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Hands-on Gear Review
Baby Jogger City Mini Combo Review
Price: $250.00 List | $259.00 at Amazon
Pros: Easy fold, canopy works with some seats
Cons: Two step attachment with straps, heavy, plastic wheels
Bottom line: Not the best for car seat attachment thanks to two steps and straps
The Baby Jogger City Mini scored well in our standard stroller review and is one we think is a good budget-friendly stroller, but we are not big fans of this product as a stroller car seat combination. Because this option requires the use of a secondary strap to secure the seat to the stroller frame, we feel it isn't the best choice. While the car seats feel connected, we worry that the extra step will go undone by parents who are in a hurry, forget, or feel the click connection works well alone. Forgetting the strap could lead to potential injury using the product in a way that is not how the manufacturer describes or recommends.
While not that impressive when used in conjunction with an infant car seat, the City Mini did win awards in our Best Full-size Strollers and Best Umbrella Strollers reviews.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Baby Jogger City Mini is a lighter weight standard stroller with a three wheel design (not intended for jogging). It offers an easy one-handed fold that auto-locks. The City Mini comes with a large canopy, that doesn't work that well with most car seats because they sit too high on the stroller. The swivel front wheels can be locked and have suspension for easier riding over rough terrain. This stroller has optional car seat adapters for the following brands, Peg Perego, Graco, Cybex, Maxi-Cosi, and Britax (though models will vary). The seats we tested all clicked in place, but required the use of a restraint strap as an added measure of security, which hurt the City Mini in scoring and rank.
This chart provides a visual comparison of the overall scores for the stroller combinations we tested in this review. The City Mini is shown here in blue.
The information below includes details on how the City Mini performed during testing.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The City Mini earned a 6 of 10 for ease of attaching a car seat. This might be one of the most versatile car seat stroller combinations in this review outside of the universal frame stroller, the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go Ex. This product works with almost every major brand name car seat on the market including the Britax/BOB, Chicco KeyFit, Cybex, Graco, Maxi Cosi, Nuna, Pipa, and Peg Perego. All of the seats require the purchase of an additional car seat adapter, and most need the canopy on the stroller removed. The main seat can stay connected to the frame, but it's a shame you can't use the canopy in conjunction with the car seat canopy to form a little bubble of weather and sun protection.
Cybex Aton 2, and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.
Chicco Keyfit 30, Cybex Aton 2, Maxi Cosi Mico, and the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35. Both of the Peg and the Chicco adapters are the loop style of car seat connection, and they required assembly. Some of the testers felt the assembly was a pain, but given that you only need to do it once and there are no tools required, we think it is manageable for most parents. The others were all click in adapters that slide right into the connection points on either side of the toddler seat.
BOB Revolution Flex Combo. The high score is a 10 earned by the Bugaboo Bee 3 Combo.
Weight and Folded Size
For a smaller stroller, the City Mini is surprisingly on the heavy side and oddly large when folded. This stroller is over 17 pounds without the canopy or car seat attachments. It is also the second-largest when folded at over 13,000 cubic inches, only the BOB Revolution rivals the City Mini in folded size. The dedicated frame strollers were the lightest in the group with the Baby Trend weighing 10.9 pounds and the Chicco Keyfit Caddy weighing around 11 pounds, making them the highest scoring products in this metric. The smallest folded option is the Britax B-Agile 3 Combo, which is only 6,414 cubic inches, while the lightest standard option is the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo at 14.3 pounds.
We feel one of the important features of a stroller that is used with an infant car seat is that it be relatively lightweight and easy to fold. Given that most parents will be using this with a newborn we think it is best that moms who've just gone through childbirth or a C-section be able to lift and move the stroller as needed; if it is too heavy then mom may be prohibited by doctor's orders from lifting it. The City Mini is below the average weight for the strollers in this group.
The Baby Jogger is a one hand fold, but you will need to unsnap the safety straps under the seat before you pull the handle on the seat bottom. It is one of the easier in the group to fold and it requires no learning curve to accomplish. This product does auto-lock and has a carry strap, but it doesn't self-stand. The B-Agile folds the same as the City Mini, but it doesn't have the two red safety straps on the bottom, which we prefer. It requires two hands to unfold and is two steps. We caution parents to be sure to attach the red safety straps to ensure the stroller is able to fold accidentally.
The City Mini scored slightly below average for commuting. It would have done better if it could self-stand, was lighter, smaller, or had a higher sitting seat for eating at cafes.
The City Mini earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability, tying with the Doona, Bee and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo. The dedicated frame strollers suffered the most in this category thanks to their smaller plastic wheels that weren't really designed for smooth moves in tight places or over rough terrain. The BOB Revolution earned the high score in this metric with 9 thanks to its swivel front wheel and pneumatic rubber tires.
Pushing this stroller is relatively easy and can be accomplished with one hand most of the time. It is better on hard surfaces than rough ones, but overall it isn't too shabby and gets the job the done. The Mini fits easily through narrow doorways and managed stairs without being too bouncy or uncontrolled.
For more information and greater detail on the maneuverability of the City Mini please read our complete review of this product in our full-size stroller review.
Ease of Use
The City Mini earned a relatively low score for ease of use with a 4 in a metric where the high is a 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo LE Combo. The stroller struggle somewhat in a category with several strollers offering higher maximum volume weights for storage and canopies that can be used with a car seat.
The storage bin under the seat is large in size and is only accessible from the front and back, but given the smaller opening, we were only able to fit our medium sized diaper bag inside. Unlike some of the other frames that allow the car seat to sit so low the bin isn't as accessible, this one is about the same as it is without the car seat. However, because the toddler seat needs to be fully reclined to attach the seat, you might find yourself reaching far under to reach the bin. The solid metal frame bar across the back also makes it more difficult to get larger items in the bin. The bin has a maximum allowable weight of 10 pounds which is better than some, but certainly not as good as the UPPAbaby strollers with their 25 and 30 lb bins. The Mini also has slim pockets on the back of the toddler seat, but they too will be difficult to access with the seat fully reclined.
The brakes on this product are single action and work with a single pedal. The brakes are easy to set and sandal foot friendly. You can find out more about the canopy and convenience features on this stroller in our full-size stroller review. This includes more information on the seat, leg rest, harness comfort, and canopy. There isn't much to say about the canopy here because you are unlikely to be using the canopy with your car seat on this stroller. While a few of the car seat adapter models do not require the canopy to be removed, we didn't find that the canopy can really be used for protection over the carrier like it can on other car seats.
The Mini score about average for quality with a 6 of 10 in this metric where the high is an 8. The BOB Revolution and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo both came with high scores showing that rubber tires and all around shocks with adjustable handlebars can help improve quality scores.
The Mini has a nice sturdy frame. The fabric wraps around the frame well without bunching or pinching. The mesh on the sides of the storage bin is loose and snags fairly easily. The wheels are foam filled plastic and are on the smaller side but relatively wide. They are solidly attached and do not wobble when spun. It only has shocks on the front wheels as opposed to all four. Overall the fit and finish aren't bad, but it doesn't look as sleek as some of the competition.
The handlebar is not adjustable but seems to be at a pretty good height for most users. It is covered in a rubber material that has ridges to help make it more grip-able. The cover does seem more durable than the foam covered options and might uphold better for something that will be hitting the ground when you fold it.
The frame has a lifetime warranty and the component a one year.
Ease of Setup
The Mini is easy to setup and earned an 8 of 10 in this metric, tying with the Mountain Buggy Swift Combo. The high in this test is a 10 earned by the UPPAbaby Cruz. It took us about 6 minutes to put this stroller together from unboxing to ready to stroll. The manual is only about average, so it is good that much of the assembly is intuitive.
The Baby Jogger has an easy fold and is nice to maneuver. We liked it in our standard stroller review and think it is a nice budget friendly stroller many parents will like which is why we gave it a Best Value award for that review. However, when it comes to connecting a car seat we aren't really that impressed. While it will accept a car seat, including many of the popular brands and several of our infant car seat award winners, all of them require the use of additional straps to secure the seat to the frame. We aren't big fans of this type of connection, both because it is an additional step over simply clicking the seat onto the adapters and because we worry some parents won't do the extra step. Whether it is a forgetful moment or intentionally ignoring the step it seems like a potential safety concern and we prefer the strollers that do not require straps to avoid this potential altogether.
There really is no doubt that the City Mini is a good value with a lower price than a majority of the standard strollers in this review. However, if your goal is to find a nice stroller strictly for car seat use, you might be better off with a dedicated frame stroller like the Chicco Keyfit Caddy that only costs $100. While this type of product will have a limited lifespan once your baby is no longer riding in an infant carrier, it is a budget-friendly way to get the job done while you continue to consider your standard stroller option or how you will use one. Alternatively, if you want to make a one and done purchase to use for the life of your strolling years, and budget and value is a concern, we think the Britax B-Agile is a good option for both standard stroller and for acceptation a car seat. It won a Best Value award in both categories and is cheaper than the Baby Jogger.
The City Mini is a nice little stroller that is easy to put together and maneuvers nicely. We liked this stroller in our full-size stroller review and think it brings a lot to the table for the price. However, it isn't our favorite for car seat attachment thanks to the need for safety straps as a secondary step for most of the car seat accessories. The car seats are fairly easy to attach and they feel secure once connected, but the added step leaves us concerned that it won't be consistently completed as the manufacturer outlines. While potentially not a deal breaker for everyone, it is for us and this hurt its overall score and left it with a fourth from the bottom rank for stroller car seat combinations.
Other Versions and Accessories
Baby Jogger makes several other strollers. We reviewed the Baby Jogger City Mini GT and Baby Jogger City Select in our Full-Size Stroller Review. Both performed rather well in that review and earned 4 out of 5 stars a piece.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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