Friday, September 25, 2009

Review: Valco Ion 4 Two stroller

Ok, the jury is in an we love our new Valco Ion 4 Two stroller.  I'll get this out of the way right here and say that it's not perfect.  But, my complaints are minor and thrown in to give a balanced view.  So here goes:


1. Lightweight. 
It says that it weighs 26 lbs. but it sure doesn't feel that heavy.  It feels like pushing nothing which is the mark of any good stroller, IMO.

2. Compact.
This stroller is tiny.  You know, for a double stroller.  Yes, overall it's bigger than a bare-bones double umbrella but not by much.  This does mean that the seats are "slim fitting" but unless you gave birth to that 19 lb. baby, (or feed your kids a strict diet of french fries, root beer floats and Twinkies), this won't be an issue.

3. Easy to fold.  And use folded.
This folds down very easily (instructions are clear so I'm not going to paste them in here) and when folded, you can pull/drag it behind you like a roller suitcase.  I didn't know about this when I purchased it so that was a fun bonus.

4. Huge sun shade.
The sun shade is very generous but even with that, there is a zippered part that gives extra coverage.  Great for afternoon strolls when the 4 o'clock sun is beaming into my kids' eyes.  The shade also has some peripheral blockage which deters curious baby hands from destroying store displays.  Double bonus.

5. Rain cover.
The stroller, unbeknownst to me, came with its own rain cover.  It snaps onto the sunshade and around the base of the seats so the babies are in a little cocoon of dryness.  No such luck for us mommies but 2 out 3 ain't bad.

6. Maneuverability.
Because this stroller is lightweight and compact, it can turn on a dime.  Think of that commercial for the Dyson ball vacuum - kinda like that.  And, it can be pushed easily with one hand.  So long as your pug isn't tied to the stroller and pulling it in the opposite direction.  Then you'll need both.  Also, the handle has 6 positions so it works for me at 5'4" and Billy at 6'3".

7. Reclining Seats.
Most high-end models have individually reclining seats so that's no big surprise here.  But, I will report that to actually adjust them, with the baby in the seat, is very easy.  One hand if you're adjusting it back, two if you have to pull it up.  Still, it's a cinch.  And the positions are "infinite" since its just a strap that you pull in and out.


1. Storage basket.
The basket isn't bad, but I've seen better.  Because the stroller isn't that long (from back wheel to front wheel, it's 35.4", compared to the City Mini Double which is 38.5"), the storage basket doesn't have a huge surafce area.  They tried to make up for it in depth, but, depending on how far back you have the kids reclined, it's not super easy to access.  Again, it's not bad, just not the best out there.  On the flip side, there are little storage pockets on the back of the seats for smaller items like a wallet, cell phone, snacks, pacifiers, etc.

2. Closed sun shade.
When the shade is closed, the fabric seems to hang down and touch the babies heads.  It almost makes it seem like they are too tall for the stroller.  But you see that when the shade is open, they have plenty of head space.  The babies don't seem to be bothered by it, yet, so not a huge deal, but a small disappointment nonetheless.

You can see the shade is partially closed and hanging down in a bit near Collette's head.  When it's closed completely, the fabric hangs down a bit more.

3. Handle comfort.
The handle is easy to push with one hand and is adjustable but it's uncomfortable.  It's hard to describe, but compared to my jogger, which has a padded handle, this one is not very comfy.  Not a huge deal, because the other aspects of it are quite nice.  Just seems like they could have made the bar itself more comfortable and it would be perfect!

4. One big sun shade instead of two separate ones.
This might be a deal breaker for some parents who are deciding between the City Mini and the Valco Ion.  For me, it wasn't an issue at all but I have to point it out.  May be more of an issue for kids who often sleep in the stroller or if you have a toddler and a little baby who sleeps all the time on walks/errands.

5. Price.
Yes, its a Valco.  Yes, I still think it's worth it.  But with a $585 price tag, it's out of a lot of people's price range.  The City Mini Double (which to me is the other best lightweight twin stroller) is $400.  I think I would have purchased that one but when I was making my decision there was some voluntary recall on the City Mini.  It turned out to be nothing so don't fret if you have/plan to buy the City Mini.  I like the look and feel of my Valco and am happy with it.  But my wallet is less than pleased.

So, all in all, this is a great stroller and we really love it.  I think if you are interested in a lightweight, non-jogging stroller, this would be a great buy.  You'll have to buy the (mommy) cup holder separately but that's the case with similar strollers.  Also, they have some nice add-ons, such as a bassinet attachment or a car seat adapter (not so good for me but non-twin mommas might like that) and footmuffs for winter.  And, so you know, I was not paid or asked to write this review.  I hope Valco doesn't mind. :)


  1. Very thorough review from the stroller expert! I need to buy a cheap double stroller (umbrella) for my kids for when the Nanny takes them to playgroup. It's been a long, long time since I took both kids out for errands alone!

  2. Great review! I love my Valco! Enjoy yours!

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  4. How would you compare it to the Schwinn?

  5. Such a thorough review and thank you as I have been deciding between the city mini and the gut goes with the ion (although there is not much feedback). I love that you posted a photo of your little ones in the ion- would love to see more. I do have one you think that it is rugged enough to go on gravel or dirt or is it really bumpy and uncomfortable for the little ones? I have a bugaboo and love it- wish they made a double- I find it easy to use on all terrains. I look forward to seeing your perspective.

  6. @Boston Chef: You really can't compare to teh Schwinn. The schwinn is a big jogger and therefore much easier to puch on long walks. But not easy to lift or maneuver in tight spaces. Now that I use both, the schwinn stays in the garage and we take it on walks and the Valco stays in the car and we use it on errands. Hope that helps?

    @Kelly: I just used teh valco for apple/peach picking. It was bumpy compared to a jogger (my schwinn) and harder to push but wasn't bad at all. My only concern would be wearing out the wheels. They aren't tires like a jogger, they're just hard plastic like any other lightweight stroller. So, if you will regularly be on gravel and dirt, you might want to consider a jogger type - or just be prepared to replace the wheel on your Ion. If you are deciding between the city mini and valco, i think they would fair the same in the terms of ruggedness.

  7. Thanks for the review! How would you compare this to the Bumbleride Indie Twin stroller? I am considering both of these strollers for my twins. Thanks!

  8. Does anyone know how to install the basket??? I just got one and I don't know where the basket should connect with.

  9. Does the Valco Ion 4 two have air filled tires? Is it gravel/trail friendly like the Tri-Mode?

  10. Any instructions on how to install the basket?? My stroller arrived today and everything went together fine - but now I'm stumped. There are no instructions on how to attach the basket to the stroller. Help...please!

  11. The Ion basket needs to be held up with the wires on top and the mesh fabric on the bottom. Each side of the wire goes into a long fabric loop that is underneath the side seams at the bottom of each seat. The wire goes through the long pouch and catches onto the fabric to keep the basket up. The mesh is then attached by Velcro to the bottom of the storage of the frame. - As sent to me by Valco Baby Customer Service

    Sounds complicated but read it slowly while your attaching it and it all makes sense. Valco Baby also has some pictures if you email them at

  12. Wow! This is such great info, thank you :) I'm vascilating between the Valco, City Mini and Bumbleride Indie. I'm hoping to use just one stroller for my twins and hope to opt for whichever is most versatile.

  13. Never saw the feedback on air in the tires. Doe it have inflated tires?

  14. @Circle3: No, the tires are not real tires. They are hard plastic wheels. No problems with them so far. It is not gravel/trail friendly, IMO. I use a jogging stroller for walks on hiking trails.

  15. I have the choice of buying the valco ion double or the city mini 2010 for the same price. What do you recommend? I have a 21 month old and am expecting in a few weeks.

  16. Hmmm. For me, the under-basket is really important as I am always lugging things. The Ion's storage is far better that the City Mini's. However, the Ion is not as easy to fold and lock as the City Mini. I never folded my stroller (just put in the back of the van standing!) so this was not important for me. I think the rest is pretty comparable. Hope that helps you decide!

  17. Thanks Nicole,
    Storage is very important to me so I ordered the valco off for $300. The city mini double 2010 is on clearance at buy buy baby for $300 as well. My only concern is that it seems like the city mini has more room for the kids to grow into and the ion seems a little smaller but for $300 i cant really go wrong. as far as the wheels go, which stroller has better shocks and smoother ride?

  18. and now that youve had your stoller for a while, have you been having issues with it?

  19. Hi Nicole, thanks so much for this info. Not sure if this is a silly question or not, but when you say that the Ion seat adapter was not so good for you as a twin-mum, could you tell me why? I'm having twins later this year and I was thinking it might be a good idea to have the option of clicking in the it the weight of 2 capsules in the pram? Many thanks!

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