If you're expecting twins or preparing for the arrival of your second, third, or perhaps fourth child, you might find yourself immersed in the world of double strollers. We're here to guide you through it and help you make the best choice for your family. What works for others may not be the ideal fit for you, so selecting the right double stroller is crucial for navigating everyday life. This article covers the basics of double strollers to ensure you make an informed decision. To simplify the choices, double strollers can be categorized into two types: side-by-side and inline. Side-by-side strollers enable two seated children to be positioned next to each other horizontally, making them wider in design compared to inline options. On the other hand, inline strollers allow for two seated children positioned one in front of the other, making them narrower than side-by-side styles but resulting in a longer frame. Keep reading to discover the differences and advantages of each style!
Is an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller easier to push?
If your stroller serves as your primary mode of transportation with a lot of walking involved, prioritizing easy maneuverability is key. There's a common misconception that an inline stroller will offer a smoother sidewalk experience, while a side-by-side stroller is often perceived as imposing and likely to overwhelm the entire sidewalk. However, despite side-by-side strollers being a wider option, they surprisingly exhibit better maneuverability. The side-by-side positioning of both children results in a more balanced weight distribution, making turning and steering easier. In contrast, inline strollers require one child to be placed on the front/lower part of the frame. While many parents choose to position their heavier, older child in this spot to keep their baby closer, it can lead to challenges in maneuverability, making turning the stroller feel cumbersome, akin to driving a bus. For everyday tasks like navigating curbs while crossing the street, a side-by-side stroller proves to be much more convenient.
Is an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller easier to use?
Many inline double strollers are actually single-to-double convertible strollers, typically sold as a single stroller in the main box, with the second seat and conversion pieces sold separately. This can make the buying experience stressful as it requires figuring out exactly what is needed to build the desired double stroller configuration. Even after all the pieces arrive, assembling them can prove to be a daunting task. Once parents have mastered the assembly and are in the midst of their day-to-day activities with their inline stroller, the multitude of moving parts may lead to irritation. It's important to note that most inline strollers (though not all*1) require at least one set of adapters to be added to the frame to achieve a double configuration. This leaves caregivers not only managing multiple children but also keeping track of various stroller parts. Additionally, most inline strollers (not all*2) require one seat to be removed when folding down, resulting in at least a 2-step folding process.
In contrast, side-by-side strollers provide simplicity. Designed and built as double strollers (with one exception*3), these options come as one stroller unit in a single box and are primarily assembled straight out of the box, requiring little to no additional assembly. Since side-by-side strollers are one unit with no moving parts, they can be folded in one piece and, in most circumstances, in one step. The nature of side-by-side strollers offers a streamlined buying, assembling, and folding process.
*2. The Cybex Gazelle S 2 can be folded with both seats attached
*3. The Bugaboo Donkey is a single to double convertible stroller that expands horizontally to create a side by side double stroller
Is an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller better for smaller trunks?
Inline double strollers can be advantageous when dealing with smaller trunks. Due to their design involving moving parts and the removal of one seat when folding, caregivers can break down the stroller and puzzle the pieces into the trunk as needed. If smaller trunks can only accommodate the stroller frame, both seats can be removed and stored in the vehicles back seat. An inline stroller might be a preferable option for parents facing challenges in lifting a double stroller in one piece. The flexibility to break down the stroller into more manageable components adds convenience in such situations.
While side-by-side double strollers typically fold more quickly than inline models, they lack the same flexibility. Being one unit, they cannot be broken down into smaller components (with one exception*4) Before purchasing a side-by-side double stroller, it's essential to check the stroller's folded dimensions and compare them to your trunk's measurements. Ensure that your desired stroller will fit your trunk before making a purchase. It's worth noting that most strollers allow the wheels to be quickly released for a more compact fold; however, this adds more folding steps. While removing the wheels may make your dream stroller fit, it may not be something you want to do every time you move from curb to car.
*4. The Bugaboo Donkey Duo is modular side-by-side double stroller and can be broken down into smaller piece for folding and lifting
Does an inline double stroller or side-by-side stroller offer better seat positioning?
Inline strollers are renowned for offering a multitude of seating positions, with some models boasting 30 or more achievable configurations. Their modular designs allow the option for seats to be parent or world-facing, or a combination of seats facing in opposite directions. The ability to achieve numerous configurations makes inline strollers very appealing to parents. However, it's crucial to check the weight limits on both seats. Many inline double strollers provide a higher weight limit on their top seat than on the front/lower seat. This difference in weight limits may force parents to position their baby in the front/lower seat and their more independent older child in the top seat. Additionally, it may be challenging for pushers to interact and engage with the child seated in the front/lower seat, as this seat is positioned out of the pusher's immediate reach and eyesight.
Side-by-side strollers indeed lack configuration flexibility since they are not modular in design, typically offering only world-facing seating (with one exception*5). However, many side-by-side options provide peek-a-boo windows through their canopies for easier engagement. When an infant car seat is paired with an infant car seat-compatible side-by-side double stroller, the infant car seat will be positioned to parent-face. The clear advantage of side-by-side double strollers is that both children are within the pusher's immediate eyesight and within arm's reach, allowing parents to keep both children close while out and about.
*5. The Bugaboo Donkey Duo is the only side-by-side double stroller that features reversible seats
Does an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller offer more infant car seat compatibility?
Both inline double strollers and side-by-side double strollers typically offer infant car seat compatibility. Most stroller manufacturers provide car seat adapters, which may either be included with the stroller or sold separately. By using infant car seat adapters, parents have the flexibility to mix and match stroller and car seat brands, allowing them to create their ideal travel system.
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Is an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller better for twins?
Inline double strollers typically consist of a main seat and a second added seat, with the main seat being taller/larger than the second seat in most cases. Side-by-side double strollers generally provide more room for upward growth and are a better fit for taller toddlers or older children. If you have concerns about fit, it's always advisable to check on stroller seat dimensions before buying, specifically the amount of space from the seat to the canopy. Comparing these dimensions will guide you to the best fit for your child.
What is a stacked double stroller configuration?
A stacked double stroller configuration, for all intents and purposes, aligns with the inline category based on the topics covered in this blog. Stacked strollers, like inline options, are single-to-double configurations that are modular. The key distinction lies in the stacked configuration, where the second seat sits underneath the top seat. The advantage of this arrangement is that the weight is distributed more evenly, resulting in stacked double strollers not facing the same maneuverability challenges as inline double strollers. The stacked seat positioning also keeps both children close to the pusher, within direct line of sight, and within arm's reach.
However, the disadvantage of a stacked configuration is that the second seat is placed inside the storage basket, thereby minimizing the stroller's storage space.
Is an inline double stroller or side-by-side double stroller better?
In the end, the choice between an inline double stroller and a side-by-side double stroller hinges on individual lifestyle needs and personal preferences. Given that a double stroller is a substantial investment and serves as the family workhorse, finding the perfect match is of utmost importance. Let's review the advantages and disadvantages of each style, along with some additional considerations:
Inline Double Stroller Pros
- many more achievable configurations
- modular design with reversible stroller seats
- can be broken down when folding for easier lifting and to accommodate smaller trunks
- more options for double infant car seat compatibility
- can be used as a double or broken back down into a single stroller
Inline Double Stroller Cons
- can be challenging to turn and steer
- can be complicated to piece together and keep track of moving parts
- may require several steps for folding
- second seat may be smaller and have a lower weight capacity
- one child is positioned out of sight and immediate reach
- typically high price points (more pieces to purchase)
Side-by-Side Double Stroller Pros
- easier to maneuver, turn and steer
- simplified buying process and assembly
- one piece fold and typically one step fold
- generally better for taller toddlers and older children
- same size and weight capacity for both seats
- keeps both children within pushers immediate reach
- typically lower priced compared to inline double strollers
Side-by-Side Double Stroller Cons
- typically only allow for world facing seating (seats are not reversible- exceptions Bugaboo Donkey)
- cannot be broken down to fit smaller trunks or for easier lifting (exception Bugaboo Donkey)
- always a double stroller- generally cannot be converted down to a single (exception- Bugaboo Donkey)
- limited choices for double infant car seat compatibility
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