Sunday, October 11, 2009

My take on 7 strollers ...

Well ... after WEEKS AND WEEKS of research ... online, calling manufacturers (literally), and visiting various retailers that carry these strollers ... I finally came to a decision ... but first, let me tell you a little about the contenders (NOTE: THE INFORMATION PRESENTED IS NOT EXHAUSTIVE ... JUST A FEW OF MY THOUGHTS ... THUS, THERE WILL CLEARLY BE PROS AND CONS THAT HAVE NOT BEEN ADDRESSED - may have been viewed as less relevant to my decision making process):

1) Bugaboo (tried them out at Lazar's Juvenile Furniture in Lincolnwood, IL right outside of Chicago)
a) Cameleon ($979)
b) Frog ($759)
Obviously, the Cameleon is the VIP version of the two ... they look exactly the same but what does the Cameleon have that the frog doesn't have?
  • The Bugaboo Frog does not feature:
  • A height-adjustable handlebar
  • Adjustable suspension
  • The Bugaboo Frog has a smaller under seat basket for storage
  • The Cameleon also allows you to change the fabric color of the stroller ... uh ... okay
The good thing about the bugaboo is that there are available adapters for infant car seats:
  • Graco car seat adapters work with SnugRide and SafeSeat (Step 1) Infant Seats
  • Maxi Cosi adapters work with the Mico Infant Seat
  • Peg Perego adapters work with the Primo Viaggio and Primo Viaggio SIP made in 2007 and later
Both models are also rear and forward facing ... that's a great thing!

Now, as for why ultimately, (baby is moving :D) I chose against the bugaboo ...
  • both models fold into two pieces - the frame and the seat/bassinet
  • the rear tires are air filled ... wasn't interested in filling any stroller tires
  • didn't have as much undercarriage storage space as the stroller that I ultimately chose in the end
  • does have a toddler board but I'm thinking that after a while, a 2 year old might grow tired of standing and riding on a board
Honestly, I was really leaning toward the bugaboo (frog) and it came down to the little stuff ...

2) Orbit (tried it out at the Land of Nod) - let's take a look:
  • The orbit infant system also known as their "new parent starter kit" runs $900 and comes complete with stroller frame, car seat base, and the infant car seat - NO OTHER INFANT SEAT WILL FIT ON THE FRAME ... AND IF YOU PLAN ON HAVING MORE CHILDREN, THE INFANT CAR SEAT WILL NOT FIT ON ANY OTHER FRAME ... I hope that wasn't confusing ... you might have to read over that again ...
  • As your baby grows, you must purchase the toddler stroller seat for $220 ... the catch here is that you still need a car seat for your growing baby ... that's another purchase
  • That brings us to the toddler car seat which will run you about $360 - I will say that the toddler car seat will easily dock into the stroller frame ... of course you don't have to purchase their version of the seat but it does make it convenient to be able to doc the toddler car seat right onto the frame.
  • Finally, there is no available "toddler" seat available that will doc onto the frame ... so you can't carry more than one child at a time ... we plan on trying for another child pretty soon after our first and so it was important to us to find a stroller that would allow for a second child to ride

3) Peg Perego Skate ($900 ... but you can certainly find them on sale for about $500 - I tried it out at Lazar's Juvenile Furniture in Lincolnwood, IL right outside of Chicago): awesome!
  • Converts quickly from the carriage (great for long walks in the park or around the neighborhood) to the stroller- once piece conversion - no additional bassinet component
  • Seat can be reversed to face either direction
  • Travel System-compatible-the Primo Viaggio SIP 30/30 car seat attaches easily to the frame using adapters (included)
  • Multiple height adjustments
  • Unique "Tilt-in-Space" comfort plus adjustable backrest
  • Elastic net basket with bungee cord straps to secure items
  • Easy to open and close
  • Stands upright when closed
  • Wheels designed with ball bearings and shock-absorbing springs
  • accommodates 45 pounds
It was "the one" for a long while ... then I found out the following:
  • Car seat adapters included for Peg Perego car seat (sold separately) - but I didn't want a Peg Perego car seat
  • Rear wheels are pneumatic (air pump included)- again, not interested in putting air in stroller tires
  • No toddler attachment available - when I contacted them directly, they indicated that it is "on it's way to consumers"
  • After trying it out ... it's PRETTY heavy ... getting it in and out of a car constantly might be a bit challenging ... this seems to be one of the biggest criticisms ... 33.7 pounds - I've heard that every pound counts

4) Phil and Teds Vibe ($699 - tried it out at The Land of Nod):
  • I really loved this one because I've seen it around town a lot and I really appreciate the "two kid" adaptability - BUT THE EXTRA SEAT IS REALLY TIGHT (small)
  • the stroller easily adapts to an infant and a toddler
  • using the doubles kit (to accommodate both infant and toddler w/attachment), the stroller folds without having to remove the extra seat (cool)
  • full seat recline so that your infant can lie flat
  • Infant car seat accommodation
  • folds really compactly
  • 22 pounds (as a stroller for one child)
  • accommodates 55 pounds
Why I chose against it:
  • again with the air tires
  • I've heard consistently that the shocks are "pretty bad" though it's sold as an "all terrain" stroller
  • but the biggest issue for me was that your kids face away from you
  • and honestly, I kinda wanted a bassinet

5) Quinny Buzz stroller (3 wheel = $579 vs. 4 wheel = $629.99) (as low as $279 for the 3 wheel edition in certain colors)
  • Forward and rear facing
  • will accommodate the Maxi Cosi Infant Car seat
  • Bassinet available for long walks (extra charge)
  • accommodates a child up to 50 pounds
  • weighs 27 pounds
Why I ultimately chose against it:
  • he biggest issue for me personally was the lack of accommodation for a second child ... that was pretty much a deal breaker for me
  • Only accommodates the Maxi Cosi Infant Car seat ... that's not the one I wanted to invest in

6) Teutonia
: honestly, love the fact that you can "build" the stroller to your specifications but it seemed too complicated ... I wasn't interested in going through the process of making all of those decisions ... so I didn't get beyond, "cute, you can choose your fabric combinations" - as for the price ... varies depending on your choices of wheels, fabric, type of seat, etc.

7) THE ONE I ULTIMATELY CHOSE ... THE UPPABABY VISTA (2010 - I like the changes that have been made on newest edition) ($669)
  • round foam and rubber wheels for the perfect smooth ride - no air tires (high performance extra wide wheels - not too wide to make getting around tight spaces problematic)
  • the rubber-coated chrome finish tires never go flat
  • one touch brake to brake the stroller and one touch to unbrake
  • the seat for the child is really roomy ... actually 1.5 inches taller (torso) and which means more time that you will be able to use this stroller as your child grows
  • Includes both bassinet and seat—completely interchangeable -
  • the bassinet has great sun protection on it and a great waterproof latex mattress
  • the bassinet is fully lined with organic soybean fiber and cotton
  • there's also great padding for a smooth ride in the seat for your child
  • Also accommodates two children comfortably - woohoo (known as the "rumble seat")
  • Also available is an infant car seat (CHICCO, GRACO, PEG PEREGO)
  • Easy one-step fold—with or without the seat attached
  • Stands upright on it's own when folded
  • Forward facing OR rear facing
  • 4-wheel shock absorbing suspension
  • even has an elevated seat/bassinet height brings you closer to your child
  • Full-size easy-access basket and convenient cell phone pocket - really the basket is the largest that I've seen
  • accommodates up to 50 pounds
  • Frame and seat 24 pounds

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