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Of all the items you’ll need for baby in the first few years, a car seat and a stroller are undoubtedly some of the most important. They help you get from point A to point B with your little one safely and securely in tow.

They also tend to be some of the more expensive baby items you’ll be purchasing. That’s where a travel system can come in handy.

While car seats and strollers are two separate items, when you have a newborn you may want to use your infant’s car seat as the seat on top of your stroller to give them a safer ride.

That’s why manufacturers invented the travel system, an infant (rear-facing) car seat and stroller combination (aka car seat stroller combo).

A travel system’s car seat is created to clip right on to a matching stroller. The best part? You’ll purchase both pieces together in a one-and-done fashion.

The majority of strollers on the market are meant for babies who are already sitting up, a milestone most don’t master until about 6 months of age.

So unless you purchase a stroller with a bassinet, your baby is going to spend the majority of their traveling time in their car seat — or being carried.

A travel system allows you to easily transfer your baby from the car to the stroller without having to move or reposition them — something that especially comes in handy when they’re peacefully snoozing away.

Additionally, travel systems tend to cost less than purchasing a stroller and car seat separately — yes, please! And when you consider that travel systems are designed to transition from infancy through toddlerhood, you could end up saving a lot of dough in the long run.

Safety check

If you’re purchasing a brand-new travel system, you can rest assured that it will meet all current safety standards and protocols.

However, if you’re being handed down a travel system from a family member, friend, or through a digital marketplace, it’s worthwhile to check that it’s not under recall. You can check the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)’s list, or the list at Safe Kids Worldwide.

Additionally, always adhere to the manufacturer’s weight limits for car seats and strollers to ensure your little one’s safety.

For this list, we relied heavily on customer reviews and reached out to several new parents to find out what they loved and found most useful about their travel systems.

These are the car seat stroller combos that made the cut in terms of popularity, ease of use, efficiency, and overall top picks.

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $200
  • $$ = $200–$400
  • $$$ = over $400

Best travel system overall

Safety 1st Smooth Ride Travel System

Price: $
Dimensions: ‎19.7 x 17.7 x 31.5 inches
Weight limit: 77 pounds

On top of the impressively low price for a car seat stroller combo, the Smooth Ride Travel System is a favorite among reviewing parents. Fans of this system say it’s lightweight, easy to maneuver, and its one-click car seat attachment makes the transition in and out of the car a breeze.

The onBoard 35 LT infant car seat features side-impact protection, infant head inserts, and a five-point harness, so you can feel rest assured that your child is securely enjoying a safe ride. And the accompanying stroller boasts one-hand foldability, a large canopy with a peek-a-boo window, a parent tray with cup holders, and a generous storage compartment.

The car seat is made for children from 4 to 35 pounds, and the stroller seat can be used from the time your little one is able to sit up unassisted until they reach 50 pounds.

Pros

  • large storage basket
  • easy to fold
  • ultraviolet protection factor (UPF)-protectant canopy

Cons

  • car seat doesn’t recline
  • car seat height is limited
  • less sturdy than other systems

Best travel system for infants

Evenflo Pivot Modular Travel System

Price: $$
Dimensions: ‎19.8 x 21.7 x 34.3 inches
Weight limit: 35 pounds

By looking at this travel system, it appears simple and straightforward (minimalists, this one’s for you!). However, a closer look shows a super versatile six-mode seat that you can use from the very beginning with baby — with or without the accompanying SafeMax infant car seat.

The toddler seat (which is safe to use when baby can sit up unassisted) fully reclines to lay flat like a bassinet. Plus, all three modes (bassinet, car seat, stroller seat) are reversible, so you can truly cater this system to your style and safety needs.

Parents like that the SafeMax infant car seat exceeds industry safety standards with impressive crash testing results and say that the system is easy to assemble. However, there’s some debate over how lightweight and easy to maneuver this system really is.

Pros

  • features six convenient modes
  • sturdy wheels
  • ample storage space

Cons

  • no one-hand fold
  • sun canopy isn’t full coverage
  • weight limit isn’t as high as competitors

Best car seat stroller combo for travel

Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System

Price: $$
Dimensions: ‎35.2 x 22.8 x 42.7 inches
Weight limit: 50 pounds

If you’re a family that likes to live life on the fly, you’ll need a car seat and stroller combo that can keep up. Enter the Chicco Bravo Trio Travel System, which is on the lighter side in terms of weight and features a one-handed fold and self-standing position.

The included fan-favorite Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat weighs less than 10 pounds for easy carrying. Parents like that the bottom storage is nice and roomy and that there’s a parent tray with storage and cup holders — although a few folks say the cup holders are rather small.

Many parents appreciate that this car seat comes with removable cushions for both the head and body to provide added support during the baby years.

A few parents warn that the features may vary depending on what color you select, so be sure to review the product specs before purchasing.

Pros

  • comes with removable support cushions
  • one-hand fold design

Cons

  • lacking in storage space
  • cup holders aren’t very deep
  • not good for bumpy terrains

Best option for twins

Contours Options Elite Tandem Stroller

Price: $$
Dimensions: ‎55 x 26 x 41.3 inches
Weight limit: 80 pounds

While this product isn’t a true travel system (as it does not include car seats), when it comes to towing two babies, this option from Contours stands out. The stroller features multiple seating options so you can have your babies facing forward, backward, face-to-face, or back-to-back.

Many double strollers don’t also accommodate two car seats, but the Elite Tandem does, thanks to Contours’ click-in adapters (sold separately). The adaptors accept a wide range of car seats from big-name brands like Graco, Maxi-Cosi, Evenflo, Chicco, and more.

Parents say the dynamic front and rear wheel suspensions allow for a smooth ride without bumps that could wake up your sleeping infants. Other features include a peek-a-boo window, large storage basket, zipper side access, and sun canopies.

Pros

  • swivel front wheel allows for easy maneuvering
  • handle is height-adjustable
  • features stadium-style seating so both kids have a view

Cons

  • some reviewers report wobbly seats
  • heavy to push with two kids

Best budget-friendly travel system

Baby Trend EZ Ride 35 Travel System

Price: $
Dimensions: ‎42.5 x 25 x 42 inches
Weight limit: 35 pounds

You can’t purchase most car seats alone for the price of this travel system, which includes both the Baby Trend Ally 35 Infant Car Seat and the EZ Ride Stroller together. Each features a five-point safety harness to secure baby safely (multiple parents comment on this in reviews) as well as extra-padded seats for maximum comfort.

The stroller has multiple recline positions, a covered parent tray with double cup holders, a height-adjustable handle, and a peek-a-boo window for checking in on your little one during strolls.

But while this set gets points for budget and safety, several folks say the stroller isn’t the easiest to open and close and that the canopy often gets stuck.

Pros

  • multiple recline positions
  • height-adjustable handle
  • two deep cup holders

Cons

  • low weight restrictions
  • complaints that the seat is too upright
  • some reviewers have difficulty attaching seats

Best easy-install travel system

Graco Modes Nest Travel System

Price: $$$
Dimensions: ‎25.75 x 35.5 x 47 inches
Weight limit: 44 pounds

This travel system gets mega points for its seamless transitions. In a few simple steps, you can switch from bassinet mode to toddler mode, or attach and detach the accompanying Graco SnugRide SnugLock 35 infant car seat.

One of the biggest draws to this travel system is the fact that, regardless of the seat in play, it allows you to easily slide baby closer for face-to-face smiles in one of three different height positions.

This stroller also allows for forward- or rear-facing riding. Parents love that it features an expandable storage basket, large canopy, cup holders and a fold that takes just a few seconds. However, a handful of folks comment that the stroller doesn’t offer the smoothest ride.

Pros

  • easy to use
  • features three different travel modes
  • one-hand folding

Cons

  • wheels aren’t fit for rough terrain
  • heavier than other travel systems
  • some reviewers wish seat reclined more

Best for city living

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base

Price: $$$
Dimensions: ‎27.6 x 20.1 x 18.6 inches
Weight limit: 35 pounds

One of the best features about this travel system is that it is one single piece, so the stroller component is always present—it does not have to be attached to the car seat like so many others. This is what makes it so ideal for city living. With such tight living quarters and sidewalks to maneuver your stroller, it’s convenient to not have too many pieces to work with.

The transition from car seat to stroller takes seconds, and can be done in a way that won’t interrupt a sleeping baby—a huge plus for parents on the go! The stroller’s handle extends to make your stroll convenient no matter your height and you can order your stroller in one of six vibrant colors to add a touch of individuality to your look.

Pros

  • compact and easy to fold
  • one single piece instead of two or more
  • convenient for small living spaces

Cons

  • heavy
  • not good for rough terrains
  • some reviewers report customer service issues

Best lightweight travel system

BRITAX B-Lively Travel System with B-Safe 35 Infant Car Seat

Price: $$$
Dimensions: ‎33 x 23 x 40 inches
Weight limit: 35 pounds

Thanks to its top-notch suspension system and convenient front third wheel, this stroller is lightweight and easy to maneuver on most surfaces.

It features an extra-large UPF-protected canopy with adequate ventilation, which comes in handy on hot, sunny days. A peek-a-boo window in the rear lets you check on your baby in the middle of your strolls.

It reclines nearly all the way flat so that your baby can peacefully sleep without being interrupted by having to fall to one side or the other. The side impact protection helps ensure safety should you ever encounter a stop-short situation.

Storage is easy, with just one hand needed to slink it down to a travel-convenient size.

Pros

  • lightweight
  • third wheel allows for maneuverability
  • more durable than competitors

Cons

  • lacking in storage
  • folding and storing can be tricky
  • doesn’t come with baby tray

Best 5-in-1 travel system

Maxi-Cosi Zelia²Max 5-in-1 Modular Travel System

Price: $$$
Dimensions: ‎31 x 31 x 22.44 inches
Weight limit: 50 pounds

With a sleek, ergonomic design and five different modes of use, it’s easy to see why this travel system has such good ratings. You can use this travel system in parent-facing carriage, world-facing carriage, parent-facing stroller, world-facing stroller or carseat carrier, making it convenient for just about any setting.

It’s simple to set up: Just remove from the box and watch each piece snap together without a fuss. The handlebar is fully adjustable to accommodate parents short and tall.

It’s worth pointing out, however, that, while its narrow frame is good for city and suburban living, its suspension system is not designed for rugged terrain.

Pros

  • five convenient stroller modes
  • easy to set up and install

Cons

  • no snack tray
  • storage is lacking
  • two hands required to fold

Best splurge travel system

UPPAbaby Cruz Performance Travel System

Price: $$$
Dimensions: ‎37.5 x 22.75 x 40 inches
Weight limit: 27 pounds

This travel system is as beautiful as it is safe and functional, which is why it’s one of the most popular choices among parents — and also why it’s the priciest on this list.

The stroller is rather slim, with smooth maneuverability and shock absorption. Fans of the Cruz like that the handlebar allows for easy height adjustment and is accented with hand-sewn leather. Many parents rave that the storage basket underneath is roomy, and the toddler seat allows for multi-position recline.

It comes with the popular MESA Infant Car Seat and adapter, which accommodates infants from 4 to 35 pounds. Worth noting: Parents love that the MESA is the only car seat to pass safety regulations without the use of flame retardant chemicals.

Pros

  • stylish
  • multiple configurations
  • ample storage space

Cons

  • bulkier than other travel systems
  • not good for rugged terrain

Of course it’s important that you like the car seat portion of the travel system, but it’s worth noting that your child will eventually grow out it. For this reason, it pays to place more of an emphasis on the stroller portion of the travel system.

Here are some other factors to consider:

Size and weight

You’ll be lifting your car seat (and potentially your stroller) in and out of your vehicle as often as several times a day, so you’ll want to make sure that it’s not too heavy for you to carry on your own. You also don’t want a stroller that’s too bulky that you’ll have trouble fitting it through small spaces.

Ease of use

Considering how often you’ll be using your stroller, you’ll want it to be easy for you to maneuver and manage. Opening and closing it and hitting the break should not require the brains of a rocket scientist.

Terrain

If you’re mostly pushing your stroller on a paved sidewalk, you won’t need anything heavy duty. But if you plan on hiking up rocky trails with your baby in tow, you will want to purchase a stroller that’s meant for that type of terrain.

Are car seat stroller combos safe?

Yes. Just like any stroller or car seat, these car seat stroller combinations are tested to ensure that they provide head-to-toe safety. Should you ever have a safety concern, it’s best to contact the manufacturer as soon as possible to ensure that everything is in working order. Most manufacturers are willing to replace wobbly parts free of charge.

Do you need a car seat stroller combo?

Many parents wind up getting a car seat stroller combo ahead of their baby’s birth because of the sheer convenience of being able to transfer the car seat to the stroller without having to wake up and remove baby.

Additionally, not all strollers come with a bassinet feature, and infants under 6 months of age don’t sit up enough to be placed in a traditional stroller.

Is it safe to jog with a car seat stroller combo?

No. Unless a stroller is advertised as a jogging stroller, it isn’t manufactured in a way that makes it safe for fast movement or sudden twists and turns. Most jogging strollers feature a front swivel wheel, and this feature is missing in most traditional car seat stroller combos.