Baby number two is on its way, or perhaps you’re expecting twins. Congratulations! Now what? You need help choosing a new double stroller for your growing family and you don’t know where to start.
Because of all the overwhelming choices and functionality, the first thing you need to consider is whether to go for a side-by-side “twin” stroller or a tandem front-to-back. By the time you finish reading this article, you will know the features, pros and cons of each style. Then you’ll be ready to move on to the type of lifestyle you lead to choose the right one.
Tandem double strollers
Tandem double strollers traditionally have a smaller “footprint” because they are the same width as a single. As years go by, tandems have gotten more compact and don’t quite feel like you’re a captain piloting an oil tanker.
Seating your children with the youngest in front and oldest in back helps with the weight distribution because it is easier to steer with the heavier child closer to you.
Tandem seating options are far more versatile. Many quality brands today have reversing seats, which allow for a dozen or more variations. Parents with twins especially like this option because they can install two infant car seats at once, right on the frame, eliminating the extra bulk of otherwise connecting to two seats.
The Joovy Too Qool is one of the higher-end brands to choose from. One of my favorite mid-range brands is the Contours Options Elite (pictured above) or LT, which has reversing, removable seats, so that you can set your car seat right onto the frame. Budget-conscious parents will like the Graco Duo-Glider.
The most basic tandems have a front seat that reclines a little bit, and the back seat fully reclines. You don’t want the front seat to recline too far back, thus disturbing the child in the back. Look for staggered seating, whether the higher seat is in the front or back. Fortunately, many quality tandem strollers have stadium-style seating so that no matter what the recline is in the front, the rear child will be happy.
Another tandem option is the single-to-double convertible stroller. A traditionally single stroller adds a rumble seat to the back, usually over the cargo basket.
This works out fantastically well; I’ve seen moms with their newborns in a car seat on the chassis where the main seat was, then their toddler in the rumble seat. Then as baby outgrows the car seat, the children switch places, as you see in the photo to the right.
Most single-to-double strollers are in the mid to higher-end price range. Prepare to spend a little money for this type of product; most cost between $600-$800 including the second seat.
Perhaps the most popular and versatile single to double option is the Baby Jogger City Select; it has been a favorite for years with 16 different seating configurations. For a luxury feel with an included bassinet, the UPPAbaby Vista is one to go for. With improved features for 2015, it will set you back $1030 once you purchase the rumble seat separately. The Phil and Teds Navigator is a favorite all-terrain tandem option.
Perhaps one of the best options for families who have a two-year-old active child when the new baby arrives is a stand-on or sit and stand tandem stroller.
This type of stroller has a standing platform in the back with a bench in front of your child’s knees when he or she is ready for a rest.
There are many variations to these strollers, too. Some come with a removable back seat so if your older child is still a bit too young to stand, the seat is there temporarily.
Some, like the Graco Ready2Grow, has 12 different seating options. The car seat can attach to the front or the back, so if your older child is still not ready to stand, they can have the front seat. This one is a favorite.
The Joovy VaryLight is a new concept in that it shortens or lengthens, depending on how much room you need. For example, you need to walk your newborn to sleep, but your partner can watch the older child at home. Shorten the VaryLight to the length of a single stroller for your outing. I also love Joovy’s Caboose Ultralight stand-on, which has the option of adding the Too extra 2nd seat.
For those on more of a budget, the Baby Trend Sit n Stand is a classic, getting consistent 4-star ratings, though they have not come out with any new updates for years.
Sometimes called side-by-side, sometimes called twin, this type of stroller basically a single stroller with the same features copied twice. It is ideal for twin children because they are equal, both able to see out the same. And for siblings – twin or different ages – they are able to interact more when sitting next to each other.
This type of stroller is obviously wider than the tandem, but all brands today have been designed to be narrow enough to fit through most standard-width doorways.
Twin strollers are equipped to carry only one car seat or bassinet, like you see here with the Baby Jogger City Mini GT. Exceptions are luxury brands like the Bugaboo Donkey or the Stroll-Air My Duo.
If you have twin infants and want a side-by-side, then the best option is to buy a double car seat stroller frame until your babies are big enough to ride in the stroller of your choice. I recommend the Joovy Twin Roo, because it is shorter and designed like no other car seat stroller frame!
Steering is different on this type of stroller versus a tandem. It can be easier, but if you have children of different ages then your stroller is going to veer toward the heavier child and you have to make steering adjustments.
One advantage the twin stroller has over the tandem is the variety available. All-terrain strollers, fixed-wheel joggers, umbrella strollers, luxury features or budget friendly, all are available. Want something lightweight and compact for an upcoming vacation? The Chicco Echo Twin gets 4.5-star reviews and it has 4-position reclining seats.
The BOB Revolution Duallie has always been popular with outdoorsy families, and now you can get an adjustable handle with the Revolution Flex.
A lightweight luxury option is the Valco Baby Zee Two or Snap 2. Both are lighter weight and have incredibly smooth steering.
So there you have it. Which team are you on – Tandem or Twin?
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