Are you struggling to choose between a three-wheel or four-wheel stroller? Are you wondering what the difference is?
While a four-wheeler 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.
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, a grassy park, or 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. Often made from rubber and air-filled, they work similarly to bicycle tires. When on uneven ground, they absorb the impact.
To prevent a puncture, check and pump up your tires regularly.
2. Great for Active Parents
Running or jogging is a great way to ditch the baby weight. A three-wheel stroller makes it possible for us moms to workout with the kids in tow.
Also known 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, then these strollers will turn heads.
They’re stylish and sporty, separating them from the traditional “mom look” everyone thinks of.
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 find the wheels need to be detached to fit the stroller in. When you’re handling a squirming toddler, this can make life a little tricky.
These strollers aren’t what you’d call lightweight either. Great for enhancing your workout, but not so much for collapsing and carrying 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 for exercise and going off-road — for everyday use, they might fall short of expectations.
1. Affordability and Greater Selection
If you’ve got a budget in mind, 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’ve also got 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 lighter in weight too, making them ideal for parents who frequently travel around.
Some four-wheel strollers are so compact 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, when it comes to stability, generally four-wheels are better than three. The weight is distributed evenly, so there is less chance of it tipping over.
Another factor here could be 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. If you hit a bumpy stretch, they become hard work to push, maneuver and your little one gets a rough ride. They aren’t designed to cope with all terrains and are more suited for urban life.
These strollers are also not designed for running. This 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.
Another consideration here is the comfort of your child. 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
Putting aside the three-wheel vs four-wheel stroller comparison, here are some essential aspects you may want to think about for both types:
- Lifestyle: Would you consider yourself to be 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 get the most use from it.
- 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. Dads may also be interested to know if there is any special regular maintenance required.
- Features: Does it include the extras you need? That may 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.
Summary: 3-Wheel vs 4-Wheel Stroller
Both strollers have their pros and cons. The ultimate choice will depend on what’s important to you and where you plan to use it.
A three-wheel stroller is a versatile option — great for jogging, activity, and it will cope better on rough ground. It will keep baby snug and give them a smooth ride. The downside, you may end up spending more and won’t have as much choice.
A four-wheel stroller offers stability and a bigger selection. Often they’re more affordable, fold easily, and are compact.
Take a look at your lifestyle and decide which one will fit it best.