Britax Travel System vs Chicco KeyFit30 & Baby Jogger City Mini
My husband and I are expecting our first child in December. To prepare, we ordered the following car seat/stroller combos:
Britax B-Agile/B-Safe travel system, approx. cost $336 + tax
Baby Jogger City Mini Stroller, Chicco KeyFit 30 Car Seat, and the Baby Jogger Car Seat Adapter, approx. cost $495 + tax
We tested the systems to determine which would be the best for our baby. As engineers, we approached the tests in full scientific fashion by creating a specific list of points to evaluate. I marked the winner of each criterion (if there was one) with a “*” below.
--How easily each car seat base could be installed in our Honda Civic and into our Toyota Highlander--
Britax B-safe – Took less than five minutes to install properly after watching a YouTube video showing how to do it.
*Chicco KeyFit 30 – Fewer steps and adjustments required than the B-safe. It’s touted as being the easiest car seat to install on the market. While I haven’t tried to install every car seat available, it was very easy!
--How much room was left in the front seats with the car seat and base installed (my husband is 6’4” and requires ample leg room, whereas I am 5’4” and can handle more compact spaces). My husband tends to drive when I am in the car, so we put the car seat behind the passenger seat. It would be impossible to fit a 6’4” man and car seat in a row.--
Britax B-safe – For both the Civic and the Highlander, the passenger seat had to be pulled forward from the position that I normally ride with it in. The Civic resulted in about 3 inches between my knees and the dashboard, whereas the Highlander had a more comfortable 7 inches. Thankfully we have the Highlander to use primarily with the car seat and I won’t have to be crammed in the Civic with the car seat- or I will learn to love the back seat next to the baby.
Chicco KeyFit 30 – Basically identical result to the B-safe. Perhaps a smidgen more clearance left for me than the Britax.
--How easily the car seat could be installed into and removed from the base--
Britax B-safe – The car seat drops into the base and feels secure immediately. Getting the car seat out of the base proved trickier, since it seems like the seat was designed for bigger hands than what I have (average size for 5’4” female). I had to use one hand to hold the car seat and one to lift the release handle. Once the baby is in the car seat, there might be enough weight to hold the car seat steady so I can lift the handle with one hand. Otherwise, I’ll stick with the two handed approach.
*Chicco KeyFit 30 – Just like the B-safe, the car seat dropped into the base and felt secure immediately. Removing the seat from the base was easy to do one-handed, since the release handle seemed better designed for female hands. It was a bit smaller than the handle on the B-safe and could be squeezed/released with one hand. My husband agreed that, for his big hands too, the KeyFit detached from the base more quickly and simply than the B-safe.
--Comfort and weight of carrying the car seat--
Britax B-safe – The car seat is reported to weigh 9.8 pounds. It is noticeably heavier than the Chicco seat, however it still was manageable. I could get it through doorways without too much hassle and carried it around a few other obstacles. It will be more difficult to maneuver with an infant in the seat, but that just means that I will get more toned arms and core.
*Chicco KeyFit 30 – The car seat is reported to weigh 9 pounds. It does feel lighter than the Britax. The handle was comfortable enough on my arm with the seat empty, though I expect it will feel heavy and cumbersome when there’s a baby in it.
--Other Features: Color--
Britax B-safe – Comes in black, red, and sandstone (like a brown khaki). I’m not happy with any of the three options, as black would attact the hot SoCal sun, red is so intense, and the sandstone is quite boring. While I don’t expect to make a fashion statement with the car seat, it would be nice to have decent looking one. Britax convertible car seats come in much better colors. It would be nice if they offered some of those for the infant car seats.
*Chicco KeyFit 30 – Several great options that should suit any parent. None are “too girly” or “too boyish,” so they could be happily used for any gender.
--Other Features: Sunshade--
*Britax B-safe – Easily folds down to give ample coverage for a baby’s face. The inner frame seemed sturdy enough that I didn’t have to be too careful when moving it.
Chicco KeyFit 30 – A bit flimsy to fold down. I used both hands to move one side of the shade and then the other, slowly inching it down. Perhaps after using the shade more often, I’d become more comfortable with it and not be afraid of it breaking; however, it seemed a bit flimsy. The shade didn’t extend as far as the B-safe and I could see the need to have a big hat and sunglasses on the baby if he was in the KeyFit.
--Ease of attaching car seat and sturdiness--
*Britax b-agile – We LOVE the click and go system. There are two little adapters that click into the stroller for the car seat to hook into. The car seat slides right on to the adapters and is instantly secure. Any type of movement that might be encountered on a walk with the baby would be no issue for this stroller/car seat combo. The car seat removes from the adapter and stroller with equal ease – just squeeze the handles and lift the car seat out.
City Mini – The Baby Jogger adapter wasn’t TOO difficult to install, once I made sense of the directions. The instruction book had pictures that were not extremely clear due to the shading. A basic line drawing instead of a fancier image would have sufficed. As it is, the images took a few minutes to decipher before I realized how simple the set up was. Once I got the KeyFit attached to the adapter and the stroller, I took it for a test ride. Even without a baby in the car seat, I was nervous about the ride. The car seat jiggled around a lot. I had the strap tight holding the car seat- the jiggling appeared to come from the joint between the adapter and the stroller.
--Pushing comfort for a tall man (6’4”) and average height woman (5’4”)--
Britax B-agile – The stroller height is comfortable enough for both my husband and I to push. It would be nice if the handle height were more adjustable, but we can make do. When the stroller seat is lowered to put the baby in a more lay flat position, my husband’s knees hit the seat. This will be avoidable just by being aware of the issue and being more careful.
City Mini – Identical results to the B-agile, HOWEVER there is a bar between the back two wheels. I was most concerned about the bar for my husband with his long legs and big feet. My husband’s big feet almost caught up with the bar a few times, but it was actually a much bigger issue for me since my arms are shorter and I had to walk closer to the stroller. The bar annoyed me when I was pushing the stroller around, as I repeatedly kicked it.
--Ease of folding the stroller up--
Britax B-agile – This is quite simple. You first push a button on the side of the stroller, then grab the handle on the seat and pull up. The button stuck a little bit when we first tried to collapse the stroller, but after some small jiggles it freed up. It seemed as though this was due to the fact that the stroller was new. I don’t expect it to be a repeat issue.
City Mini – Easier than the B-agile. There’s no button to push first, you just grab the handle on the seat and pull up.
--The size of the stroller folded up--
Britax B-agile – Fits easily into the trunk of the Honda Civic or the back of the Toyota Highlander with the third seat up or down
City Mini – Same as the B-agile
--Other Features: Color--
Britax B-agile – Same as the car seat. Comes in black, red, and sandstone (like a brown khaki). I’m not happy with any of the three options, as black would attract the hot SoCal sun, red is so intense, and the sandstone is quite boring.
*City Mini – Several great color options so anyone could find one that they like. I don’t understand why so many of them have dark interiors to soak up extra heat, but at least there are a few that are light.
--Other Features: Sunshade--
*Britax B-agile – The sunshade on the stroller is a snap to adjust. Since the stroller is designed to work with the B-safe car seat, the sunshades meet up. At the fully extended position, the sunshade for the stroller and for the car seat intersect to form one large shade. I could see this coming in handy if it’s a very sunny day and I’m walking with a sleeping baby- or if I need to put up a protective shield from an annoying neighbor. Without the car seat installed, the sunshade still provides ample coverage for a baby or child riding in the stroller seat.
City Mini – The stroller sunshade does not function when the adapter and car seat are installed. When just using the stroller seat, the sunshade is ok. It’s not huge and doesn’t provide as much protection as I would prefer, but at least it’s something.
Ultimately, we decided on the Britax B-safe/B-agile combo because of the click and go system convenience, and the lack of a bar between the back stroller wheels. We will go with the BOB B-safe car seat for a bit better color options and the B-Agile 4 for slightly better maneuverability. Both have the same safety and convenience features of the Britax B-safe/B-agile combo, but have a few winning features. Our local Babies R Us has the Britax B-Agile 4, which is the standard B-Agile but with 4 wheels instead of 3. The 4th wheel adds some weight, but also significant stability and maneuverability. It comes in a gray/black combo which I like better than the 3-wheel color options. We will still have to be careful to cover it at the park so it isn’t blistering hot when we put the baby in it.
7 months in...
There are two schools of thought concerning a travel system: "Buy it! It's so convenient" and "Why buy this bulky contraption?" So, of course, being pregnant with my very first child - and trying to go as minimal as possible, I over analyzed the pros and cons. (But then, I did that with Infant Tubs as well.) So far, it has been a wise investment for our lifestyle
We live in a city, in a small apartment. We do a lot of walking, and split our shopping between walking to the corner shops, and driving to shopping centers with stores spread across giant parking lots - making it convenient to have a stroller that clicks in with our car seat. Since the stroller is back and forth between the trunk of our car, and a closet in our apartment, the fact that this stroller is lightweight, with a one-handed carrying strap is a huge plus. I can carry the stroller in one hand, and the baby in the car seat in the other hand, out the door, down the steps and to the car. The stroller folds up fairly flat, and is easily lifted in and out of the trunk, but it does maintain its full width while folded, so it takes up a little more room in a closet than an umbrella stroller would. The storage space underneath has not been a problem for me - it fits what I need it to fit. It steers like a dream (*with the front wheel unlocked), turns on a dime, and the locking mechanism is a single click. Folding and unfolding is easy (though a little challenging to unfold with a baby in arms) The main inconvenience for this stroller and city living - is that I feel it's a bit too bulky for bus riding, even when folded. You also have to buy cup holders and toddler bars a la carte, (but you can steer one-handed! *safety note: when car seat is clicked in to stroller, Britax recommends you lock the front wheel - making steering more difficult).
The car seat has been good. On the plus side, the base has a leveler bubble, and is adjustable to get the angle correct without the use of pool noodles. It is very easy to install correctly. I only have this seat - but I've heard it's heavier than others. As my baby is getting chunkier, we are leaving it in the car, and just pulling the baby in and out as you would with a convertible seat - though it's nice to have the option to click in and out when the baby is sleeping. But it's not 15 pounds heavier or anything - so not a huge con in my book. The straps are easy to figure out, and the material wipes clean with a wet rag (though I haven't had any true explosions to test the limits - knock on wood). My main complaint about the car seat is that my baby can get quite hot. I'm not sure if that's a problem with the color, the type of fabric, or the fact that my baby is a sweat machine.
Overall I am glad we got a travel system - seven months in, we are still using it every day, and I see us continuing to use the stroller when our baby outgrows the car seat (though we may get a supplemental umbrella stroller). I'm also glad we got the Britax in particular. I love the stroller, and the car seat has kept our baby safe and snug in the back seat. (And if you're wondering how the infant tub debate ended - we got the Fisher Price whale, with an infant support - and we're still using it!)
The best that's out there.
Love, love LOVE this stroller. It rides very easily, is light, and compresses easily. I have used other strollers and they don't collapse nearly as flat. It is much lighter than other brands, but still feels every bit as sturdy. This one is also much simpler and intuitive to use, one push of the button and lift on the handle and it's collapsed. Opening it up is just as easy - release the latch and pull it and it snaps in place.
The carseat works just fine. Nothing particularly special about it - good or bad - to differentiate it from other car seats.
Great Deal on OnlineShopDealer!
This is an amazing deal here on OnlineShopDealer, for both the stroller and carseat. We pre-ordered this before the released date and were able to get it for a very reasonable price. The product arrived as advertised, and looks great in person. The stroller was a breeze to put together- it took me less than 5 minutes, while my husband got the baby ready for her stroll! Britax gives a $10 coupon for each item that you review on their website if you follow the instructions that come on a card along with the manual. We reviewed both the car seat and stroller and were able to get some accessories for less than their cost on their website. Happy parents!
My husband and I were given this as a gift for the birth of our upcoming son. I love how easy it is to fold up and assembly was a breeze.
Easy to put together, feels sturdy but isn't too heavy, great on gravel and grass!!! I love it. It goes really small for premies but also fits my chubby little baby! Great buy!
I purchased britax 2014 B Agile Travel system. The only difference I have found between 2013 and 2014 is in 2013 model canopy has got little bit change. If you look at both models you will see the fabric is now on the inside of the frame going around the front instead of wrapping around. They have also changed the canopy look see pictures below. There are 3 windows on the old and 2 on the new.
My wonderful in-laws got this set for us in black, and it is my favorite baby purchase to date. The car seat base latches in very securely. I love that it latches on instead of just having holes to weave the seatbelt through like some others. The stroller is so easy to maneuver and the sunshade is very large. Yes, my son gets a sweaty back when he is in the car seat, but he also does when he is in his swing, bed, bouncy seat, or basically anytime he has his back against anything. He is just a really sweaty guy. He doesn't complain or seem uncomfortable.
I can't say I understand any of the complaints with folding or unfolding the stroller. I have no problems folding/unfolding the stroller. I have never pinched a finger and getting the infant seat in and out of it is not difficult or awkward for me at all. (5' 4" female)
Note- when folding, you don't have to hold the button while you pull up the handle. Once you push the button in, it clicks and you are ready to pull the handle up to fold.
We are constantly getting compliments on our stroller, and for good reason. It is a very nice set! It maneuvers very well and looks nice. I love it and so does my baby.
The only downside? No cup holders. However, Britax has a stroller organizer on OnlineShopDealer that works great.
I am confident we selected the best system within this price range
We receive this stroller/carseat system for our firstborn as a baby shower gift.
It made our baby registry after spending comparing all the different systems on their cost, safety, weight, and effectiveness.
After 5 months of use, I am confident we selected the best system within this price range.
The Stroller is very easy to fold, use, and fold back. I can easily fold and unfold the stroller with one hand and my wife can do it two hands with minimum effort. The ride is smooth and it's easily maneuverable. One-handed steering is quite easy.
The wheels are definitely designed for indoor and smooth sidewalk or parking lot surfaces. I would not take this stroller on a gravel road nor a trail walk.
The car seat and the base are designed very well. The base easily attaches to your car. Using the premium push-button latch connectors, you can easily install the car base in a few minutes. We have bought an extra base for the 2nd car, so we can place the carseat in either of our cars. The base offer five seat position adjustments and the built-in level offers you a visual indicator that shows you the seat level is within the proper limits. After installing the base and placing our newborn into the carseat, I really thought to myself "that was easy." The carseat must be comfortable because our boy knocks off to dreamland whenever he's riding in this carseat.
Overall, the quality of the product is great. It was first recommended to us by a group of friends who were very satisfied with the product and now, I will highly recommend this product to anyone.
Sturdy and attractive
I love this stroller and car seat! The car seat is heavy, but that's something I'm willing to deal with for a car seat with excellent safety ratings. I picked the stroller because I was impressed with the metal frame (not all plastic garbage like a lot of the other ones sold in the store). The stroller is easy to open and close, not too heavy despite being very sturdy, and it even looks great! I never thought I would get compliments on my stroller, but I do! I must say that the steering isn't quite as good as I expected it to be (the front wheel seems to pull in different directions with variations in the ground surface), but it's still great compared to other models. I am very happy with this product.