The Best Umbrella Strollers 2020
Best Overall Umbrella Stroller
The BabyZen Yoyo+ earned an impressive overall score with the help of one of the best scores for maneuverability and decent performance in the other metrics. The Yoyo+ is a pleasure to push and turn with nicer wheels and upgraded bearings. With a stylish look and obvious attention to detail, the Yoyo+ is all that it promises to be, folding compactly into thirds, being easy to carry, and enjoyable to use. The Yoyo+ includes most of the features you'll want and the functionality you need for fun on the town, which makes it a great choice for city living.
The price of the Yoyo+ is high for an umbrella stroller, but it is a case where "you get what you pay for." It also has a smaller canopy and storage bin that may not be able to cover your needs for protection from the elements and holding all your supplies depending on the type and duration of your trips. However, if your budget allows, we think the overall performance and looks of this stroller are worth the price of admission given the smaller size and ease of carrying.
Read review: BabyZen Yoyo+
Best on a Tight Budget
The Inglesina Net is very light and relatively small, earning the top score for the weight and folded size metric. It also features impressive quality for a stroller of this type and price range. This stroller is a minimal option with a breathable seat back, slight recline, and traditional fold with self-stand. The storage bin is big enough for a few supplies, and the canopy covers enough to prevent discomfort.
This budget-friendly umbrella stroller is one of the cheaper products in the review, and while it doesn't come with many bells and whistles, it does have everything you'll need to make it through a mid-day stroll. While it can't double as a primary stroller, or make it for longer trips, thanks to a lack of storage and comfort features for passengers, it is a good option for travel and is easy to carry and stow. This simple stroller will get the job done without breaking the bank or leaving you frustrated.
Read review: Inglesina Net
Best Bang for the Buck
ZOE XL1 BEST v2
The ZOE XL1 BEST v2 is a lightweight stroller loaded with features, which are rare for this kind of stroller. The BEST has an easy-access storage bin, canopy pocket, parent cup holder, and dual snack holders for passengers. ZOE made improvements to this version with larger single style front wheels and a reduction in folded size. We love the giant canopy on this stroller with a peek-a-boo window that creates a private cocoon for sleeping children but still lets parents check-in without disturbing nap time.
Unfortunately, the ZOE isn't the easiest to push and turn, even with the new, better wheels, and we think the quality and durability of materials can be improved. However, the BEST impresses bringing a lot to the table with easy to use features at a reasonable price.
Read review: ZOE XL1 BEST v2
Best for Everyday Use
Baby Jogger City Mini 2
The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 is a bit heavier at 19lbs, but it is a great everyday stroller that is easy to use, maneuverable, and nicer quality. While this stroller is heavy and large for a lightweight product, it has everything you'll need for almost any kind of trip, making it feel like a small well-equipped adventure machine. The City Mini 2 is easy to push and turn, has a large canopy, and folds quickly, on-the-fly into a compact, slim package. It has a near-flat recline for comfortable napping, a large storage bin, and materials that come together in a sturdy, practical product that works with a variety of infant car seats.
This stroller is the heaviest in the umbrella lineup, making it a poor choice if you need to carry it often or for long periods. And it isn't the smallest so it will be harder to find a place to stow it on public transportation. But, we think the City Mini 2 can do it all and potentially fill two niches at once, saving you money and the time. Combine this choice with a compatible infant car seat, and it may be the only stroller you need to buy. These reasons are why we feel it is a Top Pick for those parents who don't truly need the smallest or lightest stroller around but just want a relatively light model that can serve as their everyday stroller.
Read review: Baby Jogger City Mini2
Why You Should Trust Us
This review of umbrella strollers is led by Dr. Juliet Spurrier, our founder and mother of two. Dr. Spurrier is a board-certified pediatrician who uses her experience and medical background to help choose products with safety and functionality in mind. The team also includes our Senior review Analyst, Bob Wofford, father of seven. Bob has been on the BabyGearLab squad for seven years and has assembled and tested more strollers than potentially anyone on the planet with over 430 stroller reviews under his belt across multiple categories. Senior Review Editors, Wendy Schmitz (mom to 2), and Abriah Wofford round out the team with testing assistance and results analysis. Wendy has been part of the stroller testing team since 2014 and Abbriah since 2016.
We purchase each selected contender for side-by-side testing in our in-house lab and the real world. Each stroller is built on-site and put through our tests for weight and folded size, maneuverability, quality, ease of use, and more. Then strollers are used by parents in the real world to gather additional information on how they perform on a day-to-day basis.
Related: How We Tested Umbrella Strollers
Analysis and Test Results
We put 18 highly-regarded lightweight strollers through a strenuous testing process to determine which products stood out above the crowd. Each option was observed in use, and rated in detail on four performance metrics weight and folded size, ease of use, maneuverability, and quality to help you find the best option for your needs.
Weight and folded size have the most influence on the final score here because finding a compact, travel-friendly stroller is the main reason why parents look for an umbrella option to add to their must-have gear list. Our ratings are a combination of in-house, side-by-side testing, and real-world experience in comparison tests.
Related: Buying Advice for Umbrella Strollers
Most of the top-ranked products in this review are relatively budget-friendly. However, for a gear category that is likely a backup or secondary stroller, their prices can still feel high depending on your budget. When choosing a product based on price, our price value chart reveals that the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 has a below-average price and can do double duty as your full-size and lightweight strollers, so you can save money by purchasing fewer products. Also, the ZOE XL1 BEST v2 has a reasonable price and enough features to potentially be used regularly in the place of a full-size stroller. The Inglesina Net is also a good choice, with a list price below two hundred dollars.
Weight and Folded Size
How much a product weighs, and how small it can fold, is what makes a great lightweight stroller stand out. Arguably, the most essential aspects are folding and transporting with ease. You'll want a product that simplifies travel and can quickly be carried or stowed when you reach your destination or ride public transportation. Some of the options in this review are relatively heavy, making them harder to carry. Some are light but fold into packages that are too long for compact trunks. If you want a traditional umbrella stroller, this could be the make or break metric when deciding what option to buy.
The highest-scoring product for Weight and Folded Size is the GB Pockit with the smallest folded volume, and the second lightest weight. If you need a small fold that fits almost anywhere and is easy to carry, then the GB Pockit is the master. However, the Pockit is challenging to push and hard to use, scoring below average for overall performance. The Maclaren Mark II is the lightest weighing only 8.6 lbs, but it scores poorly in most metrics resulting in a below-average rank. Unless you absolutely can't lift more than 9 lbs, we don't think the lower weight is worth the tradeoff of frustrating user experience.
The ZOE XL1 BEST v2 is only 11.6 lbs which makes it easy to pick up and carry, with a folded size of only 5,544 cubic inches it is also one of the smallest in the group. The largest folded option is the UPPAbaby G-Luxe, making it a poor choice if space is limited, and the Baby Jogger City Mini 2 is the heaviest (19.3 lbs), which could prove to be prohibitively heavy to carry over longer distances for some parents. It is undoubtedly a high weight for an umbrella stroller, though in fairness, it isn't marketed as one.
Ease of Use
Ease of use encompasses your daily experience and the features that make the product easier to use or versatile. A stroller that performs well for ease of use usually has useful and thoughtfully designed features and added conveniences.
Parents may find that options with better scores in this metric are good for a wider variety of activities. Having an ample sunshade or increased storage means could translate to shopping or outdoor trips to a farmers market. Alternatively, having a quick fold can make a stroller better for commuting when speed and space are often valued over optional features. Depending on your needs, this could be a make or break metric for your family.
Fold and Unfold
Lightweight strollers should be quick to fold and straightforward to operate. While a compact fold is essential for umbrella options, executing the fold quickly and without complications is often just as important. We favor products that fold with one hand and fewer steps. Strollers that lock automatically or stand on their own also pull extra points.
The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 and the Britax B-Lively are some of the easiest to fold, requiring only one hand and a quick pull. Better still, they unfold almost by themselves and pops open so quickly you're ready to go in no time. There is a reason the City Mini 2 is the stroller of choice to rent in Walt Disney Parks. The UPPAbaby Minu is also easy to fold and creates a compact package of thirds. The hardest strollers to fold are the UPPAbaby G-Luxe and G-Lite that require two hands with multiple steps and can be harder to do if you're rushed or flustered (think crying baby and impatient commuters).
Many of the umbrella products have double action brakes that require setting two pedals for proper brake engagement. We worry that parents will forget or intentionally skip setting both pedals, and this could lead to preventable accidents or injuries. For this reason, we prefer single action brakes that only require one press to set. The best brakes are easy to set and release and friendly to feet wearing sandals. Color-coding is also a plus for quick glance confirmation. The brakes should engage without sticking or feeling locked when they aren't. The best brakes in this review are on the BabyZen Yoyo+ with one pedal that has plenty of foot room and is a press to set and release. The Britax B-Lively, UPPAbaby Minu, and Zoe XL1 Best v2 are also easy to use. The Kolcraft Cloud Plus, and Summer Infant 3D lite have the worst brakes with double action stiff brakes.
Most of the products offer storage of some kind, how much, and where are the primary differences. Many have an under-seat storage bin, but these vary in size, max weight capacity, and access.
The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 has the biggest basket in our review (though the crossbar inhibits access), while the UPPAbaby Minu has the highest weight allowance of 20 lbs. Some strollers have pockets located on the back of the canopy, like the BabyZen Yoyo+, and the pocket increases convenience.
While all of the products include a sunshade, some have small shades, many without windows. The GB Pockit has the tiniest shade with only direct overhead shade and no side protection. On the other hand, some of the options have giant shades with excellent coverage, even for a reclining passenger. The largest canopy belongs to the ZOE XL1 BEST v2, which virtually creates a cave for the passenger. This canopy includes a zip-open panel and mesh peek-a-boo window with a Velcro cover.
The photos above show the varying sizes of canopies in this review. From left to right, they are the flat shade on the GB Pockit, the medium canopy on the BabyZen Yoyo+, and the giant shade of the ZOE XL1 BEST v2.
All of the products in the review have 5-point harnesses. Five points are the safest design because the two extra points coming from the shoulder restraint straps help keep children from slipping out, or falling out should the stroller tip over. We consider how difficult the straps were to adjust for height and correct fit and how hard the buckle is to use. We also include whether or not the product has an adjustable crotch strap, and if the lowest shoulder height will work for smaller babies.
We believe parents are more likely to use a harness every time if it is easy. The UPPAbaby G-Luxe (above left) and the UPPAbaby Minu have the easiest harness and buckle to use, while the Maclaren Techno XT (above right) buckle is so hard that even two hands don't feel adequate. Some of the harnesses are easy to adjust for size, but the height level of the shoulder straps is more challenging. The BabyZen Yoyo+ has a very easy to use harness.
A reclining seatback and adjustable leg rest are useful features to keep passengers comfy. Napping and being comfortable can be the difference between a successful journey and a disaster of epic proportions. Unfortunately, finding a comfortable seat is harder than you'd think when it comes to lightweight strollers. Some of the contenders offer a reclining seatback but lack an adjustable leg rest, a few include both, and some don't have either. Many of the recline angles are shallow (almost non-existent) and not as nap-worthy as others. Depending on the sort of trip you are going to take, a straightforward option with no comfort features may suffice, but if you're going to the zoo for the whole day, the trip will be much easier if your little one can snooze as the day progresses.
The adjustable leg rest on the Mountain Buggy Nano (above left) provides additional legroom for nappers, but the zipper side reclines adjustment on the Inglesina Net (above right) doesn't increase the recline angle enough for comfy napping and is only marginally better than sitting upright.
The Baby Jogger City Mini 2 and the Britax B-Livey have the most comfortable seats in the review, though the UPPAbaby G-Luxe has the deepest recline and adjustable leg rest, a rare find in this type of stroller. If your trips could last for hours, then a comfortable seat is a must and may mean you need to sacrifice features like lighter weight to get one. The Inglesina Net has the lowest score for this metric with upright seating, disappointing (or non-existent) recline, and no real leg rest. However, if your outings are short and finding the absolute smallest stroller is the most critical factor, then these options could be winners for your needs.
This stroller type offers few features for infants and fails to provide the level of support and protection we think babies lacking head and neck control need. Unless the stroller accepts an infant car seat, we don't think you should use them for little ones under six months. Ever. For safety, always keep an eye on your baby and regularly check to ensure the position and adjustment of the harness are correct.
Car Seat Compatibility
Only a few of the lightweight options are compatible with infant car seats. For the most part, this stroller category isn't known for infant capability, so it isn't a strike against them, just a bonus if they do. The Britax B-Lively, the Baby Jogger City Mini 2, UPPAbaby Minu, and the Mountain Buggy Nano all accept infant car seats with additional adapters. The BabyZen Yoyo+ works with one infant car seat, and the Graco Breaze and the Graco Jetsetter work with the Graco brand seats.
Maneuverability can make or break whether or not you love your stroller. Depending on the journey and the terrain you plan to cover, the product you choose will make a big difference in whether or not you can get where you want to go without frustration. Some of the products were easy to push and turn, while others felt clunky and struggled over grass and gravel.
In general, all of the lightweight options lack superior maneuverability compared to other stroller types, but a few were better than the competition. The Baby Jogger City Mini 2, BabyZen Yoyo+, Britax B-Lively, and UPPAbaby Minu all performed well in our tests for maneuverability. Still, they are much smoother on the flat roads than the grass and gravel.
While we assumed most of the strollers would struggle in the grass and gravel, we were a little surprised that some of them struggle on flat surfaces too. The products that struggle in this metric were those with smaller wheels, wheels with fake tread, and the dual front wheel designs (2 wheels on one leg). Products with single front wheels and the larger wheels performed better overall than most of the others. The hardest stroller to push is the Summer Infant 3D lite. This stroller struggles on the smooth hardwood, and it is difficult to turn with a child in the seat.
These photos show the single front wheels on the BabyZen Yoyo+ (above left), and the dual front wheels of the Summer Infant 3D lite (above right).
For quality, we consider a product's construction, materials, and durability during testing and how they may hold up over time.
The overall look and feel of the materials, design, and performance are an indicator of the quality level of the construction and components. Other considerations include frame flexing, wobbly wheels, exposed fasteners, errant stitching, and loose connections.
The UPPAbaby Minu earned the high score for quality, tying with the Britax Lively, Babyzen Yoyo+ (above left), and the Baby Jogger City Mini 2. These products look good and feel sturdy with little frame flex and limited, if any, manufacturing flaws. The Kolcraft Cloud Plus (above right) has the lowest quality with inferior materials and loose connection points that create more frame flex with a child in the seat. This stroller also has a low price, so this may be a "you get what you pay for" situation.
Ease of Setup
Most of the strollers in our lineup come virtually assembled. Most of the strollers only requiring attaching the wheels, canopies, or sometimes the seat. None of the options require full assembly, but the BabyZen Yoyo+ has more parts and pieces than the competition, so it took more time to unpack and put together than the competitors. Alternatively, the GB Pockit is easy to set up, with an assembly time under two minutes.
We can't say that there is a single best lightweight stroller for every family. Your needs will be different from those of others depending on how often you'll use the stroller, the duration of your trips, and the kind of places where you'll use your lightweight option. Some of the products are best for quick trips nearby, while others may be more useful for long adventures to the park. Some options have enough features that they can do double duty as your primary stroller, while others are so minimal they're only good for traveling when a lightweight stroller is a must.
There are great options, no matter what your goals or budget. With the details from this review, you can find the right one for your needs. Between the award winners and the high-ranking products, there is an option or two that can meet your needs. Once you identify your wants and needs, you can confidently choose the right stroller for your little travel companion.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz