The Maxi-Cosi Kaia is an umbrella stroller made by Dorel juvenile. This stroller has a reclining back, adjustable leg rest, and sun shade that can detach from the seat back for added air flow. It features a cup holder, below seat storage, and it can convert to a travel system with an additional purchase. This stroller also has auto-lock and self-stand mechanisms when folded. It comes in 3 different colors.
The 16 top lightweight umbrella strollers included in our review
Ease of Use
The stabilizing cross bar on the Maxi Cosi prevents easy access to storage
The ease of use for this product was just slightly above average. It didn't shine or disappoint necessarily, but it would have been nice to see a little more attention to this category. However, some would argue that an umbrella stroller does not necessitate many of these kinds of extras.
The storage bin on the Kaia is easier to access from the front and sides
The Maxi had a fairly good sized storage bin under the seat. It was accessible from all sides of the stroller, but a cross bar, designed to stabilize the product, prevents easy access from the back. The storage bin will hold an average sized diaper bag, but it can only be put in the bin from the front. Again, the cross bar prevents total and easy access from the back, which left us wondering if there was a better way to design this stroller.
This product has an average sized canopy with no peek-a-boo window. If you're worried about what baby might be up to under the shade, you will have to either pull the shade back or walk around the side to peek in. The shade is larger than the average sized canopies, but it still isn't big enough to call large. It attaches in the back with hook and loop closures that can be opened for improved ventilation on hot summer days. The shade itself snaps into three different positions, folded, half open, and fully open. Testers felt this design was more user-friendly than the canopies that have the "arms" that lock into place. The manufacturer did not comment on the SPF of this sun shade.
A Shallow cup holder on right side of the Kaia is a nice touch, but it is not as useful as we hoped
The Kaia offered a few nods in the direction of convenience. For parents it has a side cup holder that attached to the right hand side of the frame just above the seat back. This cup holder attached well and was removable, but we wished it was deeper to help prevent cups and water bottles from falling out of it. As it was, the taller water bottles toppled out of the cup holder in our tests, and would have fallen on the head of any child seated in the stroller.
This product offers no other accessory options for parent or child. This means there is a lack of places to stash things you may need quickly like phone, keys, sippy cups, and pacifiers. Not necessarily a deal breaker in an umbrella stroller that is supposed to be somewhat no-frills.
The Maxi has two features that keep kids riding in comfort and increase the overall convenience of use for this product. The Back of the seat reclines to help encourage or facilitate napping, and the leg rest is adjustable for stretching out or offering back of the knee support. The leg rest has 4 positions that range from folded at a 90 degree angle to perfectly straight out. They are adjusted using easy release buttons located at the hinge points on either side of the seat bottom.
The photos above show the Maxi Cosi with the leg rest out straight (left) and folded down (right).
The back of the Cosi has a one handed recline, utilized by squeezing the cinch strap latch to release and recline. It did take two hands to move from the reclined to an upright position, and it has a middle of the road recline angle for the products we tested. The seat can go back far enough to improve comfort, should a child fall asleep in the stroller, but it didn't fold back enough to really encourage sleep, or be cozy for a nap of any duration.
The Maxi Cosi Kaia has 2 wheels in front and 4 in the back. The 2 wheels prevent random movement, but overall it is harder to push on non-hard surfaces
This stroller scored only average for maneuverability. If you plan to stay primarily on hard surfaces and have no need to transition from one kind of surface to another, you will find it is fairly easy to push and pull, even with one hand. However, it was more difficult that the other products we tested at moving over a 1in lip to a new surface, moving backwards up a curb or stair, and driving through grass or gravel. This stroller feels bigger than some of the others we tested, and it was hard to get around in really tight spaces. The biggest problem we had though, was the cup holder caught on other objects as the stroller moved past them. Maneuvering this rig around was easier without the cup holder, and given the cup holder's difficulty of use, we were tempted to just remove it and lose it.
Safety is always important to us at BabyGearLab, so we reviewed a variety of safety concerns that included brakes, harnesses, and tip over tests. Safety was a metric the Maxi did well in tying for second place in this metric with the Joovy Groove.
The photos above show the red brake pedal used for engaging the brakes (left), and the blue pedal for releasing the brake (right). This dual pedal design means never having to lift up on a brake pedal with the top of the foot.
This product had brakes that were easy to set, easy to release, and sandal foot friendly. The brake pedals were sort of stiff, but this prevented accidental engagement when bumped or rubbed on edges. The brake pedals are color coded to assist tired and befuddled parents who may forget which pedal applies the brake and which releases it. The pedals were well located, did not engage when caught inadvertently on curbs, and had only a little bit of wiggle in them when engaged. The stroller did start to slide after a minimum amount of pressure was applied, about 6 pounds forwards and 7 pounds back, but this was on par with most of the other products we tested. The only exception to this was the Quinny Yezz, which required an impressive 19 pounds of pressure to budge backwards and 15 forwards.
The Maxi has padded shoulder straps and crotch pad
The 5 point harness on this product was about average in difficulty to get on, easy to get off, and very easy to adjust.
One button on the Maxi Cosi buckle releases the two side waist/shoulder straps
Not many of the products we tested could boast very easy to adjust, which can be a big deal when a squirming toddler is losing their cool. The waist of the harness has a half buckle on each side that mate together, and then must be inserted into the main portion of the buckle (located on the crotch strap) at the same time. The process is a little convoluted, but not difficult to master. The harness has just a single button to release it. The button is stiffer than some of the products we tested, but is definitely doable with one hand.
The side tip angle fort his product was almost dead on average, like many of its attributes. It tipped sideways at around 26 degrees. The best in this metric was the Quinny Yezz and the Joovy Groove, both of which tipped at 30 degrees. The worst was the Mountain Buggy Mini which required on 20 degrees before succumbing to gravity.
The back tip weight for this product was pretty impressive requiring in excess of 40 pounds of pressure on the back of the stroller before it fell. This weight was significantly more than many of the strollers and landed it a spot in the top third of the products for sure. However, the Chicco Capri C6 Lightweight blew away the competition with an impressive 75 pounds of pressure needed before tipping.
The Maxi felt durable and sturdy
This product felt sturdy and well made. The fabric was thick and somewhat coarse compared to most of the strollers, but it wasn't the most unfriendly ad it did seem to imply longevity of materials. The fabric resisted snagging, and wrapped tightly around the frame and canopy without sagging.
The front wheels on the Maxi have a lock that prevents full rotation. This is good for uneven surfaces and folding, but it is not good for turning
The frame lost some points for the open cross section of the top members (which are required because of the unique fold), but it gives more flex to the overall structure than many others in the group. However, the joints and connections on the frame feel solid and strong. The stroller is not stiff or rickety, but it does flex somewhat under strain when weighted with a child.
The wheels on this stroller are hard plastic covered in a layer of rubber. The single front wheel is nice, but there is a little flex to the double back wheels which was a little concerning. The wheels are on the smaller side and there was a small indent on the far left rear when that we could feel when pushing. The wheels did not feel as durable as some of the others we reviewed, but they weren't the worst either.
Unique hard plastic handles on the Maxi curve in, offering a variety of comfortable options
The handles on this product scored a 5 out of 5 for comfort and quality. They are non-adjustable, but are a good height for multiple users. They have a unique in shape out of the products we tested, with a smooth plastic handle that curve inward towards each other. This offers variable hand and wrist positions for individualized comfort while strolling. The handles were sturdy and did not flex or wiggle as much as some of the products we tested.
Weight and Folded Size
The Maxi Cosi has a unique fold which helped decrease its overall footprint
The Cosi was the heaviest product we tested, coming in at 18 pounds 10 ounces. The average product in our tests was about 14 pounds, making the Maxi more than 4 pounds heavier than the average stroller in our review. While this is still lighter than a standard stroller, it does mean it will be more difficult to carry long distances and parents considering using this product in a way that would necessitate extensive carrying, would do well to test their ability to carry that much weight before buying. The lightest stroller was Jeep Wrangler All-Weather, which was almost 9 pounds.
The stroller was also bigger than average for folded size coming in at 15x37x15. It did have a unique way of folding, which made it a little smaller in girth once folded, but it still takes up a significant amount of space at 8, 325 cubic inches. The smallest product in our tests was First Years Jet
. The Jet folded up as you would expect an umbrella stroller to, and its smaller size made it great for hand carrying.
Ease of Folding
The Maxi Cosi Kaia is one of a handful we tested that can self-stand
This product required two hands to fold, but the folding itself was easy to operate and accomplished in just three steps. The steps were intuitive, sandal friendly, and the stroller auto-locks in the folded position. This product also self-stands when folded to help parents with full hands or limited space manage the stroller and other items.
Most of the products we tested folded in on themselves in a tradition umbrella stroller fashion. A couple of the products folded in half more like a traditional stroller. This product did more of a telescoping action pushing in on itself as it collapsed. This means that you have to push down somewhat as you fold to get it to close properly. This is not difficult, just noteworthy since it was an anomaly in this group of products, and knowing this information can make folding intuitively easier.
The Cosi seat height was similar to the height of an ordinary chair which made it somewhat more café friendly than other strollers with lower seats
While this stroller is easy to fold and self-stands, it lacks any kind of carrying handle or strap. This means you will lugging this beast around by the frame of the stroller and you won't be able to carry anything else in that hand. If you aren't particularly strong, you may need two hands if you are going far or lifting it up into a trunk, so you may want to plan on keeping your hands free when moving the Kaia.
Its larger size and heavier weight mean it is harder to get into and out of trunk, more difficult to get on and off public transportation, and it takes up more space in public places. But if you do manage to take it out and about, it does have a nice seat height for visiting cafes and other sights, by placing the child higher up than much of the competition.
Ease of Setup
The Maxi was one of the easiest strollers in our review to set up. It took just over 6 minutes from opening the box to using the product. The instructions had written text as well as pictures to walk through he process of setup. While the text took longer to read than the products whose instructions included only pictures, the added information means the time to set up is significantly quicker. We had no complications or difficulty setting up this product.
This product came in 6th place in our tests, with most of its points coming from safety and setup. While we like a product to be safe, it seemed to be fairly lackluster in other metrics. There may not be a best application for this stroller. It doesn't have enough storage to consider it as a primary stroller, and it was almost too heavy to be a great umbrella stroller.
This product was more expensive than many of the others we tested, including 3 that rated higher. Its price was above average, but more than that it was a price that just didn't offer as much bang for the buck as some of the other strollers in our review. For instance, the UPPAbaby G-Luxe scored a full five points higher, and was about $15 cheaper on average. It also has more features and a better user-friendly feel than the Cosi.
The photos above show the Maxi-Cosi Kaia (left), and the Chicco Liteway (right). The Chicco is cheaper, rated higher, and won a Best Value award.
Overall we didn't hate the Cosi, it just didn't really do anything for us either. It managed to get the job of stroller done better than 10 other products, but it just didn't wow us for the price. In our tests there were 3 other strollers that were cheaper and scored better, including the Chicco Liteway, which was a full $100 less on average and earned a Best Value award. All of this made the Cosi a stroller we wouldn't necessarily recommend. There was nothing so terrible that we would say don't buy it, but there was nothing so great to merit an endorsement either.