Bugaboo Bee3 vs. Bugaboo Bee5
The new Bugaboo Bee5 (below Left) is a customizable stroller that allows parents to personalize the details to fit their sense of style. You can now choose from a larger variety of fabric colors, multiple grip options, chassis color, and wheel cap color. The seat attachment method is slightly different from the Bee3 (below right), making the two incompatible.
Hands on Review
Bugaboo manufacturers high-end, stylish strollers and luggage with a goal to help people "move freely". The company launched in 1994 creating what Bugaboo calls "game-changing" gear. Bugaboo tries to create products that allow families to explore the world around them in "comfort and style".
You can check out the graph below for a comparison of the overall scores for each stroller in this review including the Bugaboo Bee 3 (in blue).
The information below includes the performance of the Bee during our testing.
The Bee is a unique looking stroller with few conveniences.
Ease of Use
The Bugaboo Bee earned a below average score for ease of use with a 5 of 10.
Fold and Unfold
Folding is very easy with the Bee despite it being a two-handed fold and its inability to self-stand. It does have an auto-lock feature and carry strap, but the 21 lbs is probably still too heavy for some parents to hold or lug. The fold itself is spring loaded, so to fully fold it you need to help it along which requires bending. Unfolding is a one-handed operation, easy to accomplish, and has only 1 step.
The large brake pedal on the Bee 3 is very easy to use.
The Bee brakes are single action, easy to set and release, and are sandal foot friendly for those summertime excursions. The brakes have two release options of either depressing the pedal a second time or raising with the top of your foot under the pedal.
The storage bin on the Bee is best accessed from the front and without baby in the seat.
The storage basket on the Bee is medium in size and we fit our large diaper bag in it by squishing. This bin has a max weight capacity of 8.8 lbs, is hard to use, and is only accessible from the front and back. If the seat is in the in the forward facing position then the passenger's feet rest on your contents. With a total capacity of 8.8 lbs, we think parents are unlikely to be able to transport all their goods in this stroller and may need to carry an extra bag.
The canopy on the new Bee 3 (right) is far larger than that found on the previous Bee (left).
The Bee has a large sunshade, and it has a UPF of 50+. We liked the design and the fit of this canopy, but it doesn't have a peek-a-boo window or additional ventilation, and we think this is an oversight for such a high-end brand.
The Bee 3 has an easy to use 5 point harness and buckle.
The 5-point harness is trouble-free to attach and remove. It features adjustable shoulder heights and crotch straps positions. The harness has five pieces to put together, and it goes together as easily as it comes apart. This harness is super easy to adjust and you don't need to rethread the harness to change the height for larger children.
The leg rest on this stroller is not adjustable and not well padded. It doesn't have a traditional footrest, just a plastic ledge on the edge of the storage bin. For some children, this means legs and feet will sort of be dangling. It might not be as comfortable as strollers that have adjustable leg rests or support that travels down the front of the stroller to a footrest.
The recline for the Bee can be adjusted up and down with one hand.
The seat back does recline and is very easy to operate with a single button. It can be managed with one hand and operates smoothly.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Bee offers outstanding performance when it comes combination with an infant car seat. This stroller is the easiest in the group to click a seat in place. The downside is this is one of the 8 strollers in the group that does not come standard with infant seat compatibility with any seat. It does offer an adapter frame for the Britax B-Safe, Chicco KeyFit, KeyFit 30, Cybex Aton 2, Aton Q, Maxi-Cosi Mico, Mico AP, Mico NXT, and Prezi. We purchased the frame for the Chicco Keyfit 30. The frame is average for ease of assembly. It requires the use of a Phillips head screwdriver with 4 pieces and screws to put together.
The seat on the Bee is easy to remove for car seat installation. The car seat clicks in very easily and drops effortlessly onto the adapter. We did not have any difficulty installing the seat and it is stable. We like this combination and given that the Chicco Keyfit 30 is an award-winner, we think parents will be happy with the combination.
Ease of Setup
This stroller is the hardest in the group to assemble. It took us over 23 minutes to put it together. The manual is illustrations only, and they aren't the easiest to understand. We put parts of the stroller together incorrectly and had to redo portions of the canopy. A significant portion of the time spent building this stroller is putting the seat cover and on and building the canopy. These features came assembled on the competition, and we think they should have here as well.
The wheels on the Bee all have coil shocks and are smaller than the majority of wheels for standard size strollers.
The Bee is a good mover and earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability, which is better than average. This smaller stroller is nice in tight places and it rolls easy. This stroller takes turns sharply, is nicer on the hard floor, but harder on the carpet. Smaller bumps are a little problematic due to the smaller wheels, but it is easy enough. There is a little loss of control when the handle is at its longest length because it has more flex with the increased distance. Where the Bee struggles is on rougher terrain. It had trouble with grass and is near impossible on gravel.
The Bee 3 does not self-stand, but it does have a carry strap.
Weight and Folded Size
This Bugaboo tied for first place with a high score of 8 for weight and folded size thanks to its smaller design and overall lower weight. The Bee weighs a little over 21 lbs which is on the light side, but still almost 4 lbs heavier than the lightest models in the group that both weigh 17.5 lbs and measure around 6,500 cubic inches. The folded size for the Bee is 8,813 cubic inches. This is a nice compact size, especially compared to the heavier and larger stroller in the group.
Given the price of the Bee 3 we thought it would have scored better in our tests for quality.
The Bee came in just above average for quality with a 6 of 10. It is sort of a disappointment given the higher price tag of the stroller. The seat on the Bee is a polyester fabric that feels like a cotton sweatshirt and the padding is a heated polyurethane and fabric that is molded. It has limited stitching around the edges of the seat which gives it a nice look and might help keep it clean or wear better. The sunshade is made of a stretchy spandex material that might snag and is probably going to show wear before some of the competition. The storage bin is made of a fabric that feels sort of like plastic with a stiff piece of plastic over the top to give it shape.
The frame on the Bee is complicated and fairly busy.
The frame on this stroller is more complicated than some of the competition, but it has an interesting look that stands out in the group. It is a nice frame that is light and tightly put together. The overall fit and finish is a clean design and the fabric fits the frame well without wrinkles.
The wheels are foam filled rubber, which combines the maneuverability and comfort of rubber with the inability to get a flat. The foam might take away some of what we love about rubber tires, but it also means you won't be stranded somewhere without the ability to stroll home, so it feels like a fair trade-off.
The handlebar on the Bee 3 telescopes in and out to adjust the height.
The Bee has an adjustable telescoping handlebar. The circumference is a little smaller than we like, but it isn't uncomfortable.
There are strollers that are more comfortable than this one. It sports 4 wheel shocks that are not adjustable, and firm but adequate fabric over a hard seat. The rubber tires, padding, and shocks offer enough comfort for most passengers as long as the trip isn't too long.