In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

How We Tested Umbrella Strollers

Wednesday April 4, 2018
The lightweight and umbrella strollers  like the Baby Jogger City Mini shown here  were tested on various terrains in various locations to determine true maneuverability.
The lightweight and umbrella strollers, like the Baby Jogger City Mini shown here, were tested on various terrains in various locations to determine true maneuverability.

We took these strollers through the city and parks to see how they compared to one another in day-to-day ordinary use. The hands-on testing gave us lots of information about each product and how well they perform in real-world scenarios. Some of the products looked good on paper but failed to impress on the road. Others were beautiful or innovative but seemed clunky or difficult to use. In addition, to be thorough, we also performed a series of controlled tests in our lab to test and compare specific elements of performance in a side-by-side manner.

In the end, we defined specific tests to look at key performance metrics. These ranged from the ease of using the safety harness, to pushing products across the grass, gravel, dirt, and even curbs. This gave us the information we needed to rate the products based on a combination of actual use and detailed analysis, as opposed to speculation and manufacturer specifications.

If small folded size is a priority  you may want to consider the GB Pockit. It is remarkably small when folded and very lightweight. It earned the highest score in our Weight and Folded Size tests  due to its unique combination of the smallest folded size and the 2nd lightest weight. However  this stroller is difficult to use and requires a trade off for the size.
If small folded size is a priority, you may want to consider the GB Pockit. It is remarkably small when folded and very lightweight. It earned the highest score in our Weight and Folded Size tests, due to its unique combination of the smallest folded size and the 2nd lightest weight. However, this stroller is difficult to use and requires a trade off for the size.

Weight and Folded Size


Weight and folded size was determined by taking our own measurements of the products, as opposed to relying on manufacturer specs. This way we could ensure that all the products were rated equally against each other by using the same scale for weight and the same measuring methods. Products were weighed using a fully assembled stroller with all the parts, and measured with the same measuring device by the same person. The weights and measurements were then compared against each other to determine scores. The smaller and lighter strollers earned higher scores in this metric.

The ZOE sunshade is large  easy to operate and comes with a zip-open panel  mesh peek-a-boo window and a back pocket.
The ZOE sunshade is large, easy to operate and comes with a zip-open panel, mesh peek-a-boo window and a back pocket.

Ease of Use


For ease of use we reviewed and compared some of the features and convenience items included with each product. Points were earned for nice size sun shades, peek-a-boo windows, cup holders, storage bins, harnesses, adjustable leg rests and reclining back pads.

Some products didn't offer much in this category, while others had all the bells and whistles. Products were compared to each other and we looked at who had the largest storage options and the biggest canopies. Who had convenient easy to use storage, and which bins were blocked with awkwardly placed stabilizing cross bars. Strollers were rated against one another so users can get a good idea of how they compare as opposed to what they offer. Things like how far back the recline feature went and if there was a leg rest adjustment helped to differentiate between models and widen the gap in their scores.

The Quinny Yezz has polyurethane skate wheels with bearings that make pushing fun and enjoyable ulike more traditional stroller wheels that are made of plastic and often tend to wobble.
The Quinny Yezz has polyurethane skate wheels with bearings that make pushing fun and enjoyable ulike more traditional stroller wheels that are made of plastic and often tend to wobble.

Maneuverability


Each product was put through a series of strolling tests on different surfaces and environments to assess their agility and maneuverability under normal circumstance as well as under duress. We pushed them two handed and one handed over flat concrete and hardwood, grass and gravel, and up curbs, to determine which products had the mettle where it mattered with wheels on the ground. The important part of being a product in this category is the ability to move well in tight spaces and crowded locations. Hard surface ease is a must, but moving on various terrains is a bonus worth considering. We rated the products against each other for which did the best on each surface. The products that were easiest to push or turn earned higher marks, those that did well on different surfaces also scored higher. Those that struggled with turns or had trouble with transitions scored lower.

The BabyZen earned an 8 of 10 for quality with a sleek design and high end materials that come together in a functional piece.
The BabyZen earned an 8 of 10 for quality with a sleek design and high end materials that come together in a functional piece.

Quality


Quality was determined by our general overall experience with each product and how they compared to each other. We looked at items like fabric weave, stain or water repellent properties, our ability to cause snags, and how well the stitching was performed and it was fitted to the frame nicely. We considered frame materials, connection points and whether or not the frame had flex under pressure or handlebars that seemed burdened by their job. The wheels were also reviewed, and we looked for wheels that were made with quality materials, that had worn well through our tests and review period. Quality scores were given by comparing strollers to each other and how well the products held up.