Best Cheap Umbrella Strollers
Published on By Raechel Conover
The First Years Ignite Review
From $60 Best
Parents say the Ignite by The First Years is roomy and comfortable, even for a 5-year-old, while pushing is easy, even in crowded places. This umbrella stroller comes with some upmarket features (e.g., a semi-reclining seat) but sells for a budget price.
Several hundred four- and five-star ratings attach to The First Years Ignite reviews at Amazon. Among the many reasons reviewers rave about this low-cost umbrella stroller is its ability to comfortably accommodate older kids. One mother writes of testing it out on her 4-year-old, who weighed 39 pounds and stood 43 inches tall at the time, and found it was an easy fit. Other reasons cited include a combination of features, performance, and price. The First Years Ignite reviews mention factors such as taller-than-average handlebars that let parents stand upright while pushing and keep them from kicking the back while walking, the five-point harness that secures kids firmly in place, and the semi-reclining seat. At Walmart reviewers comment appreciatively on the lightweight design, saying it easily fits in tiny automobile trunks and folds up one-handed in seconds. It scores for maneuverability as well in The First Years Ignite reviews at Toys R Us, where users say steering is smooth and pushing unforced.
The few dings lobbed at this lightweight stroller include a small storage basket that's difficult to access, the very minimal recline, a sun canopy that doesn't adequately shield passengers, and an occasionally sticky folding-lock mechanism.
The First Years Ignite (starting at $60, Amazon) boasts features that are often associated with higher-end strollers, and posts indicate they are a strong attraction for buyers. The seat reclines at several angles (but does not lie flat); the front wheels swivel (a boon for steering); the five-point (over-the-shoulders) harness provides extra security; the sun shade is adjustable and removable; and a large pouch for parents garners dozens of thank-you's for its size and convenience. The stroller rolls on eight 6-inch wheels -- the front two sets swivel -- and stops with rear brakes; the front wheels can also be locked in position for straight-on navigation. This umbrella stroller opens and closes with one hand and holds kids up to 50 pounds; empty, it weighs 14.25 pounds. The First Years Ignite is backed by a one-year limited warranty.
For a tiny package, The First Years Ignite packs a big bang. The multiple recline, parent pouch, under-seat storage, swivel wheels, and high handlebars give it an up-market feel at a budget price. Overwhelmingly positive feedback from users is a compelling selling point.
Where to buy
Babies R Us Umbrella Stroller Review
From $20 Good
Both versions of this cheap umbrella stroller garner positive feedback for comfort, ease of use, and overall value. The pricier model comes with a parent pouch attached to the handles.
According to Babies R Us Umbrella Strollers reviews, most people who have bought either of the two models are fans. On the Babies R Us website reviews of the slightly richer (by $10) version commend the compact and light size, ease of use, comfort, and stability. Users highlight the safety features (e.g., sturdy harness, good brakes) and the convenience for travel and daily outings. Parents like being able to throw the stroller into the trunk, say it's very easy to push around (even for kids), and report that little passengers are content. Babies R Us Umbrella Strollers reviews for the more basic model stick with similar themes. Several reviewers, however, express a desire for an under-seat storage basket (absent from both models) and one says the front wheels struggle when confronted with obstacles in their path. The height of the handles is an issue for a couple of users who must lean over a bit while pushing despite standing no taller than 5 feet, 5 inches.
The Babies R Us Umbrella strollers (starting at $20 and $30) are the lightest of those we researched: 6.5 pounds for the $30 model and 7.6 pounds for the $20 model. Both versions are very simple strollers with rear brakes and a sun canopy; at the higher price you get a small parent pouch that's attached to the handles and a larger sun canopy that retracts. Each model holds children up to 35 pounds and carries a one-year manufacturer's warranty.
No frills, for sure, but for the price you can't beat it. This is a sturdy stroller that garners favorable user reviews. The light weight makes it super easy to maneuver, fold and lift, and as a second stroller or even one for daily chores, this is a good choice. Unfortunately, Babies R Us is the only vendor.
Where to buy
The First Years Jet Review
From $39 Good
Despite some gripes about kicking the back of this stroller while pushing, The First Years Jet receives high marks for easy maneuvering and comfort. It boasts the same features as the Ignite but is slightly smaller.
The First Years Jet reviews, by the hundreds, are complimentary about the ride, the design, and the low price of this umbrella stroller. Parents like the way it handles -- one The First Years Jet review at Diapers.com says it easily navigates bumps and curbs and others report it maneuvers and steers with aplomb during vacations and visits with relatives -- so much so that some have decided to make it their stroller of choice for everyday use. The First Years Jet reviews at Amazon often note its superiority over other models owing to the one-handed open and easy folding, semi-reclining seat, higher handles, and heavier weight capacity. Moreover, The First Years Jet reviews assert that kids travel in comfort.
And yet, some The First Years Jet reviews lay out a series of complaints, many reminiscent of those lodged against its sibling Ignite. For example, users grouse about a seat that reclines just a few inches, under-seat storage that's a hassle to use, and a visor that barely protects against the sun. Some adults, even a few who consider themselves short, say their feet hit the back when pushing the stroller.
Weighing in at 11.5 pounds, The First Years Jet (starting at $39, Amazon) can accommodate children up to 50 pounds. It features a five-point harness to secure little passengers firmly in place, an adjustable and removable sun canopy, a multi-position reclining seat, a one-handed fold mechanism, and rear brakes on the four sets of 6-inch double wheels. Extras include a parent organizer pouch on the handles and a small storage basket under the seat. It comes with a one-year limited warranty.
The First Years Jet is a smaller, less pricey alternative to the Ignite that includes many of the same desirable features. Given the solid show of user support for this model, there's little reason to hesitate if this is the price that fits your budget.
Where to buy
Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller Review
From $39 Think Twice
On paper the Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller seems to stack up with the best, but reviewers are disappointed. They report problems with durability and tight seating, and say a narrow wheel base means they kick the back while pushing.
Opinion about this budget buggy is divided, according to Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller reviews. On the plus side, Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller reviews at sites like Toys R Us and Walmart list performance attributes such as smooth rolling, responsive steering, quick set up and take down, and easy assembly. Reviewers also like its compact size and adjustable sun shade and are particularly taken with a seat pad that rolls up and away, providing what might be considered a spot of air conditioning for young passengers through the remaining mesh-like seat.
In the negative column, Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller reviews at these and other sites, including Amazon and Diapers.com list grievances that mostly pertain to the buggy's design: a narrow wheel base that's all too easy to kick while pushing; low handles that force adults to hunch over; a seat that doesn't recline and is too small and narrow for bigger/older kids; a small storage basket; and the absence of shoulder restraints, which enables riders to lean too far forward. Some Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller reviews also mention quality problems, such as stitching that unravels and renders safety straps useless, and generally limited longevity.
The Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller (starting at $39, Amazon) is relatively well appointed. It comes with under-seat storage, eight 6-inch all-terrain wheels (including two sets in the front that swivel), rear brakes, padded handles, and a cup holder for parents. It's equipped with a three-point safety harness, an adjustable sun canopy, a foot rest for riders, and the aforementioned roll-up seat pad. The stroller weighs 9.6 pounds and is rated for a carrying capacity of 40 pounds. It is JPMA certified and backed by a one-year warranty.
It's tempting to like this umbrella stroller with its cool, breathable seat fabric and fully adjustable sun shade, but users' critical comments are a strong deterrent. Other models we researched present far fewer annoyances.
There's no substitute for a cheap umbrella stroller for short trips to the mall or park, when riding public transportation or negotiating a crowded airport, or for stashing away at grandma's house as backup. The best of the bunch are several steps ahead of yesterday's versions, mostly in terms of performance and build quality and somewhat in the way of features. These days the concept of an umbrella stroller has become a little fuzzy, with many now referred to as lightweight strollers. And while prices have taken a predictable leap skyward -- with some edging close to the level of a travel system or jogging stroller -- good cheap umbrella strollers are readily available. We identified several under $60 that are comfortable for the child and user-friendly for the adult.
Cheap Umbrella Strollers Buying Guide
At the very top of our list sits the The First Years Ignite (starting at $60) for its comparatively rich feature set (semi-reclining seat, parent organizer, under-seat storage) and commendable comfort and ease of handling. Following close behind are The First Years Jet (starting at $39), a minor version of the Ignite that wins accolades, and two versions of the Babies R Us Umbrella Stroller (starting at $20 and $30), both prized for their value and convenience. Problems with design and performance push the Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller (starting at $39) into the territory of product disappointments. We also found a double umbrella stroller, the Delta LX Side by Side (starting at $92), that doesn't adhere to our cheap guidelines for single umbrella strollers but is an excellent buy on a compact and lightweight buggy with the twin configuration.
Parents and caregivers often round out their collections of child-related gear with umbrella strollers because they're lighter and far less bulky than traditional strollers, joggers, and travel systems. This type of wheeled conveyance folds into a form much like, you guessed it, an umbrella: long and thin with curved handles for carrying. Umbrella strollers fit most anywhere, be it a closet, car trunk, or down a crowded aisle, and they open and close with minimal effort. Most adults can easily carry one while holding a child and lift it in and out of a vehicle.
Umbrella strollers, particularly those in the budget zone, are not designed for long-distance pushing or riding over varied terrain. Indeed, the dividing line between higher-end and cheap umbrella strollers runs through comfort and convenience. Among the less expensive models you won't find any cushioning or snack/activity trays for little riders. There is minimal storage for child paraphernalia and parent necessities. Just a few cheap umbrella strollers have seats that recline, but most at least come with a canopy that's supposed to protect passengers from the sun. Only rarely do the wheels swivel or boast any shock-absorbing capabilities.Pricier models sport the type of features more commonly found in travel system strollers, such as suspension to cushion bumps, generous storage, multi-position reclining seats, and adjustable-height handles. The best cheap umbrella strollers are arguably just as well made but are comparatively simple and graced with only a couple of upmarket "extras." And while they may be short on frills, many families couldn't do without a cheap umbrella stroller by their side.
Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
The First Years Ignite Review
Weight 14.25 pounds
Capacity 50 pounds
Extras Parent pouch, under-seat storage basket
|60.00||5-point||14.25 pounds||50 pounds||Multi-position||Parent pouch, under-seat storage basket|
The First Years Jet Review
Weight 11.5 pounds
Capacity 50 pounds
Extras Parent pouch, under-seat storage basket
|39.00||5-point||11.5 pounds||50 pounds||Multi-position||Parent pouch, under-seat storage basket|
Babies R Us Umbrella Stroller Review
Weight 7.6 pounds; 6.5 pounds
Capacity 35 pounds
Extras Parent pouch ($30 version)
|20.00||3-point||7.6 pounds; 6.5 pounds||35 pounds||N/A||Parent pouch ($30 version)|
Umbrella Stroller Performance Reviews
Most umbrella strollers reviews stress the importance of comfort (who wants a fidgeting and whining child, even for a short trip to the mall?) and user-friendly operation (split-second folding and unfolding, easy and pushing and responsive steering) above all. The one challenge we faced in assessing budget strollers was the unevenness in online feedback. Some popular name-brand models garner hundreds of comments while private-label or in-house umbrella strollers in the Cheapism zone are not widely reviewed. The Babies R Us Umbrella Stroller, exclusive to that vendor and reviewed only on the Babies R Us website, is one such example that nonetheless earns a spot in our lineup.
Umbrella Strollers Ease of Use.Simple convenience is the primary reason people buy an umbrella stroller. The antithesis of a bulky travel system or jogging stroller, umbrella strollers are lightweight, easy to fold, and compact. And at their best, they're easy to push around. With hundreds of parents weighing in about The First Years Ignite (starting at $60), the assessment is overwhelmingly positive. Umbrella strollers reviews at sites such as Amazon and Toys R Us laud the Ignite's ease of use, saying it's a breeze to fold (one hand is all it takes) and unfold and light enough to carry onto a bus or train and quickly transfer into and out of a car. The handles are at a height that works for taller adults, users report, and maneuvering is almost effortless, even with one hand. Not surprisingly given the sheer number of comments, we also came across a few complaints about clumsy folding and locking, a storage basket that's hard to access, and wheels that skid on very smooth surfaces.
The First Years Jet (starting at $39), another model with one-handed fold, likewise boasts hundreds of fans. Posts at Diapers.com praise this slightly smaller sibling of the Ignite for the same user-friendly attributes. One umbrella strollers review notes how easily it glides through crowded aisles in busy stores and at Walmart another says it handled like a charm on Las Vegas's main thoroughfare. Still, we detected some grumbling about kicking the back of the stroller when pushing, sticky or wobbly wheels, and occasional difficulty with the folding lock.
Words of support are also directed at both versions of the Babies R Us Umbrella Stroller (starting at $20 and $30), the cheapest means of transport in our lineup. There are far fewer umbrella strollers reviews for these two models, but those posted at Babies R Us talk up their value, saying they're super-easy to fold and move around (perfect turns in tight spaces) and exceedingly light (no-strain lifting and carrying). Here, too, we read some critical appraisals, notably about having to bend over slightly while pushing, even for adults of short to average stature.
The Jeep Wrangler All Weather Stroller (starting at $39) generates comparatively less enthusiasm for ease of use. It passes muster for weight, folding, and storage capacity, according to umbrella strollers reviews at sites like Diapers.com and Target, but users caution it can be a chore to navigate. While some posts at Walmart say it rolls well on grass and gravel, others report challenges on all but the smoothest surfaces and some note that one-handed pushing demands heavy effort. More importantly, numerous reviewers groan about low handlebars that require taller adults to hunch over while pushing and a narrow wheel base that's all too easy to kick while striding behind.
Most users are high on the Delta LX Side by Side (starting at $92), again citing the user-friendly features and performance of this double model. Although some umbrella strollers reviews complain about low handles and sticky wheels, posts at Amazon and elsewhere commend the easy and compact folding, relatively light weight, overall maneuverability, and a width that fits through a standard 30-inch doorway.
Umbrella Strollers Comfort.Parents know that an uncomfortable ride means a cranky child -- something to be avoided at all costs. According to umbrella strollers reviews, the models on our list generally afford passengers the comfort they (and the adults in their lives) desire. The First Years Ignite and Jet win points for comfort. Parents tell of children who happily climb aboard, fall asleep with ease, and sit quietly. A relieved mom reports in a review at Amazon that her seven-month old contentedly snoozed in the Ignite between flights, and other posts say the roomy seat suffices for kids as old as five. The Jet is a slightly smaller version of the Ignite but seems to deliver an equivalent degree of comfort, according to umbrella strollers reviews. Both models boast a semi-reclining seat and a sun shade -- features that some reviewers praise and others shrug off. Fans of the partial recline (a few inches at most) assert it promotes sleep and quiet gazing about while critics contend the set-back angle is so minimal as to be useless. As for the adjustable sun canopy, even the larger version on the Ignite is frequently dismissed as ineffective, although some reviewers say both sizes do the job.
The two Babies R Us strollers also hit the comfort target, according to umbrella strollers reviews, even without a reclining seat. One toddler is so enamored of the slightly pricier version that he tries to climb in even when there's no need, a reviewer writes. Both models also boast a sun visor, which is quite a bit smaller on the cheaper stroller, but neither draws much notice in online comments.
A smooth ride for both passengers in the Delta LX Side by Side, regardless whether twins or children of different ages, is the consensus among reviews posted at Walmart. Still, a few umbrella strollers reviews grouse about seatbacks that are too short for taller kids and many ding the small sun shades; one parent suggests draping a light blanket over the canopies for better protective cover.
Grumbles about comfort trail after the Jeep Wrangler All Weather in umbrella strollers reviews. Parents say the seat is too narrow and the fixed-position seatback discourages napping. On the other hand, reviewers laud the roll-up seat pad, which leaves the child resting against a mesh net for heat relief in warm weather, and many like the adjustable sun canopy, which goes all the way forward and seems to adequately block the sun.
Lightweight Umbrella Strollers
Umbrella Stroller Weight.Lightweight umbrella strollers are just that -- light in weight, with the ideal maximum varying between 12 and 20 pounds, depending which expert you turn to. The lightest umbrella strollers we researched come from Babies R Us; they tip the scales at less than 8 pounds. Moving on up gets us to the 10.8-pound Jeep Wrangler All Weather stroller, the 11.5-pound The First Years Jet, and the 14.25-pound The First Years Ignite. Not surprisingly, the heavyweight of the group is the two-seater Delta LX Side by Side, at approximately 20 pounds.
Umbrella Stroller Capacity.How much child can a lightweight umbrella stroller hold? That depends. The Babies R Us models max out at 35 pounds, as do the seats on the Delta LX Side by Side. The Jeep Wrangler All Weather claims to manage a peak load up to 40 pounds but parents of big and tall kids say the fit is just too tight. Both the Ignite and Jet from The First Years can transport children weighing up to 50 pounds, although one parent who owns both says the Ignite is better suited to older kids because it seems roomier and the seatback is higher.
Umbrella Stroller Safety.Like travel systems and jogging strollers, lightweight umbrella strollers undergo rigorous safety testing. ASTM International (the former American Society for Testing and Materials) publishes all the guidelines and standards, some of which are mandatory (established by the federal government) and others that manufacturers have voluntarily adopted. In a nutshell, the safety standards are as follows: Lightweight umbrella strollers must be free of sharp edges and points. All small parts must be firmly attached so they don't pose a choking hazard. There must be a latch to prevent folding while a child is sitting in the stroller and there can be no pinching points. Lightweight umbrella strollers must have a strap at the waist and one between the legs that attach to each other (a.k.a. a three-point harness). And they must undergo testing for stability, brake function, static load, and impact.
All the lightweight umbrella strollers we researched meet minimal safety standards. They all feature rear brakes and The First Years Ignite is equipped with locks on the front swivel wheels to keep the stroller steady when taveling over rougher terrain.
Some models, including The First Years Ignite and Jet strollers and the Delta LX Side by Side, go beyond the minimum three-point harness requirement and outfit each seat with a five-point harness that also secures the passenger's shoulders. This added measure of security matters to parents of active children who report it keeps riders from leaning dangerously forward or wriggling around excessively. Several parents note this is one feature that drew them to these particular models.
The Babies R Us and Jeep Wrangler All Weather strollers come with three-point harnesses. While reviews of the Babies R Us buggies are largely mum about the strap arrangement, some reviews of the Jeep Wrangler bemoan the absence of the shoulder restraints.
Umbrella Stroller Durability.Lightweight umbrella strollers are simple by design and meant to last for the few years when an on-the-go carriage is a necessity. All the strollers discussed here come with a one-year warranty. We didn't find many reviews commenting on the durability of the models we researched. Although many users report that our top picks are sturdy and durable, we also detected a bit of "if it breaks, no big deal; it's cheap enough to replace." Even so, users seem a bit hesitant about the Jeep Wrangler All Weather. Although some users are upbeat about its durability, a number of posts at sites like Buzzillions tell of ripped seats, bent frames, broken wheels, and stitching that unravels on the safety straps.
Umbrella Stroller Extras.Lightweight umbrella strollers, especially those in the cheap price range, are designed for short jaunts and easy stowing. As a category they come with few extras. The extras that do show up are generally limited to a small storage basket under the seat and a cup holder or storage unit for parents. The First Years Ignite and Jet strollers are comparatively well stocked with extras. There is a small under-seat storage compartment that users say is neither roomy nor easy to access, but it's there. The storage pouch attached to the handles is a convenience reviewers are wild about, saying it's large enough for keys, cell phone, small toys, snacks, and water bottle. Storage options on the Babies R Us lightweight strollers are meager; the pricier model comes with a parent pouch attached to the handles but no under-seat storage and the cheaper version offers no storage of any kind. The Jeep Wrangler All Weather stroller has a cup holder for parents that's affixed to the handlebar and a storage basket under the seat, which one review at Amazon asserts is a welcome upgrade from a previous model with side pouches.
Additional Products We Considered
Delta LX Side by Side Review
Delta LX Side by Side Stroller reviews show this model to be a big hit with parents. Quick and easy folding is a boon when trying to corral two kids, writes one grandmother in a Delta LX Side by Side Stroller review at Sears, while other reviewers commend its relatively light weight and compact size (remember, this is a double stroller) that enable lifting, storing, and maneuvering through the entrance to stores or down crowded walkways. The two seats accommodate twins or children of different ages, report Delta LX Side by Side Stroller reviews at Amazon and Walmart, and the ride seems smooth enough. Several posts, however, claim the seats are too narrow and short for bigger toddlers' comfort and the handles too low for adults' comfort. The sun canopies, too, are targets of some griping for their alleged ineffectiveness, and a couple of Delta LX Side by Side Stroller reviews note problems with the seat fabric.
This double stroller boasts some welcome features. It keeps kids secure with five-point harnesses (padded at the shoulders) and each seat sports a multi-position recline. The six shock-absorbing front wheels rotate 360 degrees, and the back wheels are equipped with brakes. There are two sun canopies, a cup holder for parents, and a hanging organizer pouch behind each seat. The stroller weighs less than 20 pounds and the maximum capacity of each seat is 35 pounds. And, it fits through a standard 30-inch doorway.
The Delta LX Side by Side stroller starting at $92, Amazon) is a value deal for families in need of two-seat, wheeled transport. The light weight, compact fold, ease of use, five-point restraints, and ability to fit through most doorways are big plusses. Don't pass this one by.