If you want a buggy that will cope with all types of terrain from busy high streets to woodland tracks, buy a three-wheeler.
Why should you buy a three-wheel pushchair?
Three-wheelers offer two main benefits over four-wheeled pushchairs. Firstly, many are designed to be used off-road, so you can explore the countryside or head off across a sandy beach without difficulty. The second advantage is that the single front wheel makes them easy to manoeuvre, even with a single hand.
A three-wheeled buggy is stable enough to hang bags from – so think about this if you’re going to be out shopping or doing the school run.
Where will you use it?
Your first step in the buying process should be to consider where you’re most likely to use the pushchair. If you plan to take it out of an urban environment, you should choose a model with air-filled tyres. Also referred to as pneumatic tyres, these can cope with non-paved tracks and will take you over most surfaces including sand, mud and rock. These buggies, often known as ‘all-terrain’, also have a swivelling front wheel that can be locked to add stability over really rough ground.
If you plan to take it out of an urban environment, you should choose a model with air-filled tyres.
The added manoeuvrability also makes three-wheelers a good choice for city life, and some models are designed specifically for urban use. These feature moulded wheels which are fine for use on pavements and paved tracks, but won’t give your baby a comfortable ride over rough ground.
What if i want to use it in urban and rural locations?
If you’ll be using your pushchair in both urban and rural situations, choose air-filled tyres. These are also suitable for use on paved roads.
Can you use a three-wheel pushchair from birth?
Not all three-wheelers are suitable for very young babies. If you’ll use the buggy with a baby under six months, ensure it features either a lie-flat position or can be adapted with a car seat or carry cot. If you want the option of your baby facing towards you, check what is included with the buggy – some three-wheelers don’t offer this option without an additional accessory. Check compatibility with second seats and buggy boards if you have more than one child.
Check compatibility with second seats and buggy boards if you have more than one child.
Where will you store it?
Three-wheelers can be bulkier than four-wheeled buggies when folded, so before buying any model, check it fits in your car boot. Make sure you can fold and unfold it easily too. Some models can be folded one-handed, and some are freestanding when folded, which is something you’ll really appreciate if you use public transport.
The basics: what you need to know
If you plan to take your pushchair off-road, it is likely to regularly get sodden and dirty. A fabric that is water- and mud-resistant will limit how often it needs to be cleaned. Some models feature a main seat unit that zips out, making cleaning far easier.
Check the cost of adding items such as a second seat, parent-facing unit or car seat before making your decision to ensure it fits your budget.
If you need your pushchair to cater for a second child or want to switch the direction baby faces, try out the pushchair in these configurations before you buy. The elements should be quick and easy to change – remember you might be doing this with a child on your hip!
A pushchair should be easy to collapse and put up – ideally one-handed as you may have to hold your child at the same time. This is essential if you’re using public transport. Test this function out before you buy if possible.
Some three-wheelers feature a quick-release front wheel to reduce the pushchair’s stored dimensions. If you have a small car boot, this is a valuable benefit, but do check just how easy this function is to operate.
If you plan to go off paved surfaces, choose a model with air-filled tyres. Some models feature puncture-proof tyres. If not, be prepared to mend a puncture and check the tyre pressure (see page 110). Solid wheels will take you around city streets with ease but will not propel your pushchair easily over rough ground.
Larger wheels give better suspension and a smoother ride, so should be a consideration if you plan to cover rougher terrain. Some pushchairs feature adjustable suspension and/or an option to buy sets of terrain-specific wheels, so you can adapt the buggy to perform at its best on varying surfaces.
With a single handlebar and a swivelling front wheel, you should be able to change direction quickly, turn 360°, and steer with one hand. If you’ll be using the buggy on rough ground, then look for a lockable front wheel. Some designs feature a double front wheel (two wheels side-by-side) for added stability.