ZOE XL2 DELUXE vs. ZOE XL2 BEST v2
The change that really excited us about ZOE's new BEST stroller line-up is the larger wheel set that comes standard with every one. The small wheels were one of our biggest complaints about the DELUXE offerings and this may have just solved that maneuverability issue. Other updates include a deeper recline angle, a removable carry strap as opposed to the previous carry strap that was always attached. The baskets now have an elastic entry point making it easier to fit large items under the seat. All these additional features add one pound to the overall weight, but this still leaves it at the top of this category. This XL BEST v2 sells for for $50 more at $330. Below you can see the old ZOE XL2 DELUXE on the left and the new and improved ZOE XL2 BEST v2 on the right.
Hands On Review
ZOE is a family owned and operated company founded in November of 2015. Two members of the family have a combined juvenile products experience of 60 years, and they all share the goal of creating quality strollers without the expensive price. Their stroller designs attempt to include all the extras, so there is nothing else to buy.
Weight and Folded Size
The ZOE is the lightest stroller in the review weighing in at 17.8 lbs and is the third smallest when folded, measuring 9,692 cubic inches. This makes the ZOE one of the easiest to lift, carry, and stow, earning it a 9 of 10 for weight and folded size.
The ZOE is the 3rd smallest folded stroller out of the 9 we tested.
Ease of Use
The ZOE earned top marks for ease of use, scoring 8 of 10. This makes it the easiest option in the review to use.
Fold and Unfold
The ZOE is an easy two-handed fold initiated by pulling up on the straps under each seat pad (above left). This stroller does not collapse like a true umbrella stroller, but rather folds in half. It self-stands, but the wheels need to be in the right direction or it will fall over. The locking mechanism is automatic (above right) and unfolding occurs by unlocking and opening until it locks in place.
The ZOE has nice single action brakes with a long bar between wheels. They work smoothly, are easy to set and release, and are sandal foot friendly.
The ZOE has the largest storage bin (above left). This bin has easy access and fit our large diaper bag. The stroller also has a small pocket on the back of each canopy that closes with Velcro, and can hold smaller items (above right). There is a cup holder on the side, but it is shallow and causes problems through doorways. This stroller also offers 2 passenger cup holders and a shared snack holder that connect in place of the belly bar (also included).
The ZOE has the largest canopies we have ever seen, and they have nice mesh peek-a-boo windows with silent magnetic covers.
The ZOE has the largest canopies in the group with panels that are so big that they form a little cocoon when fully open. They are ease to use, have a pop out visor and a zippered panel. Each canopy has a mesh peek-a-boo window with magnetic closure cover and the back panels can be removed for increased airflow.
The ZOE has 5-point harnesses that are easy to use.
The harnesses on this stroller are 5-points and easy to operate. The strap adjustment and shoulder height rethreading are simple and work well. You may need to remove the shoulder padding to rethread, but it is easy and only takes a few moments. The side straps adjust by pushing a button on the buckle.
With a 45 degree recline and huge canopies on the ZOE, little ones are likely to nap if tired.
Because the ZOE is a side-by-side, the seating is identical. This stroller doesn't have adjustable leg rests, but it does have a curve at the end of the seat at a comfortable angle. The seat backs recline with a button push and fall to about 45 degrees, which is good enough for napping.
Ease of Setup
The ZOE took 10 minutes to set up from unpacking to ready to use. It does NOT come with a user's manual, which is frustrating. While they do offer an assembly instruction video on their website, this could potentially be difficult for some users to view and offers less information than a traditional manual.
The ZOE earned a 4 of 10 for maneuverability. This is a second place score in a metric where the high is only 5. The ZOE has foam filled plastic wheels with the traditional dual wheel design that puts 4 wheels in front. The wheels are a little stiff to get started, but once it gets going it is relatively easy to push. With added effort you can even push it one handed. Turning is where things become more difficult, and it is far easier to turn while moving than from a standstill where it hesitates and requires some brute force. It had some difficulty going through doorways thanks to the cup holder, and we had to pick up the back and shimmy it through. The ZOE struggled over uneven terrain and stopped completely on transition from grass to sidewalk requiring a pop up to move forward.
The ZOE only scored 4 of 10 for maneuverability, but the high in the metric was only 5.
This stroller has front suspension only and a single foam covered handlebar. The seat is adequately padded, but we think passengers would have been more comfortable with all-wheel suspension. Pushers will like the handlebar, but overall it is hard to push and turn, and we think they will tire early on bumpy terrain.
The ZOE earned a 5 of 10 for quality. This stroller offers a basic lightweight frame with exposed fasteners and connection points, but it has a nice overall finish. The heavier fabric will likely wear well over time, but is somewhat coarse. Everything lines up well and feels pretty tight, with little flex when pushing. The major drawback is the wheels are a little small and flimsy compared to the rest of the stroller and
The following video shows the XL2 Deluxe from various angles.