Baby Trend Navigator Review
Pros: Easier to push and turn, lower price
Cons: Heavy, poor car seat attachment
Manufacturer: Baby Trend
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Baby Trend has been around for about 26 years designing and creating a variety of baby gear items from walkers to car seats. The Baby Trend company goals include making safe and affordable products for parents and children. Baby Trend was the first manufacturer to create a Sit and Stand style stroller and their Diaper Champ diaper pail was the first diaper pail that didn't require brand refills.
Ease of Use
The Navigator performance for ease of use is below the average for the group.
Fold and Unfold
The Navigator is a two-handed fold with what Baby Trend calls "trigger action" that requires pulling up on dual-side release points at the same time. The fold is three steps, has a manual lock, and self-stands. Folding the Navigator is easy, and unfolding is about average compared to the competition. The overall size of the stroller could make unfolding harder for smaller users.
The brakes are double action and require pressing two pedals for full brake engagement. Setting the brakes is average and releasing them is difficult. The pedals are very stiff and pulling them up is not foot-friendly.
The Navigator has an under-seat storage bin that spans the width of the stroller. The basket is large and fit our large diaper bag inside, but the maximum allowance is only 5 lbs, which means it may not hold supplies for two children. The bin has access from the back and sides, but both have frame bars that prevent unobstructed access.
This stroller has pockets on the back of each seat, a parent console (above left) and child trays for both passengers (above right). The parent console has two cup holders and a covered center compartment. During testing, taller items fell from the holders while strolling, so parents should use caution when using the cup holders. The child trays both have two cup holders and a snack depression. The cup holders held most test items, but taller items are likely to topple out. Both trays swing out to the side for seat access.
The Navigator has smaller individual canopies for each seat that lock open and can ratchet forward to block the lower sun or the wind. Both shades have a medium size mesh peek-a-boo window with a hook and loop closure cover. The two canopies are better than the one on other Baby Trend joggers, but the smaller size is a disappointment. When fully open and upright the canopies only provide partial protection from the sun and do not cover to the knee.
Both seats have a 5-point harness with a rethread height adjustment that threads through two external loop straps sewn to the seat back for three possible height options. The harness is easy to get on, a little harder to get off, and better than average to adjust for size and height. The crotch strap has a single position, but the length is adjustable. The buckle buttons are stiff and take extra pressure to press, but the straps spring out on their own.
Each seat moves independently of the other for individualized comfort, and unlike tandem strollers, each passenger has the same experience. The Navigator has a padded leg rest, but it isn't adjustable, and there is a gap before the footrest. The footrest is wider than the Expedition and made of hard plastic so it is easy to clean. The seatbacks recline using a plastic buckle with a one-side adjustable strap length. Operating the buckle requires two hands and is stiff. The strap can be a struggle to move, and one hand has to hold the plastic end while the other moves the strap through the plastic threading. Both seats slope back, but not far enough to be perfect for napping.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Navigator only works with Baby Trend brand car seats, but it will accept two infant seats. The car seats rely on the child trays for installation, and there are no other adapters available for seats from other brands. The Baby Trend compatible seats include the Flex-Loc, EZ Flex-Loc, EZ Flex-Loc 32, EZ Loc, Inertia, Secure Snap Tech 32 and 35. The seats lock into the tray cup holders with a click sound and face the back of the stroller seats. The stroller canopies can be used in conjunction with the car seats when you move the car seat handle all the way back over the head of the car seat. Installation of the seats also requires using an elastic strap on the sides as a secondary attachment, and we worry parents may forget or skip this step.
The seats are below average for ease of attachment and removal thanks to the second step. Once connected, they don't feel very secure which is a disappointment for a native brand seat that in our opinion should feel like part of the stroller and not an afterthought.
Ease of Setup
The Navigator is hard to put together and took us over 15 minutes to assemble. The user manual is poor, and it requires two different tools to complete. The front wheels are particularly complicated, and we wonder why more of it doesn't come pre-assembled. The manual directions are too simplified, and the illustrations are not very useful.
The Navigator has air-filled rubber tires, the four-wheel design and larger size hurt its turning capabilities.
This stroller is really wide, and we had trouble fitting it through a 32-inch doorway. It handles okay, but it isn't as nice as the three-wheeled Baby Trend Expedition Double, and the wider width causes trouble in tighter turns and crowded spaces. It is relatively easy to push over the grass and the gravel, but turning on these surfaces is harder than all the other jogging style options in this review. The front wheels will lock in place with the flip of a switch, which helps over uneven terrain and jogging, but it doesn't improve turning which is the real problem here.
The Navigator has a stationary handlebar and two-wheel front shocks. The sling-style seat and padded seat bottom will provide some comfort for passengers, but the all-wheel suspension is ideal for comfort, and we think all joggers should have it. This stroller probably isn't the most comfortable ride for passengers or pushers.
Weight and Folded Size
This stroller is the heaviest double stroller we tested at 39.7 lbs. Given that the Baby Trend Expedition Double is 10 lbs lighter it is hard to justify the added weight that makes pushing and carrying more challenging.
The Navigator measures 21,753 cubic inches when folded. These measurements make it one of the larger folded options in the review. While neither the largest nor smallest stroller we tested, it does have a thick fold that may be difficult to fit in a standard trunk.
The Navigator quality score is better than the other Baby Trend strollers we tested in this review, which we would expect given the higher price tag. However, it isn't as high as other strollers with similar prices.
The materials used on the Navigator have a slight edge over those on the other Baby Trend strollers; the fabric has a tighter weave, the piping is better, the stitching is nicer, and the padded is thicker. The overall appearance is better with solid connections and less flex than the cheaper Baby Trend options. However, it is evident in comparison that it is only average compared to the competition.
The Navigator would work well for twins because it has equal seating for both children and accepts two infant car seats at the same time. However, this stroller did not score well in our tests, and we think there are better options available for most parents. While it is the only jogger that accepts two car seats, it is not advised to jog with children under eight months of age anyway, so it isn't as if you can jog with two infants on board. We think parents are better off choosing a higher scoring stroller even if it doesn't work with two car seats. Alternatives to two infant car seats include babywearing and one car seat or combining a different double stroller with a car seat frame stroller that accepts a variety of different brand car seats and has a low cost. Plus, you can buy them in stages which could help with tighter budgets.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz