When it comes to lightweight strollers, or umbrella strollers (because they fold like umbrellas), it is all about cutting corners. Let’s face it. If you want your stroller to be lightweight, many small features will have to be taken away. Depending on your circumstances, you will decide what features that you must have, and what features you must let go. For example, you can not jog with lightweight strollers. They are simply not designed for that.
Apparently, the pattern works like this. When a stroller is lighter, you should expect it to have missing features like reclines, smaller canopies, cheaper wheels, cup holder, and so on. No matter where you look, the umbrella strollers will not be as awesome as full featured standard strollers. In a certain weight limit, there are only so many things you can add to it keep it lightweight and functional.
Below, I will introduce to you some of the most awesome strollers you can find out there. I will thoroughly explain where their advantages and disadvantages lie. I will also point out what kinds of situations they are suitable for. It is your job to figure out which stroller matches your life situation. Remember, a lighter stroller will almost always means a more functionally stripped down stroller so don’t fool yourself into believing that the lighter is better. Anyway, enough of the fatherly talk, let’s go down to business!
Ever wondered if any stroller broke the guiness’ record? The Pockit lightweight stroller sure did. They broke the record for being the most compact stroller in the world. In other words, you can not find a stroller out there that can fold smaller than this stroller. Of course, considering how light and compact it is, you should expect this have the least amount of features like I mentioned earlier.
Very Light And Compact
This stroller is only 9 pounds. Once folded, it is so compact, you can bring it almost anywhere. You can take it on the plane with you (not really necessary), and you can put it in the trunk of your car. It would barely take up any space. Due to its small frame, it would be perfect for everyday grocery shopping.
Easy To Fold
To be honest, it is not the easiest in terms of folding. However, it is still rather easy. You need two hands to fold it so it is sort of a weakness, but it is designed this way to be compatible with the compact fold design. It is really hard to explain. If you want to see what the fold looks like, check it out here:
Wheels can swivel
Apparently, many umbrella strollers have stiff and awkward wheels. Even the GB’s stroller is light, it doesn’t sacrifice the wheels’ maneuverability. However, they are plastic so they aren’t very tough, so keep that in mind. This is one corner that a lot of umbrella strollers cut. Plastic wheels are lightweight after all.
The GB’s stroller can have the front wheels locked to go straight if you want. It is easy with the two flip switches located at the front wheels.
Handles Can Extend And Retract
The handles are alright. You can extend them for taller parents, and retract them for shorter parents. However, for someone like me (6’ 2”), this stroller runs a bit short. The max height is around 40”. That reaches roughly where my waist is. I can still push it, but I would have to bend over to push it, or kick the wheels a lot while pushing with my back straight. However, not every parent is tall like me.
To see if this height is comfortable for you, pretend you are pushing a shopping cart at a supermarket (elbows slightly curved and relaxed) and measure the distance between the floor and the tip of your elbow. If the number is 40” or less, then this stroller is perfect height for you.
Push One Handed
This stroller has two handles, but to me, it has three handles. The two handles are connected by a bar in the middle. This bar is solid so it can also be pushed. In terms of convenience, this is a very nice feature, but I am one of those parents that enjoy one handed stroller pushing. This also helps overcome a bit of the height issue, because I can push the stroller with one hand while having one foot walk in between the wheels without kicking them.
You are actually sacrificing a lot for the sake of having a compact stroller. Here are the features that are completely gone when you use this stroller.
It Has No Recline
That’s right. Like most umbrella strollers, the GB’s stroller has no recline. The seat is slightly slanted so your baby might fall asleep, but it won’t look very comfortable. That’s why this should not be used for overly long walks, unless you don’t mind seeing your baby’s head dangle to the front or the side of the stroller.
There’s No Real Canopy
Technically, it does have a flat cover that blocks the sun. However, you can’t really call that a canopy. It is more like a flat board. If the sun is beaming down from the directly above your head, then this cover will do wonders. However, if it is the afternoon and the sun is at an angle, then good luck with this one. Of course, it is a given that this stroller doesn’t come with a rain cover. However, rain covers are not expensive so that’s not really a big deal.
Like the old saying goes, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. This stroller is so compact that it won’t be a very good fit during the winter time. The reason is because your child will be bulked up with a winter jacket. The fit will simply be tight and uncomfortable. Not to mention, it only fits up to 37 pounds. Some places say 55 pounds, but don’t believe them. There’s no way this can fit up to 55 pounds. For kids that reach 37 pounds, I would say your kid is around 3 to 4 years old by then.
There are rumors that this stroller is backed by a two year warranty. However, I can not find this guarantee anywhere on their website. So assume they don’t have a warranty.
Basket Is Small
This is a given. With a stroller this compact, you really can’t expect the basket to get any bigger. If you are buying simple groceries like milk, vegetables, and eggs then you will do just fine. However, if you want to stack rice, along with 24 bottles of purified water along with your bag, then you can pretty much forget about it.
This stroller is for parents that travels a lot and needs a stroller for a quick stroll around town on a daily basis. It is light, easy to push, and easy to carry around in any kind of vehicle like an airplane or a small sized car. It is not meant for heavy shopping, and definitely not meant to be used during the winter times. Going up and down the stairs it not an issue. Just dump it in a bag and carry it up stairs with you. This stroller might feel a little flimsy due to its weight, but it is a medium level sturdy. If you want something more tough, then the Britax is more your thing. More on that later.
I mentioned in my car seat article that Britax company makes one of the best car seats in the world. The reason their car seats are held into such high regard is because they go overkill whenever it comes to securing their car seat, making it comfortable for the child, and making the features as convenient and practical for the parents as possible.
This is why I wondered how Britax is even capable of making a lightweight stroller. As I mentioned earlier, lightweight and full feature simply don’t mix. The reason why Britax can pull this off is because the Britax B-Mobile Lightweight Stroller is not the lightest stroller you can find. They are 16.5 pounds which is kind of heavy. However, they are still lighter than your standard stroller which is usually around 22 pounds and above.
You might be wondering, why didn’t Britax cut out any more weight?
That is because the features they include makes it impossible to cut out any weight.
The padding on Britax strollers are made to be as thick and comfortable as possible so that your baby can enjoy her ride without putting up too much fuss. it also serves as a slight shock absorber. However, this is not a car ride, so all this padding can be seen as unnecessary, and it might feel a little hot if you use this stroller during the summer times. During the winter time, this stroller will be an awesome find.
Very Flexible Recline
One of the first things that umbrella strollers cut out is the recline feature. This doesn’t hold true for all umbrella strollers, but majority of them usually doesn’t have a recline. In other words, you can not lay your baby to sleep completely flat.
This is where the Britax shines. It has a very flexible recline. It is so flexible that it can be completely flat. In a sense, it is almost a bassinet style stroller. This is why even newborns can use it. Most other umbrella strollers will only allow toddlers to be at least 12 months old to use it.
This recline also works the other way around. If you want your child to sit up completely to see the world you can do that also.
Very Easy To Fold
Britax strollers a bit on the heavy for a lightweight stroller. Let’s talk about why it still qualifies as a lightweight stroller. Lightweight strollers are not all about the weight. It is about convenience. The Britax stroller is very easy to fold. There’s a button you can press on the handle bar to lock and unlock the stroller.
Once you unlocked it, you can lift up a handle where your child normally sits and the stroller is naturally folded and locked in position. The bumper bar, which is very soft and flexible, is then used as a shoulder strap for you to hang over your shoulders. If you want to see what that looks like, check out this YouTube video here:
Wheels That Swivel
If your have an umbrella stroller that doesn’t have 360o rotation capabilities (also known as swivel wheels), then it doesn’t really qualify as a lightweight stroller. As I mentioned earlier, lightweight strollers should not have stiff wheels. The last thing you want is lack of maneuverability.
Britax has front wheels that can swivel completely, or you can lock it and make it go straight if you are pushing your stroller in a grassy area.
Another weakness of most umbrella strollers is that they use two handles instead of one. Using two handles makes it easier to fold the stroller, but Britax overcame that problem. You guessed it, Britax has one handle so that you can push your stroller around with one hand. For those who can’t stop using their phone with one hand while pushing their stroller with the other hand, this is a nice feature for you guys. Just be careful when you cross the roads and pay attention.
If You Live Higher Than The First Floor
Even though the Britax has a lot of great features. However, if you live on the second floor or higher, this is where things becomes unacceptable to you. The reason is because the Britax is sort of heavy as I mentioned earlier. Of course, this also depends on how tough you are. You can definitely carry this on your shoulder up the stairs because of the way it is designed. However, if the building you live at has no elevators, then the higher floor you live, the more you will hate this stroller. So for those living in those circumstances, I highly don’t recommend this stroller.
The Storage Basket
The storage basket at the bottom of the stroller is big. It can hold a lot. The mesh net around the basket is also flexible like a tennis court net. However, for those who want to store their big bags into this basket, things can get a little difficult. This is especially true if your baby is laying completely flat on full recline. It is very difficult to access your basket unless you lift up your child every time you do so. Theoretically with the flexible sides, you can try to access the basket from the sides, but the two legs of the stroller makes it a very tight squeeze, so that option is not really available either. For those who shop a lot at the supermarket, this can be a bit of a turn off considering how inconvenient it is to store your stuff in the basket.
This stroller is durable, comfortable, and perfect from newborn up to age three to four. If you want to go shopping with it everyday, then this is perfect for you. It is light, highly maneuverable, and can store a lot in the storage basket. In a sense, this is more like a standard stroller but five to seven pounds lighter.
If you live in higher than the first floor with no elevators, this stroller is highly not recommended. If you are traveling by plane where they don’t allow you to check your strollers, then this stroller is also not recommended. However, I really doubt it, because most airlines helps deliver your strollers to your destination for free, so you probably won’t even have a chance to store it in your overhead storage on the plane.
Depending on what car you are driving, this stroller might take up some space in the trunk. Just don’t expect to put another bulky item in there alongside this stroller. However, if you drive a large car like an SUV or a minivan, and you want your child to have the most comfortable experience ever, then this stroller is meant for you.
Something tells me that designers of these strollers have been watching too much Transformers movies. The way they name their strollers seriously makes me wonder if they were trying to develop some kind of robot technology. Not to mention, this is not the best lightweight stroller. It is named “best” so don’t get confused. Well….anyway, back to why this stroller is cool.
It Is Very Lightweight
This stroller is definitely light alright. It is so light, it is only 11 pounds. That is 5.5 pounds lighter than the Britax stroller mentioned earlier. 5.5 pounds is around two to three stacks of bananas. With these “banana weights” shaved off your stroller, this is an almost perfect stroller for going up and down the stairs, if you have to carry it up and down without an elevator.
It Is Very Compact
If you are like me, you will probably understand what it feels like to push a stroller through a very crowded street. In my neighborhood, it is a pain in the a** trying to push a bulky stroller on the streets. To make it worse, if I try to race other mothers with their compact strollers, my standard stroller will always lose considering how they can slip into the cracks of the crowd.
This is one of the shining points of the Zoe XL1. It is so narrow, it can literally allow you to slip through crowds of people like some kind of needle through a cheerio. Of course, this advantage is also its major weakness. Considering how narrow and compact it is, this stroller would be a horrible choice if you purchased it during the winter time.
The reason for that is because during that season, your child will be wearing bulky jackets. It would be very uncomfortable for your child to squeeze into this stroller. This problem also applies as you child gets older and bigger. In the end, this stroller is meant for smaller toddlers that hasn’t grown too big yet, and during the non-winter seasons.
Very Easy To Fold
Just like the Britax, this stroller is also very easy to fold. The main difference between them is that Zoe strollers doesn’t require you “unlock” it at the handle like the Britax does. You simply look for the band where your child normally sits, pull it up and it locks automatically.
If you want to see what the fold looks like, check out this YouTube video here:
It is very compact once you fold it, so storing it along with your other bulky stuff in the trunk of your car is not a problem.
The Basket Is Decent
The basket is a squarish shape. Just like the Britax stroller, it has soft mesh sides similar to a tennis court net. Since the recline doesn’t go down all the way, access to the storage basket is still possible even when your child is taking a nap. However, if you have a big diaper bag, then things can still be a tight fit if you try to squeeze things in there. Umbrella strollers usually don’t have huge baskets because the design simply doesn’t allow it, but I guess this is the best Zoe strollers can do.
Be Careful With Heavier Toddlers
When your toddler gets a bit heavy, like 30+ pounds, hold onto the handles as your toddler sits on it. The reason I say that is because this stroller has a tendency to lose balance and tip backwards when you give it too much of a sudden force. Not a lot of parents experienced this. It is unclear why this happens, but just take note of it.
Unlike the Britax stroller, this stroller has a very limited recline. Lowering it all the way is definitely not possible. It still goes pretty low though so your child might be able to enjoy a good nap in it. However, due to the fact that the recline is limited, newborns can not use this stroller.
A lot of parents have a love-hate relationship with the wheels of the Zoe stroller. The reason is because it doesn’t last long. It breaks rather easily if you use it enough. The company does make up for it by offering a lifetime warranty for the wheels.
If your wheels breaks, just ask them for an exchange. They might require some pictures or videos for evidence, but the process is not difficult. However, contrary to what you believe, these wheels run pretty smooth, and turning at sharp angles is not an issue. However, if you put too much weight on the storage basket, then this nice maneuverability disappears little by little so be careful.
One thing that sort of turns me off is that Zoe strollers have two handles instead of one unlike the Britax. Yes, I admit it. I am one of those parents that enjoys checking my phone with one hand while pushing the stroller with my other hand. With two handles, this feat is no longer possible, because pushing at either handle with one hand will steer the stroller into either direction. In other words, I can’t have the flexibility to push wherever I want with two separate handles.
No Free Returns
Zoe claims that their strollers have a free shipping and return policy. However, don’t believe them. Once you opened and used it, you are not eligible to return it. I mean come on, why would anyone return it if didn’t try it out first. That makes absolutely no sense.
Conclusion For The ZOE XL1 Best Lightweight Stroller
This is an extremely light stroller. If you use it for everyday shopping, or going on trips with very little luggage, then this stroller is definitely the way to go. It is very easy to maneuver even in a crowded area due to its compact size. Just don’t attempt to use it during the cold seasons, because your child will have a harder time fitting in there.
Their wheels aren’t that good so don’t attempt to use this stroller as a jogging stroller. They do have a lifetime warranty on wheels replacement, but it can be a hassle to ask for a replacement. This is especially true if you have a time constraint like schedules for the plane or amusement part for example. I would estimate that you can roughly only use this stroller for good two to three years per child considering how newborns can’t use it. It is good for children from 12 months old up to roughly 3.5 years old.
Unlike the Britax, I would say the Zoe stroller is meant to be used during the summer months more.
If you enjoy traveling a lot, GB’s pockit stroller is perfect for you because you can literally keep it anywhere do to its small size. If you are more into a stroller that is a bit lighter than your average stroller, but still want to do heavy shopping on a daily basis, then the Britax is more your thing. If you want something in between these two extremes, the Zoe stroller probably fits your bill more. I hope that was helpful. If you have any questions, please leave it in the comments section below.