Strollers Vs. Wagons: A Complete Pros And Cons List

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j50rzSometimes, you have to take your kid places. This is one of the great challenges of parenting (along with having to share your food, your spouse, and use of the television), but the right choice of transport can help to ease the pain. Should you throw your kid into a stroller or a wagon to get her where you need to? Let’s break down the pros and cons of each.

Portability. Today, some strollers are big enough to give Noah’s ark a run for its money–if Graco had been around 3,000 years BC, at least. Still, they’re able to collapse into a fraction of the space with just a push of a button or the pull of a lever, as if there’s a tiny black hole hidden in the center of each one. Wagons, on the other hand, are a case of what-you-see-is-what-you-get, and what you get is a un-foldable, un-collapsible metal or plastic box that is never going to fit in your trunk unless you fold the middle seats in the car down and just leave the kids at home, which is a bit self-defeating.

Edge: Strollers

Load-bearing capabilities. Strollers often come with an under-carriage storage area, which is great except that this space is only big enough to store about half a sandwich in. Wagons are literally nothing but storage area; the only issue is that they are also storing your child, who depending on their mood, may be inclined to empty out everything that you pile in there.

Edge: Wagons.

Multiple children. Adding a second child to your family posse requires the existing offspring to either be old enough to maneuver under his own power, or for you to buy a tandem stroller. Since most wagons have no seats, you can just keep piling children in there, at least unless your family has reached a Duggar-esque proportion.

Edge: Wagons.

Hills. When pushing a stroller downhill, every step brings the chance you will trip and the contraption will go careening down the rest of the way without your assistance. Taking a wagon downhill, on the other hand, means that your soft and yielding body, should it fall, will provide a convenient cushion to stop the wagon’s forward trajectory. Conversely, pushing a stroller uphill is relatively safe, but pulling a wagon up is a duel against gravity.

Edge: Draw.

Escape artist antagonism. If your child’s typical reaction to being placed in a seat is to leap out of it the first time you turn around, you need a travel system that involves seat belts. A few wagons have seat belts, but so does every stroller.

Edge: Strollers.

Durability. Strollers are complex mechanisms of cloth and plastics. Wagons are metal rectangles that I’m pretty sure Indiana Jones could have hid under to survive a nuclear blast.

Edge: Wagons.

There you have it: a narrow victory for wagons, edging out strollers 3-2. Let your Radio Flyer flag wave proudly in the breeze, wagon fans, and stroller aficionados, better luck next time.

(Stroller image: Keerati9999 / Getty; wagon image: paul hill / Getty)