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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Graco Metrolite vs. Graco Snugrider vs. Babytrend Snap-n-Go

As I've mentioned previously, I am the not-so-proud owner of a Graco Metrolite stroller. It does work well with the Graco SafeSeat , and I would have been content to use it as our only stroller for the infant carseat. But we have two cars, and living in Los Angeles, we pretty much drive everywhere. So after the second time we forgot to switch the Metrolite to the car we were driving and arrived at our destination without a stroller, we decided to get another stroller. I suppose we could have used the Graco Quattro we already own, but if you've read my post about the Quattro versus the Metrolite, you know that I loathe its weight and size. Not only would Marc and I dread taking the Quattro out of the trunk, we wouldn't be able to fit much else in there.

Enter the Graco Snugrider. Since Graco didn't make a stroller frame when Alex was born, I had used the Babytrend Snap-n-Go with his infant carseat. So, keeping in mind that my reference point is a Snap-n-Go purchased in 2005 (and that some changes have probably been made to it since), here is a comparison of the Metrolite, Snugrider, and Snap-n-Go.

First, the Metrolite. Unlike the Snugrider and Snap-n-Go, this is a "regular" stroller, i.e., it's not limited to use with infant carseats. My favorite part about it is the double-canopy effect with the infant carseat. I can never see Tyler through the little plastic window due to glare or bad lighting, but I love that I can block out almost all light and discourage nosy strangers. Plus he seems to sleep really well in this stroller. The basket is reasonably accessible when the infant carseat is in place, though you have to lower the top part. The ride seems smooth and the stroller is relatively easy to load and unload from my car. My complaints about the Metrolite are: (1) the need to lock the front wheels before folding (I actually have managed to fold it without locking the wheels but it doesn't always work); (2) the way the seatback bar can get caught under the basket bar when you open the stroller; (3) the lack of a storage compartment on the handlebar; and (4) that the netting on the end of the canopy isn't removable. My single biggest complaint about the Metrolite is that the seat buckle is ridiculously difficult to put together - it's a five-point harness but the shoulder straps detach from the side straps so you need both hands free in order to do the buckle. But this obviously isn't a problem when you're using the stroller just for the infant carseat.

Second, the Snugrider. This stroller frame is about half the price of the Metrolite, lightweight, and easy to use. Most importantly, the infant carseat fits securely. I have mixed feelings about the automatic locking mechanism - I like that the stroller doesn't fall open on its own, but I find unlocking it very awkward. I miss the double canopy but it's easier to look at Tyler without it (if he's sleeping, I use a blanket to block out his surroundings - but getting the blanket to stay when it's windy is difficult). The basket is easily accessible, but I couldn't get a paper grocery bag in there when I was at the market. There is one cup holder and one small tray but no storage compartment. All in all, I like this stroller but it could use a few improvements.

Lastly, the Snap-n-Go. The Snap-n-Go's pros are similar to the Snugrider: relatively inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to use. If I recall correctly, the Snap-n-Go's basket was not only easily accessible, it held a lot. And I think the gap between the carseat and the top of the basket was bigger than on the Snugrider, so a paper grocery bag probably would have fit. As with the Snugrider, I used a blanket if Alex was sleeping, but again, getting it to stay in place was tricky. If the infant carseat fit as securely in the Snap-n-Go as it does in the Snugrider, I would have gotten another Snap-n-Go without hesitation. But I was always a bit uneasy about having to secure the carseat with a buckle.

To sum up: If money is a major issue, go with the Metrolite (or another regular stroller) since you can use it with the infant carseat and as a regular stroller when your child outgrows the carseat. However, the Snugrider and Snap-n-Go are handy and worth it if you want a second stroller for your infant. The Snap-n-Go is $10 cheaper than the Snugrider, so if you're comfortable with security of the buckle, go for it. The Snap-n-Go would also be a better buy if you think you might use it with non-Graco carseats since it accommodates other brands.

Note: I no longer had the Snap-n-Go when Tyler was born. If I had, I would have happily used it and not gotten the Snugrider.

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  • At 3/20/07, 5:34 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I used links (the kind you use to attach toys to things) to clip the blanket to the canopy and stroller frame. Except under major wind conditions, it worked pretty well.

  • At 3/20/07, 9:11 PM, Blogger Cathy said…

    Great idea - I'll have to try it the next time we go for a walk!


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