Cheap Double Strollers
- Published on
- By Gina Briles
Stroller selection can be an overwhelming process, especially when this particular mode of transportation must accommodate the needs of two children. Regardless whether you're buying a cheap double stroller for twins or tots of different ages, there's no need to spend more than $250. Safety 1st and Jeep offer some of the cheapest double strollers, but these models earn mixed reviews from both experts and users. Reviews of Combi, Graco, and Baby Trend double strollers are more consistently positive, even for the relatively inexpensive models. Several traditionally high-end stroller manufacturers, such as Joovy and Maclaren, also make some well-regarded double strollers that sit near the top of the budget price range. We identified several commendable low-cost models that don't stint on quality, usability, convenience, or even good looks.
Cheap Double Strollers Buying Guide
Our best cheap double stroller picks include side-by-side and tandem models. Among the former, we chose the Combi Twin Sport (starting at $215) as our top choice due to its slim profile, safety features, and excellent mobility. The Maclaren Twin Triumph (starting at $220) follows in the runner-up slot for its quality ride and generous carrying capacity despite limited features and a design that precludes infant car seats. In the tandem category, our first choice is the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double (starting at $163), which is lauded for its multiple configurations for kids of different ages. We then honed in on the Graco Quattro Tour Duo (starting at $170) for its array of features and overall ease of use. We were put off the Safety 1st Two Way Tandem (starting at $150) by user reviews that assert this buggy is a bear to maneuver even as it garners favorable notice for its feature set and passenger comfort.
As you begin shopping for a cheap double stroller, there's a lot to consider. Do you prefer a side-by-side stroller, a tandem stroller, or an umbrella-style stroller? Side-by-side strollers are sometimes too wide to pass through doorways and narrow store aisles, but both seats afford an unobstructed view and easy access and there's no chance of unwanted kicking from behind. Tandem strollers take up less horizontal space, but infant car seats sometimes snap into the front seat only, placing the baby beyond arm's reach. They're also quite long, which might create problems holding open a door while pushing the stroller through, and the rear passenger only has sidelong views of his/her surroundings. Umbrella strollers are the least bulky of the bunch and tend to be the most user-friendly. That said, they generally don't accommodate infant carriers and they offer fewer frills than their more substantial counterparts.
Do you own a car or take public transportation? If you'll be transporting the cheap double stroller from place to place, you'll want to be sure you can lift it in and out of the car trunk without difficulty. Just as important, you should check that the stroller fits into the trunk; we read numerous reviews from parents commenting about how little space is left for groceries and other items once the stroller is placed inside. Parents and caregivers who rely on busses and subways will need a buggy that's compact and light enough to carry while wrangling two children.
How old are the children who will ride in the stroller? If you have one or more newborns, you probably want a cheap double stroller that accommodates an infant carrier, or two. If you have a toddler or preschooler, you may want a model with a jump seat option. Also think about how long you expect to use the stroller. As children age, they gain weight. Among the models we researched, the maximum weight capacity ranges from a total 70 pounds (35 pounds per seat) up to a maximum 110 pounds (55 pounds per seat).
In short, there's a cheap double stroller for every lifestyle. But ultimately, ease of use for parents and caregivers and comfort for the passengers are the factors that distinguish the best cheap double strollers from the also-rans; that is, from the strollers that are quickly returned to the vendor or consigned to a resale shop before the kids outgrow them. The four models that made our list all satisfy these two basic requirements.
One important note: Safety standards and product design and engineering continuously evolve. For that reason, experts recommend buying a new model rather purchasing a second-hand stroller or accepting a hand-me-down that's more than a few years old. Thrifty parents who do opt for a pre-owned stroller should know its history -- where it's been and how it's been used -- and whether it's been subject to a recall. (Check CPSC.gov for up-to-date information.)
Double Stroller Reviews
Most operators of budget double strollers understand they're not buying a high-performance vehicle. They just want the stroller to make it through errands, t-ball practice, and trips to the zoo without it -- or their nerves -- breaking down. According to double stroller reviews, that means a carriage that rolls smoothly, steers easily, sets up and breaks down without hassle, and provides young passengers a safe and comfortable ride. The evidence found in double stroller reviews suggests that the best budget side-by-side and tandem strollers satisfy these performance requirements.
Still, most of the double strollers we researched take some heat for a variety of issues. For example, some users regard the need to prep a stroller before collapsing it -- by aligning wheels, removing canopies and trays, and/or putting the seats in full upright position -- to be an annoying inconvenience. We also found negative comments coursing through many double stroller reviews about their bulk and weight. Users often remark on the difficulty of lifting these double strollers in and out of a car trunk and how much of the available space they hog, even in an SUV. But as a number of double stroller reviews also point out, these buggies are built for two and there's no getting around the fact that they're bigger and heftier than singleton versions.
In the side-by-side corner of the double strollers market, the Combi Twin Sport (starting at $215) sits at the top of our list. It earned high marks from experts at the now-defunct Cookie Magazine for safety and ease of use. Although some users note it's at its best on paved surfaces and indoors, parents and caregivers consider it to be an operator's dream. According to double stroller reviews at Baby Age, this model glides smoothly and maneuvers almost effortlessly, opens and folds without hassle (be sure the swivel wheels are locked in place and seats are fully upright), and fits through standard-size doorways; one parent notes it's light enough to hoist on her shoulder with the attached strap and carry up three flights of stairs. In comments posted at Diapers.com, parents report that children fit and ride comfortably, whether infant (car seat optional) or toddler; one says her young daughter happily sits in the stroller for hours and gets in and out on her own at appropriate moments.
Our second choice side-by-side, the Maclaren Twin Triumph (starting at $220) fits through doorways, takes curbs and bumps without difficulty, and collapses easily but can be a bit sticky when setting up, conclude double stroller reviews. At Amazon, users commend its agility, stability, small turning radius, height-adjustable handles, and light weight. They like the easy seating access for young passengers and the apparent riding comfort as well as its compact size when collapsed. However, a few grumbles surfaced about the canopies being too short to block the sun and the challenge posed by unusually narrow doorways and gravel and sandy surfaces.
The Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double (starting at $163), a tandem model, wins bonus points in double stroller reviews for its versatility. The ability to load it down with two infant car seats and convert the rear seat into a standing platform or jump seat is much appreciated, according to comments posted at Walmart. Although some parents report that taller children seem to fall off the too-small front seat or their feet nearly touch the ground, and a few gripe about the limited recline of the front seat, most seem unperturbed by such matters. The majority value the relative ease of navigating (the horizontal bar for adult hands rather than two curved handles gets a hearty shoutout from one parent), collapsing, and opening this stroller even as a few contend it's heavy and bulky. Double stroller reviews posted at Toys R Us generally echo these assessments. One bone of contention with traditional sit-and-stand models, like the Joovy Caboose Stand On Tandem (starting at $143), is that younger toddlers often tire of standing or sitting on the jump seat. The Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double gives children the option of a regular seat to ride in.
Another tandem stroller that lands on our list, the Graco Quattro Tour Duo (starting at $170), proves to be a lifesaver for parents of two young children. Double stroller reviews at sites such as Albee Baby and Target say its riding comfort, slim profile, easy steering, and simple set up/break down make outings so much more manageable. Parents like being able to put an infant car seat in the front and/or back position and welcome the handles that suit taller adults and can hold a couple of bags. Nonetheless, a few issues rankle, such as insufficient head room for tall children in the rear seat, cup holders that pop out when folding the stroller, and a front seat doesn't recline when an infant seat is set behind it.
Clumsy handling undermines the Safety 1st Two Way Tandem (starting at $150), according to double stroller reviews. Some parents who posted comments at Walmart like it well enough -- it's easy to open and close, it fits through doorways and hallways, and the seats can be arranged to face each other -- but others insist it's way heavy and unusually hard to steer. One reviewer at Diapers.com reports the wheels skid and don't turn on slick indoor surfaces and several at Amazon report it has no traction, making it hard to push and steer; one likens its handling to that of a shopping cart.
Double Stroller Features
Double Stroller Safety.Any double stroller worth your hard-earned dimes should be sturdy and evenly distribute the weight of all riders to guard against toppling over. The Maclaren Twin Triumph, for example, remains standing with a diaper bag dangling from the handle but no counterweights in either of the seats, according to one parent's testimony. Concerns about balance and stability rarely surfaced in the reviews we read, although one critical assessment of the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double posted at Walmart contends that the stroller feels as though it's tipping in the midst of a turn.Seat belts and safety harnesses should fasten securely and prevent children from squirming free or climbing out. The Combi Twin Sport, Maclaren Twin Triumph, and Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double all feature 5-point harnesses in both child seats, which is the arrangement safety experts recommend. The Graco Quattro Tour Duo gives users the option of a 3- or 5-point harness in the front and rear seats, whereas the Safety 1st Two Way Tandem has a 5-point harness in the rear seat and a 3-point harness in the front, which may be adequate for the older, heavier child. The umbrella-style, side-by-side Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport All-Weather Double Stroller (starting at $110) offers only 3-point harnesses in both child seats. The jump seat on the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double and Joovy Caboose Stand On comes with a 3-point harness.
Double Stroller Seating.Parents or caretakers of infant twins or two young babies will probably prefer a budget double stroller that accommodates two infant car seats simultaneously. The Graco Quattro Tour Duo, Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double, and Safety 1st Two Way Tandem can accept two infant carriers while the Combi Twin Sport takes only one infant seat. Each of these double strollers only meshes with specific infant seats, so chances are you'll have to buy the matching carrier. The Joovy Caboose Stand On, by contrast, fits with 25 different car seat models from a variety of manufacturers. Among the double strollers we researched, the Maclaren Twin Triumph and Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport, both umbrella-style models, do not hold infant carriers.Double strollers generally feature reclining seats. The Maclaren Twin Triumph, Combi Twin Sport, and Graco Quattro Tour Duo each provide multi-position reclines for both seats; on the Graco model, the rear seat can lie totally flat. The front seat on the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand has a two-position recline while the rear seat leans back to any comfortable spot. Only the Safety 1st Two Way Tandem boasts a front seat that reverses, allowing both riders to face one another, a feature appreciated by parents who posted comments at Toys R Us and Walmart; the rear seat on the Safety 1st Two Way can be turned into an infant carriage.
All the models we researched have independent canopies for the two passengers except for the Joovy Caboose Stand On and pricier Joovy Caboose Ultralight Stand On (starting at $230), which each sport one canopy that provides some coverage when the older child is sitting on the jump seat.
Double Stroller Storage.With two children on board, it's no wonder that storage is a huge issue for purchasers. Compared to side-by-sides, tandem and sit-and-stand strollers lose out because under-seat baskets are more difficult to access and the dangling feet of older backseat riders take up valuable basket space. Graco tries to address this problem with a separate storage compartment under the front seat of the Quattro Tour Duo. The Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport is the only budget double stroller we researched without an under-seat storage basket.Still, we read reviews of all the models on our list that grumble about inadequate storage and hard-to-reach baskets. There's a bar that gets in the way on the Combi Twin Sport, according to one parent post at Diapers.com, and the drop-down basket in the rear of the Graco Quattro Tour Duo sometimes sticks in its up or down position, assert reviews at several sites. One parent resolves the perceived space shortage on the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand by affixing a strip of Velcro to the handle and attaching a grocery bag. Meanwhile, several parents commend the generous cargo space on the Maclaren Twin Triumph, which includes a mesh basket under each seat.
When it comes to keeping a latte and a sippy cup or two within easy grasp, double strollers answer the call with varying levels of success. The Graco Quattro Tour Duo wins top marks in this category with a parent storage tray fitted with two cup holders, two child cup/snack holders under the front seat, and an additional child cup and snack tray in the rear seat. The Safety 1st Two Way Tandem and Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double offer a parent organizer with cup holders and a child cup and snack tray in the front seat, but only the Sit N' Stand has a rear child tray. The Combi Twin Sport and the Joovy Caboose Stand On have front-seat child trays, and newer versions of the Combi Twin Sport include a parent cup holder. The Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport comes with a removable cup holder for parents while the Maclaren Twin Triumph has no cup or snack storage whatsoever.
Double Stroller Size and Weight.Double strollers tend to be heavy and bulky even before the addition of two children and the gear needed for an outing. So it's worth paying attention to the stroller's size and weight as well as the recommended maximum weight the stroller can comfortably carry.Knowing where you use the stroller and how you get there will help guide you to the right choice. Will you be lifting it in and out of a car trunk several times a day? Do you rely on public transit and need a stroller that's small and light? And what about those long-distance airplane flights?
The lightest double strollers tend to be side-by-sides, such as the 23.4-pound Maclaren Twin Triumph, the 22.25-pound Combi Twin Sport, and the 21-pound Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport. The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Stand On is surprisingly light for a sit-and-stand, weighing in at a mere 21 pounds compared to the 32.5-pound Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double. Of the tandem models we researched, the Graco Quattro Tour Duo hits a hefty 39 pounds and the Safety 1st Two Way Tandem weighs more than 40 pounds.
When it comes to profile, the Combi Twin Sport, Maclaren Twin Triumph, and Jeep Wrangler Twin Sport garner praise from parent reviewers for being compact and portable. One globetrotting mom writes on Buzzillions that the Maclaren Twin Triumph makes a good travel companion. Meanwhile, another parent comments at Toys R Us that the Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double is too large to pass through airport scanners.The specs for the Graco Quattro Tour Duo tout its 20 percent smaller profile when folded compared to another model in the company's lineup of double strollers.
Weight capacity of these strollers varies. The Combi Twin Sport can carry children weighing up to 45 pounds in each seat while the Maclaren can handle a maximum total of 110 pounds, by far the heaviest cargo of the models we researched and one reason several parents say they chose this double stroller. The Graco Quattro Tour Duo holds a child weighing up to 50 pounds in the front seat and up to 40 pounds in the back. The Baby Trend Sit N' Stand Double manages 40 pounds in each seat and the Safety 1st Two Way maxes out at 35 pounds in each seat.