Established in 2002 Obaby is a British company who claim their brand really understands little ones and parenting. Its range of products include nursery furniture, highchairs, car seats and pushchairs and a range of Disney characters decorated products.
Advertised as suitable from birth to 15kg, the Zeal is surprisingly more than a standard umbrella-fold buggy, it can actually be used as a complete travel system and be used with a newborn carrycot.
That makes it both parent and world-facing as well, features you normally don’t get with a lightweight stroller.
At 7.3kg the Zeal is about the same weight as a Maclaren Techno XT (my last sroller), however it is approximately £100 cheaper for the bundle and has more features as mentioned above.
It’s light enough to lift into the car boot, but I wouldn’t want to carry it a long distance.
Does its weight hamper its durability?
No, although it’s a relatively light 7.4kg, the Obaby Zeal still feels quite sturdy, certainly as sturdy as my last stroller.
We took the stroller on holiday and it survived the plane journey and multiple terrains without any damage.
However, it tips over more than the Maclaren when it has shopping on the back.
Tell us about the fold system?
Once I realised that I needed to apply quite a bit of pressure to fold the stroller (and that it wouldn’t break), it was easy to use.
A good tug is needed on the primary lock behind the seat and then a forceful foot press on the red secondary lock on the right side of the stroller.
Once those are activated the stroller can be pushed down into an umbrella fold. This can be done one handed with a bit of practice and the brake engaged.
On one occasion I was really struggling to lock the stroller into the umbrella fold. Only to find that the storage clip for the lock had tucked itself under so wasn’t able to catch.
It took a little while to figure this out and was frustrating as it happened just as I was going through security at the airport.
Also, the material behind the seat tends to catch on the primary lock so sometimes needs to be moved away before folding can take place.
How easy is it to store?
The Obaby Zeal is easy to store and slips comfortably into the back of our SUV.
However I often store strollers standing up and leaned against a wall, but that’s difficult to do with the Zeal, as when the brake is engaged a piece of metal sticks out.
How does the Obaby Zeal feel when pushing it out and about?
The Obaby Zeal handled most surfaces quite well. The wheels are not extremely big, so I would always feel the need to tip the stroller back a little to mount a curb.
Saying that, grass and sand are a challenge – as they would be with most strollers.
Cobblestones were a bumpy experience. There doesn’t feel like there’s a huge amount of suspension as I can definitely feel the difference moving from one surface to another.
The tires look durable and being puncture proof is a bonus. They appear rugged and I believe they would last. The only negative thing was that the tires are doubled up so have a space between them which could easily get something stuck in the gap.
In my case, it was a piece of Mega Blok that one of the kids had left lying around! It had to be removed as the stroller wouldn’t budge with it in there.
Although the handles do not extend, they are nicely foam padded and feel soft to the touch.
It provides just the right grip for flexible maneuvering and the handles were positioned just right for me.
Other buggies have given me wrist or backache but I didn’t experience this in the time that I used the Obaby Zeal. The handles are well positioned for me.
I was pleasantly surprised by the height of the handles. At 5’8” and hubby 6’1” we typically look for buggies with extendable handles.
However this wasn’t necessary with the Obaby Zeal as we both found the height comfortable to use. It seemed perfectly positioned.
I like the material the handles are made from. With my last buggy the handles would disintegrate and become sticky after a lot of use.
Tells us about the Obaby Zeal breaks.
The brakes seem sufficient. I needed to put my full weight on the stroller and push very hard for it to move when the brakes were engaged. To activate the brakes I discovered that I needed to push down hard and listen out for a double click to make sure they were fully engaged.
What I did find annoying about the brakes was that when the stroller is folded and the brakes are on, a piece of metal is sticking out – inconvenient when the stroller in the boot as I have to be extra cautious not to slam the boot down on the sticking out piece.
Or if I disengaged the brakes while it was folded I have to remember to re-engage as soon as I unfold to make sure the stroller is steady when putting baby in.
Is the Obaby Zeal comfy for little ones?
Yes. My 1 year old loves this stroller! The seat has a thin layer of memory foam, giving it a nice cushioned feel. Once I figured out how to adjust the padded straps it was easy to have everything adjusted just right for her.
As soon as I open up the stroller my daughter jumps in and doesn’t mind being strapped in.
She has even made her own way over to it and indicated that she wants to get in – especially when tired. She seems to really like recline positions 1 and 2.
Many naps were taken in the stroller during our holiday and she was happy to eat in it too.
And the size of the seat unit is very generous. Even providing plenty of space for my 3 year old.
I did notice that my one year old would revert to a stretched out position with one leg forward, one leg dangling over the side when calf rest was up. However she did seem happy sitting like this and looked very relaxed!
The height of the buggy is just right for my 14 month old to climb in herself and my 3 year old to sit down quickly in. A normal bend at the waist was enough for me to strap either of them in.
Is the Obaby Zeal suitable from birth?
Yes I would recommend the buggy from birth. Unlike other strollers that are advertised as suitable for a newborn due to a lie-flat seat, the Zeal actually has a firm carrycot that fits onto the frame of the buggy.
I much prefer a stroller to a larger buggy – especially for maneuvering in small spaces such as High Streets and public transport. I had my 2nd child in a stroller much earlier than my first. If I had known about the versatility of strollers sooner I would definitely have used this one from birth.
What age child is it best for?
My 1 year old seems to really love this buggy. For her to voluntarily sit down anywhere is a big deal as she’s usually constantly on the move.
Hubby noticed this too and said “she didn’t do that with the last one”. My 3 3/4 year old (15kg) walks most of the time – but was also happy in the buggy – the seat position did not look uncomfortable or awkward for her. I think this buggy will work best for toddlers who can’t yet walk far.
How is interacting with your little ones when in the buggy?
Really great interaction with my 1 year old in the buggy. As she was so comfortable and happy to sit in it, it was just a case of passing her a snack or dummy and she seemed happy to sit back and enjoy the view.
I like the viewing window a lot. It’s well positioned and I’m able to check if my little one is sleeping.
It was also really great that the that the hood provided UPF 50+ protection. It is easy to snap into place and via a zip can easily be extended for additional coverage.
However, my 1 year old could easily push the hood back herself when feeling energetic and playful – so there would be a short battle with her to keep it in place.
What are the basket and storage pockets like?
Decent sized storage, enough for a fully loaded supermarket carrier bag and a coat for me. The rain cover folds up neatly and can be tucked in a corner underneath as well. All of this with a little room to spare.
We also took the stroller for a swimming lesson and there was enough room for all our kit and a packed lunch. There is a well-positioned small zip pocket at the back of the seat which can take up to a 1kg load. I soon found this useful for quickly popping random items into such as my phone or sun screen.
However, a word of warning, this buggy tips over easily! I put the same load I would put on my Maclaren Techno XT only to find that it frequently tips over.
In fact, I hit a piece of curb wrong and it tipped over with baby in it. She was totally fine but it gave me a fright.
What’s in the box?
Included in the bundle are:
Obaby Zeal stroller
Reversible head hugger
Convertible foot muff/seat liner
Is it easy to build the buggy?
Yes! In fact the stroller came assembled. The rain cover I was able to use without any instructions.
It was easy to put on and provided good coverage as well as access to the changing bag and viewing window. The rain cover also stayed in place as my excited 1 year old kicked it – so seems quite sturdy once in place.
I was using the cover on a day when it rained on & off frequently – it was nice to be able to just roll the cover up and tuck it into the hood instead of removing it completely. So quick access for the next downpour!
It took a minute to figure out how the cup holder locked in place so I referred to the instructions for help. There’s a screw on the frame that it slides onto and locks into place on. Easy once you’ve located it.
Is the Obaby Zeal value for money?
I think that the bundle provides really good value for money, especially for a new parent.
For the whole package it costs £249 .97, the pushchair itself is £139.99, the carrycot cost £59.99 and the infant car seat is £49.99. Having a matching changing bag, rain cover, cup holder, head hugger and shoulders pads, changing mat, and foot muff included means you get a lot of bang for your buck.
Especially as all these extras would cost significantly more if you had another brand stroller and the Obaby Zeal is covered by a 5 Year Guarantee!
The foot muff also converts to just a foot liner so not an issue when the British weather can’t make up its mind whether it’s winter or summer.
The cup holder is easy to detach so if you need to fit through a narrow opening – you can just pop it off and store it underneath. I did find that the cover got dirty really quickly and seems to soak up oil. My 1 year old ate some greasy spaghetti on holiday and the cover absorbed the oil leaving a big dark stain.
The OBaby Zeal is a comfortable and affordable stroller. That would be good for newborns and toddlers, for everyday and occasional use on holidays etc.
It’s not great on rougher surfaces, and works best with a light load as prone to tipping over, but if you’re on a budget and want a sturdy, comfy, lightweight stroller it is a good choice.