The Joovy Groove Ultralight stroller earned a below-average score overall and unimpressive scores in every metric. With a disappointing maneuverability score, the Groove is a little harder to push and turn than the average lightweight option. The Groove continued mediocre scores for the remaining metrics with no real standout features or functionality, with the exception of a handy zipper pocket. Given that many strollers scored higher, and sport a similar price point, it is hard to feel like the Groove performed well enough to be considered a good value.
Update — February 2017
Joovy has released an updated version of the Groove Ultralight for 2017. Read more about the changes below.
Our Analysis and Test Results
2017 Groove Ultralight vs. Old Groove Ultralight
Joovy's new umbrella stroller (below left) has undergone some changes and improvements. New convenience features include a new UPF 50 fabric, an extra cup holder for the parent, and a self-standing fold. The new version has a near flat recline that makes it newborn ready (although we do not recommend using an umbrella stroller for this purpose) and the larger wheels should provide improved maneuverability. The 2017 Groove Ultralight weighs in at a pound heavier and $10 more than the previous version (below right).
Hands on Gear Review
Located in Texas and California, Joovy is a family started company born in America in 2005. Joovy offers a variety of products from strollers and play yards to bottles and walkers. They pride themselves on original designs and quality construction that is both fun and functional.
Weight and Folded Size
The Joovy weighs 13.2 lbs and has a folded size of 5,162.43 cubic inches. Both results are below the average for the group, but there are still several lighter options to choose from. However, the weight and included shoulder carry strap make the Groove easier to lift and carry than much of the competition.
Ease of Use
While the Groove is nice for napping, features like the fold and storage are less impressive which hurt its overall ease of use results.
Fold and Unfold
The Groove is average for ease of folding and unfolding. With a traditional umbrella fold the category is named for, it has an automatic lock but doesn't self-stand. The fold is more of a foot operation and only requires one hand, while unfolding requires two to open the parts.
The brakes on the Groove continue the average feel for the stroller with double action brakes that require both pedals to be pressed for true brake engagement. The pedals are easy to set and release despite the extra step, and they are sandal foot friendly for summer strolling.
The under-seat storage bin is medium in size (above left) and held our medium-sized diaper bag. However, it only has a 5 lb weight capacity which will limit how much can be in the bag. With the seat in the upright position, the bin is easy to access, but once baby reclines you won't be able to get in the bin at all. The Groove also has a mesh cup holder and a zippered pocket on the back of the canopy (above right) with passenger mesh pockets inside the seat for sippy cups and snacks.
The canopy on the Groove is medium in size and has a small vinyl peek-a-boo window. The window cover rolls up and secures with a plastic toggle and loop to keep it out of the way. This canopy pulls open easily and has a plastic brace to keep it open.
The Groove harness can be used as a 5-point or 3-point harness, with 5-point being the safer option. The shoulder height adjustment is easy to change and the strap length is a plastic clip that slides up and down smoothly. The waist straps are a little stiff, but feel like they may loosen over time.
The Groove has a nice seat that is adequately padded with strap recline adjustment that lays almost flat and is good for napping. The padded leg rest is easy to adjust and can be lifted straight out for more napping space. The seat is more comfortable and nap-worthy than the Inglesina Net.
We strongly discourage using umbrella strollers with infants younger than six months. Babies of this age do not possess proper head and neck control that is required to avoid any potential injury that could occur while strolling over rough surfaces. Umbrella and lightweight products seem to be lacking the best design and features required for real suitability for babies under six months. If you intend to use the stroller for a baby under six months, we recommend you choose a product that is compatible with an infant car seat carrier (see the stroller comparison chart for possibilities). Baby should always be properly secured with a snug-fitting harness. Users should keep an eye on baby, and check on them regularly while strolling.
Ease of Setup
The Groove took us 5:40 minutes to set up and requires no tools. It is about average for difficulty with no real standout attributes that made the process easy or difficult.
The Groove has the dual front wheel design that translates to harder to push and turn, even on hard flat surfaces. The swivel front wheels will lock in place to help over uneven terrain, but it still pushes how you'd expect a stroller with small plastic wheels to roll. The dual front wheels can get caught on small bumps or objects and the stroller will veer off course. Popping up and down curbs will also be a challenge as the brakes can catch on the curb, so you'll want to go face first instead of backing up.
This Joovy has all-wheel suspension (rare in a lightweight stroller), a padded seat and almost flat recline making it a cozy ride for passengers. The handles are foam covered and a good height for comfortable all day pushing.
The Groove is average for quality with nothing really great to remark on and nothing really terrible to prevent you from choosing it.
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