Best Travel Strollers for 2019


January 9, 2019    Baby Travel 

Go Light and Compact!

If you've ever traveled with your child, you know the challenges posed by a full size stroller. Larger units are not only bulky, but also heavy and difficult to carry up stairs. And good luck going through the airport with a full size stroller! We've tested both full size and light weight travel units extensively in real life applications. Trust us, once you try a high quality and light weight travel stroller you may decide your full size unit is no longer necessary!

  • OUR TAKE
    PROS
    CONS

  • OUR TAKE
    • A super lightweight, high quality travel stroller that is very maneuverable and durable. Our runner up because the seat does not recline and the unit folds like a typical umbrella stroller, meaning you cannot bring it as a carry-on.
    PROS
    • Breathable mesh seat-back.
    • Best child cover in our comparison.
    • Supper durable, especially the wheels.
    • Priced very competitively for the quality.
    • Includes child cup-holder.
    • Holds children up to 55 lbs.
    CONS
    • Seat does not recline (potential issue for smaller children who may struggle to hold their head upright).
    • Travel bag sold separately.
    • Folds like a typical umbrella stroller.

  • OUR TAKE
    • A strong option with functionality that is close to that of a full-size stroller. It is on the pricier side and ultimately not as light and/or compact as our top picks. Still worth a look if you want a unit that reclines.
    PROS
    • Ships fully assembled.
    • Fully reclining multi-position seat with extendable leg rest.
    • Comes with a built-in "Newborn Safety System".
    • Holds children up to 55 lbs.
    • Large cover provides plenty of sun protection.
    CONS
    • 5-point harness can be difficult to fasten (it is very secure though).
    • Complaints that wheels are not particularly sturdy.
    • Folds like a typical umbrella stroller.

  • OUR TAKE
    • This high quality unit has an elegant design and folds almost as compactly as our top pick. Ultimately, the price point is so high and the child weight capacity so low that it simply is not competitive with the other strollers in our comparison.
    PROS
    • Seat reclines, which is very impressive for a "briefcase" style unit.
    • Travel bag included.
    • Folds to the size of a carry-on bag.
    • Wide range of optional accessories, from bassinet add-ons to buddy boards.
    CONS
    • By far the most expensive unit in our comparison.
    • Only accommodates children up to 40 lbs, meaning you may need a replacement when your child is a toddler.
    • Complaints that assembly is very difficult.

How We Chose

Lightweight and Compact Are The Ticket

As frequent travelers with children, we began today’s comparison knowing that two crucial components of a great travel stroller are weight and compactness. These hard earned insights are the result of having frequently found ourselves carrying strollers up stairs and over rough terrain, and from squeezing them into crowded restaurants, buses and trains. In addition to being lightweight and compact, our testing also found that handling is quite important and something that is often a problem with travel strollers—you do not want to feel like you are fighting your stroller when you are already worn out from travelling. Another nice to have is a reclining seat, especially if your child struggles to hold is head upright (more on this later).

Keeping these featurese in mind, we chose the Pockit Lightweight Stroller as our top pick. This unit is the lightest in our comparison and folds into a compact square the size of a briefcase (11.8" x 7" x 13.8"). It also has the lowest price at the time of our comparison and can hold children up to 55 lbs, which is much higher than the other "briefcase" style folding stroller in this review.

We choose the UPPAbaby G-LITE Stroller as our runner up because it is a super light and durable unit that is also competitively priced. It came behind the Pockit in our review because it folds like a typical umbrella stroller and is not as compact. Still this unit handles great and stood up well to months of abuse.

The Maclaren Quest didn’t make our top two spots because it is heavier than the UPPAbaby at 12.6 lbs and not as compact as the Pockit. This being said, if your child needs to recline to sleep or if you are looking for a unit with more features for daily use, then this great stroller deserves a look. We just happen to be particularly focused on weight and compactness.

The BabyZen Yoyo+ is a great unit that folds compactly and reclines, but is also somewhat heavier at 12.8 lbs. Unfortunately, the price point for the Yoyo+ is much higher than the others in our comparison—so much so that the extra features don’t justify the expense. In addition, this unit will only hold children weighing up to 40 lbs, meaning you will likely need another unit sometime after your child becomes three and further adding to the cost of ownership.

Some Useful Information...

Options and Features to Keep in Mind

Reclining Capability In our experience, if your child is under two years old it may make sense to purchase a reclining unit as smaller children's heads can fall forward when sleeping in models without this feature. If your child can comfortably hold his head up (around 18 months or older depending on size and development), you can save money and weight by going with a unit that does not recline like the Pockit or UPPAbaby G-LITE.

Carrying Case – As a general matter, look for a travel stroller that either comes with a carrying case or for which the stroller manufacturer sells an aftermarket carrying case. A robust carrying case is particularly important to protect your stroller if you will be checking it at the gate when traveling via airplane.

WeightAll of the strollers in our comparison are very light weight at 13lbs or under. That being said, if you anticipate frequently needing to fold your stroller to “hike it,” then it may be advisable to go as light as possible. If weight is your enemy, go with the Pockit or UPPAbaby.

Compactness – If you need your stroller to fold into an extremely small space (i.e. to the size of a carry-on bag), then go with the Pockit or Yoyo+. These two models fold up small enough to qualify as carry-on luggage in the United States. Keep in mind that there is a trade off in carrying capacity with the Yoyo+, which can only handle children up to 40 lbs.

Parent OrganizerNone of the units in today’s comparison come with a parent organizer. Consider purchasing a lightweight velcro model—it will provide a readily accessible location to place your drinks, cellphone, car keys and other must haves. Our top pick is the inexpensive Grab and Go Stroller Organizer by Skip Hop.

Strollers, Car Seats and Airlines

Nearly all U.S. airlines will permit you to check one stroller and one car seat for every child travelling with you on the plane, free of charge (even if the airline charges for other checked luggage). In addition, if bring your stroller through the security checkpoint, you can generally check it at the gate just before boarding the plane—a hand pointer to keep in mind that will save you from having to carry your child all the way to the gate.

With respect to bringing a stroller onto the plane as a carry-on, the Pockit and Babyzen are compact enough to qualify as carry-on's although airline rules on allowing strollers into the cabin vary. Make sure to check ahead of time if you want to bring one of these units with you as a carry-on. A helpful summary of various airline polices on traveling with strollers can be found at TSAtraveltips.  The Transportation Security Administration or TSA also has a number of helpful tips for traveling with children, including a quick informational video.

Why ReviewDECIDE?

Seriously...

We started ReviewDECIDE on the premise that a great deal of the information required to properly evaluate a given product is already right in front of your (and our) eyes. In fact there is too much information! A crucial skill necessary to picking the best products is instead the ability to cull through the available information, focusing on what should really drive a purchase decision.

To make those crucial determinations as to what matters and what doesn’t, we begin by thinking through what really matters to us when we use a particular product. We then use the that type of product to further refine the features we care about and that we think you will care about too. Next we search the web, looking to manufacturer’s websites, product specifications, consumer reports, expert blogs, research reports and the like to obtain crucial insights and the facts.

Finally, we distill the results of our research and combine it with our own experiences as consumers, professionals, techies, mothers, fathers, hobbyists, designers, software engineers, attorneys (sorry) and more. Ultimately, this process results in the reviews we present to you. We hope you enjoy!

Credits:

  • Photo of woman examining strollers from iStock.
  • Photo of family on dock with child from iStock.
  • Photo of forest of strollers from iStock.
  • Photo of couple and child walking down street from iStock.
  • Photo of family looking at airplane from iStock.
  • Photo of group jumping in office from iStock.

*Images have been cropped and/or resized