Looking for an awesome umbrella stroller? We researched over 40 potential competitors and purchased 19 popular strollers to use in our rigorous testing process to determine which are the easiest to use, push, lift, and carry. We considered weight and folded size, quality, maneuverability, and ease of use to compile scores used to calculate their overall scores and rank. We've condensed all the information we learned into this review to help you choose the best lightweight stroller for your needs and budget. Read on to find out the nitty gritty for each stroller.
The Best Umbrella Strollers of 2018
We have updated this review to include a new version of the ZOE stroller and a new Graco lightweight stroller. We've retired some products that are no longer available and made review wide updates as identified through our research. The Recaro EasyLife is no longer available in the US and the Quinny Yezz has also been discontinued (though remaining 2017 stock is still available until sold out). ZOE has replaced their Deluxe version with a BEST version, outlined below.
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 for Travel
The Quinny Yezz impressed testers earning a second place rank and shining with a top score for maneuverability and quality with a good score for weight and folded size. This stroller is fun and super easy to use with an amazing turning radius and one finger pushing (what?!). The Yezz makes you smile and moves so smoothly you won't want to stop strolling. The Yezz has skate style wheels with closed bearings and a comfortable seat with a small canopy and back of the seat storage pocket. It folds small enough to be stored just about anywhere, can be carried hands-free on your shoulder, and works well for most of your travel needs.
While the Yezz doesn't offer many features, and those it does have are on the small side, we think most parents are unlikely to miss them thanks to its innovative design and just enough convenience to keep you going. We think this little powerhouse is a traveler's dream, and parents and passengers alike will love using it as often as they can; potentially choosing it over their full-size stroller when not traveling.
Read review: Quinny Yezz
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, shallow 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 main 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 and the peek-a-boo window that create a private cocoon for sleeping little ones 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 for a reasonable price.
Read review: ZOE XL1 BEST v2
Top Pick for Everyday Use
Britax B-Agile 3
The Britax B-Agile 3 earned top marks for ease of use and quality with an impressive score for maneuverability. This standard stroller is lighter than some of the lightweight strollers and has a quick and easy fold that makes it easy to manage on the go. The B-Agile 3 earned a Top Pick award for everyday use because it can handle all-day adventures with a large storage bin and canopy, a near flat recline, and tight space turning. This stroller works from infancy (though until 2018 the brands are limited) to older toddler.
On the downside, this isn't the best for airport use as you'll need to check it and it can be more difficult to find a place to stow it on public transportation or in smaller cars. But, it does fold relatively flat and depending on your needs it could be the only stroller you ever need, saving you time and money with a one and done stroller solution over two.
Read review: Britax B-Agile 3
Also a Top Pick for Everyday Use
Baby Jogger City Mini
The Baby Jogger City Mini is a Top Pick for best everyday use that is easy to use, maneuverable, and nicer quality. While this stroller may be one of the heavier and larger options in this lineup, 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 is easy to push and turn, has a large canopy, and folds with one quick step on-the-fly. 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 one in the umbrella lineup making it a poor choice if you need to carry it often or for long periods of time. 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 can do it all and can 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.
Read review: Baby Jogger City Mini
Analysis and Test Results
We put 19 of the top and highly-regarded lightweight strollers through a rigorous testing process. Each product was carefully observed in use, and rated on four key performance metrics: weight and folded size, ease of use, maneuverability, and quality.
Weight and folded size had the most influence on the final score because finding a compact, easy-to-carry stroller, is the primary reason parents add an umbrella option to their must-have gear list. Our ratings are a combination of in-house lab testing and real-world experience in side-by-side comparison tests.
Most of the top-ranked options in this review are under $300. For a gear category that is likely a backup or secondary stroller, this can feel like a lot. However, the price value chart reveals that the Britax B-Agile and the Baby Jogger City Mini can act as your full-size stroller and your lightweight stroller, so you may not need to purchase two strollers to meet your needs. In addition, the ZOE XL1 BEST v2 has a price of $200 and enough features to potentially be used regularly in place of a full-size stroller. The Inglesina Net could be a good choice as a second stroller with a list price of $150.
Weight and Folded Size
How much a product weighs, and how compactly it can fold, is what makes a great lightweight stroller stand out from the pack. Arguably, the most important aspect is an option you can fold and transport with ease. You'll want one that makes travel easier and can quickly go from carrying the baby to being carried or stowed. Some of the products we reviewed were pretty heavy making them harder to move or lift. Some of them were light but folded into packages that were longer than average and hard to fit in a compact trunk. If you are looking for a traditional umbrella stroller, this could be the make or break metric on which product to purchase.
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 folded product that fits in tight places and can be easily picked up and carried, then the GB Pockit wins top honors. However, the Pockit did not win an award because it is difficult to maneuver and hard to use, and it scored below average for overall performance. The Maclaren Mark II is the lightest with a weight of only 8.6 lbs, but it scored poorly on other tests leaving it well below average in overall rank. Unless you absolutely can't lift anything over 9 lbs, then we don't think the tradeoff of poor user experience is worth the lower weight.
The Quinny Yezz (above left) has the second smallest fold with a reasonable weight of only 12.6 lbs, and it is a stroller we love to push and have fun using, which makes it a more compelling all-around choice for travel than much of the competition. The ZOE XL1 BEST v2 is only 11.6 lbs which makes it easy to pick up and carry, though it is somewhat larger when folded at 5,544 cubic inches. The largest folded option is the Baby Jogger City Mini (above right), which may be a poor choice if space is at a premium, and the Graco Breaze is the heaviest (over 18 lbs), which may be prohibitive carrying long distances for some parents. It is certainly a high weight for an umbrella stroller.
Ease of Use
Ease of use includes daily experience and the features that make the product easier to use or add versatility. A product that performs well for ease of use may be more versatile, and users found it more enjoyable and user-friendly. Parents may find that strollers with higher scores in this metric are good for a wider variety of adventures. Having a generous sunshade or storage bin means you may be able to go shopping for longer or can make it better for outdoor trips to a farmers market. Having an easy, quick fold, can make a stroller better for commuting when speed and space are often valued over optional features.
Fold and Unfold
Lightweight strollers should be easy to fold and quick to operate. While a compact fold is essential for umbrella options, being able to fold the stroller quickly and without complications can be just as important. We prefer strollers that fold with one hand and fewer steps. Strollers that lock automatically or stand on their own are also nice.
The Britax B-Agile and the Baby Jogger City Mini are the easiest options to fold, requiring only one hand swiftly pulling upwards. Better still, they unfold almost by itself and pops open so quick you're ready to go in no time. The ZOE XL1 BEST v1 has a similar fold. The hardest strollers to fold are the UPPAbaby products 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 pedal to set. The best brakes are easy to set and release and friendly to feet wearing sandals. 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 Baby Jogger Vue Lite has the worst brakes with a super stiff pedal, and it felt set during testing when sometimes it wasn't and releasing the brakes hurt feet wearing open-toed shoes.
Most of the products offered storage of some kind, how much and where were the primary differences. Many have an under-seat storage bin, but they vary in size, max weight capacity, and access.
The Britax B-Agile 3 has the biggest basket in our review and the Quinny Yezz doesn't have one at all, just a seatback pocket (above left). Some strollers have pockets located on the back of the canopy, like the BabyZen Yoyo+ (above right) and the Britax B-Agile 3. The pocket increases convenience and improves the user experience.
While all the products have a canopy, some have smaller shades, often without windows. The canopy on the Quinny Yezz is simple, easy to use, and part of the fabric of the main stroller body. However, it is small, with little coverage, and it isn't SPF rated. Things are worse with the GB Pockit, which has the tiniest shade that only offers direct overhead protection and no side shade. On the other hand, some strollers have giant shades that offer excellent coverage even for a reclining passenger. The largest canopy belongs to the ZOE XL1 BEST v2, which creates a private cocoon for the passenger. This canopy includes a zip-open panel and mesh peek-a-boo window with a Velcro cover.
All of the products in the review have 5-point harnesses. Five is 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 feel parents are more likely to use a harness regularly if it is easy to use and adjust. The UPPAbaby G-Luxe (above left) has 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 relatively easy to adjust for size, but the height level of the shoulder straps are more difficult. The BabyZen Yoyo+ has a very easy to use harness.
A reclining seatback and adjustable leg rest are useful features that keep little passengers more comfortable on longer trips. Napping and being comfortable can be the difference between a successful outing and a disaster of tantrum proportions. Unfortunately, finding a comfortable seating area is harder than you'd think in lightweight strollers. Some of the products offer a reclining back, but no adjustable leg rest, others have both, and some have neither. Many of the recline angles are shallow (almost non-existent) and not as nap-worthy as others. Depending on the kind of trip you plan to take, a simple stroller with no comfort options might suffice, but if you are going to the zoo for the entire day, life will be much easier if your child can nap and get cozy as the day goes on.
The Baby Jogger City Mini and the Britax B-Agile 3 have some of the most comfortable seats in the group, though the UPPAbaby G-Luxe has the deepest recline paired with an adjustable leg rest, something rare to find together. If your trips may last for hours, then a comfortable seat is a must and may mean you have to sacrifice things like a lighter weight to get one. The Quinny Yezz and the Inglesina Net have some of the lowest scores 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 smallest stroller is the most important factor for you, then these options could be winners for you.
This type of stroller provides minimal features for infants and fails to offer the level of support and protection we would like to see for babies lacking head and neck control. Unless the stroller accepts the attachment of an infant car seat, we do not think parents should use them for little ones under six months of age. 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 did. The Britax B-Agile 3, the Baby Jogger City Mini 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 Graco brand seats.
Maneuverability can make or break whether or not a stroller rolls smoothly with minimal effort, or struggles and wobbles. 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 to turn on grass.
The Quinny Yezz has unique skate wheels that make it so agile it feels like you can dance with it, which means you can negotiate even the most crowded city streets with ease and style. We loved using it and think that most parents can forgive any lacking features for its impressive maneuverability alone. The BabyZen Yoyo+ also performed well in our tests for maneuverability, but it is 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 hard 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 each side that equaled four wheels in front). Products with single front wheels (2 total, instead of 4) 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 is difficult to turn with weight in the seat.
For quality, we consider how well a product is put together, the materials, and how they withstand daily use or may hold up over time. Some of the materials are not as nice or durable as others.
The overall look and feel of the materials, and how they come together and perform under normal use, is a good indicator of the level of quality of the construction and components. Other considerations were frame flex, wheel wobble, exposed fasteners, poor stitching, and loose connection points.
The Quinny Yezz earned the high score for quality, with the Britax B-Agile 3, Babyzen Yoyo+ (above left), and the Baby Jogger City Mini close behind them. These strollers look nice and feel sturdy during use with little frame flex and limited if any, manufacturing flaws or defects. The Kolcraft Cloud Plus (above right) earned the lowest score for quality with inferior materials and loose connection points that created more frame flex with weight in the seat. This stroller also has the lowest price in the group, so it may very well be a "you get what you pay for" situation for the Kolcraft Cloud Plus.
Ease of Setup
Most of the products in this review came assembled or mostly assembled. The main items that require assembly are attaching the wheels, canopies, or possibly seat to the frame. None of the products need complete construction, but the BabyZen Yoyo+ has a lot of parts and pieces, taking more time than any other option to unpack and put together; in some cases six times longer than the competition. The GB Pockit and the Quinny Yezz are both very easy to set up, with the GB Pockit taking under two minutes.
It is impossible to say that there is a single best product that is perfect for all families. The requirements of parents and little ones are different depending on the frequency that you'll use the stroller, the length of your trips, and the activities where you may use this style of stroller. Some of the umbrella strollers are more useful for quick trips around town, while others may be better for longer adventures to the park or shopping. Some have so many features they can do double duty as your main stroller, while others are so minimal they really are only good for traveling when a lightweight stroller is mandatory.
There are good choices for everyone no matter what your needs or budget. It is our goal to give you the details you need to make the best decision for your family. Between the award winners and the high ranking models, there is an option or two that will work for just about anyone. Once you narrow down your wants and needs, you can confidently choose the right stroller for your passenger. If you need more help making a decision or narrowing the field, read our How to Pick the Best Umbrella Stroller.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz
Still not sure? Take a look at our buying advice article for tips.