Umbrella stroller showdown

Nov 19, 2009 at 4:15 p.m. ET

Looking for a new stroller? Between umbrella, high end, double, travel systems -- the choices can be overwhelming. Amazon lists about 800 different models. Your local baby superstore might have 200 of those in stock -- which means you could spend hours, days, or even weeks agonizing. Our Stroller Showdown here at SheKnows gives you a fighting chance of choosing the best buggy for your baby in under an hour.

Umbrella strollers
In Part 1 of our Stroller Showdown, we looked at 3 high-end strollers, which ranged in price from around $450 to well over $750 -- but our testers didn't necessarily feel they got their money's worth. This time, we'll tell you about the umbrella strollers we evaluated.

In this round of the Stroller Showdown, the contenders were the Quinny Zapp, the Maxi-Cosi Perle, and the Chicco Liteway

The results of the umbrella stroller showdown

Here's what we learned about umbrellas.

Price: You can find these strollers for around $130 to $250. You might even be able to snag one for closer to $100 on sale. And your money gets you a good stroller -- if an umbrella meets your needs. The Zapp and the Perle can be used with Maxi Cosi car seats for infants, and the Liteway reclines fully, so all of these strollers will work from birth through about 50 pounds.

Style: The Zapp has a sleek modern look. The Perle and the Liteway look more like traditional umbrella strollers, but they are attractive and come in a variety of color and pattern choices. But you pay a price for fashion: All of our testers fell in love with the Zapp's look -- but several commented that becuse it doesnt recline, it's just not that useful.

Safety: Umbrella strollers have some safety and stability issues, although these all have five-point harnesses. You have to be careful when hanging packages or a diaper bag on the back of the stroller and when an older sibling grabs the handles to push. The Zapp in particular was prone to tipping. The Liteway -- the least expensive of the group -- was the most stable during our tests.

Maneuverability: Here's where you see the difference in price points. While our high-end models pushed like a dream, these strollers were a little more difficult to maneuver. Our testers noted that their kids felt every sidewalk bump and crack, and going up and down over curbs was difficult. Using the stroller on different surfaces was also no easy feat -- one tester deferred to her husband whenever she had to push her son over gravel or grass.

Ease of use: The Zapp folds up to nearly nothing, which makes it a cinch to get into and out of a sedan -- and it's great for apartment-dwellers with limited storage space. The Liteway and the Perle are also easy to fold and unfold, even if they're not quite as compact as the Zapp.

Convenience features: The Liteway has one good-sized parent cup holder. The Perle's cup holders are mesh, so they're unreliable on bumpy surfaces. And although the parent cup holder is large enough to hold a water bottle, the child's is "good for a pacifier, but not much else," said one tester. The Zapp has no cup holders.

The storage basket under the Liteway is the best of the three -- it's relatively roomy for a stroller this size, and it's fairly accessible, except when the seat is reclined all the way. The basket under the Zapp is minuscule and difficult to get at, and the basket under the Perle is mesh, so you need to be careful what you store in it.

Testers estimated the value of these strollers at around $100 -- not too far from what they actually cost -- but they noted that they expected to pay a little bit more than what they thought the carriages were worth.

Next page: The verdict -- Find out which stroller is best

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