Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Stroller Review (Maclaren Major vs Special Tomato EIO Push Chair

So...here is the long anticipated stroller review. It's a little anticlimactic, while I have lots to say about each of them, I'm still unimpressed with what's out there. There are things I like and things I dislike about both of them...if only we could take some of the features from each and make our own custom stroller!!!! So without further ado...

The Maclaren Major  delivered 10/09/12 (most of the add ons came a couple days later...still waiting on the shopping basket)

-it's very low profile (folds easily and is compact like a typical umbrella stroller, despite having a much more heavy duty frame)
-is lightweight (16.5lbs)
-it moves easily, smaller footprint
-it sits much higher off the ground (her feet were nearly touching the ground in her triumph)
-it has a rain cover (for an additional $57.95)
-high quality construction/materials (fabric, straps, buckles, etc...)

-it's very open, almost looks unsafe (I purchased the padded laterals which do fill in the sides and provide a little more stability to the whole thing, but they have to come off before you can fold it and they are made of styrofoam so they're a little hard and bulky)
-I'm a little afraid she'll kick the footplate (or the bars behind it) with her feet and hurt herself...but the footplate does come off (the bars behind it don't)
-seat depth is lacking (the triumph was 9", this is only 10")...doesn't provide much support
-everything has to come off before you can fold it (sunshade, foot plate, lateral supports)-that's a big hassle just to get it in your car
-the price- it was $526.95 for just the stroller with footplate (the sunshade $57.95, the shopping pocket underneath $47.95, seat padding $68.95, chest pad $33.95, & padded laterals $44.95 are all additional costs...making it $780.70 almost double the price of the other stroller)
-the sunshade is fixed (so you can't move it to block the sun and you also can't push it back when you don't need it...your only option is to remove it)
-the rain cover only works if you have the sunshade
-fixed 25 degree recline (You can't move it at all...it's never completely upright, but neither is the other stroller, and it also can't recline any further so it wouldn't be super comfortable to sleep in and if we needed to change her diaper, changing it the stroller would not be an option.)

My question is...why can't they design this better...more like their "typical" strollers?? Why don't they have a built in, foldable sunshade on it, why doesn't it come with a shopping pocket underneath, and why does the fabric not wrap around the bars on the side...all things that come standard on their "typical" strollers which are 1/3 the price!!  (We're having this same issue with our Britax special needs carseat...which has a flimsy, worthless headrest that is sub par compared to the headrest on their "typical" Boulevard carseat that is 1/3 the price!)

This is the Maclaren Major as it comes (pretty sparse)

The Major compared to the Triumph

The Major with all the add ons (minus the footrest)...see those bars behind her feet? Her therapists are afraid she could get her foot caught in them!

The Major the way we would probably use it (without the sunshade)...you can see that the seat depth is just not great with it. There's not a lot of support behind her knees because of it...but how important is that just for short trips to the doctor? I don't know?

The Special Tomato EIO Pushchair (delivered 10/12/12)

-variable recline (25-75 degree)
-price (at $449.95, it's half the price of the Maclaren)
-everything comes standard (the padded seat, sunshade, shopping basket, lateral supports are all included at no extra cost)
-better foot rest (it can be at multiple angles and provides more leg support...there's more of a chance Reagan would use this one, but it can also be moved out of her way as well)
-easy to push (wheels seem to move easily handle bar is adjustable)
-you don't have to remove anything to fold it (and unfolds easily and quickly because everything is already attached)

-cheaply made (straps, buckles, snaps, fabric...it's just not the same high quality as the Maclaren)
-complicated to fold (the seat back has to be all the way down, the foot rest has to be down, and the clamps that have to be unlocked to fold are not easy to manipulate)
-still HUGE when folded
-feels much heavier (22lbs)
-bulky sunshade (while this can be taken off, it's made to be attached and looks a little strange when not on)
-not a lot of support (I have the straps as tight as I can get them and they still are loose and not supportive and the laterals don't provide much extra support either)
-the extra fabric from the seat doesn't fold away neatly and it sticks out near her head (same thing for the sunshade)

I feel like this is more of an intermediate stroller, somewhere between an umbrella stroller and a jogging stroller. It's way too bulky to be a true umbrella stroller, but not enough maneuverability or comfort to be a jogging stroller. We would get this one hands down if it would just fold like an umbrella stroller...but truth be told, it doesn't even fold up to the size of our larger jogging stroller!! I'm afraid it's just too bulky to be our easy in and out stroller!

Side by side comparison...(these are my measurements...differ slightly from the ones posted online)

Maclaren                                   Special Tomato
21"             seat back height        23.5"
10"               seat depth               11.5"
15"         seat width w/o laterals   13.5-14"
11.5"        seat width w/ laterals   9" at narrowest point
13"            dist to ft rest               12"
              @ lowest position
110lbs         max child weight       90lbs
21x28(33)  dimensions (w/handle)   23x36(44)
1yr             basic  warranty         2yr

Looking at the specs, there appears to be more growth with the Special Tomato, but the weight limit is higher with the Maclaren. Doesn't make a lot of sense. If I had to pick one right now, it would probably be the Maclaren. It's light and compact...which is really what I wanted for doctors appts and quick errands. It's more expensive, but it's more sturdy and looks like it will last longer. We know Maclaren, we like Maclaren (and I wanted to like the Major). Our triumph is still in perfect condition and we've used it A LOT! My hesitation, and it's a BIG one, is really the safety issue with the bar behind her feet and the fact that the seat depth is severely lacking. IF the special tomato collapsed better, I would probably just get that one, since the seat depth is better and so is the footrest. But it's so huge, I just can't go with that one! So since I don't really have to pick either...I've decided to ship both of them back and just make due with our current jogging stroller (Baby Jogger Summit XC) for now and look into getting the next step up...the Baby Jogger Liberty! I sure hope I was able to help some of you in your stroller hunt...I hope this was not all for naught (especially since it cost me $60 in shipping just to send back the special tomato stroller)!


Clarissa said...

Wow! Very interesting and helpful, thank you! The Special Tomato *looks* like it woulde be best, but then with Reagan in it, you can tell it's not that supportive. :( And the Maclaren looks supportive with all the add-ons and with Reagan in it, but I would NOT like those bars behind the feet... Abigail wuld for sure get her feet twisted up in them. :( It's so sad that strollers that cost so much can't be more custom made and comfortable.

Miracles Happen said...

Have you thought of a thomas shilfen. WE got one for Tyler and though it is not the prettiest thing n the block it does work well. It doesn’t fold up SMALL like an umbrella one. But it does fold up pretty small. It has the foot rest and everything. It is a Swify if you want to look it up

DEVIN said...

Thank you for taking the time to do this, it is greatly appreciated :)) what type of Seating system do you have for Reagan?

Reagan Leigh said...

Reagan has already exceeded the height limit for the swifty...at 5yo she's 43" tall & 40lbs. The wheelchair we have for her is Freedom Designs NXT folding tilt in space. It works well in the house and for certain outings, it's just not something we want to use for Drs appts (too bulky, heavy, & complicated for quick trips).

helenmelons said...

hi, love your reviews, we currently have the major and looking at the tomato but very interested in babyjogger city elite but noticed you have the other one, just wondered how you get on with that currently and a picture of your pretty girl in it for size comparison to the major? my boy is not yet 3 but quite tall, i find the major is very hard on the arms and bit of a bone shaker for me and him.

Oksana Kaftanatiy said...

Thank you so much for this review, I've been stroller shopping for my 19 month old son and its very hard to find a regular stroller that would accommodate him with all his needs. I've been looking into the the special tomato stroller since it looks like it has more features that we need. I'm prepared for bulky, my biggest concern is the metal side rails. My son likes to tilt his head to the side and my current stroller has screws for the sunshade on both sides. So my question here is does the special tomato stroller have padding on both sides when stroller is in its highest up right position? I would love to know before we decide to order it. The Maclaren stroller seemed to have add on padding for their rails.

Anonymous said...

What about the convaid cruiser? Its very compact and light like maclaren, but it doesn't have those cumbersome bars behind her legs. The sad thing is that these companies make large amounts if money by NOT including the supports like their standard non special needs items. They know that parents will buy all of the extras for their kiddos. Your daughter is precious.

Shahara said...

Oh Awesome stroller!!!Now At this age, it's all about distraction. Sawyer hates his car seat and hates his stroller, but he is so distracted by his stroller bugs most of the time that he doesn't realize how miserable he is. So tough being that kid, I tell you :)

The Davis Family said...

This was incredibly helpful. Thank you! I am shopping for a stroller for my 6-year-old and can't get insurance to cover it. Really helps to see these two side by side and hear your thoughts on them. Wish there was a perfect option.

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Jenn @ Beautiful Calling said...

Thank you for your reviews!
We currently have the Otto Bock Kimba Spring Tilt-in-Space Mobility System which is great when we are taking our van. We keep it intact and just put it in and out the side of the van as we have removed one of the captain seats. I've been looking for something that collapses though. My son is now able to walk short distances (yay) and I wanted something a little less bulky for plane/travel. He's 4 (he'll be 5 next month) and he's 46" and 55 pounds. I've been thinking of the Special Tomato as there is one listed for $300 here on our local buy/sell site...I appreciated your in depth review!

Unknown said...

Does anyone want to sell one?

Unknown said...

Does anyone want to sell one?

pinkpearls said...

Hi! I've been searching for a stroller for my very tall 6 year old. Have you had any luck?

Kallie said...

Ok, so we've had both of these. We started out with a Maclaren Major as a loan from PT, then got the EIO covered through insurance about 9 months later. I liked the same things you di about the Maclaren (light and compact), but I HATED that you had to remove the side supports and footrest to fold it. That was our dealbreaker. We had to fly for some medical appointments and I just didn't know how that would work with leaving a stroller at the gate! I also didn't like that there wasn't a storage basket, the sunshade pinched my fingers every time I attached or removed it (eventually we just stopped using it), and no good place to hang the feeding pump backpack.
The EIO is a plus because it reclines and I can still change my 4-year-old's diaper pretty easily in it, which is great because he's getting too big for changing tables. Has a great handle and storage basket. It handles really well. We keep the shades off, they're just too bulky and this is our indoor stroller (we use a Graco Relay jogger for walks). However, I HATE the harness, too! It's worthless! Also, the seat is not supportive and allows way too much slouhing. We're getting the soft-touch liner soon and I really hope that helps! Finally, yeah, the whole thing is super bulky when folded. Our biggest vehicle is a Ford Escape and the stroller pretty much takes up the whole trunk. It stinks but we may need a bigger car just for the stroller. Road trips are pretty much impossible with that and all the other medical gear we'd have to pack. Thanks for the review - it was fun to see someone else speak my language!

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Parenting Pick said...

This is a great list! I wish there had been more options for triplets strollers. We had the peg Perego & it was awesome with infant seats but became very cumbersome once the boys outgrew them. I didn't use a stroller much after they turned one because of it & switched to a wagon. Your stroller looks amazing! :)
Check out the best baby carriers for hiking reviews. Thanks!

Parenting Pick said...

These are some of the strollers I am considering. There are lots of choices out there but these are the ones that I think give you the biggest bang for your money.Read about the best baby bottle sterilizer dryer reviews. Thanks!