A baby’s first set of wheels! The decision is a complicated one, and parents often spend hours agonizing over the fleets of strollers on the market. When choosing a stroller, the selection should be centered around making your and your baby’s lives simpler and easier. There are many factors to consider, outlined in the stroller buying guide, but your comfort and your baby’s needs should be prioritized. Enter the ultralight stroller.
Parents who have to maneuver down narrow sidewalks or into shopping aisles, constantly unloading and reloading strollers, find themselves in dire need of ultralight strollers. This stroller category also is best for petite mothers around the world and parents who need to fly with strollers. For day to day use in a city where transport revolves around both public and private transportation, finding an ultralight stroller is the most straightforward solution.
What Is An Ultralight Stroller
As it implies, an ultralight stroller refers to a pushchair (or pram) that is light in weight- often any stroller under the 13-18lb (6-8kg) mark. These “buggies” are perfect for use on holiday or nipping to the shops. While these strollers boast of their compactness, they are also comfortable, easy to fold, store, and steer; unlike the bulkier options, they do not break your back.
In the market for light strollers, parents focus on either umbrella strollers or ultra-lightweight strollers. Often lighter than full-size strollers, the ultralight stroller offers more convenience and comfort than the umbrella-style stroller, which is relatively flimsy and folds up like an umbrella. Many of these strollers (ultralight) come with large canopies, under seat storage bins, adjustable leg rests, reclining back pads, and cup holders. They can be often be used as the only stroller in a household, offering a lightweight design, compact fold, and better portability than their “heavyweight” cousins.
Benefits of Ultra-lightweight Strollers
- Easy to bring for travel
- Travel systems for public transportation or taxi
- Reclining positions allowing baby to nap
- Storage for parents
How To Choose A Stroller
- Age/Weight of Baby - These go hand in hand, but the age of your baby is usually a good indicator of whether the baby can sit up and hold his/her neck up properly enough to sit up in a stroller seat. At 6 months most babies typically can sit up on their own.
From newborn until about 6 months, babies should lay reclined or flat, especially for longer periods of time. Strollers that have some sort of bassinet attachment (ie flat laying pod) are most useful during this time. Travel systems where a carseat is attached to a stroller can also be a valuable solution.
Strollers are often divided into a newborn 0+ category or 6m+ category. 6m+ category strollers are generally built for the sturdier and heavy baby, often not allowing infants to lay flat. Do you really need to buy another stroller when babies sit up? In the interest of buying as little baby gear necessary as possible, hopefully not!
The older and bigger the baby the more watching that stroller weight limit becomes important. Strollers can often double as shopping carts or storage for mommy and baby items, so it might also be necessary to factor in any extra baggage into the ultimate weight limit.
- One Handed Fold vs 2 Handed - Simple rule of thumb is that anything that can done with as few hands as possible is best. Carrying a baby in one hand and trying to open a stroller with 2 hands is a bit challenging.
- Stand when folded - Some strollers aren’t built to stand on their own when folded, and if the stroller will merely be taken from car to home, this may not be an issue. When traveling and needing to constantly set down the stroller this may be more of an annoyance. Not to mention a little bit of a hazard with mobile little children running around.
- Seat Recline - Being able to recline the seat as close to flat allows a sleeping baby or toddler to get rest on the go. This is clearly more crucial for the younger babies, who nap more often. Toddlers may be able sleep without a full recline, but comfortable sleep will require as much of an incline as possible.
- Stroller size - Stroller dimensions will determine its portability. When trying to navigate narrow sidewalks the width of the stroller is also important. Having the right trade off between size and function is crucial when traveling or going around an urban environment.
- Maneuverability - Strollers often come in the 3 or 4 wheel variety. For example jogging strollers often have a front wheel that locks for better stability. Taking strollers for a test drive with weight in it can help to determine ease of use. While on the move you'll need to tackle the occasional curb easily, so the suspension must be stable as well.
- Accessories - Having a storage basket is quite handy, but having a tray or cup holder may be useful as well. Canopies also come in handy for sunny or rainy weather, or just when your baby wants to play peekaboo.
Heavy on features and light on price, parents who desire an affordable everyday use stroller can look no further than the Summer Infant 3D Lite Convenience Stroller. The 12 pound aluminum frame is incredibly light, even while boasting a large undercarriage storage bin, cup holder, rear storage pocket and sun canopy. Apart from its weight, the ability to be extremely compact when folded also makes the summer infant 3D stroller more portable. A shoulder strap also enhances its portability.
Maximum weight capacity for the child is 50lbs, and the stroller comfortable wide seating, a 5-point safety harness, and almost flat 4-position recline. The seat recline, allowing baby and parent to have a rest, is likely the most important feature setting the stroller apart from ultralight umbrella strollers. Officially this stroller can be used from birth, however buying a headrest may be helpful for newborns who have difficulty sitting up straight and holding their heads up.
A perfect stroller for the adventurous, the Mountain Buggy Nano was introduced about 23 years ago. Its introduction followed the need for a perfect all-terrain pushchair by a Dad in New Zealand. This was as a result of numerous mountain trails that New Zealand parents hope to bring their kids on. Thus, Mountain Buggy has leapt into the world of travel strollers as the company now targets the urban parents.
At 22"x12"x20" (56*31*51cm) when folded , the Nano has extremely compact dimensions designed to fit within airplane carryon regulations. Carrying the stroller on the plane minimizes the chance for potential damage to the stroller, which airlines do not take responsibility for. There's also the added benefit of avoiding the wait time to pickup strollers at the gate after a flight, all while holding a cranky baby. Its 13lb weight (6kg) makes it easy to carry around, and an exposed carry handle simultaneously works as handle and a shoulder strap. A travel bag is included.
The canopy unfortunately doesn’t offer much sun protection as it is on the smaller side. A lightweight pop-up sun visor would have been better. The large mesh window has no cover, thus exposing the baby to the sun or wind. Although it might be an ideal stroller in a hot summer day, there will be more drafts during cold and windy periods.
The Mountain Buggy Nano is extremely adapatable, as it is newborn ready with a softshell cocoon purchased separately. It is also carseat ready and can be turned into a travel system (car seat and stroller pair) easily. The stroller has been designed for the "curb pop", ie popping curb hopping in cities. The comfort of the full featured, multi-position recline, adjustable leg rest, and easy maneuverability make this a sturdy and reliable choice for city dwellers.
Recaro, a German brand, is popular for producing high quality car seats and has now come up with a practical solution for the stroller industry. The Recaro presents a fantastic addition to the lightweight industry given its 13lb (5.9kg) weight. With a one handed easy fold, the EasyLife has won including the Gold award in the UK for the best lightweight stroller, and the bronze award for the best stroller. Unlike many of the strollers which fold like an umbrella, the lengthways folding of the Recaro makes it more compact to store and much easier to carry.
Officially the stroller is rated as suitable for ages 6 months-50pounds, likely because the seat does not lie fully flat. The Recaro Performance Coupe Infant Car Seat can lock into the stroller as a travel system if transporting a newborn is required. The stroller seat does recline at a customizable level up to an angle by adjusting straps in the back. Fabric seating provides an additional level of comfort for the child.
Out of the need to provide a travel solution to traveling parents, the simple parenting company aims to develop a safe, yet tactical highly-designed products to make life simpler and easier for both experienced and new parents. The Doona (shortened from a daughter’s name Danielle) was launched in 2014 and has been tipped to be the next generation car seat. It can be secured with the car seat belt or with a car seat base for easier installation.
The Doona boasts the title of being the first hybrid stroller and car seat in the market, and its features of anti-rebound handle and an adjustable wall structure won many awards. Its integrated wheels enable the car seat to become a pushchair at a single touch of a button.
When compared to other infant car seats, the Doona is heavier as it weighs 15.4 lb(7kg). Your baby is highly secured as the Doona is sturdy and possesses double walls which allow the wheels to be easily fold into the body of the car seat.
One of the cons of the Doona is its lack of storage. It is a great solution for smaller babies, able to accomodate babies as small as 4lbs and going up to 35 lbs. The maximum height is 32", which limits the lifespan of this travel seat, but is a a massive relief to the city dweller who has to agonize of whether or not to carry a car seat around taxis.
A premium stroller, the Babyzen Yoyo offers a one handed folding compact solution that can be seen as the luxury stroller of choice in Hong Kong.The Babyzen Yoyo is an exciting stroller given its smallest weight and design; even more compact than the Mountain Buggy Nano. The Babyzen features a design that perfectly fits into the overhead luggage compartment. The stroller only weighs 13lbs which makes it easy to be carried over the shoulder. The frame is produced from a high-quality aluminum which is durable and light at the same time.
The yoyo has a deep recline makes it suitable for baby from 6 months and up, but can be purchased with a flat “newborn nest” (attached to the base of the stroller), usable right from the birth. The maneuverability is unique with its small “5” wheels, though it may become a bit stickier on rougher surfaces over time. Overall, the Yoyo is lighter and easy to operate, and navigation through the busy streets and narrow stores become easy.
Though this actually fits more in the umbrella stroller category, we would be remiss not to include it for older toddlers and kids who travel. Sporting the 2014 Guiness World Record for most compact stroller, the Pockit stroller folds down to 11.8" x 7" x 13.8" at a weight of 9.5 pounds. Once it folds it can actually fit in a backpack. Children up to 55 lbs can fit, plus an additional 11 lbs of weight in the storage basket (yes there's still a basket!).
There's unfortunately no reclining function, but some extra sleepy toddlers have been known to nap in it anyway. This stroller is definitely not for babies who cannot sit up by themselves yet, and it has to be unfolded with 2 hands.
Ultralight strollers offer a higher quality mix of features ultra portability for the well traveled parent. They are also the best strollers full stop for any tiny or petite mom who has suddenly found herself overloaded with baggage ranging from diaper bags to extra baby gear. You're not going to be jogging with these. In frenzied cities where having just one mode of transport is not an option, the ultralight stroller offers unparalleled convenience and a safe environment for your baby.