We understand that purchasing a pushchair can be confusing, with so much choice available it can be hard to know if you’re making the right decision. At Babythings4u we want to take the confusion out of this important purchase, which is why we have created this comprehensive pushchair buying guide, to help you understand all the options available.
When purchasing a pushchair we first and foremost recommend that you consider your lifestyle, and the important things that you and your baby need from the pushchair. You may want to consider which of the following points from our list below apply to you:
Do you use public transport regularly - If so, you may want to consider a lightweight stroller or pushchair, which has a carry handle and is quick, easy and compact when folded.
Do you have / use a car - If so, make sure you measure the size of your boot space and compare it to the folded dimensions of the pushchair you are considering purchasing. If you use your boot space a lot for other things, you need to make sure your pushchair will not take up your whole boot space.
Do you walk / jog / run - If your lifestyle involves long country walks you will need to consider a sturdy pushchair, which has suspension (for a smoother ride) and front lockable swivel wheels. Lockable swivel wheels allow you to lock the wheels making it easier to push over bumpier terrain, or swivel mode makes it easy to manoeuvre on smoother surfaces.
Is space at a premium at home - If so consider a compact pushchair or stroller which folds with the seat unit in place.
Consider the age of the baby / child you are purchasing the stroller or pushchair for. It is best for newborns and young very young babies to lie flat, so you’ll either need a pushchair and carrycot combination or a pushchair which is suitable form birth with a lie-flat seat position.
If your are purchasing a pushchair for an older baby or child, you might still want to consider whether or not the buggy has different recline positions in case they want to have a nap when you’re out and about.
The quality of the seat/padding on the chair is also important, and the longer you plan to be able to have your baby in the pushchair, the more important this will be. It's generally the bcase that the most comfortable travelling options for your baby are the more robust models, particularly traditional prams and three-wheelers, but these are bigger, heavier, less portable and often more expensive than other kinds of pushchair, and so aren't always practical.
" Strollers tend to suit people who use public transport on a daily basis, have a small car or boot space, people who travel. They are also great for nipping easily around the shops! "
On the whole strollers are generally very lightweight and compact when in full upright position and when folded. Strollers tend to have a fixed seat unit, which means baby is always facing outward away from you.
Many strollers are suitable from birth and have lay-flat seat positions, but some are only suitable from 3 months+ or 6 months+ and may not have a reclining seat, so you must check the age suitability before purchasing.
A typical pushchair has either a lie-back seat unit or a reclining bucket seat and is usually suitable for newborn babies to toddlers. Pushchairs tend to be sturdier and bigger than strollers, and many are compatible with infant car seats and carrycots to create travel systems. (See our Travel System Buying Guide).
Some pushchairs have a reversible seat units, which means the seat unit can be changed to rearward facing where baby can face towards you in their early months of life, then when you are ready the seat unit can then be changed to forward facing, where baby is facing away from you with a view of the world.
The term "pram" is a confusing one. Many people use the word to mean a pushchair or buggy. In the past, a traditional, coach-style pram was the means of transport for a new baby. Traditional prams are still in existence and are even making somewhat of a comeback.
Coach built prams
A traditional, "coach-built" pram has a wide hood, a generous frame and large wheels. Good suspension means a comfortable ride. Your baby has plenty of room to lie flat, stretch out and sleep whilst facing you. These prams are the most expensive type of transport system you can buy for a young baby. They were built to last for generations and they frequently do.
These traditional prams are often very expensive and cannot be folded, making them only suitable for people who have a second pushchair or stroller, or for people who do not use a car or public transport.
Newer "pram-style pushchairs" are suitable for newborns and often have a seat that can face either towards or away from you. They are similar to pushchairs in that they are normally sturdy and heavier than a stroller.
Some have the unique feature whereby the pram seat unit can turn into a lay flat carrycot for when baby is very young, and then turn back into a normal seat again. This in genius feature means you will often save money and space, as there is no need to find storage for your carrycot when it is no longer in use.
There are two types of 3 wheeler pushchairs:
All terrain 3 wheelers
Suitable for jogging and country walks, they are designed to handle the roughest terrain with comfort for you and your baby. They are also at ease in urban city environments. All-terrain 3 wheeler are normally very sturdy pushchairs, with large wheels and suspension for handling bumpy terrain.
Urban 3 wheelers / City Pushchairs
Suitable for use in town and city environments, they are usually smaller and lighter than all terrain 3 wheelers and have much smaller wheels. They are usually lightweight, compact when folded.
Twin pushchairs have two seat units seated side-by-side. They are normally suitable from birth to toddler. They can be used for twins or a baby and a toddler close in age.
Most twin pushchairs are designed to fit through standard doorways, and the seat units are able to recline independently.
Tandem pushchairs or as they are sometimes called inline pushchairs, have two seat units positioned one in front of the other.
Tandem pushchairs can be used for twins and are ideal for one toddler and one baby, but do check the age suitability for both seat units as they can differ. Some tandem pushchairs can create a travel system by adding on infant car seats and carrycots if required.
Tandem buggies are available with four wheels or there are 3 wheeler versions.
The newest type of inline / tandem pushchairs has been pioneered by popular brand phil & teds, who have developed the concept of a 3 wheeler tandem, which has a ‘double kit’ seat unit attached underneath the main seat unit. These pushchairs are very adaptable, as the pushchair can be used as a single buggy, and then if you have a second baby you can add the ‘double kit’ or second seat unit to the back.
Tandem pushchairs are very easy to manoeuvre and feel a lot like pushing a single buggy, they also fit easily through most doorways.
Some tandem pushchairs can be quite heavy and bulky, and may not fit in all car boot spaces, so make sure you check the weight and folded dimensions before purchasing.
Triple pushchairs are not very common and can be hard to find, but they are becoming more popular. Triple pushchairs are designed for triplets or are ideal for child minders or day care settings, for transporting children of a similar age.
Some are suitable for birth, and some can be suitable from 3 months+ or 6 months+ and most have independent reclining seats.