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Hands-on Gear Review

Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal Review

Price:   $70.00 List | $49.00 at Amazon - 30% off
Pros:  Almost universal car seat compatibility, price
Cons:  Strap car seat attachment, larger fold, dual action brakes
Bottom line:  Sort of universal, but its hard to push and turn, and the strap attachment is one we don't like
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Baby Trend

The Skinny

The Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal stroller disappointed us with a strap installation system that we worry will go undone leaving the baby in a potentially dangerous situation. The Baby Trend is a dedicated frame stroller designed as a universal option for almost any infant car seat brand. It is relatively easy to use and attach car seats, but features like dual action brakes, limited storage bin weight capacity and dual plastic front wheels make it a stroller we aren't crazy about. We understand that the price is appealing, but the features and performance simply aren't.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017


Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Sunday
June 19, 2016

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The Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal is a frame stroller that works with almost any infant car seat on the market. This basic stroller has a "net" comprised of two adjustable straps that support the bottom of the carrier with additional straps that secure the seat over the top. The Snap-N-Go offers a storage bin, plastic wheels, a parent console with cup holders, and a simple fold with dual action brakes. While this frame product does work with a variety of seats, the straps make it difficult to use and a potential safety hazard if parents forget or choose not to use them.
Each different brand of car seat will sit as a slightly different depth inside the Baby Trend frame.
Each different brand of car seat will sit as a slightly different depth inside the Baby Trend frame.

Performance Comparison


This comparison chart includes the overall scores for each combination tested in this review.


The information provided below includes details on how the Baby Trend performed during testing.

Ease of Attaching Car Seat


The Baby Trend suffered in our competition for car seat attachment because of the attachment method. It earned a 6 of 10 in this metric, tying with six other products. The easiest to attach to are the Bugaboo Bee 3 Combo and Bugaboo Cameleon 3 Combo with 9s, but the Doona Combo doesn't require attachment so it is the easiest in the group with 10. The Doona is a car seat and stroller in one.

The Chicco car seat seems to ilt somewhat back inside the Baby Trend putting baby in more of a sleeping position than some of the other brands.
The Baby Trend with the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35.
The Baby Trend coupled with the UPPAbaby Mesa car seat.
 
The photos above show the Baby Trend with a few popular car seat options. From left to right the seats are the Chicco Keyfit 30, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35, and the UPPAbaby Mesa.

There are 2 adjustable straps on the frame of the Baby Trend that support the bottom of the infant car seat carrier.
There are 2 adjustable straps on the frame of the Baby Trend that support the bottom of the infant car seat carrier.
The adjustment toggle for the under the seat straps on the Baby trend is hard to adjust and fairly stiff.
The adjustment toggle for the under the seat straps on the Baby trend is hard to adjust and fairly stiff.
The Baby Trend works like no other stroller in the group. It is a dedicated frame stroller that works with most popular carriers on the market. The car seat attachment works the same no matter which car seat you are using. The frame of the stroller itself has two adjustable straps across the opening of the stroller where the carrier sits. The first step is adjusting those two straps, so the carrier sits down inside the frame without falling too low or sitting too high. The plastic edge of the carrier should rest on the plastic edge of the stroller frame. Adjusting the straps is done with a plastic toggle that is a little stiff and hard to adjust, but ideally, you should only be adjusting it one time and leaving it alone.

The restraint straps that come from the bottom of the frame and snap over the middle portion of the car seat on the Baby Trend are mandatory parts of the attachment process that must be done for safe installation.
The restraint straps that come from the bottom of the frame and snap over the middle portion of the car seat on the Baby Trend are mandatory parts of the attachment process that must be done for safe installation.

Once the carrier is resting in the stroller, there is a second set of straps that must be brought up and over the lower portion of the carrier to secure the carrier to the stroller. If you skip this step, the car seat is not attached properly and is free floating in the frame. Not using the straps means the baby could suffer from injury or potentially death, so parents need to ensure they don't skip the second step.

Attaching seats to the Baby Trend takes some time the first time you attach a new seat because you will need to adjust the bottom support straps for each seat
Attaching seats to the Baby Trend takes some time the first time you attach a new seat because you will need to adjust the bottom support straps for each seat

While installing car seats on this product is not difficult, and does not require a significant amount of time, we aren't big fans of the method used. We worry that parents will forgo the second step leaving the carrier unsecured to the frame. Some parents might choose to skip the step feeling the carrier is secure enough, or they aren't "going that far," while others might honestly forget to snap the securing strap or possibly won't know that it is required. Given that there are options where the carrier clicks onto the frame without a second step, and the connection can be tested with a tug on the handle to give peace of mind, we prefer the easier one step click in products where the odds of doing it incorrectly are limited

In our testing we tried several different brand car seats in the Baby Trend including the Cybex Aton 2, Chicco Keyfit 30, Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35, Safety 1st onBoard Air, and the UPPAbaby Mesa. Most of the car seats we tried felt secure once properly install with both steps. However, the Cybex Aton 2 did move around a lot in the frame, and while it probably isn't going to fall out, it does have a lot more movement than the other brands we tried. So if you are committed to using the Snap-N-Go, it's probably best to avoid the Cybex combination.

While the Baby Trend is the lightest product in the group  it is not the smallest folded option.
While the Baby Trend is the lightest product in the group, it is not the smallest folded option.

Weight and Folded Size


The Baby Trend is an interesting product in that it is a lightweight stroller but oddly folds into a larger than expected product. Despite the larger folded size it does tie with the Chicco Keyfit Caddy for the best in the group for weight and folded size with a score of 9 of 10. The Doona also scored well for weight and folded size. This option is only 16.5 pounds for the combined weight of a car seat and stroller.

We feel the weight and folded size of the stroller are important features to consider when looking for a car seat stroller. Because the stroller will have the added weight of the car seat and because mom might have medical limitations after childbirth or a C-Section that prevents her from lifting heavy things, we prefer a smaller and lighter product for car seat attachment. The dedicated frame strollers fit this bill better than the standard strollers for the most part, and the Baby Trend meets part of this requirement with a weight of 10.9 pounds, making it the lightest option in the review.

Unfortunately, it is strangely large for being the lightest product with an overall cubic size of 8,661 inches. This isn't a super large size mind you, with the Revolution measuring over 15,000 cubic inches, but it isn't as small as the standard stroller, Britax B-Agile 3 Combo that measures at 6,414 cubic inches and only weighs 17.9 pounds.

To fold the Trend you first need to slide the unlock button on the handlebar and squeeze the release button.
To fold the Trend you first need to slide the unlock button on the handlebar and squeeze the release button.
The Trend is pretty easy to fold with no bending, and only one hand needed. It has about 1 possibly 2 steps depending on how you look at it, including an unlock and release button that allow you to fold the stroller. It has a manual lock once folded, but it does self-stand. It does roll when folded or you can use the carry handle to transport it. The front wheels do need to be facing forward to complete the fold and engage the lock. It unfolds just as easy as it folds.

The double plastic front wheel design on the Baby Trend make it harder to maneuver than products with single wheel designs or rubber tires.
The double plastic front wheel design on the Baby Trend make it harder to maneuver than products with single wheel designs or rubber tires.

Maneuverability


The Baby Trend earned a 4 of 10 for this metric with the low score going to the Chicco Bravo LE Combo with a 3. The high in the group is a 9 earned by the BOB Revolution that is a jogging stroller designed with adjustable shocks, adjustable front wheel tracking, and rubber pneumatic tires with ball bearing wheels that make it one of the best movers out there. The Doona earned a 7 which is the highest score for a frame type product.

None of the dedicated frame strollers are the easiest to maneuver thanks to their smaller plastic wheels. However, they aren't designed for this purpose and newborns probably shouldn't be put through an obstacle course or over rough terrain anyway. Given that this is not your lifetime stroller, it might not be worth getting too upset that it didn't score that well in maneuverability, as it will do fine on hard flat surfaces where most newborns will be traveling.

The Baby Trend has small plastic wheels with the double front wheel design we aren't fond of because they have trouble not getting caught on items and aren't the best at staying on track. There is significant flex in the frame that gave us trouble moving over a 1-inch curb and was better at hard surfaces than terrains like grass and gravel where we had trouble turning it. It did manage stairs easier than we thought, with more control and no bounce, but it is probably best to keep this product on the flat and hard surfaces.

The storage bin on the Baby Trend is limited to 5 pounds maximum  making it relatively useless at carrying a full day's supply of baby needs.
The storage bin on the Baby Trend is limited to 5 pounds maximum, making it relatively useless at carrying a full day's supply of baby needs.

Ease of Use


The Baby Trend earned a 4 for ease of use tying with three other strollers. This is not the lowest score in the group with the low being a 3 shared by the Chicco Liteway Plus Combo and the Graco Snugrider Elite. The high for the group is a 7 earned by the Chicco Bravo LE. A lot of the features and conveniences that make a stroller easy to use are missing on the Baby Trend, because at its heart it is a frame stroller that doesn't need, nor historically have these features.

The storage bin on this stroller is on the large side, but it has a 5 lb weight limit which will seriously inhibit what you can place inside. We were only able to fit the medium sized diaper bag into the bin because the access to the bin is reduced no matter what side you attempt to use. There is access from all sides, but because the carrier sits down into the frame, it also causes interference with bin below. But again, you aren't going to be able to put much in there with a 5 lb limit. You will not be able to do your errands or grocery shopping using this bin. Compared to either of the UPPAbaby strollers with limits of 25 and 30 pounds apiece, this basket becomes mostly useless.

The Baby Trend is one of the few options that comes with a parent console standard. That sounds like a good thing, but it isn't that useful. The cup holders on the smaller side and the little storage compartment is too small for an iPhone or much of anything else. Also, there is a safety concern with putting bottles or other taller items into the cup holders because they might fall out and onto baby while strolling. This stroller might be better without the console which seems to check a box of desired items without doing it well enough to be useful.

The Baby Trend has double action brakes  which means the brakes need to be set on each side independently. If parents only engage one side  the stroller will not be safely parked.
The Baby Trend has double action brakes, which means the brakes need to be set on each side independently. If parents only engage one side, the stroller will not be safely parked.

The Baby Trend has double action brakes that require two separate pedals to be pushed to activate fully. We prefer the single action brakes that only require the push of single pedal to enact both sides at the same time. This means that the brakes are properly applied without the chance of only half the brakes being used. So with this model, you could potentially think the brakes are applied when they aren't.

There is no canopy on the Baby Trend, and all car seat carriers will need to rely on their own canopy for protection from weather and other elements you hope to shield baby from. Given that all car seat carriers have a canopy attached it isn't a deal breaker, though you won't be able to connect two and create a complete bubble of protection.

The Baby Trend Snap-N-Go is a "Universal" frame stroller.
The Baby Trend Snap-N-Go is a "Universal" frame stroller.

Quality


The quality on the Baby Trend is limited earning a 4 of 10 for this metric. This ties with the Graco Snugrider, but is still higher than the low of 3 for the Chicco Keyfit Caddy. The high for this group is an 8 for the UPPAbaby Vista Combo and the BOB Revolution.

The materials and components used on this stroller aren't the best. The storage bin material is flimsy, and it looks like if it gets a small cut, it will easily turn into a larger hole, and is likely why it has a weight limit of only 5 pounds.

The materials used on the Baby Trend storage bin are not great and it left us feeling like they might tear easily and are certainly part of the reason why the weight limit is so low.
The materials used on the Baby Trend storage bin are not great and it left us feeling like they might tear easily and are certainly part of the reason why the weight limit is so low.

The frame on this product is a little wobbly and rattles around when you place the car seat carrier on board. The joints, in general, are not tight and there is a significant flex in the frame when moved. The plastic on the frame components looks different and potentially of lower quality than that found on other strollers, and we think it could potentially fade over time giving the stroller an old look prematurely.

The wheels are small and foam filled plastic; they look like those found on a play stroller as opposed to an actual stroller for real babies. They wobble when pushed and do not rotate well when spun. Compared to some of the competition that offers rubber tires and ball bearings on the wheel hub, it is easy to see how the quality is limited for this frame product. There is also no suspension on this product, so there is nothing to help cushion the bumps and unevenness of the road. This means the baby will feel every imperfection and jarring motion you may encounter.

The handlebar height is about 39 inches from the ground which is tall compared to the competition, but taller parents will be thankful it isn't a low hanging bar given that it isn't adjustable. It is covered in a soft rubber type material that feels good in the hand but also feels like it might develop imperfections easily that could grow over time until chunks of the cover are missing.

Overall the fit and finish aren't bad, it simply isn't as good as the competition, and on closer look, the components and materials used appear to be of a lesser quality. The way the parts are put together and connected make the overall product harder to use. So what appears to be a bare-bones frame stroller with nice features, starts to tarnish on close inspection.

Ease of Setup


Putting this stroller together is a snap. It earned a 9 of 10 for ease of setup and took us about 5 minutes to put together. This is all in spite of a poorly constructed manual that makes the first paragraph of instructions hard to find and buried in the manual in an odd location. The pictures in the manual are not great and almost make the simple process more difficult by using them. Though it is easy to assemble, it does require more assembly than some of the other stroller sin this review with front and rear wheel assembly and console construction.

Best Applications


There may not be a best application for this stroller. As a dedicated frame stroller, this product works with almost every infant car seat carrier on the market. However, we found that there are better stroller and car seat combinations in this review that simply work better, have higher performance or better features than this option. In the event you've already been given or purchased a car seat that doesn't work with one of the higher ranking strollers, you may not have many options for your seat. This may be the best application for this particular product. Because of the strap installation system, we aren't a big fan of this product, but if there isn't a good stroller option for your seat, it can work temporarily until baby can sit up on their own and graduate to a standard product. Given the lower price, it could be a good solution over purchasing an additional car seat and stroller combination.

Value


The Baby Trend Snap-N-Go is $53; yep you read that right. It wins much favor for parents on a budget or those looking for the cheapest way to get baby around in their car seat. Because the price is so low it can be viewed as being a good value and depending on your goals and car seat, it could be your only option and you'll be thankful for the friendly price tag. However, because of the strap installation system we think parents are better off finding a solution that is budget friendly and also refrains from using straps with only a one step click-in attachment. We think the Chicco Keyfit Caddy is a better option. It only accepts Chicco products, which limits its use, but it is about $100 and does not have straps for installation.

The Baby Trend does not have a canopy  so the canopy on the car seat carrier will be baby's only protection from the elements.
The Baby Trend does not have a canopy, so the canopy on the car seat carrier will be baby's only protection from the elements.

Conclusion


The Snap-N-Go fills a niche in the car seat frame stroller department not being filled by any other product. The Trend is a traditional frame stroller that will work with the majority of car seats, something no other frame product in this review can claim. While there are standard strollers that accept several different carriers and brands, none will accept as many as the Baby trend, which sets it apart from the crowd. However, while the installation isn't difficult, it does require the use of straps, and we worry this step will go undone or forgotten and leave baby loose in the frame. With a very limited storage bin capacity, no canopy, and an almost unusable parent console it offers very little in the way of ease of use or convenience features compared to the competition, and for us, we simply can't get over the strap use for car seat installation.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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Most recent review: June 19, 2016
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