Thule Chariot vs. Burley Comparison Chart
Thule Chariot or Burley? Which trailer is best for you and your family?
You really can’t go wrong with a Burley or a Thule brand trailer. Both brands perform significantly better than lower-end brands, such as InStep and Schwinn and offer various models to fit your families needs and budget. The trailer that is best for you really depends on your budget as well as how you are planning on using the trailer. Below the comparison charts are more detailed descriptions and pictures of differentiating pictures.
Thule vs. Burley Mid-Range Trailers, $300 – $400
Thule vs. Burley High-end Trailers, $500 to $1,100
Bike Hitch and Trailer Arms
Burley and Thule trailer both pull much more smoothly than lower-end trailers, but they do pull differently from one another. Thule designed their trailer arm to center the trailer on the bike, while the Burley centers the trailer on the hitch.
This can be seen in the shape of the trailer arm. Burley trailers have an L-shaped tow arm, while the Thule Chariot’s have a C-shaped tow arm. The C-shape of the Thule (labeled “Cougar” below) centers the trailer behind the adult bike while the Burley’s are centered on the hitch. As a result, all Burley models (trailer labeled “D’lite” below) stick out slightly to the left of the bike.
For most riding, where the trailer is positioned behind the bike doesn’t matter, but when riding alongside traffic or through narrow gate openings, the adult rider pulling a Burley needs to be mindful of the offset trailer.
Both brands also excel as strollers and joggers. The Burley Honey Bee and the Thule Coaster XT come with a small stroller wheel attached to the trailer arm that can be flipped up when towing the trailer. Burley offers this smaller, trailer arm wheel, as an accessory with all of their trailers. Thule does not and only offers it on their Coaster model. The Thule Cross, Lite, and Cheetah XT come with two small front stroller wheels in addition to the trailer arm. Burley’s offers a similar stroller kit as an upgrade on all of their models except the Bee and Honey Bee.
A jogging kit is also available as an upgrade on the Thule Cheetah, Lite and Cross as well as the Burley Encore, Solo, Cub and D’lite. Thule also offers a stroller hand brake upgrade, while Burley does not
Center Buckle & Washable Seats
Due to changes in CPSC standards starting in 2015, trailers that can convert to a stroller can longer offer the center buckle, the child must ride on the right or left in a double trailer. The Burley Solo and D’lite and the Chariot Lite and Cross come with washable seat cushions, while all other models are wipeable, but cannot be removed to be washed. The Burley Encore, Cub, D’lite and Solo also come with their new S.I.T seats with straps that spring open for easy buckling.
Thule’s Reclining Seats & Burley’s Release Buckles
The Burley Encore, D’lite, Solo and Cub models do allow the seats to slightly recline by loosening the nylon straps that adhere the seat to the top of the trailer cabin. The entire seat reclines in one piece and really does not recline like a real stroller. For use in hauling cargo, the seats on the Burley also fold flat completely. The Thule Cross is the only trailer that offers a true, reclinable seat (orange trailer shown in the picture below).
While riding in the rain is rarely someone’s intentions, keeping your child dry and warm is of concern for many living in wet climates. The door panels of trailers very greatly and range from a simple mesh covering with elastic tie-downs to a thick waterproof covering attached with sealed zippers. Zip-on plastic rain covers are standard on almost every trailer, but for those riding in heavy rain, full waterproofing available on Burley trailers is a huge life-saver.
All-weather covers with waterproof zippers are available on the Burley D’Lite, Solo and Cub. All Thule models come with a plastic cover but without waterproof zippers. Thule’s higher end Cheetah, Lite and Cross models come with a plastic cover that attached with elastic for easy removal, while the Coaster and Cadence zip on. In addition to waterproofing, the zip-up rain cover on the Burley’s allow for some venting to prevent fogging, while the Thule’s system does not.
All Burley and Chariot models that come with handlebars adjust, but at various degrees. The Chariot Coaster XT and Cheetah XT offer two heights, while the Lite and the Cross offer multiple heights. All Burley models, except the Bee, have a highly adjustable handlebar that offers multiple heights as well.
The Burley Encore, Cub, Solo and D’lite offer adjustable suspension with 5 different settings (light to heavy loads) with a maximum compression of 1″. The Thule Cross also has adjustable suspension but has a maximum compression of two inches. The Thule Lite also offers suspension, but it is not adustable. Both adjustable suspension systems require you to adjust the suspension on each wheel separately. Thule shown the lefe below, Burley on the right.
The sides of the Burley D’lite and Solo are bowed-out, which greatly increases the amount of elbow room for kids. If you have two older kids, the wider shoulder width of the D’Lite will provide much-needed space.
Burley and Thule both offer inserts to provide support for younger babies. For babies under 1 to 10 months Thule offers the Thule Infant Sling which creates a smaller, separate seat at a much lower incline for babies. For ages 6 months and up, Burley offers a Baby Snuggler which does not change the incline angle of the seat, but rather provide side support. Both brands, however, do NOT recommend pulling a child less than 12 months in their trailers (stroller use is fine).
Burley and Chariot both offer a handlebar console. Burley’s Console attaches to the handlebar and the Thule’s attaches to an accessory bar on top of the trailer.
Both brands offer a ski kit in their higher-end models.
All Thule Cheetah, Cougar, Chinook and CX models have been discontinued. Many are still available online, but due to short supply, they have been removed from our chart. If interested in the Cheetah or Cougar, be sure to check out our Thule Cheetah vs. Cougar and Burley D’Lite vs. Thule Cougar comparative reviews.
Related In-Depth Reviews
- Bike Trailers Ratings & Comparison Charts: A comparison chart with the specs of the top selling bike trailers.
- Burley D’Lite vs. Thule Cougar: Burley vs. Thule in action (Cougar is now discontinued)
By: Natalie Martins
Last Updated: January 21, 2017