Are you struggling to choose between a three-wheel or four-wheel stroller? Are you wondering what the difference is?
While a four-wheel stroller is often the go-to for many moms — the rise of its competitor has increased the list of possibilities.
Understanding how a three-wheel vs. four-wheel stroller compares may make your decision process a little easier. This is what you should know.
- Three-wheel strollers are suitable for all terrains, great for active parents, and offer better maneuverability.
- Four-wheel strollers provide more affordability, a wider selection, and easy folding and storage.
- A three-wheel stroller may be bulkier and more expensive, while a four-wheel stroller lacks versatility for different terrains.
- Consider your lifestyle, your child’s safety, ease of use, comfort, aftercare, features, and your child’s age when choosing between a three-wheel and four-wheel stroller.
1. Suitable for All Terrains
A three-wheel stroller is designed to tackle all types of surfaces. They’re superb for off-roading, whether you are out on the trails, on a sandy beach, at a grassy park, or traveling a rocky road.
The suspension is generally better and should protect your precious cargo from bumps and dips.
Compared to traditional strollers, the wheels are a lot larger. They are often made from rubber, are air-filled, and work similarly to bicycle tires. When on uneven ground, they absorb the impact.
To prevent a puncture, check and pump your tires regularly.
2. Great for Active Parents
Running or jogging is a great way to ditch the baby weight. A three-wheel stroller allows us moms to work out with the kids in tow.
Three-wheel strollers are also referred to as jogging strollers. Their superior suspension and oversized wheels should give your baby a smooth ride while you get your fitness fix.
If you’re like me and fed up with stiff handling on a stroller, the three-wheeled type may appeal. The swiveling front wheel spins a full 360 degrees allowing for smooth cornering, which makes weaving around obstacles a breeze.
The steering is also easier to control. You could even push the stroller one-handed — freeing up the other for a little person’s grasp or a much-needed coffee.
4. Stroller Attraction
If aesthetics are important to you, know that these strollers will turn heads.
They’re stylish and sporty, separating them from the traditional “mom look” everyone pictures.
After all, if it’s good enough for Madonna and British royalty, it’s good enough for you.
1. Bulky and Heavy
Although sturdy, three-wheelers tend to be larger to transport or store. While they fold quite easily, the jumbo wheels and bulkiness make them cumbersome to load into the trunk of a car.
If space is tight, you may need to detach the wheels to fit the stroller. When you’re handling a squirming toddler, this can make life a little tricky.
These strollers aren’t exactly lightweight, either. They’re great for enhancing your workout but not so much for collapsing and carrying them up stairs.
2. Not so Cost Friendly
Three-wheel baby rides are often more expensive than their four-wheel counterparts.
If you’re serious about jogging or outdoor activities, you’ll want a stroller to help you with your goals. This could mean increasing your budget.
3. Less Choice
If you’ve been shopping around for a stroller, you may have noticed selection is limited in the three-wheel category. Finding what you have in mind could be a challenge.
Many of these models cater to exercising and off-road travel. For everyday use, they might fall short of expectations.
1. Affordability and Greater Selection
If you have a limited budget, four-wheel strollers offer plenty of options without compromising on quality. At the top end of the price bracket are those with all the bells and whistles. You’ll also come across less expensive alternatives offering similar functionality.
As four-wheelers are considered the original stroller style, you have a broader choice in terms of type. These include complex travel systems with multi-seat options to basic, lightweight, easy-fold (umbrella) versions.
With such an extensive range, no matter what your budget is, there are plenty of manufacturers offering multiple models to choose from. You may stand a better chance of finding a stroller that ticks all the boxes on your wish list.
2. Easy Folding and Storage
Four-wheel strollers tend to be much simpler to collapse and take up less room in the trunk of your car or when stowing away. They’re often lightweight, making them ideal for parents who travel frequently.
Some four-wheel strollers are so compact that you can fold them up and fit them in a backpack. This one from Pockit folds to a mere 11.8 x 7 x 13.8 inches and weighs only 9.5 pounds.
3. Good Stability
Although this is often a subject of debate, four wheels are usually better than three when it comes to stability. The weight is distributed evenly, so there is less chance of it tipping over.
Another factor is where you plan on using your stroller. If you’re navigating your neighborhood — bumping up and down curbs — you should always have two wheels on the ground.
1. Lack of Versatility
A four-wheel stroller is excellent for use on level surfaces. But if you hit a bumpy stretch, they become hard work to push and maneuver, and your little one gets a rough ride. They aren’t designed to cope with all terrains and are more suited for urban use.
These strollers are also not designed for running. That doesn’t mean you can’t use them for exercise — walking is a great way to keep fit (2). But you may be restricted to paved trails around the park.
You should also consider your child’s comfort. A four-wheel stroller will jostle your baby around on bumpy surfaces. They don’t have the suspension and wheel type advantages of their three-wheel counterparts.
Factors For Choosing a Stroller
Here are some essential aspects you may want to think about for any stroller you consider:
- Lifestyle: Are you an urban-dwelling mall mom, or do you live for the great outdoors? One of the most important factors is how well the stroller fits in with your daily routine and where you’ll use it most.
- Safety: While manufacturers are required to follow safety standards, you should make your checks too. Five-point harnesses are trickier for toddlers to unfasten. Test the brakes for a secure hold, and look over the frame for any potential “tiny finger” traps (3).
- How easy it is to use: Is it simple to fold, transport, and store? Will you be able to lift it into your car or carry it without a struggle? Do you need both hands for steering, or can you manage using one?
- Comfort: A seat that fully reclines could be a handy option for naps on the go. Plus, adjustable handlebars should allow you to tailor the height for the user.
- Aftercare: No matter how hard you try, kids don’t stay clean for long — neither will the stroller. Find out if the seat covers are removable and machine washable or spot clean only. You may also be interested to know if any special regular maintenance is required.
- Features: Some accessories you may desire include cup holders, a sun canopy, wet weather gear, or enough basket space to carry your essentials, plus whatever space you need for shopping bags.
- Age: Can the stroller be used from birth? Check for newborn-ready padded inserts or whether the particular model has a compatible infant carrier.