A good jogging stroller makes the difference between a smooth relaxing run and a wild bumpy ride for baby. Unlike a traditional umbrella or framed stroller, jogging strollers have several features that make them great for your outdoor workout. Looking for our review of strollers under $200, or our review of luxury strollers? Click those links to go there instead!
First, jogging strollers have larger wheels, usually at least 12" in diameter but often upwards of 15-18", giving it more directional stability and agility over rougher terrain (like rocks, bumps, sidewalk seams, curbs, etc). They also tend to be a bit knobbier which will give you better lateral stability when running on looser ground, like on gravel or dirt. You do not want to try jogging in any serious way with a conventional stroller. Those tiny wheels will wobble incessantly, the front end will constantly veer off course, and you might find the stroller suddenly stopping when you hit what you thought was a small bump.
Second, jogging strollers have adjustable handle bars to accommodate different heights (like mom vs dad!) and running positions. This feature provides a more ergonomically appropriate running position for you, reducing the risk of discomfort and injury. Some models, like the Baby Trend Expedition and the Thule Urban Glide also provide an angled handle bar that allows you to place your hands and wrists at a more appropriate and natural angle. This is an especially important feature for longer runs. This is the same concept used by ergonomic keyboard and mice, helping your wrists maintain a more natural position rather than flexing them counter-clockwise to hold onto a straight bar.
Third, jogging strollers often have some form of wheel suspension to help absorb road bumps and make your up-down running movements less jostling for the frame and baby. The suspension systems aren't what you'll find on a Lexus (or even a Yugo), but they do help out a bit over the bumpy stuff. Options with suspension tend to be a bit more expensive, however.
Other things to look for on a jogging stroller include cup holders for child and parent, a good-sized storage bin, a hand-brake to slow you down during downhill runs, and a supportive and comfortable seat.
While you're at it, jogging strollers are a great candidate for the awesome Ethan & Emma Stroller Organizer caddy that attaches to your stroller's handlebars and provides convenient access to bottles, cell phone, diapers, wipes, snacks, and anything else you might want off your arm/back while you're running! Only about $30, it's a great addition for all moms on the go. Note that in our testing, it fit nicely onto strollers with separated handles, and strollers with the single curved handle (like the one pictured to the right). So it is a pretty flexible and super convenient option for moms on the go!
To find the top 5 jogging strollers of 2016, we got together with 5 moms and tried out 11 different jogging strollers. We checked out the features, popped in our kids, and went out on a jog. We ran on a gravel trail, a bumpy sidewalk, and through some suburban streets. These units are the best we could find.
Here are the best jogging strollers of 2016!
1. BOB Revolution Flex Jogging Stroller, under $400. This is the best of the bunch! A bit more expensive than our other options, but definitely worth the premium price. This stroller has it all, the 9-level adjustable handle bars, adjustable suspension, a decent storage bin, and very comfortable seat. The "Flex" name comes from the fact that there are so many adjustable components to suit all users and contexts. Along with the adjustable suspension (with 3" of travel!) the inflatable rubber tires make for a very smooth and stable ride with great traction on a variety of surfaces. The sun canopy is also excellent with huge coverage to block sun and rain on longer runs, and the seat has several recline settings. Though it doesn't have any cup holders, you can purchase some accessories: BOB makes a great handle bar console (with tire pump!) for parents that includes two cup holders, and a great snack tray with a cup holder for kids (both are about $30). Of the strollers we tested, this one felt the sturdiest and most durable, inspiring confidence while running. The wheels are not only large in diameter but they are real inflatable rubber tires, not those hard cheap tires you find on many other models. This BOB Revolution is for babies from 8 weeks old up to 75 pounds! For negatives, we thought the storage bin was a bit small for bigger trips, the handle bars were not ergonomically angled, and like all jogging strollers it is quite large and cumbersome. One of our more petite moms found it difficult to lift into the car. Compared the earlier versions, this 2016 model is a bit larger overall, with higher handlebars, a larger canopy, convenient side pockets for cell phones or pacifiers, .
2. Joovy Zoom 360 Swivel Wheel Jogging Stroller, under $300. Consistently low inventory, so get it if/when you can! Here is another great option. It's just about as good as the BOB, and for over $100 less. It includes some really great features for the price point: independent rear suspension, a large storage bin, a comfortable seat, a great sun canopy, cup holders, a center console for a phone and keys, and pockets in the seating area for your kid. The Joovy also has a great feature that sets it apart: there is no rear axel that allows for a longer running stride without kicking the back of the stroller. In our tests, the Joovy was really awesome with great maneuverability, stability, and build quality. This feels like a stroller that will really hold up well to bumpy roads and long miles. We also thought the seat was very cozy, and the aluminum frame was very sleek and stylish. So what are the drawbacks? Well, the handle bars are not adjustable. Our tallest parent, at 6' 3" found himself hunched over a bit to maintain a grip on the handles. Also, the handle bars are not ergonomically angled which can increase wrist strain on long runs. Overall, this is an excellent stroller and great #2 option when the price of the BOB steers you elsewhere. As long as you're under about 6' 2" tall we think you'll be very happy with this option!
3. BOB Ironman Running Stroller, under $400. We swear we don't own stock in BOB, they just make fantastic jogging strollers so it's hard not to put them in top spots. Notice how we called this a running stroller rather than a jogging stroller? That was intentional. This stroller is designed for higher speed and longer distance running, with a fixed front tire (non turning), firm pneumatic tires, and a great all-wheel suspension system. Even though it does not have a turning front wheel the stroller has a very nice weight distribution that makes it easy to turn while running. If you're in tighter places it's an issue, but this stroller is truly designed for moving on wide sidewalks, trails, or roads. The fixed front wheel is primarily a safety issue: when running fast, you do not want to accidentally lift the front end and lay it back down with a turned wheel. The lock-in-place versions (the other ones on this list) should help that situation, but the fixed wheel is for that extra confidence boost. If you want a jogging stroller that doubles as a great grocery getter then we suggest any of the other options on this list. An added bonus with this stroller, and something that we really fell in love with, was the hand brake. This isn't for use as a parking brake, but rather for slowing you down while running downhill so you don't have to exert extra energy. This is especially great when your baby gets heavier (up to 70 pounds) and you're moving fast: if you need to stop quickly, such as in response to a vehicle, the brake will help you out tremendously. Even though the weight of this system (23 pounds) is similar to the others, it felt light and nimber and we really liked the easy folding mechanism. We thought that overall it felt very durable and high quality, like the other BOB on our list. It has an adjustable canopy, a great storage bin, and a multi-position reclining seat. Some negatives include: no cup holder, and no adjustable handle bars. We note, however, that even our 6' 2" dad thought the handle bars were decently high enough without adjustment; in contrast, our 5' 4" mom thought they were a bit too high. So there's a sweet spot somewhere between 5' 5" and 6' 1". If you're an intense runner, and even want to run races with your little one, this is the stroller for you. If you're a more casual runner and want the lower price, go with the Joovy.
4. Baby Jogger Summit X3 Jogging Stroller, under $450. If you want some of the features of the BOB Ironman, like the awesome hand brake, but without having a fixed straight front wheel, this is a great option for you. The Baby Jogger is on par with the Joovy Zoom but not quite as stylish and nearly twice the price. But you get some great features. This stroller is very sturdy and reliable, and we loved how it felt over the bumpy trail. The easy-access front wheel lock was awesome: there is a lever on the handle bar that allows you to alternate between a fixed front wheel during running and a swiveling front wheel during everything else. That's a really nice touch, we cannot say enough things about how convenient this was! It also has all-wheel suspension, a great hand brake for downhill assistance, a huge sun canopy and storage bin, and a comfortable and reclining seat. Also, don't tell Baby Jogger about this but one of the kids spilled milk on the our demo stroller's seat; fortunately the fabric was super easy to clean and we don't think it absorbed into the cushioning. The weight limit is a hefty 75 pounds. So what are the downfalls? Well, price is a bit steep for our taste even for the added convenience of the hand brake and easy-access front wheel lock. We also thought that for this price it should include an adjustable handle bar to accommodate different height runners, a parent console for keys/phone and a drink, and maybe a tray for the kiddo. We don't think that's a lot to ask for in a $430 stroller! I mean, check out the Baby Trend below for instance.
5. Baby Trend Expedition Jogger, about $150. This is another great jogging stroller. Not quite the sturdiness or build quality as the BOB or Joovy Zoom, but for 25-50% of the price you're getting a very good jogger that will last you many miles. There are a lot of great features here: large diameter (16" front, 12" rear) real rubber pneumatic tires, built in cup holders, a center console for phone/keys, ergonomically angled handle bars, an adjustable canopy, a good storage compartment, and a multi-position reclining seat. In our testing, we thought this stroller showed good maneuverability, decent stability, and a smooth ride. Over urban terrain it was well-mannered and didn't get away from any of our testers. The front wheel was easy to lock into the straight position, and we thought that it did OK over bumps but with more jarring feedback than the BOB. The seat itself was also a bit flat on the back so it didn't seem quite as comfortable. But don't forget you get what you pay for: it doesn't have quite as many higher-end features as the BOB or Joovy Zoom. Specifically, there is no suspension system to help you absorb the bumps, no adjustable handle bars, and it doesn't feel quite as sturdy overall. But for the price we thought this makes an excellent option for the parents who want a back-to-basics jogging stroller that is very capable and will suit them well for many years.