You may also want to read the The Best Double Umbrella Strollers of 2018 to see how the 9 strollers fared against one another in our side-by-side comparison tests.
Why Buy an Umbrella Stroller?
Lightweight umbrella products are designed to be a secondary stroller that is good for travel thanks to a lighter weight and a smaller folded size. This type of stroller should provide parents with a simple, compact product that is easy to fold, lift, carry, and stow to use when bringing your standard stroller is not an option. Most of the lightweight products collapse like an umbrella, which makes them relatively small compared to other kinds of strollers. This makes them an ideal gear choice for commuting, tourist adventures, grandma's house, or navigating airports.
Types of Double Lightweight Strollers
There are two general styles of lightweight double strollers: the basic umbrella with few features, and the lightweight product that offers more for comfort and/or convenience. The latter type is often (but not always) heavier, as it places more importance on features over weight and folded size.
While you can see how the products ranked and compare their stats in our full review, it is also important to consider how well they performed during testing. Just because a stroller has a certain feature, doesn't mean that feature works well or is truly an asset. On the contrary, some features seem to be nothing more than the manufacturer's way of making the product look more impressive in a comparison chart, as opposed to a beneficial component that increases usability. Our testing process and review is designed to reveal how well each product performs compared to the competition so parents can narrow their potential buying choices to the best option for their family.
While performance can vary from product to product, we did find some general consistencies you will want to know before making your final purchase. These are factors to consider whether you choose one of our tested products, or another option we didn't review.
This style of stroller was created to solve a size problem for parents on the go, so size is is important. If a lightweight option is too large or heavy, then it fails to meet the basic goal and won't be good for travel. If it is too small, it might be lacking features that render it virtually unusable.
The products had weight ranges from 17.8 lbs to 24.7 lbs. Seven pounds can be a large disparity in one product group, but the differences get even larger when you consider that most standard double strollers weigh over 30 lbs, which demonstrates how much you save by going lightweight for travel. Similarly to Goldilocks, the key is finding the right size for your needs without sacrificing the features you require. The ZOE XL2 Deluxe is the lightest option in the review, the third smallest, and still has most of the features for comfort and convenience that parents are looking for.
How Many Wheels?
All of the products in this review have the dual wheel design with 2 wheels on each leg. For double products this means they could have anywhere between 4 and 6 wheels in the front and just as many in the back. This design generally translate to poor performance in our maneuverability tests, and this group was no exception. This design struggles with changes in terrain, and veering off course when one wheel gets pulled by small objects in the pathway. As a result, none of the products offered good maneuverability, and most were difficult to push and turn.
In our single umbrella review the strollers with only 1 wheel per leg performed much better than those with the dual wheel design. Therefore, it is unfortunate that none of the double products offered the single wheel per leg design. As a general rule, the pushing performance of strollers seems to increase, as the number of wheels decreases. When looking at strollers keep in mind that fewer wheels is better.
While each product obviously comes with brakes, they are not all created equal. Some strollers have a single action brake with one pedal or bar to engage, while others have up to 3 pedals to push or can be unfriendly to sandaled feet. Discovering which is which is hard to do without actually using them.
Single pedal options are easier to use. We worry that double and triple action brakes will result in errors over time as parents forget or become complacent about engaging all the pedals every time they park. While we like to believe that users will religiously set brakes as the manufacturer intends, we also know that if something is hard to use human nature could potentially kick in and lead to mistakes and misuse. Brakes that are used as intended, are the products that are simple and can be operated quickly.
Most of the double umbrella options do not offer much in the way of versatility. They do only one job, get baby from A to B in a seat with wheels. These strollers offer the bare minimum to get the job done, so they can remain light, small, and easy to carry. Unfortunately, this means that some miss the mark of being practical. It is important that features work the way you assume they will, otherwise having them does nothing for usability. Canopies are a good example of this; while every model in the review has them, some are very small and offer virtually no protection, like those found on the Delta Children LX Side by Side (below left), while the ZOE XL2 Deluxe canopies (below right) are large and cover everything.
It isn't helpful to compare features, or the number of features, without considering whether or not they perform as expected. If a stroller has a feature you want, but that feature fails to meet expectations, then your experience with the stroller will likely be frustrating.
Narrowing the Field
There are a few things to consider when narrowing your lightweight options down to the best stroller for you. Keeping your goals in mind will go a long way in getting the stroller you need without going over budget or buying more than you need. While features are important, we feel that how you plan to use this kind of gear is more important and will give you the features you need by default. In the long run it will save you time, money, and possible frustration if you know your goals before you buy.
Where are you going?
The first thing to consider is where will you be using this stroller and why do you need a lightweight product? Is this for semi-regular commuting in an urban environment, or is it a tourist helper for museum strolling? How you plan to use your stroller, where you plan to go, and the kind of surfaces you cover, should influence your buying decision.
If you need an option strictly for travel, then the smallest, lightest option with fewer features may be all you need. If you plan to use the stroller for trips to the park or a full day at the zoo, then you may need features for carrying supplies or sun protection. If you plan to stroll mainly indoors, then the canopies may not concern you, if you hope to find a place to stow it travelling on a bus, then size will be your limiting factor.
Knowing how your stroller will be used can be the difference between buying a product that fails to meet your needs, and finding the perfect fit. Being honest about how you plan to use your stroller will go a long way in determining which style is going to meet your needs the best.
How long will it take?
The next question to ask is how long will your usual trips be? Will you use the stroller from gate to gate in the airport? Or will baby be sitting in it for hours as you stroll the city sidewalks taking in the sights? How long baby will be expected to sit in the seat, will influence which features for comfort you will want. The amount of supplies you will need, could also influence your choice based on the storage options the product features.
You know where you are going, you know how long you will be gone, now you need to know how often you plan to go. If your plans include regular use on a weekly basis, you will probably want a quality stroller with more features and you won't mind paying a little more to get more. If you think you are only using it for one trip to Disneyland, then finding an inexpensive option might be a better fit.
For some families, budget will be their first consideration. For others it may be further down on their list of priorities. Either way, it is hard to ignore budget as a consideration for some baby gear items. Luckily, this type of gear offers options at a large variety of price points. Once you've answered the questions above, you will likely be looking at only a couple of choices. Narrowing it down from here could be achieved by looking at price, overall performance score, or both.
Choosing a double umbrella stroller can be difficult as many strollers claim similar features and functionality. However, it is worth the effort to learn more about each option, as features and performance vary greatly from one product to another, making it nearly impossible to compare based on a list alone. While the differences between products may seem subtle, the impact on everyday use may be significant. Staying focused on how you intend to use your stroller will go a long way in finding the best option for your family. We feel the performance and features of our award winners offer parents options that meet the needs of every budget and just about every kind of use or user.