If you are buying a jogging stroller for the first time, or haven’t purchased one in years, you may feel like the task is a little daunting. Or even worse, you may be one of those people who think all jogging strollers are alike, so you just “pick” one. The truth is that not all jogging strollers are alike and selecting one is not as hard as you might think. In fact, it’s fairly simple if you know some of the facts about the stroller. The goal of this guide is to help you make an informed decision and help you pick the best jogging stroller for you and your baby.
Finding the right stroller for you depends a lot on your lifestyle and your budget, so those are the first items you should consider. The rest of your selection criteria should be based on quality, safety, and ease of use.
This jogging stroller buying guide is here for you to use it as a checklist while researching the stroller that is best for you. It will take the guesswork out of your research and make what would have been a hard task, something educational and fun.
You may be thinking that color is just a personal preference but that is not the case. There are reasons why some colors are better than others that you might not have thought about. Light colors absorb less heat whereas darker shades absorb more heat. So if you live in a hot climate you don’t want to select a dark color for your stroller. If baby is too hot your outing may be cut short.
There is also the question of visibility for those who like to jog at night. The light color is much easier to see. If you jog only an hour or so, the color really won’t make that much difference. But, if you do choose a dark color stroller be sure and put some kind of reflector tape on it when jogging at night.
Adjustable handles are very important when buying a jogging stroller, especially if you are not the only one that will be using it. Jogging with a stroller that isn’t the right height for you can cause severe back and shoulder pain. Jogging is supposed to get you in shape, not cause other medical conditions.
Be sure and look for adjustable handles before purchasing. If you are wondering what is a good height for the handles you can figure it this way. The handlebar height is the distance from your elbow to the ground when standing straight. To get the most comfortable fit simply stand straight and grip the handlebar.
Now look at your forearm. If it’s parallel to the ground you are at a comfortable handlebar height and your position is ergonomically correct. If your forearm is not straight your stroller is not set at the proper height.
Strollers with adjustable handles may be a little harder to fold up but it’s worth the extra time and trouble.
Depending on the brand you choose the weight limit will probably be 40 to 75 pounds. For double strollers it is usually 100 pounds. The weight limit includes anything you are carrying in the storage compartments as well as your child. Never hang anything off the stroller handlebar. This does not add anything to weight capacity and it is dangerous because it could cause the stroller to tip over.
If you start with a great jogging travel system from the time your child is little it will last you through many of their toddler years. Please remember to not start jogging with your child until that are at least six months old.
There are three sets of dimensions you need to keep in mind when shopping. They are internal dimensions, external dimensions, and the folded dimensions. Measure your doorways at home and also the trunk of your car, or the space in your vehicle where the folded unit will be carried. The internal dimensions are for the comfort of your child, so depending on their size and potential growth you want to purchase accordingly.
Measure other things like the back seat as well because the seats vary from 18 to 23 inches in height.
Also note that due to the dimensions of a double stroller be sure the front swivel wheels are pointing the same direction before attempting to go through a doorway.
All jogging strollers come with a canopy today, but many are not sufficient enough to make good shade for your child. If the stroller you like has a bad canopy it should be a deal-breaker for you. To solve this problem make sure the canopy is large and it has adjustable positions. A good canopy will shade your child’s face no matter what position the sun is in. They should also have some holes in the sides for venting as well. A canopy to protect from the wind and sun rays is good but you should also have a rain shield. This will fit over the entire stroller to keep your child dry. These rain shields do not usually come with the stroller and will have to be purchased separately.
Some strollers now have what is called the peek-a-boo window on their canopies and the children seem to love them. The canopy has a sun roof or side windows where you can lift the flap and check on your child.
Note: For double strollers make sure you can adjust each canopy separately. One child may be laying down sleeping and the other up and alert, so separate adjustments is a necessity.
All jogging strollers have a parking break but you can also purchase a stroller that has a hand brake, for more added safety. Engaging the parking brake is a good idea even if you are just stopping for a minute. With a jogging stroller it is easy for the stroller to “get away” from you if you are not careful.
To make sure this doesn’t happen be sure and get a stroller with the hand brake and also use a wrist tether. Wearing a wrist tether is another way of protecting your child from a run-away stroller, or someone trying to steal your stroller. And the nice thing about a wrist tether is you still have a lifeline if the brake should malfunction.
Always using the harness is critical so don’t skip this step. There are strollers with a 3-point harness and a 5-point harness. Both are good, but why not go the extra mile, and get the 5-point harness and feel completely sure baby is safe. The 5-point harness is made with two straps for the shoulders, two at the hips, and one at the crotch. Your child can’t slip down into an uncomfortable position while you are jogging if you use the 5-point harness.
However, if you are going to strap your child into a 5-point harness please make sure it’s comfortable. The harness should be made of soft material or even be padded a little bit as well. Make sure it is on correctly and not rubbing against baby where it could possibly rub places raw.
There is a lot to be said about the proper wheels and tires for a jogging stroller. First you should understand the purpose of the straight and swivel wheel in the front of the stroller. Some jogging strollers come with only a fixed wheel and others come with a front swivel wheel. The swivel wheel also has a locking mechanism that allows you to lock it in a straight position.
Jogging should always be done with your front wheel locked in the straight position for safety. So why have a swivel wheel in the first place? The swivel wheel is popular because many owners love the flexibility of being able to unlock it for easy maneuvering through doorways, elevators, etc. Either type of front wheel will work so this option is just personal preference.
What about the size of the tires? Jogging strollers usually have much larger tires than you see on a regular baby stroller, and for good reason. Large tires help to make the ride seem more like a “glide” when jogging. You will even find jogging strollers with extra shock absorbers and suspension if you are willing to pay for it. The larger tires are made for traveling over any type of terrain without bouncing baby through the canopy roof.
To make traveling even smoother for baby consider the terrain you travel the most. If you are jogging through city streets or sidewalks the slick wheels will work just fine. However, if you are jogging most of the time through city parks, gravel roads, or out in the country, you need to get the tires that are knobby for more traction and a better ride.
Quick-release tires come on many jogging strollers and you should consider your storage area when considering this option. Jogging strollers fold down well, but if you are short on space you can just pop the wheels off and the stroller becomes a lot more manageable for storage.
- 12” wheels are best for pavement and sidewalks in places like the mall or other shopping.
- 16” wheels are the very best when walking fast or jogging whether it be sidewalks or off road terrain.
- 20” wheels make it easy to get over curbs, bumps, cracks and even sand. Just remember a tire this size will be harder to fold down and get in your vehicle.
It is important to select a frame that is lightweight, yet strong and durable. The frame is what decides much of the child’s safety and the ability to carry loads. It also is what determines the shape and looks of the stroller. The best stroller frame is one that is welded at the joints, with no room to pinch hands or feel that could possibly slip through. Check the stroller frame for plastic fittings and to see if there are any sharp areas on the metal by running your hand over it lightly. Just remember that welded joints hold up better than those with metal tubes or plastic joints holding the frame together.
Tandem or Side by Side
Many parents have two small children that need to ride in a stroller at the same time, such as twins, or toddlers that are close in age. In a case like this a double jogging stroller is needed. There are two types of double strollers available and they are the tandem and side by side styles.
Side by side is self-explanatory and each child has a clear view of what is in front. The downside is they are wider and harder to maneuver. The advantage to a side by side is that the folding is a lot easier. A Tandem stroller is where one seat sits behind the other. This slim line stroller is great for jogging however one child does not get a view of much besides the back of their sibling’s head!
Although the quick one-hand folding technology is not a necessity it is one that you should have. There are many people that struggle to get a stroller folded down enough to get in the car, but with the quick-fold technology you can easily do this with one hand. This leaves your other hand free to hold your child if there is no place to lay them down.
This technology allows you to fold the stroller with a quick snap of your hand and it so simple a child could almost do it.
There are always plenty of things you have to take on outings when it comes to your baby, not to mention your personal ID, money, etc. This means that buying a jogging stroller with extra storage room is important. The largest storage area is always under the seat so select a stroller that has a large compartment for your valuables. Also look for a parent tray to hold your drink, snacks, and other accessories you want to keep at your fingertips.
Some strollers even have behind the seat pouches. These are usually made with mesh so you can see what’s inside and easily just grab a towel, baby wipe, or whatever you need.
Accessories sometimes come on the strollers but when they don’t you usually have the option to purchase them separately. Before buying a stroller without all the accessories you want, check online to be sure the accessory you want is made for the stroller you have selected.
If you shop carefully you can find a quality jogging stroller that already has at least a child’s and parent’s tray included in the purchase.
Seats on jogging strollers usually recline, but not all recline to a flat position. Most jogging strollers will recline at least 50 to 70 percent, and for the majority of children this is a perfect angle for taking a nap. However many parents look for a stroller where the seat reclines completely flat because they feel it’s easier to take care of any diaper changes. Just remember that most times you will always have a place to change baby other than the stroller so don’t let the amount of recline be a deal breaker for you.
Maintenance is one thing that people don’t think about when purchasing a stroller but it can be a deciding factor as well. You should periodically check all the screws on the stroller as well as check the tires and fabric for damage. For the health of your child the fabric on the stroller should be dusted and washed with a damp cloth once in a while, as well as the frame.
If you purchased a frame made from steel instead of aluminum you will need to wipe any moisture off the frame each time you use it. If you don’t the steel frame can rust, ruining your stroller.
You should even carry a small wrench and screwdriver in one of the storage areas in case you have to make repairs on the spot.
This is the end of our Jogging stroller buying guide and we hope that you will find it not only useful but will share it with your friends and family. The safety of our children is the most important thing we can do for them, and getting a quality stroller that covers all safety aspects is a great first step!