Please take a look at our companion article on how the double strollers compared to each other based on performance tests and extensive day-to-day use.
Why Buy a Double Stroller?
Double seat strollers are a staple of many multi-child households. Parents find that the convenience of having a double helps with the day-to-day activities from running errands to trips to the park. Sometimes having the ability to strap two children into one space is just what you need to get through a moment of craziness or a must do errand. However, most of the time it is just nice to have one stroller to transport two kids so they can both enjoy the same activity at the same time. We think the double stroller is a great addition to any house with more than one child of strolling age. Be it twins or regular siblings, the strollers with awesome sun shades, large storage bins, adjustable leg rests and reclining seat backs can make a trip on the town a delight, as opposed to a lesson in patience.
There are so many things to consider from budget to quality, to features and functionality, that it can leave your head spinning. You might have some questions and concerns about buying a product of this type. How big? Which style? What features do you need? Which features are just for show? This article should help it all make sense.
Types of Double Strollers
Double products come in two basic types, side-by-side (where the seats are next to one another), and inline or tandem (where the seats are one in front of the other). Both types have benefits and drawbacks. The choice of which style is right for your children depends on what you are hoping for and what your children require.
The double products with the seats next to one another are one of the more common styles. These strollers usually offer identical experiences for both passengers with seats and canopies with similar properties and adjustability. Both passengers have equal sized seats, recline options, stow pockets (some models), and protection from the elements. Many have two canopies, so each rider has custom coverage, but even the Joovy Scooter X2 with a single canopy for both, still offers ample protection for both passengers. Side-by-side products are relatively wide and can be harder to navigate through narrow spaces and some doorways. They often create a wider folded package and can be a little tricky to lift and store with their awkward size, especially if they have a 3-wheel design. Even though these products can be tricky in a tight spot, they did score higher for maneuverability than the inline models.
The inline models have one seat located in front of the other which is sometimes called tandem seating. The problem with the inline models is the two seats rarely offer the same kind of features. Most of the products have one seat that can recline further than another. Some have only one seat with an adjustable leg rest. A few of the models even offer features like snack trays and a cup holder for one passenger, but not for the other. This kind of disparity could be a problem waiting to happen for parents with children of a similar age or with competitive natures. With a few of the products not offering dual sun shades, inline models seem like a better fit for siblings with an age gap than twins. However, the plus of this style is it fits better in narrow spaces given the smaller width. However, they are often harder to push and turn thanks either to longer lengths and small plastic wheels.
The photos above show some of the side-by-side strollers. The photos below show some of the inline products. Together they give perspective on the differences between the two primary types of double products.
While our full review explains how the products were tested and rated, you'll also want to consider the performance metrics of how the strollers function, and how easy they are to use. Sorting through the products by their performance and features is just as important as how the products scored in each test, especially if certain features are non-negotiable in your mind. This kind of information can help narrow the field for finding the final winner for your family.
How well each product functions, or how easy their features are to use, varies. However, there are similarities between types and commonalities within the group that could be useful to know and may not be part of the discussion in how well the products performed during testing.
How Many Wheels?
Many of the products in this review had the dual front wheel design of four wheels in the front with two wheels on each front leg. Unfortunately, this conventional wheel design never equates to a high score in our tests for maneuverability. One of the dual wheels usually gets caught on bumps or stray items in the road, and it can make staying on course challenging. The products that performed the best in maneuverability were those that had fewer wheels. Most of the highest scoring products in our review had just one wheel in the front, and the second highest had two. Our test results make us wonder why so many of the products continue to sport dual front wheel designs when they are the most difficult to push and turn.
The photos above show the typical front four wheel design Baby Trend Sit N' Stand, compared with the one front-wheeled BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, and two front wheels on the Thule Chariot Cross 2.
While the Britax B-Agile Double and the Joovy Scooter X2 demonstrate that the dual wheel design can work "well enough" (score of 5 of 10), they couldn't compete with the BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, Thule Chariot Cross 2, and Thule Urban Glide 2 with scores of 9. All of these options were easier to push and turn on all surfaces than the dual front wheel products. Also, all sport rubber tires indicating there is an advantage to rubber over plastic no matter how many wheels there are.
Not all double strollers can manage two infant car seats or are good for two children of the same age. If you are purchasing for twins, you may be looking for a product that can attach two car seat carriers so those little ones can stay snoozing from car to stroller. Considering a car seat frame stroller for the first few months might solve the problem, or you might be looking for a stroller that works straight out of the gate.
The above photos show the highest scoring products in this review that can accommodate more than one infant carrier. From left to right the strollers that work with two car seats are the Mountain Buggy Duet, UPPAbaby Vista Double, Peg Perego Book for Two, Baby Jogger City Select Double, and the Britax B-Ready Double.
Many of the products can accept one infant carrier, but not all of them work with two. If you have siblings of various ages, where one is still in a carrier, and one is toddling around, then just about any product in the review can work. But only half can operate with multiple carriers and babies of the same age.
The photos above show the strollers that also accept two infant car seats, but didn't score as well, the Graco FastAction Fold Duo, Chicco Cortina Together, Graco Ready2Grow LX, Baby Trend Sit N' Stand, and Phil and Teds Dot.
While we certainly understand the compulsion to get one product and forget it (who has the energy to think about two different strollers?), it may not be the best idea given that some of the products that work with two car seats did not perform well in most of the test metrics. While many award winners will not function with two carriers, they are probably still the better choice, even if you are going to have twins.
Purchasing a double stroller and a car seat frame stroller or a personal baby carrier might be a good option. More than one product solves multiple problems, you can still move two little ones from the car with ease onto the frame stroller, or you can use this as an opportunity to bond with one baby wearing them in a front baby carrier while the other snoozes away in the adapter on your award-winning stroller. Once little ones can sit in the stroller on their own, you can ditch the frame stroller and still come out on top with an award winning product that works for twins that can sit upright.
The photos above show a possible combination of strollers that will meet all your needs through each stage without breaking the bank and for less money than many products that "do it all"; the Joovy Twin Roo+ (above left) and the Joovy Scooter X2 (above right).
Purchasing two different strollers may feel overwhelming and outside the scope of what you were planning on doing, but we feel that for the lifetime of your strolling years, you may be happier heading down this path. The breakdown is something like this: a frame stroller like the Joovy Twin Roo+ costs around $130 and will get you from birth to 6-12 months depending on the size of your little ones. Next, add to this the cost of our Best Value winner in double strollers the Joovy Scooter X2 for $280. The total cost of this combo option will be between $380 and $410 depending on sales. What you get are two strollers that scored well and are cheaper than the high ranking products that accept two infant carriers and work for older children.
Compare this to one of the double products that can accommodate two infant carriers and seats for older kids. The products that scored well start at around $650 and go up to almost $1500, depending on what options and accessories you purchase to use the stroller for infants and older children. When you look at it this way, getting what you want is easier than you think, and often cheaper when you select a specific product for each stage, instead of the one product that happens to work for multiple stages.
What the other thing parents of twins should consider is that some of the stroller's seating options offer different experiences for each passenger. The inline products have front and back seat options that are often very different. Even if both seats manage to recline or offer some kind of sun shade, none offer the exact same features. Whether it is just the limited front view of the Britax B-Ready with Second Seat's rear seat or the lack of leg rest and canopy on the low riding back seat of the Phil and Teds Dot, you need to consider that the inline models do not offer equal options for both passengers. This disparity may not be a big deal for siblings of different ages who might benefit from having different riding options, but it could be difficult with twins who usually want the same things at the same time.
It can be hard for a product made for two to be versatile. Certainly just having two seats and nice wheels is a tall order, so the idea of one or even two of these products being able to do more than getting little ones from Point A to B is a feat. The fact that a few of them do it with style and with a price and performance that out maneuvers the competition is pretty stinking cool.
The Thule Chariot Cross 2 (shown above) is the most versatile product in our review with the ability to be used for biking, skiing, jogging, and hiking.
The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie, the Thule Urban Glide 2 and the Thule Chariot Cross 2 are products that stood out in the double category for offering more than the ability to stroll. While most of the products are just for the casual user who needs them for everyday activities, these options are good for getting off the beaten path and running over various terrains of the outdoor world. The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie is great for exploring all trails of life (winning our Top Pick for All-Terrain) as is the Thule Urban Glide 2, while the strolling Thule Chariot Cross 2 can ski cross country, tag along behind a bike, and still be ready to run. If you enjoy the great wide open, you won't be happy with any of the other products in our review, and you are likely to feel stifled by the non-adventurous features of the standard stroller. Lucky for the adventurers, the number one and three scoring products just happen to be three wheel jogging strollers with rubber tires, so there is no need to compromise on performance to have more fun. Also, the Thule Chariot Cross 2 is the fourth-ranked product, earning more points overall than the previous Thule Chariot Cougar 2 that previously won an award before it was discontinued.
The UPPAbaby Vista has the most versatile seating arrangement including the possibility of two infant car seats, two bassinets, two toddler seats, or any combination of the three. Also, the seats can face out toward the world or back toward the pusher of the stroller. With the addition of the riding scooter platform, you can even maneuver up to three kids with ease.
Narrowing the Field
When you are ready to plunge into the pool of double strollers, take a look at the following considerations to narrow the choices to a few that will meet your needs.
Stages and Ages
First, consider the ages of the children who will be using the stroller. What is the age difference between the passengers? Are they twins? Does one of the passengers lack the ability to sit up? Will one prefer to stand and have some mobility? Are your children still young enough to nap on the go?
Taking children on a journey in a stroller can be a great experience or a lesson in patience. One of the most important considerations when choosing a product is the age range of the children that will be using it. As previously stated, twins of infant age might do better in a frame stroller, while siblings of different ages might have a pleasant experience in an inline model. Other siblings might be so close they will want to share giggles and jokes giving sideways glances at their cohort in the seat next door. The exact age of your children is not important, but the age difference between them is. Most of the side-by-side products will be suitable for children no matter what their age or separation in years. These models offer passengers the same kind of ride and the same experience. This style can work for young passengers and older siblings alike. It can work for children that are the same age or vastly different ages. As long as children conform to the weight and age suggested by the manufacturer, then this kind of stroller works well for just about everyone.
Alternatively, the inline models usually offer very different riding features for each passenger. Some of the products have a low riding back seat that protects little ones from lots of exposure and allows many of them to recline and relax without a lot of distractions. Some have front seats that give passengers snack trays, and adjustable leg rests, while the back seats have neither. These products might be better suited for children of different ages and needs. If you have a baby who still likes naps in a cozy environment with an older sibling who wants to see the world, then an inline model might be nice. The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite has a front seat that is good for older babies and a sit and stand back seat suitable for older children who may need time on and off the ride. These options might not be as suitable for children of a similar age. Arguments over who gets the riding option, who gets to nap, or who gets a snack tray, might become more of an issue than you want.
The next consideration is the duration of your typical journey. If you just plan to go around the block or want to make it through the airport, then one of the more simple rides will probably work. You won't need large storage or stow pockets for childhood treasures. Just getting from one location to another for a quick trip requires a lot fewer features for passenger comfort or parent convenience than if you plan to use your stroller for longer events or whole day trips. The Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite might be a nice economical choice if your trip is short, siblings are vastly different in age, and the older one likes to walk some. With little storage and not many nods for comfort, little ones can enjoy this minimal ride and parents might enjoy the minimal price and lighter weight.
Alternatively, if you plan to use your stroller regularly, for every trip from groceries to museums, you may need little ones to have access to snacks or a cozy place to nap. Some of the products in our review have nice sized pockets for passenger cups and toys, as well as giant sunshades and reclining seat backs with adjustable leg rests for napping after a long day on the town. Our Best Value winner, the Joovy Scooter X2 has everything parents or passengers might require for a full day of sun and fun or napping. There isn't anything the Joovy doesn't have for just about every trip you can imagine. Giant under seat storage can keep supplies nearby and is still large enough for any impulse buys from tourist shops. The cup holders accommodate bottles and cups to keep everyone hydrated, and the zippered convenience pockets hold wallet, phone, and keys at your fingertips. Passengers will love the comfy seats and personal stow pockets, as well as the privacy offered from the canopy and reclining seats. Each passenger can sit in any way they want without impacting their partner, and parents can keep an eye on both with a great peek-a-boo window.
If you plan to use the stroller on a regular basis, as opposed to the occasional trip, then you really might want to consider purchasing one with more features. Even if those trips will only be short jaunts, there is a good chance you will want to have more options or versatility with your stroller. As you become more comfortable taking trips and running errands with multiple children, you are likely to increase the frequency with which you do it. As soon as you realize how easy it can be to go strolling when you own the right product, it will become less daunting, and you'll be looking for reasons to leave the house.
If you're making regular trips you'll want your stroller to have the bells and whistles that might have seemed unnecessary in an infrequently used item; nice napping space will seem more important, and extra storage will feel like a necessity. Luckily, even if you aren't sure or you haven't decided how you will use it, you can still purchase a great product with lots of features for a great price. The Thule Urban Glide 2 has lots of features for parents and passengers, which means you can have it all at a reasonable cost with excellent maneuverability. The BOB Revolution Flex Duallie has everything you need, can be taken off the beaten path with ease, and has cool stow pockets for little ones to take their treasures on the road. All of these products are reasonably priced, and they offer more versatility and features than some options at twice the price. So even if your stroller is only coming out of the closet occasionally, there is no need to compromise features or performance to get the best.
Buying a product for two that doesn't break the bank isn't as difficult as you'd think with many of the top performers coming in around $650 or less. Five of the top seven products are at or under this price. This is one of the few categories where we can say that one of the nicer products in the review is also budget friendly. The Joovy Scooter has one of the cheaper price tags, but it is a nice stroller with lots of features. While there were a few products cheaper than the Joovy, none of them offered as many features or similar performance. The quality of the Joovy put it much higher than the cheaper options, and almost made them feel outdated and under designed.
If you have considered how often you will use the stroller, decided whether or not you need side-by-side or inline, and determined if you want a frame stroller for infants, you will have narrowed your search down to a few options. If budget is also a factor, then you likely only have a couple of strollers in the running. However, unless you plan only to use them rarely, they may not have enough features and attributes to get through the possible trials of regular outings. It is important when considering the cheaper strollers not to be lulled in by a low price. Yes, you may save some money up front, but it may not function as well or offer as many features as a higher ranking and more expensive stroller. Plus, it may not be a product you can quickly resell.
If your budget feels too tight for the Joovy Scooter or the Baby Trend Expedition (the cheapest option in the review and an award winner), there are a few things you can do to get the stroller of your dreams that will match your desires and expectations. First, if you have infants, you might consider our earlier advice of buying the frame stroller for around $130 and then waiting and saving for the right stroller for older babies. You can use the saved money, in addition to money earned selling your used frame stroller, to buy the product you really want. We think it is better to wait and save for the right product than to buy a subpar option for a lower price that will no doubt disappoint you and be a hassle to use. Being patient might be the best choice in this scenario, while the impulse to get out might be strong, we think you'll be happier waiting for the right option.
The products in our review may seem similar on the surface, but they tend to vary in their features and performance. With several that look the same, it can be hard to tell why one is better than another without actually giving them a test run, as well as being able to see them side-by-side with the competition. Interestingly enough, the price isn't as big of a factor as you might think it is, and it was not necessarily an indicator of which products might score better than the others. While many of the cheaper products did score low, several of the more expensive models also scored poorly proving that price doesn't necessarily equal the best product.
With a few products standing out from the bulk of the group, and most of them being in a reasonable price range for a stroller for two, it means that you have some great products from which to choose. The important thing is to stay focused on what you want, and what you need, while many are great at what they do, it's important not to purchase more stroller than you need. Yes the BOB is great, but if you never leave the sidewalk, then it may be more stroller than you need. All of the top scoring products came with nice features for both user and rider, so it will be hard to choose a product you won't be happy with in the end. We feel all the award winners have attributes and options that will ensure the stroller you choose will keep you strolling and smiling for years to come no matter what your goals.