Are you looking for the best stroller and car seat combo for your baby's early strolling months? We considered over 45 stroller and seat contenders before purchasing and testing 21 top choices in combination with infant seat carriers from our Best Infant Car Seat Review to determine which combos are the best to use together. We completely understand how confusing it is to attempt to combine products from different brands and sometimes even the same brand. With this in mind, we've completed all the research, so all you need to do is kick-back and read on! We have all the details and test results you'll need to find the best options to meet your needs that also work within your budget. Whether you want a stroller that is easy to maneuver or you have concerns about how the car seat attaches, you'll find the information you need to create the right stroller and car seat combo for your family.
The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2018
This review has been updated to include new information for previously reviewed products and the addition of new combinations to include the Graco Jetsetter, Thule Urban Glide 2, Chicco Shuttle, Bumbleride Speed, and the Britax B-Free. In addition, the Bugaboo Bee3 is no longer being manufactured and has been replaced by the Bugaboo Bee5, and the Chicco Keyfit Caddy is also no longer available with the Chicco Shuttle taking its place. The Britax B-Agile is currently not compatible with any infant car seat. Britax has plans for launching new adapters sometime in 2018. We will update the review when this happens.
Best Overall Combo
UPPAbaby Cruz Combo
The UPPAbaby Cruz Combo is an excellent stroller and car seat combination that includes a smaller and lighter frame and easy car seat attachment using several popular car seat brands that click in with no straps to worry about. The Cruz folds easily and is light enough to lift and carry, and it folds small enough to fit in most cars. The Cruz works well with the award-winning UPPAbaby Mesa and the Chicco Keyfit 30 (so it can work with most budgets), with simple adapters that make it harder to make mistakes. This stroller is a great 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 that works well as a travel system.
The list price may seem high for this option compared to a traditional frame stroller or a pre-combined travel system, in truth, it is relatively average for a full-size stroller and the ability to use it from birth thru the toddler years makes it a great overall value that could mean you never have to buy another stroller. The Cruz is the stroller we would purchase and the one we recommend to our friends. This stroller won an Editors' Choice award as a combo and in our Full-size Stroller Review, proving it has what it takes where it counts.
Read review: UPPAbaby Cruz Combo
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 solution for families who live in the big city or who frequent public transportation and travel. We love that the Doona is both a car seat and a stroller so big city parents can safely buckle their baby into an Uber then hit the ground strolling when they reach their destination without worrying 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 a second 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.
Read review: Doona Combo
Top Pick for Frame Stroller
The Chicco Shuttle is a simple frame stroller that works well with the award-winning Chicco Keyfit 30. This no-frills frame stroller provides a lightweight compact folded stroller that is designed specifically for carrying an infant car seat. This makes it uniquely qualified to fill this need without the need for 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 just want a simple answer for the first few months of baby's life. We like this new design with nicer wheels, adequate storage, and a parent tray and we think parents will like 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 those who plan to jog in the future, but if you want an economical solution that will work for now, it is hard to beat the Shuttle, and it's straightforward easy to use design.
Read review: Chicco Shuttle
Top Pick for Urban Use
Bugaboo Bee3 Combo
The Bugaboo Bee3 won a Top Pick for Urban Use because it is the easiest to use with an infant car seat. It has an installation process that almost installs itself with an easy to use adapter loop. The Chicco Keyfit 30 car adapter we tested is easy to attach, and the carrier fits snugly inside while gravity almost makes the connection for you. This stroller is a hip looking, stylish head-turner that strolls through tight turns and crowded streets with relative ease.
The Bee isn't a great choice for parents hoping to run errands and make purchases as the storage bin is one of the smallest with a weight limit of only 8.8 lbs. You'll need to pare down your supplies or carry your diaper bag on your shoulder because they won't fit in this stroller. However, the Bee will get you where you need to go in high-end city style with above average scores for maneuverability.
Read review: Bugaboo Bee 3
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.
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 good 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 a good 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.
Read review: Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo
Analysis and Test Results
The strollers and the compatible car seats in this review were tested and compared to one another. Wherever possible, we tested 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, and popularity. We did not test each stroller with every compatible car seat. The metrics scores for ease of car seat attachment and weight and folded size are emphasized in the overall score because we believe they are the most important for this type of gear.
Using a stroller with your infant car seat can make getting around with your new baby easier. Seamlessly transferring your little one from the car to a stroller can make leaving the house easier, faster, and more convenient. It also keeps your baby peacefully asleep while you manage errands and outings with ease. We think most parents will appreciate the convenience a great stroller and car seat combo can provide.
Finding a good value in this group can be harder to determine since you need to consider the price of each product in the combination to get the complete cost picture. If budget is a concern, you are best choosing the Chicco Keyfit 30 car seat whenever possible. As a general rule, it is less expensive than the majority of infant car seats that work with these strollers. Additionally, if your long-term budget is a concern, then you may want to avoid purchasing a short-term use stroller like a frame stroller or the Doona which will retire at about nine months necessitating the purchase of a second stroller. An option like the UPPAbaby Cruz may be ideal as it works well with the Chicco car seat and you can use it until your little one no longer requires a stroller. This longer life makes it a good value as this stroller can be your only stroller purchase. If you plan to jog later and hope to buy a single stroller, the Thule Urban Glide 2 is a good choice that won awards in several gear reviews and works as a clip in with the Chicco adapter. If your short-term budget is more of a concern, and you can't even think about your later strolling years, the Chicco Shuttle can meet your short-term goals for only $120 list price.
Ease of Car Seat Attachment
The most straightforward car seat attachments seem to install themselves with little effort on the parent's part past moving the carrier from the car to the stroller. We prefer the car seats with a click-in only attachment process over those with a second strap attachment. The strollers and adapters with an easy drop-in/on attachment with little to no pressure needed, or chance for mistakes, score higher than products with obstructions or those that seemed connected when they weren't. Babyhood is hard enough without struggling to attach your car seat correctly. Any options with restraint straps in the installation process lost points as the straps increase complexity and inherently have a potentially higher margin for error (intentional or accidental).
Both Bugaboo strollers, including the Top Pick for Urban Use Bugaboo Bee 3 Combo and the Bugaboo Cameleon Combo, offer a loop style adapter where the car seat carrier lowers into the frame and clicks into place with the help of gravity with little pressure required.
The Top Pick for Frame Stroller, the Chicco Shuttle, also impresses in this metric. This dedicated frame option is specifically designed to work with Chicco brand infant seats. The opening of the stroller works well and requires only a small amount of pressure to connect with an audible click sound. The UPPAbaby strollers also performed well with results just below the Chicco Shuttle. However, both UPPAbaby options are more substantial which hurt their overall scores in this review.
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 net made of straps, so the rim of the car seat sits on the edge of the stroller, and the straps attach over the middle of the seat to secure the carrier to the frame. Theoretically, the bottom straps will only need adjusting once, but the top straps need adjustment with every installation. We worry some 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 Combo also disappoints with a 2-step attachment process that includes clicking in and straps. This type of attachment is particularly worrisome because we think some parents will consider the click secure enough as the car seat feels immobile once attached. However, the manufacturers included the straps for a reason, and we think it would be negligent, but very tempting, for parents to skip the straps. Depending on your choice of car seat, the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo has similar click and strap features for some of its adapters; others are click in only, and we would recommend those over the options that utilize straps.
The Doona has them all beat with a car seat that is permanently attached to the stroller counterpart as a single product. This neat little ride lets you skip the attachment process altogether as the stroller components are forever part of the car seat in a design like no other we've seen. We like that there is no opportunity for incorrect attachment and you don't need to worry about adapters or missing components with this all-in-one option. However, it has a limited lifespan (6-9 months) which means the purchase of 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 are allowed to lift, a frame stroller may be the only option they can manage.
However, not all parents want a frame stroller because they only work for about nine months. Because some of the full-size strollers are lightweight and work nearly as well as a frame stroller with a car seat, some parents will prefer to but an option that can be used well past baby's second year.
If finding the lightest product is your primary goal because you've had a C-section or worry about carrying something bulky or heavy, then look no further than the Chicco Shuttle. This dedicated frame stroller has limited features, but this keeps the weight near 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 a concern, we think most parents would prefer to carry the extra 4 lbs, than have a hard to use stroller.
The Chicco Shuttle is about 6,359.64 cubic inches when folded, making it the second smallest option in the review. In comparison, the full-size Britax B-Free is 6,674.40 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 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 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 carrying of an infant car seat carrier.
The heaviest product in the group is the BOB Revolution Flex Combo weighing in over 28 lbs, while the largest folded stroller is the Thule Urban Glide 2 Cobo with a size measuring over 15,388 cubic inches.
While maneuverability is important in a stroller you plan to use for the long-haul, it is less important 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, but using this metric to help you decide between otherwise similar options might be useful as it does 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 light weight of a newborn makes pushing any stroller relatively easy, and 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 overall 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 and include the Thule Urban Glide 2 Combo, Baby Jogger City Mini GT Combo the BOB Revolution Flex Combo all with rubber tires and a single front wheel. Both 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 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 GT is smaller than the joggers, but it has a tipping safety concern that hurt its overall score.
The Chicco Shuttle earned a 5 for maneuverability, which is better than the other frame strollers thanks to its single wheel per leg design. The Bugaboo Bee3 Combo is better than average with a 7, tying with the UPPAbaby Vista Combo and the Doona Combo all providing frustration free pushing. The UPPAbaby Cruz Combo earned a 5 for this metric.
Ease of Use
Ease of use includes features and functionality that impact your daily experience. We performed tests designed to provide information on how well features from the stroller and car seat combos work in real-world scenarios, and we included input from testers during everyday use.
We compared sunshades, storage bins, and other convenience items like cup holders, parent's consoles, and child trays. For the canopy, we considered the SPF, size, ventilation, adjustability and peek-a-boo window. Though keep in mind that for some of the stroller the canopy does not work in conjunction with the car seat. For the bin, we looked at size, shape, accessibility, and maximum allowable weight. The usability and performance of convenience features also influenced the ease of use score.
Not all of the stroller canopies work with every car seat. Several require removal of the sunshade altogether, and others can get hung up on the shade as the car seat attaches. Even though it is nice to use the stroller canopy in conjunction with the carrier canopy, we think the extra weight and potential hindrance usually aren't worth it, and those without a canopy are easier to manage. None of the frame products have sunshades for this reason, and we think parents aren't likely to miss it anyway. The Mountain Buggy Swift canopy is the smallest in the group, while the UPPAbaby strollers and BOB Revolution Flex have the largest sunshades. Neither of the UPPAbaby canopies or the Mountain Buggy Swift canopy remains on the stroller when using the car seat, but the BOB Revolution does.
The biggest storage bins in the group are the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo with a max allowable weight of 25 lbs, and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo with a max of 30. No other products come close. The Chicco Shuttle holds up to 10 lbs which is average for the group. If you plan to carry your diaper bag and not much else, then 10-11 lbs will likely work. If shopping and errands are possible goals, then the UPPAbaby strollers are better choices. If you go with the Bugaboo Bee3 or the Bugaboo Cameleon Combo you might be carrying the diaper bag on your shoulder as it could easily be too much for the 8.8 lb allowable weight limit.
Both the Chicco Shuttle and the Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal scored well for conveniences, sporting parent consoles with cup holders. Both are nothing special with relatively shallow cup holders, but they do check the box for the feature. The Bugaboos and the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo both fail to impress with no other conveniences, but at least the 25 lbs over-sized bin on the UPPAbaby Cruz Combo somewhat makes up for the lack of other features. We understand most parent would like a cup holder, but given that objects can fall from cup holders and land on your baby while strolling, we think it is better to buy a product without one and purchase an additional side cup holder, so the contents are out of falling 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, in addition to the small canopy, hurt its score in this metric. So while not hard to use, it does lack what many parents would consider necessities for everyday use.
The quality metric considers the materials, design, and construction of each stroller. While some of the products use aluminum frames and rubber tires, others have plastic wheels and components with rough, unfinished edges. This metric only relates to the stroller portion of the stroller and car seat combo.
The Thule Urban Glide 2, BOB Revolution Flex, and the UPPAbaby Vista earned the high marks for quality. Each has rubber tires, suspension, foam covered adjustable handlebars, and sturdy fabric that fits the frame nicely with no loose threads or bunched material. The UPPAbaby Cruz, Bugaboo Bee3, Doona, and Bugaboo Cameleon are right behind. These products are similar to the top scorers but have small variations in materials and design that left them slightly lacking. The UPPAbaby Vista frame and handlebar are akin to the UPPAbaby Cruz, but a little more defined and sleeker in design. The Bugaboo strollers and the Baby Jogger City Mini GT have better than average foam-filled rubber tires, but the larger pneumatic tires on the Thule and BOB are higher quality.
On the lower side, you'll find the Baby Trend Snap 'n Go; it struggled in comparison to the other strollers for quality with a flexing frame, visible connection points and little attention to detail. There is no doubt it suffers in comparison to the higher end products, but it won't need to last as long as the higher quality options. The Graco SnugRider Elite earned the same score with what looks like unfinished plastic pieces that have rough edges and visible plastic shavings attached to the stroller.
Ease of Setup
Ease of setup is important, but only so much that you should be aware of what assembly is required and how difficult it might be for novice builders. The upside is that no matter how difficult it is to put together, or how long it takes, you only need to do it once. So while a frustrating setup might dissuade the assembly challenged, all are doable, even if you have to start portions of the build over, as we did on the Bugaboo Bee3.
The easiest to piece together is the UPPAbaby Cruz. It comes with an excellent quick setup guide, but the assembly is so intuitive you might not even need it. It took us under 5 minutes to put the Cruz together from unpacking to ready to roll. The UPPAbaby Vista, Thule Urban Glide 2, Baby Trend Snap-N-Go EX Universal and the BOB Revolution Flex were all quick on its heels and relatively easy to assemble as well. Unfortunately, the Bugaboo Bee3 is very difficult to put together, takes over 20 minutes, and we initially did some portions incorrectly. The Donna requires no assembly and is ready to use when you pull it out of the box.
In previous years, we limited our review of stroller and car seat combinations to frame strollers only. We expanded the products to include full-size and jogging strollers for two reasons: there are fewer frame strollers on the market today and many parents would prefer to buy one stroller that works well with their infant seat and still works for the long-haul. No matter what your goal, or why you want to attach your car seat to a stroller, there is something for everyone in this group of products and award winners. If you still aren't sure what you are looking for, consider reading our compatible buying advice which can help you narrow down this wide and varied field.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Wendy Schmitz
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for tips.