Joolz aer+ compact travel buggy review


Accessories such as footmuff, leg rest and bassinet rain cover are sold separately

When this buggy arrived, my engineer husband was braced to spend some time putting it together, only to discover it came fully assembled in the box – a major win. You will need to swap the seat for the bassinet if you plan to use it from birth, but that was easy to do and took just a few minutes.Safety

With the cot attachment in place, we were thrilled by how it looked and how it handled with our teeny tester on board. Despite its pared-back size, it is surprisingly sturdy and looks and feels just as robust as non-compact models. The full-size bassinet is slim-line but is still larger than other options on the market, making it feel incredibly safe for transporting our precious cargo. The cot attachment also sits much higher from the ground, compared with some of this buggy’s rivals – something our lower back was very thankful for when it came to bending down to lift baby in and out.

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The biggest selling point of this buggy is it can fold flat in one second (using just one hand), even with the cot attached. Fresh out of the box, the mechanism was a little stiff at first and it took us a few tries to perfect the one-handed move. However, once we got the hang of it, we were smitten with the ease with which it collapsed, and it quickly became the envy of other travellers.

Once flat, it fits neatly into the overhead locker of a plane and can be easily carried using the attached shoulder strap. It can be stowed in the boot of even the smallest of cars – something we hadn’t considered with our larger buggy, which has to be dismantled to fit into our medium-sized hatchback. Without the cot attachment, it will even fit snugly into a car footwell – ideal for when you’re travelling with lots of luggage for weekends away.

Having been used to shoving anything and everything in the stow basket of our larger pram, we had resigned ourselves to the fact we would struggle with the much smaller space offered by the Joolz aer+. Although, it can carry up to 5kg in weight, which is enough for a medium-sized changing bag.

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With its sleek and elegant design, this travel buggy looks nothing like the rickety versions we were subjected to as a child. From its matching leather handle and bumper bar to the soft canvas of the cot and seat, everything about it looks top-end and feels extremely well made. We tested the new forest-green colour but it also comes in taupe, sage, grey, black and navy options.

The rubber-coated wheels give an effortlessly smooth ride, and its small turning circle makes navigating tight spots a breeze. The petite frame is perfect for city living. You can pass down the centre aisle of a bus without a worry and squeeze through those tricky spaces in shops with ease.

For the eco-conscious, it ticks every box, too. It’s made from recycled plastic bottles and Joolz plants a tree for every purchase, helping to reduce its carbon footprint. The stroller even comes with a 10-year transferable warranty, allowing you to pass it on to another family when your little ones have outgrown it.

Read more: The best baby carriers and slingsComfort

As well as the spacious bassinet, we were surprised to find the breathable mesh mattress was thicker than the one that came with our larger pram, and our tiny tester had no problem falling and staying asleep in it. While our little one is still too small to test the seat for babies aged more than six months old, the buggy has a three-position recliner, including a lie-flat option that will be ideal for naps on the go.

As we tested during winter, we can’t vouch for its use in hotter climes. However, the extra large UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) 50+ sun hood, which can be extended further, compared with its predecessor, offered good protection from the wind and rain.

While the bundle includes a rain cover, it annoyingly is only intended to be used with the seat. Determined not to be beaten, we used it anyway but found it was often dislodged by a gust of wind. The addition of a simple drawstring around the edge would easily solve this issue and would prevent the need to buy the separate cot cover. On the seat attachment, a handy mesh peep hole allows for extra ventilation in summer and a chance to keep an eye on your little one while on the go.

Despite the noticeably smaller wheels, the buggy is effortless to push and still handles well over most uneven surfaces. So confident were we in this buggy’s ability, we were caught out a number of times when we failed to anticipate a steeper curb or a pothole, causing it to stall.