The Hunt for the Best Double Umbrella Strollers of 2017
What is the best double lightweight umbrella stroller? We tested 9 of the top products on the market to find out. We put each stroller through several tests in a side-by-side competition to separate the awesome from the uninspired. We scored each product for weight and folded size, ease of use, maneuverability, and quality. This, combined with real world use, helped us determine which options were the best overall and the best on a budget strollers for two. Continue reading for all the details on how these strollers stacked up against the competition.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
Best Overall Double Umbrella Stroller
ZOE XL2 DELUXE
Read Full Review: ZOE XL2 Deluxe
Best on a Budget
Delta Children LX Side by Side
Read Full Review: Delta Children LX Side by Side
Analysis and Test Results
Choosing the right double umbrella stroller is an exercise in priority setting and decision. Many of these products look alike and have similar features, but the truth is using them and how well they perform can be a vastly different experience. The table above summarizes the overall performance scores of each product tested in this review.
To avoid confusion or frustration, you need to decide how you plan to use the stroller, what features you will need, and what you are willing to pay in order to get what you want. Once you determine these things, you can consider which options best match your expectations. The hard part is that while some options may offer the same features, they are not all created equal, and using them might be a very different experience. The selection for double products isn't as varied as it is for single products, but it still deserves careful consideration as the prices vary widely. We feel there is a lightweight stroller that will work for most families, and our hands-on testing and review is here to help you find it.
Because many of the double umbrella options were disappointing in their performance, especially maneuverability, we recommend parents first determine if a standard double stroller can fit their needs over a lightweight option. We feel you get more for your money in a standard stroller and you'll have an overall less frustrating experience.
Types of Double Lightweight / Umbrella Strollers
There are two basic types of lightweight strollers, the basic umbrella that offers few additional features, but is lightweight and easy to carry, and strollers that are better equipped with additional features for convenience or comfort.
UPPAbaby G-Link (above right) that comes with more bells and whistles standard.
Each kind of stroller has shared characteristics that make up the primary features for this type of stroller:
In the double stroller world their are two types, side-by-side and in-line. In-line strollers have one seat behind the other, sometimes on the same plane, and other times the rear seat is higher or lower than the front. We tested both in this review.
Why Get a Double Umbrella Stroller?
After testing these strollers, we aren't entirely convinced that you should get a lightweight double stroller. Whether the stroller of choice is basic or has extra features, a lightweight stroller can make travelling easier, but not if it is too frustrating to use. We found this category of products so difficult to maneuver, in comparison to their single counterparts and standard double strollers, that we think that some parents may want to skip this type of gear altogether in favor of a lighter or smaller standard double option. However, if you are travelling and simply must have a smaller and lighter option for seeing the sights or visits to grandmas, then choosing an umbrella strollers can provide more freedom and can make day trips to town, or tourist activities more fun. These strollers can help you wrangle little ones and get where you need to go without the weight and bulk of a larger product. They are more compact than standard or jogging options, which can be useful in cities and crowded spaces.
Criteria for Evaluation
During testing we focused on key areas with weight and folded size having the most impact on the final score; finding the lightest, easiest to carry option is the main goal for purchasing this kind of stroller. The ratings come from a combination of in-house tests and using the products during ordinary life, and are rated against one another for a true side-by-side comparison.
Weight and Folded Size
How much a stroller weighs and how small it is when folded is the heart of what makes one product standout from the rest. Parents want a product that is compact, fits in small spaces, and is easy to pick up and carry or taken on public transportation. Some of the double we tested were fairly heavy, which made them harder to carry. Some were lighter, but were longer than average when folded, and hard to fit in small trunks. This metric could be make or break for parents with minimum space or limited strength.
Ease of Use
Ease of use considered the stroller features that you use every day that make the product easier to use, or add additional versatility for convenience or comfort. The higher ranking products in this category normally have more features so parents may be able to use it for longer adventures. Larger canopies or a big easy to access storage bin translates to a stroller that can carry more supplies and keep passengers more comfortable. Commuting or playing tourist, where space is limited and often crowded, is easier when the stroller has a quick easy and compact fold.
Fold and Unfold
Lightweight and umbrella options should be easy to fold and compact for travelling. Folding small is important, but folding easily and quickly can be just as important. Strollers with simple straight forward folds with few steps earned better scores in this test. Locking automatically and standing when folded also helped products earn more points. The Zoe XL2 Deluxe and the UPPAbaby G-Link are the easiest options to fold. Both are self-standing and have automatic fold locks. The hardest option to fold is the Peg Perego Pliko Mini Twin that requires two hands and multiple steps, with 3 levers to unlock prior to folding. It isn't difficult per se, but it is convoluted and time consuming.
Some double umbrella products have double or triple action brakes that require multiple pedals to be depressed for the brake to be properly sett. We worry parents will grow complacent over time and either forget to set all the pedals or will choose not to, which could lead to unnecessary injuries. We prefer single action brakes, which are completely engaged with only one pedal push, for this reason. Good brakes are easy to set and release, without stiffness, without disengaging on their own, and are sandal foot friendly. The best brakes were found on the ZOE Xl2 Deluxe. This stroller has a stroller length bar between the back wheels that can be pressed at any point or on the pedal near the wheel. The brakes are easy to set, release and are sandal foot friendly. The Kinderwagon HOP has the worst brakes by far. These brakes began to disengage on their own shortly through testing. Once set, the brakes would pop out of place if the stroller was bumped into or if the rear wheels were lifted slightly and dropped back down. In both instances the brakes would release without warning and the stroller would start to roll. This problem only got worse over time, which made the HOP an option we don't recommend.
While storage is important, storage for two is almost twice as important. If a stroller lacks adequate storage, you will be packing a bag that someone has to carry. Most of the options offered some kind of storage, but how much, where, and if it was accessible varied between products. Most have a storage bin under the seat, but many of these were cut in two by a crossbar that prevented putting a good sized diaper bag inside. Some had no bin at all and relied on small pockets or offered nothing at all. Even of those that provided a bin, not all were easy to access and some were downright difficult to use. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe has the largest bin and it is easy to access, even with seat backs reclined. It is one bin, as opposed to two, but the design will limit you to a large diaper bag as opposed to an extra-large diaper bag. The Kolcraft Cloud Double and the Delta Children LX Side by Side do not offer a storage bin at all; the Delta relies on pockets and the Kolcraft has none at all.
Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Rear Seat.
All of the double strollers offered some kind of sun shade, though the coverage of the shade varied widely from barely there to cocoon coverage. The more basic strollers had smaller shades, with the Delta Children LX Side by Side having the smallest shades, a simple direct overhead canopy with no window. The strollers with more features have larger sun shades with more features. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe has the largest canopies we have seen on any stroller to date. These shades curve around with multiple panels including a pop out visor and a zippered panel with mesh for air flow. The canopies both offer a nice mesh peek-a-boo window with a cover that has a silent magnetic closure
Maclaren Twin Triumph, and the giant canopies on the ZOE XL2 Deluxe.
All of the double strollers in this review have 5-point harnesses. Five points is safer than three thanks to the two extra straps located on the shoulders that help keep little ones from falling out if the stroller should accidentally flip over. We tested how difficult the straps were to adjust for length as well as height, and how difficult the buckles are to use. Products earned more points for adjustable crotch straps, easy rethread, and buckles that only required one hand to operate.
Having a seat cozy enough to nap in earned products higher scores. Reclining seat backs and adjustable leg rests went a long way in making passengers comfortable for longer trips. Some of the double strollers offered reclining backs, while the in-line options had seats with different recline angles and levels of comfort, and some seats barely reclined at all. Depending on the kind of strolling you plan to do, a product with few features for comfort might be okay, but if adventure may last the entire day, the trip will be much easier in a stroller that is conducive to napping or adjust for comfort.
While some of the double umbrella products advertise as suitable for infants under 6 months old, we do NOT recommend using them with children under 6 months of age. Why? Lightweight strollers provide the bare minimum for support and protection from bouncing and jostling over uneven terrain. They sacrifice some features and design for the sake of overall weight and a smaller footprint to be better options for travel. Because babies under 6 months of age lack muscle control they are unable to support their own head and neck and could potentially suffer injuries related to overall lack of support from the stroller. The only exceptions are products that accept the attachment of an infant car seat, like the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Second Seat.
Car Seat Compatibility
Only the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Second Seat and the Kinderwagon HOP accept infant car seats. The Joovy comes with a universal car seat adapter that works with a large variety of popular infant car seat manufacturers, including the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35 and the Chicco Keyfit 30. The Kinderwagon HOP works with Graco Classic Connect models and the Combi Shuttle only. Both strollers only accept one infant car seat, making it a poor choice for infant twins.
Ease of Setup
Most of the double strollers were relatively easy to put together, and had manuals that while potentially frustrating got the job done. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe has no manual and requires users to watch a video on their website, which seems short sighted and might cause confusion for some. The components requiring assembly for most of the strollers consisted of attaching wheels, canopies, and storage features to the frame. None of the products required complete assembly, and only the Joovy Caboose required a tool. The Caboose took the longest to assemble, with a time of almost 11 minutes. The Delta Children LX Side by Side took under 3 minutes and was super easy to put together.
None of the lightweight double products performed that well in our tests for maneuverability. Pushing and turning can make or break your experience with a product. Depending on the terrain you plan to cover, the stroller you push will make a big difference in getting where you want to go without frustration. The UPPAbaby G-Link earned the highest score in the group, but it only earned a 5 of 10. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe and the Delta Children LX Side by Side both came in second place with 4s. These strollers struggled to turn quickly, have difficulty through doorways, or have dual front wheels that get caught on small bumps causing them to veer off course unexpectedly.
Because of our difficulties with maneuverability, we feel that unless you really need a lightweight stroller for travel, that you are better off buying a nice standard double stroller that will be easier to push and offers more features for comfort and convenient. The Britax B-Agile Double a good example of an easy to push double that doesn't weigh that much more (27.9 lbs vs the heaviest umbrella that is 24.7 lbs) than some of the umbrella products.
Quality consists of how well a product is built and the materials that come together to form the entire stroller. Many of these types of products have flimsy frames and loose wheels, lots of exposed fasteners and connection points, with construction that feels cheap. The potential comfort level of each option is also considered. Other items we test are frame flex, wheel wobble, rough edges, loose connections, and rough or unfriendly fabric.
It is hard to say there is one best product for all families and their specific needs. Especially in a category where the majority of the contenders left us feeling uninspired. Because the needs of parents and passengers vary, there might well be an option here that would work for your family. Our testing process revealed some real world problems and considerations that we think will make this decision easier.
Whether you are looking for an inexpensive bare bones double seater on wheels, or a higher end option with nicer features for convenience or comfort, you can find an option to fill the need in this review. Our goal in this review to provide enough information for you to make the best decision. Between the 2 double award winners, there is good choice for either side of the coin, full day adventures or quick trips. Still confused? Read our article on how to pick a double umbrella stroller to help narrow down your options.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz
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