It’s easy to get carried away when it comes to stroller-shopping: there will always be a fancier model with the newest features.
Before you know it, you’ve adjusted your budget three times and spent a small fortune.
While many luxury strollers have a lot to offer, it’s also important to know what features you can expect with a lower-cost stroller. Moms on a budget, we want you to meet the Chicco Liteway stroller!
Factors to Consider before Buying a Reclinable Umbrella Stroller
You may be picturing a full-scale beach umbrella when you hear the words “umbrella stroller,” but this term refers to portability. Just like its namesake, an umbrella stroller features a compact fold and is designed to be lightweight and easy to carry.
Many of these strollers are also budget-friendly, but may not have the broad range of features that a pricier stroller boasts.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before purchasing an umbrella stroller:
How old is my child? If you’re looking for a newborn-friendly stroller, you may prefer some of the pricier, full-featured models on the market.
However, if you’re looking for a lightweight option to use on excursions with your older kiddo, an umbrella stroller could be an excellent choice.
How often do we travel? One of the major perks of an umbrella stroller is how travel-friendly it is. If you expect to be hopping planes regularly to visit the in-laws, an umbrella stroller might be a good fit for you.
What are my “must haves”? It’s important to consider what features you aren’t willing to compromise. If you find yourself with a long list, an umbrella stroller may not be the right pick for you.
Do I already have a stroller? For some families, the Chicco Liteway might be all you need, but for others, it’s easier to have multiple strollers. If you’re looking to complement your bulky full-featured stroller, the Liteway could be an exceptional choice.
Presenting the Chicco Liteway Stroller
You’re probably already familiar with Chicco as one of the “big names” in baby products. The European-developed brand has been a popular choice for over 50 years and draws upon expert research and real-world evaluation as they design their products.
The Liteway is one of the several lightweight strollers manufactured by Chicco.
A word of caution: the Chicco website gives some conflicting reports as to whether the Liteway is compatible with Chicco KeyFit 30 car seats. It seems that the final verdict is that this stroller is not suitable for Chicco car seats. If car seat compatibility is important to you, check out our alternatives to the Liteway below.
The Liteway also boasts features like a flat reclining seat, adjustable footrest, one-handed fold, and removable storage basket.
Better yet, this stroller retails for a budget-friendly $139.99.
- Great value for the money.
- Five different seatback recline positions.
- Adjustable footrest with two settings.
- The removable storage bin becomes a backpack.
- Hideaway boot for infants.
- Not compatible with car seats.
- Seat recline can impede access to storage.
- Could feel heavy to carry at 17.2 pounds.
- No bumper bar or snack tray.
Features and Benefits of the Chicco Liteway
Video © Kiddicare
Folding and Carrying
Since a lightweight fold is the main appeal of an umbrella stroller, let’s start there.
The Liteway’s unfolded dimensions are 35 (L) by 19 (W) by 40 inches. (H).
When folded, it gains some length, clocking in at 46 inches, but folds to a compact 10 (W) and 11.75 inches (H).
The Chicco Liteway features a carrying handle attached to the frame. You won’t be able to sling it over your shoulder as with a strap, but it does make transporting the folded stroller a little easier.
With that said, this stroller does weigh 17.2 pounds, which could still feel hefty for some, especially if you’re also juggling your kiddo and the diaper bag.
The Liteway also features a lock to ensure that the stroller does not unfold itself.
Chicco advertises the Liteway’s folding process as one-handed, but as with any stroller, it may take some time to master the process.
To fold this stroller, you use your foot to press a button between the back wheels, then step on a button on the stroller’s right side. At that point, you can push the Liteway into its folded position, and it will be locked automatically.
While the Liteway’s weight and portability are the factors that qualify it as an umbrella stroller, it’s several other attentively-designed features that make this stroller such a great value.
Let’s take a top-to-bottom look!
The canopy on the Chicco Liteway is fairly substantial for an umbrella stroller.
The peek-a-boo window provides a nice way to check on your little one without closing the canopy. However, I wish there was a cover for the window to block out sunlight when it is not in use.
Handles and Removable Cup Holder
The Chicco Liteway sports padded handles. We like that they are covered with foam rather than rubber, which tends to heat quickly in direct sunlight.
The two handled design is a nice touch for extra storage, too, since you can easily add a parent organizer or toss a shopping bag around a handle.
The Liteway’s cup holder is a nice bonus feature that even many luxury strollers omit. We particularly like that it can be removed when it’s not in use.
One of the Liteway’s most desirable features is its reclining seat, which offers five different positions.
As with many other strollers, the Chicco Liteway is not completely flat when fully reclined: its lowest recline position is 14 degrees. This is close enough to flat for most nappers, but may give you pause if your child is still teeny tiny!
To change the angle of recline on this stroller, you are able to pull up on an elastic strap on the back of the seat.
The adjustment is a one-handed and straightforward process.
Fully reclined with the hideaway bootPhoto: © Chicco
We want to call some extra attention to this feature of the Liteway because it can be a little bit difficult to envision.
The “hideaway boot” is designed to keep your little one snug and comfy while she rests.
It is attached and stows under the stroller’s footrest, so you won’t need to worry about forgetting it or finding a place to stow it.
After removing the boot from its storage pocket, you fold it up and over the front of the stroller and clip it onto the frame and stroller seat.
Adjustable Foot Rest
The Liteway’s foot rest can adjust to two different positions: up and down. This is one of those features that will likely feel vital to some and unimportant for others, but I love that the Liteway gives you the option.
Some kiddos and parents don’t mind dangling feet, but the foot rest will make life a lot comfier for others.
Personally, I like this feature best for nap time: I find supported legs make it easier for little ones to sleep comfortably without sliding down low in the seat.
Removable Storage Bin
The stroller’s storage basket is about average in size, and will hold a diaper bag comfortably but not much else.
The basket is approved to hold up to 6½ pounds. Unfortunately, access to the bin can be somewhat limited when the seat is reclined.
However, here’s where the Liteway gets some bonus points for creativity by introducing one of this stroller’s most unique features: the ability to remove the storage bin and use it as a backpack.
As with many umbrella strollers, the Liteway cannot be folded with any items in the storage container, so this feature provides a great built-in way to keep your cargo with you even when the stroller is folded and stowed.
To remove the storage bin, you simply unsnap it from the stroller frame. Then, you will need to transfer your items from the “basket” to the inside of the bag. It cinches closed with a drawstring, and can be carried like a backpack.
While it’s a minor detail, I really like the drawstring closure, which makes your items harder to access than a traditional zipper might.
Wheels and Brakes
The Chicco Liteway’s front wheels measure 5.5 inches in diameter, and the rear wheels are 7 inches in diameter. The wheels are rubber rather than plastic, and are tread-free.
The Liteway also offers rear wheel suspension, aimed to help the stroller manage bumps in the road: always a welcome feature when your little guy is sleeping!
Overall, we feel that the Chicco Liteway’s design makes for a fairly smooth ride, especially compared to similarly priced strollers.
There are a few factors to note when it comes to the Chicco’s braking system.
One feature we really like is the swivel lock on the front wheels. By toggling a lever on the front wheels, you can set your stroller’s wheels to only head straight ahead.
This is a nice, steadying feature for bumpier terrain or when you’re headed long distances, like down the boardwalk at the beach.
To set the brake on the Chicco Liteway, you’ll need to press two levers on the back wheels. Flip them up again to remove the brake. While a more sandal-friendly option might be ideal, this mechanism is still fairly easy to use.
Alternatives to the Chicco Liteway
Maybe you’re liking the sound of a reclining umbrella stroller, but aren’t quite convinced the Chicco Liteway is the perfect fit for you. Maybe you’re just curious about what else is out there. If so, check out the three great alternatives below!
Chicco Liteway Plus
If you like the Chicco Liteway but find yourself needing a few more features, check out its cousin, the Chicco Liteway Plus.
This stroller retails for just $40 more than the Liteway, but offers a few additional perks. Chief among these? Its compatibility with all Chicco KeyFit 30 car seats.
- No car seat compatibility
- Approved for children up to 40 lbs.
- Lighter, at 17.2 lbs.
- Compatible with all Chicco KeyFit 30 car seats.
- Approved for children up to 50 lbs.
- Heavier, at 20 lbs.
Joovy Groove Ultralight
Maybe an umbrella stroller sounds good to you, but the Liteway sounds a little heavy, or maybe you’re not sure you need 5 different recline positions as long as your stroller can lie flat when your kiddo is napping.
If so, meet the Joovy Groove Ultralight, which retails for $190.
- Offers five recline positions.
- Heavier, at 17.2 lbs.
- Attached carrying handle.
- Removable storage bin.
- Only two recline positions.
- Lighter, at 13.9 lbs.
- Safety reflectors on all four sides.
- Canopy features sun visor and parent organizer.
- Over-shoulder carrying strap.
Mountain Buggy Nano
Our third pick is the Mountain Buggy Nano: we like this stroller for its light weight (13 lbs.) and built in car seat adapters.
However, the Nano is a bit pricier than the Liteway, retailing for $249.99.
As you research this option, take a special look at the stroller’s unique folding design, which minimizes its length.
- Not compatible with any car seats
- Heavier, at 17.2 lbs.
- Transports using an attached carry strap.
Mountain Buggy Nano
- Built in car seat adapters (the list is long, but includes Chicco, Graco, PegPerego, and Maxi-Cosi models).
- Lighter, at 13 lbs.
- Can transport in a carry bag or with a shoulder strap.
- Compact, standing fold (measures 21” x 12” x 20”).
- Numerous accessories available.
Umbrella strollers are a great fit for families who need portability, whether you’re searching for a primary or secondary stroller. Features like the Chicco Liteway stroller’s reclining seat back and infant hideaway boot make this compact stroller a great value for the money.
Go and check out the Liteway!
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