Chicco's C1 (birth to 40 pounds, $250) has the most versatile adjustable handles. Anyone can push this stroller comfortably. Other pluses: The seat reclines for a newborn, all-wheel suspension gives baby a supersmooth ride, and it folds compactly.
When you see a photo of a celebrity pushing a stroller, it's often the Bugaboo Frog (birth and up, $730). Devotees say it's the most durable, smooth-riding set of wheels out there. It has two different seats -- use the bassinet for a newborn, then the regular seat once baby can sit up. It's all ergonomically designed, the handlebar reverses so baby can face Mom or Main Street, and it can tackle tough terrain such as sand.
Engineers abandoned any notion of what a stroller usually looks like when they designed Stokke's Xplory (birth and up, $750) from scratch. The innovations: Baby sits high (close to faces, which are more reassuring than knees), can face you or the world, and rides comfortably thanks to rubber wheels and shock absorption. Xplory's handle has plenty of height adjustments, and it can maneuver up and down stairs (ask at the store for a demonstration).
In addition to old-fashioned prams, Silver Cross makes practical strollers for parents who want style but not heft. In fact, the Silver Cross Micro (6 months and up, $110) weighs less than 10 pounds, despite having a comfy spring suspension system. The seat shown here is brown plaid but it also comes in red, gray, and pink.
Italian strollers are built to go over cobblestones and be carted up steps -- in other words, they're great for city dwellers. The Inglesina Espresso (3 months and up, $200) is light but very padded for comfort. You lift it up when folding it, which is easier for some parents. It comes in fun colors such as red, pink, purple, blue, and yellow.
City parents swear by Maclaren strollers because they're compact, easy to maneuver, and a cinch to fold. And this year, they're so darn cute! Some models come in pink and lilac, others in giant colorful dots. This, the lightweight Triumph (3 months and up, $150), comes in sophisticated pewter with a red canopy and orange trim, and many other snazzy color combinations. Extras like a rain cover make it beautiful bargain.
Graco's CoachRider (birth and up, $150) has a seat that goes down flat to form a bassinet for your newborn. When your child learns to sit, just lift the seat upright. It comes with a cold-weather boot (a removable fabric panel to keep baby's legs warm), and the handle reverses, so your child can face you or enjoy the view. It can be used with Graco's SnugRide car seat to form a travel system.
Evenflo's Ellipsa Travel System (birth and up, $250 for stroller and infant car seat) is loaded with extras. There's one-hand steering (lug groceries or talk on a phone with one hand, push with the other), a fully reclining seat, a canopy that tilts to any angle to ward off sun and wind, and a fabric boot to keep your child's legs warm. The Embrace infant car seat -- included -- can be used to move baby seamlessly from the car to the stroller.
If you own a Britax infant car seat, it can sit atop the new Britax Preview (from birth if used with car seat, otherwise 6 months and up, $130) to form a nifty lightweight travel system. We love how the back of the canopy has lots of pockets for organizing -- and actually detaches so you can carry it like a diaper bag. The seat reclines for a napping child and the leg rest is adjustable.
The easiest-to-maneuver double stroller we've seen is the new Safety 1st Transit Tandem (ages 6 months and up, $130). The backseat, for the younger child, has a full recline for naps. The canopy covers both kids, the handles are adjustable, and the whole thing folds easily and compactly -- really!
The Jeep Overland Limited Jogging Stroller (from when baby can sit up, $170), has speakers on the back so you can play a cassette, CD, or MP3 player (not included). An odometer keeps track of how fast you're going and how far; other gadgets include a cell phone pocket, rain shield, and height-adjustable handles.
Every Baby Jogger is built by hand, explaining both why they're so costly and why they're so durable, no matter what kind of torture you put them through! The Baby Jogger Q Series (from when baby can sit up, $350 for a single with 16-inch wheels) has an amazing quick-fold feature, finally making it easy to toss a jogger in your car or store it standing upright.
Originally published in American Baby magazine, June 2005.
All prices and product information were accurate at time of publication. Please check with individual manufacturer for latest details.