Gearing up for a new baby can be expensive. There are many items you can cheerfully cheap out on without worry, such as those newborn-sized onesies they’ll wear twice, or the bits and bobs of nursery decor you’ll soon be switching out to suit your growing child’s interests–but when you’re shopping for a jogging stroller, it is truly worthwhile to buy the best you can afford.
Strollers vary significantly from one price range to the next in terms of their overall durability, maneuverability, ease of storage, standard features, and comfort, both for the parent and child. And whether you’ve got a lot or a little to spend, you’ll want to be sure the one you choose has all of the basics: a fixed or lockable front wheel; good suspension, with air-filled tires and shock absorbers; a comfortably padded seat with a five-point safety harness; and an adjustable sun canopy.
Our top picks for 2016 have all of these features and many more, and have been tried, tested and reviewed by hundreds of jogging parents. Read on to see which one is right for you and your wee one.
A sleek, sturdy all-terrain jogger with lots of storage…
A very durable, high quality stroller with a lockable, front pivoting-wheel and tool-less tracking, the Thule Urban Glide is an excellent choice for active parents who want just one stroller that “goes everywhere.”
The rear suspension, well-padded seat, and sturdy five-point safety harness guarantee your little one a safe, smooth ride whether you’re running a seven-minute mile or strolling through a crowded farmer’s market. In fact, thanks to the multi-position sun canopy with a view-in roof port and the seat’s infinite recline, your babe may even enjoy a nap during such expeditions, and the large covered storage compartment comes in handy then, too.
Parents rave about how the stroller folds easily and fits neatly into an average-sized trunk, often noting that the wheels pop off with the press of a button if you’re tight on space. If the Thule Urban Glide has any room for improvement, it is in the adjustable handlebar; though parents of average height or taller generally find it very comfortable, some very petite mamas (5′ or under) say the bar is set too high. The lowest setting is about 38″ from the ground. One other minor flaw is in its travel-system capabilities: though the Thule Urban Glide can accommodate infant car seats with an adapter, the sun canopy must be rolled back with the seat installed, so it necessary to use a car seat with its own shade.
Still the Cadillac of multi-purpose jogging strollers…
Very well known for its exceptional durability, quality, and performance, the BOB brand has been a parent-favorite for many years, and the 2016 Revolution FLEX Stroller is no exception to the trend.
It closely matches the Thule Urban Glide in its array of features, including a swiveling/locking front wheel, a state-of-the-art adjustable suspension system, a large sun canopy that provides excellent coverage as well as a ‘peek-in’ window, and a comfortable, well-padded seat that can be adjusted from near-upright to near-flat with one hand.
The stroller is also travel-system ready; the BOB Infant Car Seat Adapter, sold separately, accommodates any major brand of car seat, including, of course, the matching BOB B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat by Britax, which fits neatly under the stroller’s sun canopy. The other key advantage the BOB Revolution FLEX has over the Thule Urban Glide is in the handlebar: it offers a range of 9 positions to the Thule’s 3, making it the clear winner for a petite parent or a couple with a significant difference in height.
3. BOB Ironman
A marathon-running parent’s BFF…
The BOB Ironman and the BOB Revolution FLEX have many important comfort and safety features in common, including the state-of-the-art adjustable suspension system, ultra-padded seat with five-point safety harness, and a convenient, two-step folding process for easy storage and transportation.
However, the greatest difference between the two is that the Ironman has a fixed front wheel. Serious runners love the sense of security a fixed front wheel provides, and feel confident that they can really “let loose” and attain their top speed, even on an uneven trail, wet sand, you-name-it. What the fixed wheel adds in security, however, it takes away in maneuverability, and most runners find they also need a stroller with a pivoting front wheel for everyday use.
A top-of-the-line ride for epic family adventures…
Much like the other high end strollers on this list, the Thule Chariot Cougar will carry your child in exceptional comfort and safety over any sort of bumpy terrain with a well-padded seat, safety harness, and adjustable suspension. It also has your little one covered in any sort of weather, with a generous sunshade, rain/snow cover, and tinted windows with vents.
However, it is very different from all other strollers in that, well, it’s not really a stroller. The Thule Chariot Cougar is more accurately described as a “multifunctional child carrier,” in that it is designed to transform into a bicycle trailer, cross-country ski pull, tow-behind hiking carrier, and (you guessed it!) a jogging stroller with the purchase of additional accessories, or “conversion kits.” With the carrier’s unique Click N’ Store system, the jogging and bicycle trailer accessories can be transported on the carrier frame when not in use, allowing parents to easily switch between the two modes while on-the-go. Outdoorsy moms and dads rave about the Chariot’s smooth and steady performance across all of its functions, and note that it is surprisingly lightweight for its size.
However, parents generally agree that the Thule Chariot Cougar is not ideal for your more everyday adventures, such as a walk in the park or trip to the mall. Though it comes equipped with a “strolling kit,” consisting of two front wheels on casters and an adjustable handlebar, it takes up a lot of space on a city sidewalk and you can’t just fold it up neatly and toss it in your trunk. It’s quite an investment too, but if jogging, trail hiking, biking, and skiing are central to your family’s lifestyle, the Thule Chariot Cougar is likely worth the splurge.
A stylish, mid-range jogging stroller with lots of extras…
While significantly less expensive than the BOB or Thule strollers, the Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight offers excellent quality and value for its mid-range price point. The lightweight aluminum frame is equipped with shock-absorbing suspension for a smooth ride over uneven terrain, and the swiveling, lockable front wheel offers both maneuverability and stability as need be. Parents love the extra wide seat and over-sized sun canopy, which compare favorably with those on the higher-end brands, as well as the thoughtful extras, such as a tire pump for the dreaded on-the-go flat tire and the canvas organizer on the handlebar, which offers a zippered pocket and two cupholders.
It folds easily for storage, and the “quick-release” wheels make it easy to transport in a trunk that is already crammed with other baby gear. While marathon-training mamas are probably better off investing in a purpose-built running stroller, the Joovy Zoom 360 Ultralight is an ideal option for parents who want one stroller that can handle a mix of running for exercise and “regular” child transportation duty.
One feature that the Joovy does not share with the higher end brands, however, is the adjustable handlebar, so it is considered most comfortable for parents of average height. Another potential issue is that the foot rest is largely constructed of mesh instead of canvas, which contributes to the stroller’s lighter weight but may not hold up as well to an active toddler over time.
A lot of thoughtful features for a little price tag…
A versatile, lightweight jogging stroller with effortless trigger folding, the Baby Trend Expedition covers all of the basics without breaking the bank: a lockable front wheel, pneumatic all-terrain tires, a large sun canopy with a peek-in window, and a cosy, well-padded seat with several reclining positions. The large parent and child trays are much-appreciated extras, too.
Many parents use it as their everyday stroller and love how well it glides over uneven pavement and around tight corners, particularly in comparison with the bulkier, four-wheel strollers in the same price range. However, there is no denying that you get what you pay for in terms of its performance as a jogging stroller; though many successfully use the Baby Trend Expedition for their daily exercise, the faster runners often find the front wheel begins to vibrate when they pick up any speed. Flat tires are another commonly reported issue, though some parents have had great success with replacing the inner tubes with equivalents of higher quality.