Best Multi-Function Stroller 2018
Last Updated: After researching and reviewing over 15 different multi-function strollers, we pick the UPPAbaby Vista ( . $929.99) as the Best Multi-Function Stroller 2018.
Scroll down for our picks for Best Multi-Function Stroller for Kids Close in Age. New to stroller shopping? Read our 7 Things No One Tells You About Buying Stroller.
UPPAbaby has a hit with their flagship model, the multi-function Vista (26.3 lbs.). Made with an aircraft alloy frame, the Vista stroller system includes a bassinet and toddler seat, telescoping handle and easy fold.
We liked all the included extras, such as a rain shield, mesh sunshade and bug cover. Plus the Vista uses rubber-like foam wheels that give a smooth ride, but don’t go flat. Unlike the Bugaboo, you can fold the Vista with the seat attached.
(Scroll down for a detailed review of this stroller and the UPPAbaby brand).
UPPAbaby Vista: more details
The UPPAbaby Vista is a feature rich stroller with a simple one-step fold (similar to their Cruz stroller), zip off washable bassinet fabric, removable wheels, a light-weight frame and the ability to hold two seats.
That’s right, you can configure the stroller eight ways including with two UPPAbaby Mesa infant seats, two bassinets (an extra bassinet runs $200), or two toddler seats (second toddler seat called the RumbleSeat is priced separately at $180). Add a PiggyBack Ride Along Board and you can carry three kids of varying ages!
In a 2017 refresh, UPPAbaby took an inch off the width of the Vista and changed out the wheels. They’ve also added Vista models with leather accents for $880 to $900. If you get a non-leather version as a gift, UPPAbaby sells a leather covered bumper bar or a leather handlebar cover for $30 each.
Parents love the Vista for its versatility and smooth ride. The only complaints: the price (yes, my first car was less expensive) and it’s heavy! But if you want the best of the best in multi-function strollers, this is it.
FYI: There are still older models of the Vista available for sale online. If you want all the features mentioned above, you’ll want to be sure you’re purchasing the latest model. Earlier models have fewer features.
2018 Vista changes
For 2018, UPPAbaby rolled out a few tweaks to the Vista: the bassinet is bigger, adding two more inches in length. Also new: real leather, hand-stitched handlebar accents on all models (not vegan leather, mind you).
Finally, the front wheels are redesigned—they match the rear wheels in shape and feature polyurethane tread (the current models feature AirGo rubber).
For 2018, there are three new fashions including a tweed-like pattern called “melange”.
Smaller tweaks include a sunshade that locks when it is slid up or down. And a 1″ narrower real wheelbase. Plus there is a updated one-step fold similar to the UPPAbaby Cruz.
UPPA claims the leather handlebars are now more eco-friendly, with no chemicals used in the tanning process. How weather-proof this will be remains to be seen!
A close runner-up in the multi-function stroller race is the Britax B-Ready G3 ($500) is Britax’s flagship stroller, a multi-function design that works with an optional bassinet and second seat. It has 12 different configurations, much like the Baby Jogger Select and UPPAbaby Vista.
Out of the box, the stroller will work with Britax’s infant car seats (a separate $40 adapter is needed for Graco and Chicco seats). The B-Ready features a seat that reverses to face forward or rear, full tire suspension with foam filled rubber wheels, large storage basket and full seat recline.
Got two kids? A second seat ($170) transforms the B-Ready G3 into a double stroller. You can fold the B-Ready with the second (toddler) seat attached—that’s something the competition can’t do.
The 2018 G3 version of the B-Ready is really just a refresh of the 2017 G2 version in new fabrics and fashions—with one exception. A new deluxe version called the B-Ready Nanotex adds an expandable canopy, adult cup holder, child tray and rain cover for $599 (or $799 with the second seat included). The Nanotex is only available at independent baby stores that are part of the Brixy network.
Critics knock the B-Ready’s overall bulk and weight (about two pounds heavier than the comparable Vista). To Britax’s credit, however, they have made small tweaks to improve the B-Ready (example: new rubber wheels replaced the previous foam versions).
So we have the function and value, but what about style? That’s probably Britax’s weakness . . . and we aren’t just talking about the B-Ready’s paint-by-number fabric color choices. Britax strollers lack a certain je ne sais quoi when compared with UPPAbaby’s Vista. The Nanotex fabric is their attempt at a more luxurious fabric albeit at a $100 extra.
Details: Baby Jogger City Select
If you plan to have two kids close in age, we’d suggest the Baby Jogger City Select ($450-$530, 28.1 lbs.). It can be configured 16 ways with an optional second seat ($150), bassinet ($82) or car seat adapter (for Chicco, Peg Perego, Cybex, Maxi Cosi, Graco and Britax ($26 to $50). An excellent stroller with a quick fold.
In the past year, Baby Jogger released a “lux” version of this stroller, cleverly named the Baby Jogger City Select LUX. The LUX adds five more configurations, including a jump seat that can be used up to 45 lbs.
The seat on the LUX version folds in a more compact manner—making the stroller 30% smaller when folded. At 28.4 lbs., the LUX is roughly the same weight as the original model. We like the new added rear wheel suspension. The street price on the LUX is $500, roughly $50 more than the regular Select.
Overall, the Baby Jogger’s City Select’s quality is impressive—readers tell us they love it, especially when they have two babies close in age.
Details: Evenflo Pivot Xpand
Evenflo doesn’t often get praise for their strollers–low price usually means low quality. But we couldn’t help be intrigued with the new Evenflo Pivot Xpand Modular Travel System. Based off the Pivot ($200 to $280), a single seat modular frame stroller, the Xpand adds new features including a surprisingly easy conversion to a double stroller using no tools.
The biggest difference: the Pivot Xpand offers 22 different seating options to the Pivot’s six options. Watch how the Xpand converts:
Other features include a toddler seat that converts to a lay-flat bassinet, a standing fold (with the toddler seat attached) and an expandable storage basket. The included car seat is the Evenflo SafeMax reviewed here. All these features and flexibility comes with an affordable price tag: only $400.
One caveat: the Pivot Xpand is now as of this writing (it debuted in August 2018), so there isn’t much reader feedback as yet. Generally, the quality of most Evenflo strollers is average at best. But we were impressed with the prototype we viewed and played with at a recent trade show. Expanding the stroller to hold an infant and an older child is so easy, we wonder no one else came up with the idea. Watch this space for more updates.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing strollers since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections of strollers, we have also visited manufacturer facilities and met with safety regulators—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We look to our reader feedback to give us a real world perspective on strollers—our message board on strollers seats has 23,000 (!) threads. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on sites like Amazon.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluated strollers with hands on inspections, checking seats for ease of use (how it folds, for example). We also gather significant reader feedback, tracking strollers on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also talk with engineers and designers who give us feedback on design and style.
We’ve been rating and reviewing strollerss since 1994. During that time, we have also visited manufacturer facilities. We also compare our reader feedback with Consumer Reports and other recognized experts.
7 Things No One Tells You About Buying a Stroller!
1. What’s your stroller lifestyle?
Before you fall you in love with a designer stroller, ask yourself HOW you will be using a stroller. Yes, you.
Think of strollers as tools—the wrong tool for a job isn’t going to help, no matter how shiny it is. It’s the same for strollers.
Because we all live in different environs and want to go varied places, the key to stroller happiness is to understand how different stroller options fit your lifestyle. Hence, the perfect stroller for hiking in Colorado isn’t the right one for a simple spin around the mall in Miami Beach.
Climate plays another factor—in the Northeast, strollers have to be winterized to handle the cold and snow. Meanwhile, in Southern California, full canopies are helpful for shading baby’s eyes from late afternoon sunshine.
2. The perfect stroller doesn’t exist.
Your stroller needs will change over time. Babies/toddlers use a stroller from birth to age four and sometimes beyond. The perfect stroller for a newborn isn’t necessarily great for a toddler—although some strollers make a valiant effort at bridging the years.
And what if you add a second child in the mix?
The take-home message: no one stroller can meet all these needs. Most parents end up with more than one stroller. Let’s review over the stroller landscape.
3. There are six types of strollers on the market…
We kid. Here are the six basic styles of strollers: umbrella/lightweight strollers, full-size strollers, multi-function strollers, jogging (or sport) strollers, all-terrain strollers and travel systems. Here’s a quick look see:
- Umbrella/lightweight strollers are generally under 20 lbs. in weight. Some feature two handles and a long, narrow fold (like an umbrella; hence the name!). Most umbrellas strollers are very cheap ($20 to $40), although some upper end manufacturers have spruced them up to sell for $100 to $300 (UPPAbaby and Peg Perego have “luxury” umbrella strollers). Premium lightweight strollers boast features like extendible canopies, storage baskets, and high quality wheels. Prices range from $150 to $300. Because seat recline can be limited, many umbrella/lightweight strollers are designed for kids six months old and older.
- Full-size strollers used to be called carriages or prams. These strollers are more like a bed on wheels with a seat that reclines to nearly flat and can be enclosed like a bassinet for newborns. All that stroller goodness comes at a price: hefty weight, as much as 30lbs. As a result, getting a full-size stroller in and out of the vehicle trunk can be a challenge. Entry level full-size strollers start at $200, but these can top $1000. In recent years, full-size strollers have fallen out of favor, replaced by . . .
- Multi-function strollers work from infant to toddler with either an infant car seat adapter or bassinet accessory for newborns. Some multi-functions are even expandable into a double stroller with a second seat attachment. Expect to pay $300 to $1000 for multi-function options (accessories like second seats are almost always an additional cost). This stroller type has increased in popularity in recent years, as parents increasingly have kids that are close in age.
- Jogging strollers feature air-filled, bicycle-style tires and lightweight frames perfect for jogging or brisk walks on rough roads. The best strollers for running have a fixed front wheel for stability. Jogging stroller with lightweight aluminum frames usually run $300 and up although there are some cheaper, steel framed options on the market too.
- All-terrain strollers are eclipsing jogging strollers for all but the most devoted runner. In fact, they often look like joggers but have a swivel front wheel. Big tires take to hiking trails better than typical stroller wheels, but these strollers are bulky and heavy. And expensive: they can run more than $400 for popular brands.
- Travel systems combine a stroller and infant car seat which snaps into the stroller. Typically sold at discount and big-box stores, travel systems are aimed at first-time parents and gift givers. Most feature basic infant car seats and full-size strollers at prices that range from $200 to $300. Travel systems have waned in popularity in recent years as more lightweight strollers have added infant car seat compatibility/adapters.
4. Beware these common stroller safety hazards.
Just because a stroller is on the shelves at the Baby Megastore doesn’t mean it is safe. Twelve thousand babies each year are injured by strollers, according to the most recent government safety data.
Here are our top safety tips:
- Never hang bags from the stroller handle. Yes, it is tempting to hang that diaper bag or purse off your stroller handles. The danger: your stroller can tip backwards—and even if your child is in the five-point harness, injuries can still happen. Solution: put that purse in your stroller’s storage basket. Or use a backpack diaper bag.
- Don’t leave your baby unattended while sleeping in a stroller. Newborns, infants and toddlers all move around when they’re sleeping. Injuries have occurred when babies creep down to the strap openings, so keep an eye on them. Or take a baby out of a stroller and put them in a full-size crib for naps.
- Don’t trust your brakes. The best stroller models have brakes on two wheels rather than one. But even if a stroller has the best brakes on the planet, never leave a stroller unattended on an incline with your baby inside.
- Follow the weight limits. Forty pounds is typically the maximum for most strollers.
- Jogging strollers are best for babies over one year of age. Pediatric experts tell us the neck muscles of infants under one year of age can’t take the bumps of jogging or walking on rough terrain.
- Fold and unfold your stroller away from your baby. The opening/closing mechanisms of a stroller can be a pinching hazard, so don’t open or close your stroller with baby nearby. Graco recalled over 5 million strollers in 2014 for just such hazards.
5. The secret to a smart stroller test drive: add weight.
Don’t test drive that stroller empty. Take a backpack and put in about 20 lbs. worth of books. Stick that in the stroller seat and you’ll see how that stroller actually steers/handles with a baby. And yes, practice folding and unfolding the stroller with the backpack in your arms!
6. What stroller features really matter . . . for babies.
The Dreaded Wall of Strollers—more than one parent-to-be has been reduced to tears staring at a baby store’s mind-boggling display of 37 stroller models. So let’s break down what’s REALLY important when stroller shopping for baby:
- Reclining seat. If you plan to use this stroller from birth, the seat must fully recline. That’s because babies can’t comfortably ride in a sitting position until around six months. And most newborns spend their time sleeping—seat recline is a necessity.
- Extended canopy. There are three types of stroller canopies: skimpy, extended and fully enclosing. Skimpy canopies only block the sun if it is directly overhead—great if you live at the equator. For everyone else, an extended canopy (also called extended sunshade) are better at blocking all sun angles. Baby Jogger’s canopies are a good example of extended canopies (see stroller at top of this page). The best canopies have multiple positions for flexibility. Fully enclosing canopies go a step further—they completely block out the sun from a stroller. These are great, but somewhat rare on the market. If you live in an area with active mosquitos, a bug net accessory is highly recommended. Here’s an example from Baby Jogger for their Select stroller:
- All wheel suspension. Stroller wheel suspension works like your car’s shock absorbers, smoothing out life’s little (and big) bumps.
7. What stroller features really matter . . . for parents.
- It’s all about the storage. Like toddlers and napkins, you can never enough. We’re not just talking about the size of the storage basket (but that helps). It’s HOW you access the basket, especially if the seat is reclined. The best strollers add storage in areas you wouldn’t think—on the hood, the back of the seat, a storage compartment with lid in a parent console for your phone and so on.
- The right wheels. Going for a nature walk on a dirt trail? Air-filled 12″ rear tires are best. Navigating tight spaces at the Pikes Place Market in Seattle? Small 6″ wheels enable tight turns.
- Removable seat pad for washing. Crushed-in cookies, spilt juice and the usual grime can make a stroller a mobile dirt-fest. Some models have removable seat cushions that are machine washable—other models let you remove all the fabric for washing.
- Reversible seat. When baby is young, you can have your child face you. Then when your toddler wants to see the world, the seat flips around.
- The one-hand, flip flop friendly, standing fold. The fewer the steps and hands you need to fold a stroller, the better. The best models have one-hand folds that stand when collapsed. If your stroller has a foot brake or release, make sure you can do this in a flip flop—and the pedal doesn’t mess up a pedicure.
- Height adjustable handle. If you and your partner are two different statures, an adjustable handle is a must have.
Eco-Friendly Stroller Certifications
There are three international organizations that test and certify textiles to meet environmental standards: OEKO-TEX, Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and IVN Naturextil. All three of these certifications are optional—there is no legal standard for organic, non-allergenic, chemical free textiles in the US. Many of the stroller brands that are certified are European, with only a few US brands certified.
As of this writing, there is one eco-friendly certification on strollers sold in North America: OEKO-TEX. Here’s some background:
OEKO-TEX is a German organization that offers “Standard 100 certification program for textiles at all steps in the manufacturing process. “Products marked with the label ‘Confidence in textiles (Standard 100)’ provide effective protection against allergenic substances, formaldehyde, heavy metals such as nickel or for example forbidden plasticizers (phthalates) in baby textiles,” according to OEKO-TEX’s web site. OEKO-TEX offers a second certification called Green by OEKO-TEX, which means the “materials (were) tested for harmful substances,” the product was “made in environmentally friendly facilities” and it was “made in safe and socially responsible workplaces.”
We found only two stroller makes who are OEKO-TEX certified: BumbleRide and Nuna. At the time of this writing, all of BumbleRide and Nuna’s stroller fabrics were OEKO-TEX certified—however, check their web sites for specific models’ information.
Reviews of 50+ stroller brands
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