Pushchair buying guide
Pushchair, baby stroller, buggy, pram – picking the right one is essential for keeping you and your baby comfortable while you travel. Here we explain the different types and all the other things you need to consider to find your best pushchair.
What you need to consider
They need to lie flat for the first 3 – 6 months
In the past, you'd buy a pram first and then move them to a pushchair when they're able to sit up. Today, most people choose one pushchair or pram that will work for both stages, so you don't need to buy two. You can either buy a pushchair or pram (pramette) that reclines, or a chair that can transform from one into the other.
How heavy is it and how big is it?
Tight corners, stairs, doorsteps, curbs – you'll face all kinds of little obstacles when you're taking baby out and about. Think about your home and your surroundings and consider which obstacles you might need to overcome. Pushchairs are available in many shapes and sizes and choosing the right design will help reduce any struggles on the way.
Do you drive or take public transport?
If you'll be driving with baby, you'll need to be able to fit your pushchair in your car, ideally in the boot. Travel systems are very popular, because you can lift the seat from the pushchair and turn it into a car seat. But these systems can be surprisingly bulky and the frame may not fit in a small car boot.
If you're likely to use public transport, a manoeuvrable and lightweight baby stroller is going to be a big help. And one that can fold away will be especially helpful where luggage or pushchair space is in short supply.
Will you just be using the pavement?
Most wheelchairs are made for flat surfaces. If you enjoy a country walk or there are gravel paths near where you live, you'll need to look for a pushchair suitable for different terrains, one with lockable front wheels, and good suspension to avoid a bumpy ride for your baby.
How tall are you?
Your pushchair needs to be comfortable for you to push along, and ideally for anyone else who'll be looking after your young one. Pick a pushchair with an appropriate handle height, or choose a model with adjustable handle height.
The different types of pushchair
A lot of the different names used for pushchairs are confusingly used interchangeably. This section explains what you can typically expect from each type to help you pick your best pushchair, although sometimes the boundaries can be blurred.
Standard prams are actually rare these days. Because baby only needs to lie flat for 3 – 6 months, they've largely been replaced by reclining pushchairs, so you can sit them up when they're ready without having to buy a separate chair.
If you prefer not to use reclining pushchair, you can use a carrycot which can be attached to a pushchair frame, a pramette, or a combination pram and pushchair.
The largest category and where there is a lot of cross-over. Pushchairs were traditionally designed for when babies could sit up, but now most models recline, so they can be used from birth. Alternatively, if you chose a pushchair that doesn't recline, there may a be a compatible carrycot that you can attach and remove once they can sit up.
Unlike a reclining pushchair, where the seat reclines so a baby can lie down, a pramette starts as a pram with baby lying flat, and then folds forward to become a pushchair. That may not sound like much of a difference, but it means a pramette allows babies to lie completely flat, while a reclining pushchair will be at least at a slight angle.
Combination pushchair and pram
Combination models include a frame, a carrycot and a pushchair seat. You attach the carrycot to the frame to make it a pram, and then swap it with the pushchair seat when baby can sit up. The benefit of a combination pushchair is that the frame is typically very strong and durable, while reclining models may be lighter and less robust.
Typically baby strollers are lightweight pushchairs, ones that can be easily folded down for transport. Strollers are usually pretty basic and don't have many features. Most are designed for when babies can sit up, but some more premium models can recline, or be converted into a pram.
A buggy can refer to a pushchair or, more commonly, a stroller. It's not a well-defined term. It's actually like Biro or Hoover, where a brand name has come to be used for similar products within that category. If you've been advised to get a buggy, it's probably a stroller you're looking for.
A travel system combines a pushchair with a car seat. Some models may even include a carrycot too. The chair can easily be detached from the pushchair and installed into a car. While this is very convenient, some travel system frames can be quite large and may not fit easily into your car's boot.
Twin, tandem or triple pushchairs
Parents who have, or are expecting more than one child, may want to choose a pushchair they can share. A twin or triple pushchair will have your children side by side, which obviously makes them quite wide. A tandem chair seats one child behind the other. If you have children of different ages, you'll need to make sure the pushchair can be adjusted to fit each child's age group.
Once you have an idea of which type of pushchair you want to buy, you need to start looking at the features. These will help you to compare models and choose the best pushchair for all your needs.
3 or 4 wheels
4 wheels are most common, but 3 wheel models are much more manoeuvrable. This is especially beneficial for moving off the pavement onto rougher terrain.
Handle height/adjustable handles
You'll need to make sure the pushchair handle is at the right height for you to grip comfortably. Adjustable handles are hugely beneficial because it ensures that mums, dads, grandparents and other carers can all adjust the height to what best suits them. It's also handy if you are pregnant and your baby bump starts to get in the way.
Newborns need to lie flat until they're able to sit up (3 – 6 months). If you're buying a pushchair for a newborn, it needs to recline and be suitable for them to use from birth. Otherwise, you'll need to choose a carrycot that can attach to your chosen chair, a pramette, or a combination pushchair.
If you choose a foldable stroller or pushchair, how big is it when folded? Some chairs can still be quite big. Make sure you choose a size which will fit in the places where you'll need to store it. Strollers typically fold into a long, thin umbrella shape, while larger pushchairs fold down into a compact square-like shape. A two hand fold will require both of your hands to fold it, while a one hand fold requires just one.
Baskets & storage
You'll always need to take some baby supplies with you on your travels, and you'll no doubt be out doing your shopping quite often. Check what each pushchairs offers so that you don't find yourself struggling to transport extra items.
A reversible seat allows you to change them from facing towards you to facing away from you. When your baby is very young, they like to know where you are, and you may feel more comfortable keeping a close eye on them. But when they're older, they become more curious, and having a reversible seat means you can turn the seat forward and let them look around.
A hood provides protection and shade for your baby. Naturally a large hood will provide more protection than a small hood, but will add more bulk to your pushchair. Some basic strollers/pushchairs may not include one. Depending on what you choose, you may need to purchase a separate sun shade, raincover or parasol for your pushchair.
Pushchairs typically come with linked brakes, meaning that you can easily slow both rear wheels by pressing a single pedal.
Pushchairs usually come with swivel wheels to help you change directions. However, when crossing rough terrain, the wheels may get knocked from side to side, making your pushchair hard to control. Lockable wheels keep them on track so you can keep moving straight ahead.
Suspension offers baby a less-bumpy ride. For flat pavements, it's less of an issue, but for rougher or bumpier terrain, good suspension will really make a difference.
These are the essential extras you may need to purchase so that you and your baby can travel safely and comfortably.
Carrycots allow newborns to lie flat. Many pushchairs and strollers will allow you to attach a carrycot to the frame, which is beneficial if you chose a design that doesn't recline.
A raincover is an easy way to keep your child dry when it's wet outside and can be easily fitted over most pushchair types.
Babies' skin will be very sensitive to the sun. Having a sunshade with a high SPF rating will help to keep them protected in the summer months.
A parasol will offer shade to your baby on warm, sunny days. They're especially useful if your pushchair doesn't have a hood, or the hood is quite small. Parasols may not be waterproof; a raincover is recommended for rain protection.
A footmuff provides a snug and cosy environment for your child to sit and rest in. It protects them from the cold and won't slip and move, unlike a blanket.
These special bags attach across the handles of your pushchair. They're a great way to keep all your baby essentials in one place and always easy to reach.
Delivery & payment
If you've settled on which type of pushchair to buy, then you're ready to shop. Still not quite sure? Our customer services team will be happy to give you more information and advice.
FAST TRACK IN-STORE COLLECTION
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FAST TRACK SAME DAY DELIVERY
Buy before 6pm and we'll deliver by 10pm the same day for only £3.95, 7 days a week. Subject to availability.
Fast Track Delivery
Many of our TVs are eligible for same day delivery. Place your order before 6pm on any day of the week and we'll deliver it to you on the same day for as little £3.95.
We'll deliver your order for as little as £3.95.
Reserve your pushchair online and collect and pay for it in store.