Cheap Jogging Strollers
- Published on
- By Raechel Conover
For parents who frequently find themselves on the run -- literally -- jogging strollers are a practical investment. Prices for jogging strollers range from the Cheapism niche of $100-$200 to the high-end segment of $400 and above. With expensive models such as the BOB and Baby Jogger dominating this stroller category, are budget consumers destined to be left in the dust? No way. We found several good cheap jogging strollers that let you keep up with the pack.
Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller Review
Wheel Size All 16 inches
Wheel Movement Fixed
Brakes Hand brake and rear brake
Safety 5-point harness, wrist strap
Weight 26.4 pounds
|175||All 16 inches||Fixed||Hand brake and rear brake||5-point harness, wrist strap||26.4 pounds|
Schwinn Turismo Swivel Wheel Jogger Review
Wheel Size Front 12 inches, rear 16 inches
Wheel Movement Swivel
Safety 5-point harness
Weight 31 pounds
|176||Front 12 inches, rear 16 inches||Swivel||Rear||5-point harness||31 pounds|
InStep Safari Swivel Double Jogging Stroller Review
Wheel Size Front 12 inch, rear 16 inches
Wheel Movement Swivel
Safety 5-point harness, wrist strap
Weight 37 pounds
|160||Front 12 inch, rear 16 inches||Swivel||Rear||5-point harness, wrist strap||37 pounds|
Cheap Jogging Strollers Buying Guide
Our research turned up three best cheap jogging strollers. Kolcraft's line of cheap jogging strollers includes the Jeep Overland Limited (starting at $175), which cruises to the top spot on our list for its user-friendliness and made-for-jogging build. Another winner is the Schwinn Turismo Swivel Wheel Jogger (starting at $176), a model that earns strong reviews for passenger comfort and manueverability. InStep makes a variety of single and double (side-by-side seating) joggers that are consistently praised by users; the Safari Swivel Double Jogging Stroller (starting at $160) stands out for its smooth, road-tested performance. (Tip: The Schwinn Turismo also is available as a double and the Safari Swivel as a single; other models likewise come in both configurations.) One cheap jogging stroller that gives us pause is the Schwinn Arrow Fixed Wheel Jogging Stroller (starting at $149), which falls back on design and build quality.
As you shop around, you'll undoubtedly stumble on other brands. Baby Trend, for example, offers cheap jogging strollers but garners mixed reviews from users. Tike Tech, like Schwinn, is more of a mid-tier producer that also makes one or two cheap jogging stroller models. BOB sells mid- to high-end jogging strollers and seems to be the aspirational brand for many shoppers. Nonetheless, we found that the best cheap jogging strollers win over budget-minded consumers with their value: They sell at an affordable price point, come with an array of appealing features, and perform well in the field. Cheap jogging strollers are generally suitable for recreational jogging and all-terrain walking only, however. Serious runners and off-roaders should look into higher-performance models that come with a higher price tag but provide greater stability and comfort and give you more control.
Before deciding which jogging stroller best meets your needs, it's important to be familiar with the common features and understand how they affect the child's comfort and your ease of use. Take wheel movement, for example: Jogging and "active walking" require a fixed front wheel for stability and tracking; strolling and errand-running call for a swivel front wheel for easier navigation in enclosed spaces and around obstacles. Brakes are another critical feature: Joggers like the convenience and added safety of a hand brake to regulate speed in addition to foot brakes for use while at rest; walkers easily make do with foot brakes alone. Other features to note include wheel size, stroller weight, passenger weight capacity, safety measures, and extras such as cup holders, reclining seats, and speaker systems. The sum total of these factors will determine if your daily run (or walk) with a cheap jogging stroller is a smooth one.
While conducting our research we noticed that a sizeable proportion of users who posted online reviews buy cheap jogging strollers for purposes other than jogging -- for family outings to a park or lake, for tours through the neighborhood, for shopping at the mall. And families with two young children often take to cheap double jogging strollers for the side-by-side seating, a welcome alternative to the front-back arrangement common in traditional strollers. Although our picks for best cheap jogging strollers earn plaudits for their ability to traverse a variety of surfaces, there was some griping about their suitability for the ancillary, non-jogging functions; e.g., they're heavy to lift, too bulky for the car trunk, too wide for doorways and store aisles. So as you run through your checklist of must-have features, consider how you plan to use the stroller. The answer is likely to push you in the direction of one model over another.
Important note: Some cheap jogging strollers are compatible with infant car seats, but manufacturers recommend against jogging with babies younger than six months even if secured in a car seat. Infants cannot adequately stabilize their heads against the jostling caused by running, and even adding support in the form of a headrest or extra padding does not sufficiently mitigate the risk of injury. Additionally, sometimes thrifty parents choose to save money by purchasing or borrowing second-hand baby gear. Again, experts strongly advise that you don't acquire a pre-owned stroller, jogging or otherwise. If you do, just make sure you know its history and check for recalls at CPSC.gov.
Jogging Stroller Reviews
Although jogging stroller reviews written by experts about budget models are few and far between, there are scads of comments posted by users, usually parents and occasionally grandparents. Jogging stroller reviews point to three attributes that determine whether a model is good, bad, or indifferent: passenger comfort, convenience, and performance while on the move.
Jogging Strollers Child Comfort.Regardless how highly a particular model ranks in jogging stroller reviews for performance and user-friendliness, if your child isn't comfortable, you're going to hear about it.The Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller (starting at $175) seems to impress kids. Jogging stroller reviews posted on sites such as Amazon report that children ride aboard without complaining and often fall fast asleep. One mother says her 4-year-old daughter happily watches roadside attractions when not engrossed in a movie on her iPad. Another parent says a rolled towel placed to the side of a baby keeps him secure during running workouts, and others generally commend the smooth rolling motion.
Another child-pleaser, according to jogging stroller reviews, is the smooth-riding Schwinn Turismo Swivel Wheel Jogger (starting at $176). Comments posted at Target note the comfortable seat that reclines for a peaceful nap, the extra seat pad that makes for a snug fit, and the child tray that can be filled with goodies to keep youngsters busy or folded out of the way for unobstructed viewing. One jogging stroller review claims a toddler is so content that he insists on remaining seated even after arriving at the destination.
Independent seats, trays, and sun visors on the InStep Safari Swivel Double Jogging Stroller (starting at $160) ensure that each rider's needs are met and sibling fights kept to a minimum, according to jogging stroller reviews at Walmart. Many reviewers assert that passengers -- including 4-year-olds -- are comfortable enough to sleep or jabber through the day's activities, although one parent says the relatively steep incline of the seats causes an 8-month-old to fuss and an older child to keep sliding forward. Other reviewers appreciatively mention the roomy seats that accommodate both small babies and pre-schoolers.
The Schwinn Arrow Fixed Wheel Jogging Stroller (starting at $149) barely passes the comfort test. One jogging stroller review on Amazon reports that a young child likes sitting in the upright position but is nearly too tall to lie flat without her head hitting the back netting, and a harness extension was necessary to accommodate her height. Some jogging stroller reviews at Toys R Us likewise note that taller children don't fit easily in the seats, even as others assert their child seems comfortable enough.
Jogging Strollers Convenience.Whether the jogging stroller arrives in the mail or is picked up at a big box retailer, chances are you'll have to assemble it. The consensus in jogging stroller reviews suggests that all of our top picks are a cinch to put together. Many comments on this topic say the task can be completed solo within half an hour.But what do you do with a jogging stroller that's not in use? A fully-assembled unit is something of a space hog, so ease of set up prior to an outing and folding for storage or transport is important. Most budget models, including all those we researched, feature a folding mechanism that's activated by depressing a trigger or button; two hands may be necessary for this operation. Jogging stroller reviews generally assert that the models discussed here are easy to open and close, although opposite opinions were also expressed. Note that jogging strollers fold flat (or what passes for flat in the jogging stroller universe) and the Jeep Overland Limited stands upright when folded.
Most strollers also feature quick release wheels to facilitate storage. All three wheels on the Schwinn Turismo Swivel, Schwinn Arrow Fixed Wheel, and InStep Safari Swivel Double pop off (in three seconds flat, according to one jogging strollers review of the Schwinn Turismo) but only the front wheel is removable on the Jeep Overland Limited.
Despite the ease or lack thereof associated with folding these buggies, numerous jogging stroller reviews for all the models we researched carp about their bulk and weight. Some posts at Toys R Us, for example, say the 37-pound InStep Safari Swivel Double is awkward to lift in and out of a car trunk and is a tight fit in some vehicles, particularly compact cars and small SUVs. Some users find even the 26.4-pound Jeep Overland Limited a bear to transport; one jogging strollers review at Walmart says a Honda minivan can't accommodate this stroller when the back seats are up. The Schwinn Turismo Swivel weighs in at 31 pounds, and some users consider it a heavy load. The Schwinn Arrow is the lightest cheap jogging stroller we found, at 20.5 pounds.
We also came across reports about the inability to push a jogging stroller through doorways, store aisles, and check-out lanes. This gripe surfaces most often in reviews of the Safari Swivel Double and Baby Trend Expedition Double (starting at $188), both side-by-side models. But as several commenters point out, these are jogging strollers, after all, and by definition are neither svelte nor meant for indoor use.
Fixed Wheel vs. Swivel Jogging Strollers
The third issue that spawns lots of commentary in reviews of jogging strollers concerns performance and/or ease of use. If you can't comfortably run, jog, or walk with your stroller, it's a bad investment even at a bargain price.
The range of movement of the front wheel has a big impact on assessments of a jogging stroller's user-friendliness. Users can choose either a fixed wheel jogging stroller or a swivel jogging stroller. The decision should turn on your plans for the stroller.
Experts at Running Times and a self-described "running mom" blogger explain that serious joggers should opt for a fixed wheel jogging stroller that tracks forward at all times because of the stability (even at running speeds) and straight trajectory. Fixed wheel jogging strollers can handle different types of terrain, from grass to rough roadways to curbs to rustic trails, without undue stress on jogger or passenger. Although you must lift the front wheel slightly by pushing down on the handlebar to round a bend, experts note that runners quickly adapt.
The two fixed wheel jogging strollers we researched are the Jeep Overland Limited and Schwinn Arrow. Some users complain that fixed wheel jogging strollers are difficult to steer, but reviews of the Jeep Overland Limited posted at Buzzillions counter that they're designed for jogging on gently-curving paths and trails and not for walking on city grids. Runners and off-road hikers really like the Jeep Overland fixed wheel jogging stroller. Reviews commend the stability and minimal shaking and bouncing; we did, however, read a few reports that the stroller drifts slightly to the left or right. About the Schwinn Arrow, one user post asserts that it rides rough and requires two hands to control although another says it served her well during a race with curves along the course. Elsewhere, one user writes that some adjustments were necessary to keep the Schwinn Arrow fixed wheel jogging stroller tracking straight and a second notes that equal air pressure in the rear tires helps it stay on track.
A swivel jogging stroller -- the front wheel swivels -- is the best option for walkers; that is, users who need to navigate tight spaces, dodge obstacles, and turn sharp corners. These conditions better describe urban and suburban byways than the typical jogging route, and specs for the InStep Safari Swivel Double, one of our top picks, state that this model has a zero-degree turn radius. Running and even active walking with a swivelling front wheel is not advised; experts note that a swivelling wheel is less stable than a fixed wheel and more likely to cause vibrations, especially at a jogging pace. A swiveling wheel doesn't track straight and can cause the stroller to veer out of control when rolling quickly over rough surfaces or coming upon unexpected obstructions, like a small stone.
However, the best swivel jogging strollers feature a lock that secures the front wheel in place -- the recommended position for jogging. The Schwinn Turismo, InStep Safari Double, and Baby Trend Expedition Double are all swivel jogging strollers with a lockable front wheel. If you want a jogging stroller to serve double duty -- for a run through the local park and a family trip to the theme park, say -- choose a swivel jogging stroller with a front wheel that locks.
Swivel jogging strollers with locking front wheels are not intended for hard-core runners or off-road enthusiasts, but the average consumer appreciates their versatility. One mother writes that she bought the Schwinn Turismo Swivel to help with post-pregnancy weight loss and uses it both for jogging and walking about. Indeed, many of the reviews we found focus on the utility of the Schwinn Turismo as a walking stroller. One parent who uses it to exercise-by-walking writes on Diapers.com that it's easy to push and turns smoothly with the wheel unlocked. This swivel jogging stroller also meets the needs and expectations of runners, according to reviews at Dick's Sporting Goods.
Reviews indicate that the InStep Safari Double likewise fits the bill for walking, shopping, and easy-to-moderate runs. At Amazon, one user reports it steers so smoothly that she easily manages two youngsters and a 40-pound dog on daily walks; another says it rolls gently over grass and dirt; and a third stresses that locking the front wheel minimizes vibrations while jogging. This swivel jogging stroller also wins points for maneuverability, even when loaded with two kids. (Tip: For better performance, lock the front wheel if only one child is riding.)
The Baby Trend Double Expedition sails over trails and sidewalks and steers easily, according to a number of users comments at Target. But several posts at Amazon indicate rougher going with this swivel jogging stroller; two users, for example, assert that the jogger pulls sideways when the wheel is locked and another says the front wheel is uncontrollable.
An alternative to a swivel jogging stroller is Kolcraft's Contours Options 3 Wheeler (starting at $133), whose front wheel swivels but doesn't lock in place; ergo, it shouldn't be used for jogging but seems fine for walking. Postings at Overstock say it's easy to maneuver and push.
Jogging Strollers Wheels.Most new budget jogging strollers sport 12- or 16-inch front wheels, which are perfectly adequate for walking and recreational trail running. Wheels this size easily traverse sidewalk cracks and uneven pavement as well as curbs and somewhat rocky ground. Two of our top picks, the Schwinn Turismo Swivel Wheel and InStep Safari Swivel Double, as well as the Baby Trend Expedition Double, feature 12-inch front swivel wheels. The Jeep Overland Limited (a best pick) and the Schwinn Arrow are fixed wheel jogging strollers with 16-inch front wheels. The 8-inch front wheel on the Contours Options 3 Wheeler, the one non-jogger we researched, can handle the tamer challenges of urban and suburban surroundings but may be thwarted by anything off the beaten path.The two rear tires on the jogging strollers discussed here measure 16 inches across. (Some high-performance jogging strollers boast 20-inch front and rear wheels, but experts say the trend is converging on 16 inches.) Wheels this large ensure smoother gliding action and less swishing around for the passenger(s), and make for easier pushing, which is why jogging strollers increasingly appeal to non-joggers. Traditional strollers generally have 5- or 6-inch wheels all the way around; the Contours Options comes with 12-inch rear wheels.
Budget jogging strollers feature air-filled tires. Like bicycle tires, they rely on a cushion of air to absorb shock and increase stability. Make sure to keep the tires inflated to the recommended PSI both for performance and safety. We read a number of reviews that grumble about the relative frequency of needing to inflate the tires. But given the lack of detail concerning frequency of use and the surface conditions (e.g., smooth or rocky), it's impossible to determine whether this is a problem endemic to the category or a reflection of a model's build quality.
Jogging Stoller Ratings and Safety
Most budget jogging strollers come with parking brakes on the rear wheels only, just like a traditional stroller. Rear brakes are applied when the stroller comes to a full stop, an arrangement suited to walkers and shoppers. Runners, on the other hand, need a hand brake to maintain control by slowing a stroller while going downhill or moving along at a clip. Slightly pulling on the brake lets you better regulate your pace without breaking stride or worrying that the stroller will outrun you. The Jeep Overland Limited and Schwinn Arrow, the two fixed wheel jogging strollers we researched, feature both hand brake and foot brake. The presence of a hand brake is often cited as a "pro" in jogging stroller ratings for its safety and convenience.
Jogging Strollers Suspension.Depending on the type of ground you typically cover, a buggy's ability to absorb shock may be an important consideration. Models in the Cheapism niche typically feature a spring-loaded suspension that can accommodate the unevenness of gravel and mulch, sidewalks and easy trails. Anything rougher is likely to mean a bumpy ride for the child, and scattered reports in jogging strollers ratings grouse about excessive jostling. The alternative is a jogging stroller with shock absorbers, but we couldn't find any that qualify as cheap. Another option is independent suspension for each wheel, featured on the upscale Baby Jogger Summit XC (starting at $399).
Jogging Strollers Carrying Capacity.Most inexpensive jogging strollers are designed to carry children weighing up to 50 pounds (the upper bound for the Jeep Overland Limited is 45 pounds). For a two-seater, the norm is a maximum 100 pounds, or 50 pounds per child. Whether you're pushing a single or double jogging stroller, jogging stroller ratings indicate that many 4-year-olds still fit. A few models also come with height specifications; the Baby Trend Expedition Double, for example, puts the maximum height at 42 inches and specs for the Schwinn Arrow put the maximum height at 38 inches.When it comes to transporting baby gear, all the models we researched come with an under-seat storage basket that isn't always as practical as some would like. One minor complaint lodged against the Schwinn Arrow Fixed Wheel and InStep Safari Double Expedition in jogging stroller ratings concerns limited access to the basket.
Jogging Strollers Safety and Extra Features.When it comes to safety, all the models we researched feature a 5-point harness for the rider. Additionally, the Jeep Overland Limited and Schwinn Arrow (fixed wheel jogging strollers) and the InStep Safari Double and Baby Trend Expedition Double (swivel jogging strollers) come with a wrist strap to keep runner and buggy tethered together. All meet safety standards set by the CPSC and/or a certification program sponsored by the JPMA, the industry's trade association.Today's cheap jogging strollers also offer a variety of bells and whistles. Some frills, like sun canopies and multi-position reclining seats, are standard across the category. Others, like the iBaby music player system included with Jeep's Overland Limited and the built-in MP3 player speakers on the Schwinn Turismo and Arrow models, are still rare. (Assessments posted in jogging stroller ratings of the quality of these sound systems are decidedly mixed.) Height-adjustable safety straps grace the Jeep Overland Limited, InStep Safari, and Schwinn Turismo and Arrow jogging strollers and an adjustable handle bar appears on the Jeep Overland and Schwinn Turismo and Arrow. The Schwinn Turismo is also car-seat compatible -- but heed experts' advice and walk, don't jog, with a baby-loaded car seat in the stroller. The Jeep Overland Limited comes with an odometer and pedometer, the latter of which rarely works, according to jogging stroller ratings.
Many jogging strollers also include a parent organizer/cup holders and a child's activity tray, and some have headrests and additional seat padding. While such options are touted in jogging stroller ratings, many exercise-focused parents see these extras as just that -- extra. And yet, the lack of an activity tray on the Baby Trend Expedition Double irks some users.