I’m so excited to see the Maclaren stroller line come back to our stores! If you didn’t already know: Maclaren is the originator of the umbrella stroller design, so they’ve had 50 years to perfect their engineering, while competitors can only make knockoffs of the original to avoid patent issues. Maclaren’s function and design is top shelf, single malt. Aside from the BabyZen YoYo, a Maclaren is the lightweight stroller that’s least likely to rust, least likely to snap parts off, and least likely to make squeaking noises, and definitely the easiest to clean.
Until this latest round, Maclaren wasn’t a favorite among our crew – they cost more but didn’t offer as many “creature comforts” as the UPPAbaby G-series umbrella strollers. And we didn’t love their colors, either.
The 2016 Maclaren collection, on the other hand, makes them a legit contender: these strollers show much needed upgrades while maintaining price points that compete with the G-series family. In order to demonstrate what we love about the new Maclarens, let’s compare the new 2016 Maclaren Quest Umbrella Stroller with our current best selling umbrella stroller: the UPPAbaby G-Luxe. As Trebek says, “It’s all relative.”
- Maclaren: On the previous model, the flat, single panel coverage didn’t keep any of the sun out of kids’ eyes. The new Quest, on the other hand, has a drop-down sun visor and an extra zip-out panel that lets you pull it WAY down.
- UPPAbaby: Super extendable canopy that kept sun out of the eyes even in the evening hours.
- Maclaren: Previously drab, they now have some really fantastic 2016 colors. The new Quest is available in bold Cardinal/Silver, Plum/Marmalade, Medieval Blue/Silver, and Black/Silver.
- UPPAbaby: Absolutely beautiful, fresh jewel tones that everyone loves!
Features vs Price
- Maclaren: Previously, for about $200-290, you were getting fewer features like a leg rest, one-handed recline, extended canopy. As noted above, the new Quest has a larger canopy, plus an adjustable leg rest and a one-handed recline, and it costs $300.
- UPPAbaby: Before the price went up in 2014/2015, this was as decked out a stroller you could get in the price range. It now costs $260.
Stand/ Carry Options
- Maclaren: A carry handle that balanced the stroller weight perfectly was installed but didn’t seem to appear to impress enough people.
- UPPAbaby: The self-standing fold is actually a BIG deal to many parents. No bending down!
But the benefits of Maclaren’s old and new 2016 strollers have always been impressive…
- Maclaren: This is the BOB of the umbrella stroller world. Sturdy to the touch, holds up over the years, requires minimal tuning.
- UPPAbaby: The G-Luxe has a great, sturdy feel, but we’ve found that they may require tuning up over time.
Parts likely to need replacing
- Maclaren: In Boston, our weather drives stroller wheels into the ground, and it’s normal to need wheel maintenance on any stroller; as with any stroller wheels, Maclaren wheels will grind down unevenly after several years. But has umbrella stroller wheels go, Maclaren’s will easily go the furthest.
- UPPAbaby: UPPAbaby strollers are highly susceptible to rusty wheels. The frame is lightweight, but will start to squeak after a hard winter.
- Maclaren: Here’s a category Maclaren dominates! The fabrics are removable, they’re actually easy to clean, and they tend to not attract too much dirt.
- UPPAbaby: That super soft “satin” feel comes at a price: the light, bright colors and white fabric lining the stroller interior do tend to attract dirt.
Fold (FYI, both are one-handed folds)
- Maclaren: You can fold this stroller in 3 seconds flat if you can manage standing on one foot. You can even unfold it with one hand with some practice!
- UPPAbaby: Slightly awkward but totally functional. We’ve found that family members with dexterity issues or arthritis may have more trouble, though.
The new 2016 Maclarens have addressed the two common complaints they’ve ever had: canopy length and price. They cost between $150-300 and have not one but TWO built in canopy extensions. You’ll even notice they upgraded to the largest storage compartment available on the market. They continue to come with rain canopies on all models we carry (a normally $20 accessory from UPPAbaby), and maintain their one-handed fold/open. These updates combined with their continued excellence in design, function, and usability could place them at the top of the field they invented 50 years ago. Welcome back, Maclaren!