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Versatile strollers fit for any family outing

Versatile strollers fit for any family outing

Some baby strollers cost almost as much as some used cars: At $900, the Stokke Scoot is the most expensive stroller tested by Consumer Reports next to the Swedish brand’s $1,000 Xplory. But when it comes to the stroller that’s the best and safest for your baby, you’ll find plenty of smart choices for $200 or less. Here’s how to steer through the bundle of options.

Solid picks for most parents. Traditional strollers typically accept an infant car seat from the same brand. The Graco Modes Click Connect, $200, and Baby Jogger City Versa, $450, are two new traditional strollers on Consumer Reports’ list of top stroller picks. A frame that could collapse after failing to lock in place led to a recent recall of more than 10,000 Baby Jogger City Versa strollers in the U.S. and Canada. The one we tested had the company’s replacement frame and proved easy to maneuver, even on uneven terrain. And unlike most traditional strollers, the Baby Jogger City Versa is reversible so your child can sit facing forward or back. The Graco Modes Click Connect was nearly as easy to use for less than half the price.

If you want more face time. Combination strollers often have reversible seats so your baby can face you or the world ahead. They may also accept a removable bassinet (sometimes included) so newborns can lie flat. The new Peg Perego Book Plus, $500, is one of just two combination strollers that scored excellent overall in our tests. Unlike some combination strollers, the Peg Perego also accepts an infant car seat—though its unique hook-mount system can be daunting when used for the first time. And if you think $900 buys the perfect stroller, think again: While the Stokke Scoot delivers the higher seating it promises, a harness that may be less than snug for smaller or slimmer children kept it off our winners’ list. A top combination stroller for far less: The Contours Options 3 Wheeler, a CR Best Buy at just $170.

With the car seat included. Travel systems include the stroller and the infant car seat for less than many stroller-only models. Easy maneuvering and user-friendly features that include an adjustable handle, one-touch brakes and a large basket helped put the $245 Graco Stylus at the top of this group. Paying another $100 for the Summer Infant Prodigy Travel System we tested brought less easy maneuvering and a car seat that was harder to install and remove. Both strollers were heavy and bulky—though travel systems often are.

For easy carrying and storage. Want something light and compact for quick trips? An umbrella stroller could fit the bill. Some may weigh as little as 10 pounds while others are as heavy as 20 pounds. And true to their name, umbrella strollers fold to a fraction of their size when open so you can carry them easily—or throw them into the trunk without cramming. The new Chicco Echo, $100, proved easy to fold and unfold, with comfortable padding on the handles and a decent storage space for bottles, toys and other baby items, although reclining the seat can limit access. The Mia Moda Facile, $70, a CR Best Buy, did even better for $30 less. At just $85, the Truly Scrumptious Scope costs about the same and adds celebrity status: It’s designed by supermodel Heidi Klum. We liked its color-coded foot brake pedals (green to go and red to stop) and its harness, which was especially easy to adjust. But It felt flimsy in comparison to other umbrella strollers we tested. Poor positioning of a bar in the back made it easy to hit with your feet when walking, and raised seams on the handle grips add to the annoyance.

Got twins? You’ll find other picks among double side-by-side and tandem strollers, plus strollers designed for jogging and rougher terrain, in Consumer Reports’ complete strollers buying guide and Ratings.

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