Karla News

A Frugal Mom’s Guide to Choosing a Stroller for Twins

Baby Gear, Infant Car Seats, Strollers, Toddler Safety

If double blessings are on the way, a double stroller is in your future.

The right wheels make a huge difference for a new mom who needs to get out of the house. When I was pregnant with my twins, I knew the stroller was my key to independence. I had to make sure I had a decent stroller not only for walks around the neighborhood, but to fit in the doors of my daughter’s school, to take trips to Target, and to accomplish any other necessary outing, especially during the early toddler years when my little ones were active on their feet.

Just consider a trip to the grocery store: Most supermarket and department store shopping carts are not equipped with room for two infant seats or for two toddlers children to sit. A stroller is an essential piece of baby gear for any twin mom. Here are some tips for finding the right double stroller at the right price.

Consider Your Family’s Needs

Decide on a stroller budget for your family. There are options at all price points, and it helps to have an idea of what you are willing to spend before you get into the store and fall in love with a high-end model.

There are essentially two types of double strollers: Front-to-back models or tandem, where the two seats are one behind the other; or side-by-side strollers, where the twins sit next to one another. Many families eventually own one of each, using different strollers for different purposes.

Front-to-back, or Tandem Strollers

Front-to-back or tandem models are slimmer and are usually the models which accommodate the infant car seats. This type of stroller is a better option for narrow store aisles or locations where a narrow stroller is best – like on a trip to Starbucks for the much-needed twin mom caffeine boost. There are several models available at several price points, including the one I chose: The Graco Tour Quattro Duo, which retails for about $250. This stroller accommodated my Graco car seats, and I still use it more than two years later. It is narrow enough to shop without taking up the entire width of a store aisle and fits through all doors. It also easily stores in my SUV’s trunk with generous room to spare.

Some new moms of multiples often opt for a less expensive front-to-back stroller frame, such as the Baby Trend Double Snap’n’Go. These are very lightweight and small, but keep in mind the limitations of this option: Once the twins outgrow their infant car seats, which can be as young as six months, the stroller is useless because it lacks regular seats. The stroller frame costs about $100, unless you can find one second-hand.

Side-by-Side Strollers

Side-by-side strollers are wider, which can make shopping trips slightly more challenging. Many models are sized to fit through handicapped doors, but I personally have had trouble fitting my side-by-side through wheelchair-sized doors. Consider measurements of each stroller model before purchasing.

There are variations on front-to-back and side-by-side models, such as strollers equipped for running and outdoors, as well as smaller umbrella models which retail for under $100.

Although the Graco stroller is my everyday stroller, we added a side-by-side double jogging stroller to our baby gear collection around the twins’ first birthday. We decided on the Baby Trend Navigator, which is rather large, but it serves us on outdoor adventures, such as fairs and picnics, as well as for regular walks around the block.

Shop Around Early

Planning ahead for your needs can save money in the long run by avoiding the wrong stroller purchase. The internet is filled with double stroller options. Before buying online, consider visiting a local baby store and wheel around some models. When you first start checking out double strollers, you may feel awkward, like you are pushing around a bus. Double strollers can be long or wide, and when seeing them lined up next to regular strollers, it can induce some new twin-mom panic. Put your anxiety aside and focus on your options, family needs, and the price tags.

Is the stroller a smooth ride? Wheel it over to the store’s infant car seat area and see how the seats fit on it. Are there cup holders? Is there room for shopping bags underneath? Do the seats recline? Are the canopies easy to push back and forward? Are the toddler safety straps easy to buckle?

Also, practice folding the stroller. A new mom doesn’t need the challenge of trying to fold the stroller in the mall parking lot in the pouring rain with two screaming babies in infant car seats. Many strollers are equipped to have a one-hand folding mechanism. Try it out in the store.

Check out the size of the stroller when folded down and take measurements. Remember that it has to to fit in the trunk of your car. If you don’t own a car, consider if you have to bring it up and down stairs. Will you have to find a place to store it in an apartment, a closet, a hallway, or a mudroom?

Research for the Best Price

Don’t purchase a double stroller on the first trip to the store. Note which models you like, then head home and search online. Read reviews from real parents and compare prices. Avoiding an impulse purchase is a necessity for a frugal mom.

Use Coupons or Discount Codes

If you find a stroller you like at a store or at an online retailer, search for coupons or coupon codes to make your purchase more affordable. When I purchased our Graco double stroller, it was on clearance because the fabric patterns were changing, and I was able to use a coupon as well. Some stores, like Babies’R’Us, often run promotions where you can turn in used baby gear for a discount to purchase an updated item. If you have older children, consider turning in your old single stroller for a discount on a new double stroller.

Shop Secondhand

Also, remember that it pays to shop second-hand. Many families trade in strollers which don’t suit their needs, which means deals can be found at consignment shops, yard sales and thrift store. Don’t forget to check the listings online at sites like ebay and Craigslist.

With the right preparation and research before purchasing, you will find that a twin stroller can last to the preschool years. And be prepared for many comments when you are wheeling your new baby vehicle out in public: A double stroller — and its young riders – attract a lot of attention!