When you’re adding to the family, having a double stroller makes getting around with two (or more) kids of the same or different ages a lot easier.
The good and bad news: You’ve got lots of double stroller options–so many, in fact, that double stroller shopping can make you see, well–double.
Here’s the gist: Double strollers come in one of three basic configurations: tandem, side by side and modular, which converts as your kids grow and allows you to seat them all kinds of ways (more on modularity in an upcoming post). You can also add a platform or a seat to the single stroller you currently own, turning it into a double (or even triple) baby/toddler mobile.
Which route should you go? Asking yourself these seven key questions–and surveying some of your options–before you hit the virtual or brick-and-mortar aisles can narrow the field and help save your double-stroller-shopping sanity.
1. Do I need a stroller that accepts two infant car seats?
Yes to this if you’re having twins. (If you’re not having twins, go ahead and skip to question #2.) Here’s a snapshot of some your two-infant-car-seat-double stroller options:
The Austlen utility stroller accepts two infant car seats; it’s compatible with Britax, Chicco, Maxi Cosi, Nuna and Cybex car seats (adapters and car seats sold separately). You can also add a second seat or a Sit & Stand jump seat on the back (also sold separately) and a cargo bag. All infant car seats fold with the stroller. You don’t have to remove them first (radar: sanity saver). Austlen is the U-haul of strollers. Consider it if you have lots to lug + babies.
Baby Jogger City Select: It holds two infant car seats when it’s converted to a double, with 16 possible seating configurations.
Baby Trend Navigator: The jogging stroller accepts two Baby Trend car seats.
Baby Trend Sit N Stand Double: Holds two infant car seats with multiple ways to ride; you can pop off the seats and turn them around so your babies can ride forward or backward.
Baby Trend Universal Double Snap N Go Stroller Frame: Holds two infant car seats. It’ll last until your babies outgrow their infant car seats (at about 9 months or so). It’s an inexpensive option that buys you time to shop for your next-stage stroller. The stroller frame is compatible with lots of different car seats.
Graco Modes Duo is a modular double jogging stroller that accepts two Graco Click Connect infant car seats and offers 27 ways to ride.
2. Do I want to go jogging with my stroller?
(Not interested in a double jogging stroller? Skip to question #3.) If you’re looking for a double jogging stroller that accepts an infant car seat (or two), your options generally include:
BabyJogger Summit X3 Double; it pairs with the Britax B-Safe 35 infant car seat and the BOB B-Safe 35 infant car seat by Britax. Here’s the full Baby Jogger car seat compatibility guide, just fyi.
Baby Trend Expedition Double: It doesn’t accept infant car seats.
Baby Trend and other manufacturers recommend not jogging/running with your babies until they’re 6 months old. But walking fast? That’s a go!
More double stroller jogger options:
Each of these BOB double strollers features a lockable, swivel front wheel, which is important if you plan to use your jogging strollers for more than jogging. On the other hand, the BOB 2016 Ironman Duallie has a fixed front wheel. It’s for hardcore runners only. All BOB double strollers accept only one BOB B-Safe 35 infant car seat by Britax (sold separately or together). You’ll also need to buy a BOB 2016 Duallie infant car seat adapter for Britax and BOB.
Thule Urban Glide 2: It’s compatible with a variety of infant car seats and accepts one infant car seat.
3. Which brand of infant car seat do I want to use?
Knowing which infant car seat you’ll use for baby #2 is another quick way to narrow your double stroller selection because not all infant car seats and double strollers are compatible.
That was the clincher question for Kim Karelis from Lexington, Massachusetts, mom to 3 year old, Arianna (“Ari”) and 7 month old, Alexis (“Lexi”). “We really wanted to use the Britax B Safe 35 infant car seat for Alexis,” Karelis says. So she and her husband, Andrew, chose the Britax B-Agile Double stroller over the Baby Jogger City Mini GT double because the B-Agile Double is compatible with one Britax B Safe 35 infant car seat and the Baby Jogger City Mini GT double isn’t.
“The girls love the B-Agile,” Karelis says. Bonus: You can access the front storage basket from the front. The downside? “There’s not a ton of storage,” she says. But adding a stroller organizer (sold separately) can give you a place to stow essentials, such as your cellphone, keys and a beverage.
Note: To use the Britax B Safe 35 car seat with the B-Agile Double stroller, you’ll need Click & Go infant car seat receivers, which come with the B-Agile Double. You’ll need to remove the Click & Go infant car seat receivers to fold the stroller. But…there are storage containers on the B Agile Double to stow the receivers. Convenient!
4. Do I want side by side or stadium-style seating?
How you want the kiddos to ride is another key double stroller shopping question. Suburban parents like side by side strollers because they have more room to roam. Many side by side double strollers are compact enough to squeeze through most standard doorways but you might have to do some wiggling and jiggling. That’s the case with the Britax B-Agile double, Karelis says, “but it’s not a problem.” The stroller is 40 x 30.5 x 41.4 inches wide.
Tandem strollers, in which one seat fits directly behind the other, on the other hand, are an easy fit through standard doorways and through the aisles of retail stores. They’re more popular with urban parents. But with this configuration, the big question is: What’s the ride like? Forget about coach. You don’t want one of your kids to feel like she’s riding in the cargo hold.
“We ultimately decided on a side by side model because we didn’t want my older daughter to feel she was second fiddle, sitting low to the ground and not being able to see anything,” Karelis says. On some tandem style strollers, however, the second passenger sits on the same level or slightly higher than the front passenger, so riding low to the ground isn’t a problem. But what happens if the front seat is reclined? Does it limit back passenger’s space a lot? That’s something to consider.
5. Will this double stroller fit in my car?
Double strollers can take up a lot of space in vehicles. If it’s a tight fit or you have to fold down the rear seats to make room for your double stroller, you’re better off with a double stroller that’s super compact. That was another plus for the Britax B-Agile Double for the Karelis family. “It fits nicely in the trunk of our mid-size SUV and our sedan,” Kim says.
6. What’s the fold like?
An easy fold makes all the difference. That’s why it’s a good idea to fold and unfold contender double strollers in the store, even if you ultimately decide to buy online.
7. Can I skip this purchase?
If you’re older child will be around age 5 when your baby is born, you may be able to get away with skipping buying a double stroller and just making your single stroller do double duty with a stroller stand or stroller seat, such as the:
Bugaboo Comfort Wheeled Board: You can add this toddler seat to any Bugaboo stroller.
Lascal BuggyBoard Maxi Ride-On Stroller Board: You can add a Lascal BuggyBoard Saddle to most any stroller (sold separately). Fun fact: 99% of all strollers are BuggyBoard compatible, according to Lascal.
But…counting on a single stroller + stroller board for younger kids can be wishful thinking, especially if they’ll be standing for even short periods of time, which can seem like forever to them.
On a recent vacation, “My 3 year old daughter pooped out after 15 minutes of standing,” Karelis says. She was walking with baby Alexis in the single stroller with Arianna standing on the strollerboard, which seemed like a good idea. “But I ended up trying to hold Arianna and stroll the stroller, which was a disaster.” But, depending on your situation, just buying a stroller board and making your single stroller do double duty might be worth a shot.