When a second child comes along you expect that you may need to upgrade your pram. What you may not expect is that there are up to five different stroller design categories that can accommodate two children!
Where to start?
Of the five, only two are mostly suitable for everyday use; a double pram and a sit & stand. To add further layers, there are two different seat configurations for a double stroller.
In this article, we conduct a detailed performance comparison (with scoring) of both styles of double stroller vs the sit & stand. This will help you untangle this web of options and understand what is most suited to your needs.
A big part of your decision will be determined by the age gap between your kids. Even if one is too old for a pram seat you will still have options:
- Buy a Sit and Stand Pram: If you have an older child that is capable (and willing!) of standing on the rear platform and won’t mind the bench seat.
- Buy a Double Pram: If you have children that are closer together in age and will require comfortable and safe seating at the same time.
Pram Design Category Definitions
The two configurations of a double stroller that are most suitable for everyday use are below:
- Side by side: Stroller frame is two seats wide and both have the same view. Usually an inflexible configuration.
- Tandem: Stroller frame is a single seat wide with one sitting behind the other. Most designs allow you to change some elements of the seating configuration (forward or rear-facing, and height adjustments).
For the sake of this article, we have excluded the specialised designs that are more for specific lifestyle needs; jogger strollers and all-terrain strollers.
These are less practical for everyday use so we will just focus on the side-by-side and tandem designs.
Sit and Stand
A Sit & Stand pram is a unique design with less variation between different brands and models.
You can replicate the functionality of a sit & stand stroller through the use of a stroller board. But we will put this aside for the sake of the comparison and only look at the truer version of this stroller design.
Double Stroller Vs Sit And Stand
We have scored each style of pram on 7 performance elements. Most of these are based on manufacturer specifications and are less subjective.
However, your interpretation of what is better may not match our scoring system. We encourage you to grab a pen and do your own score sheet as we run through each performance element.
You will achieve the most practical outcome you will need to match up the criteria with your own preferences.
All double stroller configurations will have two seats. It is the positioning of those seats that change based on the style you go for.
If you need two full seats with safety belts and other accessories, then any type of double stroller will meet that need.
A sit-and-stand stroller does usually have a second seat, but it is a small bench at the rear. This does include a safety harness but will not be a comfy ride for longer trips.
It is more to take the pressure off tired legs when your child gets sick of standing.
So on this measure, the double stroller design wins.
A side-by-side pram design is fixed. There is nowhere to move the seats or change the direction they are facing.
The tandem double stroller will often have multiple ways of configuration. Premium models will often allow you to change the direction a seat is facing, the height of the seats, and the distance between them in some cases.
A sit and stand stroller is fairly one-dimensional on this measure:
- Side by Side: Inflexible
- Tandem: Flexible seat direction and height
- Sit and Stand: Inflexible
This is an important point of difference for the tandem double pram.
There will be a range for each stroller design depending on the brand and model you select.
This is a useful comparison with the variation in width between different brands and models only minor and unlikely to change the order of slimmest to widest.
- Side by Side: 75cm (Valco Baby Snap Duo)
- Tandem: 60cm (Babybee Duo)
- Sit and Stand: 55cm (Baby Trend Sit n Stand Ultra Stroller)
Recline of Pram Seat
A side-by-side pram has an advantage on this measure. The seat can recline backward without encroaching on the space of another seat.
Compared to a tandem stroller where excess recline would need to be matched by the seat behind so that a child isn’t crowded in the seat.
While this will not usually impact the rear child’s comfort to any great degree, it remains a limitation compared to a side-by-side stroller.
A similar point can be made on the sit & stand design. Any extra recline could impact the child standing on the rear or make it difficult to sit on the rear bench.
Again the side-by-side double pram has an advantage due to the larger frame. The undercarriage area can accommodate a wider basket than the narrower tandem and sit & stand designs.
However, wider does not always equate to more storage space. So if this is important then you should also check the depth of the basket prior to buying your pram.
There is one huge differentiator between each pram design that sees one take up much less space when not in use. The sit and stand only has one seat as standard and will always fold up small and neater as a result.
A tandem stroller may have removable seats that at least give you flexibility when packing it away. Whereas a side-by-side will be a bulkier proposition no matter what you do.
- Side by Side: Unavoidably large frame
- Tandem: May require seat removal when collapsing
- Sit and Stand: Easy to collapse and no extra seat to store
There will be a huge variation in price depending on the quality you go for. The price of some premium strollers can make your eyes water!
For the sake of comparison we have looked at the middle of the market and our research showed that double strollers have lower minimums and higher highs. So you can choose for a lower priced stroller that still performs well in that category.
This does not include the cheap strollers that you will find in the big box stores like K-mart or target (although these may be perfectly fine for what you need).
As a general guide, you can expect to pay between the following prices:
- Double Stroller: $200 – $1,800
- Sit and stand: $250 – $500
Why Buy A Double Stroller
The simplest answer is that moving two children of similar ages is far easier with a double stroller. Some may argue that it is impossible without one!!
Two seats are a necessity so that any one parent can have freedom of movement when looking after two kids.
The design variation you choose will largely depend on:
- Side by side: Both kids need to be ready to face outwards, it also helps if you have a wide front door!
- Tandem: If you have a young child who will benefit from facing you while walking in the stroller.
If you are interested in learning more about brands and designs then check out our list of the best double strollers on the market here.
Why Buy A Sit And Stand Stroller
A sit-and-stand pram works best when you have an older toddler who you can barely get to sit still anyway. They will enjoy the chance to stand and ride the pram.
You still have a regular stroller seat at the front for a younger child and have the flexibility of using it as a single stroller without an unnecessarily bulky frame.
This is also an advantage if you live in a smaller space, or have a smaller car boot, and need something more compact for storage.
If you opt for a mid-priced or premium stroller brand then both designs offer a great experience when trying to move two kids around.
Whether a double pram or sit-and-stand stroller is most suitable for you will depend on personal preference, age gap of your children, and the storage space you have in your car or home.