to make the best decision for your family. Between the award winners and the high ranking models, there really is something for everyone, and once you narrow down your needs and desires, we feel confident you can find the right stroller for your passenger. Take a look at our How to Pick the Best Umbrella Stroller for help on narrowing down your options and deciding what is most important to you.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD, Wendy Schmitz, and BabyGearLab Review Team
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