When choosing a jogging stroller, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, you get what you pay for; there is a difference between a $100 and a $300 stroller. Look at the details and decide on your needs and wants; all the strollers are an investment that should last you years and hopefully a few kids.
Brands - Each brand has competitive advantages in style, cost, features and/or accessories. Search for a convenient listing of the features and an overall brand review on each jogging stroller. Also, take the time to read customers' reviews. These are real users of the products and their feedback is very insightful.
Wheels sizes - The ballpark theory is: the more running you do and the rougher the terrain you would like to go over, the larger the wheel. The more walking versus jogging you do and the smoother the surfaces, the smaller the wheel. Of course some people think a 20-inch large wheel just looks "cooler" and some think the 12-inch small wheel looks "cuter". The size of the wheel has nothing at all to do with stability. You will find that larger wheels are easier to push over rugged terrain, curbs and steps. Larger wheels offer less resistance and more glide ability, while smaller wheels are easier to turn. Here is a general guide: 20-inch-plus wheels: frequent running and/or off-road use – offers superior glide, less resistance and easier curb and bump handling; 16-inch wheels: frequent walking and/or jogging with light off-road use – a best bet for most users, great glide and usability, can handle from a day in the town to running on a dirt path with no problem; 12-inch or swivel wheels: walking and around town – offers superior maneuverability and great improvements over traditional strollers.
Shocks and suspension - Shocks and suspension are a relatively new feature, and available only on select models. Highly recommended for off-road use and rugged terrain. Also keep in mind that shocks are not always necessary, as the designers of the products accounted for most shock absorption when building the stroller. Are you running on wash board roads? Then you might consider shocks.
Alloy vs. steel wheels - The trend appears to by with alloy wheels, and most of the strollers come standard with them. Steel wheels are used to save on costs, and the price is usually reflective of this. Alloy wheels do not rust, and are a necessity for climates where rusting is an issue (i.e. marine environments, coastal areas, mountain zones with snow and road salt). Steel wheels will rust over time, and a few extra bucks for the alloy wheels up front will save you from having to replace them. Steel also adds about 1 pound to the overall weight of the stroller. If you do have steel wheels and you are in a salty place, be sure to rinse them off after the beach walk or walking on salt covered roads.
Alloy vs. steel hubs - Just like a bicycle hub, jogging strollers use a hub at the center of the wheel to attach the spokes. Same thing goes here as with the wheels. Alloy hubs are lighter and will not rust, steel is heavier and is prone to rust. Proper care and maintenance of your jogging stroller will avoid steel hub rusting issues, and following the manufacturers instructions is recommended.
Reclining seats - Reclining seats in jogging strollers are a new and much desired feature. Jogging strollers that offer reclining seats do not convert to a fully flat position, but rather a reclined position that is easier for the "passenger" to sleep and rest. The neck rolls is also recommended to aide in comfortable resting positions for the head and neck, regardless if you choose reclining seats or not.
Color - Color is mostly a personal preference, but you should consider a few factors. Light and bright colors attract more attention and are easier to see. If you jog in poorly lit areas, light colors will reflect and illuminate better. We highly recommend flashing style lights as seen on bikes for jogging at night. Also consider the impact of color and heat; just as you wear light colors in the hot summer to stay cool, the color of your stroller has the same effect.
Resale value - Have you noticed how hard the jogging strollers are to find used? After investing in a quality stroller, people tend to keep them around just in case they have another kid, or their younger sibling has a baby and they get it. But if you plan to resell yours, you should not have a hard time finding someone to buy it. Some good advice is to try to keep it from fading, it will help hold the value.
Run The Planet thanks the JoggingStroller.com website (www.joggingstroller.com) for the permission to reprint the article "Choosing a jogging stroller". Illustration copyright © 2002 by Run The Planet.