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Hands-on Gear Review
Baby Jogger City Mini Double ReviewPrice: $450.00 List | $349.99 at Amazon - 22% off
Pros: Easy to lift and carry with a compact easy fold
Cons: Difficult to maneuver, hard to use storage options
Bottom line: Average stroller that is hard to push and keep on track
The Baby Jogger City Mini Double is an average side-by-side stroller that performed well enough to score above average in most metrics, but not high enough to really impress us. This stroller has nice fabric and well-padded seats with front suspension and large canopies. The storage bin and back seat pockets are nice features, but the lack of adjustable handlebar and leg rest mean it had trouble competing with some of the other products we tested. The plastic dual front wheel design negatively impacted the maneuverability of this stroller, and we think it would have performed better if the wheels were rubber or the handlebar adjustable.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Double Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Baby Jogger City Mini Double is a side-by-side double stroller that is not intended for jogging. This stroller has front wheel suspension on 8-inch wheels, near flat recline position, auto-locking fold, and a retractable weather cover. The seats have independent canopies with 50+ UV protection with peek-a-boo windows. This stroller can work with one infant car seat using additional adapters, or two compact prams (sold separately). Each seat has a 50-pound weight limit.
The chart below is a comparison of the overall scores for the strollers tested in this review with the City Mini Double shown in blue.
The sections below show information on how the City Mini performed in each metric compared to the competition.
Ease of Use
The City Mini earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use, which is just above average for the group. Four other strollers in the review tied with the City Mini including, the Britax B-Agile Double, Mountain Buggy Duet, Baby Jogger City Select Double and the Graco FastAction Fold Duo. The high is 8 for the UPPAbaby Vista Double.
Fold and Unfold
The City Mini claims to self-fold once the safety straps are unsnapped. We aren't sure about this, but it is very easy to fold compared to the competition, and we were impressed by the process. After removing the safety straps, all you need to do is lift the fabric handle in the center of the seat.
It does require two hands, but you only need to bend halfway and it self-stands, and auto-locks so there isn't a lot of extra steps. It is also lighter than most, which means it is easier to lift and carry. To unfold you will also need two hands, and it is rated as easy compared to the competition. It has two steps, and you only need to bend down halfway to finish. We caution parents to double check that they have re-snapped the safety straps and to avoid getting lazy and leaving them undone.
The City Mini has single action brakes that are easy to set and difficult to release. These pedals are almost impossible to pop back up with your foot under the pedal, and you will injure you barefoot top or sandal if you even think of trying this. Even if you are wearing nicer closed toed shoes, there is a chance you'll be doing some cosmetic damage when you use them to release the brakes. Some testers even bent down to use their hand, which is not a useful solution.
The storage bin on this stroller is a bummer compared to the competition. This bin is only medium in size and is hard to access from any angle. It does have access from the back and both sides, but we weren't able to fit much inside. It does have a 10-pound maximum weight allowance, and we just barely squeezed our large diaper bag inside, but it would be better if we could fit a larger bag or more supplies.
The City Mini also has a large mesh pocket on the back of each seat. Each pocket holds 2 pounds each making the total storage weight allowance 14 pounds, and we found it was a good place to keep quick access items like a cell phone or keys.
We were able to fit a water bottle, baby bottle and some types of sippy cups into the mesh pocket on the back of the seat, so you may not miss it, but we think most parents will wish it had one.
Each seat has its own canopy which is a nice feature as each child may have different needs and will want their canopy set at a different angle or opening. They are both large and cover past the knee when fully opened. Each canopy has a medium peek-a-boo window made of vinyl with a hook and loop closure cover. The canopies can also be rolled up in the back to offer ventilation or let down to cover the back when reclined.
The photos above show the differences between the Mini with the seat backs upright and canopies closed, versus the seat backs fully reclined and canopies fully opened.
The harnesses on the City Mini are both 5-point and identical. The harness is really easy to put on and fairly easy to take off. The rethread shoulder straps have four different height levels with a range of five inches. The crotch strap only has one strap, but it is adjustable, so that helps increase the harness adjustment capabilities. The harness tightens easily by pulling on the strap, and you don't need to mess with the adjustments that much. The buckle requires that the strap parts need to be manually taken out of the buckle; the straps do not spring out on their own when you press the buckle.
The stroller does have a padded leg rest that goes down to a fairly wide foot pad, but the rest is not adjustable and cannot be pulled out straight for cozier napping. The recline feature is identical on each seat, and there are an infinite number of angles, unlike some strollers that have designated recline options. The recline can be adjusted with only one hand for both laying down and putting it back upright. It doesn't lay flat, but it does go down to about 36.3 degrees from flat. This stroller also has a retractable weather cover for unexpected storms or windy weather.
Ease of Setup
The City Mini Double took just over 8 minutes to set up from box to ready to roll. The manual was only average compared to the competition, and it isn't as good as the Baby Jogger City Mini single instructions. The canopies are the hardest part to assemble, but you won't need any tools for any of it. Only four strollers in the group were easier to assemble. The easiest stroller to build is the Thule Urban Glide 2.
The City Mini earned a 5 of 10 for maneuverability. This score is below the average which is just under 6. However, several other strollers in the group scored lower, so things could be worse. The high is 9 earned by the Thule Urban Glide 2, Thule Chariot Cross 2, and the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie.
The City Mini performs better on flat surfaces than it does on rougher terrain. This stroller is narrow for a side-by-side with wheels that are no wider than the frame of the stroller. This means it can fit through most doorways and we didn't have any trouble with it in our tests. Unfortunately, we aren't big fans of the foam filled tires and felt that they added wobble to the overall ride. It is much harder to push going over grass and gravel, and the double front wheel design once again tries to pull the stroller off course. While you can lock the swivel wheels to help avoid this, you then won't be able to turn without popping the front wheels up. We also had trouble with the front wheels falling into a grate and it wouldn't go over a one-inch curb.
Weight and Folded Size
If you are looking for a stroller that is both small and light, this may be a good option. While the majority of test results revealed an average product, the weight and folded size category help bring up the overall score of the Mini with an 8 of 10, tying with the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite. This is the second highest score in the group. The high is a 9 for the Britax B-Agile Double, which is 27.9 pounds and 10,649 cubic inches in size.
The City Mini weighs 27.8 pounds, which is only 4 pounds more than the lightest option, the Joovy Caboose. The Mini measures 10,971 cubic inches making it the second smallest folded product in the review, rivaled only by the Britax B-Agile Double which is 10,649. This is an amount you aren't likely to notice.
The City Mini earned a 6 of 10 for quality, which is a tie with the Joovy Scooter and the Britax B-Agile Double. Baby Jogger tends to be just nice enough to instill confidence in its longevity without going overboard and creating a stroller that is too expensive for the average family to afford. The City Mini is no exception to this standard with materials and components that look and feel durable.
The fabric on the Mini is smooth and almost slick to the touch, with finely woven slick canvas on the seats. It offers better padding than its bigger brother the Baby Jogger City Select Double, and the combination of materials feels like it wouldn't be very breathable, but instead, might leave sweaty little ones stuck to the seats. The material is continuous throughout the stroller, and it wraps around the frame to create the leg rest and the canopies. The fabric does feel easy to wipe down and that it would dry fairly quickly after a quick cleaning. The footrest seems like a sturdier more durable material, which is good as kicking feet can quickly wear down flimsier fabrics. The canopies have two medium sized peek-a-boo windows made of vinyl with elastic around the canopy fold joints. The storage basket material is similar to that found on the seat, but a little thicker with mesh sides. The mesh is loosely woven, and it snagged in our tests.
The frame on the Mini is simple and sturdy with a nice finish that is neither understated nor flashy. It is very similar to the Baby Jogger City Mini GT with the exception of color and handlebar. The wheels are all plastic, and the dual plastic front wheel design is more common on the less expensive models and impacts maneuverability. The overall fit and finish of the City Mini are nice, without being showy, and all of the materials and components come together nicely with a finished look that isn't frumpy like some of the competition.
The City Mini has a stationary handlebar that is 41.2 inches up from the ground. It is covered in rubber as opposed to the more popular dense foam. It is only about average for comfort to hold and we worry the black rubber will get hot in the summertime without outdoor outings. Also, the rubber is grooved and can feel sort of rough when pushing for a long distance. It is likely more durable than the foam options, but only time will tell. The bar has a middle section that cuts it in two making it more difficult to push one handed, and we think the design could use a little more work given that plenty of competing strollers did not divide the bar in half with a cross bar.
This Baby Jogger has front suspension only that is not adjustable, and we wish it had all around shocks. However, given that some of the competition didn't offer any suspension, we will take what we can get. Suspension can make the ride easier on little bodies and parent's hands as it cushions uneven roads and prevents some of the vibration from rough terrain. The padding on the sling style seats will also help create a cozy riding experience.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The Mini accepts a variety of car seats from Baby Jogger, Cybex, Graco, and Maxi-Cosi. We tested it with the Graco Click Connect 35, the Graco Click Connect 40, and the Maxi-Cosi Mico Max 30.
For each seat, you do need to remove the canopy on the Mini to get the car seat properly in place, but luckily none of the adapters require assembly. The seats all click into place on the adapters, but none of them are easy to attach. The Graco seats are the most difficult because one side will snap in smoothly while the other is near impossible to line up. The Maxi is better, not great, but easier to install and it feels secure once attached. It's hard to say we recommend any of the seats because they all were on the difficult side, but if you must have one, the Maxi is the easiest to manage.
The City Mini will only accept one infant car seat, and while it is compatible with several different brands, installing only one seat means it is not the best choice for infant twins. It would be fine for older twins given that the two seats offer the same riding experience and features, there is less chance little ones will fight over who gets to sit where. So what to do for infant twins? Well, you can install one car seat and carry the other child in a baby carrier. Alternatively, you can purchase a nice double frame stroller like the Joovy Twin Roo+ as a way to transport two infants in car seats. This stroller can be used for the first 9-12 months of life and has a very reasonable price of only $130.
Despite higher than average scores in most metrics, this Baby Jogger is only average and doesn't do anything particularly well or better than other products we tested. The very similarly designed Britax B-Agile Double scored higher overall in our tests, is smaller and scored higher in safety. This comparison means the City Mini may not have a best application. However, if you are a fan of Baby Jogger and feel there is no other brand for you, the City Mini scored higher in our tests than the Baby Jogger City Select Double.
The City Mini has a list price of $450 and an overall score better than ten other strollers we tested. Only one other stroller that ranked higher has a similar price, with the remainders being at least $200 more. This, in theory, makes the City Mini a fairly good value, except that the Britax B-Agile Double is the same price, scored higher and is smaller. Also, the Joovy Scooter X2 is $170 less than the City Mini and the Britax B-Agile Double, and it only scored one point lower overall. While the Joovy Scooter is heavier, if you can swing the added weight, we think it is a better value with a higher score in ease of use and safety.
The Baby Jogger City Mini Double is a side-by-side stroller with large canopies, under seat storage, and back of the seat storage pockets. This stroller scored just above average for most metrics, but it takes some missteps that prevent it from scoring high enough to be a true contender in this competition. The City Mini has the dual front wheel with plastic tired that we find isn't the best design for pushing or turning. This stroller disappoints with two wheel suspension as opposed to four. An Adjustable handlebar and leg rests would also help it score higher in our tests and make the pusher and passenger more comfortable. So, while the City Mini is an okay stroller, it didn't perform well enough in our tests to stand out.
Other Versions and Accessories
The City Mini Double has a few accessories we think many parents will consider must haves:
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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