An infant compatible lightweight double stroller that has an easy and compact umbrella-style fold, great push, loads of storage, huge canopies, and can haul a ride on board? Sounds like an impossible order and yet Joovy has somehow made our wildest dreams come true with their TwinGroove Ultralight! I received one free for review, but as always, you can count on me for the truth and nothing but the truth. In a nutshell, we absolutely love it!!! Read on for my full review and what I have found to be the hits and misses in the design and functionality (and don't miss my demo video at the bottom!).
What I love about the Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight:
It has an extremely compact umbrella-style fold (measuring 15" x 30" x 13"). If you keep the wheels unlocked it's very easy to pull it along behind you or push ahead of you, and if you lock the wheels it's easy to store upright against a wall (no, it's not self-standing). The process of folding is multi-step but super quick once you get the hang of it: 1) lock all 3 front sets of wheels, 2) push seat backs forward all the way, 3) pull up 2 locking levers at back of stroller, 4) step down on the folding mechanism on the side, 5) push handles forward and down until stroller is locked shut. Once you've done it a few times it takes literally 15 seconds (much easier than trying to direct someone else how to fold it while you're getting 2 screaming kids into car seats LOL).
I love the full range of these independently reclining seats - from quite upright with a great view all the way down to nearly fully reclined and infant compatible! There's even a mesh foot enclosure that flips up and over the foot rest for newborns (of course, if using with newborns you would also want to buy and use a full infant body support pillow or at least a head support pillow - shown in use in below left photo). How you actually recline and straighten the seat is not my favorite feature, as far as I can figure it does take two hands, but it's fairly straight forward and simple (check my demo video to see it being done). There are also nice leg rests that go up and down easily. We haven't had any major grime to deal with yet, but yogurt and other snack mishaps have easily cleaned right up with a quick wipe down with a wet towel.
It has 2 decent sized storage baskets under the stroller that are only accessible from the rear and only when the seats are upright. The left and right underbaskets are separate and there's a 5 pound limit for each, so you can't fit anything HUGE or super heavy down there, but the mesh bags hang on top of the metal frame, so you can't stretch the basket out like I've had an issue with on other strollers. I decided to ditch my double diaper bag and instead pack smaller bags to go under the stroller - diapers, wipes, nursing cover and toys on the left, snacks and water bottles on the right. It's been working great!
You can also go without an add-on parent console since they have built it in for you! The back of each seat features a small zippered compartment where you can store wallet, chapstick, keys, etc as well as a small open mesh compartment good for a small water bottle or cell phone. The stroller comes with a plastic cup holder that hooks on the side, but I had a terrible time with it not staying in place (maybe I wasn't using it right?), so I gave up on it and took it off.
Finally, each seat has a little mesh pocket where you can keep stuff you want accessible to your child, such as a toy, bottle, or pacifier!
I wouldn't recommend hanging anything heavy in the back from the handles, I haven't tried and this stroller seems much sturdier than most umbrellas, but it could potentially flip the stroller backwards. If you need more storage, the SureShop bag by Hatch Things is awesome, it hangs and clips onto the side of strollers, you could even use one on each side, though it would make the stroller significantly wider when in use.
The Weight & Weight Limit:
With an in-use size of 32.25" x 30" x 42.75", the TwinGroove Ultralight weighs 26 pounds, not exactly light, but as far as double strollers go it makes good on its namesake "ultralight"! I'm 5'8" and the handles are at a very comfortable height for me, and were fine for my 5' sister-in-law, too. But here's where it rocks... each seat has a whopping 50 pound weight limit, with a total weight limit of 100 pounds!! Yessssss!!!
This part probably can't be endorsed by Joovy as I don't think they've done any testing or approved any after markets such as this, but I do want to mention that we've been using it on a daily basis for a month now to carry our 18 pound twins in the seats and pull our 38 pound 4 year old on his Englacha Junior X-Rider sit/stand board. I was nervous if it would be compatible with this, and if we would somehow break or warp the Joovy's frame, but it has been kicking butt! Another reason the Twingroove Ultralight does well pulling a ride on toddler board in my opinion is because the stroller handles are independent, so there's no across-handle to get in the way of the child when sitting or standing behind the stroller.
These are great full coverage independently operating canopies, with UV protection and (small) velcro closing plastic peekaboo windows.
I didn't realize this when we first got the stroller in January 2017, actually I didn't realize it until our first summer with it, but the 2 back flaps of the stroller (which house the cup holders and zippered pockets) can actually be flipped up over and kinda hook onto the canopies. If you do this when the seats are reclined, they get a wonderful cross breeze and it's such an amazing surprise bonus to this stroller in summer!!!
What I don't love about the Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight:
As soon as I started posting photos and professing my love for this new stroller on my social media, I got a couple of warnings from friends that it wouldn't do well in snow. I brushed them off until I tried to take it out a week ago when there were a couple of inches of fresh powder on the ground. And you know what? They were right... we didn't even make it off of our block. We were skidding around and there was no way I was going to make it up and over the mound of snow that had accumulated at the corner. Abort mission. Repeat: ABORT MISSION!!! As an umbrella stroller, the wheels are just too small and gripless to be able to do well in snow (a dusting if fine, as is relatively smooth compact snow, but that's about all it can handle). But other than that it's done well on many types of terrain, even horribly cracked sidewalks and pot-holed roads - thanks to the 3 sets of double wheels (if one set hits a hole the other 2 sets carry the stroller over without a fuss!
It also doesn't have a belly bar or snack tray as add-on options, but those are pretty standard losses in an umbrella stroller, I mean, they would take away from the compact fold! But, you can always get those velcro tethers for snack cups.
One of my favorite things about the stroller is the great view the kids have from the seat because they're not reclined deep within a pocketed seat. But, that's also a slight hazard I have found for my own very curious toddlers. It is a tight squeeze into our building's elevator and through the grocery store aisles, and there is nothing to keep their arms and legs inside the stroller. So, I have to be very vigilant, steer clear of breakables, and go slowly in and out of the elevator making sure limbs are clear.
So, who would I recommend this stroller for? Just about anyone with 2 or more kids!! It's great for twins (from infancy til they reach 50 pounds each), twins plus one or 2-3 singleton siblings (with ride-on board). It's great for travel, as a spare in the car, and even as your daily stroller! Other than the not-great-in-snow issue I mentioned above, the main thing that might make it not the best stroller for you is if you have one or two infant car seats that need to be hauled in the stroller since this does not have the ability to do so.
The Joovy TwinGroove Ultralight comes in black, grey, or turquoise (like our beaut) and can be purchased for $299.99 on their website, Amazon, and in many stores.
RAIN COVER OPTIONS:
When I originally wrote this review back in January 2017, I don't think they'd come out with a custom rain cover for the TwinGroove Ultralight yet, but I was happy with how the Manito Elegance Alpha Stroller Shield performed (see my full review on the Manito cover here). Basically, It creates a fabulously warm and cozy greenhouse in winter, protects them from the rain, has a front window that zips opens so you can hand kids snacks or give them fresh air or take kids in and out without having to remove the cover, and fits this stroller fabulously!! The only real negative, and it's a pretty big one, is that you cannot make use of the peekaboo windows when this is on, meaning you cannot see your kids. If your kids require snacks in the stroller like mine did, this can wind up being a bit risky.
In June 2017 we were sent the new TwinGroove Ultralight Rain Cover to test out and it's pretty great. My favorite point is that it's entirely see through meaning you can see your kids at all times if you keep the peekaboo top open or if you flip the back panel up over the canopy. Also, because it's made for this stroller, it's a perfect fit. And finally, it can be folded in a way (shown below) so that it sits on the stroller conveniently out of the way without you needing to fold it and put it away every time it stops raining or you run inside a shop. It velcros shut in several places meaning you can quickly unzip one side to hand your child something without having to expose them to the rain. My only negative is that while it has a velcro tie on each front corner, it wasn't enough for my escape artists (see below). Though it's tied into place they still managed to get out from under the cover. Whomp whomp. Anyway, it's still a great cover and I would say it's the best cover for this stroller as long as your kids aren't mischievous little monkeys like mine are... It retails for $49.99 on Joovy's website and Amazon.
Here's my demo video - check out the TwinGroove in action!!
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Disclaimer: Although I did receive this product free of charge, all thoughts and opinions are my own and completely unbiased.
About Me ^_^
I'm a NYC metro area mom blogger living in NJ with my Japanese husband & our 3 kids (twins plus 1). This blog is chock full of product reviews, family travel guides, and giveaways galore! It's also home to Bay Ridge Families, and several guides focused on kid-friendly activities and guides to South Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, and New Jersey, as well as family-friendly destinations beyond the NYC area (check the menu bar!)