Britax B-Free Review
Pros: Easier to push and turn, nice protection from the elements, compact with easy fold
Cons: Smaller storage, harder buckle, small front wheel
Our Analysis and Test Results
In 1996, Britax came to America after much success in Europe. They have been making products for children for the last 70 years, and they are an international best-selling car seat brand. Britax believes that families should live without limits making the most of every day. Their goal is to create useful gear with safety in mind with an emphasis on side-impact protection, car seat installation, and strollers. The company works closely with manufacturers, government, and safety experts to create safe products for children.
Ease of Use
The B-Free is average compared to the competition for ease of use, but only a handful of strollers were easier.
Fold and Unfold
The B-free has a pull handle on the seat bottom that folds the stroller in half with only a single hand. This stroller has a push-button frame release, automatic locking feature and it self-stands, a departure from the B-Agile.
The single-action brakes operate with a small press pedal near the right wheel. While not as handy as a bar pedal, they are very easy to set and release even with open-toed shoes.
The B-Free has a medium-sized storage bin with a 10 lb capacity (above left). Our large diaper bag fits inside, but not much else. You can access the bin from the front and back, but access is limited. The canopy has two small pockets and a medium zippered pocket (above right) that can hold up to a pound collectively. The pockets are useful for smaller items like cell phones, keys, or wallet. This stroller also offers passenger stow pockets on either side of the seat. The pockets are shallow and hard to open wide enough for water bottles and sippy cups.
The shade on the B-Free is reminiscent of other Britax strollers with ample coverage and a mesh peek-a-boo window. This canopy has zip-open panels in the center for additional coverage and ventilation for airflow when the weather gets hot.
The 5-point harness on this Britax is easy to adjust for fit but harder to put on and take off. The B-Free sports the same buckle as the B-Agile with a two-piece buckle that is harder to connect. Sliding the buckle for harness adjustment could be problematic with the shoulder padding, and the rethread style of height changes is basic but doable.
The B-Free seat back has a deep recline operated by a plastic toggle for comfortable napping. The toggle works with one hand to lower and two to raise providing infinite angle possibilities, but it isn't as smooth as some of the competition. The leg rest is padded but not adjustable and slopes down to a narrow footrest.
Car Seat Compatibility
The B-Free is compatible with any Britax infant car seat and comes with side click on adapters. The adapters are easy to use, and the seat slides easily into place once the two sides are aligned. A reassuring click tells you installation is correct and while we didn't have any problems, parents should still give the handle a tug to ensure connection.
Ease of Setup
The B-Free has a setup time of 6:45 minutes and no tools required. The manual is good compared to the competition but the illustrations are not as useful as they could be. If this is your first stroller assembly, it could be difficult to figure them out.
With a single front wheel, the B-Free is an improvement over the dual-wheeled options performing better for maneuverability than much of the competition. The B-Free has a swivel front wheel (above left) you can lock in place (above right) for more control over uneven terrain. The shorter footprint helps this stroller navigate smaller spaces and crowded areas with ease. The foam-filled rubber tires are nice but could be larger for improved pushing ease.
Weight and Folded Size
The B-Free is better for weight and folded size than most of the competition with a weight of 22.4 lb and a folded volume of 6,674 cubic inches. The folded size is one of the smallest options in the group making it a potential contender if your space is limited and you value maneuverability.
The B-Free is a little nicer than some of the older Britax strollers, but its price also reflects this. This stroller has a sturdy frame, nice canvas material, and thick elastic on the fold joints. The connections are solid and there is little flex in the frame when pushing the weight.
The seat of the B-Free has thicker padding that extends down the leg rest. There is a seam at the knee bend that could be irritating on bare legs, but overall passengers should be comfortable.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz