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10 Best Bike Trailers for Kids + Buying Guide

Bike trailers for kids come in different styles and are designed for different purposes – there isn’t ONE best bike trailer, but rather bike trailers that are best for different uses and budgets.

Some trailers perform like a dream on the road, while others excel at multiple functions like jogging and strolling. Is a standard child bike trailer enough, or do you need a bike trailer stroller? What about a bike trailer jogger? Can I bring my baby? We’ve narrowed down the best options below so you don’t have to do the research!

group of trailers in a circle for testing

Why trust us? Over the last 10 years, we’ve personally tested out every major trailer brand on the market.  From Thule and Burley to WIKE, Schwinn, Instep and Hamax, we have ridden, run and walked with over 25 different child bike trailers to help you find the best.

Best Bike Trailers for Kids: 2020

TrailerWhy We Love ItQuality Level

Thule Chariot Cross

Best Overall

High-End

Burley D'Lite (X) 

Best for All-Terrain Families

High-End

Hamax Outback

Most Roomy

High-End

Burley Encore (X)

Best Mid-Range Double

Mid-Range

Thule Chariot Cheetah XT

Best Mid-Range Single

Mid-Range

Wike Premium Double

Best for Kids 4+

Mid-Range

Burley Bee

Best Basic Trailer

Entry Level

Burley Honey Bee

Best Basic Bike Trailer Stroller

Entry Level

Allen Sports S2

Best Budget Bike Trailer Stroller

Budget

Allen Sports T2

Best Budget Trailer

Budget

Don’t just read about our favorite bike trailers for kids, see them in action in our video summary below! In addition to seeing each of the bike trailers, we’ll cover our favorite features of each one.

If you don’t know anything about trailers and need a little help deciding which one you 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 bike trailers.

Our Top Bike Trailer Picks by Price Range

  • HIGH-END: The cream-of-crop trailers with the most features. They can all convert to bike trailer strollers and joggers.
  • MID-RANGE: Great quality and performance, with fewer features, but still able to convert to bike trailer strollers and joggers.
  • ENTRY LEVEL: Superior to budget trailers, but offer fewer conversion kits and features than more expensive models. Some convert to strollers.
  • BUDGET: Trailers that perform well but lack durability and most upgrades such as padded seats and conversion kits. Some convert to strollers.

High-End Bike Trailers

These are the cream-of-the-crop of 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!

Thule Chariot Cross

Best All-Around


Mom riding bike while pulling the Thule Cross bike trailer behind her

MSRP: $1,050 (single), $1,150 (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.

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: Reclinable seats, plush cushioning seats, adjustable suspension, top view window, infant sling for stroller mode

FULL REVIEW: Thule Chariot Cross

The Thule Chariot Cross is pretty much 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, 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.

Burley D’Lite (X)

Best for All-Terrain Families


Mom powering up a dirt trail pulling the Burley D'Lite X double bike trailer

MSRP: $850 (D’Lite), $899 (D’lite X)

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

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

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

With double capacity, this queen of comfort comes standard with features like 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 a higher-set trailer body and wider tires that have a more aggressive tread than the Cross, the D’Lite is better for those venturing off the paved trails.

Hamax Outback

Most Roomy


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

MSRP: $799 (single), $849

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

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, the Hamax provides 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 a dream to use as a stroller. The Outback also has amazing ventilation and a peek-through window up top.

High-end Trailers Comparison

Single MSRPThule CrossBurley D'lite XHamax Outback
Thule Chariot CrossBurley D'lite (X)Hamax Outback
Single MSRP$1,050$699$649
Double MSRP$1,150$799, $849 (X)$699
Standout FeatureIndependent reclining seats, top view windowIndependent reclining seats, bowed out sidesSpacious interior
Included Stroller4-wheel on chassis3-wheel on arm3-wheel on chassis
Jogging KitUpgradeUpgradeUpgrade
SuspensionAdjustableYes, adjustable on XAdjustable
Internal Height26"24"28"
Weight (double)32 lb.29.3 lb.40.7 lb.

Mid-Range Bike Trailers

For those 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


Mom pulling Burley Encore X bike trailer through field

MSRP: $550 (Encore), $599 (Encore X)

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, sunshade, pulls incredibly smooth

FULL REVIEW: Burley Encore X

The Encore’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.

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.

Thule Chariot Cheetah XT

Best Mid-Range Single


Mom pulling Thule Chariot Cheetah XT single bike trailer on paved trail by lake

MSRP: $599 (single), $699 (double)

BEST FOR: Multisport families looking for a fully-capable single trailer at a more affordable price tag (also available in double)

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included), jogger, ski

STANDOUT FEATURES: On-board storage of conversion kits, tallest interior in the Thule and Burley lines

FULL REVIEW: Thule Chariot Cheetah XT

If you don’t need a double trailer, there’s no reason to pull or push around a trailer that wide! The Thule Chariot Cheetah XT is the most affordable single multi-sport trailer available, hitting all the major necessities within a smaller price tag.  Coming standard with a 4-wheel stroller kit and compatible with Thule’s jogger kit, the nimble Cheetah stands ready for action.

WIKE Premium Double

Best for Kids 4+


collage of three different colors of the wike premium double bike trailer

MSRP: $450

BEST FOR: Families with taller or older kids looking for a full-featured trailer without the additional weight of suspension.

CONVERSION KITS: Stroller, jogger (both included!)

STANDOUT FEATURES: Tall interior, rugged build, lightweight for its size, conversion kits included

FULL REVIEW: WIKE Premium Double

The Wike Premium Double is a solid, spacious trailer that is excellent for taller and older kids. It’s hands-down the roomiest trailer on the market, and boasts the highest internal seat height and weight capacity.

The biggest downside of the WIKE is that it can feel pretty bulky, but if you need to tow older kids, it’s a fantastic solution. The jogging and stroller kits have several small, unattached pieces that could easily get lost.

Mid-range Trailers Comparison

FeatureBurley Encore (X)Thule Cheetah XTWIKE Premium Double
Burley Encore (X)Thule Chariot Cheetah XTWIKE Premium Double
Single MSRP-$599-
Double MSRP$550, $599 (X)$692$450
Standout FeatureSupportive bench style seats4-wheel stroller includedHuge interior
Included Stroller3-wheel on arm4-wheel on chassis3-wheel on chassis
Jogging KitUpgradeUpgradeIncluded
SuspensionNon-adjustable suspension on X (none on Encore)NoneNone
Internal Height24"27"30"
Weight (double)24.7 lb.26.4 lb.24 lb.

Entry-Level Bike Trailers

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

Burley Bee

Best Basic Trailer


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

MSRP: $299

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

CONVERSION KITS: None

STANDOUT FEATURES: UV windows, great basic trailer that pulls super smooth

FULL REVIEW: Burley Bee

The Burley Bee is vastly superior to any truly budget trailer out there. While about $150 – $200 more 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.

Burley Honey Bee

Best Basic Bike Trailer Stroller


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

MSRP: $399

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 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.

Entry-Level Trailer Comparison

FeatureBurley BeeBurley Honey Bee
Burley BeeBurley Honey Bee
Single MSRP$279--
Double MSRP$299$399
Standout FeatureRugged, durable buildConverts to a stroller
Stroller KitNoneIncluded
Jogging KitNoneNone
SuspensionNoneNone
Internal Height27.5"26"
Weight (double)20 lb.25.5 lb.

Budget Bike Trailers

For those looking to spend under $200 on a bike trailer for kids, these budget trailers are your best bet.  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.

Allen Sports T2

Best Budget Trailer


Allen T2 and S2 trailers side by side from the side

MSRP: $120

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

CONVERSION KITS: None

STANDOUT FEATURES: Great quality features for the price

FULL REVIEW: Allen Sports T2

The best trailer you can buy for under $120, the Allen Sports T2 pulls much smoother and quieter than other budget-brands. The T2 does not feature the UV windows or larger 20″ wheels featured in the Entry-level trailers, but for hundreds of dollars less, it is an amazing trailer!

Allen Sports S2

Best Budget Bike Trailer Stroller


Allen S2 Trailer as a Stroller

MSRP: $154

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 T2

FULL REVIEW: Allen Sports T2 and S2 Review

As roomy and spacious as a more expensive trailer, the Allen Sports S2 trailer provides plenty of headroom and a thickly-padded hammock seat for a comfortable ride. In addition to pulling smooth and steady, the S2 features an easy-to-use 5-point harness system that is much higher-quality than those found in Schwinn bike trailers.

Budget Trailers Comparison

FeatureAllen T2Allen S2
Allen Sports T2Allen Sports S2
MSRP$120$154
Standout FeaturePadded seat bottomConverts to a stroller
Included Stroller WheelsNone3-wheel on chassis
SuspensionNoneNone
Internal Height21"24"

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 11 main criteria to help you choose the best trailer for your family are: 1) trailer type, 2) budget 3) trailer size, 4) weight capacity, 5) seat type, 6) wheels, 7) external covers & venting, 8) suspension, 9) storage, 10) stroller wheel attachments, 11) stroller brakes, 12) adjustable handlebars, 13) folding, 14) hitch, and 15) use with infants.

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

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.

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 that 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 be able 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 under $100 to over $1,000, and 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, Croozer 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 on a car, only the top of the line bike trailers offers the top-of-the-line features.

Advantage of Buying a More Expensive Trailer

Price RangeVALUEMID-LEVELHIGH-END
Price RangeVALUEMID-LEVELHIGH-END
InStep Take 2 stock image in blueBurley Bee trailer stock image in yellowBurley D'Lite double trailer blue
ExampleInSTEPBurley BeeBurley D'Lite
MSRP$115$349$799
16" TiresX
20" TiresXX
High Weight CapacityXX
Durable FabricXX
UV WindowsXX
Bench SeatsX
SuspensionX
Conversion KitsX

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 trailer with 20″ wheels and metals rims. Many budget trailers have 16″ wheels on plastic rims which are poor quality and make for a very bumpy ride.

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

instep bike trailer 16 inch wheel compared to the schwinn bike trailer 20 inch wheel

3. Riding with Baby in a Bike Trailer

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 baby’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 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.

Not all trailers have baby insert upgrades. Thule and Burley 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. Bike Trailer Capacity and Size

Single Bike Trailer or Double Bike Trailer?

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

Double trailers are best for growing families, or families who want the flexibility of bringing along a friend or storing things along 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 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 models have bowed out sides for extra shoulder space for taller 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 trailers 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 have a 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 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″ tires are available on bike trailers.  20″ tires 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 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 Portland, Oregon – provide excellent weatherproofing with rain covers that attach with zippers on their Encore, D’Lite, and Cub 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 and Cub, but is stationary on the Burley Encore.

Thule’s high-end sunshade snaps on and off and slides up and down the front metal rails of the trailer. It’s the best sunshade on the market, and reason alone to upgrade to a Thule Cross or Lite.  Mid-range models like the Chariot Cheetah XT are shorter and act more like a visor.

Sunshade on Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs Thule Chariot Cross
Thule Chariot Cheetah XT vs Cross

Windows

The side windows on all trailers are plastic.  UV-blocking windows are available on all Burley, Thule, and Hamax 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 life saver.

Several different suspension systems are available, but we’ve found no significant difference in their performance.  Adjustable suspension found on the Burley D’Lite, Cub and the Thule Cross and the Hamax Outback adjust to fit all families but are 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 Lite and Burley Encore X models should be sufficient.

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

How much room you have to store items you need to bring along for the ride 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.  The storage area on the Thule Cheetah XT, 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 jogging 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

The type of stroller available on bike trailers varies widely. In fact, the most common complaint about trailers is in regards to their stroller attachments.  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 Stroller Wheel

A small, plastic swivel wheel is attached to 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 Stroller 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 Hamax Outback.

(3) Dual Swivel 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 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 back wheels and pivot the trailer while the front jogging wheel is in the air.  All multi-sport trailers come with or have the option to purchase a jogging wheel.   Examples include the Allen SST (single), and the Burley Encore X.

12. Stroller Brakes

All trailers that are sold with an option for a stroller are required to include a 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 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 prices 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 strollers, the Thule 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.

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, Croozer) 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

Kids Bike Trailer Comparison Chart

Bike Trailer

Stroller KitJogging KitCapacitySupported Seats

MSRP

Baby InsertSunshade

High-End Multi-Sport Bike Trailers

Thule Chariot Cross

IncludedUpgradeSingle or DoubleYes$1,050, $1,150YesYes
Thule Chariot LiteIncludedUpgradeSingle or DoubleYes$749, $849YesYes
Burley Cub XIncludedUpgradeDoubleYes$950YesYes

Burley D'Lite (X)

IncludedUpgradeSingle or DoubleYes

$799, $899

YesYes

Mid-Range Multi-Sport Bike Trailers

Hamax Outback

IncludedUpgradeSingle or DoubleYes$649, $699YesYes
Thule Chariot Cheetah XTIncludedUpgradeSingle or DoubleYes$599, $691YesYes
Burley Encore (X)IncludedUpgradeDoubleYes$550, $599YesYes
WIKE Premium DoubleIncludedIncludedDoubleYes$450NoNo

Basic Bike Trailers

Thule Coaster XTIncludedNoDoubleYes$429NoNo
Burley Honey BeeIncludedNoDoubleNo$399YesNo
Burley BeeNoNoDoubleNo$349YesNo
Thule CadenceNoNoDoubleNo$329NoYes
Burley MinnowNoNoSingleNo$279YesNo

Entry-Level Bike Trailers

Schwinn TrailblazerIncludedNoSingle or DoubleYes$178NoNo
Schwinn EchoNoNoDoubleNo$220NoNo
Allen Sports S2IncludedNoDoubleYes$153NoNo
Allen Sports T2NoNoDoubleYes$120NoNo
InStep Take 2OptionalNoDoubleNo$115NoNo

Burley vs. Thule Chariot Comparison Guide – An easy reference guide to help you decide between the two best brands.

Bike Trailers: Comparison Charts – To view and sort bike trailers from all the brands, and read reviews.

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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