Easy to transport with a reasonably lightweight build and foldable design. Reclining seat and foot rest are simple to adjust. Ample safety features and padding throughout.
A few complaints of missing pieces and of strollers that make a rattling noise from the wheels or axles.
A well-built system at an unbeatable price. Adjustable harness and easy-to-fold frame. Comes with inserts and side impact protection for added newborn support.
The car seat is awkward to move on and off the base, and its fit is a bit snug for larger babies.
A sturdy system with a spacious tray and storage basket. Seat reclines completely and has the ability to face forward or backward. Seat also has an infant support feature.
Design is a bit bulky, even when folded. Not very portable. Expensive.
Lightweight and easy to push. Offers lots of on-board storage space for stashing items for baby and parents. Seat adjusts with ease. Car seat is simple to secure in a vehicle.
Not as easy to open and fold as some competing systems, and also not as compact when folded.
Can be used as a jogger thanks to the configuration of the rugged front wheels. Lightweight frame folds with one hand. Excellent impact protection. Easy to assemble.
Heavy to carry, which is surprising considering the ergonomic design of the frame.
We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.
Travel system strollers (also known simply as "travel systems") consist of a frame, a car seat, and a stroller seat. The frame fits both the car seat and the stroller seat, while the car seat can also be used in your vehicle. The benefit of this is that you can take a sleeping infant from the car in their car seat and transfer the seat onto the frame to avoid waking your baby.
This might not seem like a huge benefit, but when you've finally gotten your baby to sleep in the car and you want to get your grocery shopping done without your child making a fuss, you can see the appeal. But you still need to decide which travel system stroller to buy.
That’s where this guide comes in. A travel system is only as good as its weakest component, so you might want to start by considering the quality of the car seat and then go on to examine the other elements. We have lots of tips on what to look for below. If you'd like some suggestions, we've listed our top travel system strollers above for you to check out.
We recommend considering the car seat portion of the travel system before checking out the rest of the stroller. After all, the car seat is what will keep your baby safe in the event of an accident. Here are some of the important factors to consider regarding car seats.
Extended rear-facing seat: The car seats included in travel systems are always rear-facing, since they should be suitable for use with the youngest infants. Rear-facing car seats greatly reduce the risk of injury to your child in a car accident, so you should keep your child in one for as long as possible. You may also find a travel system that includes an extended rear-facing car seat that keeps your child in the rear-facing position well beyond their first year.
Side-impact protection: If your chosen travel system includes a car seat with side-impact protection, you can breathe easier knowing your baby will have as much protection as possible in the event of a side collision. You can't put a price on safety, so it's worth paying extra for.
Base: In most travel systems, the car seat comes with a base. The base stays fully attached in position, while the car seat can be removed from the base and easily clicked back in place. This saves you the hassle of reinstalling the car seat every time you want to use it as part of the stroller and then return it to the car.
Padding: The padding in a car seat isn't just for comfort. It also adds some protection in case of a collision. Plus, extra padding keeps young babies snugly in place and can be removed as your child grows. Ideally, the padding should be removable for easier cleaning.
In addition to the car seat, you'll receive a stroller seat, which is what your baby will sit or lie in for longer periods of time. It's generally more comfortable and versatile for longer walks than the car seat, but most people would prefer to avoid transferring a sleeping baby from the car seat to the stroller seat. Look at the following features of the stroller seat when considering which travel system to buy.
Adjustable recline: It's important that the stroller seat has several reclining positions. If you'll be using the travel system stroller from the birth of your child, it should ideally recline into a completely flat position, since this is the safest and healthiest position for newborns.
Padding: In the stroller seat, the padding is primarily for comfort. What with diaper leaks and spilled drinks and snacks (as your baby gets older), you'll thank yourself for buying a model with removable and machine-washable seat padding.
Tray: Some stroller seats have a detachable tray. This isn't much use for infants, but as your baby approaches the toddler stage, the tray is useful for drinks and snacks or even to use as a platform for playing with toys.
Check the weight of the car seat portion of the travel system. It should be light enough that you can easily lift it onto the frame, factoring in the weight of your baby.
Canopy: The canopy is what helps keep the sun off your baby. It should offer UV protection to help prevent sunburn. A peekaboo window is a nice touch, so you can keep an eye on your baby, too.
Safety harnesses: Both the stroller seat and the car seat should each have an effective safety harness. Of course, the quality of the car seat harness is the most important, since this could save your baby's life if you were involved in a collision. We highly recommend you buy a travel system with a car seat that has a five-point safety harness. You shouldn't overlook the stroller harness, however, because this keeps your baby safely in the correct position in the stroller. A three-point safety harness will suffice for the stroller seat.
Storage: Don't underestimate the usefulness of storage on a travel system stroller. At the absolute least, you'll want a basket at the bottom of the frame, but additional storage is handy too, such as cupholders or a zippered phone pouch.
Foldability: If your travel system stroller folds easily, it will simplify your job of watching your child while folding or unfolding the stroller. Some strollers can even be folded and unfolded with one hand.
Inexpensive: These travel system strollers cost from about $150 to $250. Don't expect them to last as hand-me-downs, but they'll last through one baby and get the job done if you're on a budget.
Mid-range: These travel systems are priced between $250 and $500. In this price range, you can find some exceptional models with all the handy extras you could want, such as cupholders and plenty of storage.
Expensive: High-end travel systems can cost as much as $500 to $1,000. While there's no denying that these are excellent models, some are priced this high because they're made by a trendy brand (especially at the high end of the range), so you might not find that a $1,000 model significantly outperforms a $500 model.
Not all travel system strollers are equally maneuverable. Look for one with a tight turning radius, so you know you can handle it in compact spaces.
A. It's generally recommended that your baby not stay in the car seat for longer than two hours at a stretch. Of course, there may be some exceptional circumstances, such as during a long car trip, but they certainly shouldn't spend hours in the car seat every day. This means that you might need to transfer your baby to the stroller seat if you've had a fairly long car ride and will be out and about for a while.
A. Although not all parents agree, we believe travel system strollers are highly convenient. It may, in part, depend on the temperament of your baby, but if your baby has been fussy and has just fallen asleep from a car ride, you'll thank yourself for choosing a travel system so you don't have to wake them to put them in a stroller when you reach your destination.
A. Yes, you can find some on the market, but they're not necessarily the most convenient option unless you often drive to a jogging spot. The beauty of a travel system is that you can transfer a fussy or sleeping baby straight from the car to the stroller without removing them from the car seat, so they're less likely to wake or become even more aggravated by the move from one seat to another. Most people set out jogging from home, however, so the car seat portion isn't of much use other than as a car seat. In that case, you might as well buy the car seat and stroller separately. Of course, it's up to you to decide if you'd get much use out of a jogging stroller travel system.