Britax Römer is a long-standing compact with a strong British-German heritage. Having made a name for itself with superior safety in the car seat market, but it now offers an array of family products, all driven by good design and safety.
Its Britax B-Lite is one of many pushchairs competing in the crowded lightweight stroller market. But what makes it stand out is its ingenious, compact fold. I’ve seen no other like it. Britax’s designers have taken the old scissor fold and given it a modern twist.
With an RRP of £180, it is very affordable compared to some of its compact competitors. The Babyzen Yoyo, for example, will set you back more than £350, while Silver Cross’s new Jet costs around £275.
It will definitely appeal to parents who want a cost-effective option without giving up on style.
The box is tall and slim. An unusual sight for me for a buggy. And lifting the B-Lite out of the box, it feels heavier than I expected. It looks sleek and thankfully you only have to attach the wheels and bumper bar. But where’s the rain cover?
How does the Britax B-Lite compare to other compact buggies you’ve used?
The seat is wonderfully spacious compared to others in this category. The fold isn’t as compact though so there’s no hope of getting it to fit overhead on a plane. Also, compared to other ultralight strollers, the B-Lite is the heaviest ‘lightweight’ buggy I’ve used.
What age is it suitable for, can it be used from newborn? What age do you think it’s best for?
Yes, it can be used from newborn (it has a near-flat recline, but we would recommend purchasing the additional carrycot for very young babies) up to 15kg (approximately 3 years old). The Britax B-Lite is great for toddlers. The seat is roomy and comfortable while it is still light to push.
How does the fold work?
The B Lite has a distinct double-action fold. In the first action the handlebar collapses down inwards, on itself at the central point – you can’t miss the release button. It has two arrow indicators which align to show when the handlebar is fully collapsed. Then a firm yank of the pull chord embedded in the base of the seat unit collapses the frame in a scissor fold.
Is it a single-hand fold?
I wouldn’t say the B-Lite has an outright single-hand fold as Britax claim. While the handlebar and frame collapse with one hand, you need two hands to fully press the frame together and engage the safety catch.
Does it unfold easily?
Yes and quickly. It unfolds and clicks at three places – the handle, cross bar and seat frame. Though the safety catch is on the left. Even for a left-hander like me, I get a bit hand-tied, crossing my arms to unclip the catch whilst flipping the frame out. One other thing to note, the auto-lock on the brake only works when the seat frame and cross bar are flipped out simultaneously. Hardly a major function, but handy when you’re fighting to get a reluctant passenger seated! You’re supposed to hold your foot down on the cross bar as you lock the seat frame and click the handlebar up and into place. I’m yet to 100% nail it.
How compact is the B-Lite when folded?
Collapsed, the B-Lite is longer than most of its competitors – its folded length is 77cm. Other lightweight buggies often have a compact fold as opposed to a scissor fold. As a comparison, both the Maclaren Quest and Silver Cross Zest umbrella strollers fold nearly 30cm longer but compress to a slimmer size than the B-Lite.
How lightweight is the Britax Römer B-Lite?
It’s not as light as I would like. Amazon classes light buggies up to 7kg. The B-Lite comes in at 7.4kg. On the other hand, the popular, compact Bugaboo Bee 5 weighs 9.9kg. If you need a lightweight choice to carry on and off public transport you’d be better off looking at the ultra-light GB Pockit (4.9kg) Joie Pact Lite (5.5kg), Silver Cross Zest (5.8kg) or Babyzen Yoyo (6.5kg)
How easy is it to push?
Britax call the B-Lite lightweight and nimble. It is. But it also juts on the slightest uneven surfaces like drain covers so it’s not always comfortable pushing. Thanks to the wide handlebar you can get a decent leverage to tackle different surfaces.
What do you think of handles?
You get a good grip from the soft, foam handlebar. Despite not being adjustable, the handlebar doesn’t feel too high like some strollers. Whether by design or not, it’s just right for myself and my husband at 6’4”.
How does it ride on different surfaces?
The B-Lite will serve you well in stores, shopping centres, flat grassland and sparsely-gravelled paths. It feels sturdy and a light enough push. On some uneven surfaces it struggles though. Despite the all-wheel suspension, parks, cobbles, riverside walks proved too much for the rigid wheels. The upside, the wheels are lockable. The downside, it’s really hard to manoeuvre around corners when the wheels are fixed. With less spring in suspension, it’s also harder to mount kerbs. But on the occasions where I’ve had to mount stairs, it feels stronger which doesn’t always happen with lightweight buggies.
How is it on public transport?
The tall, slim freestanding fold on the B-Lite makes it perfect for public transport and storing during peak-hour travel. But with no adjustable handlebar, there’s a little less wriggle room having it unfolded on a jam-packed train or bus.
Not much. The solid, plastic B-Lite wheels are hard-wearing but unyielding on uneven surfaces. Like most strollers the wheels are the same size, front and back. I can’t help thinking that perhaps it would benefit from bigger wheels at back like an all-terrain pushchair.
How easy is it to store?
The B-Lite has a compact, scissor fold. The freestanding function is particularly useful in cupboards and car foot-wells if you’re pushed for space. But stored lengthwise, it takes up more space at 77cm length.
Does it fit in the boot of your car?
Yes. But then I have a big boot. I tend to lie it flat in the boot. It would easily fit in a standard hatchback like a Ford Focus.
Is the frame strong, durable?
Yes. The seat frame is especially sturdy. No complaints. Though I do worry about the cross bar behind the shopping basket. While my instinct is to put my foot on it to get leverage unfolding the B-Lite, I don’t for fear it would buckle.
What do you think of the size of the seat unit?
The seat gets a big thumbs up. It’s spacious, adequately padded and there’s plenty of room for growth. The backrest length is 44.50cm and the seating area is 31x24cm.
How many recline positions are there?
The B-Lite has a multi-position recline which tilts back to a near-flat position. The pull mechanism feels a little flimsy compared to others I’ve used. It does make a slight rattling noise but it hasn’t malfunctioned at any point.
How comfortable does it feel for your little one?
The B-Lite is perfect for toddlers. Isabella enjoys the space she has in this seat. With most lightweight buggies the toddler’s legs are left uncomfortably hanging because their feet can’t reach the footrest. With the B-Lite Isabella’s legs are well supported by the adjustable calf support. The back of the hood unzips and rolls up so along with the mesh panels at side there’s better air circulation on hot days.
How is interacting with your little one when in the buggy?
As the B-Lite is only forward-facing you’re limited with how much interaction you can have when you’re on the move. Because the back of the hood unzips you can also use it to sneak a peep but it’s most effective when the seat is in lie-flat position.
What do you think of the hood?
The hood is a great size. It provides good coverage when in lie-flat recline and toddler is sleeping. It could be described as a bit flimsy, others might say it’s great that it’s not rigid. I say it does the job.
Tell us about the brakes.
There’s nothing dynamic to say about the brakes. The B-Lite uses a simple click-on and flip-up system which works well enough. The brakes don’t have an on-off colour indicator though. Overall the brakes hold well and there’s no unwarranted movement.
How easily can you access the basket and is it big enough to store everything you need?
Britax calls the basket spacious, I beg to differ. The basket’s maximum weight capacity is 4kg. And unfortunately, with the cross bar of the frame blocking access to the basket, it’s tricky getting items in and out. I always like to test baskets with an Aptamil container. The only way I could get it in was at the side of the buggy and even then I was struggling.
Who would the product be most useful for?
The B-Lite is suitable for all ages from newborn (with additional carrycot) to toddler. However, even though it is tested to 15kg, I’d imagine by the time you get to 3 years old it would be a hard push on uneven surfaces.
What’s in the box?
Frame with seat
4 x wheels
Are there an accessories you can/need to buy?
Britax Raincover (£18)
Click n Go Receivers car seat adapters (£18)
Soft Carrycot (£75)
Travel Bag (£25)
Britax nursery/changing bag (£55)
Is it easy/hard to build the product?
It was very easy to build the product. I was relieved that I built everything without having to open the instruction booklet(s). There are three. In different languages which at a glimpse looks confusing. It takes seconds to clip the wheels onto the buggy and then you’re all set to go. The bumper bar comes as a separate. It has ‘left’ and ‘right’ markings to show which side it slots in it. When it won’t slot in, you’ll know you haven’t got it right.
What would you have wanted to know before you purchased the item?
Remember my question about the rain cover? Disappointingly, the rain cover is sold separately so that adds another £18 to your bill. The B-Lite is travel system compatible so can be used with Britax and Baby Safe infant car seats although you have to buy additional Click n Go Receivers (car seat adaptors). You can also get a soft carrycot for newborns.
What impressed you most (if anything)?
The fold on the B-Lite is innovative and unforgettable. I’ve never seen anything like it. The comfort of the seat unit is also impressive. There’s so much space for Isabella to move at nap times, her legs are fully supported and the upright position is good enough so she doesn’t feel she’s missing out on seeing anything.
The B-Lite is a smart pushchair for city parents who are smart with their money. Its freestanding fold is designed to make storage easy and at £180 it will appeal to many. But you can’t have everything. You have to purchase the rain cover separately. And this is not the buggy for dog-walking parents or for the outdoorsy, active types. For quick, short, inner-city journeys this is a perfect choice.
Have a look at some more lightweight buggies for city living…
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