How To Choose A Baby Stroller (Step by Step Guide)

August 30, 2023

So you’re expecting a little bundle of joy and now it’s time to start thinking about all the essential baby gear you’ll need. One of the most important pieces is a baby stroller, as this will be your trusty companion for daily walks and errands. But with so many options available, how do you choose the perfect one for your little one? In this article, we’ll guide you through the key factors to consider when selecting a baby stroller, ensuring both convenience and comfort for you and your baby.

Discover the best baby strollers currently on the market.

Identify Your Needs

When it comes to choosing a baby stroller, the first step is to identify your specific needs. Every parent and family is different, so it’s important to consider your lifestyle, budget, and space constraints before making a decision.

Consider Your Lifestyle

Your lifestyle plays a significant role in determining the type of stroller that will best suit your needs. Are you constantly on the go, or do you primarily use your stroller for short walks around the neighborhood? If you travel frequently or enjoy outdoor activities, you might want to consider a stroller that is lightweight and portable, with features like all-terrain wheels or a travel system compatibility. On the other hand, if you mostly use your stroller for quick trips to the grocery store or running errands, a standard stroller might be more suitable.

Think About Your Budget

Budget is another crucial factor to consider when choosing a baby stroller. Strollers come in a wide range of prices, so it’s important to determine your budget before starting your search. Keep in mind that more expensive strollers often come with additional features and higher-quality materials, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a stroller that fits within your budget and meets all your needs.

Determine Your Space Constraints

Space constraints can also play a role in your stroller selection process. If you live in a small apartment or have limited storage space, you might want to consider a stroller with a compact design that can be easily folded and stored. Additionally, if you frequently use public transportation or need to fit your stroller in a car trunk, it’s important to choose a stroller that is lightweight and easy to transport.

Consider the Types of Strollers

Once you’ve identified your needs, it’s time to consider the different types of strollers available on the market. Each type has its own unique features and advantages, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the options before making a decision.

Standard Strollers

Standard strollers, also known as full-size strollers, are the most common type of stroller on the market. They are designed to provide a comfortable and reliable mode of transportation for your baby. Standard strollers often have features like a reclining seat, storage compartments, and a canopy to protect your baby from the sun. They can be used from birth until your child outgrows the stroller.

Travel System Strollers

Travel system strollers offer the convenience of combining a stroller and an infant car seat into one system. This type of stroller allows you to easily transfer your sleeping baby from the car to the stroller without waking them up. Travel system strollers are ideal for busy parents who are constantly on the go and need a versatile and practical option.

Umbrella Strollers

Umbrella strollers are lightweight, compact, and easy to fold, making them perfect for traveling or navigating busy streets. They are generally less expensive than other types of strollers and are designed for older babies and toddlers who can sit upright without additional support. While umbrella strollers may not have as many features as other strollers, they are known for their portability and convenience.

Jogging Strollers

Jogging strollers are specifically designed for parents who enjoy an active lifestyle and want to take their baby along for a run. These strollers feature larger wheels with air-filled tires for a smooth ride, a suspension system to absorb shocks, and a locking front wheel for stability during jogging. Jogging strollers typically have a reclining seat and plenty of storage space for essentials.

Double Strollers

If you have twins or two young children, a double stroller is a must-have. Double strollers come in various designs, such as side-by-side or tandem configurations, and can accommodate two babies or toddlers. Some models even allow you to attach infant car seats for added convenience. When choosing a double stroller, consider the width and weight of the stroller to ensure it fits through doorways and is easy to maneuver.

All-Terrain Strollers

All-terrain strollers are designed to navigate various types of terrain, including gravel, grass, and uneven surfaces. They typically have larger wheels and a more robust suspension system, providing a smooth and comfortable ride for both you and your baby. All-terrain strollers can be a great choice if you enjoy outdoor adventures and want a stroller that can handle different environments.

Car Seat Carrier Strollers

Car seat carrier strollers are lightweight and compact, specifically designed to accommodate infant car seats. They provide a convenient way to transport your baby from the car to the stroller without disturbing their sleep. These strollers are typically compatible with specific car seat models and allow you to easily attach and detach the car seat as needed.

Convertible Strollers

Convertible strollers are a versatile option that can adapt to your baby’s changing needs. They are designed to be used from infancy through toddlerhood, offering multiple seating positions and configurations. Convertible strollers often have features like a reversible seat, allowing your baby to face either forward or towards you. While convertible strollers tend to be more expensive, they provide long-term value and can eliminate the need for purchasing multiple strollers as your child grows.

Evaluate the Safety Features

When it comes to choosing a baby stroller, safety should always be a top priority. Here are some safety features you should consider and evaluate before making a decision.


Ensure that the stroller has a reliable braking system that is easy to engage and disengage. The brakes should securely hold the stroller in place, even on inclines or uneven surfaces. Test the brakes to see how they function and make sure they are easy to operate, especially with one foot.


Check the stroller’s harness system to ensure it is secure and adjustable. A five-point harness is considered the safest option as it keeps your baby securely fastened in the stroller. Make sure the harness is easy to use and doesn’t have any loose or broken parts.


Stability is another important safety factor to consider. The stroller should have a sturdy and robust frame that keeps it balanced and prevents tipping. Pay attention to the base of the stroller and check for a wide wheelbase, which helps improve stability.

Locking Mechanisms

Check if the stroller has locking mechanisms in place to prevent accidental unfolding or collapsing. Ensure that these mechanisms are easy to use and durable.


Look for strollers that meet safety standards and certifications, such as ASTM International (formerly known as the American Society for Testing and Materials) and the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). These certifications indicate that the stroller has undergone rigorous testing to ensure its safety and quality.

Check for Maneuverability and Control

The maneuverability and control of a stroller can significantly impact your overall experience and ease of use. Consider the following factors when evaluating these aspects of a stroller.

Wheel Type

Different strollers come with different types of wheels, such as plastic, rubber, or air-filled tires. Rubber or air-filled tires generally provide better shock absorption and maneuverability, particularly on uneven surfaces. Plastic wheels are more common in umbrella strollers and are suitable for smooth, paved surfaces.

Suspension System

A suspension system is essential for a smooth and comfortable ride, especially if you plan on using the stroller on bumpy or uneven terrain. Look for strollers with a suspension system that absorbs shocks and reduces vibrations.

Ease of Steering

Test the stroller’s maneuverability by pushing it around the store or showroom. Make sure it feels easy to steer and turn, and that it can navigate tight corners without much effort. Look for strollers with swiveling front wheels, as they offer better maneuverability.

Adjustable Handlebar

Consider the height and adjustability of the stroller’s handlebar, particularly if you or your partner are significantly taller or shorter in stature. An adjustable handlebar allows you to find a comfortable pushing position and can prevent strain or discomfort during longer walks or outings.

Examine the Folding and Storage Mechanism

Folding and storage capabilities are essential factors to consider when choosing a stroller, especially if you have limited space or frequently travel with your baby. Evaluate the following aspects of a stroller’s folding and storage mechanism.

One-Handed Folding

One-handed folding is a convenient feature that allows you to collapse the stroller quickly and easily, even when you’re holding your baby or carrying bags. Look for strollers with a simple and intuitive folding mechanism that can be operated with just one hand.

Compact Design

Consider the overall size and dimensions of the stroller when folded. A compact design ensures that the stroller takes up minimal space when stored, making it easier to fit in a car trunk or a closet. Some strollers even come with a carrying handle or a travel bag, further enhancing their portability.

Storage Capacity

Check the stroller for available storage space, such as a storage basket or pockets. A generous storage capacity allows you to carry essential baby items, like diapers, bottles, and toys, without the need for an additional bag or backpack.

Assess the Comfort and Convenience

Your baby’s comfort is paramount, so it’s important to evaluate the different comfort and convenience features that a stroller offers. Consider the following factors when assessing a stroller’s comfort and convenience.

Seat Recline Positions

Check if the stroller has multiple seat recline positions, allowing your baby to sit up or lie down as needed. This feature is particularly important for younger infants who may need to nap in the stroller.

Padding and Cushioning

A well-padded and cushioned seat provides comfort and support for your baby during longer outings. Pay attention to the quality and thickness of the padding, especially in the seat and backrest areas.

Canopy Size

A large and adjustable canopy is essential for protecting your baby from the sun, wind, and rain. Look for strollers with extendable canopies that provide ample coverage in various weather conditions.

Storage Pockets

Extra storage pockets or compartments on the stroller can be beneficial for keeping essential items within reach, such as your phone, keys, or snacks.

Cup Holders

Consider if the stroller has built-in cup holders or a designated space to hold a drink. This feature can be convenient for parents who like to stay hydrated while on the go.

Adjustable Footrests

Having an adjustable footrest allows you to customize the seating position for your baby and accommodate their growing legs. It also contributes to their overall comfort during longer rides.

Easy Accessibility

Evaluate how easy it is to get your baby in and out of the stroller. If possible, test the buckles, straps, and closures to ensure they are easy to use and secure.

Consider the Durability and Quality

A well-built and durable stroller ensures that it will withstand regular use and last for the duration of your baby’s stroller years. Consider the following factors when assessing the durability and quality of a stroller.

Frame Material

Check the stroller’s frame material, as it determines its strength and overall durability. Strollers with aluminum or steel frames tend to be more robust and long-lasting.


Evaluate the quality and durability of the fabrics used in the stroller, such as the seat covers and canopy. Look for materials that are easy to clean, water-resistant, and can withstand regular wear and tear.

Wheel Construction

Examine the construction of the wheels, particularly if you’re opting for a stroller with air-filled or rubber tires. Ensure that the wheels are well-constructed and durable, as they can significantly impact the stroller’s performance and longevity.


Consider the warranty offered by the manufacturer or retailer. A longer warranty period often indicates that the manufacturer has confidence in the stroller’s quality and durability.

Look for Additional Features

While the core features of a stroller are essential, there are several additional features that can enhance your overall experience. Consider the following features when making your decision.

Adjustable Canopy

Some strollers offer an adjustable canopy that can be moved to different positions and angles. This feature allows you to protect your baby from the sun without obstructing their view or airflow.

Reversible Seat

A stroller with a reversible seat allows you to change the orientation of the seat, so your baby can either face forward or towards you. This feature provides versatility and allows you to maintain eye contact and interact with your baby.

Compatibility with Accessories

Consider if the stroller is compatible with accessories, such as car seat adapters, bassinets, or snack trays. Compatibility with additional accessories can expand the functionality of the stroller and adapt it to your changing needs.

Removable and Washable Fabrics

Babies and toddlers can be messy, so it’s essential to choose a stroller with removable and washable fabrics. Being able to easily remove and clean the seat covers and other fabric components keeps your stroller looking fresh and hygienic.

Read Reviews and Seek Recommendations

Before making a final decision, take the time to read reviews from other parents who have used the strollers you are considering. Online platforms, parenting forums, and social media groups can provide valuable insights into the performance and durability of different stroller models. Additionally, don’t hesitate to ask for recommendations from other parents in your network. They can provide firsthand experiences and insights that can help guide your decision-making process.

Test Drive the Strollers

Once you have narrowed down your options, it’s crucial to test drive the strollers before making a final decision. While online research and reviews can provide valuable information, physically interacting with the stroller allows you to assess its handling, maneuverability, and overall feel.

Visit a Store

Visit a store that carries the stroller models you are interested in and ask the staff if you can take them for a test drive. Push the strollers around the store, test the maneuverability, and assess how comfortable they feel to push and steer.

Check the Handling and Suspension

Pay attention to how the stroller handles different surfaces, such as carpeted areas or outdoor terrain. Check if the suspension system effectively absorbs shocks and vibrations, providing a smooth ride for your baby.

Try Folding and Unfolding the Stroller

Practice folding and unfolding the stroller to ensure that the mechanism is easy to use and doesn’t require excessive force or complicated steps. Make sure the stroller folds down to a size that fits comfortably in your storage space.

Choosing the right baby stroller doesn’t have to be an overwhelming task. By identifying your needs, considering the types of strollers available, evaluating safety features, checking for maneuverability and control, examining folding and storage mechanisms, assessing comfort and convenience, considering durability and quality, looking for additional features, reading reviews, seeking recommendations, and test driving the strollers, you can make an informed decision that meets both you and your baby’s needs. Remember, finding the right stroller is an investment in your baby’s safety, comfort, and your overall convenience as a parent.

Sandra McNeil, PhD.
Sandra McNeil, PhD.

Sandra has over 13 years of experience as a child psychologist, both as a practitioner and researcher. She has a Bachelor's in child psychology from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and then she did her master's in Psychology in Education (focused on Children & Families) at Columbia University, NY. She has been writing for health and child-related publications for over 5 years now.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

      Leave a reply

      Baby Cribs Central