In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Best Bike Trailers for Kids

Tuesday October 15, 2019
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Are you searching for a fun way to get around town with kids in tow? We researched over a dozen contenders for a bike trailer round-up, before choosing 8 impressive options. A good bike trailer can be a great way to get the family out and about on a beautiful day. But with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to decide which trailer will suit your needs. Specific components such as adjustable suspension, multi-sport capabilities, and storage capacity can make all the difference during a long day of hauling your little ones around. We took a look at some of the top bike trailers on the market, researched the best and worst features of each, and ranked them accordingly. Our favorites include the trailers we think will make you and your kids happy on the road.


1

Best Overall Bike Trailer


Burley D'Lite


Editors' Choice Award
$689.00
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 28.4 lbs | Sport Options: Stroll/Jog/Bike/Haul/Ski
Simple and compact fold
Lots of room for kids & cargo
Highly versatile
Can be difficult to switch out attachments
Not completely weatherproof

The Burley D'Lite won the top spot and our Editors' Choice award impressing with its versatility. You can purchase attachments for multiple sports, including jogging, biking, and cross-country skiing, in addition to simply strolling. When not used for children, the seats fold down to create a flat surface to haul cargo, which extends the life of the trailer beyond children. The interior is roomier than many trailers in this review, and the sides bow out, which creates extra space for the kiddos. Large wheels and an adjustable suspension make it a cushy ride for venturing off-road. The parent experience is also good, with the trailer and bike moving together as one, with minimal feedback from the hitch.

While this is our favorite trailer, there are a few things that can be improved. It can sometimes be challenging to switch attachments for different uses. However, because you won't be doing this on a daily basis, we don't think it's a serious drawback. The D'Lite has a mesh screen and a vinyl window to protect kids from the weather, but the trailer is not 100% weatherproof as small amounts of water can seep in around the window. Last, it can be tricky to learn how to fold and unfold this trailer. It will get easier over time, but it requires practice. Despite these minor flaws, we appreciate the D'Lite for its extreme versatility and high quality, making it a trailer that you could be happy with for years.

2

Top Pick for Active Parents


Thule Chariot Cross 2


Top Pick Award
$1,049.95
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 32 lbs | Sport Options: Stroll/Jog/Bike/Ski
Individually reclining seats
Completely weatherproof
Easy to connect to a bike
Expensive
Heavy
Initial set up can be time-consuming

The Thule Chariot Cross 2 is a tried and true favorite, winning awards across multiple categories. Though not as versatile as the Burley D'Lite, it is a great multi-sport option, changing between strolling, jogging, biking, and skiing. We recommend this trailer for parents who are serious about outdoor pursuits. It is top-quality and designed with features that keep parents and passengers in mind. Adjustable suspension, large wheels, and padded seats keep kids comfy on and off the pavement. The rain shield on the Cross 2 is completely watertight; it has a mesh screen and large, adjustable sunshade to protect little ones. Individually reclining seats come in handy if one or both passengers doze off. All of the features on the Cross are designed for simplicity and to be frustration-free. Folding, unfolding, and switching attachments is a breeze.

The hitch on the Cross 2 is very easy to use, but there is some feedback from the trailer due to extra space in the ball and socket design. The cargo space is a separate compartment that folds down from behind the seats and isn't as large as those on other trailers. The Cross 2 has all the bells and whistles and is top notch when it comes to quality, but all that comes with a more substantial weight and a higher price tag. It is the most expensive trailer included in the review, which is why we recommend it for parents who are serious about their jogging/strolling/biking routine. It is hard to justify the price for just a casual ride through the park. Although, as is typical of most Thule products, the Cross 2 is a high-quality trailer that will last for years and should retain a high resale value.

Read review: Thule Chariot Cross 2

3

Most Comfortable Ride for Kids


Hamax Outback



$699.00
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 40 lbs | Sport Options: Stroll/Jog/Bike
Lots of room inside
Cushy padded seats
Can be used with older kids
Heavy
Big/Bulky

Coming from a company based in Norway, the Hamax Outback is a recent addition to the bike trailer market. We like this trailer for its roomy interior, and seats that measure nearly 2 inches wider than those of our other top picks. The wider seats along with a taller than average interior height, make it a good choice if you plan to use it with older/taller children. This trailer has some of the cushiest padding in the review, and when combined with the larger than average wheels, adjustable suspension, and a large, reinforced footwell, the Outback is the Cadillac of bike trailers. We imagine the kids will be happy to ride for hours, and many parents will use it as a jogger just as much as a trailer. The process necessary to swap between activities is one of the easiest and fastest we've seen, simply requiring a click-out and click-in with a color-coded lock that informs you when the attachment is secure.

Despite all the perks, this is the heaviest trailer in the review by nearly 8 lbs. And because it has a roomy interior, it is also bulkier on the outside. Its substantial size makes it challenging to pull the trailer through tight spaces and kind of a pain to manage. The hitch, while good, is not as good as the one on the D'Lite, and some feedback relays to the bicycle. When folded, the trailer is not more compact than when it is open unless you remove the wheels. This trailer also lacks the versatility found in other top trailers. The seats are fixed meaning cargo-hauling won't be as easy as it is in the Burley D'Lite, and it is missing the ski attachment that is common in other trailers. Overall, we like the Outback. Unless you are dead set on skiing, the Outback offers a very similar setup with a high level of quality at a lower price than a Thule or Burley. We believe most parents will be very satisfied with the Hamax.

Read review: Hamax Outback

4

Best Basic Multi-Sport


Thule Chariot Lite



$849.95
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 27.5 lbs | Sport Options: Stroll/jog/bike/ski
Easy to attach to a bike
Weatherproof
High-quality
Expensive
Not as nice as Thule Chariot Cross
Heavy

If you are looking for something with the Thule name and quality, but not ready to spend the $1,000 plus it takes to buy the Thule Chariot Cross, then you might want the Thule Chariot Lite. The Chariot Lite can transform from a bike trailer to a stroller, to a jogger, to a ski sled. It is weatherproof but still manages to impressive ventilation thanks to the mesh backing located directly behind the passenger's head. It is straightforward to unfold and attach to a bike, requiring only two steps to unfold and features the same ball and socket hitch as on the Cross. It is easier to pull than many trailers, but there is some feedback when towing. This durable and easy-to-use trailer will last through many childhood expeditions.

This high-quality product can take you on many of the same adventures as its more expensive counterpart, but some perks get lost along the way. There is no storage space aside from a mesh pocket located behind the seats. It is large enough to accommodate bags or jackets that are ok to be squished, but you'd never use it for anything that must remain upright or keep its shape. There is a suspension system, but it is not adjustable, and there is minimal padding on the seats so that the kids won't be quite as comfortable on long rides. This trailer is also the second most expensive option in the review but lacks some of the features of higher rated ones. Overall, while this may be a good trailer, we don't think that the features justify the high price. You maybe be better off spending the extra money on the Chariot Cross to get all the bells and whistles or going with a less expensive but more highly regarded trailers, such as the Burley D'Lite or the Hamax Outback.

5

Best Bang for the Buck


Burley Bee


Best Value Award
$349.99
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 20 lbs | Sport Options: Bike
Lightweight
Easy to use hitch system
Large cargo space
Minimal padding
Unreinforced foot area
Single function only

The Burley Bee earned our Best Value award for being a highly functional and easy to use bike trailer with a list price of less than half that of many competitors. This trailer has one of the easiest hitches to use, making it easy to hook up and go without much finagling or frustration. At 20 lbs, it is one of the lightest trailers out there, and in combination with a solid hitch connection that gives little feedback, makes it one of the easiest trailers to pull. The rain shield on this trailer works very well and will keep kiddos dry through rainy rides. One of the most loved features of this trailer is the generous cargo space. It is easily one of the largest trunks in the review and is big enough to fit supplies for a day out and about, and it can even handle a load of groceries.

The Bee is a simple, single-function trailer. It has no attachments for strolling or jogging, which puts a limit on its lifespan and versatility. There is also minimal padding in the seat and harness, and no suspension system, so kids may not be as comfortable for long rides as they would in the competition. The footwell is plain, unreinforced fabric that tends to show signs of wear quickly. It doesn't help that the trailer is designed to rest on the ground when not attached to the bike, causing even more damage to the fabric. All faults aside, we believe that the Burley Bee is a well-designed trailer, and at this price, we can forgive the limited drawbacks. If you are looking for an around-town cruiser, then we think the Bee is the way to go.

6

Good for Inclement Weather


Thule Cadence



$329.95
at Amazon
See It


Weight: 22 lbs | Sport Options: Bike
Easy to assemble out of the box
Lightweight
Weatherproof
Difficult to fold/unfold
Few features
Uncomfortable seats

The Thule Cadence is a basic bike trailer by Thule that also has the least expensive as a single sport option. The initial set up of this trailer is quick and simple. The rain shield and mesh screen can zip down independently of one another, and they do a great job of keeping children protected from the elements, outperforming most trailers in this price range. The large wheels on this trailer make it easy to maneuver, and the lighter weight and compact design make it suitable for towing. All components of this trailer are built with quality in mind and will remain sturdy and durable for years.

The lower cost of this trailer shows in its lack of features and poorer performance in areas like child comfort. There is no padding in the seat or harness straps, and it lacks a suspension system, so it isn't the best choice if you plan to go on longer rides. The cargo space is relatively small but still larger than either of its sister products. Folding and unfolding the Cadence is not easy or intuitive, it requires a lot of strength and often risks pinching fingers. The Cadence is also a rattly ride, which could become annoying after a while. In the end, if you're looking for a product in this price range, we strongly recommend the Burley Bee over the Cadence. They are similar trailers, but the Bee has more features and is more user-friendly. However, if you need a weather-resistant trailer that protects little ones from getting wet, then the Cadance is one to consider.

7

Best on a Tight Budget


Allen Sports Steel


Best Value Award
$99.97
(50% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 26 lbs | Sport Options: Bike
Compact fold
Lightweight
Easy assembly
Small cargo space
3-point harness only
Tight fit for two

The Allen Sports Steel is a basic but classic trailer. It is one of the least expensive trailers on the market, and it is often on sale. This trailer has good ventilation, so you can worry less about kids overheating on sunny days. It is one of the lighter trailers in this review, and it has a small profile, very little motion transfer from trailer to the bike which makes it easy-to-pull. Little passengers will enjoy that the front panel unclips, giving them easy access to the seats and the chance to climb in on their own. The Allen Sports Steel also has a relatively compact fold, and without the wheels, it can easily stow away when not in use.

When buying a trailer in this price range, you often get what you pay for. The Allen lacks many comfort and convenience features you find in pricier products. It has elementary seats with minimal padding, and the harness is only 3-points and connected with clips rather than the usual buckle which makes it challenging to use. The plastic rain cover and sun mesh screen utilize the same zipper, and you use them together without the ability for individual use. The smaller than average wheels and lack of suspension mean you don't want to take this trailer off-roading. Despite the scarcity of convenience features, the Allen Sports Steal still gets the job done at a hard-to-beat price.

8

Good for Occasional Riders


InStep Take 2



$115.38
(18% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 24.5 lbs | Sport Options: Bike
Lightweight
Wide passenger seat
Large cargo space
Poor quality
Plastic tire rims break
Quickly shows signs of wear

With the lowest list price of all the trailers in the review, the InStep Take 2 can be an attractive choice for those who have a tight budget but still want to get out with their kids. It has one of the roomiest seating areas and extra-large cargo space to pack everything you need for two children and yourself for a day out. The seats in this trailer unclip from the frame to lie flat. This feature makes it a good option for hauling cargo like groceries and can extend the amount of use you can get out of this product.

This is where the advantages end. The main complaint about this trailer is the lack of quality. There are complaints of the wheel's plastic rims breaking and being difficult to replace. With semi-regular use, we think you'll be lucky if it lasts a year. The canvas cover is not rainproof, and you'll need to find shelter if caught in a rainstorm. Although this has one of the most spacious interiors in the group, it is still not the most comfortable. The bench-style seat is not supported well, so children tend to sag towards the middle, and the small wheels and lack of suspension ensure that kids will feel every bump in the road. If you're looking for an inexpensive backup, or don't plan on towing a bike trailer very often, then this may be a good option. But if you want to go out on a regular basis, we believe you'd be much happier with either of our Best Value winners, the Burley Bee or the Allen Sports Steel, both of which have more to offer for the biker and passenger alike.

Not Worth Your Time


Weehoo weeGo



$149.95
(50% off)
at Amazon
See It

Weight: 26 lbs | Sport Options: Stroll/bike
Reinforced foot space
Good ventilation
Large interior
Difficult to use harness
Not weatherproof
Unpleasant to tow

The Weehoo weeGo is a priced as a mid-range bicycle trailer. It has certain features such as the ability to convert into a stroller, as well as a large interior that may be better for older kids. It is very well ventilated and has a mesh sunscreen and plastic rain cover that can be zipped down individually from one another. The footwell is reinforced with rubber, making it a bit more stable for climbing in and out of the trailer.

Unfortunately, the Weehoo lacked many features that we have come to expect from a trailer in this price range. It is challenging to break down and set up in between rides and hooking up the hitch requires a lot of patience and perfect alignment. Although it can be nice to have extra room on the inside of the trailer, it also makes the outside much bulkier and more annoying to deal with. The extra-long hitch arm makes it more difficult to maneuver, and a lot of lurching comes through the connection point. Overall it is not very fun to tow. There is no suspension system, and the fabric is not fitted very well to the seat, but the biggest complaint on the passenger side is the harness. It is a big hassle to adjust, and instead of being a traditional 5-point harness that wraps over the arms and legs, it is a yolk style harness that pulls over the child's head. If the harness is not loose enough to start with, it can be a tight squeeze, and helmets must go on after the passenger is already in the trailer and buckled in. Keeping all this in mind, we can't recommend buying this trailer, especially when there are much better options in this price range, such as our Best Value award winner, the Burley Bee.

The Hamax Outback works well with most bikes with little feedback felt for the rider.
The Hamax Outback works well with most bikes with little feedback felt for the rider.

Why You Should Trust Us


The bike trailer team is led by our founder Dr. Juliet Spurrier. Dr. Spurrier is a board-certified pediatrician with two children and an adventurous spirit that resulted in a love for versatile bike trailers early on. Her children regularly experienced the world and outdoor adventures in a Thule trailer skiing, biking, and jogging. These early experiences and her education helped influence product selection and feature focus. Bob Wofford, the Senior Research Analyst, also got in on the action during testing and research. Given his lifelong outdoor adventure experience, including mountain biking to work, Bob, father of 7, is uniquely qualified to determine which features matter the most and why one trailer is better than another. Given the large scope of this review, the team is rounded out with Senior Review Editors, Wendy Schmitz (mother of 2), and Abriah Wofford. With over 20 years of combined baby product experience and outdoor know-how, the bike trailer review team brings the goods to the table to help you make informed buying decisions for fun early adventurers with your little ones.

The Hamax offers a nice quality product for a reasonable price point for what you get.

Buying Advice


When choosing a bike trailer, there are a few things you should consider before making a final decision. Do you want a double or single? Will you be using it regularly, or will outings be only an occasional weekend trip? What type of trailer fits your budget and your available space? In this section, we review some of the most important factors you should consider when determining which bike trailer is best for you.

How Many Littles Will You Be Towing?


The trailers above are all two-seaters, but most of them come in a single version if you only have one child and want to save some money. Also, if weight and maneuverability are a concern, a single-seater can be an excellent choice. But choosing a single means you lose flexibility in how you can utilize the trailer down the road. Even if you only have one child (and don't plan on having more), the versatility and space of the double versions can be a useful benefit. Doubles provide more room for additional gear for a longer day out, allows you to bring along a friend, or creates more substantial cargo space for hauling supplies like groceries.

Where and When Will the Trailer Be Used?


How often do you plan on using your trailer? If you commute by bike or plan to use your trailer daily with your kids, then you should consider opting for something that is comfortable for the passengers and puts emphasis on space for backpacks, briefcases, and other supplies.

The storage bin on the Thule Chariot Cross 2 hangs off the back of the frame and fit our extra-large diaper bag. However  given the lower maximum weight allowance of 8.8 lbs  we worry it isn't enough for supplies for two.
The storage bin on the Thule Chariot Cross 2 hangs off the back of the frame and fit our extra-large diaper bag. However, given the lower maximum weight allowance of 8.8 lbs, we worry it isn't enough for supplies for two.

If you only use your trailer for the occasional weekend adventure, then you may not need to worry about features like suspension and cargo space, and a more basic trailer may suit your needs. On the other hand, if you are a hardcore athlete and plan to tote the littles along for daily training, you may want to consider a multi-sport option. These products are pricier than bike-only trailers, but for the dedicated biker/runner/skier, the trade-off for the higher quality, increased versatility, and better features are likely worth it.

Depending on your climate or terrain  you'll need to consider design in your purchase like whether or not the cover is weather proof or it has suspension.
Depending on your climate or terrain, you'll need to consider design in your purchase like whether or not the cover is weather proof or it has suspension.

Terrain and Climate


Your local weather and the terrain you plan to ride over should play a big part in your buying decision. For a hilly urban setting, the suspension may not be as important, but a lightweight trailer may be more valuable as it makes steeper routes far easier. If you plan on moving over unpaved or rocky trails, then you'll want something with lots of padding and good suspension, even if it's only occasionally bumpy. These features make a difference in kid comfort and how easy it is to pull and maneuver over uneven terrain. The Hamax Outback suspension (below left) is good but could be stiffer, while the Thule Chariot Cross 2 (below right) can be customized depending on the weight you haul.

The Hamax suspension works well and provides additional comfort for passengers  but it could be a little stiffer.
The suspension on the Thule Chariot Cross 2 is adjustable and easy to operate for more control over passenger comfort on uneven or bumpy terrain.

If you contend with unpredictable weather, then an excellent weatherproof cover should be a priority. You don't want to get stuck in a storm and find yourself sopping wet with cold, damp kids in tow. The Thule Chariots are some of the most weatherproof trailers on the market, as a result of the plastic rain shield that envelopes the entire trailer. If you live where the norm is typically 70+ degrees and sunny, then you'd want to focus on a good sunshade with adequate ventilation, like the Allen Sports Steel or the Burley D'Lite.

The InStep has a lower price  but the quality is reflected in how long it will last with regular use.
The InStep has a lower price, but the quality is reflected in how long it will last with regular use.

Price Range


There is a vast difference in cost between trailers, and you might be unsure how much you want to spend given your plans. In our experience, you get what you pay for, and a $150 trailer will not perform as well as a $600 one. But, there is a middle ground and a compromise for most budgets.

The Burley Bee is an economical solution that will fit the bill for many families.
The Burley Bee is an economical solution that will fit the bill for many families.

Our two Best Value winners are below average in price. The Allen and the Burley Bee are both only equipped for biking and have minimal features, but they get the job done. For the slightly higher price of $300, you will get a top-quality product in the Bee that will last longer and be more pleasant to use in general. If you don't plan to jog or ski, these are good options that can save you money.

The Thule Chariot Cross 2 is good for a variety of activities from strolling and jogging to bike trailer and skiing. This little wagon does it all.
The Thule Chariot Cross 2 is good for a variety of activities from strolling and jogging to bike trailer and skiing. This little wagon does it all.

If money is not an object and you're looking for the best of the best, the Thule Chariot Cross costs three times more. It has all the bells and whistles and can cross over four sports all-in-one and is a top-rated, longtime favorite of many outdoor enthusiasts. If you find it hard to get past the Cross' price tag, the Burley D'Lite and the Hamax Outback are both excellent multisport options. While they lack some features, they retail for half the price of Cross, making them smart choices for those looking for a quality product that doesn't break the bank.

How long you plan to use your bike trailer should play a role in your decision making process.
How long you plan to use your bike trailer should play a role in your decision making process.

The last consideration for value is longevity. Some of the less expensive options may not last more than a year of regular use. However, if that is all you need, or you only plan on using it occasionally, then there is no point breaking the bank for something with more features than you'll need. Other products have brand name recognition for quality. You will pay more for products that come with certain name, but so will other parents. This name-recognition ensures that your trailer keeps its resale value after your kids outgrow it. Others have seats that fold flat and allow the trailer to convert into a cargo or pet trailer once your kids move on.

The Thule Chariot Lite is compatible with most bicycles.
The Thule Chariot Lite is compatible with most bicycles.

Compatibility


Last, but certainly not least, is your choice compatible with your bike? Most of the time you this won't be a problem, but not every hitch will work with every bike. Hitch compatibility problems are not common, but if you are unsure, you should visit your local bike shop and ask the experts. If the trailer might not fit your bike, you can often purchase an adapter. Thule and Burley trailers tend to fit the largest varieties of bikes, while the InStep historically has the most compatibility issues.

Finding the right bike trailer is key to having successful outings with your little ones in search of adventure.
Finding the right bike trailer is key to having successful outings with your little ones in search of adventure.

Conclusion


The right bike trailer can be the difference between a fun family adventure and a frustrating debacle. With a wide variety of choices, there is a contender for every budget and need. Considering which features you want, how frequent you'll use the trailer, and what terrain you want to travel over will help you make the best decision for your family. Like many things in the world today, you often get what you pay for, and trailers are no different. We recommend that you consider the higher quality options such as the Burley D'Lite or the Thule Chariot Cross if you value easy to use, comfortable to pull, and fun to ride in. If those are not in the budget, the Burley Bee is a great trailer that outperforms most in its price range with only a few minor sacrifices. However, in the end, whatever product gets you out and on the move with the littles is the ideal choice. Happy adventures!


Juliet Spurrier, MD, Abriah Wofford, and Wendy Schmitz