Update — August 2017
Our Editor's Choice award winner, the ZOE XL2 Deluxe has a new sister stroller. Read more about the ZOE XL2 BEST v2 below.
Best Overall Double Umbrella Stroller
ZOE XL2 DELUXE
The ZOE XL2 Deluxe
earned a score 12 points higher than any other stroller in this review making it an easy Editors' Choice award winner. With the lightest weight and 3rd smallest folded size, nicer features, and its high score in ease of use. This stroller has the best weight and folded size, in addition to having the largest canopy and storage basket out of all the competition. In our opinion the ZOE is the most pleasurable stroller to use. It has a straightforward fold, easy to use brakes, and a harness that is simple and intuitive to adjust. Retailing at only $250, the reasonable price makes it a good value for the amount of features offered. While it didn't seem very easy to push and turn, no umbrella strollers are ever very impressive in terms of maneuverability, and the ZOE did manage to earn a second place score in this metric. If you are looking for a lightweight option for your two littles, we recommend the ZOE XL2 Deluxe. ZOE recently released a new stroller that is similar to the XL2 Deluxe. Take a look at some of the differences in the review.
Read Full Review: ZOE XL2 Deluxe
Best on a Budget
Delta Children LX Side by Side
The Delta Children LX Side by Side
came in second place out of 9. This stroller earned a top score for weight and folded size and has one of the cheapest prices in the group. The Delta weighs just 18.5 lbs and has the smallest folded size in the group at 8,211 cubic inches. This little stroller is a bare bones option for families on a budget that require a travel stroller for occasional use when space is limited. This stroller is easy to fold, lift and stow, making it ideal for quick trips and public transportation. While this stroller lacks traditional storage under the seat, it does offer 4 pockets for a few supplies, but you'll likely need a bag for a full day outing. This stroller offers the minimum for an inexpensive price, while it can't contend as a primary stroller, it can get little ones from A to B at a very budget friendly price in a package you can easily carry.
Read Full Review: Delta Children LX Side by Side
Analysis and Test Results
Choosing the right double umbrella stroller is an exercise in priority setting and decision. Many of these products look alike and have similar features, but the truth is using them and how well they perform can be a vastly different experience. The table above summarizes the overall performance scores of each product tested in this review.
The 9 competing double umbrella strollers with the award winners front and center.
To avoid confusion or frustration, you need to decide how you plan to use the stroller, what features you will need, and what you are willing to pay in order to get what you want. Once you determine these things, you can consider which options best match your expectations. The hard part is that while some options may offer the same features, they are not all created equal, and using them might be a very different experience. The selection for double products isn't as varied as it is for single products, but it still deserves careful consideration as the prices vary widely. We feel there is a lightweight stroller that will work for most families, and our hands-on testing and review is here to help you find it.
Because many of the double umbrella options were disappointing in their performance, especially maneuverability, we recommend parents first determine if a standard double stroller can fit their needs over a lightweight option. We feel you get more for your money in a standard stroller and you'll have an overall less frustrating experience.
Types of Double Lightweight / Umbrella Strollers
There are two basic types of lightweight strollers, the basic umbrella that offers few additional features, but is lightweight and easy to carry, and strollers that are better equipped with additional features for convenience or comfort.
These photos show the Delta Children LX Side by Side
(above left), a basic umbrella with limited features, and the UPPAbaby G-Link
(above right) that comes with more bells and whistles standard.
Each kind of stroller has shared characteristics that make up the primary features for this type of stroller:
- Lightweight and easier to fold, carry, and stow
- Compact fold for convenient storage and carrying
- Fewer features than a standard option and not as rugged as a jogging stroller
The basic doubles are really just seats with wheels. They are usually the lightest, have the traditional umbrella style fold, and are small when folded. They often don't lack storage space, accessory trays, and large sun shades, but they can get from A to B quickly and without fuss. This type of product is what most parents think of when they consider an umbrella product. They are willing to accept the sacrifice of certain comfort and convenience features for an inexpensive and lightweight stroller. This is the standard, simple secondary stroller that you will use infrequently and for shorter trips.
These products usually offer additional features that make the riding experience more convenient and comfortable for passengers. They often have deeper reclining seats, adjustable leg rests, and large under seat storage bins. They still manage to be relatively lightweight, and some are easy to fold and carry, but the added weight is a tradeoff for added benefits that can make a trip easier, more convenient or simply more comfortable. If you hope to do more than get from point to point, and are concerned about the journey as well as the destination, then a stroller with more features may be more what you are looking for. The ability for children to take comfortable naps can be a major selling point for longer strolls, and being able to carry more supplies may be a necessity when pushing two. Having more features loosely translates to having more options and greater comfort for baby.
In the double stroller world their are two types, side-by-side and in-line. In-line strollers have one seat behind the other, sometimes on the same plane, and other times the rear seat is higher or lower than the front. We tested both in this review.
The Delta Children XL Side by Side (left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe (right), the Best Value and Editors' Choice winners respectively.
Why Get a Double Umbrella Stroller?
After testing these strollers, we aren't entirely convinced that you should get a lightweight double stroller. Whether the stroller of choice is basic or has extra features, a lightweight stroller can make travelling easier, but not if it is too frustrating to use. We found this category of products so difficult to maneuver, in comparison to their single counterparts and standard double strollers, that we think that some parents may want to skip this type of gear altogether in favor of a lighter or smaller standard double option. However, if you are travelling and simply must have a smaller and lighter option for seeing the sights or visits to grandmas, then choosing an umbrella strollers can provide more freedom and can make day trips to town, or tourist activities more fun. These strollers can help you wrangle little ones and get where you need to go without the weight and bulk of a larger product. They are more compact than standard or jogging options, which can be useful in cities and crowded spaces.
Criteria for Evaluation
During testing we focused on key areas with weight and folded size having the most impact on the final score; finding the lightest, easiest to carry option is the main goal for purchasing this kind of stroller. The ratings come from a combination of in-house tests and using the products during ordinary life, and are rated against one another for a true side-by-side comparison.
The G-Link has a handy kickstand that works well and offers a true self-stand.
Weight and Folded Size
How much a stroller weighs and how small it is when folded is the heart of what makes one product standout from the rest. Parents want a product that is compact, fits in small spaces, and is easy to pick up and carry or taken on public transportation. Some of the double we tested were fairly heavy, which made them harder to carry. Some were lighter, but were longer than average when folded, and hard to fit in small trunks. This metric could be make or break for parents with minimum space or limited strength.
The highest scoring products in the review are the Zoe XL2 Deluxe
(above left) and the Delta Children LX Side by Side
(above right). The Zoe has the lightest weight in the group at 17.8 lbs, while the Delta has the smallest fold at 8,211 cubic inches. Both offer a combination of weight and size that is superior to the competition, with some being over 23 lbs and 11,000 cubic inches.
The ZOE XL2 Deluxe earned the highest score for ease of use with an 8 of 10 score in our tests.
Ease of Use
Ease of use considered the stroller features that you use every day that make the product easier to use, or add additional versatility for convenience or comfort. The higher ranking products in this category normally have more features so parents may be able to use it for longer adventures. Larger canopies or a big easy to access storage bin translates to a stroller that can carry more supplies and keep passengers more comfortable. Commuting or playing tourist, where space is limited and often crowded, is easier when the stroller has a quick easy and compact fold.
Folding the ZOE is initiated by pulling the straps under both seat bottoms.
Fold and Unfold
Lightweight and umbrella options should be easy to fold and compact for travelling. Folding small is important, but folding easily and quickly can be just as important. Strollers with simple straight forward folds with few steps earned better scores in this test. Locking automatically and standing when folded also helped products earn more points. The Zoe XL2 Deluxe
and the UPPAbaby G-Link
are the easiest options to fold. Both are self-standing and have automatic fold locks. The hardest option to fold is the Peg Perego Pliko Mini Twin
that requires two hands and multiple steps, with 3 levers to unlock prior to folding. It isn't difficult per se, but it is convoluted and time consuming.
The Kinderwagon HOP brakes had difficulty staying engaged, and the brakes on our stroller popped loose repeatedly during testing.
Some double umbrella products have double or triple action brakes that require multiple pedals to be depressed for the brake to be properly sett. We worry parents will grow complacent over time and either forget to set all the pedals or will choose not to, which could lead to unnecessary injuries. We prefer single action brakes, which are completely engaged with only one pedal push, for this reason. Good brakes are easy to set and release, without stiffness, without disengaging on their own, and are sandal foot friendly. The best brakes were found on the ZOE Xl2 Deluxe
. This stroller has a stroller length bar between the back wheels that can be pressed at any point or on the pedal near the wheel. The brakes are easy to set, release and are sandal foot friendly. The Kinderwagon HOP
has the worst brakes by far. These brakes began to disengage on their own shortly through testing. Once set, the brakes would pop out of place if the stroller was bumped into or if the rear wheels were lifted slightly and dropped back down. In both instances the brakes would release without warning and the stroller would start to roll. This problem only got worse over time, which made the HOP an option we don't recommend.
The ZOE has the largest storage bin in the group, with no center bra to inhibit access, the ZOE bin can hold more items than the competition.
While storage is important, storage for two is almost twice as important. If a stroller lacks adequate storage, you will be packing a bag that someone has to carry. Most of the options offered some kind of storage, but how much, where, and if it was accessible varied between products. Most have a storage bin under the seat, but many of these were cut in two by a crossbar that prevented putting a good sized diaper bag inside. Some had no bin at all and relied on small pockets or offered nothing at all. Even of those that provided a bin, not all were easy to access and some were downright difficult to use. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe
has the largest bin and it is easy to access, even with seat backs reclined. It is one bin, as opposed to two, but the design will limit you to a large diaper bag
as opposed to an extra-large diaper bag
. The Kolcraft Cloud Double
and the Delta Children LX Side by Side
do not offer a storage bin at all; the Delta relies on pockets and the Kolcraft has none at all.
The photos above show some additional storage features, from left to right they are the back pockets on Delta Children LX Side by Side, the canopy pockets on the ZOE XL2 Deluxe and child tray on the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Rear Seat
The rear seat on the HOP is hard to use and lacks legroom and a decent canopy for taller riders, but instead traps the rear passenger in a cocoon with no visibility.
All of the double strollers offered some kind of sun shade, though the coverage of the shade varied widely from barely there to cocoon coverage. The more basic strollers had smaller shades, with the Delta Children LX Side by Side
having the smallest shades, a simple direct overhead canopy with no window. The strollers with more features have larger sun shades with more features. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe
has the largest canopies we have seen on any stroller to date. These shades curve around with multiple panels including a pop out visor and a zippered panel with mesh for air flow. The canopies both offer a nice mesh peek-a-boo window with a cover that has a silent magnetic closure
These photos show the various sizes of canopies found on the double products; from left to right the shades are the small Delta Children LX Side by Side, the medium size shades on the Maclaren Twin Triumph
, and the giant canopies on the ZOE XL2 Deluxe.
All of the double strollers in this review have 5-point harnesses. Five points is safer than three thanks to the two extra straps located on the shoulders that help keep little ones from falling out if the stroller should accidentally flip over. We tested how difficult the straps were to adjust for length as well as height, and how difficult the buckles are to use. Products earned more points for adjustable crotch straps, easy rethread, and buckles that only required one hand to operate.
We think parents are more likely to continuously use a harness without skipping it on shorter strolls if the harness is easy to use. The UPPAbaby G-Link
(above left) is the easiest harness buckle combination to use, while the Maclaren Twin Triumph
(above right) has the most difficult buckle that requires two hands to operate. The ZOE XL 2 Deluxe
is also easy to adjust and buckle and came in just one point below the UPPAbaby G-Link.
The Cloud frame design limits the recline making it a poor option for comfortable napping.
Having a seat cozy enough to nap in earned products higher scores. Reclining seat backs and adjustable leg rests went a long way in making passengers comfortable for longer trips. Some of the double strollers offered reclining backs, while the in-line options had seats with different recline angles and levels of comfort, and some seats barely reclined at all. Depending on the kind of strolling you plan to do, a product with few features for comfort might be okay, but if adventure may last the entire day, the trip will be much easier in a stroller that is conducive to napping or adjust for comfort.
The UPPAbaby G-Link
has an adjustable leg rest (above left) and the ZOE XL2 Deluxe
has a leg rest, but it isn't adjustable (above right).
If babies will be sitting for a long period of time, the UPPAbaby G-Link has the most comfortable seating, with a deep recline, adjustable leg rests, and thicker padding than the competition.
The UPPAbaby G-Link and the ZOE Xl2 Deluxe have the most comfortable seats in the group, though the G-Link has the deepest recline and an adjustable leg rest, few other strollers offered. The Kolcraft Cloud Double
and the Delta Children LX Side by Side
earned the lowest scores with almost upright seating, little recline, and no real leg rest to speak of.
While some of the double umbrella products advertise as suitable for infants under 6 months old, we do NOT recommend using them with children under 6 months of age. Why? Lightweight strollers provide the bare minimum for support and protection from bouncing and jostling over uneven terrain. They sacrifice some features and design for the sake of overall weight and a smaller footprint to be better options for travel. Because babies under 6 months of age lack muscle control they are unable to support their own head and neck and could potentially suffer injuries related to overall lack of support from the stroller. The only exceptions are products that accept the attachment of an infant car seat, like the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Second Seat.
Car Seat Compatibility
Only the Joovy Caboose Ultralight Graphite with Second Seat
and the Kinderwagon HOP
accept infant car seats. The Joovy comes with a universal car seat adapter that works with a large variety of popular infant car seat manufacturers, including the Peg Perego Primo Viaggio 4-35
and the Chicco Keyfit 30
. The Kinderwagon HOP works with Graco Classic Connect models and the Combi Shuttle only. Both strollers only accept one infant car seat, making it a poor choice for infant twins.
Ease of Setup
Most of the double strollers were relatively easy to put together, and had manuals that while potentially frustrating got the job done. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe
has no manual and requires users to watch a video on their website, which seems short sighted and might cause confusion for some. The components requiring assembly for most of the strollers consisted of attaching wheels, canopies, and storage features to the frame. None of the products required complete assembly, and only the Joovy Caboose
required a tool. The Caboose took the longest to assemble, with a time of almost 11 minutes. The Delta Children LX Side by Side
took under 3 minutes and was super easy to put together.
The G-Link is the easiest to push and turn, but still hard to manage.
None of the lightweight double products performed that well in our tests for maneuverability. Pushing and turning can make or break your experience with a product. Depending on the terrain you plan to cover, the stroller you push will make a big difference in getting where you want to go without frustration. The UPPAbaby G-Link
earned the highest score in the group, but it only earned a 5 of 10. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe
and the Delta Children LX Side by Side
both came in second place with 4s. These strollers struggled to turn quickly, have difficulty through doorways, or have dual front wheels that get caught on small bumps causing them to veer off course unexpectedly.
The 6 front wheels of the Cloud make it hard to keep the stroller on course.
We knew these strollers might struggle on the grass and gravel, but we were surprised that so many of them were difficult to use on flat surfaces as well. The products all have relatively small plastic wheels many with fake tread, and the dual wheel design (2 wheels on each leg that equal 4 to 6 wheels in front). The hardest doubles to push are the Kolcraft Cloud Double
and the Peg Perego Pliko Mini Twin
. These strollers were hard to push on smooth flat hardwood and was very difficult to turn with weight in the seat.
Because of our difficulties with maneuverability, we feel that unless you really need a lightweight stroller for travel, that you are better off buying a nice standard double stroller that will be easier to push and offers more features for comfort and convenient. The Britax B-Agile Double a good example of an easy to push double that doesn't weigh that much more (27.9 lbs vs the heaviest umbrella that is 24.7 lbs) than some of the umbrella products.
The Kolcraft Cloud Double earned the lowest score in the group for quality in our tests with a 1 of 10 score.
Quality consists of how well a product is built and the materials that come together to form the entire stroller. Many of these types of products have flimsy frames and loose wheels, lots of exposed fasteners and connection points, with construction that feels cheap. The potential comfort level of each option is also considered. Other items we test are frame flex, wheel wobble, rough edges, loose connections, and rough or unfriendly fabric.
The highest quality options were unsurprisingly the more expensive choices, in a baby gear category where what you pay for appears to be what you get. The UPPAbaby G-Link
(above left) earned the high for quality and is the most expensive, more than some of the standard double strollers. However, the Kinderwagon HOP
(above right) did not follow this pattern with a price of about $200 less, and a quality score of 1 thanks to the ineffective and often faulty brakes.
Double umbrella strollers come with a variety of features and quality levels.
It is hard to say there is one best product for all families and their specific needs. Especially in a category where the majority of the contenders left us feeling uninspired. Because the needs of parents and passengers vary, there might well be an option here that would work for your family. Our testing process revealed some real world problems and considerations that we think will make this decision easier.
Whether you are looking for an inexpensive bare bones double seater on wheels, or a higher end option with nicer features for convenience or comfort, you can find an option to fill the need in this review. Our goal in this review to provide enough information for you to make the best decision. Between the 2 double award winners, there is good choice for either side of the coin, full day adventures or quick trips. Still confused? Read our article on how to pick a double umbrella stroller to help
narrow down your options.