Umbrella-fold buggies are so called because, unsurprisingly, they fold up like an umbrella. This basically means you flip a switch at the back of the buggy and it collapses onto itself.
The pros of this are that they’re quick and easy to fold, so great for getting on and off public transport or in and out the back of a car. The models with this type of folding mechanism are usually pretty lightweight, too. And as many lightweights aren’t suitable from birth, you may need to look around to find umbrella-fold buggies that are suitable from birth (they do exist though!).
The downside is that when folded, they are still the same length – just flatter – so you do need quite a long boot.
Fold in half
Essentially, this does exactly what it says on the tin – the buggy folds in half. A good example is the Mamas & Papas Mylo – you simply fold the seat forward along the crease, which reveals a handle underneath. Then you lift this handle and the buggy folds in half, letting you pick it up like a suitcase.
The perfect example of a 3D-fold buggy is the Quinny Zapp. It first folds in half, taking the handles towards the front wheels, then the width of the buggy is reduced by the frame folding inwards, so the wheels come together and meet in the middle.
The obvious advantage of buggies with a 3D-fold is that they’re smaller and easy to carry when folded. However, it does usually require both hands. You do have to completely empty the shopping basket first, otherwise it won’t fold up properly. This can be a bit of a faff if you’re out and about with lots of stuff, as you’re then left with a folded buggy and tons of bags!
Collapse on top of its own footprint
At the flick of a switch, the top section of the buggy collapses, face-up, onto the wheels. The wheels either stay where they are, or the front one tucks underneath.
An example is Mountain Buggy’s Swift, all-terrain 3-wheeler. The footprint of this buggy remains the same, so it’s quite large and square once folded, so you’ll need some decent space to store it. However it’s an easy folding style.
Fold with wheels on/off
Nearly all buggies fold with their wheels still on as most manufacturers want to make folding as quick and easy for parents as possible. However, there are a number of models that allow you to remove the wheels if necessary, for ease of storage or to make the folded size more compact. Look for ‘quick-release’ wheels – this is where you just press a button and the wheels come off.
Fold with seat on/off
Some buggies can only be folded after you’ve removed the seat. The upside to this is that, if you’ve got a car seat or carrycot attached to the buggy, you can collapse the buggy frame without waking a sleeping baby. The downside of course is that when you want to fold the whole buggy, there’s a seat and frame to negotiate, making it less suitable for trips out without a car.
Other buggies allow you to keep the seat on. This is great for ease of storage and portability once folded, and for getting on and off buses or in and out of the car quickly. However, it does mean you have to disturb sleeping baby to collapse your buggy down.
Some buggies with reversible seats can be only be folded with the seat on when the seat is facing a certain direction.