Canstar Blue’s 2019 prams & strollers review has seen Bugaboo, Baby Jogger, Valco Baby, Mountain Buggy, Steelcraft, Mother’s Choice, Target and Kmart compared on their handling & steering, design & style, ease of folding, features, flexibility, weight & size, value for money and overall satisfaction.
To get from A to B with your newborn, not in terms of learning the alphabet but rather getting to your destination, a good pram or stroller is a must. However, picking the best one isn’t as simple or as cheap as it used to be, with new models offering high-class designs to make the journey for both parents and bubs a breeze. A pram or stroller can be a massive financial outlay and new parents may be shocked at just how much they usually cost. Parents who have been around the block before and are preparing for another arrival may also be shocked at the cost of upgrading to a new model. Whatever your parental experience, you’ll want a pram or stroller that lives up to the hype – and there’s a lot of hype!
To help you decide which pram brand is best, Canstar Blue has surveyed hundreds of parents to seek their feedback on the prams and strollers they have recently purchased and used, and their opinions are reflected by the star ratings you see above. The idea is to share the experiences of parents just like you, to help you make an informed purchase decision about what will likely be one of your biggest financial expenses before or shortly after welcoming your little one into the world.
Replacing Baby Jogger at the top of the table after three years of dominance, Bugaboo achieved five stars for overall satisfaction, handling and steering, design, features and flexibility. It also earned a solid four stars on weight and size. If you’re shopping around for a new stroller, you’ll surely have heard the name – and now you know exactly how it lives up to its reputation in the eyes of Aussie parents. But it’s not the only brand worth considering. Read on for further details.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 pram & stroller review saw eight major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Baby Jogger, Valco Baby, Mountain Buggy, Steelcraft and Mother’s Choice all received four stars for overall satisfaction, while the two budget-oriented brands – Target and Kmart – scored three stars. While Bugaboo secured first place, some notable top marks for other brands included Baby Jogger being the only brand to achieve five stars for ease of folding, while Mountain Buggy was rated best on weight and size. Additionally, Valco Baby was the only brand to achieve top marks on value for money.
Read on for further details about the eight brands featured in the ratings and what they have to offer in the form of prams, strollers, and any other hybrid models doing the rounds right now. There are several other brands out there, but it’s fair to assume these brands are the biggest in Australia.
With a proclaimed mission ‘to help you move freely’, Bugaboo offers a number of strollers and luggage systems to help you explore the world in comfort and style. Bugaboo’s chief designer and co-founder turned their childhood obsession with wheels into true passion for getting people out and about. The company endeavours to produce products its customers happily take out on adventures and get them well-worn and even muddy as they live without limits.
The range of strollers to suit different lifestyles includes the Fox (comfort), the Cameleon (all in one), the Donkey (convertible), the Bee (urban), the Runner (for jogging) and the Ant (for travel). Bugaboo’s ‘Bee 5’ is apparently ‘the most comfortable and stylish compact pram’ in the line-up. Expect to pay premium prices, from $890 to around $2,900, depending on style and size.
Active people who become parents can struggle to manage their adventures while lugging along their little one. That’s why, in 1984, Baby Jogger was founded by a father who wanted a stroller capable of enduring long distance use, over all kinds of surfaces. It’s important to note that not all Baby Jogger strollers are suitable for jogging – there are various models for different needs.
The range covers numerous terrains and uses, so you can take your baby along with you on even the most active and adventurous of pursuits. Baby Jogger’s ‘city select’ is stated to be the most versatile of the lot. It’s designed to keep rolling as your family grows, allowing you to add an additional seat if you have another one on the way. The brand is also well-known for prams that can be folded with just one hand, meaning you can easily hold your little one and pack the car at the very same time. Baby Jogger is certainly a premium brand, which is reflected in its price tags, ranging from as low as under $450 up to more than $1,000.
Covering a diverse range of prams and strollers across single and double configurations, Valco Baby is an Australian baby care company, serving Aussie families for almost 50 years. The line-up is divided into the ‘Snap’, ‘Trend’, ‘Spark’ and ‘Nomad’ ranges. Most strollers feature its bumper bars, retractable canopies and soft, thick padding to help keep your little one safe and comfy.
Many are also customisable, with add-ons such as an external bassinet and the ‘sports pack’ with more rugged clip-on wheels for more adventurous trips out with your baby. Designs cover all kinds of needs as well as all kinds of styles, to suit your lifestyle preferences. Its ‘Trend’ model features a denim design for urban lifestyles. Valco Baby prams and strollers can be had for around $250 to $1,200.
Founded in New Zealand for mountain-climbing mums and dads, Mountain Buggy is stated to be an all-terrain luxury stroller brand that can help you take your parenting to new heights. The company claims to adhere to high standards of performance, safety and engineering, with a personal touch.
Mountain Buggy offers a range of strollers in both single and double configuration, plus carrycots compatible with buggies to transform into bassinet-style prams. The Mountain Buggy Duet pram is designed for siblings or twins, with hand operated control brakes for slowing down. In addition, it features a one-hand fold with an automatic frame lock, allowing you to pack the car with one hand and hold your bub with the other. Prices start from $399 for its ‘Nano Travel Pram’, going up to as much as $1,299 for its ‘Cosmopolitan Luxury Collection’, designed with “modernistic styling and renewed functionality”.
A brand owned by Britax – the baby travel and furniture company probably best-known for its child car seats – Steelcraft strollers are said to be travel-friendly thanks to their lightweight quick-fold design. The range includes twin prams, reverse handle and travel system strollers. Look out for features such as a reclinable and extendable sun canopy, peek-a-boo window and extra storage space.
Steelcraft says it uses high-performance fabrics and offers stylish editions of its diverse offerings, which includes umbrella strollers and reverse handle strollers (which allow parents to have their child facing either forward or backwards). The Steelcraft ‘Sprint’ stroller is stated to make travelling with your little one simple and easy with its compact and lightweight design, according to the brand. Prices range from around $170 to over $1,000 for its deluxe edition prams.
Part of Dorel Australia – one of the largest suppliers and designers of nursery products in the country – Mother’s Choice describes itself as a brand for mums looking for a great deal on practical and accessible products without worrying about being trendy. It covers a wide range of furniture and transport gear for babies and toddlers, including car seats, cots and highchairs to keep your baby comfortable, whether it be during naptime, while eating dinner, or while out and about.
The current stroller range keeps things fairly simple with three models. Its Flux Active stroller offers a removable bumper bar, airtyres and an extra-large UPF50+ canopy stated to protect your little rug rat in all weather conditions. In addition, it features a quick fold system with a lock. Its prices certainly reflect its aim, ranging from as low as $79 and going up to as much as $249.
Keeping it simple, Target offers two different strollers, including a simple upright buggy for $25 and a ‘trip stroller’ for $89. The buggy is designed to be lightweight and compact for easy storage and those quick little trips. It’s suitable for children aged 6 months and up, with a maximum weight of 15kg.
The Trip Stroller is said to be more comfortable, with quilted padding and front swivel wheels, but is still designed to be lightweight for convenient movement and transport. It’s suitable straight from birth and features a multi-position backrest. Additionally, it’s designed with a self-fold lock for easy transportation.
The cheap and cheerful department store specialising in homewares and cheap electronics has a range of budget strollers for Aussie consumers to choose from. Making parenting affordable, Kmart covers a range of equipment to get you and the little one out and about.
Currently there are three different stroller models to choose from, starting from a cheap and basic $20 upright flat fold stroller (for ages 6 months and up) in a choice of teal, black and red colour. Next is the $39 umbrella folding stroller, with a canopy, padded safety harness and shopping basket. Kmart’s most expensive stroller (pictured) still costs just $59, with front swivel wheels and tether strap plus all of the features of the $39 model.
A pram or stroller will naturally be high on your ‘to buy’ list if you’re expecting a child, or if your child is approaching toddlerhood, warranting the purchase of a stroller. Prams & strollers need to be more than just reasonably priced, as our survey found. We identified the following drivers of parent satisfaction in order of importance:
Handling and steering is evidently the biggest factor affecting parent satisfaction. If you’ve ever gone for a walk with a cumbersome pram, you’d know that it can be a workout in itself! Weight and size play into this as well, but having a pram or stroller that handles well can take the stress off your body and maybe even leave your child in better comfort, without being jerked around!
Other key findings from our 2019 survey include:
Buying a pram or stroller isn’t a cheap endeavour. Respondents to our 2019 survey reported an average spend of $539 on their new prams and strollers but there are many models out there that cost double or even triple that!
Survey respondents who bought a Bugaboo stroller reported a higher-than-average expenditure, with $1,190 spent. This higher price didn’t deter parents though as brands need to do more than just offer a cheap price. Sometimes the extra cost is worth it!
A ‘pram’ is generally designed for younger infants, and is short for ‘perambulator’, while ‘strollers’ are more basic in design and offer merely a convenient place for an older infant to sit. Prams feature soft flat bottoms, and large canopies allowing the baby to lie flat. Prams often feature larger wheels and are a much more ‘complete’ package, lending to higher prices.
Strollers, on the other hand, may be best for toddlers who want to see more of the real world, rather than just merely sleep. Strollers are usually the last step before kids start walking fully on their own. Strollers are also often smaller and more portable, lending themselves to storage in regular car boots and the like.
Of course, you don’t necessarily have to choose one type over the other as many brands come with ‘hybrids’ that can configure seating to either pram-style or stroller-style. One type isn’t necessarily better than the other, but considering your child’s age is probably the most important factor in your decision. It seems hybrids/convertibles are in trend with almost half of respondents (46%) stating to have purchased one.
Prams & strollers are often as much of a social statement as a place for your child to sit. There’s a bit of ‘keeping up with the Joneses’ with other parents and many mums and dads reading will have no doubt analysed other pram purchases while out and about at the park.
Evidently, a pram or stroller is more than just a cart to push your child around in, it’s also a talking point among parents. While it can be an expensive item to purchase, it doesn’t mean it’s not worth investing in one that ticks all your boxes.
Picture credits: Blazej Lyjak/shutterstock.com, 4Max/shutterstock.com, Oleggg/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 1,200 Australian parents of children aged 6 years and under across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a pram or stroller in the last 3 years – in this case, 760 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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