Twin or tandem – which should you choose?

There’s no right or wrong answer, but you should know the pros and cons of twin and tandem buggies before you buy.

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If you need a buggy for two there are countless double buggy models to choose from, but they fall into two main categories – twin or tandem. You can use either style, whether you have twins or children of different ages.

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Twin buggies – the pros and cons

The main advantage of a twin buggy is your children sit next to each other, so they can interact. This eliminates the need to ‘take turns’ or decide who gets the prime spot, as can happen with tandems. Both seats will be the same size, so can be better for twins or siblings very close in age.

The side-by-side position is easier for bottlefeeding in situ, and you can pull the buggy up to a table and the children can feel part of the group.

A twin buggy is easier to get up and down kerbs as the weight is more evenly distributed. There’s often more storage capacity behind a twin buggy than with a tandem.

More robust, all-terrain doubles are usually twin, so could be a better option if you’re an outdoors-loving or active family.

There are also plenty of twin buggies that are the lighter, umbrella-fold style – these are quick and easy to collapse compactly, making them a useful choice for travelling with older babies and toddlers.

The main disadvantage is the width. Although slimmer twin models are available that fit through doors, manufacturers’ ‘standard’ door widths will vary! To avoid problems, always measure the entrances to your home and other doors you use frequently. You may have problems getting onto public transport, and you’ll take up more of the pavement.

Twin buggies are less likely to be a double travel system, perhaps only fitting one car seat at a time, and the seats will normally face forwards. However, some twin buggies can have carrycots attached to the frame in a rear-facing position, so you can get that parent/baby interaction happening.

Independent seat recline is now common on twin buggies, but do double-check. Whether you’ve got twins or siblings, being able to have one sitting up and one reclined to snooze will ensure neither child has to be in a position that’s not comfy.

Tandem buggies – the pros and cons

Tandem buggies are around the same width as single buggies. This means you’ll feel less conspicuous, take up less of the pavement, and should be able to negotiate doorways, shops and buses with ease.

A tandem is useful with sleeping newborns, as you can get through the front door without disturbing them when you return home. If you want to keep your children from waking each other, pulling hair or fighting, the separate seats of a tandem provide a better solution than the side-by-side seats of a twin.

Many double travel systems are based on a tandem rather than twin, and allow different combinations of carrycot/s, buggy seat/s and car seat/s. That said, not all tandem travel systems can accommodate two carrycots or two car seats at the same time, so check the specs before you buy. Twin parents will need to choose a tandem that allows equal space, comfort and travel-system options for each passenger.

Tandems can be heavier, longer and feel less stable bumping up a kerb. They often need dismantling to fit into car boots. They’re less likely to be all-terrain, though they do exist!

Tandems can offer less storage, or have storage that’s tricky to access when both seats are in use. This is especially so with the ‘one above, one below’ or ‘inline’ style, when a toddler’s legs may actually sit in the storage basket.

Some tandems start life as single buggies, to which a second seat can be added in front, behind or underneath when needed. If you have children of different ages (or this is your first but you’re hoping to have more), this can be a cost-effective option and extend the life of your buggy. Converting it back to a single once your eldest is too big for the buggy also means won’t be left pushing an empty seat around. This type of tandem might not be ideal if you have twins though – they’re often designed with one lighter and one heavier child in mind, and have different-sized seats.

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Which ever style you decide on, check out our step by step buyer’s guide to double buggies.

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