Pram purchasing advice: how to choose the right product

  • What You Need to Know
  • Combination prams can be converted from a pram to a buggy and can be used from birth up to an age of about four years.
  • The GS mark and the TÜV badge guarantee that the pram has been tested and thus provide parents with guidance on safety issues.
  • A safe pram should be equipped with a padded 5-point harness, a powerful parking brake and good suspension.
  • On asphalt paths, smaller rubber wheels are perfectly adequate, while larger pneumatic or air-chamber tyres are recommended for uneven forest or field paths.

What do I need a pram for?

There are hardly any parents-to-be who don’t ask themselves the question about the right pram. It is high on all first-time baby equipment lists and keeps parents mobile. Carrying a baby in a sling, a carrier system or simply in the arms becomes strenuous in the long run, especially with the increasing weight of the child, and puts a strain on the back. A pram is therefore the ideal solution for longer walks and excursions. Most prams can be folded compactly for car journeys and simply stowed in the boot. So it can be taken everywhere and becomes the family’s constant companion.

Sleeping aid and storage space

The rocking of the pram soothes many babies and helps them to fall asleep. In addition, the pram tray and the canopy shield the baby well and offer protection from wind, rain and sun. And there is room not only for the baby in the pram, but also for shopping and all the baby care utensils without which parents can hardly go on longer trips, such as spare nappies, wet wipes, disinfectant gel or feeding bottles.

In our pram comparison, we show which different models are available and what is particularly important when buying.

Which pram is the right one?

The first step in choosing a pram is deciding which type is right for you. Which model is the right one depends primarily on the age of the child and the terrain on which the pram will be used. In the following, we present the most common types of prams with their respective advantages and disadvantages.

pram types collage
The different types of prams at a glance: 1) first-time pram, 2) jogger, 3) buggy, 4) combi pram, 5) multiple pram.

The first pram: the safe one

The first pram is a pushchair with a fixed carrycot. It is designed for the early days and is intended to offer the baby sufficient protection and peace of mind from birth onwards. For this purpose, typical first-time models are equipped with a canopy. It is also important to have a large, flat lying surface, a stable, robust frame and good suspension so that the baby’s sensitive spine is relieved and protected. To ensure a smooth ride even on uneven surfaces, most of these prams are equipped with large, wide pneumatic tyres that largely absorb vibrations.

Trendy as retro prams

The design of the first-time prams is often reminiscent of the classic prams from the 70s. This helps these models compete with the combination pram. After all, “retro prams” are currently in vogue. These include prams with a wicker basket baby seat or in an extravagant leather look.

The advantage of this type is that it is precisely designed to meet the needs of babies. Its disadvantage compared to a combination pram is that it cannot be converted into a pushchair and can therefore only be used for the first six to eight months until the baby reaches sitting age. Then a successor pram with a seat function and sufficient space becomes necessary. Most commercially available first prams cost between 400 and 800 euros and weigh between ten and twenty kilograms.

Pro Points

  • Stable and robust
  • Large, flat lying surface
  • Precisely designed to meet the needs of infants
  • Very good suspension

Drawbacks

  • Can only be used up to sitting age

Joggers and sports buggies: the sporty ones

As their name suggests, joggers and sports buggies are aimed at sporty parents who want to take their offspring for a run or extended walk. This type of pram is designed for rough terrain such as field and forest paths and therefore has large running wheels. Some models are three-wheeled and therefore particularly manoeuvrable. At the same time, joggers and sports buggies are very robust. To ensure that the child sitting in it is not shaken too much on sporty journeys over hill and dale, parents should pay attention to good suspension.

Testing the suspension of the pushchair

If parents want to find out whether the suspension of a pushchair is sufficient, a test drive over different surfaces is the best way to find out. In this way, the model and its suspension can be assessed under real-life conditions. It is also advisable to place a weight, such as two 1.5-litre water bottles, in the pushchair to test how the model handles under load.

As a rule, sports buggies and joggers have a large, comfortable seat with adjustable backrest and hood. However, they are not designed for lying down. Therefore, they are only suitable from an age when the child can already sit. This type of pram is therefore a good successor to the infant pram. Depending on the manufacturer and model, joggers and sports buggies cost about 50 to 800 euros. With weights between about 10 and 15 kilograms, they are usually somewhat lighter than a first-time stroller.

Pro Points

  • Manoeuvrable
  • Robust
  • Large, comfortable seat
  • Suitable for rough terrain

Drawbacks

  • Partially high weight
  • Only suitable from sitting age

The buggy: the practical one

The buggy is a compact and lightweight version of the sports buggy or jogger. This type of pushchair is aimed at toddlers who can already walk or are in the process of learning to walk. When the toddler has run out of steam or is tired after walking for a long time, he or she takes a seat in the buggy and can be pushed. The backrest can usually be folded back to create a reclining surface so that the child can take a comfortable nap. However, buggies are not designed for prolonged lying down. The same applies to rough terrain. Parents will have little fun with a buggy here because of the small wheels. It is more suitable for journeys on paved roads and footpaths.

Modern buggies often weigh between five and ten kilograms and are therefore particularly light. On the other hand, they are less stable and robust than heavier sports buggies.
Good buggies can be folded and unfolded very easily, ideally with a flick of the wrist, making them uncomplicated and space-saving to transport in the car or other means of transport. They are also equipped with swivel wheels that make the vehicle particularly manoeuvrable. Compared to other types of prams, buggies are rather cheap to buy. Very simple models are available from 35 euros.

Pro Points

  • Compact and manoeuvrable
  • Low weight
  • Easy to fold and unfold
  • Comparatively cheap

Drawbacks

  • Only suitable from sitting age
  • Not suitable for rough terrain

The combi pushchair: the flexible one

The so-called combination pram combines a classic pram and a sports buggy and thus the advantages of both types in one model. It is available as a 2-in-1 pram with carrycot and buggy attachment and as a 3-in-1 version with an additional attachment for the infant carrier. This makes the combi stroller suitable from the baby’s birth until around the age of four. Once the child has outgrown the infant carrier and is able to sit, parents simply convert the pushchair into a buggy and continue to use it in this way. This saves them having to buy a successor model – probably the main reason for the great popularity of the combination pram.

The combi pushchair is the most flexible of all pushchairs. Parents can also carry the removable carrycot separately. For example, if the baby falls asleep in the pram during a walk, parents can carry it into the house in the carrycot and leave the pram in the hallway. When converting to a buggy, the seat attachment can be used in both directions. Parents can therefore decide, depending on the situation and their needs, whether the child should look towards the parent pushing the pushchair or towards the front during the journey.

However, most combi prams are considerably larger and heavier than a buggy or pushchair. Most models weigh 15 to 25 kilograms. This is a particular disadvantage for parents who often want to transport the pram in the car or on public transport, or who have to carry it up and down stairs. Depending on the manufacturer and model, common combi prams cost 200 to 1,000 euros. More expensive models often come with a lot of extra equipment.

Pro Points

  • Can be used from birth to 4 years of age
  • Combines several types of prams in one model
  • Portable carrycot
  • Fixed lying surface
  • Protection from wind and weather

Drawbacks

  • Comparatively large and heavy

The sibling or multiple pram: space for several children

There are special prams for multiples or siblings with a short age gap. This not only saves parents from having to buy several prams, but also gives them a great deal of freedom. After all, trips with several babies or toddlers are an organisational challenge that can be mastered more easily with a multiple or sibling pram.

Depending on the model, there is room for two or more children next to or behind each other in a sibling or multiple pram. The advantage of the double-seat version, i.e. with two seats next to each other, is that the siblings can communicate well with each other during the journey. However, such models are very wide, so that narrow passages, paths and doors quickly become a problem. They are also difficult to stow in the boot. In contrast, the tandem version of the stroller, in which the seats are one behind the other, is much narrower but also longer, and the children cannot occupy themselves with each other in it.

For siblings with a small age gap, a sibling pushchair with a carrycot and buggy attachment is a good choice. With combination models, the carrycot can later be replaced by a second seat. For slightly older siblings who can already walk safely, a footboard for the pram is an inexpensive alternative.

One advantage of larger prams for parents is the extra storage space they provide.

Pro Points

  • Several seats/reclining places in one model
  • One purchase for several children
  • Plenty of storage space

Drawbacks

  • Very wide or long

The most important buying criteria: These are the things you should look out for

The market offers a huge selection of prams. Well-known manufacturers outbid each other with new models and vie for the favour of buyers. It is no wonder that first-time parents feel overwhelmed by such a wide range of products. By listing and explaining some of the important buying criteria, we would like to give consumers some guidance to help them find their way through the pram jungle.

Safety

It is particularly important that the pram offers the baby or toddler sufficient safety. This includes good suspension and a padded seat or reclining surface, so that the child is not jolted when being pushed over uneven terrain and, in the worst case, suffers injuries. Good suspension is also very important for babies so that their still very sensitive spine is adequately supported.

Secure footing and a powerful parking brake

When buying a pushchair, consumers should make sure that the chosen model has a safe, stable stand so that it does not tip over too easily. They can test the stability by shaking the frame and the carrycot or carrycot a little. You should also try out the parking brake to test its strength. A locked pram must not roll away in the park or on the bus or train.

Safety belt, quality seal and road safety

To ensure that the child sits safely in the pushchair or buggy and cannot fall or slip out, the pushchair should be equipped with a harness system and a sturdy safety bar. A well-padded 5-point harness secures the child sufficiently without cutting in uncomfortably.

In addition, it is important that the pram is clearly visible in the dark. Some models are equipped with reflectors and lights for this purpose. However, users can buy both of these at a later date if they wish to equip the pram with them.

child in the pram
A well-padded 5-point harness keeps your offspring safe in the pram.

Different harness systems

There are basically two different harness systems for prams and child seats. With the so-called 3-point safety belt, also known as the harness belt, the belt runs over both shoulders and is fastened between the child’s legs. The 5-point belt additionally secures the child on both sides. This prevents the child from slipping out of the pram sideways and increases safety.

The GS (“Tested Safety”) and TÜV (Technical Inspection Agency) seals of approval provide guidance on the safety of prams. They are awarded by independent institutes that subject the prams to thorough tests beforehand. To receive the TÜV seal, a pram must, for example, prove the parking brakes as well as the strength and stability of its fastening devices and locks. In addition, the TÜV ensures that the pram awarded the seal complies with EN 1888, the European standard for prams.

Checklist for a safe pram
  • Good suspension
  • Secure stand
  • Strong parking brake
  • Padded 5-point harness (in the case of a buggy or pushchair)
  • Safety bar (in the case of a buggy or pushchair)
  • TÜV or GS seal
  • Reflectors and lights

Size and weight

Ideally, the pram should be as stable and robust as possible and at the same time light, compact and manoeuvrable. Especially parents who often have to transport the pram up and down stairs, for example because their home is higher up in a house without a lift, should pay attention to a low weight. Usually, models with an aluminium frame weigh little. A low weight is also an advantage for frequent train, bus or car journeys.

folded pram

If you want to stow the pram in the boot of your car, you must also pay attention to the folding dimensions of the frame. The size when unfolded can also be important if, for example, the stroller is parked in a narrow hallway. It is also easier to travel by public transport with a compact pushchair. Basically, buggies are more compact than first and combination prams. Large combination prams are, for example, 66 centimetres wide, 110 centimetres long and 110 centimetres high when unfolded. In contrast, an example of a compact combination pram is 39 centimetres wide, 65 centimetres long and 85 centimetres high.

The seat or lying surface

If you choose a combination pram, you have a choice between a hard carrycot and a soft carrycot as far as the lie-flat seat is concerned. The carrycot is very stable, provides optimum support for the baby’s back and is very comfortable to lie in. It also provides good protection against rising cold. However, it is heavy and unwieldy compared to the carrycot. If you plan to take the carrycot off the frame more often, for example to carry the baby around the house in it, you would be better off with a lighter soft carrycot. Another practical feature is that soft carrycots can be converted into footmuffs later, when the child has reached sitting age and is riding in a buggy.

Using the baby car seat as a pram attachment

Some combination prams make it possible to use the infant carrier, which is used as a child seat in the car when the child is an infant, as a pram attachment with suitable adapters. Users should note, however, that this option is only suitable for short journeys. For longer periods of time, the curved posture that the infant assumes in the infant carrier damages its still weak spine.

With the seat unit of the buggy, jogger or pushchair, consumers should make sure that the backrest is adjustable so that the child can also adopt a healthy sleeping position. In addition, the seat unit should be equipped with stable footrests and a 5-point harness. Ideally, the reclining and seating units of a pushchair should be as easy to replace as possible.

The tyres

The tyres of the pushchair play a very important role. Their optimal number, size and type depend on how smooth the surface is on which the parents mainly use the pushchair.

Three or four wheels?

Classic pushchairs run stably on four wheels. Sporty joggers, on the other hand, have only one front wheel and are thus somewhat more manoeuvrable. However, they can also tip over more easily.

Prams with swivelling wheels are generally more manoeuvrable. The front wheels can turn 360 degrees around their own axis and thus allow the person pushing the pram to easily manoeuvre around any obstacle instead of having to laboriously lift the pram for every change of direction. Swivelling front wheels are ther