Are you wondering which double stroller you should buy? It’s a difficult task for both, parents of twins, and parents of infant and toddler.
Here are my tips on what you should keep in mind when you’re choosing between tandem and side-by-side double stroller. Some factors may not seem obvious, especially for first-time parents.
- Stroller size:
- The size of your apartment
- Where will you keep the stroller: in a hall, staircase, garage?
- How big is the entrance to your apartment?
- Is there an elevator in the building (and how big it is)? – You should measure the width of the door, as well as the elevator length
- Will you take it to the mall, grocery stores?
- Stroller weight:
- Will you carry it up and down the stairs often? (Carrying a single stroller every day may not be a problem, but with a bigger and much heavier double stroller it may be really annoying and difficult, or even impossible after giving birth)
- How often will you put it in and out of the car trunk?
- Stroller fold:
- How big is your car trunk?
- Will you keep the stroller in your house folded or open?
- Stroller maneuverability:
- Where will you use your stroller (on what type of terrain)?
- Are the sidewalks in your neighborhood narrow or wide? Are they cracked? Are the curbs high?
- How strong are you?
|I also invite you to check my recommendations is this ranking of the best & top-rated double strollers. You’ll find there only the safest, high-quality and tested strollers, both tandem and side-by-side models.|
Double strollers are much bigger than single ones, but it doesn’t mean they have to be cumbersome and bulky.
If you are going to carry your stroller down the stairs often or load it in and out of the car trunk everyday, make sure you’re not choosing the heaviest stroller out there! Check how much the stroller weight and consider if you are able to lift it frequently.
Double strollers usually have quite a big fold, whether it is a side-by-side or a tandem stroller. Make sure to compare their folded dimensions with your car trunk, to see if they fit with ease.
It’s important to check how the folding mechanism works – if you were on your own, with two kids and had to fold the stroller, would you handle it?
Folding should work smoothly and be as easy as possible.
Steering & Maneuvering
It is crucial to consider which type of a stroller will be more maneuverable for you and which one will handle curbs and obstacles easier.
I’m not going to lie to you – double stroller are difficult to steer at first and it takes practice to learn how to operate them without bumping into anything 🙂
With a side-by-side stroller it’s hard to steer in crowded places and tight turns (but there are models that turn on a dime!). Some of side-by-side strollers feel bulky and difficult to operate with one hand. This stroller is much wider than a single model, therefore it may not fit through tight aisles in grocery store.
With a tandem stroller it’s not ideal either. It’s long so you will need lots of space to make a turn and you need to remember it has a long wheel base so you won’t bump into anything with front wheels. On the other hand it’s narrow as a single stroller so you won’t have problems with going through narrow places or crowded sidewalks.
With both of stroller you will need a good sense of space and spatial imagination.
Going Over Curbs
Here side-by-side strollers win. Although this stroller is heavier than a single one, it’s not very difficult to lift the front wheels thanks to good weight distribution.
With a tandem stroller is may be more difficult, because this type of a stroller is longer and the weight is distributed by its length. Lifting the front wheels and putting all weight on rear wheels may be really challenging.
Wheels & Suspensions
It’s also important to pay attention to stroller wheels and suspension. Double strollers usually weigh 20-35 pounds, if you add weight of two kids to it, you’ll be pushing 50+ pounds. That’s why it’s important to have a big wheels that can handle the terrain and won’t get stuck on every bump or crack in the sidewalk. Big wheels will help you to push the stroller with less effort and steer it more comfortably.
Suspension is also important, especially if you’re planing to stroll in woods, on dirt roads or old cobblestone. It makes riding more comfortable for the kiddos and pushing more easy for you.
Keeping An Eye On Little Passengers
If you decide to buy a side-by-side stroller and you’ll be using bassinets or infant car seats for the first few months it’s very easy to check on both babies. Since they are both facing you, and laying next to each other, you can easily see both of them, control their airway or comfort them when they start crying. You can keep an eye on both of them or feed them at the same time. Of course this only applies to strollers that have reversible seats and allow you mount them to face you.
With a tandem stroller it may be more challenging. Modern tandem strollers (expandable strollers) allow you to attach both seats, bassinets or infant car seats facing you. When the children are older it’s a smaller problem, mostly because back seat is attached higher than the front one.
But the biggest issue I’ve experienced was with two bassinets – when one had to be installed below the upper one. It was really difficult for me to keep an eye on the baby riding in the lower bassinet and sometimes I was nervous I can’t see my baby all the time!
When the baby in the lower bassinet starts crying you have to approach them from the side or even bend a little bit and then you can’t see your child in upper bassinet. With side-by-side stroller you don’t have this problem.
On the other hand when the babies are laying next to each other they may disturb each other sleep (one starts crying, the other one wakes up and starts crying too…). In a tandem stroller babies are a bit more isolated from each other (at least when they are in bassinets or car seats).
Having Enough Room For Both Babies
Some parents say that in tandem stroller kids (especially the one in the back seat) have a little space. Well, that was the case with old tandem strollers where the seats were really close to each other and the was little room for legs in the back seat. When the front seat was reclined the passenger in the back had no legroom.
But with modern tandem, expandable strollers it’s not a problem anymore, although sometimes full recline may not always be possible.
The worst situation is when you have two bassinets on a tandem stroller, because they are really close to each other, basically the upper one is on top of the lower one. However, it is only a problem when you are trying to take out the baby from the lower bassinet. It doesn’t mean that babies don’t have enough space. In fact in tandem stroller bassinets are really spacious (UPPAbaby VISTA has awesome bassinet that gives plenty of space for an infant).
With side-by-side it’s a bit more complicated. Why? Mostly because manufacturers want to make side-by-side strollers as narrow as possible – making the seats and bassinets narrower too.
Example: MB Duet is less than 26″ wide, meaning it’s only slightly wider than a single strollers, and its seats are narrower than on many other double stroller. But I haven’t had any problems with 3-year-old fitting in it.
Observing Surroundings During The Stroll
In a side-by-side stroller both kids are able to see everything, when they sit facing out. Of course it’s best to choose a double stroller with reversible seats – so you could keep an eye on your babies when they are little, and then reverse the seats when the kids get older and more curious about the World.
On old tandem stroller a child that sits in the back may have problems with observing surroundings. However, modern tandem strollers have one seat attached higher on the frame than the other one, so the child in the front seat doesn’t block the view for the child in the back.
Tandem Double Strollers – Pros & Cons
+ Modern tandem strollers allow you to have multiple configurations by attaching to the stroller frame bassinets, infant car seats and toddler seats. This way tandem strollers are awesome for infant and toddler. You can change the seats as the babies are growing
+ They allow you to attach two car seats, two bassinets or two toddler seats (for twins) or mix the seats
+ If the seats/bassinet/car seats attach directly to the frame, the stroller always weighs the same (more or less) and doesn’t get bulkier when you change the configuration
+ They are narrow as single strollers so you won’t have any problems with fitting though shopping aisles or narrow sidewalks
+ In modern tandem strollers (expandable strollers) one seat is higher than the other one, so both kids can watch surroundings while strolling
+ Some strollers allow you to attach toddler seats facing each other which is awesome for older siblings
+ No problems with going through door or elevators
- They have long wheelbase which makes them hard to maneuver in tight corners (you need to be careful not to bump into anything with front wheels)
- Some strollers may be too long for small elevators
- With this type of stroller it’s more difficult to handle curbs
- You can’t comfort or feed both kids at the same time
- Many tandem stroller don’t allow you to fold them with two seats attached (you need to detach one seat first)
Side-by-side Double Strollers – Pros & Cons
+ Thanks to good weight distribution it’s not that hard to go over a curb
+ When facing out both toddlers can watch the surroundings
+ If the stroller has reversible seats and they can face you, you are able to keep an eye on both babies, feed them or comfort them both at the same time
+ Some modern side-by-side stroller also allow you to have different seat configurations (for example: Mountain Buggy Duet)
+ This type may feel easier to navigate than a tandem stroller
+ They fold with both seats attached (usually folding looks the same as with single stroller, it’s just the stroller is twice as wide)
+ Usually they offer large storage basket with easier access than on tandem strollers
- Not all strollers in this type have removable seats which means that a bassinet or car seat has to be attached onto the regular seat, making the stroller even heavier and bulkier
- Not all side-by-side strollers allow to attach two infant car seats (it’s actually a rare feature)
- Some may not fit through door, elevators or aisles in grocery stores