Bugaboo Donkey 5 pushchair review
In a nutshell
A stylish and attractive all-terrain, single-to-double premium pushchair that can comfortably take your little ones from the newborn to toddler days, providing your doors are wide enough
What we tested
4.6A star rating of 4.6 out of 5.
4.9A star rating of 4.9 out of 5.
- Comfort for child
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
4.9A star rating of 4.9 out of 5.
5.0A star rating of 5.0 out of 5.
- Worth the money
4.5A star rating of 4.5 out of 5.
- Easy switch between mono/duo mode, simple to fold, plenty of storage, comfortable, robust, luxurious feel, one-hand steer, performs well on all-terrains, adjustable frame to reduce width in single mode
- Expensive, bulky when folded, fiddly to assemble, too wide for some single doorways
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The Donkey 5 pushchair is the latest incarnation of Bugaboo’s popular single-to-double pushchair – or ‘mono’ to ‘duo’ as the brand would say.
This versatile workhorse has the quality (and pricetag) you’d expect from a luxury brand, with the unusual option of being either a side-by-side double or a single.
While most convertible buggies are designed as tandems (with one seat behind another), the Donkey can accommodate with a second seat or cot to the side, or work as a single buggy with a basket next to the seat.
Designed to accommodate a growing family, the Dutch brand claims that it’s the most versatile stroller on the block, and the fact this is the fifth edition certainly confirms its popularity.
The latest version has been designed in response to parental feedback, promising a serious upgrade on its predecessor, the Donkey 3 - which was released in 2020.
From top to bottom, the components have been tweaked and revamped, with the addition of new features that make the pushchair stand taller - quite literally - than its rivals. The focus of this upgrade has been comfort and closeness, with the star attraction being the raised seat feature to bring your baby nearer to you.
Kirstie Waterston tested the Bugaboo Donkey 5 in Mono and Duo mode with her two sons, aged five months and 28 months. The buggy was used in everyday scenarios such as in shops, parks and on country walks, but also on public transport during a family day trip to Edinburgh.
What were your first impressions of the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair?
Straight away my first impressions were positive, it’s obvious from the offset that the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo is a quality product. My husband remarked at how luxurious it felt and having never used a Bugaboo before, it certainly met our expectations that this would be a high-end product.
How easy was the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo to build?
The main box comes complete with a QR code which allows you to scan to access a handy Bugaboo YouTube video on how to assemble the pram. There is also an instruction booklet, reminiscent of a logbook you might get with a new car, which was a nice touch as it added to the overall feeling of luxury. I liked having the paper instructions to refer to, as at points during the video, it was hard to follow thanks to the navy fabric of the carrycot / seat blending in with the black chassis of the pram on the screen.
Overall, it took around 40 minutes to build the pram, the seat and the carrycot. We were able to construct the chassis in minutes, but it took longer to work out the canopy for the additional toddler seat, which I found to be quite fiddly.
Once the toddler seat was built, it was very easy to configure with the chassis - it just slides into the two uprights and clicks into place, alongside the carrycot which clicks into the other two uprights.
How does the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo compare to previous versions of the pushchair?
Bugaboo has billed the Donkey 5 as the ingenious two-child ride that helps siblings of different ages bond and share experiences and it comes with a raft of new features designed to make life with two young children easier, taking them from birth to toddler age and beyond.
As a result of user feedback, the fold system has been upgraded with the release buttons moved to the front for a more effortless fold. Its predecessor, the Donkey 3, had buttons on the underside making the folding movement more tricky.
Another new design addition is the breezy bassinet smart windows. In hot weather the flap on the carrycot can be opened to reveal a mesh window to encourage airflow, allowing the baby to better regulate its temperature. The flap shuts firmly with magnets and has been tested to withstand winds of up to 50mph, so in cooler climates there's no danger of your baby getting cold.
For older infants, the toddler seat has been raised by 3cm and undergone a makeover to bring your toddler closer to you and more able to engage with the world around them. The seat has new, improved shoulder pads for extra comfort, a quick-click safety harness that’s not too fiddly for a wriggly toddler and the seat can also be rear or front facing. The raised seat also brings the advantage of making the under-buggy basket more accessible, as parents previously complained it was difficult to access.
The Donkey 5 also comes in four new colour options - Forest Green, Midnight Black, Stormy Blue and Grey Melange - in upgraded, soft-to-the-touch, durable fabric and features integrated attachment points for those must-have accessories such as a cup holder and wheeled board if you did want to purchase those later.
Is there a Bugaboo Donkey 4?
The Donkey 5 is the latest version of the popular pushchair, following the launch of the Donkey 3 in 2020. Interestingly, Bugaboo say they never release a version 4 in any of their pushchair models, as it's considered an unlucky number in China.
How do you rate the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair’s carrycot?
The carrycot is suitable from birth to six months, or a maximum weight of 9kg/20lbs and it's safe to say my baby and I both loved its design, from its cosy finishings to luxurious feel. It’s also very sturdy, spacious and more like a crib bassinet than a pram bassinet, with a bit of weight to it. There was plenty of room for my baby to lie with his arms up, his preferred way to sleep, and I liked that even with a pram suit on, there was still space for him to move his arms around.
The outer fabric is high quality, showerproof and dense, meaning my baby was well protected from the elements. The inside is so soft and cosy that he napped like a dream every time we went out. I’m sure this was largely down to the plush, aerated mattress which is so breathable that Bugaboo says is even suitable for babies to sleep on their tummies.
I was also a fan of the Donkey 5’s new, added ‘breezy carrycot’ feature, which helps to keep your baby cool on hot days while also allowing them to peep out and watch the world go by.
How easy is the carrycot to add and remove on the Bugaboo Donkey 5?
It is very easy to add or remove the carrycot, thanks to its memory buttons on either side of the Donkey 5. Simply push each button until it locks down and lift the carrycot or seat upwards to remove. In Duo mode it’s slightly awkward slipping your hand between the two seats to access the buttons, but that’s a minor inconvenience as the memory buttons are a godsend.
It is not recommended that you lift the carrycot off with your baby in it; while I don’t doubt the strength and durability of the bar, it’s not worth risking an accident.
Is the Donkey 5 Duo carrycot suitable for overnight sleeping?
No. Despite its cosy, crib-like feel, it is not recommended for babies to sleep in at night, with Bugaboo stating that they emphatically do not recommend overnight sleeping and the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo is not a substitute for a cot.
What do you think about the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo’s toddler seat?
The Bugaboo Donkey 5’s toddler seat is brilliant, robust and more like a car seat in its design. It has a reassuringly solid base and is covered with the same thick, luxe, padded fabric as the carrycot and has a rotating carry handle. You can tell the toddler seat has been designed thoughtfully with comfort in mind, but also practicality as the fabric is water resistant and easy to clean.
It’s very upright and sits a lot higher up on the chassis - having been raised by 3cm compared to Bugaboo’s previous models - and sits 57cm from the ground. This is perfect for a curious toddler who wants to touch and see everything, but also means a younger baby is closer to you in rear-facing mode. The raised seat height is a new design feature from Bugaboo to encourage bonding between your toddler and a baby sibling, and my two-year-old loved interacting with his baby brother.
The seat reclines in three positions - upright, reclined and flat - in Mono and Duo mode by lifting the lever behind the hood. It’s a simple and gentle movement, ideal for carefully tilting back a toddler who has dozed off.
Another feature parents will appreciate is the five-point harness where the straps clip in individually, rather than trying to hold several in your hand while dealing with a flailing toddler. The straps are very secure and have the sort of protective padding you see on car seats. Designed to last up to 22kg, the seat should see your child through from infancy to around 4-years-old, and there’s certainly plenty of growing room for both my sons.
How big is the pushchair hood on the Donkey 5 Duo pushchair?
Where other flimsier hoods would have failed, the Bugaboo proved to be more than a match for the unpredictable Scottish climate, when a heavy downpour caught us by surprise on a countryside walk.
The hood unzips to generously extend forward and the fabric is water-repellent, so the droplets danced off as quickly as they landed. Not only was my baby completely dry, he was utterly oblivious to the storm having slept through the commotion. Being able to extend the hood is also a blessing on sunny days to keep your baby in the shade, while the peekaboo window also acts as a vent to let airflow in.
My only criticism of the hood is that the mechanism sticks out on either side meaning it does tend to catch in doorways the buggy should otherwise fit through.
How strong is the Donkey 5 Duo chassis?
The chassis is very sturdy, made of black plastic offset with a subtle but elegant, matt graphite frame. In the Midnight Black and Forest Green design, the chassis is all black to compliment the seat and carrycot colours. While it may look stylish, it also proved to be durable, escaping with no scuffs or scrapes when squeezing through a single doorway.
At first I thought the chassis looked quite chunky, but with the wheels and the added components, it’s perfectly in proportion and I really like the overall aesthetic. It strikes a perfect balance between practical and pretty, with Bugaboo customer reviews often complementing its sleek design.
Is the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair good as a double pram?
What makes the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo unique is its three-click system to transform it from single to duo or twin configuration, and I was pleasantly surprised that it really was as simple as that.
The combination of a carrycot and a forward-facing seat worked really well for my boys given their ages. A customer review on Bugaboo also complimented the versatility of the stroller, branding it a major win for parents with young children.
Both me and my toddler could see the baby, and he was full of smiles being able to see his big brother too. I sometimes found my view of his face was obscured by the carrycot bar, so I did make a point of bending over to look at him, but more often than not he was so snug that he was fast asleep.
My toddler enjoyed parading around like an emperor from his lofty vantage point and was definitely comfortable because he wasn’t hemmed in on a narrow seat. In fact, seeing his cheery face, so many people remarked upon and admired the buggy, with two tourists complimenting us on our fantastic carriage while out and about in Edinburgh.
How does the Bugaboo Donkey 5 fare as a single buggy?
The Donkey 5 is fab and functional as a single buggy in Mono mode. I particularly loved the addition of the side luggage basket which stores all the essentials and more up to 10kg. It’s effortless to push around and in single mode, you’d never know it’s a double in disguise because the frame slides into itself to make the buggy narrower so there’s no bulk.
How easy is it to fold the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair?
Folding is very straightforward in Mono or Duo mode, in fact it’s probably the easiest buggy I’ve ever folded:
- You simply hold down the buttons on either side of the handlebar with your thumbs and it collapses down. Customer reviewers on Bugaboo also noted that it is easy to fold after a few tries
- I preferred to remove the carrycot and seat, and fold the buggy while it was in single mode, but you can fold it with them attached
How compact is the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo when folded?
I found that once folded with the carrycot or toddler seat attached, the buggy felt chunky and a bit unstable. While you can fold it in double mode as well as single, I didn’t think there was much advantage to having it folded in the house at all, because it was still so bulky.
The Donkey 5 was easy enough to lift into the boot of our Skoda SUV, but the chassis, carrycot, seat and side bag took up most of the boot leaving little room for other essentials such as luggage and a travel cot for our weekend away. Our boot is fairly generous so I really think people with a smaller car might struggle. You can deconstruct the buggy further by taking off the wheels and flattening the carrycot if you were perhaps going on a longer trip, but it would be a real task if you had to do that on a daily basis.
How easy is the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair to push and steer?
The buggy pushes like a dream. I was a bit sceptical that something so robust could be light, silent and dare I say it, elegant, but it proved to be a smooth ride for its young passengers.
On pavements you can easily steer one-handed and it has a tight turning circle so is very easy to manoeuvre around obstructions. Unlike other buggies, the Bugaboo Donkey 5 is not defeated by grass and quite easily pushes over pitches at the park.
I found the buggy tackled bumpier surfaces such as steep kerbs and cobbles well and my baby wasn’t rattled around inside the carrycot, as the large, foam-filled wheels absorb a lot of the movement. Reviews on Bed, Bath and Beyond also supported this point, noting that the buggy is very strong and easy to manoeuvre.
When in single mode, it’s so lightweight that even my two-year old was able to help push his brother while we were enjoying a country walk - particularly as I could lower the handlebar to his height. Even in Duo mode it felt effortless to push, and compared to competitors such as the smaller, Baby Jogger City Double, the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo is much more user-friendly and needs less effort to push. I found it far easier to lift up kerbs without the same strain as I do with the Baby Jogger, because the weight of both the children feels better distributed.
However, when going downhill in Duo mode with both my children, the buggy’s weight became more apparent, and felt like it was running away from me on steeper slopes. Edinburgh is a hilly city and on a couple of occasions, I asked my husband to help because I felt like I was losing my grip slightly. For this reason I would really recommend using the wrist strap on steep, downhill terrains for extra stability.
Can you take the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo pushchair on public transport?
We took the Donkey 5 on a day trip to Edinburgh by train in Duo mode and it didn’t fit through the narrow carriage doors so we were very aware that we were blocking at least one of the sets of doors at any time and most of the lobby.
However, this is more of a reflection of how inaccessible public transport is rather than the size of the buggy, because a wheelchair or even single buggy would also have been too wide to fit into the seated part of the carriages. There was a lot of dancing around other very forgiving passengers trying to squeeze past us.
I don’t know how confident I would be taking it on trains by myself because there was no ramp when we boarded, so my husband had to lift the front of the pram up two steep steps onto the train.
Is the handle on the Bugaboo Donkey 5 pushchair adjustable?
Yes, the handle is adjustable from 33.8inches to 41.7inches - just unclip it on either side and slide to the desired height. I think an adjustable handle is a must on a double buggy because you need to be able to put your weight behind it to lift two children up kerbs and I find this tricky on pushchairs where the handle is too high. A friend of ours with mobility issues also appreciated being able to adjust the handle to a height that was comfortable for her when pushing our baby. As well as being practical, it is also stylish, with its leather-look padded handle, making it very comfortable to push and hold.
How do you rate the Donkey 5’s wheels?
The puncture-proof, all-terrain wheels are very substantial making the buggy a breeze to push on a multitude of surfaces, while on pavements you can easily steer one-handed. The front swivel wheels measure 10 inches across, and the rear wheels are a generous 12 inches.
Their size means that the buggy can easily tackle uneven pavements, grass, country paths and cobbles, but like most buggies doesn’t get very far on gravel. The wheel size also means the front wheels don’t go sideways and jam on pothole-filled pavements, which is something I also struggled with using the Baby Jogger City Double.
How good are the brakes?
There is a small foot brake on the left hand side meaning you don’t kick it while walking, it’s easily applied, and holds the buggy firmly and safely.
What is the weight limit for the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo’s basket?
The basket is one of my favourite things about the buggy. It’s huge and can be accessed from the front and back when in carrycot mode. The design means it can easily hold a bigger bag and there is also a little netted compartment at the front which is ideal for storing toddler snacks.
The real test came when I went to the supermarket and ended up doing a larger shop than planned, with everything fitting into the basket underneath with ease. It’s deep as well as wide and can hold a maximum weight of 22lbs. When in single mode, the wide basket concertinas down, but remains generous in proportion.
Can the Donkey 5 Duo be used with a car seat to create a travel system?
Yes, you can buy an adapter to make the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo compatible with Maxi Cosi and Britax Romer car seats. The Turtle Air by Nuna is also designed to work with all models of the Bugaboo, except the Ant.
How does the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo compare to similar side-by-side pushchairs?
|Product name||Weight (Kg)||Unfolded width||Folded size (Hcm x Wcm x Lcm)||RRP (£)|
|Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo||14.8kg||74cm||35cm x 60cm x 89cm||£1530|
|Out ‘N’ About Nipper Double||12.8kg||72cm||42cm x 72cm x 90cm||£659|
|Mountain Buggy Duet||14.5kg||63cm||31cm x 63 cm x 89cm||£709|
|Baby Jogger City Tour 2 Double||10.5kg||66.5cm||25cm x 66.5cm x 63cm||£484|
What’s in the box?
- Carrycot frame and fabric
- Seat frame and fabric
- Aerated mattress and mattress cover
- Two sun canopies/hoods
- Underseat basket
- Side basket
What are the additional accessories that you can buy?
- Footmuff £124.95
- Newborn inlay £84.95
- Dual comfort seat liner £59.95
- Parasol £37.50
- Sun canopy £84.95
- High-performance rain cover £64.95
- Wheeled buggy board £104
- Cup holder £24.95
- Smartphone holder £34.95
- Stroller changing bag organiser £49.95
- Snack tray £44.95
- Transport bag £144.95
- Mosquito net £16.95
Now you’ve tested it, what would you have wanted to know before purchasing the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo?
There’s no getting away from the fact that this is still a side-by-side double buggy, so with the best will in the world it is still a hefty bit of kit. At 74cm wide in Duo mode, Bugaboo emphasises that it should fit through standard doorways. However, it didn’t fit through our modern back door which is 72cm wide - luckily we have a wider Victorian front door, but not everyone will have the luxury of choice.
It’s actually wider than the three-wheeled, off-road Out ‘N’ About Nipper Double by 2cm which surprised me because I always think of the Nipper Double being quite cumbersome in appearance.
With that in mind, before purchasing the Donkey 5 Duo, I would want to make sure that it would fit comfortably in the house. There's no point in having a beautiful buggy if it doesn’t meet needs as basic as entering your home. If your baby is napping, it’s not practical or safe to leave them outside unattended, if you even have outside space. It’s difficult to see how the Bugaboo would work in a small apartment, for example.
I would measure doorways and the car boot before purchasing this buggy. And given its price point is at the more expensive end of the market, I would probably try before buying, to see and feel the pushchair in person before investing.
It’s also worth noting that those buying a buggy for newborn twins should purchase the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Twin rather than the Duo, as it comes with the configuration for two carrycots. The Donkey Duo would be suitable for twins old enough to sit in the toddler seat part.
Who would the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo be most useful for?
The Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo is ideal for families with two young children who are close in age, or forward-planning, expectant first-time parents who know they would like to expand their family.
With 23 months between my boys, this was a perfect pushchair to meet the needs of a toddler who isn’t yet old enough to walk substantial distances, and a growing baby who still needs good naps while out and about.
Although a pricey purchase, this could be the only buggy first-time parents ever need to buy. It can be used in Mono mode for your first child then extended as your family grows, lasting from birth to up to 4-years-old.
Is the Donkey 5 Duo worth the money?
At £1,530 the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo is expensive, but you get a lot of value for your money and a high-quality product to justify a high-end price. The options of Mono and Duo configuration, along with the pushchair’s multi-terrain capability, mean the Donkey 5 Duo could be a worthwhile investment for families who might otherwise purchase a single buggy, off-road buggy and then a double pushchair as their family grows.
Where can I buy the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo?
It is available from Bugaboo, John Lewis and Mamas & Papas
With the Bugaboo Donkey 5 Duo, the brand has fine-tuned an already popular pushchair, producing an innovative product that has potential for great longevity. It can comfortably take your little ones from the newborn days to preschool days - and with that, commands a premium price tag. Bugaboo can be commended for a brilliant buggy that ticks both the style and substance boxes, and for successfully creating a side-by-side duo that doesn’t compromise on comfort, as long as you can fit it through your door.
Kirstie Waterston is a journalist with over 10 years’ experience in Scottish news as a reporter, sub-editor and head of production at the Aberdeen Evening Express.
|Model||Donkey 5 Duo|
|Dimensions & Weight|
|Dimensions||H:111cm W:60cm L:85cm|
|Dimensions (folded)||H:90cm W:60cm L:52cm|
|Child age (approx)||Birth to 4 years|
|Child weight||Up to 22kg|
|Travel system compatible||Yes|
|Compatible car seats|
|Seat facing direction||Forward facing and parent facing|
|Front wheels||Lockable swivel|