How to Choose the Best Double Umbrella Stroller

The 3Dtwo has a carry strap that is too long to be a carry handle  but not long enough to use as a shoulder strap  making it awkward to use without banging the stroller into your leg.
Article By:
Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz

Last Updated:
Wednesday


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After extensive use, and months of testing double umbrella strollers, we have compiled all the information and insider details you need to choose a lightweight stroller for two. This article will provide you with all the details necessary to make your decision. We purchased 9 of the top double products to test and compare so you can make an informed decision about which features and performance factors are most important for this kind of stroller and your family.

You may also want to read the The Best Double Umbrella Strollers of 2017 to see how the 9 strollers fared against one another in our side-by-side comparison tests.

The 9 competing products that made the cut for the double umbrella stroller review.
The 9 competing products that made the cut for the double umbrella stroller review.

Why Buy an Umbrella Stroller?


Lightweight umbrella products are designed to be a secondary stroller that is good for travel thanks to a lighter weight and a smaller folded size. This type of stroller should provide parents with a simple, compact product that is easy to fold, lift, carry, and stow to use when bringing your standard stroller is not an option. Most of the lightweight products collapse like an umbrella, which makes them relatively small compared to other kinds of strollers. This makes them an ideal gear choice for commuting, tourist adventures, grandma's house, or navigating airports.

Unlike the lightweight single strollers, none of the double options offered enough features to double as your primary stroller. In fact, all of the strollers were harder to maneuver, and this left us wondering if the lighter weight was worth the pushing frustration. If you don't absolutely need an umbrella stroller, you might be able to skip this piece of gear by choosing a nice lighter weight standard stroller instead. Yes, it will be larger and harder to manage while traveling, but it will be less frustrating to push and turn.

The Delta Children XL Side by Side (left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (right)  the Best Value and Editors' Choice winners respectively.
The Delta Children XL Side by Side (left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (right), the Best Value and Editors' Choice winners respectively.

Types of Double Lightweight Strollers


There are two general styles of lightweight double strollers: the basic umbrella with few features, and the lightweight product that offers more for comfort and/or convenience. The latter type is often (but not always) heavier, as it places more importance on features over weight and folded size.

The Delta Children XL Side by Side has small canopies  no storage  and limited recline  making it a bare bones umbrella stroller.
The Delta Children XL Side by Side has small canopies, no storage, and limited recline, making it a bare bones umbrella stroller.
A double umbrella stroller should be small, easy to fold, and easy to transport. This stroller type has few features and focuses more on getting children from A to B without the troubles of a heavy, bulky stroller that may not fit where you want it to go. This kind of stroller can reduce the hassle of travelling with little ones, but its lack of features could cause problems if the trip is a long one.

The UPPAbaby G-Link has several features for comfort and convenience  which made it heavier and larger  and hurt its overall score and rank.
The UPPAbaby G-Link has several features for comfort and convenience, which made it heavier and larger, and hurt its overall score and rank.
The lightweight products are not as heavy as a standard stroller or jogger, but they tend to be heavier than the pared down umbrella options. This type of stroller usually includes larger canopies and storage, reclining seat backs, and occasionally adjustable leg rests. In general, this style of stroller sacrifices some weight for comfort and convenience. However, the lightweight strollers are still easy and quick to fold, are compact when folded, and should be able to fit where a larger stroller can't. These products often , but not always, take up more space than their umbrella counterparts, which can make them harder to transport and store.

Kinderwagon HOP
Doubles come in a side-by-side seating design, as well as an in-line style where the second seat is behind the first. The in-line style is better for negotiating doorways and crowded walkways, but they often have a huge disparity between seating features that could cause children to fight over who gets the comfortable seat. Side-by-side strollers can be more difficult in doorways, but they have identical seating and traditionally perform better in our tests.

Double umbrella products come in an in-line style with the second seat behind the first (3 strollers on the left) and side-by-side styles (6 strollers on the right).
Double umbrella products come in an in-line style with the second seat behind the first (3 strollers on the left) and side-by-side styles (6 strollers on the right).

Performance Considerations


While you can see how the products ranked and compare their stats in our full review, it is also important to consider how well they performed during testing. Just because a stroller has a certain feature, doesn't mean that feature works well or is truly an asset. On the contrary, some features seem to be nothing more than the manufacturer's way of making the product look more impressive in a comparison chart, as opposed to a beneficial component that increases usability. Our testing process and review is designed to reveal how well each product performs compared to the competition so parents can narrow their potential buying choices to the best option for their family.

While performance can vary from product to product, we did find some general consistencies you will want to know before making your final purchase. These are factors to consider whether you choose one of our tested products, or another option we didn't review.

The ZOE is the 3rd smallest folded stroller out of the 9 we tested.
The ZOE is the 3rd smallest folded stroller out of the 9 we tested.

Size Matters


This style of stroller was created to solve a size problem for parents on the go, so size is is important. If a lightweight option is too large or heavy, then it fails to meet the basic goal and won't be good for travel. If it is too small, it might be lacking features that render it virtually unusable.

The delta has a small easy to stow folded size.
The Cloud is fairly small when folded  but there are lighter and smaller options in the review.
 
The two smallest folded double strollers in the group, Delta Children LX Side by Side (above left) at 8,211 cubic inches, and the Kolcraft Cloud Double (above right) at 8,541 cubic inches. The largest folded options are the UPPAbaby G-Link (below left) at 13,133 cubic inches and the Maclaren Twin Triumph (below right) at 12,519 cubic inches. Knowing how big the folded strollers are can help you determine if they will fit in your car or other transportation. While smaller is better, you need to make sure your small choice can still perform well.
The G-Link has a handy kickstand that works well and offers a true self-stand.
The Twin is the second largest folded stroller in the review  and the 4th heaviest.
 

The products had weight ranges from 17.8 lbs to 24.7 lbs. Seven pounds can be a large disparity in one product group, but the differences get even larger when you consider that most standard double strollers weigh over 30 lbs, which demonstrates how much you save by going lightweight for travel. Similarly to Goldilocks, the key is finding the right size for your needs without sacrificing the features you require. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe is the lightest option in the review, the third smallest, and still has most of the features for comfort and convenience that parents are looking for.

The ZOE only scored 4 of 10 for maneuverability  but the high in the metric was only 5.
The ZOE only scored 4 of 10 for maneuverability, but the high in the metric was only 5.

How Many Wheels?


All of the products in this review have the dual wheel design with 2 wheels on each leg. For double products this means they could have anywhere between 4 and 6 wheels in the front and just as many in the back. This design generally translate to poor performance in our maneuverability tests, and this group was no exception. This design struggles with changes in terrain, and veering off course when one wheel gets pulled by small objects in the pathway. As a result, none of the products offered good maneuverability, and most were difficult to push and turn.

The G-Link is the easiest to push and turn  but still hard to manage.
The 6 front wheels of the Cloud make it hard to keep the stroller on course.
 
These photos show the front wheel structure of the easier to push UPPAbaby G-Link (above left) that earned the high of 5 of 10 for maneuverability, and the wheels of the Kolcraft Cloud Double (above right) that only earned a 1.

In our single umbrella review the strollers with only 1 wheel per leg performed much better than those with the dual wheel design. Therefore, it is unfortunate that none of the double products offered the single wheel per leg design. As a general rule, the pushing performance of strollers seems to increase, as the number of wheels decreases. When looking at strollers keep in mind that fewer wheels is better.

Brakes


While each product obviously comes with brakes, they are not all created equal. Some strollers have a single action brake with one pedal or bar to engage, while others have up to 3 pedals to push or can be unfriendly to sandaled feet. Discovering which is which is hard to do without actually using them.

All 3 brake pedals on the Cloud Double MUST be engaged for the brakes to be properly set.
 
These photos show the difference between the single action brakes of the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (above left), and the triple action brakes of Kolcraft Cloud Double (above right). The Kolcraft requires all 3 pedals to be pushed for brake engagement.

Single pedal options are easier to use. We worry that double and triple action brakes will result in errors over time as parents forget or become complacent about engaging all the pedals every time they park. While we like to believe that users will religiously set brakes as the manufacturer intends, we also know that if something is hard to use human nature could potentially kick in and lead to mistakes and misuse. Brakes that are used as intended, are the products that are simple and can be operated quickly.

In this review the Kinderwagon HOP brakes failed to stay engaged every time. Through the course of testing, this problem increased with the brakes spontaneously disengaging when the stroller was bumped or if the front wheels came off the ground and fell back down. For this reason we cannot recommend the HOP.

Versatility


Most of the double umbrella options do not offer much in the way of versatility. They do only one job, get baby from A to B in a seat with wheels. These strollers offer the bare minimum to get the job done, so they can remain light, small, and easy to carry. Unfortunately, this means that some miss the mark of being practical. It is important that features work the way you assume they will, otherwise having them does nothing for usability. Canopies are a good example of this; while every model in the review has them, some are very small and offer virtually no protection, like those found on the Delta Children LX Side by Side (below left), while the ZOE XL2 Deluxe canopies (below right) are large and cover everything.
The Delta has a shallow recline and no leg rests.
With a 45 degree recline and huge canopies on the ZOE  little ones are likely to nap if tired.
 

It isn't helpful to compare features, or the number of features, without considering whether or not they perform as expected. If a stroller has a feature you want, but that feature fails to meet expectations, then your experience with the stroller will likely be frustrating.

Lightweight strollers do not offer enough support or protection for babies under 6 months of age without head and neck muscle control. BabyGearLab feels that parents should avoid using lightweight products with babies under 6 months old, unless they are in an approved infant car seat carrier designed to work with the stroller. While some of the manufacturer's claim their stroller is appropriate for infants, we don't feel they offer enough in design and features to protect children under 6 months from potential injuries related to jostling around over uneven terrain. Without proper suspension and body support, baby could be exposed to forces their small bodies are not equipped to handle. Parents should consider baby wearing or standard strollers as more appropriate baby moving alternatives until baby has full head, neck, and trunk control.

Narrowing the Field


There are a few things to consider when narrowing your lightweight options down to the best stroller for you. Keeping your goals in mind will go a long way in getting the stroller you need without going over budget or buying more than you need. While features are important, we feel that how you plan to use this kind of gear is more important and will give you the features you need by default. In the long run it will save you time, money, and possible frustration if you know your goals before you buy.

The ZOE XL2 Deluxe offers lots of features  but still manages to be the lightest option in the review.
The ZOE XL2 Deluxe offers lots of features, but still manages to be the lightest option in the review.

Where are you going?


The first thing to consider is where will you be using this stroller and why do you need a lightweight product? Is this for semi-regular commuting in an urban environment, or is it a tourist helper for museum strolling? How you plan to use your stroller, where you plan to go, and the kind of surfaces you cover, should influence your buying decision.

If you need an option strictly for travel, then the smallest, lightest option with fewer features may be all you need. If you plan to use the stroller for trips to the park or a full day at the zoo, then you may need features for carrying supplies or sun protection. If you plan to stroll mainly indoors, then the canopies may not concern you, if you hope to find a place to stow it travelling on a bus, then size will be your limiting factor.

Knowing how your stroller will be used can be the difference between buying a product that fails to meet your needs, and finding the perfect fit. Being honest about how you plan to use your stroller will go a long way in determining which style is going to meet your needs the best.

If babies will be sitting for a long period of time  the UPPAbaby G-Link has the most comfortable seating  with a deep recline  adjustable leg rests  and thicker padding than the competition.
If babies will be sitting for a long period of time, the UPPAbaby G-Link has the most comfortable seating, with a deep recline, adjustable leg rests, and thicker padding than the competition.

How long will it take?


The next question to ask is how long will your usual trips be? Will you use the stroller from gate to gate in the airport? Or will baby be sitting in it for hours as you stroll the city sidewalks taking in the sights? How long baby will be expected to sit in the seat, will influence which features for comfort you will want. The amount of supplies you will need, could also influence your choice based on the storage options the product features.

The ZOE XL2 Deluxe offers 2 passenger cup holders and a shared snack holder  which can make longer trips more enjoyable.
The rear pockets on the Delta have flimsy elastic at the top that is likely to lose its shape with repeated us in a very short time.
 
If little ones will be sitting for hours, you will want a deeper reclining seat, possible adjustable leg rests, and nice canopies. The UPPAbaby G-Link and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe both have nice features for comfort, with the ZOE featuring child cup and snack holders (above left). However, the G-Link comes with the highest price tag, so if your babies will only be sitting for a quick ride through the airport, then a stroller without recline abilities and small canopies, may suffice and save you hundreds of dollars. The Delta Children LX Side by Side is 1/5th the cost of the UPPAbaby, but it has everything you need for a quick trip with few supplies, as it has pockets instead of a storage bin (above right). In short, the longer your trip, the more features for comfort and convenience you are likely to need. Alternatively, shorter trips require less, and finding a budget friendly, lightweight product will be the winner.

How often?


You know where you are going, you know how long you will be gone, now you need to know how often you plan to go. If your plans include regular use on a weekly basis, you will probably want a quality stroller with more features and you won't mind paying a little more to get more. If you think you are only using it for one trip to Disneyland, then finding an inexpensive option might be a better fit.

UPPAbaby G-Link
UPPAbaby G-Link
It can be difficult to justify a higher priced item if you only need it for a few occasions. You may be able to "make do" with fewer features if the stroller is only used a handful of times. However, if you plan to use your lightweight stroller semi-regularly, then it might be worth spending extra to get a higher quality item with more features or better performance. How often you use this kind of gear can help you decide how much stroller you really need, and how much you want to spend to get it.

Delta Children XL Side by Side
Delta Children XL Side by Side
Buying the less expensive, second ranked, Delta Children LX Side by Side may be all you need for the family vacation. Given that the stroller scored fairly well in our testing, it is likely to meet your needs without serious frustration. However, if you plan to use your stroller semi-regularly, then it will need more bells and whistles to get the job done without frustration and inconvenience, so you may want to choose a stroller with more features to avoid disappointment.

Budget


For some families, budget will be their first consideration. For others it may be further down on their list of priorities. Either way, it is hard to ignore budget as a consideration for some baby gear items. Luckily, this type of gear offers options at a large variety of price points. Once you've answered the questions above, you will likely be looking at only a couple of choices. Narrowing it down from here could be achieved by looking at price, overall performance score, or both.

ZOE XL2 Deluxe
ZOE XL2 Deluxe
If you need more features, because the stroller will be used often and for longer periods of time, then you may be looking at the UPPAbaby G-Link and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe. ZOE, the Editor's Choice winner, is half the price of the G-Link and scored higher overall with a lighter weight and a smaller folded size. Alternatively, if you need the stroller to last for several years to come, you don't mind lifting more weight, and money is less of a concern, the G-Link might be a better fit as it offers more in the way of rider comfort and is easier to push. However, some parents will balk at a secondary stroller with a high price tag, and would be happy with the less expensive ZOE that has similar features, larger canopies and a bigger storage bin.

The Delta Children XL Side by Side (left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (right)  the Best Value and Editors' Choice winners respectively.
The Delta Children XL Side by Side (left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (right), the Best Value and Editors' Choice winners respectively.
If you need a bare bones option for quick trips you plan to only take occasionally, then the Delta Children LX Side by Side has the second highest overall score, the lowest price, and won the Best Value award. This option can get the job done without spending more. Keep in mind that both the ZOE and the Delta earned top marks for weight and folded size, which is the primary goal of this kind of gear.

The 9 competing double umbrella strollers with the award winners front and center.
The 9 competing double umbrella strollers with the award winners front and center.

Conclusion


Choosing a double umbrella stroller can be difficult as many strollers claim similar features and functionality. However, it is worth the effort to learn more about each option, as features and performance vary greatly from one product to another, making it nearly impossible to compare based on a list alone. While the differences between products may seem subtle, the impact on everyday use may be significant. Staying focused on how you intend to use your stroller will go a long way in finding the best option for your family. We feel the performance and features of our award winners offer parents options that meet the needs of every budget and just about every kind of use or user.

Dr. Juliet Spurrier is founder and Mom-in-Chief at BabyGearLab
Juliet Spurrier, MD
About the Author
Dr. Juliet Baciocco Spurrier is a board certified pediatrician, mother of two, and founder of BabyGearLab. Juliet earned her Bachelor of Arts degrees in Anthropology and Italian Literature from the University of California at Berkeley and her Medical degree from Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington DC. She completed her pediatric residency at the Doernbecher Children's Hospital at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, OR, and subsequently practiced pediatrics in both the Pacific Northwest and Silicon Valley. Juliet serves as Mom-in-Chief at BabyGearLab, where she oversees all baby product review activity, assuring that each review delivers on our commitment to quality.

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