‘Supersmart’ is a phrase we’ve coined to describe our perfect lightweight pushchair or stroller.
It’s light enough that you can easily carry it up a flight of stairs without breaking a sweat but robust enough to cope with coastal paths and muddy walks, and they’re super-useful. Lightweight strollers used to be pretty flimsy, basic things, but now they’re really clever and functional enough to use as a zippy get-around every day as well as the perfect set of holiday wheels. And you need one in your life, even if you’ve already got an all-singing, all-dancing travel system.
Under the age of six months, babies need to lie completely flat in the pushchair for the healthy development of their spine and lungs. If you’re buying a pushchair for use from birth, choose one with a fully reclinable seat that’s specifically suitable for newborns – some are only for use from six months onwards.
Our lightweight stroller mum testers:
- Donna Donnelly: 31, from Ballycastle, is mum to Isla, six months. "I’d like a lightweight pushchair that folds easily and handles rough terrain."
- Seren Margaret: 32, from Rhondda Cynon Taff, is mum to Leon, 13 months. "I need a lightweight stroller that fits easily in my small car boot."
- Stacey Cook: 31, from Bishopsteignton, is mum to Hudson, 21 months. "I’m looking for a compact stroller that can handle being dragged all over the Devonshire countryside and will still look good."
This ultra-compact pushchair is specially designed for travel use and fits easily into small spaces when folded. It’s light enough to carry easily, with a carry strap and leather shoulderpad for extra comfort. It’s compatible with selected car seats. The seat has three recline positions, while front and rear suspension gives a smooth ride. We like the large extendable UPF 50 hood and the stylish leatherette tan handles.
Donna: This feels expensive and I immediately loved the look and colour. The footmuff was a lovely surprise – it’s very good quality and velvety inside. Isla looks so cosy! The lie-flat recline and leg rest are real bonuses. It’s not the smoothest to push but it’s very compact. I still haven’t mastered how to fold it, unfortunately – it has to be done in two parts which is less than ideal.
Seren: I really like the quality and appearance of this pushchair. It’s light and easy to push. It folds compactly so it fits neatly in my hallway without taking up much space. It comes with a cosy footmuff and there’s a handy valuables pouch at the back of the seat. I struggled to fit Leon’s small backpack in the basket though and, overall, I found this pushchair very low and quite small.
Stacey: This is light, compact and stylish, and very simple to set up. It’s an ideal holiday pushchair but the seat unit isn’t huge and the handle is very low so I kept kicking the brake accidentally. It folds neatly for travel use, as a good seat recline and it’s pretty sturdy. Overall, I felt that my 22-month-old was getting to the upper limit of using this comfortably.
Birth - 15kg
This stylish, super-compact pushchair has a clever, instant fold mechanism and a telescopic pull-along handle that makes it a dream to travel with. There are lots of clever features packed into the design, including an extra large basket that’s easy to access and a one-touch flip-flop-friendly brake. Shock absorbers and all-wheel suspension make the ride smooth, even on rougher terrain, while swivel wheels increase manoeuvrability.
Donna: Very impressive – no assembly required and I was blown away by how easy it is to open and fold, even one-handed. I’ve never seen a pushchair fold so sleekly! The pull-along handle is so useful when I’m holding Isla. It’s really light and narrow – perfect for whizzing around the shops. I really like the fabric and the basket is big enough for all my essentials, leaving me hands-free.
Seren: A really impressive, compact pushchair that looks great. This is my favourite. It fits neatly in my car boot and it’s very light to lift – my change bag is heavier! – but it’s still very sturdy. Leon was very comfortable, plus I can steer it with one hand when he wants to get out and walk. The recline angle is good for naps. The suitcase-style handle would be great for travelling.
Stacey: This is so straightforward to set up and it has great storage, with a sizeable basket underneath and a valuables pouch in the canopy. It’s very stable and easy to manoeuvre. When folded it's super compact. However, I found the seat base way too shallow and the back rest too far reclined, even in the most upright position, which unfortunately meant Hudson ended up sitting in a very slumped position.
Specially designed to give a smoother, more comfortable ride, this lightweight pushchair can be converted to a travel system – Joie infant carrier car seats are compatible. Stylish extras – especially the sleek, high gloss frame and faux leather finish – give this a quality look and feel that make it excellent value for money. Our testers particularly liked the roomy basket and full-size hood with UPF 50+ sun protection – great for holidays!
Donna: Lovely quality and excellent value. Impressively solid and sturdy but with all the key features of a lightweight pushchair. The seat reclines well and has plenty of padding – very comfy. Folding is quick and easy but you need both hands. It’s compact when folded and the basket is the perfect size. I can manoeuvre this with one hand on smooth ground but the wheels don’t cope so well on rougher terrain.
Seren: The wheels are small but this handles smoothly on uneven pavements. It’s heavier than other pushchairs, but I can lift it in and out of the car easily. The seat has a good recline but Leon keeps straining to sit more upright than it allows. I like the bumper and Leon enjoys holding onto it! I love the basket. It’s much bigger than the others so my changing bag fits easily.
Stacey: My absolute fave! Practical and stylish. If you're looking for a sturdy yet lightweight pushchair that looks good and folds easily – this is it! This handled everything from shopping in town to walks in the woods. The adjustable handle is great for me (5ft7) and my husband (6ft). It folds really compactly so takes up minimal space in the boot. Unlike other lightweights, the seat space isn’t compromised. Decent basket, too!
Birth to 15kg
Large, air-filled back tyres with Kevlar lining and a cleverly-designed hammock-style seat plus height-adjustable handles make this a dream to push even on the most unforgiving terrain – with no risk of wobbly cheek syndrome! It also handles public transport and urban environments well. It’s easy to fold and free-standing for easy storage, but it’s a little less compact than other lightweight pushchairs when folded.
Donna (6M): Excellent for off-road adventures. Isla was extremely comfortable and even fell asleep on bumpy walks. It’s easy to manoeuvre with one hand and handled very muddy coastal pathways without trouble. The hood gives excellent coverage in all weathers – I love the viewing pane and handy pockets! It’s pricey but this reflects the quality and build. It’ll stand the test of time: a real investment for an active, outdoor-loving family.
Seren (12M): Assembly takes a while as you have to pump up the tyres up with the pump supplied. Front suspension and large wheels make this great for rougher terrain. It’s a little bulky when folded but very light to push and easy to steer – even while holding a takeaway coffee! Leon is very happy and comfortable in the hammock-style seat – he can look around easily without anything obstructing his view.
Stacey (21M): The quirky design might not appeal to style-conscious parents. It’s slim enough to take on the bus and train, and very manoeuvrable – even with one hand. It’s great for forest walks and copes well with kerbs, bumps and steps but it’ll tip up if you hang anything on the handle. It’s very easy to fold but bulky – it’s like putting a golf bag in my large car boot!
6m to 22kg
This compact pushchair offers lots of flexibility – it can be used as a three-in-one travel system if you buy the Maxi-Cosi carrycot and / or baby car seat, both sold separately. Our testers love the fully-reclining seat, which ensures a comfy snooze if your baby nods off when you’re out and about. It’s a little heavier than the other pushchairs tested but that adds to its robustness.
Donna: So stylish but heavy and hard to manoeuvre on rough terrain. Disappointing basket – it’s difficult to access and only fits single items, not bags. I love the hood; it extends the furthest and offers the best protection. The seat is easy to adjust and reclines flat – brilliant for naps. I like the enclosed seat. Isla seems more secure than in pushchairs with open sides. The folding mechanism is really impressive.
Seren: My favourite! This has everything the perfect pushchair needs, including room my change bag in the basket. I love the colour combination and it’s a doddle to open and fold. Leon can sit more upright in this compared to other pushchairs, and the seat reclines flat for comfy naps. It’s heavy but this didn’t put me off; it’s still easy to manoeuvre and not too bulky. I like the adjustable footrest, too.
Stacey: I like the stylish design and the fact that it’s practically ready to use straight out of the box. The biggest plus is the fully-reclining seat – brilliant for babies that nap on the move. It’s fairly sturdy with plenty of seat space but we had a fairly bumpy ride on a forest walk. It’s a shame the handle isn’t adjustable as it’s too high to be comfy for me.
Birth to 3.5 years
This is the lightest and most compact pushchair from Mamas and Papas and it’s ideal for parents who want to travel light. The ultra-compact folding design means it’s easy to stash away, and it comes with its own transit bag included. It has a multi-position seat recline, and breathable seat fabric to keep your baby cool makes it a good choice if you’re off to sunnier climes.
Donna: A dream to push on smooth ground. It’s so small and light that I confidently hopped on and off public transport. Front swivel wheels make it so easy to turn – I loved pushing this around the shops! It’s easy to lift with one hand, and the hood provided excellent coverage on some particularly windy days. The handles are quite low though – I’m tall and felt I was stooping over when pushing this.
Seren: This is fairly light to carry, and very easy to lift in and out of the car and on and off the bus. It’s light to push and very easy to control. The hood gives great coverage but overall this pushchair didn’t suit us – the seat doesn’t recline far enough for Leon to lie down and the foot rest isn’t adjustable. There’s just not enough support for a comfy snooze, either.
Stacey: This is a simply-designed lightweight stroller. It’s pretty light, reasonably compact and quite stylish-looking. I found it fairly stable to push and very quick and easy to fold away. The seat space is more than sufficient and it has the added bonus of a great canopy. This is almost perfect aside from the fact that it doesn’t recline fully flat and the handle is a little too low.
6m - 15kg
What should you look for in a lightweight pushchair?
- Handles: Adjustable handles are a must-have if you have a partner who’s much taller or shorter than you. Check that the handles are comfortably positioned and that the pushchair feels easy to control – even with a latte in your other hand.
- Hood: This helps protect your baby from the elements so it’s especially important in a lightweight holiday stroller. Make sure it extends far enough to give full coverage of your baby, even when the pushchair seat is reclined.
- Viewing Pane: If you choose a forward-facing pushchair, look for a transparent panel in the hood – this offers an easy way to peek at your baby while you’re walking.
- Harness: The five-point harness should be easy to adjust, fasten and undo without breaking a nail – but not so easy that your baby can work out how to escape from it.
- Seat Recline: If you’ll be taking the pushchair on holiday, it’s really useful if the seat reclines far enough for a comfy snooze on-the-go, and that you can easily adjust the seat without waking your child. The upright seat position should allow an inquisitive toddler to see out without leaning forwards.
- Wheels: Choose wheels suited to the terrain you’ll be tackling. Lockable swivel wheels offer flexibility on different types of ground, while all-terrain wheels with good suspension are a must for countryside walks and coastal paths.
- Shopping Basket: the bigger, the better! This should hold everything you need for a day out. Make sure it’s easy to access from all angles, even when the seat unit is reclined.
- Accessories: check if the rain cover is included. If you have to buy it separately, factor this into your budget.
- Fold Mechanism: folding and unfolding your lightweight stroller should be easy and intuitive. Ideally, you’ll be able to do it with one hand while holding your baby. Choose a model that’s compact and ideally freestanding when folded if you have limited space to store it.
- Fabric: a lightweight pushchair with breathable fabric will help keep your baby cool in warm weather. Check that the fabric is easy to clean – it’s going to get pretty sticky with sun lotion and ice cream.
- Pocket: having somewhere to keep your valuables close at hand is really useful when you’re out and about. Is it big enough to hold your purse, phone and keys?
- Brake: the brake should be easy to apply and release. If the pushchair’s for holiday use, make sure it’s flip-flop-friendly!
Do you need one?
A lightweight stroller or compact pushchair is exactly what you need if your existing pushchair no longer feels like a practical choice – maybe it’s too heavy or cumbersome to take away with you on holiday, or perhaps you invested in a travel system that was perfect for your newborn but which now feels unwieldy with a strapping toddler on board. Lots of parents replace their baby’s first pushchair with a lighter model once their baby starts walking when compactness and manoeuvrability become priorities.
How light do you need it to be?
A super-lightweight model will inevitably be less robust than one weighing more but has the added advantage of being light enough to carry with one hand. So think about just how light you need this pushchair to be, and whether that’s worth that compromise. Do you really need one you can actually fold up and carry – perhaps at the same time as carrying your baby?
How compact do you need it to be?
Most lightweight pushchairs are fairly compact so they’ll fit into a standard car boot without taking up all the space. Others fold even more neatly but they tend to compromise on something else – for example, a smaller seat size or less robustness. Think about where you’ll stow the pushchair when it’s not being used. A compact fold isn’t important if you’ve got plenty of space to park it in your hallway, but the ability to slide it out of the way is a bonus if space is at a premium.
Do you want your baby to face you?
Most lightweight, compact strollers have a forward-facing seat, designed to allow inquisitive toddlers to see where they’re going and face the direction of travel. If you’d prefer to see your baby face-to-face when she’s in the pushchair, look for one with the option of a parent-facing seat unit.
What's your budget?
You might not want to spend a lot of money if this is your second pushchair, and there are lots of affordable options. However, consider value for money rather than just the cost. A compact stroller that's strong enough to use every day for a couple of years may be a better buy than a cheaper model that won’t last as long if you’re planning to use it regularly.
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