The Best Double Strollers for Every Budget -- Reviewed by Experts and Moms. Which One Should You Buy?

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Kate Bayless on Nov 16, 2010 at 1:07PM

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Valco Tri-Mode EX Twin

Valco

a Kate Bayless on Nov 10, 2010 at 2:42PM

GREAT FOR A GROWING FAMILY
Expert Rating:

Stroller Stats
Weight capacity:
90 lbs.
Stroller weight: 33 lbs.
Dimensions:
    Assembled - 28” x 37” x 30” to 41.5” (depending on handlebar height)
    Folded - 28” x 29” x 18”
Type: side-by-side, full-sized stroller
Car seat: Can accommodate one infant seat with optional car seat adaptor
Price: $700; includes a rain cover, head hugger, front bumper bar, locking straps and a tire pump

Get It Now: Diapers.com

Expert Review:
The Tri-Mode EX Twin from Valco has three wheel settings: locked for light jogging, full swivel for easy maneuvering and a 45 degree swivel position when the toddler seat is attached. Though technically a double stroller, the Tri-Mode EX Twin can hold up to four kids with the optional Joey Toddler seat, which attaches in the front of the two main seats, and the Hitch Hiker board, which allows an older child to stand on the back of the stroller. Storage is another outstanding feature. There’s a good-sized underseat basket (though a bar bisects the back entrance, making it easy to fit two gallons of milk but trickier to squeeze in a large diaper bag), two storage pouches on either exterior side of the underseat basket, mesh pockets on the back of each seat as well as an Airgo bag on the back of each canopy. These Airgo bags zip on to the back of the canopy and can be removed and hung from the handlebars or carried with you when you need to leave the stroller behind (like at an amusement park). When the Airgo packs are removed, they reveal a mesh panel on the back of the stroller that increases air flow. Seats are well padded and include a removable infant head pillow, can recline to flat with one hand, and include a 5-point harness with a two-step release system to thwart escape-artists-in-training. Canopies are large and get even larger with a zippered middle section that provides excellent coverage even when the seat fully reclined. Smooth maneuvering makes up for a less-than-compact fold, though the folded stroller is both free-standing and can be rolled along behind you.

Why we love it:
Lots of storage; detachable bags; excellent canopies, one-handed seat recline; durable footplate; ability to hold up to four kids.

What we wish it had: Better design of underseat storage; in-seat storage for kids; more compact fold.

Great for: Sidewalks; can handle compacted dirt trails, but better on smooth surfaces; long rides; families with multiple young kids; parents who travel with lots of stuff.

Bottom Line: Expensive, yes, but the Valco Tri-Mode EX Twin offers tons of storage, modern style, great comfort for kids and good maneuverability for parents who don’t need a compact stroller.

What Our Parent Tester Thought:
“I love the look of the stroller -- very modern and clean looking with nice material.”

“The seat recline adjustment is very easy. It’s quiet and can be done quickly or slowly in the event the baby is sleeping. I did feel that it was a little tricky to access sometimes with the fabric from the canopy section buttoned on.”

“Love the sun canopy, especially the extension! The extension can be zipped when not needed and is very simple to unzip when more sun protection or shade is desired. It also eliminates the need for an extra shade.”

“The underseat storage design could be improved. There’s a bar that runs vertically in the middle of the two seats, which made it difficult to access the storage underneath the stroller. I understand it’s for stability, but it was hard to fit a large bag or item underneath. And it is not easy to put in anything large from the side as well.”

“The mesh pockets near the back bottom of the seats were a little difficult to access with the extra fabric from the canopy. I started to wonder if I put the canopy on wrong since it seemed to get in the way of certain features.”

“The separate reclining seats are nice for the kids, since they always want to be in different recline positions. The straps seem comfortable, and the mesh on top and in the back helped with air flow.”

“The detachable little ‘bags’ that zip off the back of the are great. They can hang on the handle of the stroller and can be used to hold items such as a wallet, cell phone, keys, etc. - in the event that you need to leave the stroller out somewhere, like in front of a store or at the park/playground.”

“I like the way the buckle must first be pushed down and then the bottom can be pressed to release the harness. My 4-year-old can get out of just about anything -- but not this!”

- Debra and her 4-year-old and 1-year-old from Maplewood, N.J.

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