Bugaboo Bee 3

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In a nutshell

The third generation of the incredibly popular buggy that’s a celeb favourite and ideal for city dwelling families short on space.

  • Pros

    Light, compact, grows with your child from newborn to four, easy to manoeuvre with one hand, resale value.

  • Cons

    Expensive, can seem too low if you’re tall.

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Our review

The Bugaboo Bee 3 is the third version of this eye-catching compact pushchair, which first launched in 2007.

After a serious flaw in the production of its front wheels affected the 2011 model of the Bugaboo Bee +, the Dutch company has moved on from that setback to return with a new, improved version.

With the Bugaboo Bee already beloved by celebrities including Victoria Beckham and Myleene Klass, the new Bee 3 has also been given the seal of approval from the likes of Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt.

Watch our video review

Bugaboo has not only won awards in its native Holland, but also in the UK for products including the Buffalo, Cameleon 3 and Donkey. Gongs have been awarded from organisations including Top Gear and Prima Baby & Pregnancy.

The competitive compact market includes rivals like the Babyzen Yoyo (£375) and Stokke Scoot (£499), each with its own distinctive look, but Bugaboo lays claim to 64 possible colour combinations with the Bee 3, as well as its ergonomic seat design.

The standard Bugaboo Bee 3 costs £539, which includes an aluminium-coloured chassis, plus the reversible seat and a sun canopy. This is all you need, although you may find car seat adapters useful, and these cost £34.95 and fit Maxi-Cosi Pebble Plus and Cabriofix and Cybex Aton Q seats.

If you want to add on the carrycot, which is suitable from newborn, it’s a further £200, or £259.95 if you include a sun canopy. There is also the option to choose a black chassis, which adds £50 to the price tag, all of that together comes to £ 883.90.

This buggy is sold on being lightweight, so the big question is how lightweight is it?

The standard Bugaboo Bee 3 including the seat weighs in at 8.7kg, while using the buggy with the carrycot brings it up to 9.2kg.

It may not be as light as rivals like the Babyzen Yoyo – which weighs 5.9kg for six months plus, or 6.4kg from birth – or the Phil & Teds Smart buggy at 8kg, but it’s certainly light enough to lift easily. I could happily carry the Bugaboo Bee 3 up and down train station steps, even loaded with my 5-month-old baby and a bag.  

Does the weight or weightlessness affect the function or durability of the pushchair?

Not particularly, as every part of the buggy is really well-designed and made. The Bugaboo Bee 3 might be light in weight, but it packs a big punch in terms of its durability and features such as an extendable seat to grow with your child, easy fold mechanism and super manoeuvrability.

How does the Bugaboo Bee 3 feel when being pushed outside?

I love that the Bugaboo Bee 3 is so easy to push: it is really possible to manage virtually every manoeuvre with just one hand, which was really helpful to me while whizzing about with both my baby and a three-year-old in tow.

The beauty of the Bugaboo Bee 3 is that it has an adjustable handle, even though it’s so light and compact. This extends from its lowest height of 90cm to 108cm with a possible 10 positions. This was a really useful feature in our family, as I am 5ft 3ins, while my husband is a foot taller, but we could both find a handle height to suit us. The foam handlebar covering is comfortable to hold, but I know from previous Bugaboo experience that they do split after a couple of years of use.

The swivel front wheels are a key part of the manoeuvrability, but they do also lock into a fixed forward position for when you need to tackle a more challenging surface. The locking is quite basic – you push down a white-coloured plastic cylinder to lock the wheel – but the upside is that it’s simple. 

For me, the Bugaboo Bee is a city buggy. It feels light and zippy to push on pavements and roads, and is perfect for manoeuvring on public transport. Things start getting more clunky when you hit surfaces like cobbles, as the tyres are small, but the suspension does a reasonable job of cushioning the blows.

I did use the Bee 3 out in parks and on rough terrain like stony paths and grass, and it can handle a bit of off-roading when the front swivel wheels are locked in place, but I wouldn’t recommend it for that kind of heavy work every day.

I think the wider front wheels gives the buggy added stability, and I didn’t think they especially affected the movement. Having said that, I found a slight issue with getting past other Bugaboo Bees in very tight spaces if we were meeting front wheel to front wheel, where the buggy is widest.

The brake is a single pedal which works by clamping down on both back wheels when it’s pushed down. I found it worked really well to stop any movement and was easy to put on and then take off with a flick of my foot.

The older Bee + was criticised for having wheels that shimmy and move with the slightest touch, is it the same with the Bee 3? 

Luckily Bugaboo seems to have rid itself of this particular demon, as the shimmying wheels were a huge problem for the previous model. There is no sign of this issue with the Bugaboo Bee 3, and the front swivel wheels now simply act to increase the manoeuvrability.

How is it on public transport?

It’s an absolute dream to take on public transport for two main reasons: it is compact and it has incredible manoeuvrability. I used it on the bus and on the train and found it very easy to push down the central aisle of both. The Bee 3 fits neatly into the buggy space on a bus, and the fact the handlebar can be retracted helps with getting into tight spaces. It’s also light enough to be carried by one person, if you are in a station with no lifts.

So how sturdy is the frame?

Very. Despite its dinky appearance, this is a really tough buggy and the chunky curved frame has minimal joins, so it feels very strong when you’re pushing it.

The carrycot is a brand new function on the Bee 3 tell us about it.

The carrycot is a welcome addition as, despite the fact you can use the buggy from birth to age three even without the carrycot, it extends the options for how it can be used.

This is because the carrycot is very sturdy and comfortable, and can be taken off the buggy if your baby is asleep.

The strong fixed base and sides make it a standalone cot, so it would be great to take if you are travelling somewhere and need a bed for your baby. I also found it useful to be able to take the carrycot off the buggy to carry upstairs to our first floor flat when my baby was asleep.

But if you didn’t want to fork out £259.95 for the carrycot set including sun canopy, you can use the regular seat with the Bugaboo cocoon, which costs £69.95. It just depends whether you want to transport your sleeping baby in the carrycot.

Does this mean you’ll only ever have to buy one pram?

I think you can get away with one pram if you buy the Bugaboo Bee 3, especially if you have a second child but there’s a largish age gap. This is because you could also get the Bugaboo wheeled buggy board (£59.95) for an older child to use when they outgrow the Bee 3, while using the pushchair for a new baby.

Is it comfortable for your little one?

It is extremely comfortable. We tried out the Bugaboo Bee 3 with both the carrycot, and with the standard seat, and my baby was really happy in both.

The fleecy mattress at the base of the carrycot is very soft, although the foam is relatively thin at 2.5cm so I wouldn’t leave her in it for extended periods of time. The standard seat is padded, but quite hard, and so I used it with the Bugaboo Bee Cocoon, which made it incredibly cosy and comfortable.

And I enjoyed interacting with my daughter when she was in the Bee 3, as the different recline positions meant she was happy and I could see her easily. I liked the fact there was no bumper bar to get in the way.

The Bee 3 is recommended up to 17kg (approximate three years) will it last that long?

I used my previous Bee from my son’s birth until he was three, and he would still fit into it now six months later – especially if he is particularly tired.

The truly unique part of the Bugaboo Bee 3 is its seat. Not only does it recline into three positions and can be flipped easily from forwards to backwards facing, but the seat base and backrest are both independently extendable so it grows with your child.

The seat turns around to face forwards, and both the seat cushion and the back of the seat can be extended separately from each other to fit your child.

There are four positions for the height of the back, and three for the depth of the seat. I really like this feature of the Bee 3, as it makes the buggy much more comfortable as your baby grows up. I also like the fact there is an unobtrusive fixed footrest, which is good as your child gets older.

The three recline positions: upright; relax; and sleep are pretty easy to switch between, using the adjuster catch on the back of the buggy. It works by gripping your hand around it, squeezing, then moving the seat to the position you want, and I was able to do this with my baby in the buggy.

How high is the seat unit on the frame?

The seat unit is 54cm from the ground and while it does seem low compared to buggies like the iCandy Peach 3 or Stokke Xplory, in reality it is only a few centimetres different from the Bugaboo Cameleon. I found it really easy to interact with my baby in the Bee 3, so the height didn’t affect that.

It comes with a 5-point harness, what do you think of it?

I loved it. I found it easy to adjust the straps – a feature on the previous model that was not as well-designed – and I like that the shoulder straps and side/tummy straps can all be adjusted independently of each other.

This means you can get a really good fit. The button touch release on the harness is also a big improvement, and I felt my daughter was very safely and securely strapped into the seat.

What do you think of the fold system, is it quick, one-handed?

Although the folding mechanism isn’t one-handed, the system does fold down in one movement. I found this one of the easiest buggies to fold, once you get the knack.

As you press a button on each side of the handlebar simultaneously the buggy folds down on itself. I did find it slightly more tricky opening the buggy, as I found it difficult to get a really good foothold on the frame to pull it open.

When folded, the Bugaboo Bee 3 measures 89cm x 46 cm x 30cm (35 x 18 x 12 inches).

How does it compare with the older Bee buggies?

For me, the Bee 3 is a definite improvement on the previous model, the Bee+. This is because little niggles with the Bee+ such as the harness – which I found would come loose and was difficult to clip - has been given a makeover, while it also has new seat fabric and filling that is thinner and lighter. Fundamentally though, the distinctive design is the same, so Bugaboo has kept the best bits about the pushchair.  

What about storing it?

It’s really easy. The Bee 3 can be stored on its side, or flat when folded, and can fit into spaces such as under a bed. Because it can be folded with the seat still attached, this also saves space, and it’s easy to carry and lift into spaces such as luggage racks on public transport.

Does it fit in the boot of your car?

I can fit two Bugaboo Bee 3 pushchairs in the boot of my VW Golf – which is good news when I’m going out and about with a friend who has the same buggy. I find it really easy to load into the car for a weekend away, and can easily fit the Bugaboo Bee 3 into the boot as well as a travel cot and suitcase.

Is the canopy extendable?  What kind of protection does it offer?

The canopy extends well over your baby or child, both when the seat is reclined and upright, so it offers fantastic protection against the wind and sun.

I was a little dubious about whether the soft, light fabric would get soaked if it started raining and I didn’t have time to whip out the raincover, as the previous Bee models had a more durable weatherproof canopy. But, in actual fact, the new fabric did repel rain and the few droplets that collected could be wiped away, rather than soaking the fabric.

What are the basket and storage pockets like?

The Bee 3 has a large underseat basket with a 22L (5.8 gallon) capacity, which is larger than the previous model which had a 16L basket.

Essentially, it’s pretty big for a buggy this size as I could easily fit in the raincover, changing bag, baby carrier and a small bag of shopping.

The issue is if you have one very large item in there, as the shape of the chassis means two parts protrude and can make it difficult to pull out a large bag as it gets stuck on them.

Is the product value for money?

The Bugaboo Bee 3 is expensive, but taking a hit on the initial outlay is worth it, as this buggy is packed with features and can genuinely grow with your child over several years.

It’s well-designed, solid and sturdy, despite its small package, and has at least three years of use in it. There is also a strong resale market – so if you want to sell it on, chances are you’ll get a few hundred pounds back.

What’s in the box?

I tested out the Bugaboo Bee 3 with regular seat and carrycot, which included:

  • Chassis
  • Wheels
  • Main seat unit
  • Seat unit fabric
  • Sun canopy
  • Sun canopy wires and clamps
  • Raincover

Any additional extras?

  • Carrycot- £200
  • Carrycot sun canopy - £59.95
  • Car seat adaptors - £34.95
  • Black chassis option - £50
  • Bugaboo Bee3 Andy Warhol Sun Canopy & Tote Bag - £115
  • Baby Cocoon - £74.95
  • Seat fabric - £59.95
  • Seat liner - £39.95

Here are our 3 favourite things about the Bugaboo Bee 3 in a video.

Is it easy to put together?

Yes, the Bugaboo Bee 3 is incredibly easy to put together and quite self explanatory. The parts click together easily and it took me less than 15 minutes to put the whole buggy together with the carrycot, then take that off and try it with the regular seat unit.

MadeForMums verdict?

A stylish, durable buggy that’s perfect for urban families who’re short of space but big on whizzing about the city. Exceptional manoeuvrability, cute design, ergonomic features and its ability to grow with your baby from newborn until age four makes this a great buy.

The new standalone carrycot is a useful addition for families who need to be able to move their sleeping child without waking them. If you are able to invest in a Bugaboo Bee 3 it’s well worth the money – and has a high resale value to boot.

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