Double Strollers for Twins

How to Choose a Double Stroller or Twin Stroller

How do you choose a double stroller for your twins?
Schwinn Turismo Swivel Double Jogger double stroller for twins.

Many families put as much thought into choosing a double stroller as they do into selecting the make and model of a new car! And for good reason. When you have multiples, a stroller is a crucial piece of equipment. Your mobility depends on it. Without one -- or with the wrong one -- moving babies from place to place can be a logistics nightmare. The right double stroller makes for happy babies and happy parents.

There is no one perfect double stroller. If there was, every family with twins would own it. Different families have different needs; some stroller models meet particular needs better than others.

Types of Double Strollers

Double strollers for two babies come in two basic configurations: tandem double strollers (or front/back) where the seats are arranged in a line with one behind the other. In the other model, usually called "side-by-side" double strollers, the children sit next to each other, facing the same direction from the same linear position. There are advantages and disadvantages to both styles, and most parents have a strong preference for one or the other.

Opinions from Other Mothers

  • "I am a mother of 11-month-old fraternal twin girls. I have always preferred the side-by-side strollers for a number of reasons. (1) Both seats recline all the way down. In tandem strollers, the front seat doesn't usually recline all the way; (2) both kids have the same view on the world; and (3) they are easier to maneuver around corners and are much more stable." -- Marina, mom of Sarah and Rachel
  • "We started using our side by side and it is such a pain. Yes, it folds small and is fairly light but it won't fit through a single door at our church -- we always have to open two. Sometimes in stores, you have to "go around." -- Lana, mom of 14-month-old girls, Grace and Anna
  • "Before my girls were born, we bought a tandem stroller, thinking it was less "twinny" and more versatile. But it was absolutely useless. From a very early age, the baby in the back seat was miserable and would cry and kick the back of the front seat, thereby making the other baby miserable too. Miserable babies make for a miserable mommy! I ended up having to sell that tandem and buy another new stroller -- a side-by-side -- which served us well until my daughters outgrew the need for a stroller." -- Pam, mom of six-year-old girls
  • "I recommend a tandem stroller, and especially with the new tandems that take two infant car seats (travel system double stroller). I think a side-by-side would be too hard to maneuver in certain places, like stores with crowded aisles. I guess it really depends on where you plan on using your stroller. Some people say their twins fight over who gets to sit in the front with a tandem -- my boys are almost 2 and never fight over that." -- Cathy, mom of James and Robert

Take a Test Run

When shopping, go for a test run. Try out models in both styles to evaluate which feels most comfortable. Some families realize the need for both styles. Talk to other parents about their experience with different models; your local multiples club or my Facebook page are both great resource for this kind of information.

How Will You Use Your Double Stroller?

By far, the most important consideration when selecting a stroller is your personal usage patterns. Think long and hard about how you will actually use this equipment. Put aside dreamy notions of leisurely strolls with your cooing infants and focus on the reality of your family life.

  • How often will you use it? daily? weekly? infrequently?
  • Where will you use it? Indoors -- at the mall or grocery store? Outdoors -- for jogging or hiking? In city streets or office buildings?
  • How will you transport your babies to the pediatrician? Daycare? Post office? Will you use your stroller while exercising? Do you travel often? Will you need to store it in your automobile or do you rely on public transportation? Do you frequent buildings with a lot of stairs, elevators or escalators?

Teresa, whose twins are now toddlers, offers this advice. "I would advise all parents to look into their shopping habits and lifestyle very closely before making this decision. My husband is in the military and we were stationed overseas for the first 10 1/2 months of our boys' lives. Unfortunately, when we were sent to that location, the only vehicle that we brought was my husband's truck. It was a small truck with enough room to squeeze in ONE car seat. Our mode of travel was by foot." With that in mind, she selected a side-by-side model with reclining seats that would offer comfort along with easy maneuverability.

Evaluating your potential usage patterns will help you shape your decision about what kind of stroller to buy. Once you get an idea in your mind about how you'll use the stroller, consider these other factors.

Other Characteristics of Double Strollers

  • Weight: Strollers constructed of metal are more stable and durable. However, metal strollers weigh much more than their plastic counterparts and are usually more expensive. Heavier strollers are sturdier, last longer and can carry heavier -- and thus older -- children. But they can also be so troublesome to maneuver and set up, that they aren't always worth the investment.
  • Size: How big is the stroller when folded up? Will it fit in your vehicle? How big is it when unfolded? Will it fit on sidewalks, through doorways, down store aisles? Cindy, a mom of twins, says" I have a tandem stroller and I hate it! It is way too big. It doesn't fit in our midsize car's trunk and it barely fits in the minivan. I can't put it in the back of the minivan because it's too big. I have to squeeze it in after I get all the kids inside and quickly shut the door."
  • Accessories for Double Strollers: Baskets, bumpers, storage, canopies, hand rails, bag clips, drink holders, snack trays: Some of these options are necessary, some are nice to have, but others are just frivolous features. Let accessories be the deciding factor only if you're torn between two comparable models. Lana, a mom of 14-month-old girls, comments, "All the features that you thought would be really useful for infants are just in the way with toddlers. Reclining seats for toddlers -- I'm still laughing about how I thought that would be really important. My children will fall asleep sitting up long before they would lay down in the stroller."

    Seat Adjustments on Double Strollers

    If your babies will be sleeping frequently in the stroller, they may be more comfortable in a seat that reclines. Some stroller seats recline completely flat, while others only allow for a slight angle. This is a common complaint about many tandem strollers. Says Teresa, a mom of fraternal boys, "I purchased a tandem stroller when the boys were a year old. Unfortunately, both seats do not go into a full recline position.

    The toddler in front is always drooping his head while he sleeps."

    Some side-by-side models have independently reclining seats, however, others require that both babies sit at the same incline.

    All-Terrain Options

    If you will be doing a lot of outdoor strolling, look for safety features like oversized wheels, all-terrain tires, deep seats, locking brakes and a safety wrist strap. Special strollers, with a large wheelbase designed for jogging, running, or athletic walking, are available in twin and triplet seating configurations.


    How well a stroller maneuvers is certainly subject to personal opinion. However, there are some basic features that will make any stroller easier to push and turn. Look for swivel wheels (best for indoor use), ergonomic handles that are at a comfortable level for your height, and a stable wheel base that prevents the stroller from tipping as you turn corners.

    The best way to determine whether a stroller will operate comfortably is to physically push it around and test it out. The value of doing so can not be underestimated. Just as you wouldn't buy a car without a test drive, you shouldn't expect to find the perfect stroller without one. Even if you can get a good deal by buying online or through mail order, find a local dealer and try out different models.

    Infant Seats

    An inventive advancement in the baby equipment market are the all-in-one transportation systems that incorporate car seats and baby carriers with a stroller design. These are often known as Travel System Strollers. As this concept was extended to double stroller models, it is a very useful for parents of multiples. Keep in mind the limitations, however. While it is convenient to be able to transport babies from car to stroller without removing them from their carrier, the lifespan of the stroller extends far beyond the lifespan of the carriers. Make sure you're not investing a lot of money in a product that will only serve your needs during infancy. And buyer beware: not all models accommodate TWO car seats (many are designed for a single baby plus an older child) and be certain that your stroller choice is a match for your brand of seats. 

    Cost of Double Strollers for Twins

    Some strollers for multiples can cost upwards of $500. Most range from $100 - $300. Cost is certainly an important factor.

    Carefully consider how much you want to spend. A stroller is definitely a vital piece of equipment during your babies' early years, but its lifespan is limited to a few years at most.

    Your transportation needs will shift somewhat as your children grow from infancy to toddlerhood, and you may not want to invest a lot of money in a product that won't serve your needs over the years. An experienced mom advises, "It is very hard to visualize and plan for the obsolescence of baby things. It just happens so quickly. You are thinking, 'We can use this stroller for years,' and the reality is that most people barely get the seat cover dirty when their children are walking and refuse to ride." Consider buying two -- or more -- less expensive models that serve different needs, for example, an all-terrain jogger for walks to the park and a lightweight umbrella stroller to keep in the car for errands.

    Used strollers are always a hot commodity. Consult your local multiples club to find great deals on used equipment. Don't compromise just to get a good price, however; strollers receive a lot of wear and tear. Make sure all latches, hinges, brakes, belts and other safety features are intact and that any wear won't affect the operation of the stroller. Check to ensure that the stroller model is not subject to a recall due to being unsafe. 

    Although you'll find plenty of eager buyers, don't expect to resell an expensive stroller and recoup your initial investment. Used strollers usually go for about one-third of their original price.

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