My wife and I spend most of our time in concrete jungles, wheeling our little one around. Today, we want to discuss about baby strollers. It is our belief that getting the right stroller requires a thorough examination of your environment and needs as a family.
As a brief background, we have lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, Sydney and just recently, we relocated to UK.
Thus, we pride ourselves on being qualified parents-on-the-move. Seriously, we hope we don’t have to move that often but that’s for another blog sharing.
Though all of the above are high-buzz cities and weekends are thronged with people, navigating in each of them with our baby takes on a different experience. What works very well in Singapore and Hong Kong may not always be the ideal choice for our baby elsewhere.
Big Versus Compact: Which Is Better?
If you are living in cities such as Singapore or Hong Kong where the streets are super congested, a compact (yet sturdy) stroller is the thing to go for.
Even on weekdays, there is hardly space for our baby stroller to navigate around easily and if you are taking the tube (MTR), getting the stroller onto the train is a herculean task punctuated with many “Excuse me, I’m sorry” and awkward stares from commuters who wonder why you need to take the tube at that particular timing.
Our conclusion for this segment is straightforward. Any time you are in a congested city like Hong Kong (we find Hong Kong’s congestion to be a notch worser than Singapore), a compact stroller is much more convenient.
Nevertheless, we won’t sacrifice safety for convenience. In our opinion, two strollers stand out in this compact category. Read our reviews on BabySing iGo and Babyzen Yoyo+. Both are compact, lightweight yet do not cut any corners on comfort and safety.
We have been using them interchangably for Hong Kong and the Babyzen Yoyo+ is even compact enough to fit into a flight overhead storage though I would prefer (after numerous traveling experience) to check in my stroller.
Flights these days are often overloaded and it’s not surprising to find your carry on luggage squashed against other passengers’ luggage as everyone struggles to lug everything onboard.
In crowded cities, SMALL (Compact) is King!
Any Room Then…For Big Wheeled Stroller?
As the world we live in gets increasingly congested, it seems a natural choice to go for compact strollers.
However, as you walk into any baby stores, it is not surprising to see big wheeled strollers that remind me of bulldozers or heavy duty tractors.
I used to ponder over their necessity because in my mind, a baby even up to 2 years old is not a heavy load to transport around and those humongous wheels seem much like an overkill.
That was my thinking a month ago until I reach UK where the terrain is a good mix of smooth mall flooring and stone pavements. With mall, there is never an issue as all wheels (big or small) go well on it generally. However, it’s the stone pavements that are posing a challenge.
This brings the big wheeled stroller into the picture.
There is no doubt with normal sized wheels, one can still push the stroller around. Apart from the bumpier ride, there is also the occasional ‘trap’ as the smaller wheels get caught in the grooves between the stones or stuck in the rut while trying to surmount the curb.
This may not be an issue if you are moving along slow and easy in the suburb but if you are in the city centre especially trying to cross a stone-paved road, it is a risk I would rather not take.
With a big wheeled stroller, such problems are avoided. Be it 3-wheel or 4-wheel, bigger wheels translate into a smoother ride as the wheels roll over grooves easily and also mount the curbs with little resistance, very much similar to what a Jeep Wrangler does to rough steep terrain.
3 or 4 Wheels?
This depends on your need. Are you the type who would enjoy going for a jog with your little one? If so, the 3-wheel drive is the perfect match.
Personally, I prefer the 3-wheel stroller as it gives a more streamlined effect and easier to manoeuvre when compared to the 4-wheel stroller.
However, this is really dependent on the make of the stroller. I can’t say all 4-wheel stroller are harder to manoeuvre. This would be too much of a sweeping statement to make!
Type Of Wheels To Look For
You can’t customise this but it is good to know what are the different types of wheels out there.
By types, we are referring to the make/material of the wheels. This is important because similar to a car, the wheels determine factors such as comfort, maintenance and also durability.
There are 4 major types of wheels.
The Eva wheel is made of a material that is maintenance free. By maintenance free, we refer to the fact that you don’t have to do anything (such as inflating air) to keep the wheel going. It works best for smooth terrain such as malls and city streets.
Then, we have the Aerotech and Aeromaxx. Both offer the comfort of air-filled tyres (with some form of shock absorption) without the need for maintenance either.
At the pinnacle of comfort, we have the air-filled tyres. These are rubber tyres that are air-filled and they offer the BEST cushioning for any bumpy shocks. The flip side is that they have to be maintained by inflating air and keeping the pressure at the optimal level.
Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself prior to making this important purchase:
- What kind of terrain am I going to use the stroller for (most of the time)
- How is the environment like (in terms of traffic, congestion problems etc.)
- Are you fitness-oriented and plan to bring your little one together for jogs
- How much storage space would you need. Different strollers come with different storage capacities
- Do you plan to take public transport often?
- What is your budget
We have been talking about wheel size. The size of wheels is directly correlated to the overall size of the stroller. As such, you want to make sure you get a stroller that can fit onto the type of public transport you normally take.
While most trains and subways do not have any issue for a stroller to board it, buses may be more challenging due to the limited parking bay for strollers. Too big a stroller may hamper your manoeuvrability.
Whether it is a big or compact stroller, you need to analyse your needs and get the type that fits your environment and lifestyle.
And yes, this is an important purchase and worth every investment because you really will use it a lot.