3 Wheel vs 4 Wheel Stroller – Which One Is Better?

There are a lot of decisions to make when purchasing baby gear. But one of the biggest will be choosing 3 wheel vs 4 wheel stroller. There’s no right or wrong between these two configurations. But getting a stroller that best fits your style is key.

Indie (three-wheeler) vs City Tour 2 (four-wheeler)

Generally, you’ll see four wheels on lightweight and umbrella strollers that are designed with quick and simple folding in mind, as well as on majority of standard convertible buggies. The 3-wheel base, on the other hand, is typical for jogging strollers, thanks to its increased maneuverability. Some of the modern convertible all-terrain strollers also feature three wheels. But what other differences are there between 4 wheel stroller vs 3 wheel?

For this post, we’ll touch on well as the pros and cons of three wheel versus four wheel strollers. I’ve also included list of some of the best strollers for each category in a wide price range to make your shopping even easier. I hope this article will help you to decide how many wheels you actually need.

Three-Wheel Baby Stroller Advantages

Excellent Maneuverability

Three-wheeled baby strollers are characterized by 2 large back wheels and a smaller front wheel (although sometimes it may be the same as rear wheel – for example Bumbleride Indie has three 12″ wheels). This design adds an incredible level of maneuverability to these strollers – and this is what makes them great for the trails.

When switching to a three-wheel stroller from a four-wheel stroller, you’ll realize that the former isn’t as stiff when negotiating corners. Actually, three-wheel strollers that are designed for everyday use in malls and pavements have a 360-degree swivel mechanism on the front wheel. This makes maneuvering corners and weaving your way through overcrowded pavements much easier. But they also have an option to lock the wheel into straight position when jogging or walking over bumpier ground like cracked pavement or gravel. This eliminates the need for two separate strollers for city and off-road use.

A few years back, most joggers were fitted with a fixed front wheel for safety reasons. Although some of these models are still available today, most of the recent releases now combine swiveling mechanism with the ability to lock it during intense jogging or walking at higher pace.

Easy One Hand Control

It’s a well-known fact that strollers with three wheels are much easier to push even with one hand. If you’re keen to get a model with a swiveling front wheel, it becomes effortless to push the stroller and also go around corners confidently while holding a bag on the other hand.

3 Wheel Stroller Stability, Three Wheel Pram Stability, 3 Wheel Strollers are stable and sturdy
Bumbleride Indie is one of the amazing three-wheeled strollers that are good for all purposes – you can use it in the city for daily walks and for off-road trips

All-Terrain Design

Another key highlight of a three-wheel baby strollers is that they are suited for all kinds of terrain – at least majority of them are. If you want something that will let you cruise on beach sand, gravel, grass, or root-laden outdoors trails, this category has lots of options to choose from.

In the world of strollers, bigger wheels offer much smoother rides than smaller ones. That’s why most jogging strollers have big rear wheels as these will allow you to go over rough grounds and bumpy pavements while ensuring smooth rides for the rider.

You need to consider the type of wheel used for the stroller, though. Most joggers use rubber, air-filled tires as they offer bump-free ride when used on uneven ground. However, note that these tires will require frequent maintenance (topping up the air regularly and mending punctures).

Foam-filled tires never go flat, so they have minimal maintenance requirements. On the flip side, these wheels tend to add some weight to the stroller. Also, remember that even if the three-wheel stroller has top-notch suspension system, but the tires are foam-filled (not pneumatic) it won’t be suitable for running and some types of terrain may be still challenging for it. Foam-filled wheels don’t absorb shocks from bumps as well as air-filled wheels do.

Of course all high-quality true running strollers feature pneumatic tires. Among everyday strollers parents can find different type of wheels. For example: Thule Spring comes with foam wheels, it’s not suitable for jogging, but can handle almost all types of surfaces (maybe except for tree roots and rocky trails). On the other hand Bumbleride Indie comes with air-filled wheels and it’s both suitable for jogging and running everyday errands.

three-wheeler stroller for running
One of the benefits of having heavy-duty jogger buggy is that you can include your little one in your outdoor exercises

Stability

A common perception among most parents is that three-wheel strollers aren’t stable. This might have been true some years back. But there has been a lot of improvements on these strollers over the last couple of years, and the risk of tipping over has been eliminated. If you choose high-quality three-wheeler you shouldn’t have problems with sturdiness or stability.

Remember that three wheeled baby stroller with a higher seat for tall toddler may be less stable in full recline mode, if you place your little one high up on the backrest. Be careful with that!

Of course you should not hang anything from the handlebar because it could shift of the center of gravity backwards and decrease stroller stability.

Three-Wheel Stroller Disadvantages

Weight

Three-wheel strollers for running have a relatively tougher build than 4-wheelers. This is because they are designed to withstand regular rough rides on uneven outdoors terrains without compromising durability. For that reason, these pushchairs are generally heavier. This is something that you’ll need to keep in mind if you’ll be lifting the three-wheel stroller quite often.

However – you can still find 3-wheel strollers for everyday neighborhood walks that have weight similar to four wheels buggies or are even lighter (for example Thule Spring – 21.5 lbs vs UPPAbaby VISTA – 27 lbs).

Don’t worry if this sounds confusing! Check the image below where I compared three and four wheelers and their weight. You can still get a three wheeler that is easy to carry even for petite moms.

difference in weight in three and four wheelers

Bulkiness

Besides their weight, most of these three-wheel strollers can be awkwardly bulky to fit in your car’s trunk. Most brands design their models in a way that allows you to remove the front wheel for compact storage. Although this helps to some degree, this additional task can be quite inconveniencing at times.

Keep in mind that this only applies to three-wheelers for running. Standard strollers with three tires have similar size to four-wheel strollers.

Best Three-Wheel Strollers For Everyday Use & Harsh Terrain

I picked models that combine high-quality wheels, versatile functions and fairly compact design (-> read more details about all-terrain strollers).

1. Bumbleride Indie

Bumbleride Indie is for urban moms and dads who want a stroller that they can use for jogging and everyday use. It has a multi-position recline with infant mode, and it folds easily in one step. Great all-in-one stroller for at least three years!

2. Baby Jogger City Mini GT

This one might fit the bill if you need a sturdy stroller under 22 pounds. City Mini GT maneuvers easily and rolls smoothly over bumpy terrains.

3. Thule Spring

The Thule Spring is for strolls around the city and occasional rides on rough ground. It’s just as heavy as City Mini GT. Some parents may prefer its design and being more fashionable.

Top Three-Wheel Strollers For Running

My selection of running strollers in a wide price range (-> see the full list here).

Bob Revolution Flex 3.0

One of the top-rated strollers for jogging, the Bob Revolution Flex 3.0 boasts a roomy and generously padded compression seat and an incredibly high weight capacity of 75 lbs. Although it’s a little bulky, it folds in 2 simple steps for easy storage.

Thule Urban Glide 2

Thule Urban Glide 2 combines style and functionality. This one is meant for all types of terrains, including sandy beaches. It has a generous canopy and a massive storage basket with cover for your grocery shopping.

Joovy Zoom Ultra Lightweight

This model will interest parents looking for a budget jogging stroller that doesn’t cost the earth. Despite its affordability, it has lots of impressive features, including large air-filled tires, shock-absorbing suspension, and a huge sun hood. It’s also one of the lightest running strollers out there.

What Is The Best 3 Wheel Stroller?

Bumbleride Indie is the best three-wheel stroller if you want a model that you can use as an everyday stroller as well as for occasional jogging. However, if you’re an active mom and you prefer something heavier duty, consider BOB Revolution Flex jogging stroller. Good news for those looking into 3 wheeled travel systems. BOB Flex is available as travel system with one of Britax/BOB infant car seats.

Four-Wheel Baby Stroller Advantages

Excellent Stability

Stability is one of the most important aspects when choosing a stroller. Although both three- and four-wheel strollers are reliable in this aspect, most people tend to prefer the latter and for a good reason. A stroller with four wheels is less likely to tip even as the child gets heavier and taller.

Babyzen Yoyo+ lightweight pushchair with small wheel-base
Babyzen Yoyo+ is one of the tiny four-wheeled strollers

Smaller Footprint

Unlike three-wheel strollers, four-wheel strollers don’t necessarily need to use jumbo tires and a wide base for stability. That’s why most of these models can afford to be super compact without the risk of tipping over. Their small size makes it possible to fit them through narrow grocery store isles and navigate busy malls.

Of course standard convertible strollers sometimes feature bigger tires and longer footprint. However, umbrella strollers are much more compact.

Lightweight and umbrella strollers which always have 4 wheels weigh less than 20 pounds. Lifting them into and out of the trunk should be a relatively easy task.

Some of the convertible strollers like VISTA, CRUZ, MIXX, City Select, weigh more than 25 pounds so they don’t differ that much from three-wheel strollers.

Large Variety

Although three-wheelers are increasingly becoming more and more popular, four-wheel strollers are the most preferred by most parents. Therefore, it’s not surprising that these models are the easiest to find and the cheapest. While we are still at the aspect of affordability, there’s a higher chance of getting some accessories included such as bumper bar, child tray and cup holder with a four-wheel stroller.

Four-Wheel Strollers Disadvantages

Maneuverability

The biggest drawback of these strollers is maneuverability. First of all, unlike their competitors, it takes effort to push and steer a four-wheel stroller with one hand. It’s even more challenging to negotiate a sharp corner single-handedly because the front wheel design makes the turns wider.

Four-wheeled pram stroller with carrycot for newborn baby
Most of the four-wheeled strollers features foam-filled tires or more plasticky wheels that are not good for harsh terrain. But they are good choice for pavement and asphalt

Not For All Terrains

Most of these strollers are fitted with relatively small wheels that aren’t the best in dissipating shock from bumpy roads. Although some claim to be all-terrain, most of them will restrict you to urban life and strolls to the park or play ground.

Best 4-Wheel Strollers For Everyday Use

The choice is really huge so I picked only top 3 my favorite strollers in this category.

Uppababy Vista

This pushchair can accommodate up to three kids at once, so it’s magical for a growing family. It’s beautiful and sleek and glides smoothly.

Baby Jogger City Tour 2

City Tour 2 is for parents who want quality and an affordable price. Your little one can use this stroller from day one. Its most significant upside is its travel bag that lets store or carry it with maximum ease. It’s portable and small. The downside? Tiny wheels suitable only for flat surfaces.

Nuna Mixx (2019)

This ultra-modern stroller accommodates riders from birth until they are around 50 lbs. Its seat offers 5 recline positions, including lie-flat, and the passenger can face you or the world. The best feature? All-seat seat with mesh layer for summer and cozy warm cover for winter.

Can You Jog With A 4 Wheel Stroller?

No, you cannot jog with four-wheel strollers. The major difference between a stroller and a jogger is that the latter is designed and engineered with jogging in mind and it was TESTED for that purpose. Everything from the type and size of the wheels to the suspension system is meant to ensure optimum safety and comfort of the rider when cruising on rough trails.

On the other hand, it’s hard to trust the wheels of regular four-wheel strollers during a jog on a bumpy road. You should never jog with a stroller that wasn’t designed for this purpose, because it simply doesn’t meet safety standards1 for this activity and it will only pose a threat to your little one’s health.

Is A 3 Wheel Or 4 Wheel Stroller Better? – Final Assessment

As noted earlier on, either of these 2 strollers will fit the bill depending on what you want it for. If you’re looking for a stroller that will fit perfectly into your busy urban life by folding in a breeze and squeezing through narrow grocery store doorways, I suggest you consider a lightweight stroller with four wheels. However, if you want a heavy-duty stroller that will allow you to continue with your outdoor activities, a stroller with 3 wheels and pneumatic tires might be what you need.

To sum up this debate, in my opinion four-wheel stroller is better than a three-wheel stroller if you need something just for city use. On the other hand, if you care a lot about ease of steering, versatility, and want something that maneuvers with one hand – then three wheels will be better than four wheels. And the choice is vast: you can go for a lighter all-purpose three-wheeler suitable for walks or get a heavy-duty jogger. Benefits of the latter one? It handles everything, including hiking, snow and sandy beach.

References:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/infant-and-toddler-health/in-depth/stroller-safety/art-20043967


This article is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. It’s not a substitute for medical advice. The author does not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here.


About Me - Zooey BarnettHello Moms! I am Zooey. I am a wife and a mother of three amazing kids: almost 5-year-old Haley and 2-year-old twins Jesse and Matthew. I am a jogger, cooker and blogger.

If you have a question or a comment, do not hesitate to write to me! 🙂

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