The Best Strollers Under $300By TJ Donegan
If you're looking for the best stroller under $300, we think you should get the Baby Jogger City Mini (available at Amazon for $259.00) . How do we know? We spent months researching every stroller on the market—over 230 of them—and testing 18 of the top-rated models for our roundup of the best strollers of 2017.
The City Mini wasn't just our favorite stroller under $300—it was our favorite stroller, period. Though there are some others worth considering if you have specialized needs, for most people the City Mini is ideal. It's lightweight, has excellent maneuverability, holds just enough stuff for a full day out, and it folds down to a compact size with a single pull of its Quick-Fold handle.
Though other strollers have come close to the City Mini—in some cases essentially copying its best features—it's still the best option for most people. To find out more about the City Mini and our other favorite strollers under $300, read on.
Editor's Note: this guide is focused primarily on standard, single-occupant strollers. We'll update this guide as we continue to tackle other categories, including lightweight, umbrella, and double strollers.
Updated July 31, 2017
Baby Jogger City MiniBest Overall Stroller
Most strollers are big, bulky, and take multiple hands (and maybe a foot) to fold. Not the Baby Jogger City Mini, which weighs 18 lbs and can be folded in seconds with a single pull of its innovative Quick-Fold handle. In our testing, we also loved the City Mini's excellent maneuverability, including its tight turning radius and the ease with which the three-wheel stroller can mount curbs and other tricky obstacles.
I have actually owned this stroller for nearly a year, and my wife and I love it. It's easy to push, has just enough space to hold all our gear for a full day, and my wife can easily hold our daughter in one arm while folding the stroller and putting it in her car with the other. User reviews are exceptionally strong, with over 80 percent (!!) five-star reviews on Amazon.
On the negative side, the underseat storage is a bit tricky to access when the child is sitting in the seat, as there's not as much clearance as there is with the Chicco Viaro or Britax B-Agile 3 models below. The City Mini also doesn't come with a child's tray or parent cupholders by default, though you can nab both and still keep the total price under $300 fairly easily.
Car seats and warranty info: The City Mini is rated for children up to 50 lbs, and is compatible with BOB, Britax, Baby Jogger, Graco, Chicco, Peg Perego, Cybex, and Maxi-Cosi infant car seats with adapters. Most adapters cost $20-30, though the Peg Perego and Chicco adapters are $60. And despite the Baby Jogger brand name, it is not a jogging stroller.
Chicco ViaroBest Value Stroller
If you're looking for a relatively low-cost stroller that has almost all of the best features of our top pick, the Chicco Viaro is the best value of the strollers we've tested. It has a three-wheel design that's very similar to the Baby Jogger City Mini, with a lightweight frame, a tight turning radius, and a pull-to-fold handle that lets you fold the stroller in seconds.
Though we ultimately prefer the City Mini, the Viaro actually has some advantages over our top pick. The storage basket is larger and more easily accessible, it includes the cupholder and child tray by default, and sale prices dip as low as $150 at times.
Why not go for the Viaro? Well, the fit and finish isn't quite as nice and the canopy doesn't connect to the back of the stroller, so it has minimal protection in the rain. The City Mini offers a much better canopy, is adaptable to a wide range of car seats, and is easier to assemble. The Viaro is fantastic for the price—just keep the forecast in mind.
Car seats and warranty info: The Chicco Viaro is designed for children up to 50 lbs (or 36 months) and supports Chicco KeyFit and KeyFit 2 car seats natively. It does not support other car seat types via adapters, but it does come with a one-year warranty.
Britax 2017 B-Agile 3
The Britax B-Agile 3 hits all the same notes as the City Mini and the Chicco Viaro: a three-wheel design that easily mounts curbs and other obstacles, a simple pull-to-fold handle, a moderately sized storage basket, and weight under 20 lbs. It's an excellent all-around stroller that missed our top spots by the slimmest of margins.
Though we liked it more than the Chicco overall, it typically sells for a bit more at $216 and the child's tray, cup holder, and organizer are all sold separately. It does dip to around $190 at times, but the Viaro is certainly a better value as long as you're okay using a Chicco infant car seat when your baby is too little for the big seat.
The City Mini costs a bit more than the Britax and also doesn't include any accessories, typically selling for around $250 with dips just under $200 at times. For our top spot we went with the City Mini because it has a slightly nicer canopy, is adaptable to a wider range of infant car seats, and was a tad more maneuverable, but the Britax is a great backup if you find a good sale.
Car seats and warranty info: The Britax 2017 B-Agile 3 is designed for children up to 55 lbs and comes with a two-year warranty from the manufacturer. It is compatible with all Britax infant car seats and you can purchase an adapter that supports Chicco Key Fit/Key Fit 30, Graco SnugRide 32/35 (not Click Connect), and Peg Perego Primo Viaggio car seats.
Note: This past February Britax issued a safety notice/recall for some B-Agile 3 models due to faulty Click & Go car seat connectors. See here for details to make sure your model is not affected.
Summer Infant 3Dlite
The Summer Infant 3Dlite is one of the most popular strollers around due to its very affordable price, which drops to around $60 when on sale. It's an "umbrella" or lightweight stroller, so it is designed to collapse to a very compact size, but doesn't support car seats or offer a ton of storage.
That said, there's enough here that this could be your only stroller if your needs are limited to the occasional walk or trip to the zoo. There are some things to be aware of, though: It's not that easy to maneuver, as the wheels are small and have trouble with obstacles; we also found that the fold was tricky, requiring two hands most of the time. And though it collapses down nicely, it is actually quite long when folded, which may make storage tricky in certain situations.
For less than $100, though, it's hard to argue with the value here. Even if you need something bigger for everyday use, this would be an excellent, low-cost backup for vacations or short trips.
Car seat and warranty info: The Summer Infant 3Dlite Convenience Stroller does not support car seats. It is designed for children up to 50 lbs and comes with a one-year warranty.
Summer Infant 3Dtote
The Summer Infant 3Dtote is an ideal pick for anyone who likes the idea of the Summer Infant 3Dlite, but needs more storage; this stroller has tons of it, especially for an umbrella model. The underseat storage basket is massive, perfect for storing coats, bags, and other items. There are other pockets for your phone, keys, wallet, water bottles—even hooks for holding a diaper bag in place.
Despite this extra storage, the stroller itself isn't noticeably larger than the 3Dlite, though it weighs about four pounds more. It also has a better canopy, though we found pulling too hard on the canopy pulled the seat out of its reclined position. The wheels are slightly different than the 3Dlite, but we had all the same issues with obstacles and maneuverability.
The main drawback is the price. While we routinely have seen the 3Dlite for under $60, the 3Dtote goes for between $95 and $129. We like the 3Dtote, but that's close enough to our value pick that we think most people will prefer to upgrade.
Car seat and warranty info: The Summer Infant 3Dtote does not support car seats. It is designed for children up to 50 lbs and comes with a one-year warranty.
Graco Modes 3 Lite
The Graco Modes 3 Lite stroller is a classic example of how to turn around a horrible first impression. This stroller was the most difficult to assemble of all the ones we tested, and the first time I built it, I forgot to install the brakes because I didn't follow the instructions closely enough. Was that stupid of me? Sure, but it shouldn't even be possible.
Get past that, though, and the Modes 3 Lite stroller is actually quite good. Though there are some reports that it can develop a squeaking sound in the wheels, its other user reviews are very good. The stroller is highly maneuverable, has a smooth ride, and uses a sturdy fabric for both the seat and the canopy. It also includes a lot of storage space under the seat, with enough clearance that it's easily accessible.
The best feature, though, is the FastAction fold, which is nearly identical to our favorite stroller feature: the Quick-Fold strap on the Baby Jogger City Mini. The Modes 3 Lite snaps into a folded position quickly and stands on its own, though it's bulkier than the City Mini and would be a bit more of a pain to lug up and down stairs.
Overall, it's an exceptional value at under $200 and very, very close to the Chicco Viaro (our pick for best value). Their designs are nearly identical—suspiciously so—and both have the same annoying-to-assemble wheels. The Viaro wins this time because it doesn't seem to have squeaking issues, but if you prefer Graco car seats to Chicco, then this is a fine alternative.
Car seat and warranty info: The Modes 3 Lite is designed for children up to 50 lbs, but it's only compatible with Graco Click-Connect car seats (you can purchase one with the stroller if you opt for a travel system). It comes with a one-year limited warranty.