It’s a hard pill to swallow for every first-time parent. That after buying a pricey full-sized stroller with all the bells and whistles (that you researched for months!), you still need to purchase another stroller.
But it’s true, there are just some things you can’t (and shouldn’t) do with your heavy, full-featured stroller – like take it to Europe (hello teeny tiny doorways), into a busy mall, or on public transit (and, gulp, up and down the subway station stairs).
So we hate to break it to ya, but you’re going to need an umbrella stroller. A light-weight little wonder that can be zipped open and closed in an instant, is easy to carry or throw in your car, and makes traveling a relative breeze.
Umbrella strollers have come a long way since the fabric sling on wheels (editor’s note: our daughter’s baby doll strollers are better equipped then the ones we were pushed around in!), and in the past few years, light-weight stroller innovation has really been upped to a new level. Now you can get features which were normally reserved for full-sized strollers on one that can fold up and fit in the overhead compartment on an airplane…while weighing less than 15lbs!
But deciding which umbrella stroller is right for your lifestyle is still a struggle.
We’ve tested, researched and pulled together the best umbrella strollers on the market, so your final decision can be as easy as eeny-meeny-miney moe.
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Baby Jogger City Tour
14.2lbs, holds up to 45lbs, 6+ months – $199 (available for pre-order)
It’s hard to believe the new Baby Jogger City Tour is classified as an umbrella stroller because it comes completely loaded with features. Our favorite: the ability to both steer and fold it closed with just one hand. Reserving your other for more important things (namely holding that sweet child of yours). The one-piece handle bar gives you extreme maneuverability and the fold takes place in 2 simple steps: press the handlebar forward, and then pull-up. And once it is folded, it’s certified to fit into the overhead compartment on a plane.
Add on the multi-position recline, UV 50+ extended sun canopy and super-sized storage basket (and bonus storage pocket in the back of the seat), and you, my friends, have our winner for Best Overall Umbrella Stroller.
BEST HEAVY USE
15lbs, holds up to 55lbs, 3+ months – $259
The UPPAbaby G-Luxe is a true umbrella stroller (meaning that it actually folds up to look like an umbrella), and gets our pick for Best Heavy Use for it’s luxurious cushy seat, durable all-suspension wheels and extendable sun canopy (one of the largest we’ve seen on a smaller stroller). So if you’re planning on using your umbrella stroller for extended periods of time (heavy travel use or lots of city walking), the G-Luxe is the one for you.
Other features that take it over-the-top: an easy push-button one-handed recline, an adjustable footrest, one-step brake, an included parent cup-holder, padded stain/water-resistant fabric (that removes for easy washing), and it has a neat little stand so it can stay upright after it’s folded (to keep those pretty colors clean).
The only thing holding it back from our Best Overall pick is a one-handed close, but the trigger-pull close is smooth and easy, so don’t let this stop you from picking the G-Luxe, because it really is a stellar ‘brella. (yea, we went there).
And if you have twins (or 2 kids close in age), check out the UPPAbaby G-Link Double Umbrella which has all of the features of the G-Luxe in double form!
BEST FORWARD FACING
Baby Jogger Vue Light
14.5lbs, holds up to 55lbs, 0+ months – $179
We can hardly believe this ourselves, but the Baby Jogger Vue Light has a revolutionary reversible seat which can switch from forward facing to parent facing in the bat of an eye. It has a harness system on both sides, so you literally just pull the canopy and seat forward and your child can gaze into your eyes (or look outwards to discover the world).
The seat has a one-handed full-recline and the footrest adjusts in the parent-facing position too. There’s a super large sun canopy (it will almost reach your child’s knees in the upright position!) and the fold can be done with one-hand (although it is not quite as easy as other models on our list).
If you add-on the Vue Soft Pram ($59) you can convert the stroller into a soft and cozy newborn bed. A great option to have if you plan on using your umbrella stroller right from birth. There are also attachments to add on the Baby Jogger City GO Car Seat to make it a true travel system.
The basket is small and not super easy to access, but if your child is facing forward and the foot rest is up, it forms a great space behind the seat to store all your goodies.
BEST ALTERNATIVE TO A FULL-SIZED STROLLER
13 lbs, holds up to 40lbs, 0+ months – $495
If you really want to try and buy just ONE stroller that can have the function of a full-sized stroller, but the light-weight, small fold and slim size of an umbrella stroller, then look no further than the BabyZen YoYo+.
The YoYo+ can be used from birth with the newborn pack cot that lies parent-facing, or the car seat adapters (for Cybex, Nuna and Maxi-Cosi seats). Once your baby is old enough to sit up unassisted, swap on the 6+ fabric and take advantage of the multi-position recline, extendable leg rest, padded 5-point harness and adjustable sun canopy.
The single handle bar and easy open/close make it easy to hold your baby during any fussy moments (it happens to the best of ‘em). It’s super compact fold will fit into an airplane’s overhead compartment, and it has a convenient carry strap to place on your shoulder in case you need to tote it up any pesky staircases.
There’s no doubt, this is a pricey stroller, but if you’re a city-dweller or plan on heavy travel, it is an option that can’t be overlooked.
BEST STYLE (WITH PLENTY OF FUNCTION!)
13lbs, holds up to 55lbs, 3+ months (or 0+ with car seat) -$299
We like to think of the Babyhome Emotion as the Maserati of umbrella strollers – it will turn heads with its modern styling, but it also comes fully loaded. You won’t be able to walk down the street with this stroller without other moms inquiring about it – the sleek frame and hip colors make it impossible to miss.
But looks aside, this is one functional and practical stroller. It has 4-wheel suspension on it’s super cool skateboard-like wheels that offer a superior, smooth ride and fantastic maneuverability – this thing almost pushes itself! The seat reclines to 150 degrees with a simple push button, and the large footrest can also be adjusted.
Although the fold is 2-handed, it folds very compact and can stand upright. The storage basket is a great size, and a magnetic peek-a-boo window lets you easily check-up on a sleepy child.
Best yet, snap on the car seat adapters (sold separately) and the Babyhome Emotion will hold your Graco, Nuna, Cybex or Maxi Cosi car seat!
GB Pockit Stroller
9.5lbs, holds up to 55lbs, 6+ months – $249
This stroller still blows us away with its super compact fold. At a size of 12″ x 7 “x 14” the gbPockit is the world’s most compact stroller, and can fit into your diaper bag! Yep, you heard right, it can fit into your diaper bag. This also means it can fit into the overhead compartment of an airplane, or even under the airplane seat. You’ll never have to wait for your stroller to arrive after your flight (with cranky children in tow) again (all while worrying if it’s been damaged).
So for parents with a love of travel, this stroller can go from pushing to toting in a matter of seconds, and is perfect for trips by public transit, train, plane or for fitting into your already-packed-to-the-ceiling car. And if you have a walk-up apartment with no stroller parking (meaning you have to lug it up countless flights of stairs while holding your child every. day.) this stroller will change your life!
BEST ALL INCLUSIVE
Inglesina Zippy Light
15lbs, holds up to 55lbs, 0+ months – $329If you’re looking for a stroller with all the bells ’n’ whistles straight out of the box, look no further than the Ingelsina Zippy Light. This made-in-Italy stroller comes fully loaded with extras like a rain cover, cup holder and bumper bar that are usually relegated to “additional purchase necessary” status. The Zippy Light also has one of the easiest open/close features we tested, with one-handed motions that allow you to hold a child in one arm, and wrangle the stroller with your other. And it can stand on its own when closed which eliminates the need to bend down (usually with child in tow!) and keeps your stroller fabric nice and clean. Although not to worry if the fabric gets dirty, it’s easy to remove and throw in the wash. Then there’s the plush comfy seat, 3-position adjustable backrest, adjustable footrest, swivel/lock front wheels, wide storage basket and ridiculously large extendable sun hood (it will even cover your child when they’re fully reclined!)…see what we mean about bells ’n’ whistles?
9.5lbs, holds up to 40lbs, 6+ months – approx. $40
If you’re looking for a stroller that you truly only need to use once in a blue moon – a quick trip into the grocery store here, or a pop into a coffee shop there – then you need not pay for some of the fancier features.
But don’t get us wrong, while the Kolcraft Cloud is a total bargain at around $40, it is not completely stripped down. First, the extended sun canopy provides more sun coverage than most of the umbrella strollers on this list, and it has a simple 1-step fold that you can do with one hand tied behind your back (or holding a screaming child, either one).
It comes with a parent cup holder, front-wheel suspension and a cool feature where the seat fabric rolls up to expose a mesh panel for increased air circulation (and it creates a head rest!). Awesome value!
That’s 8 awesome choices for your umbrella stroller, and seriously, you can’t go wrong with any of them. But because your head is probably exploding with information and feature-overload, we put together a handy dandy comparison chart for y’all. ‘Cause we like you (and you can stand under our umbrella ‘ella ‘ella).
Which one do you choose? Let us know which is the right fit for you in the comments below.