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Given the array of options and uses, not to mention the price tags, selecting a stroller is not unlike buying a car. Check out Strollers 101: The Nestingmode.com Stroller Buying Guide for First-Time Parents before you make your selection. Generally, the decision is between three types: (1) an umbrella stroller (lightweight, easy-folding, highly portable), (2) a convertible stroller (frame supports several "seats" -- bassinet, car seat, toddler seat -- to carry your child from birth through the toddler years), and (3) a jogging-type stroller (smooth ride, though often not particularly well-suited for jogging). To save a few dollars, look for "last year's" colors and free shipping.
At $70 and 2 lbs more than the Techno XT, the Techno XLR accommodates an infant car seat for use from birth and is a little wider in the seat than the XT. Both models are lightweight (XT: 14.3 lbs, XLR: 16.3 lbs), yet loaded with exactly the features you need, including one-handed folding, fully reclining padded seat with extendable leg rest, height-adjustable handles, a hood and rainshield and larger wheels (6.5 inches) than most other umbrella stroller for better handling and shock absorption. Like the XT, the Techno XLR is an excellent value and has the added benefit of accommodating an infant car seat.
Elegant and a little sporty -- think Volvo. Owners swear by the Zippy for quality, functionality and ease of use. Several features set Zippy apart from traditional umbrella strollers: accommodates an infant car seat (Graco only in 2008), making it suitable for a newborn; has larger wheels for a smoother ride (7 inches v. 6.5 on Maclaren Techno); and features a slick one-handed folding mechanism. However, the Zippy is 25% heavier than the Maclaren Techno XT (18.7 lbs vs. 14.3 lbs) and does not fold as compactly as a Maclaren, making it less portable.
The Honda Accord of strollers. A perennial favorite for overall quality and functionality. Lightweight (14.3 lbs), yet loaded with exactly the features you need, including one-handed folding, fully reclining padded seat with extendable leg rest, height-adjustable handles, a hood and rainshield and larger wheels (6.5 inches) than most other umbrella strollers for better handling and shock absorption. A perfect choice for city folks who favor public transportation and suburbanites who are in and out of the car frequently. In the current stroller market with pricey convertible options, the Techno XT is an excellent value and a wise buy.
The compact Lexus SUV of strollers. Bugaboo made parents rethink the stroller and stretched the bounds of functionality -- and pricing. Converts from an infant stroller used with a bassinet (included) or select infant car seats (Graco SnugRide, Maxi Cosi Mico and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio SIP) with an adapter ($45, not included) to a toddler stroller with a reclining seat; fully reversible seat (baby faces you or faces out); serious shock-absorbing suspension; large rear wheels for a smooth ride; reversible handlebar -- the list of features goes on. The only question is whether you need this much functionality and whether it's worth $900 to you. The Cameleon (at $900) offers several features that the Bugaboo Frog ($760) does not: mix-and-match fabric, no-flat foam rear tires and a height-adjustable handlebar -- the latter two are worth the upgrade. One serious drawback to both models -- the toddler seat must be removed before it can be folded, making it less portable than other options.
Like the up-and-coming "sports activity coupe," the Quinny Buzz has a unique modern, compact design that sets it apart from other convertible strollers -- and it has not yet flooded the US market. Converts from an infant stroller using a car seat (Maxi Cosi Mico only, adapter included) to a toddler stroller with a fully padded, brightly colored reclining seat. Also features a single front wheel for maximum maneuverability. The folding system is the buzz of the Buzz -- you still have to remove the toddler seat like the Bugaboo, but the Buzz is easy to close and even easier to open with just a touch. For comparison purposes, the Buzz is 6 pounds heavier than the Cameleon (20 vs. 26 lbs) and has inflatable as opposed to foam tires. However, the Dreami bassinet is optional, giving you the choice to spend hundreds of dollars less on the Buzz.
American-made take on the convertible concept. Nicely done at a better price, though not quite as sleek and elegant -- the Ford Explorer of convertible strollers. Has the functionality of its European counterparts -- convertible from an infant stroller used with bassinet (included) or car seat (not included) to a toddler stroller with a reclining seat; fully reversible seat (baby faces you or faces out); large "no-flat" rear wheels for a smooth ride; and a reversible, height-adjustable handlebar. One-piece folding -- either with the car seat adapter or toddler seat -- sets the VISTA apart from the others, which require removal of the toddler seat for folding. A welcome addition to the convertible stroller market at a better price.
The Phil and Teds Sport Buggy is a compact "jog" stroller with three large inflated tires to provides a smooth ride over rough terrain. The front wheel swivels for maneuverability. The standout feature is that, down the road, the Sport can be easily converted to a top/bottom double stroller with the addition of a bottom seat for only $90. However, not the easiest stroller to take to a restaurant, on the bus or up the stairs.
The Phil and Teds Dash Buggy, like the Sport, is a compact "jog" stroller with three large inflated tires for a smooth ride. For $150 more than the Sport, the Dash offers a fully padded seat with multiple reclining positions, a handbrake, an improved folding mechanism and an easy-to-clean plastic foot rest. Can also be converted to a top/bottom double stroller with the addition of a bottom seat for $100. With the same weight and dimensions as the Sport, it shares the same limitations on portability.