The 5 best travel systems for 2019

travel system reviews

In an effort to help new parents, we've been researching and testing the top products on the market. From designer brand Bugaboo to budget options and beyond, we review the five best travel systems to buy right now.

What is a travel system?

A travel system is a pushchair that you can attach a baby car seat and carrycot to.

It is tailored specifically to newborns and can be bought as a standalone pushchair or as part of a bundle. 3-in-1 travel systems usually come with both a carrycot and a car seat.

While this type of pushchair can be wonderfully helpful, particularly for first-time parents trying to navigate the never-ending parenting minefield, they're not for everyone.

Our round-up of the best pushchairs for newborns, including lightweight and double buggies, should help you here. Also be sure to check out our buyer's guide further down this page for tips and tricks on what to consider before buying one.

If you've already decided that a travel system is for you, excellent! You're one step ahead.

We spoke to real parents to find the products that made their lives easier. Read on as we reveal which prams came out on top.

Here are the 5 best travel systems as rated by real parents

1. Nuna Mixx 2019
2. Maxi-Cosi Zelia
3. BabyStyle Oyster 3
4. Bugaboo Fox
5. Mamas & Papas Ocarro



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How we chose which products to put to the test

We commissioned Debbi Marco, a journalist and parent, to research and write about travel systems.

Debbi is a mum to two primary-aged children. She has spent many years wheeling buggies and pushchairs around and is constantly on the lookout for the latest parenting innovations.

She has been writing about parenting for over eight years and lives by the mantra ‘it’s just a phase’. Throughout her research and testing, she has been impressed with how far prams have come over the last decade.

During her research process, she looked at recommendations on the Mumsnet Talk boards, spoke to experts – including Nick Lloyd, Acting Head of Road Safety at The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) – and got in touch with local NCT groups.

After 12 hours of research, she created a longlist of 25 products to put to the test, which was later narrowed down to a shortlist of 15. The final list consisted of firm favourites and newly-launched models by trusted brands.

How real-life comparative testing makes Mumsnet Reviews unique

Debbi partnered with parent tester, Terri, to put all 15 prams through their paces. Terri is a mum of two with a seven-month-old and six-year-old, but she often takes care of her two-and-a-half-year-old niece, who was also eager to try out each pushchair.

Because Terri is an active mum with two children of different ages, she was looking for a hardworking buggy that could handle the needs of a newborn and an older child, especially when it came to days out, football training and the school run.

For continuity, we think it’s best to get one tester to test all the models. This reduces any potential variables during the testing process and means that our results are based on like-for-like comparisons.

During testing, the products were scored on six key areas: safety and stability, assembly, day-to-day use, aesthetics and comfort, cleanliness and value for money.

Five products were then awarded a Mumsnet Best badge – these are the products that we feel offer the best value for most parents.

And we have our winners. Here are the five best travel systems for 2019.

1. Nuna Mixx 2019: Best Value Travel System 2019

nuna mixx 2019

The Nuna Mixx is amazing value for money. Big basket, tyres fab for off-road walks and the carrycot is very ergonomic.

The Nuna Mixx 2019 is an upgrade to the Nuna Mixx2, exuding comfort and style at every turn. It features new fabric colours, enhanced seating and chunky wheels that are perfect for off-roading.

It slots well into busy family life and, while it may not be the cheapest travel system on the market, the Nuna still offers great value for money for most parents.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • A stylish, easy-to-use pushchair with good storage and a simple fold
  • Ideal from birth to toddlerhood
  • Won't break the bank

Great for parents who

  • Live in the countryside or like off-roading
  • Need a good amount of on-board storage space
  • Won't be using public transport much

Pros

  • Offers good longevity
  • Generously-sized storage basket
  • Covers are machine-washable
  • Easy to switch between parent- and world-facing
  • Five-position recline
  • All-season seat

Cons

  • Two hands needed to fold
  • Clunky car seat attachment
  • Sun hood comes up short

Product information

Suitable from: Birth to 20kg
Orientation: Parent-facing and world-facing
Number of wheels: Four
Car seat compatible: Yes
Folded dimensions: H 56 x W 60.1 x L 88.8 cm
Weight: 12.53kg
RRP: £400 (£699 as a 3-in-1 travel system bundle) at time of review
Extras included: Rain cover, footmuff and car seat adaptors

Price: £675 from Mothercare (includes carrycot)

Read the full review

2. Maxi-Cosi Zelia: Best Lightweight Travel System 2019

maxi cosi zelia travel system

I have a Maxi-Cosi Zelia and I love it. It's lightweight so I can pick up the chassis one-handed and it folds and unfolds really easily.

The Maxi-Cosi Zelia 2-in-1 pushchair may have one of the lowest price tags of all the prams we tested, but it's still up there in terms of both quality and design.

Two of its major selling points are its weight – at only 9.6kg, the frame is lightweight, but also sturdy – and a two-in-one seat that converts into a newborn bassinet.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Folds to the smallest size, while also being one of the lightest on test
  • May well be the best travel system on the market for under £400

Great for parents who

  • Live in the city
  • Are short on storage space
  • Have a tight budget

Pros

  • Standout value
  • Lightweight
  • Seat converts to a lie-flat bassinet
  • Easy one-handed fold
  • Compact when folded
  • Height-adjustable handlebar
  • Rear-wheel suspension

Cons

  • Tricky to change seat position with a heavier child
  • Wide frame – hard to fit through narrow doorways
  • Straps can be fiddly

Product information

Suitable from: Birth to 15kg
Orientation: Parent- and world-facing
Number of wheels: Four
Car seat compatible: Yes
Folded dimensions: H 65 x W 36 x L 75 cm
Weight: 9.6kg
RRP: £299 at time of review
Extras included: Rain cover and boot cover/apron

Price: £276.64 from Amazon (includes rain cover, parasol clip, car seat adaptors and boot cover/apron)

Read the full review

3. BabyStyle Oyster 3: Best Toddler and Newborn Travel System 2019

babystyle oyster travel system

You can't go far wrong with an Oyster.

If you're looking for a travel system to suit a growing family, then the BabyStyle Oyster 3 should be top of your list.

This large, well-built pram is designed to last well into toddlerhood and, when it comes to looks, it's pretty darn beautiful too.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • A hardworking pushchair that offers good longevity
  • Stylish, with lovely aesthetic touches
  • Affordable, but larger packages are also available if you have a higher budget

Great for parents who

  • Have (or plan to have) more than one child
  • Live in the city or country
  • Have limited storage space at home

Pros

  • One-handed recline (this can be done in parent- or world-facing mode)
  • Lie-flat seat for smaller babies
  • Puncture-free tyres
  • Compact fold
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Large rear wheels for bumpy terrain
  • Can be used with a buggy board

Cons

  • Two hands needed to fold
  • Carrycot tricky to remove
  • Covers are not machine-washable
  • No extras included

Product information

Suitable from: Birth to 22kg
Orientation: Parent- and world-facing
Number of wheels: Four
Car seat compatible: Yes
Folded dimensions: H 57 x W 37 x L 71 cm
Weight: 11.7kg
RRP: £499 (£886 for bundle) at time of review
Extras included: None

Price: £499 from Uber Kids

Read the full review

4. Bugaboo Fox: Best Versatile Travel System 2019

bugaboo fox travel system

Expensive, yes – but it will last forever. So practical and light, and it has a great carrycot.

Bugaboo is a firm favourite among Mumsnetters – and for good reason. The Fox is one of their newer models and, like its namesake, it is intended to be versatile and smart, fitting seamlessly into everyday family life.

As well as a high seat position, slim frame and ultra compact fold, the Bugaboo Fox certainly goes above and beyond – but that is at a cost.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • Ideal for an active family
  • Offers parents complete flexibility while delivering Bugaboo's exceptional design standards
  • Won't be affordable for a lot of parents

Great for parents who

  • Have a large budget
  • Live in the city and use public transport often
  • Have an active life and need a pushchair that can handle the fast pace

Pros

  • High seat position
  • Unique ballpoint brake
  • Slimline, lightweight frame
  • All-wheel suspension
  • Ultra-compact fold and self-standing once folded
  • Stylish design
  • Generously-sized storage basket with built-in pockets
  • Five-point harness is easy to use

Cons

  • Complex fold
  • Handle height awkward to adjust on the go
  • Hefty price tag
  • Most accessories need to be bought separately, including a rain cover

Product information

Suitable from: Birth to 17kg
Orientation: Parent- and world-facing
Number of wheels: Four
Car seat compatible: Yes
Folded dimensions: H 19 x W 54 x L 66 cm
Weight: 9.9kg
RRP: From £979 (dependent on customisation)
Extras included: Wheel caps

Price: £950 from Amazon

Read the full review

5. Mamas & Papas Ocarro: Best All-Terrain Travel System 2019

mamas and papas ocarro travel system

My Ocarro has been fantastic. Big solid wheels for off-road, gorgeous design, big basket, very sturdy and cosy. Just a beautiful handy buggy.

The Mamas & Papas Ocarro is a luxury, all-terrain pushchair designed for both comfort and stability.

While it's almost four kilograms heavier than some of the systems we tested (such as the Maxi-Cosi Zelia), it's robust frame and dual suspension mean that it can handle any terrain completely fuss-free.

Verdict in 10 seconds

  • A high-quality pushchair that offers great value for money
  • Luxurious and sturdy
  • Heavier than other prams we tested

Great for parents who

  • Like to go for long walks in the countryside or live in the country
  • Need a pram with lots of on-board storage space
  • Don't use public transport daily

Pros

  • Dual suspension
  • Large extendable sunshade
  • Chunky, puncture-resistant tyres
  • Padded seat with pillow and chest pads
  • Large storage basket
  • Reflective trim on wheels
  • Compact fold and freestanding when folded

Cons

  • Basket can only be loaded from the back
  • Heavy to carry
  • Stiff five-point harness

Product information

Suitable from: Birth to 15kg
Orientation: Parent- and world-facing
Number of wheels: Four
Car seat compatible: Yes
Folded dimensions: H 37 x W 58 x L 76 cm
Weight: 13.5kg
RRP: £799 at time of review
Extras included: Rain cover and bumper bar

Price: £699 from Amazon (includes rain cover, bumper bar and head pillow)

Read the full review

A buyer's guide to travel systems

baby travel systems

Do I need a travel system?

Because they can be bulky and expensive, it’s worth checking whether or not you actually need one.

If you often travel by car, a travel system will save you time and energy when out and about with your baby as you'll be able to remove and attach a car seat really easily.

With a parent-facing carrycot attachment, and sometimes even the main seat unit itself, you'll also be able to lie your child completely flat, which will ensure that they are safe and secure at all times.

If you rarely use a car, or if you know you’ll be on and off public transport daily, then a lightweight buggy may be a more bus-friendly option.

Some lightweight pushchairs, such as the popular Babyzen Yoyo+, can, however, be used as a travel system, which may just give you the best of both worlds.

Watch our video on how to choose the right pushchair for you

How much do travel systems cost?

Prices range from £250 to over £1000 and most come in packages, which could save you money in the long-run.

More expensive models may come with a multitude of added extras – think footmuffs, buggy boards and general customisable features – but this will, of course, up the price tag.

Questions to ask…

Many baby travel systems will be compatible with a car seat and a carrycot, but it's up to you whether you buy them separately or as part of a bundle.

When buying a car seat

  • Does the seat fit my child?
  • Does the seat fit my car?
  • Will this seat be compatible with my pram?
  • Does the car seat adhere to all UK car seat safety regulations?
  • What are the seat's crash test ratings?
  • How easy is it to attach and detach from the chassis?
  • How heavy is it?

When buying a carrycot

  • How easy is it to attach, detach and lift?
  • Is my baby comfortable and secure?
  • Can I use the carrycot as a newborn bed or travel cot replacement?

When looking at the seat

  • Is it comfortable?
  • Does it have a five-point harness?
  • What is the recline like? Are there a number of recline options?
  • Will I need a seat with a lie-flat recline (if not intending to buy a carrycot)?
  • Is it parent- or world-facing? Can this be altered?
  • Can the seat cover be detached for easy washing?
  • Is the seat roomy enough for a growing child?

Pushchair safety advice from RoSPA

  1. Always buy from a reputable shop or website. Don’t try to get a cheap deal as you don’t know if you’ll be buying the real branded item or a copy.
  2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to fit and use the travel system.
  3. Don’t leave your baby in the car seat for more than two hours (30 minutes if your child is a low birth weight or has medical problems). This can cause fatalities.

Read our full travel systems buyer's guide

The ultimate travel systems checklist








  • What is the weight limit?
  • What does the price include and what is my budget?

  • How easy is it to attach a carrycot or car seat?

  • What are the seat recline options?

  • Can the seat be switched between parent-facing and world-facing?

  • Is it roomy enough?

  • Does it have a five-point harness?

  • How easy is it to fold?

  • How compact is the fold?

  • Will it fit into the boot of my car or on public transport?

  • How easy is it to push and steer?

  • How heavy is it to carry?

  • Is the handle height adjustable?

  • What's the brake like?

  • How big is the storage basket?

  • Does it come with a rain cover?

  • Will the sun hood provide enough protection? Is it extendable?

  • How easy is the pushchair to clean?

  • What does it look like? Does it come in colours I like?

  • Can I convert it to a double buggy or fit a buggy board?

  • What are the wheels like?

  • Can it handle off-roading?

  • How easy is it to assemble and take apart?

How we tested and why you should trust us

We set a variety of challenges for each travel system with a real parent juggling work, children, the school run and the weekly shop.

Here's how we tested the prams over six key areas.

Safety and stability

  • We covered a variety of terrain – including pavement, bumpy grassland and wet ground – over at least 80km with each product
  • Topple tests were conducted to check overall balance and sturdiness
  • Harnesses were tested and retested to make sure small passengers couldn't wriggle out or undo clips
  • We looked at the brakes to assess ease of use and general functionality

Assembly

  • Our tester timed how long it took to assemble and disassemble the pram, noting any pain points and whether or not instructions were easy to follow
  • She also made sure to test how easy it was to switch attachments, ie carrycot and car seat, where applicable

Day-to-day use

  • Our tester looked at how convenient each pram was in everyday life
  • Could the pushchair be collapsed and opened quickly and easily, and could this be done with one hand?
  • Did it fit in the boot of most cars?
  • Was the handle height adjustable for different users?
  • Terri marched it up and down high streets, squeezed it through shop and restaurant doorways (noting the turning circle), and wheeled it up and down escalators and stairs
  • She also took the buggy on public transport, to the park and on the school run
  • The storage basket was tested for both volume and capacity

Aesthetics and comfort

  • What did the pushchair look like?
  • We looked at fabric, frame, wheels and the colours on offer
  • A comfort and joy test was also carried out – did the child like being in the seat, was it roomy enough and were they comfortable overall?

Cleanliness

  • We tested for different types of stains
  • Covers were wiped down and thrown in the washing machine to see how well they fared after testing – if covers couldn't be removed, we made note

Value for money

  • What came with each product? Were there added extras or did accessories come at a cost?
  • Did the pram offer good longevity?
  • We tested models across all price ranges and looked at whether each one offered good value for money

Find out more about how we tested travel systems

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All prices on this page correct at time of writing