The Best Umbrella Stroller of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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After a new round of testing in 2023, the Summer 3Dlite Convenience Stroller remains our pick. Umbrella Reverse

The Best Umbrella Stroller of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

A solid umbrella stroller is a great option for going on occasional trips or stowing in a closet at the grandparents’ house.

As a style, umbrella strollers are being phased out in favor of the more popular—and more expensive—travel stroller. In our 2023 research, we found fewer than a dozen contenders in this category.

After a new round of testing the best of the umbrella strollers that are still for sale, we determined that our longtime pick, the Summer 3Dlite Convenience Stroller, remains the single best option. It’s a lightweight, easy-to-use umbrella stroller that meets all of a parent’s basic needs at an affordable price.

These smaller, lighter strollers often work well specifically for travel or occasional use.

Umbrella strollers are not as popular as they used to be, as a newer category of feature-rich “travel strollers” has grown.

These models are easy to use but can be less convenient, with limited storage and dual handlebars that require two hands to push.

Consider shopping secondhand or borrowing before you buy new. Umbrella strollers are often lightly used.

This simple, affordable, lightweight stroller is convenient and easy to use.

The Summer 3Dlite Convenience Stroller offers all the essential features you might want in an umbrella stroller, including a convenient fold, an easy-to-recline seat, a simple buckle, a large and accessible storage basket, and a shoulder strap for carrying. At 13 pounds, it’s lightweight enough to carry around easily but still sturdy enough to feel solid on long outings. Measuring only 18 inches wide, it’s the narrowest of the umbrella strollers that we tested, and it’s less than a foot high when folded and lying on the ground. But its forward-facing handles can be uncomfortable to push for long periods.

I’m also the author of Wirecutter’s guides to full-size strollers and travel strollers. In the past year, I’ve tested dozens of strollers from more than a dozen brands. I’ve also had endless conversations about strollers with friends, neighbors, and total strangers.

For this 2023 update, I studied the range of umbrella strollers available, researched six standouts, and ultimately tested three with my 1-year-old son. My husband and I brought these strollers on subway rides and long walks through parks and city streets, and I put them through a testing and cleaning obstacle course at Wirecutter’s offices.

This guide builds on the work of writer Erica Pearson, who spent 86 hours testing eight different umbrella strollers for Wirecutter in 2017 and 2018.

An umbrella stroller is a good option for a family that needs a lightweight, occasional-use stroller and doesn’t want to spend too much money.

Umbrella strollers have existed for decades as a lightweight stroller option that folds smaller than a full-size stroller and is thus more suitable for travel. But increasingly, travel strollers have become the more popular choice; such models are generally similar in weight to umbrella strollers but fold down into a compact, suitcase-size shape rather than the long, golf-bag shape of an umbrella stroller. Whereas travel strollers have a single handlebar shaped like those on full-size strollers, umbrella strollers have two separate handles, which makes them harder to push and almost impossible to steer one-handed.

Travel strollers can be considerably more expensive than umbrella strollers, though. All of the budget travel stroller options we tested were more expensive than the priciest umbrella stroller we looked at.

Like travel strollers, umbrella strollers lack features such as adjustable handlebars, reversible toddler seats, and roomy underseat storage baskets. But umbrella strollers are even more basic than travel strollers—none can accept a car seat or a newborn-friendly bassinet, so if you’re thinking of using one for a baby, keep in mind that they typically work well only for babies who are at least 6 months old. Most can be of use for many years, though, with an upper weight limit between 40 and 50 pounds.

We’ve determined that a good umbrella stroller should have the following attributes:

Simple and reasonably priced: We focus on simplicity of use; a stroller that you might pull out only occasionally should be an easy, grab-and-go option that doesn’t require you to relearn how it works each time. Affordability is important, too. Because umbrella strollers offer fewer features than travel strollers, they should also be less expensive than those models.

Easy to push and fold: Because of the style of the handles, an umbrella stroller almost always needs two-handed pushing and steering. Nonetheless, the umbrella strollers we tested were easy enough to push around tight corners and to steer both with and without a child in the seat. Though the multistep fold of all umbrella strollers poses a bit of a learning curve, we prioritize strollers that collapse and latch easily.

Equipped with an easily adjustable harness: The best umbrella strollers have a five-point harness to keep a curious kid from leaning all the way over and trying to touch the wheels. The straps should also allow easy adjustments as the child grows.

Able to recline for naps: The cheapest umbrella strollers don’t have a recline function, but it’s an indispensable feature for naps on the go.

A decent-size canopy and an accessible underseat storage basket are also important.

We tested eight umbrella strollers in our original testing for this guide. In 2023, we surveyed the field again—and found that far fewer umbrella strollers were available, as more and more companies are discontinuing their umbrella strollers and making travel strollers instead.

We looked at reviews, talked to parents, and ultimately determined that only a small handful of currently available umbrella strollers might compete with our longtime top pick from Summer. We called in that stroller, as well as three others, and used them over several weeks. I also tested how easy it was to clean up food messes by dropping jam and milk on the seat fabric and then cleaning them with baby wipes and cleaning spray. Where small children go, messes follow—that’s why we devoted an entire article to how to clean a stroller.

This simple, affordable, lightweight stroller is convenient and easy to use.

The lightweight yet sturdy Summer 3Dlite Convenience Stroller offers the best combination of features and affordability that we’ve seen in an umbrella stroller. It folds easily, it collapses to the smallest package of the strollers we tested, and, at only 13 pounds, it’s comfortable to carry by its shoulder strap. Its recline function is the simplest of those on the strollers we tested, and the shoulder and waist straps of the harness stay clicked together, so buckling in a wiggling toddler is easier and quicker than in comparably priced strollers.

The 3Dlite has been our top umbrella stroller pick for over five years, and it has also been a favorite of Wirecutter editors as an “extra stroller for Grandma’s house.”

It offers a convenient fold. The 3Dlite is the only stroller we tested that allows folding with either hands or feet, a convenience that makes it easier to fold in a variety of situations. To fold it, you either pull up (by hand) or push up (by foot) a handle on the back of the stroller and then push down on a lever on the right side. Once you push the handles forward, the entire thing collapses on itself. In our tests, folding or unfolding the stroller took just five seconds.

The harness and buckle are relatively simple to use. Because the shoulder straps clip to the waist straps, you have to connect only three pieces, rather than five, to buckle a child in. As a child grows, you need to unclasp the shoulder straps to adjust the height, which you can do by feeding the straps through horizontal bands sewn into the seat back. Though you can’t accomplish this task with the child in the stroller, it is the easiest height adjustment of any stroller we tested.

The seat is easy to recline and incline. To recline the seat, first you use both hands to push down two levers on the bottom of the frame by the storage basket, after which you can adjust the seat to any of four reclined options. To incline, simply push the seat back up, and it clicks into place.

It has easy-to-engage brake pedals. The 3Dlite has two brake pedals, one for each rear wheel; be sure to push both to fully lock the stroller. In my testing, I found them easy to use —push down to lock, push up to unlock—and reliable, though they were slightly difficult to use with bare feet or open-toed shoes since unlocking requires you to use the top of your foot. But this is the type of braking system that all umbrella strollers except the most expensive models have.

It provides ample storage. The underseat basket, which holds up to 10 pounds—the same as Uppababy’s G-Luxe, which is twice the price of the 3Dlite—is easy to access from the back and side, and it can hold all the necessities for a day out. The stroller also has a seat-back pocket, secured with Velcro, that is convenient for small items such as a phone or a wallet.

The stroller comes with a cup holder that is useful for a bottle of water or sippy cup but swings too much to entrust with a hot cup of coffee.

Though the manual recommends against hanging a bag off the back, the separate handlebars make it tempting. We found that a 16-pound sandbag could balance on one handle when a 20-pound sandbag was in the toddler seat, and that a 4.5-pound purse could hang off one handle when the seat was empty.

Summer covers its strollers with a one-year limited warranty. The company advises spot-cleaning the fabric; the storage basket is removable for deep cleaning if necessary. In our cleaning tests, both jam and milk came out of the fabric when I used only baby wipes.

Unlike with the other umbrella strollers we tested, the handles on the 3Dlite are pointed forward rather than angled in, which can wear on your wrists after you’ve pushed for a long period.

The canopy is smaller than that on the Uppababy G-Luxe, lacks a peekaboo window, must be locked open with a lever, and offers no UV or UPF protection.

The 3Dlite cannot stand on its own when folded.

Because the seat on the 3Dlite needs only to be pushed up to incline, nap-resistant toddlers can simply grab the sides of the stroller frame and pull themselves into a seated position. This is the case with all of the umbrella strollers that we tested, however.

The 3Dlite also lacks an adjustable leg rest, although in my testing, I found that the adjustable leg rests on other umbrella strollers were too small to make much of a difference in comfort and too fiddly to bother using most of the time.

Weight: 13 pounds Frame dimensions: 18 by 34 inches (WL) Folded size: 18 by 40 by 12 inches (WLH) Child weight, height limit: 50 pounds, 43 inches Storage basket weight limit: 10 pounds Wheel diameter: 6 inches Included accessories: cup holder

If you’re willing to spend more for an umbrella stroller: The 16.8-pound Uppababy G-Luxe is a nicer option overall than the Summer 3Dlite. It has some appealing features that our top pick lacks, including a large, UPF 50 canopy, the ability to stand on its own when folded, and a connected wheel axle that allows you to brake with only one pedal. But the G-Luxe costs twice as much as the 3Dlite, and its extra features don’t seem to be worth that premium—especially when our budget travel stroller pick offers those features and more for only a bit more money.

All umbrella strollers, because of the way their metal frames collapse and open, must be used with caution so that fingers (either yours or a child’s) don’t get caught in the hinges or frames. In 2009, Maclaren voluntarily recalled 1 million of its umbrella strollers sold in the US after a side hinge amputated 12 kids’ fingertips. The company later added a hinge cover (and still later the US division declared bankruptcy).

Falls are the most common injury associated with strollers. Make sure to adjust the stroller’s safety harness to fit the child securely both at the shoulders and around the waist, and confirm that the stroller locks open before putting a baby in the seat. Engage the brakes when putting a child in or taking a child out of a stroller.

Summer suggests cleaning the seat and canopy fabric with cold water and mild soap and using a damp cloth to clean the plastic and metal surfaces. Don’t use bleach or abrasive cleaners. Allow the fabric to air-dry completely before you use the stroller.

Many umbrella strollers we tested or considered for previous iterations of this guide have since been discontinued. That group includes the Maclaren Quest, Triumph, Mark II Recline, and Volo, as well as the Chicco Ct0.6/Capri, the Cosatto Supa, the Evenflo Minno, the Graco Breaze, the Inglesina Net, the J is for Jeep Brand North Star and Scout, the Peg Perego Pliko Four, the Summer 3D-One, the Uppababy G-Lite, and the Urbini Reversi. Many of these strollers may still be found secondhand.

Summer also makes the 11-pound 3Dmini Convenience Stroller, but we decided not to test it, as the 3Dlite has significantly stronger reviews.

Maclaren, the company known for inventing the umbrella stroller, was very popular and offered a lifetime warranty. But the models we considered in the past were considerably overpriced compared with our picks and many of the other strollers we tested. And the company has since declared bankruptcy.

We used to recommend the Joovy Groove Ultralight as our upgrade pick, but it is no longer available, and Joovy no longer makes an umbrella stroller.

The Chicco Liteway has some nice features that our pick lacks, such as an adjustable leg rest and angled-in handles. But it weighs nearly 18 pounds, and a frustrating harness, a confusing canopy, and the lack of a carry strap make it less appealing overall.

The Kolcraft Cloud is an extremely affordable stroller that weighs less than 10 pounds. But I found it unnervingly small and flimsy, and I didn’t feel comfortable pushing my young toddler in it.

We considered testing the Safety 1st Step Lite Compact Stroller but were put off by poor reviews.

We tried out the Cosco Umbrella Stroller with Canopy. This stroller is very inexpensive (under $30 currently), light (less than 8 pounds), and as minimal as an umbrella stroller can be, with no features at all except for an ineffective canopy. It is tiny when folded and easy to open and close, even with a baby in one arm. But its small, 4-inch wheels, its low, plastic handles, and its lack of storage made this model such a pain to push and use that the previous writer of this guide found that just carrying her baby in her arms was much easier.  Plus, the Cosco model’s three-point harness, which goes around the child’s waist but lacks shoulder straps, allowed the child to bend down and reach for the wheels as she was pushed in the stroller. And with no recline, this model isn’t comfortable for naps on the go.

This article was edited by Rachel Hurn and Kalee Thompson.

Elise Czajkowski is a freelance writer and editor covering strollers for Wirecutter.

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The Best Umbrella Stroller of 2023 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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