10 Best Bike Trailers for Kids – We Tested Over 40 Trailers!

Bike trailers for kids are one of the safest and most stable ways to bring toddlers and kids along for family bike rides. Over the last 13 years, we’ve personally tested 40 child bike trailers.  From Thule and Burley to Hamax, Schwinn, Instep, Allen, and Qeridoo, we’ve ridden, run, walked, and skied hundreds of miles with them!

So what’s the difference between a $100 trailer and a $600 trailer? Some kids bike trailers are best kept on smooth pavement in good weather. Others excel on bumpy terrain, in every season, and can also be used as strollers and joggers. And what about bringing along the baby? Additional features like these will cost more, but will also make your trailer more comfortable and versatile.

8 different kids bike trailers in a circle for a review, including Thule, Burley, Schwinn inStep and Allen

Best Bike Trailers for Kids

Bike Trailer Why We Love It Price Double
Entry Level: Trailer Only
Burley Bee Incredible quality for the price $379
Allen Sports Deluxe Best design on a super budget $99
Entry Level: Trailer Stroller
Burley Honey Bee Impressive quality and ease of use $479
Allen Sports Premier Best design on a super budget $170
Mid-Range: Multi-Sport Trailer
Burley Encore X Tons of cargo space $649
Qeridoo Sportrex Smooth, comfy stroller $680
High-End: Multi-Sport Trailer
Thule Chariot Cross Best Trailer Overall $1,299
Thule Chariot Lite Lighter weight, lighter price $999
Burley D'Lite X Best for all-terrain families $999
Hamax Outback Most roomy $699

Visual learner? Check out of Kids Bike Trailer Buying Guide video below to see side by side comparisons of all the different features found on kids bike trailers, including wheel size, stroller conversions, and seat type.

If you don’t know anything about trailers and need a little help deciding which one fits your needs, our buying guide will be a big help! Click here to jump down to our Bicycle Trailer Buying Guide to learn everything there is to know about bicycle trailers.

And if you are also shopping for a bike to pull that trailer, check out our 10 Best Bikes for Women page. (All personally tested by us, of course!)

Our Top Bike Trailer Picks by Price Range

  • ENTRY LEVEL TRAILER ONLY: Bicycle trailers that perform well but lack most upgrades such as padded bench seats. Cannot convert to a stroller.
  • ENTRY LEVEL TRAILER STROLLER: Offer fewer comfort and convenience features than more expensive models. Convert to strollers, but not to joggers or other multi-sport functions.
  • MID-RANGE MULTI-SPORT: Great quality and performance, with fewer features, but still able to convert to bike trailer strollers, joggers, and ski trailers.
  • HIGH-END MULTI-SPORT: The cream-of-crop trailers with the most features. They can all convert to bike trailer strollers, joggers, and ski trailers.

Entry Level Bike Trailers – Trailer Only

For casual biking families who just want a solid, well-performing bicycle trailer that pulls effortlessly, entry-level trailers offer you the most bang-for-your-buck.  Reasonably priced so that you only pay for what you need, these trailers will help your dollars (as well as your rides) go far.

Keep in mind that there are many, many entry level trailers available on Amazon. Most of them we simply won’t recommend because they are lacking in quality and ease-of-use. If you are on a budget, stick with Burley or Allen.

Burley Bee

Best Basic Trailer

Mom pulling toddler in Burley Bee bike trailer. Through grassy trail.

MSRP: $349 (single), $379 (double)

BEST FOR: Budget-minded families looking for an easy-to-use bike trailer for frequent use

CONVERSION KITS: None

STANDOUT FEATURES: UV windows, solid-quality trailer that pulls super smooth, easy to fold for transport

FULL REVIEW: Burley Bee

The Burley Bee is vastly superior to any truly budget trailer out there. While about $150 – $200 more expensive than cheaper bike trailers for kids, its durability, ease-of-use, and safety features make it a clear winner.

Especially for families that will be riding at least semi-regularly, the Bee’s higher-end design and features will make a huge difference in both parent and passenger enjoyment. Its overall build quality and thicker polyester fabric mean the Bee will last for many years and many kids.

As of January 2021, the Bee is now offered as a single or double capacity trailer. If you will be transporting your trailer to the trails in your car, the Burley Bee collapses in just seconds.

Allen Sports Deluxe Child Bike Trailer

Best Bicycle Trailer on a Super Budget

Allen T2 and S2 trailers side by side from the side

MSRP: $100

BEST FOR: Budget-minded families looking for an easy-to-use bike trailer for use near home. (Not easy to transport in your car to trails.)

CONVERSION KITS: None

STANDOUT FEATURES: Great quality features for the price

FULL REVIEW: Allen Sports Premier and Deluxe Child Bike Trailers Review

The best trailer you can buy for under $200, the Allen Sports Deluxe pulls much smoother and quieter than other budget brands. Its harness and padded seat are also significantly more comfortable and higher quality than trailers by InStep, Schwinn, and Retrospec.

Compared to the more expensive Allen Premier Trailer Stroller, the Deluxe has smaller 16″ wheels, which limits the recommended MPH to 10. Its cabin is also shorter, making it less ideal for older and taller riders.

Entry Level Bike Trailer Strollers

The ability to convert your trailer to a stroller is an incredibly handy feature for active families. Biking to a destination like a farmer’s market or shopping mall? When you get there, simply park your bikes, pop that stroller wheel down, and get walking!

Burley Honey Bee

Best Basic Bike Trailer Stroller

Burley Honey Bee bike stroller from front. Toddler inside on red sand berm

MSRP: $479

BEST FOR: Families who want the option to occasionally use their trailer as a stroller

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included)

STANDOUT FEATURES: Stroller wheel stored on tow arm when not in use, adjustable-height handlebar, tons of storage

FULL REVIEW: Burley Honey Bee

The Honey Bee is everything we love about the Bee, but with the added versatility of being used as a stroller as well.  While the stroller wheel is basic and sticks out on the end of the trailer arm, it easily rotates up and out of the way when you don’t need it. The quality, design, functionality, and ease-of-use of the Honey Bee can’t be beat. The Honey Bee is only available as a double trailer stroller.

Allen Sports Premier Bike Trailer Stroller

Best Bike Trailer Stroller on a Super Budget

Allen S2 Trailer as a Stroller

MSRP: $170

BEST FOR: Budget-minded families looking for a good trailer and basic stroller

CONVERSION KITS: 3-wheel stroller on chassis (included)

STANDOUT FEATURES: Large 20″ wheels on metal rims, higher maximum speed than the Allen Deluxe Trailer

FULL REVIEW: Allen Sports Bike Trailers Review

As roomy and spacious as a more expensive trailer, the Allen Sports Premier trailer provides plenty of headroom and a thickly-padded hammock seat for a comfortable ride. In addition to pulling smooth and steady, this Premier bike cart for kids features an easy-to-use 5-point harness system that is much higher-quality than those found in Schwinn bike trailers and other budget trailers.

For those looking to spend under $300 on a bike trailer, in a head-to-head comparison with Schwinn and InStep trailers, we found that Allen Sports trailers pull smoother, are easier to load and unload kids, have higher-quality harness systems, and extended helmet pockets for better comfort for young and older kids.

NOTE: The Amazon listing for this trailer is confusing. It is located under the listing for Allens Sports Deluxe Bike Trailer. The Deluxe bike trailers have 16″ wheels. This Premier trailer stroller has larger 20″ wheels and is a larger trailer overall. We have linked directly to this trailer, which is yellow and has visibly larger wheels than the other options in the listing.

Mid-Range Bike Trailers – Multi-Sport

For families who want top-quality, but are willing to sacrifice a few fancy features (like reclinable seats and adjustable suspension) to save on cost, mid-range bicycle trailers are the perfect “just-right” trailers.  Still compatible with stroller and jogger conversion kits, these mid-range bike trailer strollers and joggers are a more affordable buy for multi-sport families.

Burley Encore X

Best Mid-Range Double Bike Trailer with Tons of Cargo Space

Mom pulling Burley Encore X bike trailer through field

MSRP: $649

BEST FOR: Frequently active families who want the best of jogging, strolling, and biking, but don’t want to pay extra for additional bells & whistles.

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (3-wheel included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: Supportive bench-style seats, suspension, sunshade, pulls incredibly smoothly, tons of storage space

FULL REVIEW: Burley Encore X

The Encore X’s high-quality and durable components make the trailer a cinch for parents to use, and create a super comfy atmosphere for the kids. With a bench seat and a high-quality harness system, it was a breeze to get kids in and out of the trailer. The Encore X is Burley’s least expensive trailer to offer suspension.

UV windows and a sunshade protect sensitive skin from the glaring sun while a perfectly designed mesh cup holder allows little ones to easily access sippy cups and snacks. All the little details done right make for an exceptional child bike trailer for a very reasonable price. Like the more expensive Burley D’Lite X, the Encore X’s seat can collapse down for carrying cargo as a bike wagon.

Qeridoo Sportrex

Best Mid-Range Single Bike Trailer

Crossing the crosswalk while riding with the Sportrex 2

MSRP: $600 (single), $680 (double)

BEST FOR: Multi-sport families looking for a fully-capable single trailer with tons of features at an affordable price tag (also available in double), or who will be using the stroller mode more often than trailer mode

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: Adjustable suspension, car-seat-style harness, single, pneumatic stroller wheel, incredibly smooth stroller mode, fantastic infant insert

FULL REVIEW: Qeridoo Sportrex 2

If you don’t need a double trailer, there’s no reason to pull or push around a trailer that wide! The Qeridoo Sportrex is the most affordable single multi-sport trailer available, hitting all the major necessities within a smaller price tag. 

Coming standard with adjustable suspension and a high-quality, car-seat-style harness, the Sportrex is quite luxurious for its price tag. Its rain cover and sunshade offer great protection and are easy to use.

With an exceptionally smooth stroller mode, the Sportrex is ideal for families who will be doing a lot of walking or jogging in addition to biking. The single stroller wheel is pneumatic and can swivel or lock straight. Tucked under the body of the trailer, its maneuverability can’t be beat!

High-End Bike Trailers – Multi-Sport

These are the cream-of-the-crop of bicycle trailers – they have it all and do it all.  From adjustable sunshades and reclining seats to UV windows and conversion kits, high-end trailers are the most durable and well-built of all the trailers on the market. 

These are not only the best trailers, but the best bike trailer strollers and bike trailer joggers as well. They don’t come cheap, but they will last you for years to come!

These multi-sport trailers are also often used for more extreme adventures like bike packing, snow fat biking, and cross-country skiing.

Thule Chariot Cross

Best All-around Trailer

thule chariot cross trailer with family at lake

MSRP: $1,199 (single), $1,299 (double)

BEST FOR: Active families with babies and young toddlers who are looking for a stroller and jogger that perform just as great as the trailer. This is also our favorite ski trailer.

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: Reclinable seats, plush cushioning seats, adjustable suspension, top view window, infant sling for stroller mode, the best weather covers on the market

FULL REVIEW: Thule Chariot Cross, Thule Chariot Lite (a slightly less-upgraded version of the Cross), Thule Chariot Ski Kit

The Thule Chariot Cross is hands down the best quality trailer money can buy, and handles like a dream. With adjustable suspension, true reclinable seats, an optional infant sling, durable fabric, the greatest adjustable sunshade and rain cover, as well as good internal height, the Cross is simply the best of the best.

The Cross is designed with on-board storage of both stroller and jogger kits for spur of the moment conversions while you’re out and about. (And they don’t take up your normal storage space!) For extra stopping power in jogging mode, the Thule Chariot Cross is the only jogger to offer a rear-wheel hand brake upgrade.

What about the very similar Thule Chariot Sport and Thule Chariot Lite? The Lite is a slightly paired down version of the Cross, and is more affordable. Our review of the Thule Chariot Cross vs. Thule Chariot Lite compares all of their differences in detail.

The Thule Chariot Sport has a few high-end “nice to have” upgrades that the Cross doesn’t have, but that won’t be necessary for most families. So what are these upgrades? (1) Removable side panels for extra ventilation, (2) Disc brakes on the rear wheels (only helpful if you’ll also be getting the jogging kit upgrade), (3) Extra-padded seats.

Burley D’Lite X

Best Trailer for All-Terrain Families

Collage showing Burley D'Lite X as a trailer, ski stroller, standard stroller, and with fat tires for bike packing

MSRP: $899 (single), $999 (double)

BEST FOR: Families who want the best of jogging, strolling, and biking off the beaten path

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (3-wheel included, 4-wheel available), jogger, ski, fat tire kit

STANDOUT FEATURES: Waterproof zipper, all-terrain tires, reclinable seats, adjustable suspension, single stroller wheel tucks in close

FULL REVIEWBurley D’Lite X, Burley D’Lite (discontinued model), Burley Ski Kit Review

With double capacity, this queen of comfort comes standard with features like independently reclining seats, premium seat pads, adjustable suspension, full-length tinted windows, aggressive-tread 20″ tires, and easy-to-use quick receivers that make transitioning from trailer to stroller the easiest we’ve ever seen!

With wider tires that have a more aggressive tread than the Cross, the D’Lite X may be better for those venturing off the paved trails. Burley also offers a 16″ fat tire kit upgrade that has been essential on our back country adventures. To make this trailer even more versatile, the seats can collapse down to convert it to a cargo trailer or bike wagon.

We also appreciate that as of spring 2023, 55% of soft goods in the Burley D’Lite X are made from recycled materials – mostly plastic water bottles!

Hamax Outback

Most Roomy Trailer: Great for Taller Kids

Mom looking back at her baby in a hamax outback kids bike trailer

MSRP: $649 (single), $699 (double)

BEST FOR: Families who need an easy-to-use trailer that seconds as an amazing stroller. Extra interior height makes it ideal for taller kids.

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (3-wheel included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: Tall interior, rubber floor mat, sleek European styling, thick cushioning tires

FULL REVIEW: Hamax Outback

Sleek, modern, and surprisingly nimble, the Hamax Outback is the cool and edgy SUV of trailers. With the most interior headroom of the bunch as well as adjustable suspension, extra thick tires for additional cushioning, super-plush interior, and supportive seats, this bike carriage offers an exceptionally comfortable ride for its passengers.

While it doesn’t perform quite as smoothly as a Burley or Thule in trailer mode (it’s also significantly heavier), it’s a dream to use as a stroller. The Outback also has amazing ventilation and a peek-through window up top.

Qeridoo Kidgoo

Best Stroller Performance

Mom running with the Qeridoo Kidgoo in jogger mode

MSRP: $670 (Kidgoo 1), $780 (Kidgoo 2)

BEST FOR: Families who want an exceptional stroller for walking and running, and will occasionally use it as a bike trailer

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller, small jogger wheel (both included!), 14″ jogger wheel on Kidgoo Pro only, optional ski kit for Kidgoo Pro

STANDOUT FEATURES: Incredibly smooth stroller mode (with single pneumatic wheel), car-seat-style harness, plush seats, cleverly-designed rear storage, adjustable suspension, well-designed infant hammock

FULL REVIEW: Qeridoo Kidgoo

If you’ll be doing a lot of walking or jogging with your trailer, the Qeridoo Kidgoo is your best option. This German-engineered, multi-sport trailer is impressively smooth in stroller and jogger mode. Its single, pneumatic front wheel can swivel for maximum maneuverability, or be locked to track straight for jogging.

Inside the trailer you’ll find plush seats with a high-quality, car-seat-style harness. The Kidgoo’s harness is the only bike trailer on the market to feature a chest clip. This keeps devious toddlers from worming their way out of the harness (which our toddler does all the time), and ensures that your child is always centered securely in their seat.

How to Choose the Best Kids Bike Trailer

Whether you’ll use your bike trailer just to bike, or as a stroller or jogger too, the 15 main criteria to help you choose the best trailer for your family are: 1) trailer type, 2) budget, 3) use with infants, 4) single or double, 5) weight capacity, 6) seat type, 7) wheels, 8) external covers & venting, 9) suspension, 10) storage, 11) stroller wheel attachments, 12) stroller brakes, 13) adjustable handlebars, 14) folding, 15) hitch style.

image showing all the features you need to look for in a bike trailer, stroller handlebar, seat type, suspension, trailer type, cabin size, wheel size, brakes and stroller type. Featuring Burley Honey Bee bike stroller

1. Trailer Type – How do you plan on using it: Bike, Stroller, Jogger, Ski?

Of course, there’s your standard bike trailer, but many bike trailers also convert to 3-wheeled or 4-wheeled strollers, joggers, and even ski strollers! There are three general types of trailers:

  • Multi-Sport (Bike, stroll, jog, ski)
  • Trailer + Stroller
  • Trailer Only

The best bike trailer for you is the one that you will get the most use out of! Trailers that include or have optional upgrades for strolling and jogging are perfect for active families who want to use their trailers for multiple activities. Other families prefer to have dedicated bike trailers and a separate stroller or jogger.

Before you start your research, be realistic about what activities you want to do with your kids so you can purchase a trailer that suits your specific needs.

If you’re uncertain if a bike trailer is the way to go, check out our list of 8 different styles of bike carriers for babies and kids.

collage of bike trailers, burley bee, thule cross and thule cheetah xt

2. Budget – Good, Better, Best Bike Trailer

Trailers range from about $100 to over $1,000. In most cases, the quality and performance of a trailer are reflected in its price.  Higher-end trailers provide the most features and offer a smoother ride for parent and child, but can be heavy on the pocketbook.

Lower-end trailers are sufficient for many families riding on paved surfaces but lack many safety and comfort features offered by mid-range and higher-end trailers. Top quality brands include Thule Chariot and Burley, while Hamax, Qeridoo, and Wike also have great options.  

The best trailers are easier and smoother to pull, offer more comfort features for the kids, more upgrades like hand brakes and drink consoles, and can convert to a stroller or jogger.  Like the features of a car, only the top-of-the-line bike trailers offer the top-of-the-line features.

Advantages of Buying a More Expensive Bike Trailer

Chart showing difference between cheap child bike trailers and more expensive models.

Any trailer by brands like Thule, Burley, or Hamax is going to be far superior to basically any other trailer out there. They are also more expensive. With trailers, you really get what you pay for. If you’re going to be using it often, you should spend as much as you possibly can.

If you’re on a tight budget, at the very least we recommend that you find a pull behind bike trailer with 20″ wheels with metal rims. Many budget trailers have 16″ wheels on plastic rims which are poor quality and make for a bumpier ride.

16″ Wheels with Plastic Rims vs. 20″ Wheels with Metal  Rims

smaller instep bike trailer wheel compared to the larger schwinn bike trailer wheel

3. Baby Bike Trailer Inserts and Restrictions

You cannot safely pull a baby in a bike trailer until they are 1 year old. However, if you are using your trailer as a stroller and you have a young infant, you can stroll with your baby as young as 6 weeks old.

If this is the case, you will need a baby insert so your infant’s head and neck are supported properly. These inserts can be used until your baby is at least 6 months old, if not longer.

Speaking from experience, the baby insert in my Thule Chariot Cross was one of my favorite baby gifts of all time. It allowed me to get out and be active again just 6 weeks after giving birth. (The Burley Baby Snuggler is less supportive and isn’t recommended to use until 3 months old.)

Not all trailers have baby insert upgrades. Thule, Burley, Hamax, and Qeridoo trailer/strollers are your best bet if you want to use your trailer as a stroller with a young baby.

Check out our article all about the benefits of the Thule infant sling for new moms!

collage of two baby bike trailer inserts, the burley baby supporter and the thule infant sling

4. Single Bike Trailer or Double Bike Trailer

If you’re only ever going to have one child, a single bike trailer is probably the way to go. They are narrower and lighter than double trailers, making them easier to pull.

Double bike trailers are best for growing families, or families who want the flexibility of bringing along a friend or storing things for the ride. Keep in mind that most double trailers do NOT have a center buckle, so a single rider in a double trailer must sit on the right side. This actually gives the rider less room because they are sitting very close the side of the trailer. Single trailers offer one passenger more room on either side.

difference in rider space between single bike trailer and double bike trailer
Single Thule Chariot Cross & Double Burley Encore X

Internal Cabin Dimensions

The internal cabin dimensions of trailers vary greatly. A difference in a few inches can provide much-needed headspace and shoulder space for riders, especially for older and/or taller riders.

The Burley Bee is exceptionally tall, while the Schwinn Trailblazer is very short in comparison. The Burley D’Lite X models have bowed out sides for extra shoulder space for older riders. WIKE is larger overall to accommodate riders past 5, especially families that have special needs children.

Be sure to check and compare the shoulder space and sitting height of a few bike carriages to make sure that your choice will fit your child as long as you want them to ride with you.

Side by side comparison of interior space in Hamax Outback and Burley DLite X

5. Trailer Weight Capacity

Weight capacity as stated on manufacturers’ websites can be misleading. Most single trailers have an indicated weight capacity of 75 pounds, while double trailers are 100 pounds. Smaller, lower-end trailers may have lower total weight capacities.

However, this stated weight includes kids + cargo, and trailers are only safety rated for a very specific amount of child weight. For example, the Burley D’Lite single has a weight capacity of 75 pounds, but a maximum child weight of 40 pounds! The Burley D’Lite X double has a weight capacity of 100 pounds, with a maximum two child weight of 80 lbs.

Usually these more specific weight limits are only found in user manuals, which you can download. You should never assume that the weight limit listed on the manufacturer’s website is for the weight of the child.  

6. Seat Type – Hammock vs. Bench Seats

Hammock Seats: Budget trailers generally have what’s called “hammock-style” seating, which consists of a thick piece of fabric stretched across the frame of the trailer. These seats generally always sag in the middle and don’t offer a lot of support.

Bench Seats: Found on high-end trailers, the seat is a padded bench that prevents sagging.  These supportive seats are more comfortable overall and also provide more leg room for riders. They make it much easier to load and unload kids, because the bench is supporting their weight away from the buckle.

Side by side comparison of hammock seat and bench seat in child bike trailer

7. Wheels & Maximum Speeds

16″ and 20″ wheels are available on pull behind bike trailers.  20″ wheels are worth the upgrade as they absorb bumps in the road much better than 16″ tires, resulting in a smoother ride for both parent and child.  To save on costs, trailers with 16″ tires often have plastic rims, which are prone to cracking and warping.

20″ tires on metal rims offer the best performance and are available on trailers in all price ranges.  Trailers with 20″ tires generally have a maximum recommended speed of 15 mph, while those with 16″ tires max out at 10 mph.

20 inch wheel on metal rims vs 16 inch wheel on plastic rim on bike trailer
20″ Wheels vs. 16″ Wheels on Plastic Rims

8. External Covers – Protection from the Elements

Rain Covers

While riding in the rain is rarely someone’s intention, keeping your child dry and warm is a concern for many that live in wet climates.  Almost all bike trailers come with a permanently attached rain cover that rolls up when not in use. Rain covers on lower-end models secure with elastic bands while mid and high-end models often secure with a zipper.

Burley trailers – based out of rainy Oregon – provide excellent weatherproofing with rain covers that attach with zippers on their Encore X, D’Lite X, and Cub X models.  The Bee and Honey Bee use a more simple velcro system.

rain cover on Burley Encore X

Thule’s lower-end and mid-range Coaster, Cadence, and Cheetah XT models have rain covers that secure via Velcro, while the high-end Lite and Cross models come with an entirely removable rain cover secured by elastic bands.  Thule’s removable rain cover encompasses the top and sides of the trailer for superior protection from the rain, wind, and cold.

Canopy/Sunshade

To keep the glaring sun out of a child’s eyes, high-end trailers come with sunshades.  Burley’s system is built-in and slides up and down on the D’Lite X and Cub X, but is stationary on the Burley Encore X.

Thule Chariot’s high-end sunshade snaps on and off and slides up and down the front metal rails of the trailer. It’s much longer than Burley’s and is the best sunshade on the market. In our opinion, it’s reason alone to upgrade to a Thule Chariot Cross or Lite. 

Comparison of Thule Chariot and Burley trailer sunshades
Thule Chariot Cross vs. Burley D’Lite X

Windows

The side windows on all trailers are plastic.  UV-blocking windows are available on all Burley, Thule, and Qeridoo trailers, but are not found on entry-level trailers like Allen or InStep.

UV windows on Thule Cadence vs non-UV window on Allen Sports trailer

9. Suspension – Do you need it?

Suspension can make the difference between a smooth, comfortable ride, and a whiny, “I want to go home” ride.  For families sticking to smooth pavement, suspension shouldn’t be a priority. But for those riding on all-terrain surfaces, it can be a ride saver.

Several different suspension systems are available, but we’ve found no significant difference in their performance.  Adjustable suspension is found on the Burley D’Lite X, Cub X, the Thule Chariot Cross, the Qeridoo trailers, and the Hamax Outback. Adjustable suspension is particularly suited for families carrying either really light or heavy kid(s).

For the average family carrying one or two average-weight kids, the non-adjustable suspension systems found on the Thule Chariot Lite and Burley Encore X models should be sufficient.

10. Storage – How much do you need to carry?

How much room you need to store your necessary items really comes down to personal preference. We like to err on the side of more storage than you think you might need! We’ve found ourselves hauling scooters, balance bikes, helmets, basketballs, lunches, and a family’s-worth of jackets.

The shape of the trailer greatly determines the amount of storage space available. Burley’s spacious, flat-bottomed storage area is larger than most and is excellent for carrying things like scooters after you’ve dropped the kids off at school.  If you’re not bringing kids with you, the seats of the Burley X model trailers can collapse down. This converts the entire trailer into a bike wagon or cargo trailer.

The storage area on the Thule Chariot Lite and Cross is significantly smaller, but the trailer is much less bulky.

Handlebar console storage is also available for handy storage of water, keys, phone etc. while in stroller or jogger mode.  Burley and Thule both offer handlebar consoles as an upgrade.  Thule’s attaches to the frame of the trailer and remains stationary when the handlebar is adjusted or flipped for trailer mode.  Burley’s console stretches between the handlebars and moves along with the handlebar as it is adjusted or flipped.

11. Stroller Wheel Attachments

Trailers can be so much more than just a simple bike cart for kids. Outside of biking, strolling is a hugely popular activity. The type of stroller available on bike strollers varies widely. If you plan to use your trailer as a stroller, be sure to purchase a trailer that converts to the type of stroller you want.  

Examples of four different types of stroller wheel attachments on bike trailers

(1) Tow Arm Swivel Wheel

A small, plastic swivel wheel is attached to the end of the trailer arm. It flips up and out of the way when in bike trailer use and flips down for use as a stroller.  When in use as a stroller, the trailer arm sticks out about 1.5 feet past the cab of the trailer and is therefore not ideal for crowded areas.  Examples include the InStep Sierra Double and the Burley Honey Bee.

The quality of this set-up is very basic on cheaper trailers like InStep or Schwinn, but functions very smoothly on higher-end trailers. This style of wheel comes standard on all Burley trailers that convert to strollers.

(2) Attached Single Swivel Wheel

Very similar to the tow arm swivel stroller, but is connected to the body of the trailer rather than the trailer arm.  Pushes smooth and easy, but is not as maneuverable as four wheels when on uneven surfaces. Our top choice in this category is easily the exceptional Qeridoo Kidgoo or Sportrex.

(3) Dual Swivel Bike Stroller Wheels

This is the most functional and easy-to-use stroller type.  Two small, plastic wheels attach underneath the front of the trailer body.  Since the wheels are tucked in, it makes for easy steering and maneuverability.  Thule Chariot bike trailer models come standard as a four-wheeled stroller, and Burley multi-sport trailers offer it as an upgrade.

(4) Jogging Kit

Jogging wheels are designed to track straight while running, so their front wheel does NOT swivel.  A true jogging wheel is also at least 10″ in diameter and is pneumatic (air-filled) to provide smooth rolling.  

To turn a jogging trailer, you must push down on the handlebar to raise the front wheel off the ground, and then pivot the trailer while the front jogging wheel is in the air.  All multi-sport trailers have the option to purchase a jogging wheel.   Examples include the Thule Chariot Cross and the Burley Encore X.

12. Bike Trailer Stroller Brakes

All trailers that are sold with an option for a stroller are required to include a parking brake.  The types of brakes range from a simple strap around a tire to a hand brake on the handlebars.  While brakes are of minimal concern when used as a trailer, as a stroller or jogger, a well-designed parking or hand-brake can make a world of difference.

Different examples of footbrakes on bike trailers

Foot Brake

Similar to typical stroller brakes, foot brakes on bike trailer strollers are engaged with the foot and lock the rear tires. They do not slow the trailer down like handbrakes.  Foot brakes can be found on trailers of all price ranges and vary from pushing down with your foot, to sliding it across the base of the trailer with your foot.

Hand Brake

Designed to slow a trailer versus completely stop it, hand brakes can be life-savers for joggers and parents navigating hills in stroller mode.  The most universal hand brake is available as an upgrade on the Thule Chariot Lite and Cross models and can be used in stroller or jogging modes.  The Hamax Outback jogging upgrade is the only jogging kit to come with a hand brake, but activates the front jogging wheel and cannot be used in stroller mode.

13. Adjustable Handlebars

An adjustable stroller handlebar greatly improves the usability of a trailer in stroller or jogger mode.  Most trailers come with at least two heights, achieved by flipping the handlebar and reattaching it to the trailer.

The best bike trailers, including all Burley and Qeridoo strollers, the Thule Chariot Cross and Lite, and the Hamax Outback, come with a swiveling handlebar that offers multiple heights.  Swivel handlebars are ideal for couples with great differences in height.  Multiple-height handlebars can be adjusted within seconds, while dual-height handlebars take a bit longer and don’t offer as precise a fit.

Side by side comparison of trailer with just two handlebar height setting and one with a continuously adjustable handlebar

14. Folding Frame – How small does it get?

How easy it is to fold a trailer can make the difference between you getting your trailer out on those trails, or just not wanting to bother because it’s such a pain to load it up. Its dimensions while folded will also determine if you can even get it in your car!  

For example, our Thule Cross Single requires us to fold down the back seat of our Honda Pilot to fit it in the car. As a result, we lose the ability to transport two whole people when we want to bring our trailer along on family bike rides.

But overall, almost all bike carts for kids fold up in some way to make transportation easy.

15. Hitch

The design of the trailer hitch determines how smooth of a ride you and your child will have. Most trailer companies (InStep, Schwinn, Allen Sports) use a standard hitch.

High-end brands (Thule, Burley) use their own unique designs that fit more precisely, resulting in less “give” and pull-back from the trailer as you ride.  All hitch designs sold in the US flex to allow the bike to be placed on the ground while keeping the trailer upright for easy loading and unloading.

Comparison of hitch connection for Thule and Burley trailers

Burley vs. Thule Chariot Comparison Guide – An easy reference guide to help you decide between the two best brands. We’ll explain all the differences between Chariot bike trailers and Burley bike trailers

International Bike Fund – Child Bike Seats vs. Trailers for Infants: For an interesting discussion on the safety merits of child bike seats vs. trailers and trailer cycles by a non-profit international biking group.

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