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15 best pushchairs

From travel systems to prams, transport your precious cargo in a safe and reliable carrier

If you thought deciding on a new car was complicated, try choosing a pushchair. The best ones are a breeze to use and won’t be packed with irritating features that will make you long for your tiny tot be out of it.

The good news is 2018 is a great year for pushchairs – never before have manufacturers listened to parents so much and worked so hard on attention to detail, while (in most cases) keeping things affordable.

Your first job is to decide which of the four main types you want. First, a pram (lie-flat for newborns) that can later be converted into a buggy (reclining seat for toddlers). Second, a travel system, which does all that, plus has extras including a car seat and carrycot that can be clicked in and out of the pushchair, which is handy when you have a sleeping baby that you don’t want to wake.

Third, a stroller, which tends to be smaller, lighter and easy to fold away – particularly good for toddlers (although increasingly, you can get ones from newborn onwards). Fourth – and we’ve got a separate round-up for this one – jogging strollers, aimed at enabling you to keep fit with your baby in tow.

Next up, think about what kind of terrain your child is likely to travel across. While some pushchairs have tyres and suspension made to cope with country walks, others are designed with urban pavements and shopping centres in mind.

Then, it’s a case of what features will most suit you. Lightweight? One-hand-fold? Revisable seat? Flip-flop friendly brake? Adjustable handles? Big hood? And so on.

Ideally, try before you buy – you’ll get a feel for yourself of what it’s like to navigate, whether it suits your height, how easy it is to fold and how heavy it is, particularly if you’re going to need to lug it upstairs or take it on public transport.

Don’t forget to consider storage too. You’ll feel a right fool if you get it home only to find it won’t fit in your car boot or it blocks your front door, even when stuffed into the corner of your hall.  

There’s something for every budget in the world of pushchairs – in our roundup alone, there’s pushchairs for under £100 going right up to over £1000. Don’t forget to check the price tag before you fall in love with the sound of a particular pushchair.

iCandy New Peach: from £999, John Lewis

This latest version of the iCandy Peach (the fifth update) is one of the pushchairs you’ll find parents drooling over in the big department stores. It pushes like a dream even on rough terrain, requiring nothing but the lightest touch, looks as stylish as they come (available in a wide variety of colour combos), can be converted into a double pushchair without being too big and has a seat that’s large, comfy and reversible.

Plus, it’s travel-system convertible and can be used from newborn (with a carrycot that’s available separately) and from six months (with the main seat), lasting up until they’re 25g – that’s seven of eight years-old! It’s got a huge hood, an even bigger shopping basket than its predecessor and a very easily adjustable handlebar that you can work with one hand.

There’s little not to like really, although some people might find it a bit heavy and cumbersome when folded – and it can’t be folded at all with the seat unit attached. An idea for the sixth i-Candy Peach, perhaps? Plus, it’s quite time-consuming to set up.

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Mothercare Journey Edit: £350, Mothercare

This is the recently-launched luxury version of the Mothercare Journey, a go-to travel system for new parents who want a great combo of practicality and style without paying through the nose.

Suitable from birth (as the seat unit coverts to a lie-flat pram), it includes a car seat (the only type of car seat that it fits, just so you know) and even the adaptors (you usually have to pay extra).

It’s reversible so you can see your newborn then turn them round when they want to see more than just your face and it’s easy to manoeuvre, with a nice smooth ride even off-road. It has one of the biggest and easiest-to-reach shopping baskets we’ve come across and it’s easy to fold, with a one-hand recline feature.

But the seat could be bigger and better padded and make sure you have a big car boot as it’s heavy and big. It also takes time to put together and you need to remove the seat before you fold it up, plus it will only last you until your littl’un is two. This version has X fabric and leatherette handles.

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Silvercross Wayfarer Chelsea: £725, Mothercare

From arguably the best known name in the world of prams, this travel system is plush in the extreme, with its leather handle, chrome detail and posh fabric. Practically, it lasts from birth to toddler and feels as robust as they come without being clunky.

In fact, it’s a breeze to fold and unfold and can be used both pram and pushchair mode as well as with the Silver Cross Simplicity car seat. There’s plenty of room for your tot in any of the three modes, and the well padded seat is easy to reverse and recline, with a versatile hood that you can pull part or all the way down.

But despite the smooth handling and lightweight feel, this is for an urban parent, as we discovered when we tried it off road and the small wheels didn’t like it, feeling decidedly unsteady. It’s a particular boon for public transport, not least because it’s so light and folds nice and compact.

Shame the leg rest isn’t adjustable, though – that’s unusual.

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Stokke Xplory: £899, Stokke

This travel system-compatible buggy boasts futuristic looks, is ready to use straight from the box and has a unique adjustable seat that lets you position your baby so high that they can look you directly in the eye, even while you’re rushing around, which is great for bonding.

Everything about it feels beautifully engineered and it’s easy to steer and adjust – and this latest version has a footrest integrated into the stroller seat, making it even easier to change from forward to parent-facing, plus a new hinged bumper bar that doubles up as a carry handle on the carry cot.

There’s a leatherette cover on the stroller handle and bumper bar and an even simpler one-handed fold mechanism (you no longer have to use your foot and hand). We also like the new extra-large removable shopping basket and extra large hood canopy.

It covers most of your baby and takes away the need for a parasol, which we all know is the most useless piece of equipment ever. It’s better for urban use rather than rough tracks, though and the carrycot costs another £170. Extras include raincover and mosquito net.

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Joie Pact: £150, John Lewis

We all know the world of pushchairs is huge, but did you know that even the world of lightweight, travel-system compatible buggies is mammoth? No sooner have you done your research that another newbie pops up on your Google search.

This is our favourite, thanks to a whole host of features including life-flat seat (making it suitable from birth), impressive suspension, quick one-hand fold, adjustable handlebars, lockable front swivel wheels and roomy basket. It’s much less flimsy than most yet still lightweight at just over 6kg and it’s easy and comfy to push, as well as working with a range of car seats.

It will last your littl’un until they’re around three and it comes with a whole host of accessories including raincover, chest pads, sun shade, hood and bumper bar and we like the colours too – red, pewter or navy.

There are limitations, though – you can’t use it with a carrycot and the seat unit only faces forward, which means less interaction with your baby. And although it’s ok on rough surfaces, those small front wheels are much happier on tarmac (although it glides over kerbs).

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Britax Holiday: £95, Mothercare

As any parent knows, there’s only one kind of stroller you want to take on holiday – a very light, compact and easy-to-carry one. Weighing just over 5kg and folding up really small, as well as coming with a shoulder strap, this is a great option and it comes in lots of cheery colours too.

Designed for six months upwards, and lasting up until three-years-old, it does the basics really well – easy to push on smooth surfaces and kerbs (although not so great for off-road) and it’s easy to push and fold, with a decent enough shopping basket.

Be warned there’s no recline, foot or leg rest or raincover and it only faces forward and it doesn’t have fancypants features like adjustable handlebars (although they’re comfortable enough) and you won’t get the same sturdy feeling as with some heavier, bigger pushchairs.

But it doesn’t pretend to be for everyday use and for holidays – as well as public transport and a spare buggy to keep at the grandparents – this is tops.

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Baby Jogger City Premier: £388.95, Amazon

If you rarely have both hands to spare when trying to get your stroller to work in your favour, then you’ll love this one, with its one-hand recline, one-hand fold and easy-to-reach-with-one-hand shopping basket. It’s so simple to push that you can even use just one hand when moving short distances.

It’s not the smallest or lightest of buggies, but it’s surprisingly compact when folded and the roomy, well-padded seat and top-notch suspension – along with the adjustable foot rest – makes for a super-comfy ride both on and off road, making it good for town or country use.

The UV50+ hood is extra-large and the seat is reversible so you can talk directly to your baby or let them enjoy the view. You can use it from six months, or from birth with additional carrycot or the City GO car seat (don’t forget the adapters).

We’d have liked a raincover to be included, but that’s a small trade-off of a versatile, great looking and extremely well designed buggy.

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Nuna Mixx: £400, John Lewis

This pushchair manages the bumpiest of country tracks or most uneven of grass well and has one of the biggest baskets we’ve come across, yet it’s also stylish and impressively compact, making it equally good for shopping, school runs and public transport.

It’s got a reversible seat and isn’t too heavy. We also like the spacious seat, deep recline and the fact that the brake works even if you’re wearing flip-flops. The handlebars are both comfy and adjustable, meaning it suits people of different heights.

And it’s travel system compatible, so you can use it with the Nuna Pipa Icon baby car seat. Everything feels good quality, right down to the smallest detail like the straps. You can’t fold it with one hand, though, and the instructions aren’t as clear as they could be.

It’s suitable to use from birth until around five or six years-old (although they might find the seat a bit narrow if they’re on the larger side). A phenomenally good all-rounder that ticks almost every box.

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Cosatto WOW: £599.95

Wow by name, wow by nature, this pram/pushchair combo with travel system compability and separate carrycot can be used from birth until around three-years-old.

It’s got a reversible seat, is simple to set up and use and lots of one-handed features including the seat recline, calf support and carrycot release mechanism – although, surprisingly it can’t be folded one-handed (but it’s still pretty easy to fold).

The rubber all-terrain wheels and top-notch suspension makes it easy to push and turn although we’d hoped for a few less judders on really rough terrain. There’s lot of attention to detail – good sized basket, bottle holder, adjustable handlebar and – listen up, littl’uns – a very comfy and well-padded bucket seat.

There are niggles – the adaptors take time to get on and the harness is a bit fiddly, but neither are deal breakers. With Cosatto’s signature bold prints and spirited patterns, this isn’t one for shrinking violets who want to blend into the background, but if you want a vibrant, great looking and practical buggy, this is a lovely pushchair.

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Maxi Cosi Adorra: £309.75, Amazon

This stylish, modern looking and easy-to-use buggy has it all. Lie-flat seat? Tick. Option to use it as a carrycot? Tick. Very large seat unit? Tick. Travel system compatible? Tick. Easy one-handed fold? Tick? Reversible seat? Tick. No need to take seat out to fold (or even to turn it round before folding? Tick.

One handed recline? Tick. And it doesn’t stop there – it’s simple to assemble, it’s got a generous sized basket, a big nicely padded seat and it stands up when folded. The brake is very responsive (although it can catch on your feet as you walk) and It’s suitable from birth until around three-and-a-half years-old and while it’s not quite as easy to work it off-road, it’s not bad.

Don’t get too irritated when you can’t fold it at first – you get used to the slightly convoluted process quickly enough. A great hybrid that lies somewhere between a buggy and big pushchair, we think this is extremely versatile and well-made.

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Ickle Bubba Stomp V4: £549, Ickle Bubba

The name might make you cringe, but this is a bargain for a great travel system that includes everything a new parent could possibly need – chassis, carrycot and separate seat, plus the infant car seat and ISOFIX base (though be warned they aren’t i-SIZE), along with oodles of handy accessories.

Understandably, with all this lot, it takes some time to get it all ready to go, and it’s essential to follow the instructions but they’re a doddle to follow. It’s lightweight yet sturdy – good news if you want to use it on public transport or carry it up and down stairs.

Its all-terrain wheels work well, even on very bump grass, and the brake is very simple and very effective – no chance of this rolling even slightly when you’ve pushed down the metal bar over the wheels.

The seat unit and carrycot share the same frame, it’s easy to fold and recline, although both require two hands. You feel this brand has really listened to what busy parents want.

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Chicco Ooh la la: £84.99, Amazon

The first thing you’ll notice about this pushchair is it’s very light – great for travelling with this summer, then, also helped by the fact that it’s easy to fold one-handed (once you get the knack) and compact when folded. And while you might assume the trade-off is lack of sturdiness, you’d be wrong – it’s surprisingly secure.

It’s nice and quick – great if you have to run for that bus – and despite the low price tag, it has some handy features like recline and adjustable leg rest. The seat is well-padded and has room for your child to grow As you might expect from a stroller, it’s not great off-road, the handlebar isn’t adjustable, and it’s only forward facing.

And it’s not travel system compatible. But come on, this will set you back under £90 – a great back-up buggy or one to buy the grandparents to use. A raincover is included too. From birth to around three-years-old.

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Tutti Bambini Arlo: from £530, Arlo

Convertible buggies (that are designed to grow with your family) aren’t always much cop, but we love this one which – at 12.5kg – makes for a surprisingly light double that can be adapted to fit twin and tandem combinations.

It can be used with two carrycots or seats and is travel system compatible too – so you can fit two car seats on the frame. Suitable from birth, the seat is comfy and can be faced towards you for eye contact or forward when the ducks are more interesting – and see the ducks you can as this buggy has tough PU tyres that work pretty well on rougher ground.

The shopping basket is a generous size (until you put it in tandem mode) and it has a single hand fold (for which you don’t have to remove the seat) and adjustable handles.

It comes in a range of lovely colours too. It’s quite heavy to steer if you have two toddlers on it, though.

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Joolz Hub: From £549, Joolz

Hub, according to Joolz, stands for ‘Hello Urban Beauty,’ which tells you all you need to know about what kind of lifestyle this travel-system compatible pushchair is aimed at. It’s small and nippy, travel-system compatible and has a reversible seat.

It’s easy to push, even with one hand, and to fold (although you’ll need two hands for this) and you can leave the seat in whatever position it happens to be in when you do so. It looks smart, with a really top quality finish and it gets extra brownie points for being sustainably produced too.

We also like the huge hood, good sized shopping basket, shoulder carry strap and the smooth ride, including up kerbs.  It’s good to go from around six months up (or birth, if you buy the Joolz carrycot or the Joolz cocoon) and will last up until your littl'un is around four or five years old.

Niggles are that it’s on the heavy side and you can’t use the break with anything but sturdy shoes on – and the seat is on the narrow side, although it’s nicely padded and comfy.

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Bugaboo Fox: £1,077, John Lewis

Brought to you by the brand of choice for just about any celebrity worth their salt, including some of the royals, the Fox is a fabulous pushchair if you can afford it.

To say the steering is easy is an understatement – it’s like sliding butter and that goes for any terrain – and that’s coupled with superb control and an easy-to-use step-on brake. It’s supremely comfy, with a lie-flat seat and it’s travel-system compatible.

Pretty much everything is adjustable – including a parent or forward facing seat - and although it’s slightly let down by being less easy to fold than others (no one-fold action, which surprised us), it has multi fold configurations, stands when folded and you can even fold it with the carrycot attached.

It’s extremely smart, as well as being customisable so you don’t have to be a carbon copy of all the other yummy mummies and comes with masses of accessories, as well as boasting a generous shopping basket and hood.

And although it may have to re-mortgage your house to afford it, it does keep its value for when you want to flog it later down the line. It’s heavy, though.

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The Verdict: Best pushchairs

If we had a gold, silver and bronze award system, here’s how it would go. In first place, with an indybest gold award, would be the iCandy New Peach – it’s the fifth generation of this magnificent looking and highly practical pushchair that’s also highly versatile.

In second place, with silver, would be the Mothercare Journey Edit – a ridiculously affordable travel system whose latest luxury edition will give other yummy mummies a run for their money. And in third place, with bronze, would be the Joie Pact for a first-rate lightweight option.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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