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Hands-on Gear Review
Graco FastAction Fold Jogger Review
Price: $190.00 List | $149.68 at Amazon - 21% off
Pros: Nice looking, easy to fold with self-stand capabilities
Cons: Hard to run with as it doesn't roll straight, front wheel randomly locks
Bottom line: Difficult to push and turn with the worst run-ability
The Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger earned the third lowest score out of the 16 products we tested. In our opinion, this easy on the eyes stroller only has that going for it. With a front swivel wheel that continually locked when we didn't want it too, combined with an inability to track straight and a consensus that we'd like to burn it as opposed to push it, this is a stroller we don't recommend. Despite the Graco brand being known for budget-friendly options that are relatively good quality, this model fails to really bring anything useful to the table no matter what your goals are. Also, if you are a serious runner, we suspect its lack of solid tracking and suspension will have you leaving it by the curb and carrying baby home.
RELATED REVIEW: The Race for the Best Jogging Stroller of 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Graco's new jogger is what they call a crossover stroller that combines many features of a traditional stroller with jogging features. This stroller has air-filled, rubber tires and a lockable front swivel wheel for transition from strolling to jogging. This stroller has the one-second FastAction and it self stands. The seat can recline in multiple positions and has a child tray for snacks and treasures. It comes with a convertible 3-5 point harness and reflectors for safety. And it has a parent's tray with a smartphone cradle, 2 cup holders, and a covered storage compartment. It accepts all Graco Click Connect with a one step attachment.
The chart below is a comparison of the overall scores for each jogging stroller in this review. The Graco is shown in blue.
The metric sections below provide details on the Graco's performance during testing of each metric. Metric scores were used to calculate overall scores and product rank.
to turn you off of this product, the fact that it has no real suspension so you feel every single bump in the handle and up your arm might be the last straw. We even tested the rolling resistance compared to the competition and this stroller had the most resistance and traveled the shortest distance. Increased rolling resistance, jarring vibrations up your arms, and wrestling the beast to keep it straight make it a product we really loathed running with.
Alternatively the Thule Urban Glide and the BOB Revolution Flex both earned 9s for run-ability. Even the Baby Trend Expedition, our Best Value winner, earned a 5 of 10 in our tests for run-ability and it sports a lower list price, proving a stroller doesn't need to be spendy to be somewhat runnable.
This stroller is very hard to turn on the pavement, especially with one hand. It did manage our obstacle course without running into anything, but it was tight and a slower go than much of the competition. Some testers felt this stroller is almost as difficult to maneuver as a fixed wheel product because of its heavy size and randomly locking wheel; it is simply a chore to steer and maneuver. Considering this test was on a hard flat surface at a walking stroll that isn't a good sign.
For pushing on grass or off road terrain this stroller is the hardest to turn on the grass and the heaviest to push. Our weighted "baby" fell out when we pushed the stroller off the curb (oops!), and it was harder to push on gravel too. We were able to push most of the other products with one hand, but not this one.
Overall, we found the Graco to be so difficult to maneuver that we were thankful when its testing was over.
Ease of Use
The Graco earned a second place score for ease of use tying with a couple of other strollers earning a 7 of 10. The top scoring stroller is the Burley Solstice with an 9.
This stroller has a nice large storage bin under the seat that is easy to access from the sides and back. We were able to fit our extra-large diaper bag in it with a little bit of wiggling and we think most parents will like its design despite the side crossbars that limit the width space. It had one of the largest most useful bins in this review. The parent console is sort of disappointing with cup holders too shallow for water bottles.
While strolling the bottles fell out repeatedly over each bump and landed on our "baby" below, raising a significant safety concern and suggesting to us that parents refrain from using the holders for actual liquid replenishment and instead for key storage. The center storage space also didn't hold some of the newer larger phones, which is a disappointment and could easily be fixed with a slight design change; though we did manage to get an iPhone 5 with an Otterbox cover in there and the iPod fit nicely. We were equally disappointed with the child tray that also has cup holders that are too shallow for bottles to stay in and too narrow for most sippy cups we tried. This means the tray is more for snacks that will fly about if you dare to run with this ride. The storage bin is rated for 13 pounds and the parent tray only 2.
The Graco has an average size sunshade that neither impresses no greatly disappoints.
For convenience, this stroller isn't the best. Most of the features are things that look good on paper and check a box, but aren't executed well and scored poorly in our tests. Even the child's seat is strange because it tilts forward like it is trying to dump baby out, and it doesn't slope back at all. The space for older children's feet looks like it will cause their feet to chronic slide off and have most children trying to tuck their feet underneath them. We can't come up with a single reason why a forward tilting seat is a good idea, and the majority of the other products have a seat slightly reclined to keep baby in place while running at speed. It is nice that this stroller has a safety tether strap and will work with any classic connect Graco car seat, but these perks aren't enough to make up for all the design mistakes and poor scoring features we saw in this stroller.
Graco is kind of known for offering a pretty good quality product at a reasonable price. They aren't likely to win and big points when it comes to quality, but they aren't usually so poor that they can't last through one or two babies. The Fast Action Fold is consistent with this history earning a 6 of 10 for quality, a score that is 1 point below the average for the products we looked at. The BOB products and most of the Thule strollers all earned 9s in this metric with the Thule Glide coming in with a perfect 10.
The fabric on this stroller feels like lower a quality than that offered by most of the competition. The center stripe is fairly rough and is likely to be uncomfortable over time chaffing on any skin not covered in clothes. The mesh components feel like they will snag easily and aren't sturdy compared to similar material on other rides. The frame itself is pretty sturdy, but the joints do have some wiggle and it rattles at speed and flexes when you wrestle it to stay straight. The padding on the seat is thicker than most of the competition, but we suspect this is a failed attempt to make up for the hard plastic seat bottom that isn't going to be comfortable for the long haul. The shoulder harness straps also lack adequate padding and we suspect the baby isn't going to like being in the Graco for longer stretches of time given these issues and no suspension.
The handlebar on this stroller isn't the best. The profile is a little rectangular and it is not ergonomic in design. The handle is flat and covered in foam for hand-friendliness, but we think most serious runner with find the shape, design, and height to be extra fatiguing over time because it doesn't really conform to the natural runner position most bodies take. It isn't as bad as the Chicco Tre in our opinion, so it might not be the reason you choose not to buy the stroller, but it can certainly be used as an added bonus reason not to.
The overall fit and finish of this stroller aren't bad. It has a better look than most Graco strollers, with a more contemporary edge than their usual lineup. It isn't as nice as many of the brands, but we are hopeful that it means Graco is making new strides in a positive direction to stay competitive. This stroller might last through many children, but we think its longevity is more a reflection of parents not wanting to use it than a result of its attention to detail and quality construction.
The Fast Action Fold earned a below average score for safety with a 5 of 10. It wasn't alone in its performance in this metric tying with 3 other products and coming in 1 point ahead of the lowest scoring ride, the Schwinn Turismo. The high scoring strollers for safety in our tests were the Baby Jogger Summit X3, Thule Chariot Cross 2 with Jog Kit and the Thule Glide with scores of 7 of 10.
The brakes on the Graco are a double action which means you set each side individually. We aren't big fans of this style because many parents may forget a side, or become complacent that one is enough, which is a potential safety concern. However, the brakes are easy to set and there isn't a lot of play in them once they are set on both sides. It took a significant amount of force to move the stroller forward or backward when parked, with the highest amount of pressure for any product in the review.
We think the cup holders on this product are a safety concern and we suggest parents just don't use them. Most of the bottles we put in the parent console fell out at some point in our testing, which means the cup itself is too shallow and has no feature to keep the bottle in place while going over bumps and rougher terrain. When the bottle does fall out it primarily falls on baby's head which is certain to cause an injury of some kind, or at least a crying meltdown.
We have some concerns over the harness system on this stroller with shoulder straps that seem too loose for the smallest riders. When buckling the shoulder straps they continually tended to slip off of the waist strap at the buckle. We think parents will find the design frustrating to get a proper fit. But, it is a 5-point harness system that can be used as a 3-point if desired and it comes with an adjustable crotch strap which we didn't find on several of the competing models.
It also has the safety handle strap that goes around the runner's wrist and is mounted low so the stroller can't get "away" should the runner loose their grip on the handle while in motion. We think this is a nice safety feature and should be used when available.
Weight and Folded Size
This is one heavy stroller and there is no way to sugar coat it. For a product that is intended to be pushed around at the speed of running it is a disappointment to us that it weighs so much. At 31 pounds 9 ounces it is the second heaviest stroller we looked at, only slightly bested by the Thule Cross 2 which is a double stroller and only weighs more at 32
When folded it measures out at about 19,550 cubic inches which is also on the high side. What it does have is an advantage is a quick easy true one hand fold and kickstand for self-standing. It is the only product we looked at that boasts the self-stand and with the added weight and girth, you'll be glad you have it. Unfolding is also an easy process, but it will take two hands to manage it with any grace.
Ease of Setup
This stroller earned the 3rd highest score for ease of setup tying with the BOB Sport Utility. The Thule Urban Glide earned a perfect score 10 of 10 for an easy setup and great documentation. It took just over 7 minutes to get this stroller from box to ready to roll. The instructions are really clear with everything in the illustrations shown in blue and only the relevant step/piece in red. It is relatively intuitive and required no tools to assemble. Most of the strollers were fairly easy to put together and none scored below a 6 in this metric. This was the highest score the Graco would receive in our tests, which doesn't say much given that it is a one-time event compared to the potentially daily use of pushing.
Many parents will be drawn to this stroller for the cheaper price and the Graco name. While it does fold easily, has some nice convenience features, and looks pretty sharp there isn't a good application for this stroller in our opinion and we recommend even die hard Graco fans look elsewhere. There really is no best application for this product, even if you don't plan to run with it, we seriously doubt you will want to walk with it either.
While this stroller does have one of the lowest price tags in this review its performance is so poor in our testing that it still is not worth the money it demands. If budget is a factor we like the Best Buy winner Baby Trend Expedition with a list price of $120. The caveat to this is that the Baby Trend is not really a great ride for those who will be running multiple miles several days a week. If are a runner and price is a factor in your buying decision we think you'd do best to save for one of the Bob or Thule strollers so you won't have to compromise safety or quality for a great run. Other ideas are registering for the stroller or asking for donations if it is on your must have list.
This stroller came in next to last out of 13 products in our testing for the best jogging style stroller. Its lowest score was earned for run-ability and its highest score was for ease of setup. While it's nice that it is relatively easy to set up and even use, it is disappointing that a stroller supposedly designed for jogging would be so hard to actually jog with. The stroller does not track straight, requires a lot of strength to keep it rolling in one direction, and if that is annoying enough the locking swivel wheel wouldn't stay unlocked when we wanted to test it for maneuverability. Even though we like how easy it is to fold and it is one of the only products in our review that self-stands, it simply doesn't work for jogging or even strolling and we think most parents will be disappointed in its overall performance. All of this makes the Graco Fast Action Fold Jogger a stroller we don't recommend.
Other Versions and Accessories
Graco offers one other stroller for running/jogging. The Graco Relay Click Connect Stroller is the higher end model of joggers for Graco. While we did not test this stroller we assume it has to perform better given the higher price tag and additional features. However, with a list price of $330 we can't imagine it can compare to the BOB products that start at $390 and have a well-documented history of offering great performance and quality features for runners.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Carrie Vickers
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