Double Feature: 2016’s Best Double Strollers
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First off: congratulations! Whether you’re expecting number two, or you have twins on the way, your family is expanding. There’s a lot of things to think about. One of the most important pieces of parenting gear you’ll want in your tool belt of tricks is a solid double stroller.
Even if you didn’t rely heavily on your primary stroller with Kiddo Uno, when you’ve got two under two (or two under three, or two under four), a stroller is going to be essential for going out and about. Little feet are going to get tired, and between two kids (and all the stuff two kids need!), you may not have enough hands to go around.
So in this blog, we’re going to give you a run-down on the best double strollers 2016 has to offer. I haven’t listed them in any best-to-worst order, because what works well for one family may not work for the next. Instead, I’ve broken each stroller down into pros, cons, and what kinds of situations each stroller is best suited for. If you’re a visual person, myself, the wee baby Louise, and the unnamed toddler-sized dress mannequin have attempted to illustrate both the good and the bad for each stroller.
Double strollers come in two major flavors: tandem and side-by-side. There are pros and cons to both. Tandem strollers are narrow, which makes city sidewalks and narrow aisles much easier. However, they’re very top-heavy. Kiddo Two is going to be sitting up top by you, which means that heavier, older Kiddo One is going to be at the bottom, making curbs and sharp turns difficult. Side-by-side is easier to push. Both kids will be sitting evenly across all four (or three) wheels, with a stable center of gravity. Doors, on the other hand, become an obstacle.
We’re going to be starting off today’s roundup with…
The City Select is a solid tandem stroller. With plenty of head space for the older kids, and a spacious cargo basket, the City Select is a stroller everyone in the family can get behind, including the little guys. Baby Jogger is an incredibly popular stroller company, and was recently bought by Rubbermaid. Baby Jogger actually has a lifetime warranty against manufacturing defects on all of its frames, something very few other companies can say. The City Select is a stroller that can handle plenty of abuse, with super wipeable fabric, and with a sturdy aluminum frame. It’s also a convertible stroller, meaning you can purchase it as a single and expand it into a double later. I’ve included a link for the full package with both seats above, but you can buy it as a single here.
The City Select can hold up to 45 pounds in each seat, which means even five year olds can be found napping. The canopy and footrest can both be extended when kiddo is older, meaning this is a stroller that can last. And with the “forever-air” rubberized foam tires and front wheel suspension, this stroller can take a beating and come out feeling as solid as ever.
In terms of the little ones: you don’t want to use the bucket stroller seat until kiddo is 6 months old, or until they have full head and neck control. Until then, even with the seat leaned all the way down, it’s just not recommended. Luckily, nearly every infant car seat on the market fits into the City Select with the proper infant car seat adapter, so using the car seat for the first six months is a breeze. For twins, you would have to use double car seat adapters for the first six months, which is do-able, but may be a hassle if you have to constantly fold and unfold this stroller.
The City Select is a very long stroller: it can take some time to get used to turns, especially if you’ve got the kids facing you. While it’s got a small footprint due to being a tandem stroller, if I’m lying down next to this, it’s the same size.
There is a thick aluminum bar near your foot as you’re pushing, where you can press down with your foot and use that as leverage to get your stroller up and over a curb, but I don’t think this is something they recommend in the user manual. It can take a few times to get the fold right too: while you just pull up on the two black circles that say “FOLD” in the center of the frame, it can take a good yank to get it to go!
Parents that need to commute but want both kids facing them
Parents that like tandem-style, but are worried about height
People that drive trucks or vans, and are used to making wide turns
Purple (only purple double stroller on this list!)
Not good for:
Parents with no upper-body strength
Sibling rivalry (kicking is possible)
People with tiny cars
Probably the most popular tandem double stroller on the market, the Uppababy Vista continues to dominate the market. With headquarters in Hingham Massachusetts, Uppababy is a very American baby gear company, with user-friendly features and lots of cargo. The Vista boasts a ridiculous number of arrangements in seating, with the inclusion of the Upper and/or Lower adapters. To make this stroller into a full double stroller, you will need to purchase the Vista, the Rumble Seat, and the Upper Adapters.
As anyone with a single Vista can tell you, this is not a small stroller. However, if you haven’t checked it out as a double before, it may surprise you that the Vista is one of the smallest primary double strollers out there. Instead of building out or across, it builds up. If you’ve got baby in a car seat up front, you two will be getting a lot of facetime. The Vista comes with a gorgeous bassinet, but you may be in favor of just snapping on the Uppababy Mesa Infant Car Seat instead, without the need for an extra car seat adapter.
Also when we say cargo, we mean cargo: it’s made to haul all of your stuff along with your kids. It’s also very pretty, with bright or neutral colors, and a huge UV50+ canopy that protects both kids from the sun. You can also do all kinds of seat combinations, including double car seats for those expecting twins (for this, you will need lower adapters as well). However…
The Vista can be a little cramped for some of the bigger kids. While the seats boast a 50 pounds weight limit, the back can only be expanded to 21″. If you’ve got a tall kid, they may grow out of the seat faster than you were hoping. While the Uppababy Vista boasts multiple options for seating, in real life there may not be as much room. As well, the foam wheels are good for everyday trips, but will wear down over time, especially in snow and salt.
Urban parents on small city sidewalks
Parents who don’t like the idea of ‘too much stroller’
Parents who like to pack a little bit of everything (just in case!)
Parents expecting #1 now, and #2 right after
Not good for:
Tall kids or tall parents
Walking around cracked sidewalks
Parents walking through heavily snowy areas
Kids who need their own bubble
From the original luxury stroller line itself, Bugaboo has a classy convertible that will take you from riding solo to twice the fun. The Bugaboo Donkey comes in three different configurations: Mono, Duo, and Twin, depending on how many bucket seats and bassinets you’ll need. For a baby and a toddler, you’ll want the Duo configuration, as Mono only gives you one seat and a side basket.
The name Bugaboo is synonymous with the word quality in the baby gear industry. I have customers rolling in with their old school Bugaboo Frog Stroller, eight years and three kids old, that are still sailing strong. The Donkey is no different. The air-filled tires mean you can hold a total combined weight of 75 pounds of children, not including what you’ve got in the cargo basket.
Like most of the Bugaboo strollers, you get one seat frame, and two different seat fabrics: one for the bassinet, one for the stroller seat. For those of us without tons of storage space (life in the city), this is awesome. This is also one of the best strollers for twins: the side-by-side configuration means that both babies get some mom time, and with the added Bugaboo Bassinet Stand, you’ve got somewhere for baby to sleep for the first six months. It’s also just a generally gorgeous stroller, and you can mix and match those colors, too.
The above is just a demonstration of what might happen if you try to put this elaborate beast of a stroller together on your own: there’s a lot to figure out. Fortunately, in real life, you can just ask the friendly stroller experts at your local Magic Beans to order and assemble exactly the configuration you need.
Parents who are walking every day
Parents looking for a stroller that will last
Yorkie owners (that side-basket is dying for a purse puppy)
Not good for:
Parents who don’t like side-by-side strollers
Parents who have to constantly fold and unfold their stroller.
Parents who have nightmares about getting lost in IKEA
Unlike the first several strollers discussed, the GT Double is not a convertible stroller. You buy it as a double (the City Mini GT Single Stroller is sold separately). Like all the strollers discussed, a newborn cannot go into the stroller seat; you will need an infant car seat for the first six months. This is not a good stroller for twins, as the car seat adapter only hooks onto one side, but it’s good for older siblings that need a little extra freedom. Like all Baby Jogger strollers, there is a lifetime warrant against manufacturing defects on the frame.
The Single GT Mini is one of our most popular strollers for a reason: it has a one-pull fold, decent suspension, rubberized foam wheels with treads, and fabric that can be wiped of even the worst of spills. The amble sun canopies keep kids shaded, while two peekaboo windows mean you can check in on nap time. Each seat has its own recline, so one can go down for a nap while one looks out and around.
Like many side-by-side strollers, maneuvering corners becomes less of a motion and more of an art form. With the GT as well, the seats do not have the option to face you, meaning less face to face time. As well, the fold on the GT, while easy (pull two straps and you’re done!) is slightly awkward.
(Important note: While the brand of this stroller is Baby Jogger, like most of the strollers in this post, this is not a jogging stroller. The author has tried jogging outside with it and there is not enough suspension to handle the up and down motion of running. Don’t do it.)
Parents who do a lot of walking
One toddler, one baby, or two toddlers
Parents looking for something basic and simple
Face to face time
Those intimidated by side-by-side
Fitting into elevators
It’s not out yet (soon!) but we got a sneak peek at the 2016 Bob Revolution Flex at the ABC Kids Expo, and it looks better than ever. We’re super excited to get this stroller into stores in March!
This stroller is a TANK. The Bob Duallie is the only stroller on this blog that’s an actual jogging stroller, but that doesn’t stop those that take the less-traveled path from investing in this as their everyday stroller. With an infant car seat adapter, you can put in four different car seats. The Duallie has the most suspension of any stroller we carry, as well as air tires for smooth riding on the toughest terrain. This is a stroller that can be pushed through absolutely anything. The 2016 version will feature a prettier, fuller canopy, as well as a one-hand recline for either seat. It will also have more cargo space than the current version.
A stroller tank is fun to push, but maybe not so much fun to lift. The Duallie is perhaps the largest double stroller we have. As they say, the larger the wheels, the smoother the ride, and that holds true here. While the fold makes it a cinch to break down, there is definitely some weight to this guy. It’s also quite wide, although after pushing this guy around the streets of Brookline, I’ve noticed that people definitely get out of your way when they see you coming.
Parents who have to deal with a lot of snow
Anyone in New Hampshire, Vermont, or Maine
Those that crave power
Not so good for:
The easily intimidated
As always, if you have any questions give us a call, or for our New England readers, feel free to stop into the closest Magic Beans location to find out what stroller is right for you. We can even schedule a free consultation for you so you can make sure you get our dedicated attention!