Buying used strollers can save some money in your baby budget, and may be a better money-saving option than a cheap new stroller. There are a few things you should be aware of before buying a used stroller, though, because it's not a bargain if the used stroller falls apart quickly or doesn't work the way you need it to. Here's how to buy a used stroller that meets your needs for travel and budget.
Check the Used Stroller's Condition
Babies and kids are hard on strollers, and if a family travels very much, strollers can take even more of a beating. Check over a used stroller carefully to see that all parts are still intact. Push it in all directions and fold and unfold it. Check the brakes, seatbelts and handles to see if anything is loose. Feel around the stroller for sharp edges or pinch points. Does it feel sturdy still? Does it squeak when you push it? Does the seat sag already? A stroller that already looks well-used may not last as long as you'd like, so consider that when look at used stroller prices.
Check for Recalls
Recalls are not limited to unknown stroller brands. Several popular stroller manufacturers have issued recalls in the past few years. Get the model number and any other information you can find on the stroller and check on the CPSC recalls list or contact the manufacturer directly.
If the used stroller has been subject to a recall, that doesn't mean it can't still be a good buy. You just need to take a look at what the recall was, whether it was fixed and whether or not a free repair kit is still available.
Look at Stroller Reviews
Even if you're buying a stroller used, the reviews you can find online for the new version will be useful for you.
What do reviewers and purchasers say about the stroller's convenience features, usability, safety and durability? Are they mostly complaining or raving about this stroller? There are always a few dissenting opinions, but most of the time you can get an idea of whether or not a stroller will hold up and be easy to use by reading several reviews by different authors.
Know the Original Price
Strollers are not something I suggest going dirt cheap on. I've tried it three times, and one stroller actually lost a wheel during the first month of relatively light use. Cheap strollers just don't tend to hold up as well. A stroller that originally cost $300 or more may be out of your budget new, but find a used one for less, and you may be very happy with both the cost and the durability. A friend who has bought two cheap new strollers that fell apart once said, "I wish I had skipped those and looked for a good used stroller. The cheap strollers were a waste of money."
Don't Skip Your Must-Haves
Before shopping for a used stroller, make a list of features you'd like to have, and maybe even a list of brands and models you're interested in.
When you come across used strollers for sale, check them with your list. Does the stroller have the big basket you wanted? Does it have the adjustable handle height so your partner can comfortably push it, too? When you push it, do your feet hit the underside? Don't be swayed by price or availability. If a used stroller doesn't meet your needs, it's not a good use of your baby budget dollars and you probably won't be happy with it for long.
Where To Find Used Strollers
The good news for would-be used stroller buyers is that many parents nowadays buy high-end strollers with the idea that they will hold up well enough to be resold to recoup some of the money. Check with parenting groups, look in newspapers or on Craigslist. Ask other parents if they know of anyone who is getting rid of their baby gear.
eBay has a constant stream of used strollers, though it's hard to know the actual condition of a used stroller that way. There are also a number of websites dedicated just to strollers where people buy, sell and trade used strollers constantly.