With hundreds (thousands?) of strollers on the market, the choices can seem overwhelming. Check out our Bugaboo stroller reviews to find out which model is right for you (spoiler: they’re all pretty fab)
In my capacity as the editor of Sassy Mama, the #1 question I get asked is “Which stroller should I buy?” While I definitely have my opinions, I can’t help but laugh because, like most mamas, I’ve only owned a couple myself (one of which was a hand-me-down). I mean, I did plenty of research and review reading, and I tried some out in the store when I went to make the big purchase, but it’s hard to truly know a stroller if you don’t live with it.
Strollers are such an integral part of life with a baby, but finding the stroller that’s right for you is highly personal and specific. As we pointed out in our roundup of Top 10 Strollers in Singapore, there are a number of key questions to consider before making your purchase:
Will you be using your stroller a lot on public transport? Make sure you’ve got something that folds up easily on the bus. Will you frequently be carrying it up stairs? Better get something lightweight. Do you plan to take it out in the neighbourhood while running errands? Look for something with a large basket underneath. Do you anticipate having more kids…soon? Consider strollers that accommodate babies and toddlers together.
If you couldn’t already tell, mama, I’m a huge geek about research, and with good reason: our stroller gets more use than the car, it’s a truly major investment! So, you can imagine how excited I was when iconic stroller company Bugaboo offered to let me (and my baby) try out each of their four stroller models to write up an honest review. It was the test drive I never got to take when I was pregnant, only this time I’ve got 18 months of experience under my belt so I had a much better sense of my likes and dislikes. For two weeks, I got to live with Bugaboos: taking the dog for a walk in the mornings, strolling to the playground, visiting the grocery store, even popping them into the trunk of the car.
Bugaboo is a worldwide trendsetter when it comes to strollers. A Dutch company launched by a designer and a physician in 1999, it made strollers cool, and a true status symbols among hip, urban parents (Bugaboo was the only stroller brand I could have named when I left NYC as a childless 20-something). Today celebrity glossies actually track which strollers celebrities favour, and not surprisingly Bugaboo still ranks right up there, for it combines fashion (over 100 different patterns and colour combinations available, including collaborations with the likes of Marc Jacobs, Missoni, Diesel and many others) with functionality to create unrivaled quality.
All that said, I definitely preferred some models to others, which of course reflects my own personal needs and preferences, but I can say with certainty that these are high-quality strollers across the board that I think would satisfy the needs of any mama in Singapore. Quality doesn’t come cheap – Bugaboo definitely falls into the “premium” stroller category, with prices starting around $1199 for the Bee3 – but these strollers are built to last for years and offer extraordinary value for money.
So which Bugaboo is right for you? Read on for my take!
The four models Maggie and I reviewed were the Bugaboo Buffalo, Bee3, Cameleon3 and Donkey (since the Donkey actually converts into a double stroller, I also had my neighbour Kelly, who has a 3-year-old and a 4-month-old, try it out for her perspective).
Every Bugaboo model is car-seat compatible (with Maxi Cosi and Britax), comes with a reclinable and reversible seat; extendable canopy with UPF protection (all machine washable); has a 5-point harness with one button release; and includes a high adjustable handlebar, but each stroller also has its own unique selling points and features.
Tagline: “The All-Terrain Stroller”
Key features: Rugged and robust, suitable to carry up to 23kg of load; One-piece fold; Huge basket and can carry up to 16kg of luggage (including built-in handle hooks); Suitable from birth with bassinet included; Seat is high and spacious.
What I liked:
The Buffalo has a super smooth ride that makes it a genuine pleasure to push (it’s got 10-inch swivel wheels in front and robust 12-inch, foam-filled tires in the back).
Let’s be honest, in Singapore you can only get so all-terrain, but I pushed it over grass and up little rocky slopes with ease, and found it easily maneuverable around our Joo Chiat neighbourhood’s bumpy and cracked sidewalks.
As you can see I multi-tasked by also walking the dog, and at the times where I needed to steer with only one hand, it was a snap. I also like the handy footbrake.
Maggie adored the Buffalo’s high seat and sleek 5-point harness; she tried to climb up and in the moment she saw the stroller, and threw an absolute fit each time I tried to take her out. It’s plushly padded, and reclines from seated all the way back to lie-flat (which came in handy when she got tired).
I was also a big fan of the capacious 9.2 gallon basket (one of the biggest on the market), which made our grocery run a breeze. I’m admittedly kind of a packrat – I might throw in the diaper bag, some toys, an umbrella, and a baby carrier – and the Buffalo totally stood up to the test. I also loved the built-in hooks on the side of the handlebars, perfect for holding small bags (in my case, my morning teh halia!).
What I didn’t like:
Very little. Of the four strollers I tested, the Buffalo was hands down my favourite and the one I would buy for our family! At 12.3kg it’s definitely on the heavy side, but I personally like the solid feeling that brings (it’s like the SUV of strollers!). I didn’t find the “one-piece fold” process particularly easy or intuitive (unlike other strollers that you can fold up in one swift motion, this one requires a couple steps), but I also don’t fold up my stroller too often so it wasn’t much of an issue (not to mention stroller folding just takes practice, in my experience). I do like that the stroller can stand up on its own when folded, and the “2-piece fold” is great for storage or packing.
Overall: Like the Cadillac (Escalade?) of strollers with a super smooth, stable ride, lots of storage, and a ruggedness that’ll stand up to whatever your toddler can throw at it.
Tagline: “The Urban Stroller”
Key features: Lightweight (8.7kg) and compact; Unique seat grows with your child; One-piece compact fold makes it easy to collapse, carry and store; Extendable sun canopy with UPF protection; Available in 64 different colour combinations!
What I liked:
Marketed as the ultimate stroller for hip urban parents on the go, the Bee3 lives up to its name with a zippy ride and a seriously enviable amount of colours and styles that make it fun to customise to any personality. I love the distinctive curved frame that almost mimics cute little toddler legs! It has a slender (53cm), minimalist silhouette that was super easy to navigate around the ‘hood, and is designed for one-hand handling (which I can attest to – quite convenient when walking a dog!). It’s also got 6-inch swivel wheels in front and 6-inch rear wheels – all with independent suspension – along with durable foam filled rubber tyres that make the stroller highly maneuverable.
The Bee has a decent sized basket underneath (though notably smaller than the more robust Buffalo) – it held my purse, some toys and an umbrella, but wasn’t quite up to the task of groceries (unless I hung some bags off the handlebars).
Despite being a lightweight stroller more akin to the umbrella class, the Bee’s seat is nicely padded. Maggie went for some fairly long walks in it and always seemed quite comfortable. I like that both the seat and the backrest are extendable. Speaking of, I also liked the fully extendable sun canopy, and OMG how cool are all the customisable fabric options?!
Besides its slender profile and maneuverability, what I liked best about the Bee3 was its easy folding and unfolding. Just click the handles and BOOM! It’s lying flat in a way that’s simple to throw into the back of a taxi. Unfolding is even easier, as it pops out into place with a simple push of the footbrake (once again, I’m a big footbrake fan). In comparison to the other Bugaboo strollers, I found this folding mechanism to be very straightforward and it didn’t even require practice!
What I didn’t like:
Bugaboo Bee3 is obviously built to be lightweight, compact and zippy, but for my taste it was maybe a little too much of those things. I personally preferred the larger comfort models (Buffalo, Cameleon3 and Donky) as their larger wheels made them feel smoother and more stable when pushing the stroller on and off sidewalk curbs. As aforementioned, the undercarriage is on the smaller side (5.8 gallons compared to the Buffalo’s 9.2), though still useful.
All that being said, the Bee3 is massively popular in Singapore for both its compact size and compatibility with both bassinets and car seats to create a single strolling solution from birth to toddlerhood (a number of my Sassy Mama colleagues have it, in fact!), so I think my reaction is more personal preference than anything. It felt a lot sturdier (and more stylish) than any other lightweight or umbrella stroller that I’ve tried out.
Overall: Lightweight, stylish and lives up to the hype as the perfect stroller for families on the go with easy foldability.
Tagline: “The Iconic Stroller”
Key features: Suitable from newborn to toddler with bassinet included; Multi-terrain ability with multiple wheel configurations; Adjustable suspension for a very smooth ride; Multiple colour and fabric options.
What I liked:
The original Bugaboo introduced in 1999, the Cameleon has that unmistakably sleek frame and cool seat silhouette that’s been oft copied over the past 15 years. Looking at the high, simple seat and the poppy colour palette, you just can’t help but want to use it, you know?
Although it looks fairly similar to the Buffalo, it’s notably lighter (9.6kg to the Buffalo’s 12.3) and a bit slimmer (23.2 inches wide vs. the Buffalo’s 24 inches). It’s also lighter weight than many of its competitors in the “comfort stroller” category. Super versatile and functional, the Cameleon3’s got all sorts of wheel configurations along with an adjustable suspension adaptable to toddler or baby weight. You can even put it on two wheels to pull through sand or snow – I didn’t give this feature a try, but it seems like it would come in quite handy on Sentosa or at East Coat Park!
Like the Buffalo, the Cameleon3 offers a smooth ride that basically allows it to glide, rather than roll – it’s a total pleasure to push. Like the Bee3, it’s got lots of customisable colour options, and is available in a number of cool special editions.
The Cameleon3 is not only super-functional, but it truly takes you from newborn through toddlerhood with an included bassinet (same as the Buffalo and Donkey), which is rare among strollers. I think this is a huge boost to its value.
What I didn’t like:
The thing I liked least about the Cameleon was its 2-step folding process, which I found cumbersome – it would be tricky riding on the bus, for instance. You need to remove the seat completely, but then you just sort of set it on top of the frame (I’d love it if at least clicked back into place). On the other hand, it does function as a standalone seat on its own, which can be quite convenient in the early months if you need a place to safely set bubs down while you do chores or perhaps take a shower.
I also didn’t like the Cameleon’s handbrake (in comparison to the footbrake on the Bee and Buffalo), but that’s just a matter or personal preference. Finally, I had a difficult time trying to set up the bassinet based on the video instructions; although I’ve found relatively few complaints about this online so it might just be me! I think it’s fab that it comes included in the package (and folds up quite compactly once bubs is ready for the full seat), but wish setup had been just a bit more intuitive.
Overall: A super versatile, stylish and high-quality stroller that’s worth the investment as you can use it from day 1 on any terrain. Best for those who won’t need to fold and unfold too often.
Tagline: “The Convertible Stroller”
Key features: Suitable for 1 child, 2 children, or twins; Up to 12.2 gallons of storage; One-piece, self-standing fold; Suitable from birth with bassinet included; Easy 3-click transformation process.
What I liked:
If you’ve got two kids – or twins – this is an absolutely fabulous stroller. It’s hard to make a double stroller look (and feel) sleek, yet somehow they pull it off. When it’s in “Mono” formation (a single seat or bassinet alongside a basket), the Donkey is actually narrower than the Buffalo (at just 23.6 inches to the Buffalo’s 24). Even in the “Duo” formation it’s a manageable 33.1 inches across – my neighbor Kelly reported that it was surprisingly easy navigating around Joo Chiat.
The Donkey has 10- and 12-inch, air-filled rubber tyres (same as a car) that are designed to handle a weight imbalance, ideal for transporting two children of different sizes. The wheels are the same size as those on the Bugaboo Buffalo, so the ride is super smooth and you always feel secure and sturdy (important when you’re pushing double the precious cargo!).
The Mono set-up also allows for massive storage space – 12.2 gallons’ worth split between the 7.4 gallon under basket and the handy 4.8 gallon basket that pops in next to the seat or bassinet. This is great if you’re running errands with your newborn, or picking your toddler up from school with lots of gear.
The Donkey offers an amazing 17 different configuration options, allowing for the ultimate in flexibility (flexibility is so key when you’ve got two little ones underfoot, am I right mama?!). I was really impressed by the easy 3-click process to change between Mono and Duo width; and found it surprisingly simple to fold and stand up on its own as well.
What I didn’t like:
I didn’t mind the Donkey’s side-by-side width, but some double strollers on the market take a narrower stacked approach, which some mamas might prefer (I love that with the more egalitarian Donkey both kids get plenty of space and light, however). Kelly backed this up, saying, “While big, the stroller was surprisingly light to push and really easy to maneuver. It was great that it could make it through the narrow sidewalks of Joo Chiat!”
Overall: A stylish, versatile double stroller that ticks all the boxes for parents of multiples. It’s on the larger side, but handles like a sports car (with the storage space of a station wagon)!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the course of reviewing multiple strollers, it’s that there might not be such a thing as the perfect stroller, but with Bugaboo’s high-quality materials and customising options, you can get pretty close to creating the stroller that’s perfect for you. Bugaboo has a seriously impressive range of accessories that let you customise not only by colour preference, but by seasonality and travel needs as well. From a cosy Cocoon to keep newborns warm, to a Wheeled Board that lets bigger kids come along for the ride, to a snack tray to keep toddler hunger pangs at bay, they seem to have thought of everything.
So which Bugaboo is right for you? To find out more visit www.bugaboo.com, or check them out at your nearest retail store. A huge thanks to Gunilla of Sugarlight Photography for shooting each and every Bugaboo!