How to choose a pushchair - a comprehensive guide!
Do you know how to choose a pushchair and what to look out for before buying it? You'll find out everything you need in this article!
Table of contents:
- ● Types of pushchairs
- ● How to choose a pushchair frame
- ● What are the best wheels for a pushchair?
- ● How big should a pushchair be?
- ● A pushchair – choose one that suits you as well!
We all know that choosing a pushchair can be quite a challenge. Various versions are available on the market – 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 multifunctional pushchairs, classic strollers and pushchairs, umbrella strollers... And there are also options with foam and rubber wheels, special all-terrain pushchairs, city strollers, ones with or without shock absorbers – the endless choices can make your head spin. That's why we've created a comprehensive guide on how to choose a pushchair. We hope that it'll help parents get their head around pushchairs and help them choose a model that'll serve them for many years.
Whether you're buying a pushchair for the first time or you've done it before, it's worth expanding your knowledge. The market is changing, just as the children's industry is constantly evolving, and new products and improvements are being introduced, so it's good to know what to look out for when buying a pushchair before you start.
What type of pushchair to buy – types of pushchairs
Pushchairs can be divided into several categories. The most popular are:
- ● classic pushchairs,
- ● 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 multifunctional pushchairs,
- ● strollers
What kind of a pushchair to choose depends largely on how long it needs to serve you. When preparing for the birth of your little one, it's best to choose a 3-in-1 or 2-in-1 pushchair, depending on whether you want to buy a newborn car seat separately. If you're wondering which car seat to choose, take a look at our post All you need to know about car seats.
When considering 3-in-1 models, bear in mind that the included car seat also serves as an infant carrier, which can easily be attached to the pushchair frame using the adapters included in the set. When your child falls asleep in the car and you want to go shopping, you won't have to wake them up to put them in the pram body. This solution is extremely convenient – especially for active parents who take car trips frequently.
Classic pushchairs are designed for parents who later want to buy a stroller that suits their needs. They're sold without a stroller seat, which leaves parents with a wide range of options in terms of buying a seat that suits them and their child. It's worth remembering, however, that classic pushchairs aren't cheap, and the choice of seats compatible with their frames is limited (often limited by the brand, but sometimes the range of stroller seats themselves is small). Classic pushchairs are slowly being pushed out of the market by multifunctional solutions, which are just as convenient, but ultimately less expensive.
3-in-1 and 2-in-1 multifunctional pushchairs
If you're preparing for the birth of your baby and want the pushchair to last longer than just a few months, opt for a 2-in-1 or 3-in-1 multifunctional solution. Multifunctional pushchairs consist of a frame, pram body and stroller. In the 3-in-1 version, you also have a car seat for newborns, and adapters to attach such an infant carrier to the frame.
Some multifunctional pushchairs are equipped with modern 2-in-1 seats – they allow you to quickly and easily turn the pram body into a stroller seat. All you need are special buckles and belts. The XMOOV 3-in-1 pushchair features this solution. Pushchairs with a soft carrycot instead of a classic rigid one are a relatively new option too. You clip them into the fully reclined stroller seat using special strong straps. An example of such a pushchair is the EVOLUTION COCOON multi-functional pushchair.
3-in-1 pushchairs come with the above-mentioned system that helps you on trips, which we at Kinderkraft call the TRAVEL SYSTEM. Depending on the model, adapters can also be included in a 2-in-1 version without a seat. This solution allows you to quickly attach the car seat to the frame – this is particularly useful during the first months of life, when your child sleeps even on short car trips. Instead of taking out your sleeping baby and putting them in the carrycot (risking waking them up), just unclip the car seat and clip it into the frame.
Multi-functional pushchairs are a cost-effective solution. For example, classic pushchairs cost approximately EUR 400–500, while 3-in-1 pushchairs may cost up to EUR 800–900. Remember that with classic pushchairs, you need to buy a seat, usually worth about EUR 300–500, or a stroller for EUR 500–700. If you don't choose a 3-in-1 solution, you also have to buy a car seat – RWF (rearward-facing) – for children from birth. Depending on the chosen brand, multi-functional solutions are definitely much more cost effective.
Of course, you can buy a second-hand pushchair, which will save you some money, but you should be aware that they can be worn or old, and therefore not suitable for your needs.
NOTE! Never buy second-hand pushchairs with a car seat! You can never be sure that the seat hasn't been in an accident; car seats that have been involved in collisions are not safe for your child!
Multi-functional pushchairs are designed for children from birth to approximately 2-3 years. The standard load of the frame in a stroller is 15 kg, but increasingly more pushchairs now have an overall frame load up to 27 kg (5 kg for the basket, 22 kg for the stroller). Therefore, they're also suitable for older children until they outgrow the pushchair or prefer to explore the world on their own. Examples of a pushchair with a stroller up to 22 kg include the MOOV 3-in-1 pushchair and the XMOOV pushchair.
A stroller is equipped with a seat and is suitable for children who are able to sit on their own (from approximately six months). Strollers are a popular choice for anyone who's buying a classic pushchair, or their older multi-functional pushchair has broken. Strollers are a godsend for parents who need a mobile, small and manoeuvrable pushchair. They're also a great option if the child still sometimes needs to rest on walks and the old pushchair is, for example, too big or impractical.
Strollers are perfect for quick shopping trips – especially in small stores – but they're also suitable for longer city walks. If you live on the outskirts of a city and like to walk in the forest, don't worry – retailers also offer all-terrain strollers such as the ALL ROAD stroller.
A stand-out feature of strollers is their extraordinary manoeuvrability. They're handy and can usually be folded with the seat attached, making them easy to put in the boot. Some models, such as NUBI, come with a shoulder strap. Strollers generally don't have detachable seats, so they can't be positioned facing towards or away from the direction of travel. There are, however, exceptions to this rule – the above-mentioned ALL ROAD model has a detachable seat.
Strollers have many advantages – they're light and manoeuvrable, and some have a safety harness suited for newborns (although it's always recommended that you use a stroller from the moment the child starts to sit up on their own or exceeds the weight permitted in the pram body – usually up to 9 kg), swivel wheels, reclining seat, adjustable handles and special systems to make travel easier, which we'll discuss below.
How to choose a pushchair frame
Once you know which pushchair to choose, it's time to check the frame material. The most popular frame materials include steel and aluminium, with or without shock-absorption. Steel frames are durable and – especially in multi-functional versions – can be used for many years. However, they can be heavy and inconvenient for some people – especially for those who travel a lot or have to carry the pushchair up stairs.
Aluminium frames are just as strong, but much lighter – this makes it much easier to manoeuvre, fold and carry the pushchair. Aluminium is a good solution for anyone who wants mobility and efficiency. If the terrain near your home is difficult, choose a pushchair with adjustable shock absorption in the frame. The PRIME 2020 pushchair features such an adjustable frame.
There's more involved than just choosing the frame material. We mentioned the frame load above – you need to check whether the pushchair you're interested in can carry up to 15 kg or maybe even 22 kg. The higher the frame load, the longer the pushchair will serve you.
What are the best wheels for a pushchair?
We've discussed pushchairs types and frames – now it's time for the wheels. What are the best wheels for a pushchair? The answer isn't clear and simple: the wheels largely depend on the needs of the parent and where they go for walks.
Large, air-filled wheels can be impractical in the city when you walk on asphalt roads and pavements, and go shopping with your child to small stores. Air-filled tyres are heavier than foam ones, but are durable and will work well on forest paths and on the outskirts of cities. They provide better shock absorption and are much more durable.
For parents who live in the city, maintenance-free wheels (that don't require pumping) made of foam or a foam/rubber mixture are a great solution. They're lightweight, provide good grip to the ground and, most importantly, are smaller than air-filled tyres.
Check the diameter of the wheels and whether the front wheels swivel – this increases the manoeuvrability of the pushchair. It's good if the front wheels lock to drive straight – this makes it much easier to walk on uneven terrain for longer periods of time. You can also choose pushchair wheels that'll work on any terrain, like in the ALL ROAD or PRIME models.
How big should a pushchair be?
The size of the pushchair depends on the needs of the parent and the size of the child. The bigger the pushchair, the bigger the child riding in it can be. Remember that the pushchair should serve you for at least 2-3 years, so choose one that doesn't take up too much space at home. An example of a compact pushchair is the PILOT pushchair, but if you want one that's bigger, can be folded with the seat and can be easily stowed away in the wardrobe after a walk, choose the CRUISER stroller.
Also remember that the bigger the pushchair, the heavier it is. You need to decide whether it's worth buying a big pushchair if you like travelling and you use the pushchair only occasionally during walks. If this is the case, it's better to choose one that, when folded, will fit in the boot or even in the cargo hold. A heavy pushchair can also be problematic when there's no lift in your building and you live upstairs. In such a case, go for a smaller and lighter model that's easy to carry up the stairs.
A pushchair – choose one that suits you as well!
A pushchair is meant to serve the parents as well. There's no point in buying one with large wheels and shock absorption intended for forested areas if you mainly walk around the city or on the outskirts and have even pavements all around. Such a pushchair will be impractical and may be too heavy or too clunky for your needs.
Be on the lookout for functions that'll make walks easier. Why bother with a small basket or unfastening the seat to put the pushchair in the boot, when you can buy a model that'll suit you and your child 100%?
Practical solutions for parents
When buying a pushchair, be sure to focus on its ease of use. Check if the pushchair is equipped with additional systems that make walks easier. An example of such a system is the TRAVEL SYSTEM found in Kinderkraft pushchairs (in 3-in-1 and 2-in-1 pushchairs), which allows the car seat to be clipped into the pushchair frame, and the CLICK & FOLD system in the handle, which allows the pushchair to be folded with one hand. You'll find this system in strollers that can be folded together with the seat. An example of such a pushchair is the GRANDE LX stroller.
An equally important option is the option of a forward or rearward facing stroller seat. Not every child who is able to sit on their own is ready to lose sight of their parent on walks. So choose a pushchair where you can install the seat facing towards or away from the direction of travel, like the ALL ROAD or PRIME pushchair. Sometimes, however, it's worth waiting until your child is ready before you buy a lightweight stroller with a folding seat.
Another important thing is the parent handle and its adjustment. Some pushchairs aren't adjustable and some adjust only to a small extent. It's worth checking the range of adjustment in the product description and asking someone to help you measure whether such a pushchair will suit everyone who'll be pushing it often.
Also remember the brake – you may associate some pushchairs with difficult brakes that damage shoes. In the past, such brakes were hard to use, were operated from below and often jammed. Fortunately, this is a thing of the past – most Kinderkraft pushchairs are equipped with the STOP & RIDE brake, which is operated from above. You can even release the pushchair wearing your sandals or your favourite heels without worrying about destroying the tips of your delicate shoes!
You can’t do without accessories – make sure that additional accessories such as a rain cover and leg warmer are included. A cup holder will also be useful, for example, for your hot coffee. Remember that some pushchairs are sold without accessories, which means you'll save on the pushchair itself, but then you'll have to buy accessories separately, and it may end up costing you even more than buying a pushchair with accessories from a different brand. Not all extras are necessary, but a rain cover and leg warmer are must-haves. Some pushchairs come with a shoulder strap, which will make travelling with your child much easier, for example on holidays. Just fold the pushchair and hang it on your shoulder.
The next thing is an extendable hood – not everyone needs it, but it's worth considering, especially when you live in a place where the weather varies a lot. Thanks to the extension, the child is better protected e.g. against wind or rain. A large hood will also protect your child from the sun more effectively. It's good for the hood to be waterproof and be made of UPF50+ fabric.
Also pay attention to the guard rail – some of these rotate and can be detached from both sides, making it much easier to take your baby out of and put them into the pushchair. You may also come across unusual pushchairs with a T-shaped guard rail, like the PILOT or LITE UP stroller. This guard rail allows your child to feel like a real driver. It can be also folded with the seat, and you can pull the pushchair behind you like a suitcase.
Last but not least is the shopping basket. Check its load (usually up to 3 or 5 kg), size and whether it can be removed. Shopping baskets often get dirty and it's a good idea to choose one that can be removed and wiped clean if necessary. We particularly recommend baskets that allow access from at least two sides.
Which pushchair to choose – do you know already?
We hope that we've managed to dispel any doubts that you may have had in regards to buying a pushchair. Remember to make sure that the pushchair suits not only your baby but you as well, so that you can buy a product that'll last for years. This will spare you the need of buying another pushchair, which of course involves additional costs. Check out the types of pushchairs in our range, and choose one that'll accompany you for years to come. Kinderkraft pushchairs make walks easier. They also make those walks unforgettable for both parents and children.25.02.2021
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