Which bike trailer is best for your family?
Bike trailers 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. Other trailers have plenty of room for two kids, while some squish kids in like sardines. We’ve narrowed down the best options below so you don’t have to do the research!
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 trailers to help you find the best.
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. They don’t come cheap, but they will last you for years to come!
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 Cross
The 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 Cross is the only jogger to offer a rear-wheel hand brake.
Best for All-Terrain Families
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 REVIEW: Burley D’Lite X
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.
MSRP: $649, $699
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.
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 trailers are the perfect “just-right” trailers. Still compatible with stroller and jogger conversion kits, these mid-range trailers are a more affordable buy for multi-sport families.
Best Mid-Range Double
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 trailer.
Best Mid-Range Single
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 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.
Best for Kids 4+
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.
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.
Best Basic Trailer
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 trailers, 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.
Best Basic Trailer/Stroller
BEST FOR: Families who want the option to occasionally use their trailer as a stroller
CONVERSION KITS: Stroller (included)
STANDOUT FEATURES: Low helmet pocket (great for young toddlers), stroller wheel stored on tow arm when not in use, padded seats
FULL REVIEW: Thule Coaster XT
Unlike the Bee, the Thule Coaster XT can be used as a stroller. While the stroller wheel is basic and sticks out on the trailer arm, it works great for those times when you want to stop riding and take a stroll. The Coaster XT does, however, offer less headroom than other models, so the Coaster isn’t ideal for really tall or older kids.
For those looking to spend under $200 on a trailer, these budget trailers are your best bet. In a head-to-head comparison with Schwinn and InStep trailers, we found that Allen 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.
Best Budget Trailer
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 T2
The best trailer you can buy for under $120, the 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!
Best Budget Trailer/Stroller
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 T2 and S2 Review
As roomy and spacious as a more expensive trailer, the Allen 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 trailers.
How to Choose the Best Kid’s Bike Trailer
Kids’ bike trailers have tons of features to consider when you’re trying to find the best trailer for your family’s needs. While we have a much more detailed discussion about this in our article Bike Trailers: How to Choose, here’s a quick summary of the most important features that should impact your decision in buying a bike trailer.
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!
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.
Budget – Good, Better, Best
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.
For example, the wildly popular Burley Bee is a trailer only, but it’s just what they would classify as a “Good” trailer. To get the very “Best” quality trailer, you would need to upgrade quite a bit to their performance D’Lite line.
That said, any trailer by brands like Burley, Thule, 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
Capacity – Single or Double?
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.
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. Higher-end trailers have a true bench-style seat. When you have two riders, a bench style seat makes a huge difference in comfort level for those little riders. If you can afford it, it’s certainly worth the upgrade!
Rain covers and sunshades have saved us from staying inside on soooo many occasions. Rain covers protect from rain, wind, and frigid fall and winter temperatures. Sunshades are a lifesaver in the scorching summer heat.
We’ve found that well-functioning rain covers and sunshades allow you to get out in almost any weather in stroller and jogger modes, and in biking mode as long as you are in safe riding conditions. We highly recommend that you choose a trailer with these features!
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. Higher-end trailers tend to have better storage options.
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.
If you have a young infant, a baby insert is necessary to use the trailer in strolling mode until the baby is at least 6 months, if not longer. (You cannot pull a child in trailer mode until they are 1 year old.) 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.
Burley vs. Thule Chariot Comparison Guide – An easy reference guide to help you decide between the two best brands.
Bike Trailers: How to Choose: What to look for when shopping for a bike trailer.
Bike Trailers: Comparison Charts – To view and sort more trailers from even more brands, and read reviews.