When you’re expecting twins, there’s a lot to think about and do from decorating the nursery and taking a tour of your local hospital to picking out names and choosing a twin layette. And let’s not forget all the baby paraphernalia you’ll need to buy. Topping the list of “must-haves” is the double stroller! Considering you’ll probably use your double stroller nearly every day, it’s important not only to buy the best you can afford but to also pick the right style for your family.
When I was pregnant with twins more than 17 years ago, only a few double strollers existed. These days, choices abound. That’s good news for sure, but choosing the right one can get downright overwhelming. So how do you decide which type you’ll need and how do you keep all those models straight? Keep reading…
The first order of business is to decide the type of stroller that will fit your family’s lifestyle. There are basically four choices out there—the double jogger, the tandem stroller (aka “limousine” or in-line), the side-by-side (aka “umbrella”) model, and the newest member in the club, the all-terrain stroller. Each has its benefits as well as its drawbacks. (Use our handy comparison chart at the end of this article to help you decide.)
Considered the “Cadillac” of double strollers by many new moms with twins, the double jogger is prized for its rugged durability. With it’s sturdy frame and large air-inflated wheels, this is one workhorse that’s meant for the family who loves spending time outdoors. It’s great for moms who like to hit the jogging trail or just like to cruise their neighborhoods daily with their babies in tow. The suspension system on the jogger is designed to handle all kinds of bumps both on road and off. There are a few disadvantages to the double jogger though. First, they’re not recommended for babies under the age of six months. The jarring movement (it is a “jogger” after all) can be dangerous for newborns. Next, they are very expensive (basic models start at $350) although fans of the jogger say they’re worth every last penny. But its biggest drawback is the weight, with the average model tipping the scale at 30 pounds! You don’t want to be hauling that up and down apartment stairs or heaving it in and out of your car trunk every day.
Up next is the tandem or in-line stroller, a great choice for most families expecting twins. Since babies sit one in front of the other, the tandem has a narrow profile, perfect for maneuvering easily through tight store aisles. It’s one of the most affordable types of strollers too, with many models starting at $150. Although it does well for neighborhood strolls, it won’t handle well anywhere with even a hint of grass or gravel. Most are appropriate for newborn twins but look for models where both seats fully recline and have neck padding as infants can’t support the weight of their heads. Many newer models even accommodate infant carriers making it convenient for parents to transfer sleeping twins from the car directly to their stroller without waking them up. Although the typical tandem is easy to fold up and store, many moms complain that it drives like a “tank,” not always great on handling and cornering. And as your twins get older, it’s not unusual for the toddler in the back to kick or pull the hair of the twin sitting in the front!
The third stroller option is the side-by-side configuration or “umbrella stroller.” Since babies sit next to each other, both seats fully recline making naps on the go a snap. Side-by-side strollers also have the distinction of folding up compactly and being the lightest of all stroller categories—a big plus for moms who will be hauling their strollers in and out of the house or car on a daily basis. Most have large front wheels with excellent suspension making for a smooth ride and great maneuverability. Another bonus? When your twins grow to toddlers, they’ll be able to climb in and out of the stroller without your help, not an easy feat for kids stuck in a tandem. The only drawback of this type of double stroller is its girth. With models averaging 30-inches wide, it can be tricky to negotiate through crowded stores, amusement parks, and even shopping malls. Furthermore, as manufacturers try to slim them down in the hopes of attracting more devotees, toddlers suffer the consequences with many large kids finding the seats a bit too small for comfort.
Finally, we come to the newest member of the stroller gang—the all-terrain. Think of it as a cross-over vehicle able to handle some off-road strolling as well as a trip to Disneyland. With either one or two front wheels that swivel, the all-terrain maneuvers a bit better than the jogger but can still take a bump or two in your neighborhood park better than a tandem or side-by-side model. All-terrain strollers are pricey (they cost the same as joggers) but they’re built well so will last for years and have great resale value.
How Do You Decide Which Double Stroller is Best?
When deciding which double stroller to purchase, the first order of business is to consider how you will use your stroller. Are you athletic and plan to take the twins out for a daily jog? Or, are you more of a mall mom? Are you a busy working mom who will instead use your stroller only on weekends to run errands? And how will your spouse use the stroller?
Next, you need to think about your budget. Are you truly prepared to spend $400 to $500 on a jogger or do you see the $200 range as your limit? If you have your heart set on the double jogger but simply can’t fork over the big bucks right now, you could go the gently used route and search Craigslist, your local classified ads, second-hand stores, or even ask around at your Mothers of Twins group. Persistence has been known to pay off for many moms.
Once you decide on the style and your price limit, it’s time to narrow down your choices. A few good websites such as Amazon, Consumer Search and Tibesti.com all have in-depth reviews on a variety of double strollers. Also, check out the message boards at Twins magazine or Twiniversity (look under the subheading “car seats, cribs, strollers”) where you’ll get honest opinions from moms who’ve ‘been there and bought that.’
With your short list in hand, head to the store to see your chosen models up close and personal. While it’s tempting to skip this part (especially when you’re eight months pregnant) and just order a stroller over the Internet, it’s important nonetheless. There’s really no substitute for seeing all your choices in a row where you can compare options like storage baskets and seat size, cup holders, and even fabric. Try to fold it up as the manufacturer suggests. Is it easy as they say? But more importantly, will it fit in the trunk of your car? And finally, take it on a spin around the store. Does it corner well? Can you maneuver it easily or do the wheels get locked?
To help you make an informed decision, we’ve created this Double Stroller Comparison Chart. Take it with you to the store (or at the very least, use it as you shop online). You’ll be able to take notes, comparing up to four different models so you can see which one stands out as the best for you and your family.
Strolling Through Your Pregnancy
Once you’ve picked “the one,” you’ll have another item to check off your list. Now you can take the last few weeks of your pregnancy to sit back and wait for the day when you can actually put all your hard work to good use by taking your double bundle of joy out for their first official stroll through the neighborhood.