Posted: Tuesday, July 5, 2016 3:26 AM

                                                                                           Lightweight Stroller

    The lightweight stroller is usually considered as a secondary product in addition to a standard or possibly a jogging style stroller. Most parents look to an umbrella stroller when they need a simple, compact, stroller for travel or commuting, where the size and weight of a regular stroller just won't work. These products are smaller than other types, easy to fold, easy to carry, and relatively lightweight compared to the other kinds. Most of these products fold in on themselves like an umbrella, giving them their traditional moniker, but a few fold in half, which sometimes made an even more compact package for easier storage in smaller spaces. In general, this kind of stroller lacks as many features as a standard model, resulting in a lighter more compact stroller that is not an off-road friendly vehicle, but is intended primarily for those sticking to flat surfaces without many obstacles. Many parents purchase this kind of stroller for travel, grandparents, or quick day trip commuting.

There are two primary types of strollers in this category. There is the basic umbrella which is what most parents have in mind when they first set out on the road looking for a secondary compact stroller for travel. The other type is a lightweight models that are smaller than a traditional stroller, but bigger than an umbrella.

The basic umbrella stroller is small, easy to fold, compact when folded, and easy to transport, both in vehicles and by hand. These strollers usually have no special features or many convenience items, and their primary nod to comfort is a sun shade. The upside to this type is that they are very easy to use, and transport virtually anywhere with ease.

The lightweight version is usually significantly lighter than a full-size stroller, but offers more than the umbrella style for convenience and comfort. Many of these products include under seat storage bins, larger canopies with peek-a-boo windows, reclining back pads, adjustable leg rests, and cup holders. These kinds of strollers offer so much for comfort and convenience, that some of them might even be good candidates for a primary or as an only stroller in a household. On the upside, these products continue to retain the simplicity of a basic umbrella because they still offer a compact fold, lightweight design, and are still easier to transport than their larger standard cousins. Some also offer self-standing and auto-locking features that allow a one-hand fold and easy commuting. These products can provide the best of both worlds riding the fine line between a simple minimal stroller and a standard sized product. The downside is they are heavier than the basic umbrella and they do take up more space, which makes them harder to transport and store.

Size doesn't always matter, but when it comes to umbrella strollers, it pretty much is an essential factor for performance. This kind of stroller originally came into being because of a size issue. Parents using this kind of stroller are looking for a small, lightweight, compact folding product that is easy to fold, carry, store, and lift. Most standard, or even jogging strollers, do not fit this description. Size is one of the primary concerns and considerations for this product, and it can influence the overall experience of the user and passenger. If a lightweight stroller is too big, it fails to meet the needs of the user and you won't want to use it for travel, nor will you feel like it was a good investment. If a model is too small, it may fail to meet the user's needs, or the passenger might find it too uncomfortable to use.

One thing most of the strollers in this category have in common is the 4 front wheels design. This design has two front wheels on each front leg, equaling 4 altogether. The models that shared this design all performed worse in our maneuverability tests than those that did not have that many wheels. The 4 wheeled designs seemed to have trouble with changes in terrain, veering off course for random reasons, and getting stuck in deeper gravel or storm drains. The products that performed the best in maneuverability did not share this common characteristic, so we are at a loss as to why it seems to be the preferred design.

Of course every stroller has some kind of braking mechanism, and many of them are remarkably similar, if not almost identical in design or structure. Weeding out which is which, or what to look for can be difficult. We did multiple tests on the brakes in our review, and discussed factors like ease of use and foot friendliness, but given the importance of this topic, it still merits a mention in the performance consideration section when sorting through strollers and deciding what to buy.