Phil & Ted’s brand mojo is a tri-wheel stroller with inflated tires that can morph from a single stroller to a double with a toddler seat accessory. The company calls these “inline” strollers. The pitch is the ability to use the stroller from birth (with optional car seat adapter or bassinet) through toddlerhood and then as a double with a second child.
Founded in New Zealand, Phil & Teds exudes a Kiwi vibe: outdoorsy and unpretentious. FYI: Phil & Teds snapped up competitor and fellow New Zealand stroller line Mountain Buggy out of bankruptcy a few years ago and now runs that line as a separate brand.
The models. Phil & Teds flagship stroller is the Sport (pictured, $500 that includes the doubles kit on the back of the stroller). The Sport was formerly known as the Navigator and you’ll still find Navigators for sale on the net and in some stores.
Anyway, the Sport/Navigator hasn’t changed much and still features a large canopy, one-hand fold, adjustable handle and is car seat compatible. One new tweak: an upgraded auto stop function with both a lock and wrist strap, which is unique. Watch this video to see how it works:
The stroller has a large number of accessories, from storm/sun covers, to a travel bag, cold weather boot, cup holder and more. Accessories include a Snug Carry Cot ($150) and a Face-to-Face seat ($50), where the baby faces you. You can also use the doubles kit (the extra toddler seat; pictured) and an infant car seat at the same time.
What sets Phil & Ted apart is their second-child seat (included with some Sport strollers sold online; $150 extra accessory for others; for kids six months and up). This seat can attach to the FRONT or BACK of the stroller (for comparison, Valco’s toddler seat only attaches to the front). The rear seat configuration turns off some parents (safety hint: the child in the back seat has to be removed first to prevent tipping). And if you put a larger toddler in the back seat, the access to the stroller’s storage basket is limited.
Feedback on the Sport has been positive—parents tell us the stroller’s all-terrain 12” air-filled wheels are perfect for both the mall and hiking trails, plus the wide seat accommodates children for many years.
If the Sport looks too big for your tastes, Phil & Ted’s has a compact stroller—the Dot ($500, 26 lbs.). The Dot and the Sport share the same basic features and accessories. Even though the Dot is more compact than the Sport (by a little over an inch in width), the seat size is the same. The Dot’s width is a slim 23″ and now includes an upgraded mesh seat insert. For 2016, the Dot gets an upgraded mesh seat insert and taller front seat.
Two other strollers round out the inline category at Phil & Teds: the Verve and Promenade. The Verve ($729, 28 lbs.) drops the front air-filled wheels for foam tires—and adds a fourth wheel up front. You still get the option of adding a second seat, but there are only seven seat configurations for the Verve (versus 26 for the Sport). Hence, the Verve is more aimed at city dwellers than those who plan off-road adventures. New this year, you can fold the Verve with the second seat attached now. (A three-wheel version of this stroller with air-filled tires is called the Vibe, $600). The second seat for the Verve/Vibe costs $150.
The Promenade ($450, 28 lbs) is also aimed at urban parents, with a reversible seat that converts to a lay flat bed, adjustable handle, adjustable footrest and foam tires. The Voyager ($650) is an upgraded version of the Promenade and folds with the second seat attached. The seats can also be used as free standing bassinets.
If all these presto-chango features are too much for your tastes, Phil & Teds does make a simple lightweight stroller. The Smart ($400, 18 lbs.) has smaller wheels up front and bigger tires in back, and features a compact fold and one-touch brake, but no cup holder. In a recent update, the Smart got a reversible seat with a car seat adapter accessory ($29). For 2016, the Smart gets some small tweaks: new fabric and an extendable canopy.
Phil & Teds has an upgraded version of the Smart called the Smart Luxe ($400). It features air-filled rear tires and a lay-flat reversible seat (like the Promenade), as well as upgraded seat fabric. The upgrades (notably the air-filled rear tires) add quite a bit of weight to this version, however: it is 26.2 lbs.
For 2016, the Smart Luxe gets an entirely new version available as well with a bassinet that can be used off the stroller with a bassinet stand for night-time sleeping. It will feature smaller wheels that are calle aerotech, a blend of foam and rubber. The 2016 Smart Luxe Version 2 (24.7 lbs.) can be folded with the seat forward or rear-facing; it will sell for $450 and be out in the first quarter of 2016.
For serious runners with a serious bank account, Phil & Teds also has a jogging stroller: the Sub 4 ($900). Billed as the “world’s fastest jogger,” it features wishbone suspension, disc brakes and quick-release wheels.The seat is made from a variable density foam. And yes, it costs $1117.
Finally, Phil & Ted’s has decided to bring back the Dash ($550), a once discontinued model. It’s been spiffed up with new fabrics and includes a full recline. It takes a second seat ($150 extra) and now folds with that second seat attached.
Our view. These strollers are perfect for the outdoors—the air-filled tires are great for hikes, gravel paths or rough sidewalks.
Readers give Phil & Teds an enthusiastic thumbs up for a smooth ride and second-seat functionality. The height adjustable handle also wins raves. We like the little touches such as the flip-flop friendly brake pedal and new, bigger canopy. Cons: a few parents complain of tire blowouts (requiring the purchase of extra tubes). This is the trade-off of air-filled tires: they are best for gravel trails or rough sidewalks, but require more care (filling up the tires with air, fixing flats, etc.).
And why no included cup holder? For 500 bucks, the least Phil & Teds could do is include a place to hold a water bottle.
Critics wish there was wheel suspension on the Sport for a smoother ride. And one trade-off of the inline design is the rather long distance from the front to back of this stroller, making it a tight fit in smaller elevators. Some of the complaints about Phil & Teds come from parents who tried to use their inline strollers for jogging—even when you lock the front wheel into place, these strollers make a poor choice for runners. The weight and bulk of loading a Phil & Teds with two kids also makes jogging or running difficult. We suggest a fixed wheel jogger like the BOB Ironman for running.
Phil & Ted’s more urban-focused models (Promenade, Verve) receive good marks from readers. The Promenade is probably the pick of the litter here. The Smart and Smart Luxe get less love, as the lack of a height adjustable handle drag down their positives.
In the stroller wars, Phi & Teds has been somewhat eclipsed in recent years by Baby Jogger and BOB—thanks to the former’s quick fold and the latter’s more affordable prices. A BOB Revolution Double runs about $100 less than a Phil & Ted’s Sport with second seat accessory, but is wider with its side-by-side seat configuration.
Bottom line: if you need to transport two kids and like the idea of an in-line, all-terrain stroller, then Phil & Teds is a good bet. Baby Bargains Resale Rank: Excellent. Rating: A-
Amazon Customer Reviews: Phil & Ted’s Classic Stroller