Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos of 2020
Best Overall Combo
UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo
The UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo is an excellent stroller to combine with an infant car seat. It includes a smaller and relatively lightweight frame and easy car seat attachment. Plus, it is compatible with a large variety of top car seat brands that click in to attach. The Cruz folds easily and is light enough for most parents to lift and carry. It also folds small enough to fit in most cars. It works well with the UPPAbaby Mesa and the Chicco Keyfit 30 (budget-friendly award winner), with simple adapters that help parents' avoid mistakes. This stroller is an excellent choice for parents who want to buy a single, full-size stroller for the long haul and value a high-quality product that is easy to use and works well as a travel system.
The list price may seem high compared to a traditional frame stroller or a pre-combined travel system. However, it is on par or average for a full-size stroller, and your ability to use it from birth through the toddler years makes it a great value that could be your one and done stroller if you don't plan to jog or head off-road with your baby. The Cruz is a stroller we would purchase and the one we recommend to our friends both for its car seat compatibility and high-quality features.
Read review: UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo
Great Lightweight Combo
UPPAbaby Minu Combo
The UPPAbaby Minu is a stylish, lightweight stroller that folds small and weighs little when used in conjunction with an infant car seat. The Minu works with car seats from UPPAbaby, Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, and Cybex, giving parents the ability to choose from a wider variety of options than those strollers that only accept their own brand of seat. This stroller has a quick adapter and seat attachment, and we had no trouble in our attachment tests. The canopy on the stroller works with the car seat, and it has an impressive storage basket weight allowances of 20 lbs.
The Minu is somewhat spendy for what it is. So parents on a tight budget may want to steer clear unless they need a travel or commuter special. It is also more challenging to move off flat and hard surfaces, making life potentially harder if you plan to or need to go off the beaten path. Overall, if you need a lightweight stroller for future travel or need a good commuter you can use with an infant car seat, it is tough to beat the Minu and its quality features.
Read review: UPPAbaby Minu Combo
Evenflo Pivot Xpand Combo
The Evenflo Pivot Xpand is a versatile multi-seater with a very friendly price for what it has to offer. This stroller works with two infant car seats, and if you choose Evenflo brand options, the adapters are built-in and easy to use. This design makes the Xpand one of the few to consider if you're expecting twins. Other adapters are available, and all click in place with no straps needed.
This stroller is on the heavier side and somewhat large when folded, so if space is limited, you may want to take some measurements before you take the plunge. Overall, this stroller is tough to beat for multiple children with quick car seat attachment and great ease of use.
Read review: Evenflo Pivot Xpand Combo
Best Bang for the Frame Stroller Buck
Chicco KeyFit Caddy
The Chicco Keyfit Caddy is a wallet-friendly frame stroller that works with Chicco Keyfit infant car seat carriers. This compact, easy to fold and stow option is a straightforward alternative to carrying your car seat or being forced into choosing your primary stroller too soon. This product offers a quick and easy car seat connection and a parent console for those quick-grab items. The carriers snap in the frame and require no straps for secure attachment.
All frame strollers have a limited lifespan of roughly nine months or however long your little one fit in their infant car seat, which could make this a no-go for anyone looking for a one and done solution. If you aren't sure what kind of stroller you'll need or want for your strolling years, then the Caddy could be just the ticket to a stress-free first nine months of getting around with your baby and car seat.
Read review: Chicco Keyfit Caddy
Taxi Game Changer
The Doona Combo is an innovative product where the stroller and car seat are the same product. This unique, niche-filling piece of gear is a one and done infant transportation solution for families who live in the big city or who frequent public transportation and travel. We love that the Doona is a car seat and a stroller, so city parents can safely buckle their baby into a taxi, then hit the ground strolling when they reach their destination. No need to worry about two different products or where the stroller will go, who will hold it, or how it folds.
The Doona isn't right for all families thanks to its limited lifespan of 6-9 months and a higher price tag. However, we think it fills a niche for urban parents who may not otherwise use a car seat in a taxi or who want the convenience of taking their baby out on the town without the hassle of managing two items. Unfortunately, purchasing the Doona will require the future purchase of another stroller once your baby has outgrown the infant car seat. Parents will want to keep this in mind if their budget or long-term costs are a concern. However, for city dwellers, this may be the solution they are looking for and worth the money to keep baby safe in public transportation.
Read review: Doona Combo
Best Frame Stroller
The Chicco Shuttle is a simple frame stroller that works well with the award-winning Chicco Keyfit 30 and Chicco Fit2. This no-frills frame stroller provides a lightweight, compact stroller explicitly designed for carrying an infant car seat. This design makes it uniquely qualified to fill this need without requiring adapters or concessions. This stroller is cost-effective, bare-bones, and straightforward, filling a niche for parents who haven't decided on their long-term strolling needs, or those who want a simple answer for the first few months of baby's life. We like this design with better wheels, adequate storage, and a parent tray, and we think parents will love that it gets the job done without adding extra weight or taking up space.
This stroller may not be the best choice for families who want to buy their lifetime stroller or plan to jog in the future. Still, if you want an economical solution that will work for now and give you time to consider your future strolling lifestyle, it is hard to beat the Shuttle's straightforward, easy to use design.Read review: Chicco Shuttle
Not all strollers excel at working with car seats. However, if you want to purchase only one stroller for your strolling years and you hope to use it occasionally with your infant car seat, you may consider options you don't see in the award-winning group. If your main goal is jogging, running, or off-road trailblazing, one such notable stroller is the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo as it functions in several capacities that could result in the potential for a one and done purchase. Alternatively, for a smaller easy for travel, full-size option, you might consider the Britax B-Lively.
Best for Future Jogging
Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo
The Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo is a cool jogging stroller versatile enough to be used as your everyday option. We like this high-quality stroller with sleek styling and impressive features like covered storage, passenger pockets, handbrake, and adjustable tracking. The locking swivel front wheel is suitable for rough terrain, moving at speed, and negotiating tight spaces. This stroller is compatible with a variety of popular infant car seats, including several award winners.
Unfortunately, the Urban Glide 2 is heavy and takes up more space than your usual car seat stroller, and you CAN'T jog with babies under 9-12 months old. These factors make it a stroller you may not consider as the right choice for younger passengers. However, if you want to limit your gear purchases and you plan to go off-road or run with your baby when they are old enough, then the Urban Glide 2 can get the job done from day one to the end of your strolling years with ease.
Despite the ability to use this stroller in conjunction with an infant car seat, you should never, ever jog or run with babies under 9-12 months of age. Discuss any jogging or trail plans with your pediatrician to determine the best age for your little one to move to more advanced strolling.
Read review: Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo
Budget-friendly but Limited
Britax B-Lively Combo
The Britax B-Lively is an attractive budget-minded stroller with useful features and the ability to work with an infant car seat. This stroller has a comfortable sling-style seat, large canopy, easy-access storage bin, and rear canopy pockets for quick access items. The B-Lively folds quickly and compactly, making it suitable for travel and smaller spaces.
The B-Lively only works with Britax infant car seats, which is limiting and hurt its chances to win an award. Traditionally, the Britax seats haven't fared that well in our infant car seat review, with the Britax B-Safe 35 earning the lowest overall score, so it is difficult for us to say we'd necessarily recommend this combination to a friend. However, the B-Lively is a good stroller, and the Britax seats meet the safety requirements of an infant car seat. If you already have a compatible Britax seat or plan to purchase one, then the B-Lively is certainly a stroller to consider, especially if you have an eye on the budget.
Read review: Britax B-Lively Combo
Why You Should Trust Us
The BabyGearLab car seat and stroller combo testers are led by our founder, Dr. Spurrier. Juliet is a Board Certified Pediatrician, mom of two, and a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). Dr. Spurrier's background as a pediatrician, education, and years of experience as a mom help her in creating BabyGearLab's safety standards. She approves all product selections and has the final word on testing procedures. Our stroller and car seat combo team lead, Bob Wofford, is the Senior Research Analyst here at BabyGearLab. Bob is the dad to 7 children and has led both our car seat and stroller testing almost since the beginning. The combo team also includes Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor, and mother of two. Wendy has researched and reviewed over 200 strollers and car seats plus their combinations since 2014. Rounding out our combo review team, is Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford. Abriah joined BabyGearLab testers in 2015, and this is her fifth go participating in the combo review. This team has over 20 years of collective experience testing car seats and strollers of all kinds.
The combo testing took place at BabyGearLab and in the real-world on outings with little ones. The review includes our in-depth product research and real-world experience gained from years of experience from testers who compare each combination to the competition, including capturing the differences from one car seat to another on the same stroller. Our testing from day-to-day use helps determine which competitors are the best combinations, easy to use, easy to navigate, and bring quality materials to the table.
Analysis and Test Results
The strollers and the compatible car seats were tested and compared to one another. Wherever possible, we test the strollers with their native brand car seat and at least one other product, usually the Chicco Keyfit 30 because it is an award-winner with a reasonable price that is also popular. We emphasize the metric scores for ease of car seat attachment and weight and folded size in the overall rating because we believe they are the most important for this kind of gear.
Using a stroller with your infant car seat can make getting around with your baby more comfortable. Seamlessly transferring your little one from the car to a stroller can make leaving the house more accessible and convenient. It also helps keep your baby peacefully asleep while you manage errands and outings with greater ease. We think most parents will appreciate the convenience that a great stroller and car seat combo provide.
Finding an exceptional value in this group can be challenging as you need to consider the price of each product in the combination to get the complete picture. If budget is a concern, it is best to choose the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat if possible. Generally, it is less expensive than most infant car seats while maintaining a higher level of safety and performance. Also, if your long-term budget is a concern, then you may want to avoid purchasing a short-term use product like a frame stroller or the Doona, which will last only nine months, requiring the purchase of another stroller. The Keyfit30 is also compatible with most of the top-ranked strollers. An option like the UPPAbaby Cruz v2 may be ideal as it works well with the Chicco car seat, and its lifespan lasts as long as your little one needs a stroller. This longer life makes it a good value as it can potentially act as your only stroller. If you plan to jog later and want to buy only one stroller, the Thule Urban Glide 2 is a suitable choice that won awards in several reviews and works as a clip-in with a Chicco adapter. If you require a stroller for travel or commuting, then the UPPAbaby Minu can be considered as budget-friendly because it fills two needs in one purchase, a car seat frame stroller and a compact traveler. If your short-term budget is more of a concern, and you aren't sure about your later strolling needs, then the Chicco Keyfit Caddy or the slightly more expensive Chicco Shuttle can meet short-term goals with reasonable prices.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The best car seat attachments almost feel like they install themselves with minimal effort other than shifting the carrier from the car to the stroller. We like the stroller and car seat combos with a click-in only attachment over those with straps. The strollers and adapters with an easy drop-in/on connection that requires little pressure with fewer opportunities for mistakes score higher than connections with obstructions or those that can be installed incorrectly or incompletely. Any installation that includes restraint straps lost points, as the straps inherently have a higher margin for error (intentional or accidental). We worry parents will forget or intentionally skip using the straps as the carrier often feels secure without them.
Both Bugaboo strollers use a loop style adapter where the carrier lowers into the frame and clicks into place with the help of gravity; almost no external pressure is necessary. However, one style of adapter on the Cameleon has a dual-side alignment. In our tests, this design was nearly impossible to complete with only one person (in our opinion).
The Chicco Shuttle and the Chicco Keyfit Caddy also impress in this metric. These dedicated frame options are designed with Chicco brand infant seats in mind. The carrier openings require only a small amount of pressure to connect with an audible click, and there are no obstructions. The UPPAbaby strollers also performed well in our tests. However, two of the UPPAbaby options are full-size, which hurt their overall rank in a category where being lightweight is critical. The UPPAbaby Minu is light enough to compete with the frame strollers.
Alternatively, the universal frame stroller, Baby Trend Snap-N-Go Ex disappoints as it requires the use of straps to attach the seat. The carrier sits in a strap net, and the rim of the car seat rests on the edge of the stroller, then more straps attach over the center of the carrier to secure it to the frame. Theoretically, the bottom straps only need one adjustment, but the top straps need adjusting every time you use the stroller. We worry parents will nestle the carrier in the frame and skip the straps because it feels secure "enough" even though it isn't.
The BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 Combo also disappoints with a 2-step attachment process that includes clicking in place and straps that go over the bottom portion of the carrier. This two-step attachment is particularly worrisome because we think some parents will consider the click step as secure enough. After all, the car seat feels secure once attached. However, the manufacturer includes the straps for a reason, and we think it would be negligent, but very tempting, for parents to forgo the straps. This lack of detailed attention could have disastrous results. Depending on your choice of a car seat, the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo has a similar click and strap design with some of its adapters; others are click-in only, and we would recommend the one-step method over the combinations that require straps. For a jogger with a click in only attachment for all seats, the BOB Alterrain Pro has a 3-part adapter but no straps.
The Doona beats them all with a car seat that is permanently attached to the stroller as one product. This unique little product skips the attachment process as the stroller components are part of the car seat in a design like no other. We like that you can't make mistakes affixing your carrier to the stroller, and there are no adapters or additional components to lose with this all-in-one product. However, it has a shorter lifespan (6-9 months), so you'll need to purchase a second stroller when your baby outgrows the infant car seat.
Weight and Folded Size
There is nothing better than a frame stroller when it comes to weight and folded size. Frame strollers are lightweight, easy to lift, and compact. Given that some new moms often have a weight restriction on how much they can lift, a frame stroller could be the only option they can manage, and the lower price tag makes it a good value.
However, many parents skip a frame stroller because it has a short life of only nine months or so. Alternatively, some of the full-size strollers are lightweight and work about as well as a frame stroller, so many parents prefer to buy an option they can use for a more extended period.
If finding the lightest product is your primary goal, look no further than the Chicco Shuttle. This dedicated frame stroller has fewer features, but it only weighs around 15 lbs. The Baby Trend Universal Snap-N-Go is about 4 lbs lighter, but the Chicco Shuttle scored higher than the Baby Trend. While weight is critical, we believe most parents would prefer less weight to carry, instead of coping with a hard to use stroller. Not convinced a frame option is best for you? You're in luck. The UPPAbaby Minu is a lightweight option that is close to 12 lbs when prepped for a car seat and works through toddlerhood as a lightweight stroller, which extends its useful years to more than three.
The Chicco Shuttle is about 6,360 cubic inches when folded, making it one of the smallest options in the review. The UPPAbaby Minu Combo is hot on its heels with a size of 6,610 when folded. In comparison, the full-size Britax B-Free Combo is 6,674 cubic inches with a weight of 22.6 lbs; this is about 7 lbs heavier than the Chicco Shuttle. A good option that is not too heavy and not too big (much like the story of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears) is the UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo, with the lowest full-size stroller weight of 15.25 lbs and a folded size of about 7,860 cubic inches. This product will also last for the baby's entire strolling years, so theoretically, you may not need to buy another stroller (unless you plan to jog).
The Doona Combo is about 16.5 lbs all together, which sounds heavy, but the weight includes the car seat and the stroller portion for an overall lighter total package. The folded size is slightly larger than an infant car seat, and because you will be using it as your car seat, you don't need to think about where the stroller can fit or stow. So while the Doona is going to be heftier to put into and take out of the car, it has the lightest combined weight for a car seat and stroller and prevents the need for prolonged infant car seat carrying.
The most substantial product in the group is the BOB Alterrain Pro weighing over 33 lbs with a size measuring over 17,357 cubic inches.
While maneuverability is vital in a stroller you plan to use for the long-haul, it is less critical for the first nine months when you'll be using a stroller and car seat combo. Because your baby doesn't weigh that much, and you should stick to hard flat surfaces where maneuverability is less of an issue, you can manage with a less agile stroller without feeling the frustration of using a poorly designed option.
If your primary goal is to find a great stroller and car seat combination, then choosing a stroller based solely on this metric might not be wise. However, using this metric to help you decide between similar options might be useful as it can impact your everyday experience. We tested maneuverability in everyday scenarios and through obstacle courses that simulate tight situations (like supermarket aisles) to see which products allow for one-handed pushing, tight turns, quick responsiveness, and curb hopping.
If you think a frame stroller is the best way for you to go, be aware that none of them performed that well in this metric. They all have smaller plastic wheels and other limited features for pushing on flat or paved surfaces only. However, the relatively lightweight of a newborn makes pushing any stroller relatively easy. Also, it is less likely that you'll encounter rough surfaces in strolls with your baby because you should be avoiding them until little ones have more muscle control over their necks and core. When your little one outgrows their infant seat, you can replace the frame stroller with a full-size or jogging stroller that offers more features and functionality, including better maneuverability. The Doona is similar in functionality to a frame stroller, and its small plastic wheels managed a relatively high score for maneuverability with a 7 of 10. This ease of pushing score makes it one of the better choices for lightweight strollers.
The top performers for maneuverability in this review aren't surprising. They include the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo, BOB Alterrain Pro, Baby Jogger City Mini GT 2 Combo the BOB Revolution Flex Combo 3.0 all with rubber tires and a single front wheel. These options are easy to push (even one-handed) and have the versatility of a swivel front wheel for stores and errands. While the BOB Revolution Flex 3.0, BOB Alterrain Pro, and the Thule Urban Glide 2 are easy to push, they are also hefty and cumbersome when folded, making them an imperfect match for an infant car seat. The metrics for weight and folded size and ease of car seat attachment influenced the final score more than maneuverability, so the top-ranking strollers didn't perform that well in this metric. The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 GT is smaller than the joggers, but it isn't the best overall performer and has only one use, strolling.
The Chicco Shuttle earned a 5 of 10 for maneuverability, which is better than the other frame strollers thanks to its single wheel per leg design. The UPPAbaby Minu also earned a 5. The *UPPAbaby Vista v2 Combo, UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo, and the Doona Combo provide frustration-free pushing with scores of 7 each.
Ease of Use
Features and overall functionality are the consideration for ease of use. Essentially, if it impacts your daily life, then we test it here. We perform tests designed to determine how well the stroller and car seat combos work together in the real world, and we include input from testers.
We compare sunshades, storage bins, and other convenience items like cup holders, parent's consoles, and child trays. For the canopy, we consider the SPF, size, ventilation, adjustability, and peek-a-boo window. Though for some of the strollers, the canopy does not work in conjunction with the car seat. For storage, we look at the size, shape, accessibility, and maximum allowable weight.
Not all of the stroller canopies work with every car seat. Several require removal of the sunshade, and others can get hung up on the shade as the car seat attaches. Even though it can be useful to utilize the stroller canopy with the carrier sunshade, we think the extra weight and potential hindrance usually aren't worth the benefit. Those without the sunshade are often easier to manage, especially when folding. The frame products lack sunshades for this reason, and we think parents aren't likely to miss it. The UPPAbaby Cruz v2 and Vista v2 strollers, BOB Alterrain Pro, and BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 are the largest. Neither of the full-size stroller UPPAbaby canopies remains on the stroller when paired with the carrier, but the BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 and the BOB Alterrain do. The UPPAbaby Minu Combo canopy remains on the stroller and works well with the infant car seat to offer cocoon-like protection when used with the carrier canopy.
The biggest storage bins in the review are the UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo with a max of 30 lbs each, and the UPPAbaby Minu with a 20 lbs allowance. No other strollers come even close to these capacities. The Chicco Shuttle holds up to 10 lbs, which is the average for the group. If you plan to carry your diaper bag and not much else, then 10-11 lbs will work. If shopping and errands are in your baby plans, then the UPPAbaby strollers are better choices. If you go with a Bugaboo stroller, you might be carrying the diaper bag on your shoulder, as the bag alone could be heavier than the allowed 8.8 lb weight limit.
Both the Chicco Shuttle and the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal score well for conveniences, sporting parent consoles with cup holders. Both are nothing special with relatively shallow cup holders, but they do check the box. The Bugaboos and the UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo both fail to impress with no other conveniences. Still, at least the 30 lbs over-sized bin on the Cruz v2 Combo helps us overlook the lack of other convenience features. We understand most parents want a cup holder. Still, because objects often fall from cup holders (in our experience) and land on the baby, we think it is smarter to use a product without a holder or purchase a side cup holder that keeps the contents out of baby range. The Doona Combo earned the lowest score for ease of use with a 1 of 10. This specialty product's lack of storage and convenience features, as well as the smaller canopy, hurt its ease of use results. So while it isn't challenging to use, it does lack what many consider to be necessities for everyday use.
Quality encompasses the materials, design, and construction of each competitor. While some options use aluminum frames and rubber tires, others have plastic wheels and rough, unfinished feeling components. Our tests only include the quality of the stroller component and not the car seat portion of the combo.
Top-quality marks go to the Thule Urban Glide 2 and the BOB Alterrain Pro with a score of 9 of 10 each. The BOB Rambler, BOB Revolution Flex 3.0, and the UPPAbaby Vista v2 Combo are just behind with impressive 8s. These products have rubber tires, suspension, wrapped adjustable handlebars, and sturdy fabric that fits nicely with no loose threads or scrunchy material. The UPPAbaby Cruz v2, Doona, and Bugaboo Cameleon each earned 7s and are similar to the top scorers but have small variations in materials and design that left them somewhat short in comparison. The UPPAbaby Vista v2 frame and handlebar are akin to the UPPAbaby Cruz v2, but a little more defined and sleeker. The Bugaboo strollers and the Baby Jogger City Mini GT 2 Combo have better than average foam-filled rubber tires. Still, they are smaller than the pneumatic tires on the Thule and BOB, which are better quality overall.
On the lower side, you'll find the Baby Trend Snap 'n Go, which struggles for quality compared to the other options. It has a flexing frame, visible connection points, and no attention to detail. While it suffers compared to the more expensive options, it also doesn't need to last as long. The Graco SnugRider Elite earned the same low result with what appears to be unfinished plastic parts with rough edges and plastic shavings attached to the stroller.
Ease of Setup
While how challenging a stroller is to setup may feel critical, it is something you only need to do once and, therefore, in our mind, less of a deciding factor than other metrics. We do think it is a good idea to know how hard the strollers are to assemble, so you are prepared, but most of the options here were simple enough, and most don't even require tools!
The easiest option to setup is the UPPAbaby Cruz v2 Combo. This UPPAbaby comes with a helpful quick-start guide that makes the intuitive assemble even easier. It took around 5 minutes to put the Cruz v2 together, with much of that time spent unpacking the protective packaging. The UPPAbaby Vista v2, UPPAbaby Minu,Thule Urban Glide 2, Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal, and the BOB Revolution Flex 3.0 were quick on its heels and also easy to assemble. The Donna is a standout here with no assembly required.
We think there is a stroller for everyone in this incredible lineup of options, no matter what your reasons are for combining your car seat with a stroller or your longterm strolling needs. Our detailed review of products we tested hands-on can help you narrow the field of options to the perfect choice for your needs and wallet. Whether you plan to wear your baby in the early days or hope to push your carrier everywhere, we have the information you need to make a wise investment in your baby gear lineup. Not: babywearing instead of strolling, keeps little ones close and increases bonding, not to mention it saves money.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz