When I first registered for baby gear, which was almost 8 years ago, I didn't really do much research. I simply went to the big box baby store, and spent an hour or so with that little scanner thing, and clicked away at whatever caught my eye. Looking back, that was a huge mistake. My lack of research has plagued me so badly that I either hate all the original gear I have, or we've long gotten rid of it ages ago, as our family has grown and multiplied.
Next to the crib, the stroller and car seat is probably one of the most spendy items that needs to be purchased. Over the course of the past 8 years, I've learned a ton regarding strollers, and the one thing I've taken with me is that what works for my family today, might not work for my family in the future. And that's OK.
When it comes to making the purchase, I've always kept these few simple guidelines in the back of my head, to streamline and simplify my decision.
LIFESTYLE - Currently, I have 3 kids who want to all ride in a stroller, ranging from ages 4 years - newborn. I use my stroller primarily for trips to the mall, doctors appointments, and walking to the park. I don't jog with my stroller, and the time spent in the stroller is typically pretty short lived. My strollers have always been pretty much "all purpose" stroller. A jack of all trades kind of ride.
BUDGET - These days, you can find a stroller in almost any price range. I have friends who have umbrella strollers they found for around $25, and friends who have spent upwards of $800 (yikes!) Personally, I've owned 5 different strollers, ranging from around $150 - $500. For me, when the stroller no longer fit our lifestyle, I've simply sold it via garage sale, Craigslist, or even Ebay. I take the money I make from selling the unwanted stroller, and apply it to the next model.
SIZE/WEIGHT - The size and weight of the stroller has always been really important to me. I've always wanted a stroller that doesn't take up too much room in the back of my car, and also doesn't weigh a ton.
Honestly, I've learned that the best thing to do before buying a stroller (or anything baby related, really) is do hands-on research. Test drive the strollers on your short list, and ask opinions of the friends and family members you trust. And then, there's always the internet. What did our mothers do without the internet? I shudder to think...
And since you're probably wondering what I'm strolling around in these days, it's an older version (circa 2009ish) of the Pilko Four, by Peg Perego (link: http://us.pegperego.com/babyproducts-catalog/2012/Pliko+Four) that I've indefinitely borrowed from a good friend. I love it because it's compact and collapses down small, it doesn't weigh a ton, and has a built-in rear footboard for my two year old to stand on while I push his new brother.
How about you? What are you pushing baby around in these days?