I have a love-hate relationship with strollers. I love my stroller that I finally got for Will, but getting it took three other strollers. The right stroller can really make your life much easier, whereas the wrong one really can make a simple outing a headache.
There was nothing wrong with my original stroller combo. It was a perfectly nice travel system from Graco. I liked the fabric, the snap-n-go seat, and it worked fine for the mall. But I hated how bulky it was for folding up, it steered "okay" but not great, and, as Will got older, I switched to a more space-friendly travel stroller that folded very compactly, but still had all of the features that I needed, like a reclining seat, sunshade, and basket for storage.
Also, I surprised everyone (including myself) by how much I used a hand-me-down jogging stroller that I got from a friend. It pushed like a dream and worked great when Will was a smaller infant. However, it was an older model, with only a lap belt, and as Will got larger and more mobile, it became a safety issue. My girlfriend and I were taking 5 - 7 mile walks daily and so I was using this stroller a lot, and it wasn't very comfortable for Will and lacked a cup holder for my water bottle, or a snack tray for Will.
So, eventually, I found one stroller that worked for everything. It is not a jogging stroller by "official" standards, but it has a front wheel that can be fixed, and I am not a pro-jogger, so it has worked for me. It is super comfortable with a little steering wheel (that beeps!) for Will, and a place for me to plug in my i-pod, and drink holders, and a snack tray, and it steers like a dream, and I love it. I still have the travel stroller in the car and keep the jogging stroller in the garage, but we are down to two strollers (after having four at one time!). If we go for a longer day trip or an outing, like the zoo, we put the jogging stroller in the car and leave the travel stroller at home.
Of course, now that we are looking at purchasing a double stroller, I want to do it right the first time. I am considering doing something similar; finding a compact, travel double and also a jogging stroller for longer trips and the walking that I will need to do to bust off pregnancy weight later on!
We do not have a huge budget, but I would rather spend a little more and be happy than try to settle for something and be disappointed. I also am not at all hesitant to use craigslist (as I have for all of my stroller purchases with the exception of the original Graco travel system). So, with diligent looking, I can find even the more upscale strollers in our price range.
So, these are the strollers I am considering, based on friends' recommendations and personal research. But I also know that you, my dear reader, know a lot about strollers and I figured you might be able to help me narrow down my search. Also, I know it's a bit early to be purchasing the stroller, but with craigslist, you have to strike while the iron's hot, and it will give me time to find a super good deal. If there is a stroller that you LOVE but I haven't listed here, please let me know about it and why you couldn't live without it.
Phil and Ted's
I have found the e3's (both sport and original) for around $300 on craigslist a couple of times (with the doubles kit, car seat attachement, and rain guard, which would up the price of the stroller new by about $200). What appeals to me about this stroller is how compact it is. I might not even need a second travel stroller, it folds up so well. I love the option to have the infant lie flat, so I can use this stroller from day one with both kids. I am attacted to the fact that if and when Will decides he doesn't want to stroll anymore, we can just get rid of the doubles kit and this goes back to a single stroller without having to buy a new one. What concerns me is spending so much for a used stroller that will have no warranty and the fact that some people say it can be awkward to jog and walk with the doubles attachment in place (I guess the handle's too short on these "base" models, and I don't have $900 to splurge on the Vibe, which you don't see secondhand on the market very often and those are still $500 or more on the rare occasion that they do pop up and that is over my budget). There is also no storage when the doubles kit is in place (which it would be for most of the life of this stroller) and yes, you can buy the attachments, but they are pricey. M is already freaking out about paying $300 for a used stroller as is.
Ah, the Bob. I think every mom that I know that owns one of these is pretty much in love with it. I find these on craigslist quite often, again around $300. Other moms' opinions mean a lot to me, so that is what attracts me about this stroller. What I don't love about it is that it's huge. You can't take it into restaurants, a lot of stores, through some doorways, etc. I know they steer well and that the kiddos would be comfortable, but I know that I would definitely still want a smaller travel stroller. And if Will outgrew a stroller, we would be stuck with a large double or have to buy another single stroller.
Baby Trend Double Sit N Stand Deluxe
This would be a stroller that I would have for the car and then I would buy a less expensive jogger off of craigslist. I like that this is probably the least expensive option (I could get this brand new for less than $150 during one of Babies R Us sales and/or coupons - and then get jogger for less than $100 off craigslist), but wonder if I will always just wish I would have put out the extra money to have one stroller for everything. I also like the fact that if Will outgrew wanting to officially be in the stroller, this has the option for him to ride when he gets tired (after taking off the rear seat). It has all of the things that I like about a stroller . . . good storage, snack trays, etc.. And we have two strollers now, so it wouldn't be a problem to have two in the future. There is also a slightly cheaper version, which I really can't see too much of a difference between.
As I said, this is kind of what I have narrowed it down to for now. Weigh in, let me know what stroller has changed your life or what you think of my choices above!