Hands-on Gear Review
Joovy Roo ReviewPrice: $100.00 List
Pros: Unique, good quality, 4 cup holders placed low, click-in compatiable w/ Chicco/Graco/Peg Perego
Cons: Relatively heavy, won't self-stand when folded, below average maneuverability
Bottom line: A solid offering but brand-specific competitors from Graco, Chicco, and Peg Perego offer stronger performance
The Joovy Roo is a novel approach to infant strolling, boasting both a unique look and design. The Joovy provides a click-in connection with three different and popular brands of car seat: Graco, Chicco, and Peg Perego. We like the lower position of the cup holders, which makes spills on baby much less likely. The Joovy navigates over bumps and door thresholds better than any other frame stroller in our review.
The Joovy Roo was discontinued in September of 2015.
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Joovy Roo peaked our interest during our investigation largely because the Roo is so visibly different than any of the other car seat strollers in the review. There are several features of the Roo that we find to be very forward looking, primarily the lowering of the parent tray, and what this means for the safety of baby. The full breakdown of the Joovy's performance follows below.
The Roo earned a 6 of 10 rating in ease of use, which places it in the bottom half of our review.
One of the primary goals of a car seat frame stroller is that the product should be easy to use. During our testing we found the Roo difficult to fold. The first obstacle we encountered was the physical strength required to activate the fold mechanism. When compared to the other competitors we found that the Roo fold trigger may require a both hands, whereas others were much easier to activate. Secondly the fold lock on the Roo is manual, and will definitely require two hands to engage and to release.
Notably the cup holders on the Roo are located below the infant's car seat. This is a significant improvement over the design of most competing products. Joovy explains on their website that they have chosen to make this design choice for the safety of baby. We like the idea of storing beverages below baby. The premise is that by keeping the cup holders lower than baby, the likelihood of spills on baby or that a container will become dislodged and fall on baby is reduced.
The Roo boasts the deepest cup holders at 3.5" and we like this because the deeper the cup holder, the more likely it is to keep a beverage container from falling out.
The storage on the Roo is a little below average in that the size of the basket is very large, but the weight limit is a relatively low 5 lbs, which is problematic because diaper bags often weigh more than 5 lbs. To complicate this further, the access is severely restricted when compared to the field of competitors. The only access through which one could retrieve their diaper bag is the gap in front of the stroller. This could become difficult to accomplish when the car seat is position.
The Roo does not have a lidded or zippered compartment on the parent tray, which we would prefer for items like a phone, keys, money or credit card.
The Roo also does not self-stand when folded, unlike top scoring competitors. The ability to self-stand is convenient when trying to store the stroller, or when loading and unloading the car.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Roo earned a 7 of 10 rating in ease of attaching. The Roo comes with adapters for each of the car seats it is compatible with, and one of these needs to be installed for your car seat brand as part of the set up process. Once configured we found the seats sit nicely inside the frame and demonstrate a secure connection. However, to get the seat to fully click in, we needed to use a fair amount of downward pressure. In comparison, top scoring competitors would click in solidly with much less effort required.
The Roo earned a 5 of 10 in our Safety tests, which was about average relative to competitors.
The Roo has a click-in system that is meant to work with three brands of car seat, and we find click-in systems substantially better than strap-in systems. The Roo required significant downward force to get a solid click in connection. Worse, when using the Chicco seat, we could occasionally hear a click, but with only one side of the seat actually latched in. Because of this, the Joovy's score in safety suffered. Once properly connected, the seats were held firmly and we found that they had little lateral wobble.
We found the brakes on the Roo are easy to operate, and are quite sandal friendly. We found them firm, and they held the stroller well.
The Joovy placed in the bottom half of our review with a 5 of 10 rating in our maneuverability tests. There were a couple inescapable flaws, which ultimately lead to the Roo taking home the third worst score in the test.
We found it difficult to maneuver the Roo one handed, particularly if you are trying to move quickly.
The Roo handles bumps and thresholds reasonably well, and notably better than other car seat strollers in the review. We did not have to lift the front wheels in order to cross through doorways or over uneven surfaces.
The Roo has front suspension, but we did not find that it provided signficant advantages over competitors with no suspension.
The front wheels can be locked out, which can aid in traversing off pavement surfaces.
We found the Roo did well when ascending or descending a curb. There is little flex in the frame, and provides solid control as the stroller navigates the obstacle.
Folded Size and Weight
The Roo ranked at the very bottom of our Folded Size / Weight category, with a 6 of 10 rating. The Roo is the heaviest stroller in our review, and while 16 lbs 5oz is still light compared to full size strollers, it is noticeably heavier than competitors. For comparison, the Graco SnugRider weighs in at just 13 lbs 6oz, and yet is more fully featured.
The Joovy Roo is a neat concept, and with its sidesaddle position is sure to be eye catching. In theory, the ability to offer click-in compatibility with three top brands of car seats is a unique differeniator. However, we found the brand-specific competitors from Graco, Chicco, and Peg Perego all offered better performance. So, unless you happen to own multiple brands of car seats, this theoretical differentiation is not a practical advantage.
The Roo lists at $100 and can be found online for about $60, which is an attractive price. However, we would still recommend spending a bit more for the better performing competitors.
The Joovy Roo is a quality product with a unique capability to provide click-in connection to three top brands of car seats: Graco, Chicco, and Peg Perego. Each of these brands offers a competing car seat frame stroller that provides stiff competition for the Roo:
If you own a SnugRide car seat, either a classic connect or click-connect, we find the Graco Snugrider to be a better value than the Roo, due to significantly better performance. Even though the Graco costs about $30 more, we believe the performance justifies the cost.
The Joovy will accept the Chicco KeyFit car seats, but we found the Chicco KeyFit Caddy outperformed the Roo in almost every category. While costing about $30 more, we think the KeyFit Caddy's performance relative to the Roo makes it worth the additional expense.
Peg Perego Car Seats
If you own a Peg Perego car seat, the Roo might be attractive. The Roo does offer click in compatibility and a relatively low price. However, we would recommend considering a Peg Perego brand full size stroller. The Book stroller has the option of removing the seat, which effectively converts it into a frame stroller weighing 3oz less than the Joovy. The Book is better quality, easier to use and overall a superior product than the Roo when used as a frame stroller. Although the price tag is substantially higher, the Book can be used as a full size stroller when baby grows out of the infant stage, and thus is a complete strolling solution that is certainly worth considering as an alternative to the Roo.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD and Mariana Seif
BabyGearLab Member Reviews
Most recent review: January 12, 2014
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