In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

First Years Jet Review

Cheap price, poor execution
The back cross bar on the First Years Jet makes using the under seat storage a chore
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Price:   $55 List
Pros:  Light, slim, price
Cons:  Maneuvering, quality, sm storage
Manufacturer:   First Years
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz  ⋅  Aug 24, 2014
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50
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Weight/Folded Size - 25% 8
  • Ease Of Use - 20% 3
  • Maneuverability - 20% 2
  • Safety - 15% 7
  • Quality - 15% 4
  • Ease Of Set Up - 5% 6

The Skinny

The First Years Jet was discontinued in March of 2017.

This stroller is a lightweight rig that appears to have everything you could ever want in an umbrella stroller. However, the Jet just didn't have much get up and go where it counted. It ranked 15 out of 16 products, and did not do well in any metric besides safety. It has all the features you will be looking for, only none of them are done very well. The canopy is too small, the wheels have too much vibration, the handles aren't long enough, and the quality is lacking. All of this make the Jet a stroller we can't recommend, even at its reasonable price.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The First Years Jet is a durable stroller for children up to 50 pounds. It has a wider seat bottom for and larger wheels. It sports a 5-point harness and taller handles. The sunshade is adjustable and removable, and there is a reclining back for napping. There is a storage bin under the seat, and parent storage between the handles that includes a cup holder. The Jet has a one hand fold, weighs only 11 pounds, and comes in a few different colors.

Performance Comparison


The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review
The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review

Ease of Use


This stroller had the third lowest score out of those we tested. Even though it offered more storage than most, it was missing a few other options we liked to see in this category of products.

Storage
The under seat storage on the First Years Jet is hard to access with the cross bar across the back; it gets worse with the seat back reclined.
The under seat storage on the First Years Jet is hard to access with the cross bar across the back; it gets worse with the seat back reclined.
The Jet has an under seat storage bin that is small in size, and only has a 5 pound capacity. It will not fit a standard sized diaper bag and it is harder to access than some of the others. It can be accessed from the back and sides, but you won't be putting much in it. It also sports a parent tray between the handle bars for items like keys, wallet, or phone. It has a covered pouch, and the potential for 2 cup holders. Many of the products we reviewed didn't have this kind of accessory, so it is a rare feature and this one is well done.

Sun Shade
The sun shade on the First Years Jet is smaller than most and does not connect to the seat back so it is somewhat free floating for little ones to play with
The sun shade on the First Years Jet is smaller than most and does not connect to the seat back so it is somewhat free floating for little ones to play with
The sun shade on the Jet is smaller than most with an unrated SPF. It is very much the minimalist shade with no attachment to the seat back. It offers no peek-a-boo window or extra visor shade. It is held taunt by lock out arms and can be removed if desired or necessary. Depending on the height of the child in the seat, or the amount of sun, the shade can be incomplete and leave kids squinting. It can also be easily shifted forward and played with by a nosy toddler, which makes it a little frustrating for practical use.

Convenience
The parent console tray on the Jet is a nice feature with two potential slots for cups
The parent console tray on the Jet is a nice feature with two potential slots for cups
This stroller offers the additional parent console between the handle bars. It has a covered pouch and two cup holders. Beyond this nod to conveniences it doesn't offer much.

The jet has a reclining back that operates with one hand cinch strap, but the recline is only 50 degrees which isn't much and not nap worthy at all. The seat back also has no frame which allows the back to curve in on itself which might be okay for smaller riders, but it could be uncomfortable for older or bigger kids. This is not the stroller for long distances or durations. Children will not be able to take a nap for any length of time.

Maneuverability


The front wheels on the First Years Jet do not have a lock out feature common on other strollers of this type
The front wheels on the First Years Jet do not have a lock out feature common on other strollers of this type
This was the lowest scoring product in our test. It earned only a 2 of 10 for this metric which put it at the bottom of the barrel. It is pretty much difficult to operate on any surface, including a hard flat surface, which is
The smaller wheels on the Jet seemed rickety and cheaper compared to others
The smaller wheels on the Jet seemed rickety and cheaper compared to others
sort of a mandatory terrain for a secondary umbrella stroller. On pavement it struggled and was hard to turn. It definitely didn't do well with only a one hand push either. This stroller had more rolling resistance than others we tested, and it almost did better on carpet than a flat surface.

Off pavement the Jet got worse. It is hard to push in the grass and near impossible in the grave. It was tippy on the side hill, more so than others, and all the wheels fell into the storm drain grooves. Sure an umbrella product
One side of the Jet double action brakes up close
One side of the Jet double action brakes up close
doesn't usually need to go off road, but it might if the path from your door to the city includes grass or a greenbelt.

It continued to fail to impress up curbs and on stairs. It had trouble going up backwards, being tilted, and the brakes rubbed on the nosing. It just feels uncooperative and clumsy for a product that is actually one of the smallest in our review.

Safety


Safety is an important consideration all parents think about. We tested features for safety concerns including the harness, brake, and the tendency to tip. The Jet scored above average with only one stroller scoring higher in this metric, the Quinny Yezz.

Brakes
Double action brakes on the Jet means both sides must be depressed for the brakes to be properly engaged  something many parents may neglect to do
Double action brakes on the Jet means both sides must be depressed for the brakes to be properly engaged, something many parents may neglect to do
This product has a double action brake that seems flimsy compared to the others. It is only average in its ability to be set and released. The engagement of the brakes is not sandal friendly, however once set they didn't have a lot of play. They did require less pounds of pressure for sliding than many of the others in our test, with only 6 pounds required to slide back and 4 for sliding forward. This is below the average for this kind of product, and didn't come close to the best brakes, which needed 19 pounds for back slide and 15 for forward; these ratings went to the Quinny Yezz.

Harness
The 5-point harness on the First Years Jet is easier to get on and off than many of the others. It lacks padding  but is easy to adjust
The 5-point harness on the First Years Jet is easier to get on and off than many of the others. It lacks padding, but is easy to adjust
This product's 5-point harness earned high marks for being easy to get on and take off. It also had fairly easy to adjust buckles that were made easier by having no padding to get in the way. The harness seemed to fit the way it should, and we were able to obtain the level of snugness we desired without having to struggle. The release buckle itself is easy to work, can be done with just one hand, and is as stiff as some of the others we tested. This stroller has the same harness as its bigger brother, First Years Ignite.

Tipping

This smaller stroller tipped at just 25 degrees which was below the average for those we tested. The option with the lowest tipping point is the Mountain Buggy Mini, which succumbed to gravity around 20 degree; the best product in this test was the Joovy Groove and boxy beast that has a very stable and wide footprint that made it less susceptible to tipping in any direction. For backward tipping weight it came in just above average with a required weight of 34 pounds before it fell over backward. The UPPAbaby G-Lite needed just 18 pounds before it tipped, and the Chicco Capri C6 Lightweight required an impressive 75 pounds.

Quality


The Jet has a poorer quality fit and feel than many others we reviewed
The Jet has a poorer quality fit and feel than many others we reviewed
This stroller struggled in the quality department on all fronts. It didn't have the lowest score for this metric, but it was pretty close and the overall feel was one of sloppiness and haste. The unique rough texture of the seat fabric feels like it will chafe little legs. It is also spot clean only instead of being removable and machine washable. The fabric snagged easily and had lots of loose stitching and a hem that was already snagged up when we received it; indicating the workmanship is only so so for this product. In addition the canopy fabric is a smooth light fabric that felt like it wouldn't last the life of the stroller, especially given that is isn't attached and toddlers can play with it at will.

The frame on the Jet is an elaborate umbrella style that seems fairly sturdy and didn't have too many loose connection. The wheels on the other hand felt cheap and the stroller itself is wobbly and full of vibration. The stiff front shock did little to aid this and nothing could prevent the overall wiggling of the stroll.

This stroller offers front only shocks, a sling style seat, and almost no cushion anywhere. The shocks did little to counteract the vibration of the heavy tread wheels, the back pad of the seat has little support, and the harness is not padded in any way. Altogether it means the comfort of this product is below that of several others we tested.

The Jet has small curved handles that didn't fit well in bigger hands. They are covered in comfortable foam, so the pushing is more comfortable when the stroller has a passenger or when it is going a longer distance. The height of the handles is good even for taller men, but the wheels are positioned close together and further back, which means they will get kicked frequently when walking, no matter what your speed or personal height.

Weight and Folded Size


The First Years Jet folds into a relatively small package
The First Years Jet folds into a relatively small package
Weight and Folded Size

This lightweight rig is one of the lightest rides we reviewed. Only two other strollers came in weighing less, and one of those scored so poorly overall it isn't even in the same league. The Jet is about 10 pounds 12 ounces which makes it one of the easier products to tote around or stuff in a trunk. It has a fairly small fold as well, coming in at 9x44.5x9 and 3600 cubic inches, it takes up the least amount of space out of all the products in this review. The legs did stick out further than many of the others, which means you'll have to use a little finesse when slipping it in a trunk, but the smaller circumference means it can also fit easily behind a seat row or on public transport without being a hassle for other passengers.

Ease of Folding

This is a one hand fold product that has a manual locking mechanism and does not self-stand or have a carry handle. This means whatever is gained in being lightweight and easy to fold is lost by needing extra hands to lock it in place, carry it by the frame, and ensure its upright status. The lack of these features may be what gives the Jet its really reasonable price tag, but it also means it is harder to use the product for its primary intended purpose of being a good secondary transportable stroller for moving quickly about town with ease. So while self-standing is a great feature, not having it isn't a deal breaker and we understand the design and added attention it requires might bump up an overall price. However, a carry handle secured to the frame seems like a no-brainer which could be done at a fairly insignificant cost; this single addition would really bump up the usability of this product to a new level, to forgo a carry handle seems short sighted.

The folding process is 3 steps, is sandal friendly, and is rated as average for difficulty. The unfold rated at very easy, is also 3 steps, and mainly consisted of unlocking the clasp, letting the stroller fall forward, and pushing the pedal to lock it in place. The hardest part is releasing the latch, but some users did report they were worried about getting their foot pinched in the locking mechanism.

Commuting
Light  easy to fold  with a smaller footprint make the Jet a possible good commuter option
Light, easy to fold, with a smaller footprint make the Jet a possible good commuter option
Commuting really is about convenience of folding, hauling, stowing, and moving a stroller about town. If it can't hang in the thick of city life, it is probably not a great commuter stroller. This product is a pretty good example of a great rig for commuting. It has a slim fold, and is one of the lightest strollers in our review, so even though it lacks self-standing and a carry strap, it is somewhat forgivable because it is still easy to transport. It is longer than some of the others when folded, which means it needs more room in a trunk and can be a hassle when getting onto public transport and finding a seat, but its smaller overall footprint means it is still easier than most of the rides we looked at to maneuver through crowds or tight spaces whether open or closed. The only real downside is the short seat bottom which can mean bending over further to help children, and increased difficulty when sitting in cafes.

Ease of Setup


It is a good thing that the assembly of the Jet is somewhat intuitive because the instructions were woefully lacking. It took over 4 and ½ minutes to unpack and set up this stroller. In the end the text and illustrations were lacking in description and often the parts they were discussing were not in the associated picture. The instructions come in 3 languages. This product scored about average for this metric.

Best Applications


The best application for this stroller is as a secondary traditional umbrella stroller that is primarily used for commuting or visiting tourist attractions. It does not offer enough to be a primary or even cross over stroller, and the limited recline will make it a no go for longer trips or days that drag on. It has the bare minimum of options to get the job done without being heavily inconvenienced, but it lacked anything that might make it truly exciting. It did not score well in most metrics, but for the small price tag, it might be an okay option for those looking for a super lightweight second stroller. If your expectations are low, this stroller may not disappoint, it is certainly better than the other stroller in it price range, Jeep Wrangler All-Weather.

The Jet has a poorer quality fit and feel than many others we reviewed
The fabric fit on the Jeep frame is uneven  and the canopy is off center
The photos above show the Jet (left) and the Jeep Wrangler (right).

Value


This stroller is one of the cheapest we reviewed. For the money it really has a lot to offer and might not disappoint you if you truly understand what else is on the market, and that you sort of get what you pay for in some regards. This product is exactly what you would want/expect a cheaper umbrella stroller to be. It is very lightweight, folds nice and narrow, has a storage bin, canopy, recline, and accessory console. All really cool attributes for a stroller of this kind. However, if you are expecting all those attributes to be high quality, or super well done then you will be disappointed. For the money, it definitely beats out the other options, but if budget allows, we do suggest you spend a bit more and move up to the Contours Lite. Contours earned a far higher score, had more cool features that were done better, and is only $25 more.

Conclusion


Beyond being lightweight there isn't too much to really love about this product. It ranked 15 out of 16 products tested, and the only metric it shined in was safety. While safety is important, really important, it isn't the only thing to consider when buying a product of this kind. In addition, there were other products that did much better and were within a reasonable price point of the Jet. So even if budget is your motivating factor for choosing to look at the Jet, we would highly encourage you to view our the Contours Lite which sells for around $25 more and has so much more to offer. It has a larger storage bin, a child accessory tray, a better recline, an adjustable leg rest, larger canopy with peek-a-boo window, and it scored better for maneuverability.

The sun shade on the First Years Jet is smaller than most and does not connect to the seat back so it is somewhat free floating for little ones to play with
The average sized canopy on the Contours connects to seat back  or opens for more ventilation
The photos above show from Jet (left), and Contours Lite (right).

Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz