Four-wheel strollers review

Nine out of the 12 strollers we tested passed safety and durability tests — a good result.
 
 
 
 
 
 

01 .Introduction

Four wheel strollers compare

Test results for 12 four-wheel strollers from $129 to $1900

It can be hard to choose a good stroller. You can check that it’s light and manoeuvrable, has an adjustable handle, easy-to-use brakes, a five-point harness and so on, but how can you be sure that it’s safe and durable?

All the strollers we test are bought in retail stores and brought back to our lab for a thorough test. We assess how easy they are to use by loading them with a test weight and pushing them over footpaths, through doors, up and down stairs. We check if they’re hard to fold and unfold, whether they’re heavy and awkward to carry, and how easily they fit into a car boot.

Then the durability testing begins. The strollers have to survive 64 hours on our rolling road rig. They also get a thorough workout on our kerb mounting rig to test the strength of their handles and frames.

The end result? Clear, unbiased advice on choosing a stroller that’s both safe and easy to use.

For more information on Kids travel, see Babies & kids.

Please note: this information was current as of August 2007 but is still a useful guide to today's market.


Brands tested

  • Bebe Care Centaur 011018
  • Chicco Ct 0.4 #
  • Childcare Pulsa 011005 #
  • Graco Mosaic
  • Infa Aspen #
  • Love N Care Delta BP2750 #
  • Maclaren Techno XT A071531
  • Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B
  • Steelcraft Profile 36733
  • Stokke Xplory and Xplory Baby Bag
  • Swallow Way To Go
  • Valco Baby Titan N6937

# Discontinued.

If you're in the market for a stroller, you may also be interested in our tests of:

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Video: How we test strollers

See how we put our strollers through their paces. Not all of them make it out alive.

 
 

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The following models scored the best results in our test.

What to buy
Brand Price
Love n Care Delta BP2750 # $249
Childcare Pulsa 011005 # $150
Graco Mosaic $199
Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B $129
Valco Baby Titan N6937 $189

# Discontinued.

What about the rest?

  • The Infa Aspen, Maclaren Techno XT, Steelcraft Profile and Stokke Xplory all scored only 60% for ease of use. The Infa has no pocket and the Maclaren no front bar or tray (though neither did the Childcare or Valco).
  • During testing of the Bebe Care Centaur 011018, both bolts on the front support broke, causing it to fail the durability test. The replacement bolts outlasted the remainder of the test.
  • The Chicco CT 0.4 failed one safety test — the head barrier at the rear isn’t effective enough to prevent a child accidentally slipping through when the seat back is reclined.
  • The Swallow Way To Go failed one safety test — the opening underneath the tray is obstructed by a drink holder on one side, which means a child’s head could become trapped if they weren’t strapped in and slid forward.

Results table

Full results for all models are shown in the table below.

  Results Features
Brand / model Passed all our safety tests Passed all our durability tests Ease of use score (%) Reversible handle / seat direction Pocket Legrest positions Backrest positions Adjustable handle height Front bar or tray Rear brakes Price ($)
Love n Care Delta BP2750  # (A)
www.lovencare.com.au
75 Handle 2 4 Bar Linked (D) 249
Childcare Pulsa 011005 #
www.cnpbrands.com.au
65 2 5 Individual 150
Graco Mosaic 65 2 Variable Bar Linked 189
Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B (B) 65 2 4 Bar Individual 129
Valco Baby Titan N6937
www.valco.com.au
65 4 5 Individual 189
Infa Aspen # 60 3 4 Tray Linked 228
Maclaren Techno XT A071531
www.cnpbrands.com.au
60 2 4 Individual 500
Steelcraft Profile 36733
www.britax.com.au
60 2 4 Bar Individual 159
Stokke Xplory and Xplory Baby Bag
www.exquira.com.au
60 Seat 1 (C) Bar Linked 1900 (F)
Bébé Care Centaur 011018
www.cnpbrands.com.au
60 2 5 Bar Individual 180
Swallow Way To Go 75 1 5 Tray Linked 149
Chicco CT 0.4 # 65 2 5 Linked 270
 

 

  Specifications
Brand / model Maximum recommended weight of child (kg) Bottom basket capacity (kg) Stroller weight (kg)* Dimensions (cm, H x W x D)**
Love n Care Delta BP2750 # (A)
www.lovencare.com.au
ns ns 10.9 105 x 64 x 106
Childcare Pulsa 011005 #
www.cnpbrands.com.au
17 5 8.8 106 x 47 x 91
Graco Mosaic 15 5 8.4 106 x 51 x 89
Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B (B) 18 3 7.3 106 x 48 x 86
Valco Baby Titan N6937
www.valco.com.au
18 5 7.7 107 x 52 x 88
Infa Aspen # 18 ns 10.1 106 x 54 x 98
Maclaren Techno XT A071531
www.cnpbrands.com.au
25 2 8.2 108 x 47 x 90
Steelcraft Profile 36733
www.britax.com.au
17 4 8.7 105 x 50 x 90
Stokke Xplory and Xplory Baby Bag
www.exquira.com.au
(E) 2 12.6 116 x 56 x 108
Bébé Care Centaur 011018
www.cnpbrands.com.au
17 3 8.8 106 x 50 x 86
Swallow Way To Go 18 5 8.6 102 x 54 x 95
Chicco CT 0.4 # 15 3 10.1 101 x 60 x97
 

Table notes

# Discontinued.
ns Not stated.
* Including supplied accessories, rounded to the nearest 0.1 kg.
** Maximum dimensions when in use, rounded up to the next cm.
(A) Replaced by Delta II BP2755 with twin wheels at rear.
(B) Now branded as Swallow Volante Plus 1316B.
(C) The entire seat reclines in two forward-facing and three rear-facing positions.
(D) The front wheels have individual brakes.
(E) Baby capsule 9 kg; seat 15 kg.
(F) Price includes 'baby bag' capsule.

Safety and durability tests: A stroller can only pass or fail these tests.

Ease of use score: This is made up of:

  • Various adjustments 25%
  • Various applications 25%
  • Manoeuvering 25%
  • Folding, unfolding and carrying 25%

Features See What to look for

Price: Prices are recommended retail, as of March 2008.

How we tested

  • To test safety based on the Australian standard, our testers checked that the harness straps are adjustable and of adequate strength and length; that the child is securely restrained; and that there are no possible entrapment points for fingers or limbs, or sharp edges. They also tested the stability of the stroller and that the brakes worked well.
  • To test ease of use, our testers checked adjustments, such as reclining functions and the safety harness; and various activities, such as loading and unloading the basket, using the brakes and locking the front wheel. They also folded and unfolded the strollers, took them over rough terrain, up and down stairs and through doorways, and tested how easily the strollers fit into the boot of a family-sized car.
  • To test durability, our testers put the strollers on our ‘rolling road’ rig for 64 hours at a speed of 5 km/h. They also attached them to a machine that continuously simulates the action of mounting a kerb. In both cases the idea is to find out whether anything breaks, falls off or stops working properly after consistent use.

Profiles - the best

These five strollers passed all the safety and durability tests and received the highest ease of use scores. The Love n Care scored particularly well for this, at 75%.

Love n Care Delta BP2750 #

Love n care Delta BP2750Price: $249

Contact: www.lovencare.com.au

Good points

  • Has the equal-highest ease of use score (75%).
  • The handle can be reversed, so the baby can face you instead of looking straight ahead.
  • Has linked rear brakes that are operated in one movement.
  • Has a boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • The rear wheels stick out to the sides and are prone to bumping.
  • The second-heaviest stroller.
  • # Discontinued. Replaced by Delta II BP2755 with twin wheels at rear.

Childcare Pulsa 011005 #

Childcare Pulsa 011005

Price: $150

Contact: www.cnpbrands.com.au

Good points

  • Has a rain cover and a sun cover.

Bad points

  • Has no front bar or tray.
  • # Discontinued.

Graco Mosiac

Graco Mosiac

Price: $199

Contact: 03 8787 3838

Good points

  • The height of the shoulder strap on the backrest is adjustable.
  • Has linked rear brakes that are operated in one movement.

Bad points

  • Harness straps are difficult to adjust.

Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B

Price: $129
Poco a Poco Volante Plus 1316B
Contact: (03) 9764 3333

Good points

  • The lightest stroller tested.
  • Has a rain cover.
  • Reasonably priced.

Bad points

  • No pocket in canopy.
  • Note: now branded as Swallow Volante Plus 1316B.

Valco Baby Titan N6937

Valco baby Titan N6937

Price: $189

Contact: www.valco.com.au

Good points

  • The second-lightest stroller tested.

Bad points

  • Has no front bar or tray.

 

Profiles - the rest

Infa Aspen #

Infa Aspen

Price: $228

Contact: (02) 4728 8000

Good points:

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Adjustable handle length.
  • Linked rear brakes.
  • Boot (leg) cover.
  • Ledge at rear to carry a small second child in standing position.

Bad points

  • Difficult to adjust the crotch strap length.
  • No pocket.

Bebe Care Centaur 011018

Baby Care Centaur 011018Price: $180

Contact: www.cnpbrands.com.au

Good points

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • Failed our durability test - two bolts at the bottom front part of the frame were found broken after running several hours on the treadmill.

Chicco Ct 0.4 #

Price: $270
Chicco Ct 0.4
Contact: 02 8543 5570

Good points

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Linked rear brakes.
  • Rain cover Boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • Failed one safety test - the barrier at the head-end of the stroller is not effective enough in preventing a child from accidentally slipping through towards the rear of the stroller.
  • Front wheels protrude a lot to the sides and are prone to bumping.
  • No front bar or tray.

Maclaren Techno XT A071531

Maclaren techno XT A071531

Price: $500

Contact: www.cnpbrands.com.au

Good points

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Adjustable height of shoulder strap on backrest.
  • Adjustable handle.
  • Rain cover.
  • Boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • Difficult to adjust the waist and crotch straps length.
  • Difficult to adjust the shoulder straps length.
  • Doesn't have fittings suitable for attachment of an additional harness.
  • No front bar or tray.

Steelcraft Profile 36733

Steelcraft Profile 36733

Price: $180

Contact: www.britax.com.au

Good points:

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • Nothing in particular.

Stokke Xplory and Xplory Baby Bag

Stokke Xplory and Xplory Baby Bag

Price: $1900

Contact: www.exquira.com.au

Good points:

  • Rated OK for ease of use.
  • Very good manoeuvrability.
  • Adjustable footrest.
  • Adjustable height of shoulder strap on backrest.
  • Reversible seat direction
  • Adjustable handle length.
  • Adjustable seat height.
  • Linked rear brakes.
  • Rain cover and insect cover.
  • Baby capsule called a 'Baby bag' (sold separately).

Bad points:

  • Crotch strap length not adjustable.
  • Reversing the seat direction is difficult - the seat is difficult to remove and footrest needs to be removed and re-inserted.
  • Tricky to adjust the footrest.
  • The bag is fiddly to use, it tends to fall off the supporting platform, and is not easy to use when seat is in low positions.
  • The release levers for folding the stroller require a certain technique to operate, otherwise you might damage it.
  • The stroller feels heavy and bulky to lift, and the seat should be forward-facing to make it more compact when folded.
  • The optional baby capsule (“Baby Bag”) is easy to mount, except at the 3 lowest height positions in which the locking piece (“eccentric clip”) on the central bar cannot be engaged; and the capsule is difficult to disengage from the locking piece when used at certain lower height positions.
  • Swivelling front wheels are not lockable.

Swallow Way To Go

Swallow Way To Go

Price: $149

Contact: (03) 9764 3333

Good points

  • Rated good for ease of use.
  • Linked rear brakes.
  • Tray near the handle.
  • Boot (leg) cover.

Bad points

  • Failed one safety test - the opening at the foot-end of the stroller is obstructed at one portion and could entrap a child that may accidentally slip through towards the front of the stroller.
  • Weight, size and width. The lighter the stroller, the easier it is to carry up and down stairs or on buses and trains. As for dimensions, none of the tested models had difficulty fitting through doorways or into a reasonably large car boot.
  • Wheels. Bigger wheels tend to be better than smaller ones over rough ground, kerbs and stairs. However, they can also be harder to fit into a car boot.
  • Handle. Check the handle to make sure it feels comfortable to grip. If you’re particularly short or tall, you may need a model with adjustable handle height. A reversible handle (or seat) is useful if you’d like the option of having your child face you rather than face forward, but check that it’s easy to operate.
  • Brakes. Some strollers have individual brakes on each wheel; others have brakes linked by a bar, so you only push down on one mechanism to activate them. If the stroller handle is reversible, it’s best to have brakes on the front wheels as well, as these will become the rear wheels (nearest your feet) in the reverse configuration.
  • Swivel wheels (all except the Stokke) at the front make steering easier (but they should also be easy to lock); all the tested models have these. If the stroller has a reversible handle, check whether its rear wheels can also swivel; that will make manoeuvring much easier when you reverse the handle and they’re at the front.
  • Harness. Look for a five-point harness (two shoulder straps attached to the backrest at shoulder level, a waist strap and a crotch strap). The waist straps in particular should be securely linked to the stroller’s frame, so the child can’t lean out and tilt it. Give the harness a tug to check the seat doesn’t pull away from the frame. Make sure the straps are easy to adjust and the buckles easy to fasten and unfasten (for you, not your child).
  • An adjustable legrest and footrest help accommodate your child’s growth, as well as keeping their feet clear of the ground and wheels.
  • A basket or tray underneath the stroller should be easily accessible in both upright and layback positions, roomy enough to hold a few essentials and deep enough to stop items falling out. Don’t overload it or the stroller may become unstable and hard to move.
  • A retractable hood/canopy with (except the Valco Baby) a viewing window.

05.New standard + safety tips

 

The new standard for strollers

Following the tragic death of two babies in separate stroller incidents, the Federal Government announced a new mandatory consumer product safety standard for strollers, which will take effect on 1 July 2008. The new standard is based on the voluntary Australian/NZ standard, with some modifications:

  • All strollers must have a wrist tether strap (‘leash’), to prevent the stroller from rolling away.
  • The stroller harness will require only waist and crotch straps (to be in line with the US and European standards). CHOICE thinks the current five-point harness provides better safety.
  • Brakes will be coloured red for better visibility (which won’t work as well on red strollers, of course).

This standard was announced mid-2007, so that manufacturers would have plenty of time to modify their strollers.

Are three or four wheels safer?

A poll on the CHOICE website asks parents to identify any safety problems they’d encountered with their three or four-wheel strollers. At the time of publishing this report, there were 111 respondents who who own, or previously owned a four-wheel stroller and 171 who own or previously owned a three-wheeler,

  • Of the four-wheel stroller owners, 40% had ever experienced a problem with it. 62% of three-wheel stroller owners had encountered problems with it.
  • The most common problem for three-wheelers was tipping dangerously or toppling over with a child inside (22%). For four-wheel strollers, 14% had the same problem.
  • 12% of three-wheel owners said the stroller had also rolled away unexpectedly when not held, compared to only 3% of four-wheeler owners.

Pros and cons

For manoeuvrability, style and the flexibility of being able to jog with your stroller (although some manufacturers are backing away from recommending this), a three-wheeler is a good option. However, their increased manoeuvrability can also make them more prone to rolling away and they can also be less stable than their four-wheel counterparts and more prone to tipping.

Four-wheelers, on the whole, are more compact, easier to fit into a car boot and not quite as wide as three-wheelers, which makes it easier to fit them through narrow doorways and down supermarket aisles.

Some also come with a reversible handle or seat, so you have the choice of the baby facing you or looking straight ahead. (The Love n Care Delta and Stokke Xplory have this feature.)

Regardless of the stroller you choose, it’s important to keep the following in mind:

  • Never leave your child unattended in a stroller.
  • Always engage the brake when the stroller is standing, to prevent rolling.
  • When at a train station, park the stroller with the wheels parallel to the tracks.
  • Use a leash or wrist tether strap to keep the stroller attached to you.
  • Don’t hang heavy bags from the handles, to avoid tipping.

06.Stroller of the future?

 

Stokke Xplory

Stokke XploryIf you saw a Stokke Xplory on the street, you’d probably wonder if you’d stepped onto the set of the latest Star Wars film, but no, they’re the latest high-tech stroller from Norway.

The Xplory boasts being the only stroller that elevates your child closer to you and “strengthens your child’s feelings of well-being, making them feel happy, safe, and assured”. It also puts less pressure on mum or dad’s back, as there’s no need to bend or lean over when attending to the child.

While the Xplory passed safety and durability tests and is very easy to manoeuvre, it only scored 60% for ease of use as the stroller is bulky and heavy to lift, the footrest is tricky to adjust (it seemed to us to need more than two hands), and the release levers for folding the stroller require a certain technique to operate, otherwise you may damage it (as did our tester on the first model we purchased).

We advise being shown how to operate, fold and unfold the stroller when you buy it. You can also buy an optional ‘baby bag’ for $440 which is a capsule used for transporting a baby under 9kg.

Russell Crowe and wife Danielle Spencer have been spotted pushing their little one around in an Xplory, and with its $1900 price tag (including capsule), you’ll almost need to be on their wage to afford one.