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Hands-on Gear Review
Bugaboo Bee3 Review
Price: $719.00 List | $719.00 at Amazon
Pros: Lightweight, easy to lift, great for infant car seat attachment
Cons: Higher price, few features, limited storage
Bottom line: Not many features for the price, but good for urban use and infant car seats
The Bee is an attractive and lightweight stroller made by high-end stroller manufacturer Bugaboo that also makes the larger Bugaboo Cameleon3. This stroller has a nice recline and a variety of seating options, and the smaller footprint makes it easier to move in small spaces. It stroller maneuvers well compared to a lot of the competition, and offers outstanding performance when used for the first six months with an infant car seat. The Bee is a nice product we liked quite a bit, but it is expensive, and some competing strollers, such as the Britax B-Agile 3, offer stronger overall performance at a fraction of the cost. This stroller is harder to assemble than competing products, but we still sort of like this little guy who we see is a contender for the urban parent who values style and can benefit from a lightweight, compact stroller.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Full-size Strollers of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Bugaboo Beeł calls itself the Urban Pushchair. This pushchair works for newborns up to 37.5 pounds with a seat that can grow with baby. The seat extends, reverses, reclines and can even lay flat. The seat can also face out to the world or back toward parents. It has an extendable canopy with fabric that is UPF50+, a storage basket, and a height adjustable handlebar. This stroller has a 5 point harness with adjustable shoulder straps. It sports 6 inch front swivel wheels and 6 inch rear wheels made of foam filled rubber, with 4 wheel independent ride suspension. This aluminum frame stroller has a 1 piece fold with the seat intact.
The chart below shows a comparison of the overall scores for each stroller in this review. The Bugaboo Bee 3 is shown in blue.
The sections below include information on the performance of the Bee during testing in each metric. Individual metric scores were then used to compute the overall score with an emphasis on the ease of use and maneuverability metrics.
Ease of Use
The Bugaboo Bee earned a below average score for ease of use with a 5 of 10. The high for the group is an 8 shared by the UPPAbaby Vista and UPPAbaby Cruz. This is a metric where it's preferable to have a higher ease of use score because it impacts your daily experience.
The Bee has a large sunshade compared to the competition 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. We prefer sunshades with ventilation and the ability to see baby while strolling.
This is a bare bones stroller considering the price. It doesn't offer much in the way of conveniences for baby or parents, lacking a cup holder or additional storage.
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 that have support that travels down the front of the stroller to a designated foot rest.
The stroller comes standard with a rain cover.
The Bee is a good mover and earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability. This is 2 points lower than the high of 9 earned by the BOB Revolution Flex, but it is still better than average.
This smaller stroller is nice in tight places and it rolls easy. This stroller takes turns sharply and easily. It is nicer on the hard floor and a little harder on the carpet ; smaller bumps are a little problematic due to the smaller wheels, but it is still 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. We were unable to get it over a 1 inch curb and think it would perform better if the wheels were a bit larger. Stairs and curbs are also a problem because the small wheels and flexing frame make it hard to control.
The Bee came in just above average for quality with a 6 of 10 score. It is sort of a disappointment given the higher price tag of the stroller. The BOB Revolution Flex and the UPPAbaby Vista both earned an 8 in our tests for this metric.
The seat on the Bee is a polyester fabric that feels like a cotton sweatshirt. The padding is similar to the BOB and is made of a heated polyurethane and fabric that is molded into shape. It has limited stitching around the edges of the seat and this gives it a nice look that might 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 made with sturdier materials. 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 sides are loosely woven mesh that we were unable to snag during testing.
The wheels are foam filled rubber, which combine 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 wheels are small but they feel solid and they turn nicely.
There are strollers that are more comfortable than this one, but it still manages to be nicer than some. It sports 4 wheel shocks that are not adjustable, and firm but adequate fabric over a hard seat. A sling style seat is usually more comfortable than hard stiff seats, but the rubber tires, padding and shocks offer enough comfort for most passengers as long as the trip isn't too long.
The Bee earned a 6 of 10 for safety, which is an average score for the metric and below the high of 8 earned by the Baby Jogger City Select. The low for the group is the Baby Jogger City Mini GT with a 4 thanks in part to its tendency to tip backward when baby inches up the seatback when it is reclined.
The Bee brakes are some of the best in the bunch. These single action brakes are 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. It is not only great for sandals, but bare feet and preserving the tops of your shoes as well.
The 5-point harness on this stroller is easy to put on and take off. 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.
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 pounds which is on the light side, but still almost 4 pounds heavier than the lightest models in the group, the Britax B-Agile 3 and the Baby Jogger City Mini that both weigh 17.5 pounds and measure around 6,500 cubic inches. The folded size for the Bee is 18"W x 13.6"H x 36"L and 8,813 cubic inches. This is a nice compact size, especially compared to the heavier and larger stroller in the group.
Folding is very easy with the Bee despite it being a two handed fold and inability to self-stand. It does have an auto-lock feature and carry strap, but the 21 pounds (while light compared to other strollers) is probably still too heavy for some parents to hold or lug for an extended time. The fold itself is spring loaded, so to fully fold it you need to help it along which requires bending almost completely to the ground. Unfolding is a one-handed operation, easy to accomplish, and has only 1 step.
Ease of Setup
This Bugaboo is the hardest in the group to put together and get ready to use. It took us over 23 minutes to put it together from opening the box to ready to use. The manual is illustrations only, and they aren't always 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 from pieces. These features came assembled with other strollers, and we think they should have here as well. The chassis is quick and easy to build in comparison.
Car Seat Compatibility
The Bee offers outstanding performance when it comes to using with an infant car seat. It is the easiest in the group to install seats onto. 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 frames 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 only 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 so you can install the car seat and it weighs 15 pounds 5 ounces without the seat and with the adapter frame. This puts it on the heavy side for a frame stroller, but still lighter than some of those we reviewed in our Stroller and Car Seat Combo review. The car seat clicks in very easily and seems to just drop effortlessly onto the adapter. We did not have any difficulty installing the seat correctly and it is stable when installed. We liked this combination and given that the Keyfit 30 is an award winner we think parents will be happy using the Chicco 30 on this stroller.
The best application for this stroller is as a frame stroller for an infant car seat. It is a nicer stroller, but it isn't the best at much else and it is missing some of the key features parents are likely going to be looking for. It is the better Bugaboo in this review, so if you simply must have a Bugaboo stroller for your child this would be the one, but it still isn't anything to write home about and we think that no matter what you are looking for in a stroller there is likely a better option than this one.
This stroller has a $720 list price making it one of the top third most expensive strollers in this review. However, price isn't the only thing that determines value. If a product is able to justify a higher price with exceptional performance then it can still be a good value. Unfortunately, the Bee is only an average stroller that failed to really stand out in any performance test and didn't bring many features to the table that might support the added expense over much of the competition. It is not a terrible stroller, it just isn't the most bang for your buck.
The Bugaboo Bee 3 performed better in our review than the Bugaboo Cameleon 3. It is a lightweight maneuverable stroller that manages tight places easily but struggled over carpet, bumps and rougher surfaces. Unfortunately, it is a middle of the road stroller that is relatively non-interesting. it comes with a high price and limited conveniences with a storage bin that can only hold 8.8 pounds at most. This makes it difficult to carry items you might pick up running errands or grocery shopping. We sort of like this little stroller but feel under the circumstances that it might make a better umbrella product than a full-size stroller. This makes the Bee a stroller we don't recommend.
Other Versions and Accessories
Bugaboo makes 5 different strollers with everything in mind from jogging to all terrain. The Bee is the smallest in the group and their version of a lightweight stroller. We have reviewed both the Bee3, and the Bugaboo Cameleon3. Neither of the Bugaboo options has managed a better than average overall score and all of their products are on the higher end when it comes to price. Bugaboo makes a fine looking stroller and seems to use quality materials and parts for construction, but so far we have not been impressed with the final products.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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