Umbrella Strollers are the best choice for many parents and are the most purchased among all types. These are typically a sub-type of Lightweight Strollers with a handful of most required features. Many parents consider getting them as a secondary stroller even if they own a complete Travel System or a Standard Stroller. They are Ultra-portable and the amount of Storage Space required to stock an these, are the lowest when compared to any other model. Umbrella’s are most economical with minimal starting price.
They can get stowed in very small places and occupy very less space in your trunk or home storage space. If you are on a short walk or in a shopping mall in the shopping spree, they provide you comfort with their super maneuverability. Got a small car, no problem, their compact fold gives you a peace of mind when taking with you in your car. They typically fold vertically just like an umbrella and that’s how they got their name.
If you are a frequent traveler or the one who are on the move most of the time, Umbrella Strollers are the best choice to consider. They are extremely light weight and are very easy to carry. Beware, it can get uncomfortable for your kid if the ride is for longer period. While they may not come with most fancy and all the features, let’s see what are the most important factors and features to be considered.
These strollers can be used and suggested for kids who are at least 6 months or have ability to sit straight on their own and should not be considered for infants.
Adjustable Handles : Handles are generally separated but not always and not for all models though. Height of both the handles are typically fixed but fewer models provide an adjustable handles. While most of them are padded/cushioned to provide ergonomic and non slippery surface, a few of them lack this particular feature.
Handlebar with separated handles
Seat: In spite of the fact that these type of strollers are not typically recommended for infants, it is advisable to make sure that maximum reclining options are available. Most of these may not have best reclining options. Make of the seat is preferably a polyester to help ease the maintenance and help for an easy wash. Premium models do provide a decent padding for the seats. Major manufacturers do provide an adjustable foot rest which can help your baby for a quick nap. Recent models like ‘Baby Jogger Vue Lite’ are available with a Reversible Seat which can allow your baby face either sides, unlike traditional umbrella strollers which had only forward facing seats.
MountainBuggy 2016 with Adjustable Footrest
Height: While this is not a most prominent factor for other types of strollers, we do encourage you to look for this specifically. Since this could be the last stroller that your child is going to use, it is generally going to be with you for more time. Having a decent height (from seat base to the canopy) helps in being able to use them for longer period and for taller kids as they grow.
Weight: Since these are the best alternatives and picks during a travel, weight of the stroller does plays a vital role in finalizing the search. While looking for the light weight to enable easy carrying, one should not opt out the quality fact. They are generally built using aluminum frames to tackle the weight & the lowest weight you could expect, starts from 7.4lbs (Maclaren Mark II)
Leg Rest: Many models come with leg rest that can used by your baby during the regular strolling. They help kids in not tangling the feet down (which could also lead to tipping of the stroller) and make the ride more comfortable. These rests are yet times available with hard rubber or plastic which is easy to wash or wipe off.
Harness: Just like any other stroller, it is most important to look for 5-point harness system. Since these are not used as a regular stroller and not for a very young baby, even a 3-point harness system is as well OK. Few of the premium models do provide a padding along with the seat to the Harness as well.
Maneuverability(Wheels & Tires) : Umbrella Strollers are mostly used as regular shopping or walking strollers, so it is utmost important to look for the best & easy maneuverability. Few of them have ability to lock the front swivel wheels to avoid the wobbling during a regular evening walk and unlock during a shopping spree to ease the maneuverability. Most of the tires come with plastic made, so watching out for thicker plastic would help for longer lifetime.
Brakes : An independently working brake system provided back of both the rear wheels help a better control during a walk or shopping. Premium models do provide a linked brake (a connection between both the wheels to help easy brake applying avoiding one of the wheels to tip off). However, this is not common in many models.
Canopy: Canopies play a major role while considering an Umbrella Stroller, if you are really choosing this for an evening walk. While most of the Umbrellas do come with a canopy, ‘GB Pockit’ have a very minimal or no canopy. But many companies/models now offer canopies that are even adjustable and flexible. Eg: Graco’s ‘Breeze Click Connect’ comes with an extra large Canopy to provided all weather protection. Few of the models do come with a detachable canopies. Strollers like ‘Summer Infant 3D Lite’ are available with Sunvisor attached canopies.
Folding: The best abilities/features available in these types is the One Hand/Easy Folding. One of the key reasons, why they are called ‘Umbrella‘ is that they fold like an Umbrella very easily and to the most compact size. Latest models provide this compact folding but in much other different fashions. They are easy to carry even on a plane. These strollers come with a single (leg) tap unfolding and gets easily folded with just a tap/pull with single leg & push down with one hand. Premium models do provide a one hand fold mechanism.
Other Features: While these are not most commonly available features, certain Umbrella Strollers like ‘Graco Breaze Click Connect‘ do provide a cup holder, Quinny Yezz provides a carrying strap & a Storage pocket instead of a storage basket like regular strollers, ‘Maclaren Globetrotter‘ comes with a mesh seat where as ‘Uppa Baby GLite‘ provides a mesh sling seat to have good ventilation for the baby, comes with a transparent complete rain cover.
Though they are very light weighted, economical and easily maneuverable, they are helpful during regular errands and not to be considered as an alternative for regular strollers which can be used for longer rides/travels. There are certain things that you may need to consider while choosing Umbrella Strollers Vs other strollers. They generally lack many features or detailed features available in a Lightweight / Standard Strollers like, Car Seat connectivity, Ample/Decent Storage space, One hand control, Smoother ride or control for tall parents, Multi level reclining options, etc., So, be sure to pick the one best suites your needs.
Now that you are aware of the key features available in a typical Umbrella Stroller, see our list of ‘Best Umbrella Strollers‘ to know detailed reviews and recommendations.