Helping you to find the perfect buggy and pram for you and your little one.
When getting ready for a baby, a buggy and/or a pram will be one of the most expensive things you buy.
They range in price from £200 to £2000 so you’ll want to get this right. But it’s not an easy decision. When the pram was first invented in the 18th century, the only choice you had to make was whether it was pulled by a dog, pony or goat. Animals are now no longer required (probably for the best) but have been replaced by many, many different features. This can lead to many, many questions so here’s everything you need to know about finding the best pram for you.
Used from newborn, this has a sturdy chassis and a bassinet (also called a carrycot) for a baby to lie completely flat. This position is important for babies under six months as it aids their breathing and physical development, particularly of the spine and hips.
Most bassinets are removable and can be replaced with a pushchair seat when a baby can sit unaided and has full control of their head.
Used from around six months old, this has the same sturdy chassis as the pram, but the bassinet is replaced with a seat, usually with various reclines.
They usually have a maximum weight limit of around 22kg so can last until a child outgrows the buggy stage.
Often used from toddler years, this sometimes replaces the pushchair as it is very lightweight and has a very compact fold. Some buy them to take on holiday or for grandparents to use.
This can be a pushchair or a stroller but some also call prams buggies. (I told you it was confusing.)
This is a buggy that can have the bassinet or pushchair seat replaced by a car seat and is useful for easily moving the baby from the car to the next stage of your journey, especially if they’re sleeping.
The car seat is usually attached to the buggy frame with special adaptors. Not all buggies and car seats are compatible so check first.
This is a pram or pushchair designed for very active parents and has three wheels, hand brakes and great suspension.
As the name suggests, they are good for running with, but experts recommend you hold off from any sprints until your child is at least six months old and some say to wait until nine months old.
The Cybex e-Priam has a rechargeable electric motor to boost your pushing power which might be useful if you live in a very hilly area, regularly cross challenging terrains or are in any way less able to push a buggy.
1. WHERE THE PRAM WILL BE USED
One of the main differences between buggies is where they’ve been designed to be used. All-terrain buggies can cope with any kind of surface because of their bigger wheels and better suspension to cushion your baby from any jolts. They’re perfect for rural settings or for those who regularly enjoy country walks. Some are even suitable for use on sand and snow. The downsides are they tend to be wider, heavier, and quite bulky when folded.
Standard buggies, sometimes also called city or urban buggies, are much lighter and more compact but work best on the smoother surfaces of pavements and shopping centres. These are great for city life. Providing your city is not covered in cobblestones.
2. WHETHER YOU WILL WANT TO CONVERT IT TO A DOUBLE BUGGY
If you’re having twins, you will definitely need a double buggy. But some single buggies can also be converted into a two-seater, meaning you’ll save money if you add to your family before your first child has outgrown the buggy stage. If the age gap is bigger, you can get buggy boards for reluctant walkers/scooters/cyclists and these are sometimes built into the buggy, for example, the iCandy Lime and Orange.
Think also about whether you want any hypothetical siblings side by side (called a double buggy) or stacked vertically (called a tandem buggy).
These types of buggies will usually be heavier as the frame is designed to withstand two children.
3. SIZE AND WEIGHT
The weight of the buggy will be very important if you’ll be lugging it up and down steps or if you live in a very hilly area and are not a weightlifter.
The downside of lighter models is that they’re likely to tip backwards if you overload the handles with bags. For some reason, this always happens in front of a large group of people. One solution is to add buggy weights or ankle weights just above the two front wheels. Wide-based prams are also less likely to topple back.
Regarding the overall size, check the folded and unfolded dimensions to ensure it will fit in your car boot/through your front door/down the aisle of the bus etc.
4. HOW EASILY THE BUGGY FOLDS
An easy-to-collapse buggy, especially if it can be done with one hand, will be a huge bonus if you’ll be putting it in the car boot, using public transport a lot or don’t have a particularly spacious home. Once folded, some of the lighter models may have a carry strap, handle or carry bag. A self-standing fold can also be useful.
Generally, the bassinet will need to be removed before folding but there are some with a soft-shelled carrycot which can remain in place.
If you travel by plane a lot, the Babyzen Yoyo, Silver Cross Jet 3 and Cybex ORFEO all fold down small enough to fit in most aircraft overhead lockers and can be used from newborn.
Eleven other things to consider when choosing a buggy.
Some bassinets are suitable for overnight sleeping so can double up as a Moses basket in the first few months. Those described as suitable for occasional overnight sleeping make a good substitute for a travel cot.
There are also some bassinets which convert Transformer-like into a pushchair seat. This is great if you don’t want the clutter of an outgrown bassinet but do hope to use it again in the future.
One word of warning, the bassinet is not always included in the price of a pram, which can add a substantial £100 to £350 to the total cost.
If your buggy has a seat with a flat recline, you could do without the bassinet, but ensure the recline is as close to 180˚ as possible as some manufacturers call 150˚ flat. The seat will also require sides that can be raised or a compatible cocoon/nest to provide an enclosed space for a newborn.
Once your baby is roughly six months old or able to sit unaided with full head control, they will be ready for the pushchair seat. Ideally you want one which easily switches from parent-facing to world-facing. Younger babies may prefer the eye contact that parent-facing brings. But older and more inquisitive children will want to see the world go by.
There is a harness to prevent the child from falling out and the best prams have a very secure five-point harness. Look for one easy to use as some toddlers go rigid at the thought of getting back in the buggy.
An adjustable seat will ensure it keeps up with a growing child and one with several reclines will allow them to nap easily on the go. Also check the comfort of the pushchair seat. They are usually padded, and some come with a breathable mesh cover for summer and a cosier pad for winter.
UPPAbaby prams and the Nuna MIXX place the child higher than a standard pushchair and away from car exhaust pollution as well as closer to you. They may also dispense with the need for highchairs at cafes and restaurants.
Bumper bars, which go across the pushchair seat can be used to attach toys, offer some additional protection from escape and some children just really like to hold them. A removable one is preferable as it can get in the way if your child is reluctant to return to their seat.
Most buggies will come with some kind of sunshade (also called a canopy) and the best ones will have UPF 50 sun protection.
Some are fully extended with mesh panels to offer full-body sun protection as well as breathability. These are also good for dimming the light and minimising distractions for naps.
A parasol is an alternative although it can be frustrating having to constantly adjust the angle.
A 2019 survey by Which? found that 24% of parents considered a large shopping basket to be essential for a buggy and if you don’t have a car, the size will be even more important.
The Stokke Xplory X is unique for having a removable shopping bag, which may be a plus for some.
Other storage options a buggy may have, are pockets for car seat adaptors, a rain cover, and smaller items like phones and keys.
The bigger the wheel, the better it will cope with uneven surfaces. Most front pram wheels can be locked in place to make more challenging terrains easier.
The filling of the tyres may be a deal breaker for you. Air-filled tyres are great for bumpy surfaces, but the downsides are punctures and having to occasionally pump them up. Foam-filled tyres also give a smooth ride without needing a puncture repair kit. EVA tyres, made from plastic, are very lightweight and good for city living.
The fabrics are commonplace for any kind of eco-friendly credentials to be boasted. This includes materials made from recycled plastic bottles, GOTS-certified organic cotton or Tencel.
If you want to make a more sustainable purchase, look for frames made from recyclable plastic or aluminium. But also, something that is built to last several children with easy-to-replace parts.
It’s worth looking at what accessories are included which can range from very useful (cup holder) to essential (rain cover). Other possible add-ons are a sunshade, buggy bag, buggy clips, car seat adaptors and pushchair footmuff to keep your baby warm in winter. These are better than blankets as they can’t slip (or be kicked) off.
Imagine if Kylie Minogue and Richard Osman had a baby (unlikely I know). Their huge difference in height would mean they’d definitely need an extendable handlebar. Look also at the baseline of the handlebar if you are particularly tall or short.
If you’re of above-average height, also check that your longer strides don’t lead to your feet keep catching on the wheels or base of the pram.
The most common type of buggy is operated by the foot. For the Carrie Bradshaws amongst us, you can get ShoeSaver brakes to eliminate any chance of scuffing your shoes.
Alternatively, pick a model with a hand brake. These are common on running buggies where they can be used to slow you down as well as to stop.
Some handlebars have a wrist-sized strap on them. This is to slot your hand through while pushing to stop the buggy from rolling away should your hands come off the handlebar.
Buggies sold in the UK should all conform to British Standard 7409:1996 or BS EN 1888:2003. This means they have been tested and considered safe to use.
Pick a budget that you’re comfortable with and stick to it.
Buying a bundle can work out cheaper. It’s often possible to get the pram chassis, carrycot, pushchair seat, car seat and other accessories together to save you money.
Measure your car boot to ensure any buggy you pick will fit.
Parents-to-be usually wait until after the 20-week scan before buying a buggy but it should be ready to go by 35 weeks in case the baby comes early. Consider also that you could be waiting for up to eight weeks for delivery.
The best way to decide which buggy is right for you is to see it in person. The Baby Show has all the top UK brands in one place and there’s even a buggy track for you to take your favourites for a test drive.
Take along this downloadable checklist of questions to your nearest Baby Show event so you don’t forget to ask anything important.
Check out buggy brands at The Baby Shows in 2024*
*correct at time published
Book your tickets to our next show so you can compare, try, buy and save on all these brands in-person!
A checklist for you to help you answer your questions when buying a buggy / pram
You can also download the checklist of questions here and print at home or save on your phone to have these questions ready when you're at the show.