Is an Expensive Stroller Worth It?

Our three strollers, a Hauck Sport Buggy (low-end), Bugaboo Donkey (high-end) and Joie Lifetrax 4 (mid-range).

I still remember how overwhelmed I was after giving birth to my 9 lbs son. It was a hectic time and new questions arose almost hourly. One point of stability, one point of calmness, was going out for long walks. And indeed, as a family, we were pleased about having a very reliable, comfortable, and practical stroller that was just right for us. There was simply one less thing to worry about while we were learning to be parents.

It is certainly worth buying a great stroller, even if it is expensive. More expensive strollers are of noticeably higher quality and come with features such as a height-adjustable handle, shock-absorbing wheels, great suspension, a bassinet for a newborn and a seat for a toddler.

By now we had three different strollers: Bugaboo Donkey, Joie Litetrax 4, and Hauck Sport Buggy. These three models are good representations of high-end, mid-range, and low-end strollers, respectively. We’re happy with all these strollers, although they were right at different times and served different purposes to us.

What is the difference between expensive and cheap strollers?

If I had had a blind test with our three strollers, there’s no doubt I could tell which is high-end, mid-range, or low-end. You can certainly feel that Bugaboo is of higher quality. Indeed, our Bugaboo Donkey worked flawlessly for over eight years. My husband just had to change the inner tube once when we got a flat tire.

Expensive strollers often excel at comfort. In our case, the shock absorption clearly followed the price of our strollers. With its excellent suspension and large air-filled wheels, Bugaboo Donkey offered a smooth ride even during forest walks. This is just wonderful when you have a little newborn. Both our son and daughter fell asleep and stayed asleep during our long walks with the Bugaboo Donkey. Our mid-range and low-end stroller just can’t compete.

While all strollers can be used from birth on paper, I believe having a real bassinet, giving your child a spacy and flat surface, is a must for a newborn. It offers much more comfort for the little one and is more straightforward for you as a parent, especially if it is your first child. Bugaboo Donkey also has excellent ventilation. In our experience, expensive strollers tend to have better ventilation and sometimes also offer antibacterial and temperature regulating fabric.

One often overlooked but important detail is second-hand value. Buying an excellent but expensive stroller might actually turn out to not be more expensive than a much cheaper stroller. Expensive strollers from respected brands tend to keep their value much better. Meaning, if you sell your stroller once you no longer need it, you might get a large part of what you bought it for back. Thanks to the high second-hand value, we ultimately saved money by purchasing a more expensive stroller.

Are All Expensive Strollers Great?

I want to put a little warning out there. Price alone is not enough to say that a stroller is excellent. You need to think about what is important to you. For us, it was safety, comfort, and convenience. While it doesn’t hurt if the stroller is pretty, this isn’t something I’d be willing to pay for. We recommend you try the stroller, but if that isn’t possible, focus on evaluating it based on the wheels, suspension, ventilation, fabric properties, and other attributes with concrete benefits. In particular, avoid unknown brands that just look pretty.

Do I Need an Expensive Stroller for My Baby?

While not strictly needed, we do not regret that we bought a premium stroller and felt that we got more value from it the younger our child was. In fact, we’d say it paid for itself by helping us save time in putting our baby asleep and helping our baby sleep longer. Not to mention that we managed to sell it for a good price on the second-hand market once we didn’t need it anymore.

Do I Need an Expensive Stroller for My Toddler?

By far not as much as for a newborn. I would say that the reason for having a premium stroller with a toddler is very different. For a newborn, you want to offer maximum comfort to your newborn. It’s a bonus that you, as a parent, benefit. For a toddler, your toddler won’t care that much, but you as a parent still get a lot of benefits. A premium stroller is generally easier to maneuver, can handle rough terrain better, and typically requires less maintenance/repairs, as they tend to be higher quality.

Once our son was old enough, we also bought a cheap stroller (Hauck Sport Buggy) to use when traveling. While by far not as comfortable for us parents, our son barely cared which stroller we used.

Getting a Great Stroller on a Budget

If money is a little tight, we understand you’ll be shocked when you see how much a stroller can cost. We indeed were and initially thought it was crazy to spend so much on something as simple as a stroller. But after thinking more about it, we realized that given how much you use it, it might be worth it. In hindsight, we definitely believe it was.

We recommend exploring the second-hand market and seeing if you can get a premium stroller for a reasonable price, especially if for a newborn. If your child is anything like our children, you won’t regret it after the first time it helps your child fall asleep a little quicker, or stay asleep during your long walk. Perhaps even sleep long enough for a little restaurant visit at the end of the walk.

Final Thoughts

You might be shocked the first time you see what premium strollers cost. We certainly were. While we’d be happy if they were not that expensive, in hindsight, we are delighted that we got a premium stroller. We appreciated the excellent suspension, shock-absorbing wheels, height-adjustable handle, and many more features. But perhaps most telling is that we are convinced we’d easily be able to say which stroller is high-end, mid-range, and low-end in a blind test. You can easily feel and hear it if you take the stroller for a spin.