Best Stroller Carseat Combo 2018
By Donna • September 16, 2017 • Best of reviews
My second Round-up style review will focus on Travel systems or Stroller car seat combos. Different to regular strollers that provide newborn support with having dedicated bassinets, these carseat strollers specialize in having a seamless transfer from the car to the stroller and vice versa. This does provide a huge benefit if you have a newborn that is sound asleep. You really don’t want to wake up a sleeping baby.
benefit of a car seat stroller
There are many ways to approach the whole transportation for a baby and literally hundreds of options to choose from. Doing proper research is very important to know what you want and purchase it to have it ready for when the baby arrives. Time and time again this research consumes much time and you postpone a purchase of stroller or carseat for later on. Happened to me too. In the end, I purchased a stroller in a rush and was not completely satisfied ultimately. Had I done more research and decided I could have saved some money. Instead of buying carseat and stroller separately I could have bought a combo travel system.
But what to look for? There are so many features that it’s easy to lose focus on the important. Fear not, I have done the same reviews as with all the other models. I will provide you with compacted data and information all in one place for you. Cross-compare and choose what you need that will suit your budget and lifestyle.
All four of the below-reviewed models are tested and certified by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). All seats have passed rigorous crash testing and received the certification accordingly. From birth, the most important safety aspect is having your kid facing the rear of the vehicle.
Babies up to the age of 12 months should only be seated only in rear-facing car seats. Impact energy would severely harm them if faced forward.
Infants from age 1 – 3 years should stay rear-facing seated for as long as possible. Same as for babies in case of an accident the least harm can be done to your kid this way. If your kid outgrows the infant only seat, there are board seats or crossover seats that can turn from rear-facing to front facing and have higher capacities.
Ages 4 – 7 years are seated optimally with a front facing seat and a tightly secured harness. Once they outgrow the seat, you can move on to the next category.
From the Age 8 – 12 years use a booster seat to accommodate in missing height to use the regular seat belt. The belt should be tightened and lying on top of the upper thighs, not on the stomach (which also applies to adults by the way).
Once your kid outgrows the booster just seat, place them without any aid and use the regular seat-belt. Again the lap belt goes on the upper thighs, not the stomach and the shoulder belt should not go across the neck.
Please refer to the installation section on the NHTSA site for detailed instructions on how to install any seat. You won’t find any better guidance. There are video guides for all types of positions available.
Preemies (preterm babies)
Special care is to be given to prematurely born babies. As they may have underdeveloped lungs, the semi-reclined positions of most baby carrier seats could pose a threat to breathing correctly. There are hospitals such as the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia that will test your car seat for safety before they let you take your baby home. Be sure to consult with your doctors and physicians before transporting your baby in a car seat and request the car seat test.
best Baby Stroller Travel Systems
Graco Fastaction Fold Click Connect Travel System
Well since I already reviewed the Graco Fastaction Fold Jogging Stroller, I knew I had to include the Travel System in this round-up. The value you get for the very modest price tag is fantastic. Graco is safety certified and provides very solid feature set. There are different carseat combos you can select just with the Graco stroller alone – I went with the jogging carseat one. I really love jogging with my kid so the choice was obvious.
- Lockable front wheel swivel
- Pneumatic air-filled tires provide good suspension
- Safety base for the carseat for easy mounting
- Wheel reflectors and parking brake
- 3 to 5 point safety harness
what i like
The attractive price is the leading feature for this stroller. In my review on the Graco Fastaction jogging stroller, you will see I liked it. The maneuverability and ease of use are excellent and enjoyable. It’s jogging ability is on par with even the most expensive strollers also though some key features are missing which you can fix yourself easily. For example DIY a wrist strap when jogging will improve your security within minutes to another level.
The storage compartment is very accessible and offers enough space for quite a lot of belongings, such as a diaper bag for example. You will still run out of storage, but that happens no matter the size of the compartment. You will always want more.
Switching the carseat from the base to your stroller is easy. Once the installation is done, you will move your kid effortlessly from car to stroller to home. No need to wake up your kid – let him sleep and enjoy the silence. This is probably the main feature of generally any travel system. It works great on the Graco. I had no troubles on moving from one to the other.
what i don't like
As in my detailed review, I do have a small gripe with the weight of this stroller. You can call it a tank. It does provide an extra sturdy frame due to the steel used that helps with keeping it steady. But the added weight does give an added challenge, especially if you’re small and somewhat light. If you are tall, you won’t notice the difference anyway.
For a dedicated jogging stroller, I am missing some features that I would expect. For example, no handbrake will be helpful when jogging on steep slopes. This is rather inconvenient and doesn’t promote serious jogging with this stroller. Also no wrist strap. A small gripe but so inexpensive they should just add one to every stroller made out there.
The carseat adjustments where a bit tricky. For example, if you want to amend the safety harness you need to rethread the straps, and that can be demanding. Especially if you have a kid in the seat that is screaming and squealing. And you need to have it done right otherwise the safety aspect won’t be given. Your kid needs to be appropriately secured with all straps in the right place with the right tightness. My boy just doesn’t like to be strapped to a carseat so its a fight every time. Having an easy would help more.
Gracobaby has without a doubt a great value offer for this rather inexpensive asking price. If you don’t need a very lightweight fancy stroller but one that gets the job done, you will be happy with the Graco Fastaction Fold Travel System. This one gets you the best bang for your buck.
Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System
The second model in this round-up is the very popular Chicco Bravo Stroller Carseat System. All around the web you will find gleaming reviews all raving about this system. People love it. I read a lot of positive reviews and what really convinced me was reviews of parents that were unfortunately involved in accidents and were happy to have had a protected baby with this carseat. What better reason to test this for my self? We all buy this expensive baby gear with all this safety features in high hopes never to need it. But if you actually are involved in an accident you want to give your kid the best possible protection!
- One hand fold and self-standing stroller
- Four-wheel suspension for smooth ride
- Three Position recline in stroller seat
- Nr. 1 rated baby carseat in America
- Comfortable, adjustable 5 point safety harness
- Carseat padding lined with EPS energy absorption from impacts
what i like
Well for starters this stroller carseat combo just looks fantastic. The Papyrus color option is some beige tone, and I like it. It seems beautiful in my opinion. The handling of the stroller is excellent.
All wheels are fitted with a dedicated suspension providing great shock absorption. During my testing, I felt a lot of the cracks in the sidewalk were greatly absorbed and barely noticeable. The bearings on the wheels are also of high quality. The maneuverability is on par with top end jogging strollers that I tested. It almost feels like gliding over a cloud. But even with this model gravel tracks and off-road tracks is where the ride will become bumpy. Nothing unexpected as non-pneumatic wheels just can’t absorb as many shocks as air filled wheels.
The one hand fold of the stroller is excellent. I love this and say this in all my reviews. This feature provides a lot of day to day convenience as you will be folding a lot transferring from car to stroller to outside strolls. Traveling by your automobile, you will fold and unfold various times and to have a comfortable way of folding and holding the stroller is a huge plus in my book.
Adjusting the carseat was easy. I felt the labels, and the provided instruction was comprehensible and understandable. A quick five minutes to set the base in the car and adjust the straps and the harness and I was ready to roll. The padding in the seat was perfect and comfy. My son was always very comfortable and usually went silent once I got him strapped. Getting him in there was the hard part haha.
Also, a notable mention should be the slightly bigger and easily accessible storage compartment on the stroller. Not many strollers can stay this compact but still provide this much storage space for your items and belongings.
what i dont like
Hm, I had to think a lot about what to write here. There is not much I don’t like about this travel system car seat and stroller combo.
However, I did have a bit a gripe with the weight of the car seat itself. I found it to be somewhat on the heavy side. If you already have a big kid, you could have a hard time carrying the car seat around. Also attaching and detaching from the base sometimes was a wrestle and not entirely comfortable. I always managed, but there are better systems out there that have more ease of use. Or maybe I just didn’t do it right. Sometimes you just don’t get the hang of individual systems, but others are intuitive to you.
The stroller itself also is lightly on the heavy side. If you are not used to lifting 15+ pounds around you could feel uncomfortable getting it in and out of the trunk of your car. Just keep this in mind when comparing different options. If your not that enthusiastic about lifting a rather heavy frame around, there are better options out there for you to consider.
The Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System is a great buy. You get a top of the line safety feature rich stroller. The adjustable car seat holds up to 50 lbs which will last you for a while. You won’t have to move to another model quickly when your kid outgrows it fast. Just got to Amazon and read the top review to know why I recommend this stroller carseat combo.
Britax 2017 B-Agile & B-Safe 35
The top-rated car seat stroller in my lineup. This is my first Britax stroller and carseat combo that I have tested. The quality of the Britax components was top notch, and I liked the craft on the manufacturing side. The design itself is sleek and clean. I love it. Nothing fancy but it looks great. Some don’t want to stand out in the crowd, and this is the stroller for them. Of course also with crash test top ratings and certification, I did a thorough test during the 2-week trial usage.
- One hand compact fold
- Carseat and stroller reclines
- All-wheel suspension on stroller
- SafeCell Impact Protection padding in carseat with side impact protection
- Impact absorbing base and steel frame
- Easy adjustable 5 point safety harness for a growing kid
What I like
The Britax B-Agile stroller is very beautifully designed and has a modern appeal. Nothing flashy but rather elegant and sleek. If you want a car seat stroller system that is top of the line you will not be disappointed with this one. I consider the baby stroller to be lightweight compared to the other models.
Of course, I am a big fan of the one-hand fold. The Stroller folds very compact and could not be more convenient. If you travel by car and kid, this system will make it easy for you. The stroller is of high quality and operates very similar to the Chicco Bravo Stroller tested above. The lightweight aluminum frame is significantly lighter than other strollers and provides an exceptional advantage with regards to handling.
A fully reclining seat will help with napping possibilities when out and about. An essential feature as it can make your life considerably easier. Being able to have your kid having a nap in the stroller while you are out and shopping for groceries or going for a walk is excellent. It will allow for more freedom. If you need to be back home in time for the afternoon nap will restrict your possibilities severely.
The large canopy provides for great sun and other element protection. You will still need additional protection such as sun hats or caps and sunscreen for unprotected skin. Never expose the young skin to the direct sunlight. The UV rays will burn the skin and can cause severe long-term damage especially to not fully developed skin with kids.
The carseat installation is getting more relaxed and more comfortable with each model I test. I feel like its becoming so simple that I almost don’t need an instruction. However, I always consult the manual to ensure full use of all safety features and to avoid any odd mistakes. The padding in the seat is excellent, and the harness is adjustable without re-threading! What? Why don’t all manufacturers do this? Seriously? It doesn’t get easier than this. Additionally, there are locks for belt straps in place in case you want to use the car seat without the base. For example, if you travel by a car from someone else and don’t want to switch the station just for a quick ride.
what i don't like
The Britax B-Safe 35 carseat is rather heavy by itself. The whole travel system is light thanks to the stroller, but probably due to the energy absorbing padding, the standalone seat is almost 12 lbs (without the kid!). Now add the weight of the kid, and it can quickly get to 20 pounds or more. Some will have problems carrying this around for more than a few seconds. Transfer from stroller to car tho can be managed very quickly since you can drive the stroller next to the car, so that is not an issue. I would not recommend carrying the carseat from your home to the auto directly though.
Accessories such as rain cover are not included. Be prepared to spend more $ for a full system that will last you for a long time. I would deem a rain cover as mandatory actually for any stroller be it an umbrella or jogging stroller. Why would you not want one? You can always get surprised by rain and want to protect your kid from the elements.
The lock of the carseat to the base is also sometimes a bit tricky. I feel like if I don’t pull at the absolute right angle, it can get sticky and I will have a hard time releasing the seat. But I had this issue with other manufacturers as well, and I am starting to think I could be doing it wrong.
The Britax 2017 B Agile & B Safe 35 Elite Travel System is a solid choice and has earned its place as my editors choice in the stroller carseat combos. I liked the stroller with all its features, but the car seat itself was a little heavy to manage. I would deduct a few points on the handling for that, but when you know it, you can adjust and instead drive the stroller next to your car for direct transfer instead of carrying the car seat for longer distances. All in all, I do like this system.
Baby Jogger City Select and City GO
I have to admit – I am a Baby Jogger fan. Already having reviewed the City Mini GT as a regular stroller I went with the City Mini GT and City GO as a stroller and carseat combo to complete this roundup. The quality of the fabrics and materials used, set a very high standard.
- One hand compact fold
- Stroller reclines fully flat
- Front-wheel suspension and all-terrain wheels (foam filled)
- Taxi-Safe belt path for installation on the fly without base
- Super easy and intuitive base installation with level indicators
- Adjustable 5 point safety harness
What I like
There are a lot of convincing features that I absolutely love about the stroller and carseat combo. Starting with the usual one-hand fold. This is just so convenient in day to day use that you will dearly miss it if you don’t have it anymore. Going from one review to another and having a stroller without made me realize this. Also, the fold is quite compact and allows for easy transportation in your car making the City Mini GT easy to use for various urban errands such as shopping strolling etc.
The front wheel suspension and foam filled tires are other great features. The foam filled wheels will never leave you with a flat tire that you will need to fix. Having pneumatic air filled wheels has its benefits, but these foam wheels kind of give you the upside of rubber wheels with a little bit of suspension through the foam filling. Also, the stroller is really easy to push and maneuver due to the outstanding quality of the bearings. The stroller glides over many different types of terrains – even the dreaded gravel roads!
Installation and adjustment of the City GO carseat seemed very easy. Just follow the level indicators on the base and adjust with the appropriate latches and levers. This way you can keep the base perfectly level in many different cars with different backseat angles.
The seat is padded with lots of soft foam fabric that will keep your baby comfortable. Also, the seat is a bit wider than the Britax B-Safe 35 for example. This will allow you to hold even a bit chubbier babies. The carseat is very light with only 5.82 lbs. This will provide very easy transport even when loaded with a heavier baby.
Cheery on the top is the really big sun canopy on the carseat. Since you have the carseat rear-facing on the stroller you can extend both canopies (stroller and carseat) to fully cover your child from the sun. It does get a tad hot in the summer however as the material is UPF 50+ but non-breathable.
What I don't like
One of my biggest gripes with the stroller is the storage option. Yes, there technically is one but getting access is not so easy as it may seem. The compartment itself is big enough to hold a few select necessities, but storing a diaper bag with some of the usual items such as replacement clothes and snacks etc will be a pain to get in and out.
The car seat has a big warning label on the headrest for the baby which I think is not placed very cleverly. I understand the intention of the placement for the warning to be read but it could just as good have been placed on the outside or inside of the canopy fabric for example. I ended up using a small cloth putting it there to provide added comfort for my baby. Also, this is not visible in the ad pictures which I thought misleading. Buyers beware.
Furthermore, you can’t remove the padding inlay to get more space in case your baby grows quickly. It was not a problem for me but it was a tight fit. I could imagine this being a problem for parents of bigger babies. Why not just do 2 layers of paddings so that one can be removed in case the baby gets bigger? Would make more sense in my opinion.
The Baby Jogger City Mini GT Travel System is a great and provides many desirable features for any parent. The asking price is a bit steep, but you get quality materials and a very good stroller and car seat combination. There are as always a few downsides as with every product so check whether you can live with the downsides or not. I liked this system very much and kept it for myself.