The Hauck Duett is a single travel system compatible buggy that transforms into an tandem buggy with the addition of a second seat. It’s not without its faults, but is forgiven thanks to its excellent price and Hauck’s good customer service.
Hauck is a Germany company that’s been making equipment for babies and children since 1921, including buggies, car seats, travel cots and toys. Its philosophy is ‘Fun For Kids’ and security for parents, at a fair price.
The Duett is one of three double buggies in Hauck’s range, and the only tandem (one seat in front of the other). You can use it as a double with two seats, as a single in seat or carrycot mode, or with a car seat as a single travel system. It’s sold as a ‘3 in 1’ that’s suitable for children of different ages.
What we love
I was pleasantly surprised by this buggy as, for the price and manufacturer, I was expecting something much more basic. With its brushed aluminium frame and black seats, the Hauck Duett looks modern, stylish and, frankly, more expensive than many of its competitors. And yet you’d be hard-pushed to find a cheaper travel system come tandem on the market – particularly one where the second seat is included in the price, as it is with the Duett.
My favourite feature is its versatility. Although I have twins, I don’t always take them out together, so it was nice to be able to remove the second seat and use the Duett as a single buggy. You have the option of forward or rear facing on the main seat, and it becomes a travel system if you replace it with a Hauck car seat.
Rather than having to buy and store a separate carrycot, the main seat reclines flat and opens out to form a bassinette, with a washable white carrycot liner to put inside it, which is a thoughtful touch.
In single mode, there’s loads of room for storage underneath – you could practically fit a week’s shopping in there. Both my boys were comfortable in the main seat and enjoyed the high vantage point.
As a single buggy, it’s easy and light to push and steer and the handlebar height can be adjusted over a wide range (another unusual feature in a cheaper product) so it was comfortable for both my taller husband and myself to push. It could be tricky to get up kerbs, but I soon worked out the trick was to put your foot on the rear axle to tip the front wheels up.
The brake is easy to operate and works on both back wheels.
The 5-point harness and clip seems durable enough and features attractive stitching and padded shoulders.
The huge canopy with sunshade goes some way to making up for the lack of raincover, and it has handy zip pockets on each side.
When you do want to use the Duett as a double, the second seat is easy to attach and detach and it’s fairly easy to get a toddler in and out. It’s high enough that they aren’t tempted to reach for the wheels or ground and, so long as there’s nothing in the storage basket, they have plenty of legroom.
It’s narrow enough to get through most doorways and I tackled buses and trains, albeit in single mode, with ease.
What to watch out for
My main problem with the Hauck Duett is the instructions – the booklet that came with mine was diagram only and didn’t make a lot of sense. I tested the buggy for a few weeks and kept it unfolded. But when it came to collapsing it for the first time, neither the instruction booklet nor the online video I Googled were any help at all. It took a good half and hour of my husband and I trying again and again, before we finally managed to fold it down. I’ve tested a good many buggies and, while most have a ‘knack’ or are stiff at first, none have been as tricky as this to figure out.
It was after this folding effort that the Hauck Duett developed a major fault. As I was pushing it along – fortunately without my children on board – it collapsed on itself. On further investigation, it seemed it would no longer stay in the upright position so it could not be used. I contacted Hauck’s Service Centre, who said they’d not had any other buggies returned for this reason, but they sent a courier to collect it so they could investigate.
The findings, unsurprisingly, were that I’d unwittingly broken the buggy by forcing the folding mechanism. I’ve since received a replacement model and the very helpful David at the Hauck Service Centre talked me through the knack of correctly folding and unfolding the Duett. He admitted that he also thought the instructions were unclear and told me that Hauck were in the process of reprinting them to include clearer directions in English, rather than the diagrams alone.
I also asked my father – an engineer – to look at the mechanism and he quickly figured out how it works, but concurred that the instructions were poor. The revised instruction booklet, with clear wording, should prevent future problems, however.
Hauck insists the Duett should be easy to fold and unfold, and say if customers are in any way unsure, they should contact their retailer or the Hauck Service Centre (details on Hauck’s website), Hauck’s Facebook Group or Twitter feed for advice. I’d strongly recommend doing this.
Although this fault was a major one, I’m very satisfied with the way Hauck responded and I’m confident the replacement model is sound.
In single mode there aren’t many faults to mention. The fabric is quite thin and flimsy and I could imagine it wearing or tearing with use. Although the hood is large, it’s quite low so my 18-month-olds’ heads touch the top of it (creating lots of static in their hair).
It’s a shame a raincover isn’t included – it’s such a necessity in the UK and it’s just a pain to have to buy one separately.
It turns out the Duett is not quite as versatile as it suggests as a tandem, because if you have the main seat flat in carrycot mode, I can’t see how you could fit even a small sleeping toddler in the lower seat. If the main seat isn’t in carrycot mode but still flat, the second seat has to still be reclined, too. You have to hope both children are sleeping at the same time.
The second seat seemed much less comfortable – whomever was riding in it soon complained and wanted to get out, whereas the brother in the main seat would be perfectly happy. So it’s not one for long journeys or rocking them to sleep.
With two children on board the Duett becomes very heavy to push and to get up kerbs. Even just pushing it across flat grass in the park was an effort – and that wasn’t just the combined weight of my twins, as other buggies have managed this.
Another problem I found was my toddler in the lower seat quickly found and figured out the toggle on the back of the main seat, which opens it into a carrycot. The brother in the main seat would suddenly find himself flung backwards – cue tears! There really needs to be a flap to conceal this toggle from dextrous fingers.
The capacity of the shopping basket is significantly reduced when the second seat is in use, especially if by a toddler. You also can’t hang anything from handlebars, so storage will be an issue when using this as a tandem buggy.
Parents of twins shouldn’t be tempted to buy this – the travel system and carrycot options only work in the main seat. Twin toddlers will object to having to draw the ‘short straw’ and ride underneath. Admittedly, it’s not designed or marketed for twins, so I say this for information rather than as a criticism. If you’re a childminder or a parent who sometimes looks after a similar-aged toddler, you’ll want to bear in mind that this is a convenient option for short journeys, rather than a practical travel solution for long walks.
Who is the Hauck Duett buggy best for?
Parents of two, rather than twins, after a good-looking, versatile option on a budget.
An excellent value travel system compatible buggy for parents with children of different ages, who sometimes just want a single buggy. Just make sure you understand the folding mechanism.