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Hands-on Gear Review
Doona Combo ReviewPrice: $500.00 List | $499.00 at Amazon
Pros: Super easy car to strolling transition, easy to push and turn
Cons: Limited lifespan of 6-9 months
Bottom line: Best for city dwellers looking for a safe, quick transition from taxi to on-the-go adventures
The Doona Combo is a unique product in this category and is the only option that is both a car seat and stroller in one. This gives the Doona an edge over the competition because there are no car seat attachment concerns or worry over how big a stroller may be and if it will fit in your car. The Doona is a great combo product that allows you to move from car to strolling in a snap and no setup. It earned a good score for maneuverability taking tight turns with ease and fitting where most of the combos could not. We really like this innovative product and think it is a great fit for parents who live in the city and frequent public transportation. With no concerns about strollers and fold or wasting time, the Doona helps keep baby safer in taxis and ready for adventures on the sidewalk. While not the best option for all families, it certainly fills a void for a much-needed combo product.
RELATED REVIEW: The Best Stroller and Car Seat Combos for 2017
Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Doona is the first product created by the Simple Parenting™ company. This innovative seat/stroller is named for the founder's, Yoav Mazar, nickname for his daughter Danielle. Yoav's goal was to take his new baby everywhere without the hassle of a stroller and a traditional car seat to carry. This desire inspired the creation of the Doona. Simple Parenting's goal is to simplify life for parents and babies with improved and innovative upgrades to traditional gear. Simple Parenting tries to identify how to improve daily life with a baby and then sets out to create a solution that makes life easier.
This comparison chart shows the overall scores for the car seat and stroller combos we tested for the combo review. The blue line shows the overall score for the Doona.
The subsections below include details on how the Doona performed during testing. Performance results were used to calculate the overall score with an emphasis on car seat attachment and weight and folded size.
Ease of Attaching Car Seat
The Doona earned a 10 of 10 for car seat attachment because the car seat and stroller are permanently connected.
Unlike the competition, that has two different components and potential car seat adapters, this product is all in one with no additional parts to carry, purchase, or worry about. This also means that there is no problem or hiccups in attaching the car seat to the stroller. The Doona definitely has an edge on the competition since the attachment is not necessary.
Weight and Folded Size
The Doona earned a 10 of 10 for weight and folded size. Frame strollers are traditionally designed to be lightweight and easy to transport. While the Doona is a heavy infant car seat at 16.5 pounds, it is lightweight in the combo category because the combined weight of the stroller and infant seat is far below even the lightest combination.
The weight of this product is hard to compare to the other strollers. The strollers in this review were weighed alone and configured as they would be to accept and infant car seat. However, they were not weighed with an infant car seat attached. The Doona cannot be separated so it was weighed with the infant seat and the stroller as one. The lightest stroller in this review is 10.9 lbs, the average infant car seat carrier is 10-11 lbs, so combined they are 20+ lbs, or about 4 lbs heavier than the Doona. It is also important to remember that unlike other combinations, you will never be carrying one part of the Doona while you use another part nor will you need to find a location to store the stroller while using the car seat.
The folded size of the Doona is essentially the dimensions of the car seat, 8,150 cubic inches. Only 3 strollers are smaller than the Doona but don't forget you don't have to worry about two components and you'll never need to "fit" your stroller in the car while using your car seat.
Folding the Doona consists of 4-6 steps and is a two-handed operation. The fold includes compressing (above left) and rotating the handlebar and releasing the wheels (above right) so the wheel apparatus can be folded up and under the seat portion. It isn't necessarily difficult, and once you get the hang of it can be done fairly quickly, but it is convoluted and not as simple as a one-handed or two step fold found on some of the competition.
The Doona earned a 7 of 10 for maneuverability, where the high is 9 earned by the BOB Revolution Flex Combo. Seven is a respectable score for this metric not only because it is above the average, but because you won't be using the Doon for the life of your strolling years. Because the Doona will only be your stroller for 6-9 months, maneuverability is less of a concern. If this was your main stroller for your strolling for up to 4 years this metric may be more of a consideration.
This stroller is easy to push and turn and its smaller overall footprint makes it better in tight situations that the larger competition. The narrow width means it fits almost anywhere, and the rotating handlebar means you can control the stroller without taking up extra space behind it.
The Doona is not that great at moving on rougher surfaces and it really struggled over the gravel portion of our course. On the upside, it is light enough to pick up and carry over smaller distances and younger babies shouldn't be moving over super bumpy roads anyway. So, while not the best at going off-road, it is on par with the frame strollers and those with smaller plastic wheels.
Ease of Use
The Doona earned a 1 of 10 for ease of use, its lowest score for any metric we tested and the lowest in the group.
The Doona struggled in the ease of use department not because it is hard to use, but because it has disappointing features that are a product of being a unique car seat with stroller components as opposed to a true stroller.
The Doona doesn't come standard with any kind of storage. There is no basket or pocket on the Doona and parents will need to purchase optional storage or carry a diaper bag. This significantly impacted its overall ease of use score.
The Doona brakes are single action brakes that are very easy to set and release. The brake pedals are color coded and located next to each rear wheel.The pedals are a little stiff to set but lock in place well and feel solid.
The sunshade on the Doona is smaller than the competition and does not come with a peek-a-boo window. While many of the car seat canopies lack a window, the fact that the Doon is a stroller as well as car seat means it would be nice if it had one. Alternatively, it is a small canopy and you may not need one.
The Doona earned a 7 of 10 for quality. This is one point below the high earned by the BOB Revolution Flex Combo and the UPPAbaby Vista Combo that are both large long-term use strollers.
There isn't much to the Doona, but what is there looks like higher-end materials put together nicely. The fabric is sturdy and somewhat soft. It is machine washable and fits the seat nicely. The frame is sturdy and rigid and didn't flex much during testing and the car seat attaches to the chassis which cuts down on some of the shaking caused by connecting two components. The plastic wheels are better than most and rotate smoothly. The handlebar is hard plastic and shorter than the competition, but it works well and is shaped nicely. The Doona doesn't have any suspension, but this is on par with the frame strollers (the closest stroller for similarity). Overall the stroller has few exposed connections or fasteners and looks sleek.
Ease of Setup
This product comes completely assembled and requires nothing more than unpacking it and taking it out of the box. The Doona earned a 10 of 10 for ease of setup.
Simple Parenting has a few accessories for the Doona that improve the storage capabilities stroller, comfort, and different bases for the car. While there are several interesting options, we think the following deserve a look see:
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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