How to Shop for A Stroller

Posted January 19 2016
I feel your pain. Shopping for a baby stroller has become more labor intense than shopping for a new car. The number of stroller types and options is overwhelming.
I will share with you what I learned by the time I had my third child. I learned that my biggest mistake; and how I ended up returning several strollers to finally find the "one" was not planning ahead. Walking into a baby store with 100s of strollers with fund gadgets, and new technology was way too overwhelming for me. For child three; I decided to a do a little research online prior to entering the stroller jungle at the baby store.

Make a List
1. I started with prioritizing what I was looking for in a stroller. Light and compact? Exercise? Travel? Etc.
2. Next I made a list of what features were important to me for a stroller. Travel system, would my car seat connect to the stroller, adaptability of stroller, convenience, what extra attachments I would have to purchase if any.
3. The ability of a stroller to be used from birth through the toddler year.
4. Price

After I reviewed my list. I then turned to my best friend google to start my research. I started with my biggest concern of safety. Researching the safest strollers for 2015 (year). I reviewed not only the safest stroller recommendations, but I learned to look for specific features on strollers related to strollers I would have known nothing about.
I have to biggest weakness when shopping for anything baby is that I love technology and new gadgets. I found great new product trends on Pop Sugar. Here is the link for 2016:

Next I dove into evaluating the pros/cons of my top strollers based on the list I made. I have to admit; after researching the top strollers I initially had in mind changed.

After I got my list of strollers down to my top 3; I decided to avoid big commercial stores where no one really knew the product that well. Strollers are expensive, and I opted for an infant specialty store where I could speak with someone with expertise on the product I was considering and get hands on experience with the product.

The decision to shop at a small specialty store ended up being worth its weight in gold. The store carried multiple models of the stroller, and the staff new everything about the stroller and could answer my questions easily. I was able to test drive the stroller, and evaluate if the stroller met the criteria on my list. The most important thing I learned from this experience, was to evaluate if I could lift the stroller into my SUV, and the practicality of the stroller when in use and folded down for storage.
I recommend that anyone shopping for a stroller practice folding the stroller, and lifting the stroller. I found that 1 of my top pics was way too heavy to lift up into my SUV.

The Price Myth
I always thought that the big baby stores had the best prices, and I later found out that the manufacturers set a price for the product that is the same across all stores. So, ultimately I found out that I received better information and customer service at the specialty store and paid the same price for the stroller. So here is my recommendations to help you pick a stroller:
Determine how you will use the stroller related to where you live and needs ie. urban, using trains, storage etc.
Find a stroller that can grow with your child from newborn to toddler years
Find out what additional pieces/parts you must purchase in addition to the stroller to convert the stroller from a pram, and to attach infant car seats etc.
If you are considering a pram stroller; inquire about the stroller's ability to "convert" versus taking stroller apart and adding new pieces to make into a standard stroller
Explore costs of attachments if not included like infant car seat adapters (make sure there is an adapter made for your infant car seat if you already have one; sometimes adapters are only meant for 1-2 brands of car seats)
Take the stroller for a good test drive. Explore using every feature, practice folding it up and down, and most importantly see if you can lift the stroller above the center of your body.
Inquire about customer service and warranties. I recently discovered that Bugaboo strollers have to be shipped out of state for any repairs which can be costly.
Does the stroller meet all of your needs with one stroller? Or are you going to have to purchase more than 1 type of stroller?
Strollers are expensive, and you should be confident in your purchase. Find the experts, and talk to other moms who use the stroller you consider.
My favorite funny recommendation when you do not know where to start is to sit in your local mall, and see what stroller models you keep seeing repeatedly to give you a place to start. Good luck! I hope my many triumphs can help you avoid the pitfalls I experienced!