When you need to get around with two little ones—whether twins or siblings a couple of years apart—having a double stroller is the way to go, but you might be wondering which to choose. More than just brands, you need to consider if you would like a tandem stroller or a side-by-side stroller.
What is the difference between the two? Is one better than the other? What needs to be considered when making the choice? Let’s discuss this below.
Types of Strollers
First, let’s go over the meaning of each. A side-by-side stroller, as the name suggests, sits the two children beside one another. A tandem stroller will put one behind the other so that one has the front seat and the other occupies the rear. Each one has its own advantages and disadvantages.
As is usually the case, the right choice for you will come down to what you expect and desire from your stroller, with different types of stroller suited to various situations.
Regular double strollers
Regular double strollers are suitable for general use and everyday tasks. They are useful for getting around town, visiting the park, or doing some shopping. These strollers typically have a good-sized basket, and may include other pouches for baby essentials and your own items.
Umbrella double strollers
Umbrella double strollers are made for those who want to travel light. They are made to fold up and be easily carried. They are easy to store and should fit in your car’s trunk with room to spare.
Double jogging strollers
Double jogging strollers are your children’s off-road vehicle, built to handle rough terrain, which includes not only rough surfaces, but also sandy or snowy ones. They have superior suspension and the front wheels can swivel or be locked in place for greater stability.
Double sit-and-stand strollers
Double sit-and-stand strollers are great if one of your children is a few years older than the other. Your older child can sit normally, or they can use a standing area to stand while riding.
As you can see, strollers can meet different requirements, as needed. Once you know the type of stroller you need, how does side-by-side compare to tandem?
Tandem strollers will typically be the same width as a standard stroller. This makes them easy to navigate in tighter spaces, such as passing through doorways or rolling down narrow passages.
This might be something to consider if you plan on using it to shop for groceries or to visit your local library.
A side-by-side stroller will by necessity be much wider than the tandem. This might make it difficult for you when entering or exiting buildings and rooms. If you plan on primarily using it for strolls on wide sidewalks or in parks, this will probably not be much of an issue for you.
Tandem Strollers vs Side-by-Side Strollers
Clearly, both types of stroller will have areas in which they excel. Here are some more points to consider.
Tandem Stroller Pros
- Certain models can accommodate child car seats in the front and back
- Easy-to-navigate width, fits in narrow spaces
- Some will offer a higher back seat, giving the child in the rear a better view
- Often come with snack trays, underseat storage, canopies, and extra storage for keys, cell phones, etc.
- Can be used as a single or double stroller
- Multiple seating configurations
Tandem Seat Cons
- Due to their length, it is harder to access the child in front while pushing the stroller
- Some models do not have a fully reclinable rear seat and are thus not suitable for a newborn unless you purchase a model that accepts an infant car seat
- Limited leg room in the rear seat
- Requires the separate purchase of the second seat
- Perfect for twins. Designed to hold children of the same age, they work best when the children are of similar weights.
- Better access to both children, as both will be close to you when pushing
- Good manoeuvrability with one hand
- No arguments about who gets to sit in front
- Seats recline flat
- Higher weight capacity per seat
- Not ideal for tight spaces or crowded locations
- If your children tend to argue or otherwise provoke one another, can be a trying experience to have them in tight proximity
- Limited range of compatible infant car seats
- Takes up more space in the trunk or in storage
- Smaller underseat basket
Depending on the model, you may find other advantages. For example, the Bugaboo Donkey2 allows you to adjust the seats so that one child faces forward and the other faces the rear.
Ultimately, the needs of you and your children will dictate which type of stroller is ideal, but either can get you where you need to go in safety and comfort.
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