Both of my sons are under 4, so I appreciate the need for a good compact stroller—especially when I’m on the go. For this piece, I tested 21 lightweight models that were suitable as travel strollers, as everyday all-purpose strollers, or that could be used for trips around town (since no one is traveling that much these days). The goal was to find the best overall compact stroller: one that was lightweight, that had some storage capability, and that still had extras, like substantial canopy cover, decent storage space, and a reasonable recline. The strollers I tested ranged in price between $30 and $500, with the majority falling somewhere around the $200 mark.
The overall winner, the Joovy Kooper(available at Amazon for $299.99), is a modest stroller that falls in line with the criteria I was looking for: It’s reasonably light, packs up to nearly nothing when folded, has good storage capacity, is car seat-compatible with 35 models of car seats, comes with some functional extras, and folds with one hand. A great travel stroller, many parents will find that the Kooper is actually a perfect stand-in for an everyday stroller, too.
For a more affordable option, we also liked the Graco Nimblelite. It provides more features than some of the more expensive lightweight strollers we tested, and strolls easily.
Here are the best Lightweight and Umbrella Strollers we tested, ranked in order:
Baby Jogger City Tour 2
Colugo Compact Stroller
Contours Bitsy Elite
Mountain Buggy Nano
J is for Jeep Northstar
Jeep Destination Double
Summer Infant 3D lite
Zoe The Twin+
EvenFlo Minno Twin
MacLaren Mark II
The Joovy is equal parts luxury and economical compact. Some of the extras, like the snack tray, aren’t necessary—but you will be thankful that they are included anyway. Tiny when folded, you can store this stroller just about anywhere in your home (or car) without thinking twice. It can accommodate a car seat, has added storage in the back in the form of a zippered pouch for wallets and keys, and has a reclining seat for kids in need of a nap. It checks all of the boxes, and then some, making it a great choice for almost everyone. The Kooper falls square in the middle of the compact stroller price point, making it a good investment.
I was surprised by how much I liked this humble stroller, which clocks in under $100. There is light assembly involved, but it takes less than a half-hour to complete. The result is an adaptable stroller that is useful for both infants and toddlers, and that comes with extras that are purposeful. The stroller can accommodate a car seat, has parent and child cup holders, folds easily, and can fit a fair amount of items in the storage basket. This is not necessarily an upmarket choice, but it’s a reliable stroller that feels solid and safe.
Hi, I’m Hannah Selinger. I’m a freelance writer and I live in East Hampton with my family—which includes two children under 4. My reviews include my own life with two young children, and are informed by my own experiences with single and double strollers. I can’t tell you whether or not there is a perfect stroller on the market (and a lot of friends have asked me this question, as I have embarked on this quest for perfection), but I can tell you that the best baby item I can recommend to a first-time parent is definitely a cordless vacuum cleaner.
I have owned five or six strollers since having children, from joggers to ultra compacts to stick strollers to side-by-side doubles to convertible singles with rumble seats. I know the mistakes I’ve made and the things I would do differently, all of which is now in my bank of information, which I can draw from anytime a parent asks me what they should do. The first thing I did in this testing procedure was make a list of the strollers I was interested in sampling, based on my own experience with strollers, as well as the strollers we initially tested in our previous round of testing in 2018. Then, I had strollers sent, en masse, to my house.
And I mean truly mean en masse. At one point, 21 strollers languished in the basement—and those were just the ones sent by distributors. Never mind the ones I already owned. I opened each box, assembled the strollers, strapped each kid in, rode them around the living room, took pictures, took them on rides around the neighborhood, and then entered data into the testing scoresheet. Finally, I took them down to my basement, while my husband seethed and asked me when—if ever—I would be done with Project Strollergate. (For the last part of the procedural test I attempted to put them on a high basement shelf.) My final assessment was based on assembly, weight, size, how easily the stroller folded, maneuverability, and a few other statistical factors.
What You Should Know About Lightweight Strollers
You May Still Want a Second Stroller
Umbrella models are great for travel or in a pinch, but they don't make great primary strollers for most people. The biggest reason is they typically do not accept infant car seats the way a standard stroller will, which means they aren't useful until your baby is closer to 6 or 7 months and can sit on their own safely.
You can get around this by getting one of the few umbrella models that do accept infant car seats (and buying a compatible one), or picking up something like the Baby Trend Snap N Go which is a "caddy" that basically turns a compatible infant car seat into a stroller. Once your baby grows out of the infant car seat and can sit up safely, just use the lightweight model as normal.
Umbrella Models Often Lack Storage
Though our top pick offers a decent amount of storage, umbrella models often have little or no storage at all. We note this for all models where it's relevant in this guide, but if you get one without enough storage you're going to have to game plan what you do and don't bring with you.
Umbrella Strollers Fold Up More Compactly
Our top pick for this guide is not exactly an umbrella model, because it collapses into a square, rather than long and skinny (like an umbrella). In reality, there's very little difference between the two. The Joovy Kooper is just as light as most umbrella models, it has more storage, it's more maneuverable, it's much easier to fold, and it travels exceptionally well.
There are Different Types of Strollers
Here's a basic primer on the differences between types of strollers:
Standard stroller: This covers most strollers, and our top picks are found in our guide to the Best Strollers overall. They are average in size, typically weigh 20 lbs or more, and hold one child from about 6 months until he or she is about 50 lbs.
Double stroller: Double strollers, like the name suggests, hold two kids at once. Some models convert from a single to a double with the addition of a second seat and an adapter. Some doubles have seats side-by-side, while others have seats that are aligned vertically, all of which we tested to find the Best Double Strollers. Side-by-side models are less maneuverable in tight spaces but it's easier to get kids in and out, and you have more storage space typically.
Jogging stroller: These models typically have large wheels, often filled with air (like bike tires) and locking front wheels. They're designed for safely running with a child (or two children) in a seat. Locking the front wheel is essential because it helps prevent tip-overs if the front wheel were to hit a snag while you're running at full speed. Though Baby Jogger makes a jogging stroller (the Summit X3), it's worth noting most Baby Jogger strollers are not designed for jogging.
Lightweight/Umbrella stroller: Though new designs mean that many standard strollers are only barely heavier than these models, umbrella strollers typically weigh 15 pounds or less and fold up compactly into a long, narrow shape (like an umbrella). These models are great for travel, or if you have an older child who doesn't need a stroller all the time. All the models in this guide are umbrella/lightweight strollers.
Other Lightweight and Umbrella Strollers We Tested
Baby Jogger City Tour 2 Single
A traveler’s stroller in every sense of the word, the Baby Jogger CityTour2 can convert from newborn to infant to toddler with just a few simple steps. Many of the accessories—like the belly bar, car seat adapter, and rain shield—are extra, so you can customize this stroller to fit your own needs. Baby Jogger strollers always set themselves apart with their one-handed fold, and the CityTour2 is no exception. This stroller is all-around useful, and a good fit for a family that is regularly on-the-go.
This stroller probably would have edged into the top three, were it not for some issues with assembly; the stroller arrives only partially assembled, with parents left to put the upholstery on for themselves. Apart from that snafu, though, the Colugo is a terrific compact with loads of extras: a carrying strap, travel backpack, raincover, surprisingly ample storage basket, and one-handed fold. At almost $300, however, it falls into a higher price point of the strollers I tested, and I didn't necessarily feel that it was worth the extra money.
Comes with strap and bag
Very difficult to assemble
Contours Bitsy Elite
One major draw to this stroller is that it is compatible with 35 different types of car seats—without any adapters. There are no real bells and whistles here. It is mostly just the stroller you’re getting: a true compact, with a one-handed fold. But this is a good value for the price point, at just under $200, and a convenient stroller that isn’t a hassle to use.
A sleek and modern-looking stroller that takes up just a little more space than a traditional compact (knocking it down just a tiny bit on our list), the Chit Chat has a convenient handle at the top for carrying, as well as a strap. The storage basket is spacious enough, and the safety features—including a five-point harness—feel really rigorous.
Atom is the perfect name for this perfectly atomic stroller, which weighs in at just over 11 pounds. The Atom is part of a MacLaren system, which is compatible with a car seat and which is designed to break down to practically nothing. The stroller can fit in the overhead compartment of an airplane, according to the company. Storage is minimal, but it comes with a storage bag and raincover and is a solid all-purpose compact for anyone looking for a stroller that can grow with their family. The Atom lost points, however, due to its high price point.
If you are in the market for a truly miniscule stroller, the GB Pockit is probably the smallest you will find. Billed as small enough to fit in a diaper bag (debatable, depending on how big your diaper bag is), the Pockit really is small. It might be a little too small, depending on how you look at it. The canopy provides nearly no coverage, and the storage is almost nonexistent. That being said, for regular travelers who don’t need anything beyond the brass tacks, this is an excellent backup plan, as long as you don’t mind paying the high price for it ; this stroller costs over $150, and it’s definitely not an everyday solution.
This 13-pound stroller comes with its own carrying strap and can be combined with a newborn bassinet or car seat. It comes with a custom satchel for traveling convenience. And adapters are all included, which is one fewer thing you will ultimately have to buy. This is a straightforward stroller at an approachable price point.
A rigorous stroller with an adjustable footrest, belly bar, deep recline, and great canopy coverage, this stroller is another good pick for those in need of an all-purpose stroller that is also a compact. The storage basket is on the smaller side, though, and this stroller is not compatible with a car seat, so this is more appropriate for parents with children who are big enough to sit in a stroller unassisted. The price point, $200, is reasonable for the sturdiness of this stroller.
Like the GB Pockit, the NorthStar is a subset of the compact category: a mini compact. This is a stroller that is most appropriate for regular travelers who need something very, very small. Tiny wheels make this stroller best for city use, as they don't provide a very smooth ride on bumpy terrain. You cannot store much in the storage basket, so be prepared to carry your own diaper bag. The small sun canopy will not do much to fend off the sun’s rays, so bring your own sunscreen. But for the cost of the stroller, it’s worth considering keeping this pocket-sized stroller as a backup.
With sleek design, decent storage, and good safety features, the BabyZen YoYo is a good pick for parents looking for an entire safety system. It is also on the upper end of the compact budget, and weighs in at over 16 pounds, which is among the heaviest of the compact strollers. It does come with a carrying strap and bag, and arrives mostly assembled, but in this category, there are a lot of other strollers that over perform for less money.
Jeep Destination Side x Side Double Ultralight by Delta Children
In the double stroller category, this side-by-side stroller was the winner, due, in no small part, to a host of fun extras and a reasonable price point. This stroller comes with a carrying strap, foot rests, reclining seats, dual swivel bars, full-coverage sun visors, five-point safety harnesses, and ample storage space for all your needs. Footrests are adjustable to help facilitate napping on the go, and good-sized tires make it easy to ride on most surfaces. But, like most side-by-side double strollers, it’s bulky, and much heavier than the other compacts I tested.
An affordable stick-style “umbrella” stroller, the Summer 3D Lite had pretty much everything I needed in a basic stroller, and then some: It came with cup holders, an extra storage pouch in the back, and a decent recline. While this was one our favorite lightweight strollers in our initial round of testing, we found that it didn't stack up against some of the newer models. Like all stick strollers, this is a harder stroller to store, but the tradeoff is definitely the price : just $60. This 13-pound stroller is inexpensive and easy to deal with—if you have the space for it.
The Zoe XL2 bills itself as a lightweight stroller—and it is, for a double. As a side-by-side, though, you may find yourself struggling with many of the same space constraints as other double strollers. Some nice perks to this model include one-step brakes, one-handed reclining close, and snack holders, and cup holders for children and parents. The wheels are on the small side, though, and with two kids, this stroller can be challenging to move around on some surfaces. For a double stroller, however, the Zoe is moderately priced, and you do get a lot for the money.
The obvious bonus to the Kolcraft Cloud is the price. Of the strollers I tested, this was the most affordable. The assembly of this stroller, however, is a nightmare. This stroller was the most difficult and frustrating to assemble, and that factor weighed heavily in testing. The storage, though, is ample, and the stroller comes with a snack tray. For an economical stroller it does the trick. But buyers beware: It takes a long time to put this together.
The most affordable double stroller I tested the EvenFlo Minno is a double umbrella stroller that stores like a stick stroller. This is a great stroller for the basics: Getting around is easy enough, and it has plenty of storage space, a good recline, and good awning shade. But you need two hands to close this stroller, and storage is a considerable issue, since this stroller, when collapsed, is long. At 25 pounds, it’s also heavy, and difficult to get onto a high shelf.
One major selling point of the entire UppaBaby line is storage space, and the Minu—the brand’s compact stroller—is no exception. Of the single strollers I tested, this one has the most storage space, hands down. It also has some other nice perks, like a carrying strap, full-coverage canopy, and car seat compatibility. But of all the strollers in the true compact category, the Minu was difficult to assemble, heavy, and hard to collapse, earning it a place farther down on this list. It’s also in the luxury price point , at nearly $400.
A stick stroller with no real bells and whistles (although the stick stroller I tested was the shark design, with a shark’s face emblazoned on the awning—fun for kids and adults alike), this is a functional stroller, at a high price point. It is harder to store traditional umbrella strollers, and new-to-the-market strollers are now foldable and compact, which is why stick strollers appear lower on this list. But one great thing about the Mark, as opposed to other stick versions I tested: It’s only 7 pounds.
UppaBaby’s version of the traditional stick stroller is the G-Luxe, and, like most of their strollers, it comes in at a higher price point. There are some nice extras included with this stroller, like a cup holder, a large sunshade, a deep recline, and a large basket. But the stroller also weighs an astounding 15 pounds, and, as a stick stroller, is harder to store—both in the trunk of a car and in the home, making this a less practical purchase.
A stroller that will work for both short and tall parents alike (the height is adjustable), the Ant is most expensive compact stroller I tested. Although some things about the Ant are great—its compact size, its car seat compatibility, its weight—this is also a frustrating stroller. It arrives unassembled, and assembly is not intuitive. The manual is difficult to understand and follow. There is minimal storage space. Overall, for the price point, this should check more boxes than it does.
Hannah Selinger writes about parenting, politics, food, wine, travel, real estate, and more. A graduate of Columbia University, Emerson College’s Master of Fine Arts program, and the French Culinary Institute, Hannah now lives in East Hampton, New York with her husband, two sons, two dogs, and two tortoises. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Cut, Slate, Eater, CNN Travel, Wine Enthusiast, and more.
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