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Graco FastAction Fold Duo ReviewPrice: $300.00 List
Pros: Accepts two car seats, attached adapters so nothing to misplace
Cons: Plastic wheels negatively impact maneuverability, poor protection from sun
Bottom line: Doesn't match the quality of similar strollers making it harder to push and turn
The Graco FastAction Fold Duo is a side-by-side stroller that accepts 2 Graco infant car seats and has a quick one step fold process. It is a budget friendly stroller that makes an effort to compete with the Britax B-Agile Double but fails to match the performance or the quality. While we wanted to like this Graco and were intrigued with it initially, the comparison to the competition quickly sullied it thanks to difficulty while pushing, a divided storage bin, and a lack of functionality like an adjustable handlebar, double action brakes, and large canopies. We feel Graco should lower the price, or improve upon the flaws we discovered to help it compete against the competition.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Double Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Graco FastAction Fold Duo is a side-by-side double stroller that accepts 2 Graco Click Connect infant car seats. This stroller holds two children up to 50 pounds with 3 or 5-point harness options. The car seats attach with adapters that are permanently attached to the stroller, so they don't get lost. It has a one hand fold, two storage bins, two cup holders, dual canopies, and parent storage. The Duo seats both recline independently, and the front swivel wheels can lock.
The chart below shows a comparison of the overall scores for the double strollers we purchased and tested in this review. The Graco FastAction Fold Duo is shown in blue.
The details in the sections below provide more information on how the Graco performed in each metric.
Ease of Use
The Graco FastAction Fold Duo earned a 6 of 10 for ease of use. This is better than about half the competition, with the UPPAbaby Vista Double, earning an 8. Ease of use impacts your daily experience with a product and can make or break how much you enjoy your stroller.
Fold and Unfold
The Duo is a two hand fold, and you will be banging your shins a bit. While pulling the handles is easy, and the frame folds in half without complaint, the stroller itself sort of picks up and will bang into the person folding it (watch the Graco video below and notice how the stroller hits the folders shins). It also doesn't self-stand, which means you'll need both hands to lay it down on the ground or to hold it in place. Other strollers with a similar folding mechanism, like the Peg Perego Book for Two or the Britax B-Agile Double self-stand which makes the whole process significantly easier. Even though this stroller is technically not a self-standing model, we found that it would stand if you pull the stroller apart as far as the lock mechanism will let you. It does have a plastic bump on the foam handlebar to rest on so the bar isn't damaged. It isn't the most stable operation, but if you need it to stand, it sort of can.
This stroller was very easy to fold compared to the competition, it auto-locks, and it is done in one step or fluid motion. Unfolding this Graco is only about average compared to the rest of the group. It requires two hands, and there are two steps. This process includes grasping both halves and pulling them apart. This might be hard for some parents and certainly felt awkward the first several times we tried it.
The Graco has double action brakes, which means you'll have to press the pedal on each side of the stroller to engage the brakes. We aren't big fans of this style because it involves an additional step and we worry parents will forget one side, become distracted before they complete the process, or they will intentionally decide not to engage both sides. This would be a safety hazard that could easily be avoided if they were single action brakes. They are only average in their difficulty to set and release but are sandal foot friendly.
The under seat storage on the FastAction is better than about half of the strollers we tested. It has fairly easy access from the back and sides, and it fit our extra-large bag on one side. It might be more useful if the bin was all one instead of divided, but the division might be good for keeping items more organized. The bin has a max capacity of 10 pounds per basket. The UPPAbaby Vista accepts 30 pounds which is the highest allowance in the group. This stroller also sports a parent's console with dual cup holders and storage trays. The passengers both have a swiveling cup holder on the side of the frame.
The parent cup holders are 2 inches deep and located high on the handlebar behind the canopies. This makes them a moderate safety hazard because their placement and depth could result in items falling out. The upside is the contents are likely to fall onto the canopy and not baby's head, but it would still be better if the cup holders were deeper. In our tests, some items did fall while strolling, especially while trying to maneuver over rougher terrain. The cup holders on the Graco can fit a water bottle, baby bottle, and sippy cup. The tray itself can hold your cell phone and keys, but in our tests bottles and taller items fell out of the cup holders while strolling, while the children's cup holder won't fit a water bottle unless you squish it in place (something little people aren't likely to be able to do).
The Graco Duo has individual sunshades for each passenger so they can be adjusted according to individual taste to avoid arguing toddlers. The shades are medium in size, had added ventilation and offer peek-a-boo windows made of mesh with no closures. No covers seems like a cost cutting corner that we wouldn't make if it were our design. These canopies are better than any of the inline tandem strollers (not counting stadium style or rumble seats), but they still aren't as nice as the similarly designed Britax B-Agile Double. We don't think these will cover baby from head to knee or protect against accidental rain. They also look fairly sloppy compared to the competition.
The FastAction Fold has 5-point harnesses in each seat. They rank below average for ease of putting them on but are easier to take off than put on. They are a rethread height adjustment method and have three height levels. The crotch strap only has one position, but it is adjustable. The upper and lower straps of the harness need to be connected to each other before they can be inserted into the buckle, and they come undone fairly easily, making the process a bit of a headache, especially if the baby is squirming or throwing a tantrum. The release buckle requires two hands of pressure to depress the button to release the straps. Height adjustment is achieved by pushing the back end of the shoulder strap through the slot and then inserting into a different slot through to the back. While it is a rethread design, it is easier than some of the other rethread options we tested.
The photos above show the Duo with the canopies closed and seats in the upright position and the canopies open and seats fully reclined.
The Duo does have a leg rests, but they are not adjustable and simply trails down to the plastic foot rest and cover for the front wheel.
Both seats on the Duo recline an infinite number of places as opposed to specific intervals. The best part is both passengers have the same experience and opportunity to be as comfortable as the other passenger, unlike many of the inline options.
Ease of Setup
The Graco is fairly difficult to put together with more items to assemble than the competition. The instructions are also less than stellar, and we think that most new parents will find it more frustrating than an Ikea flat stack shelving unit. You don't need a tool to assemble it, but that might be the only nice thing we can say about it.
The FastAction Fold is similar to so many less expensive and plastic wheeled strollers in this group. It tied for the lowest score in the group for maneuverability with a 3 of 10. This is a tie with the Chicco Cortina Together, and the Graco Ready2Grow LX. The metric high is 9 shared by Thule Urban Glide 2, Thule Chariot Cross 2 and the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie.
This product has wheels and tires made of plastic and the almost infamous dual front wheel design that in our tests almost always spells maneuvering difficulty. In fact, nothing with a score of higher than 6 has plastic dual front wheels. Not one. This indicates to us that strollers with this design are not the easiest strollers to push. This stroller is hard to push and turn, and we kicked the back of the stroller repeatedly while strolling no matter what the speed.
Despite Graco's claim that this is the narrowest side-by-side stroller on the market and it can fit in almost any doorway, we couldn't get it through our test course bathroom doorway where most of the competition had no problems. We also had difficulty going around some tighter corners and narrow walkways.
Off pavement and hard surfaces we were surprised it didn't manage better than it did. The shorter wheelbase and wide handle helped give some leverage to the stroller through the grass portions of the course, but it stopped dead in its tracks when we made it to the gravel part, and it wouldn't go over a 1-inch curb either.
Weight and Folded Size
The Graco FastAction scored a 5 of 10 for weight and folded size, which is just below average for the group. The best score in the metric is a 9 earned by the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite for being the lightest at 23 pounds and the Britax B-Agile Double for being the smallest stroller with a folded size of 10,460 cubic inches.
The Duo is 32.9 pounds according to our scales. This weight is almost average for the group in weight, but, it may still be more than some new moms can lift thanks to C-sections or a difficult childbirth. The folded size is 15,740 cubic inches, which also makes it is smaller than a lot of the competition when folded, with only four strollers folding smaller. The overall cubic inches and the way the folded package is shaped make this one easier to fit into trunks than some of the competition that ends up being long and awkward when folded. With the longest dimension being under 33 inches it creates a relatively trunk friendly package.
The quality of this Graco is similar to other Graco items we've looked at. It scored a 4 of 10 when compared to the competition where the average is 6. The high for the group is a 9 earned by the Thule Urban Glide 2 and the Thule Chariot Cross 2.
The overall fit and finish are disappointing. While it tries to look and act like some of the nicer more popular items on the market (Britax and Baby Jogger), it misses the mark with its less than stellar quality and disappointing attention to detail. The fabric feels cheaper than the competition and a little rough like it might chafe bare legs while strolling. There isn't much padding on the seat, especially right on the edge where the back of the knee would sit. It does have heavier durable fabric on the rubberized foot rest, and thicker mesh on the basket, but that doesn't make up for the lack of comfort for the passenger. While the wheels are plastic the frame is fairly nice and looks to be where Graco spent most of their budget. The tubing is a good size, and the connection points are light and functional.
The handlebar on this stroller is not adjustable and sits at 40.3 inches from the ground. It has a relatively nice feel to it in hand and is foam covered and feels good to push. It also has front suspension only, which isn't great for comfort when coupled with a seat that offers little padding. It would have been better if the suspension were less stiff or if it was located on all the wheels.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The Graco only accepts Graco infant car seats. It will accept two infant car seats at the same time, which makes it one of the only side-by-side strollers that do. We tested this stroller with the Graco Snugride Click Connect 35 and the Graco Snugride Click Connect 40. The seats click in on attachment posts that are permanently part of the stroller, so you don't have anything to lose or misplace.
The seats can't be installed wrong, but they are difficult to install right. The stroller seats are snug making it difficult to wedge the car seat into the stroller and under the right side of the canopy. Neither seat was that great scoring the same for each. They are fairly secure once you do get them installed, but native brand car seats should be easier to install than these were.
The Graco FastAction Fold accepts two infant car seats, but the problem is it only accepts Graco brand Click Connect options. We weren't big fans of the Graco seats in our Best Infant Car Seat Review and would have liked this stroller better if it had adapters for some of the other brand seats. However, that being said it would work for twins thanks to the two seat ability, and we did like that the car seat connection points are attached to the stroller, can't get lost, and don't require straps. When baby gets older this is one of the few rides for twins where each child has the same type of riding experience. Inline strollers do not provide the same features and performance like side-by-side models. This is why we favor most side-by-side models over inline for families with twins, as it will decrease the fighting that can occur when one child realizes they don't have leg room, can't recline, or lack a cup holder and adequate shade. On the downside though, this stroller didn't rank very high in our overall review, and it costs $300 which is on the high side for an item that ranked so low. So even though it is suitable for use with twins, it isn't one of our top choices for twins.
We wanted to like this Graco product because it seems similar to more expensive options that have historically done well in our reviews. However, even though Graco is well-known, it failed to impress in this review compared to other products we tested. This makes it an option we don't think has a best application. While parents might be drawn to its ability to handle two car seats, the car seats in question didn't score that well in our review of infant seats and the performance of the stroller overall implies parents probably won't to like it when the babies are out of infant seats.
The Graco has a list price of $300. This makes it one of the cheaper options in the group. However, a lower price doesn't truly translate to a better value if it means a product that will cause frustration or result in the purchase of another stroller down the line. The Joovy Scooter X2 earned our Best Value award and is about $20 less than the Duo and scored 10 points higher overall. For us, this makes the Joovy a better value. While you can't use the Joovy with infant car seats, and we recognize this is an issue, we think parents are better off buying the Joovy Twin Roo+ with a price of $130 in addition to the Scooter instead of this Graco.
The Graco FastAction Fold Duo is an interesting side-by-side option that is similar to the higher scoring Britax B-Agile Double in style and design. It has a quick, easy fold, easy recline, and nice storage bins. Unfortunately, it had difficulty measuring up to the competition in almost every metric. While it scored well for safety, and it isn't that heavy or large, it didn't bring much else to the table with limited car seat compatibility, an inability to self-stand, and poor maneuverability. We wanted to like this stroller, but it just didn't measure up to the competition and left us feeling like it should have a lower list price or higher quality parts for easier use.
Other Versions and Accessories
Graco makes a few different double stroller options including the Graco Ready2Grow LX, that we reviewed, and the Graco Modes Duo Stroller that we didn't review. Neither the FastAction fold nor the Ready2Grow performed that well in our tests and neither managed to break into the top half of strollers. While the Modes version looks to have nicer seats, it is another inline option that likely has similar problems to the other Graco products with poor storage accessibility and difficult maneuvering. While it has the front wheels are single and look like they are much higher quality than those found on other Graco strollers, we still have reservations that the Modes stroller would be worth the $350 price tag. In a previous double stroller review, we also tested the Graco DuoGlider Classic Connect and the Graco Room For2 Classic Connect. Unfortunately, neither option scored very well compared to the competition. Because the competition is even stiffer this year, we decided not to include them this time around as they have not changed in design or functions.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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