So you’re at that place in your life where you want to bring the youngsters along with you on the ride – how do you decide which kid bike trailer to purchase? You want to find the safest bike chariot, of course, but price, comfort and ease of use also need to be part of the equation.
There are different mounting methods and attachment points. Different accessories and wheel types. And different designs that make some easier to pack, store, or transport in your car. Frankly, it can get a little confusing, and the prices differ wildly. Here, we’ll explain everything you need to know to choose the best bike trailer to carry your kid (or kids) around, plus our top picks if you’re shopping for a new one. Let’s get into our recommendations for the best bike trailers for kids, followed by a complete buyer’s guide and frequently asked questions when it comes to purchasing the trailer that will allow you to ride safely with your kiddos!
BEST OVERALL KID TRAILER: Thule Chariot Cross 2
While there are certainly other less pricey models of kiddie bike trailers that hold up to rigorous testing and can be used in a variety of ways, this one is truly the Cadillac of kids’ trailers. The Thule Chariot Cross 2 comes with adjustable suspension, sunshade, extra storage compartments, and individual reclining seats for sleeping children.
Dual front stroller wheels are pre-installed, providing the most stable performance when walking around town. Flip them down to support the trailer for the five seconds it’ll take to detach it from the bike’s ezHitch axle mount and you’re off and…walking.
For multi-sport families, we love that the Optional Jogger and Skiing kits let you convert it for other sports. It conveniently stores those attachments on the trailer for switching between sports while on the go. And no matter what terrain you take it on, its robust frame should protect the occupants if things go sideways.
It is pricey—$1250!—but because this can theoretically be the only stroller you need, it’s worth the steep price tag. (It also retains a hefty amount of resale value compared to many other models, so you can recoup quite a bit of the purchase price.)
- Seats two children
- Easily converts from cycling to strolling, additional jogger kit or skiing kit available for purchase
- Easy folding for storage
- Attaches to bike with their “ezHitch” axle mount
- Max total child+stuff weight: 100lbs
- Folded dimensions: 34.2 x 31.5 x 14.7 inches
- MSRP: $1,249.95
PROS: Solid feature set to keep your kids comfortable and safe, complete accessories catalog
CONS: That price…whoa!
BEST MID-RANGE KID TRAILER: Burley Honey Bee
Burley specializes in transporting cargo (human, canine, etc.) via outdoor activities, cycling, running, skiing, and more, and the Burley Honey Bee is their excellent bike trailer that we love because frankly, it’s burley. We appreciate the comfortable seats and five-point safety harness that keeps your kiddos in place while you pedal. The tinted windows allow kids to look out while providing UPF 30 coverage, which makes it an ideal summer stroller.
At $400, it’s much cheaper than many of the other options despite being extremely rugged, so if you’re on a tighter budget but still want something from a brand you know, this one is a great value. And while you can’t convert it to a baby jogger, it can convert easily to a stroller, making it ideal for running errands by bike.
- Seats two children
- Includes 1-wheel stroller kit with adjustable handlebar and hub engaged parking brake
- Easy folding for storage
- Attaches to bike with a steel hitch mount
- Max total child+cargo weight: 100lbs
- Folds down: Yes
- Folded dimensions: 35.5 x 29.25 x 12.5 inches
- MSRP: $399.99
PROS: Has a hub engaged parking brake for when used as a stroller
CONS: Does not convert to a jogger.
BEST BUDGET KID TRAILER: Instep Quick-N-EZ
The Instep Quick-N-EZ is easily (pun intended) the least pricey kid’s bike trailer on this list, but despite the low price, it’s shockingly solid. In fact, it has nearly 1,500 five-star Amazon ratings. If your primary goal is to be able to tow kids on calm roads and bike paths, and you won’t get into any majorly rugged territory, the Instep Quick-N-EZ is a great option—and we love it for running errands (like grocery shopping) long after your kids have outgrown it!
Admittedly, what you see is what you get. At this low price point, you likely won’t be able to resell it once your kids outgrow it, and it will be creakier and less durable than the higher-price options on this list. The weight limit is also 20 pounds lower than the others at 80 pounds, making it less ideal for seating two kids as they grow. But if you need a trailer to bring a child to daycare or to run errands and you can’t spend much, this one will absolutely do the trick.
- Seats two children
- Includes stroller kit with front-wheel, parking brake, and handlebar
- Easy folding for storage
- Attaches to bike with included hitch
- Max weight limit: 80lbs
- MSRP: $180-$250 depending on color
PROS: Extremely budget friendly
CONS: Plastic wheels may not be as durable as metal spoked tires; No jogger conversion kit.
BEST PREMIUM KID TRAILER: QERIDOO Sportrex2
QERIDOO is a German company that aims to have the highest-end trailers out there, reflected with price points from $499 to $1,299. The Sportrex2 includes a stroller kit with a front wheel, a hand parking brake, and an adjustable handlebar to fit whatever height parent is pushing it.
What really sets it apart (and justifies the higher price) is its extremely high load capacity, rear suspension, extra comfy seats with head supports, and the more narrow profile that makes it easier to navigate tighter bike lanes and streets. It’s also worth noting that at $800, it’s still significantly cheaper than the Thule option, and while it’s not as convertible, if you only intend to use it for cycling and strolling (and jogging), it’s a great choice.
- Seats two children
- Can be converted to stroller/jogger
- Weight: 36 lbs
- Max rider+cargo weight limit: 132 lbs
- Folds down: Yes
- Folded dimensions: 40.5 x 27.1 x 14.1 inches
- MSRP: $799.99
PROS: Includes a leaf-spring suspension system and added padding to protect around the child’s head.
CONS: Not waterproof
Buyer’s Guide for Kid’s Trailers
How does it attach to the bicycle?
There are two main types of attachment devices – Clamps that attach to your frame or seatpost, and mounts that attach at your rear axle. Honestly, clamps are clumsy, can scratch your paint, and some versions never feel very secure. But, they can be quick and easy to move from bike to bike.
For the axle mounts, you’ll need to make sure you order the correct parts based on whether you have Quick Release skewers or Thru-Axles. Some brands have quick-connect hardware that lets you leave the mount on your bike permanently, then just disconnect the trailer at a pivot point.
Keep in mind that this adds stress to your frame and axle, so they’re best placed on commuter bikes or mountain bikes, not your lightweight road racing bike.
If you’re mounting it to an e-bike, double check the axle type and that it won’t interfere with any wheel speed sensors or wiring. E-bikes that use a mid-mount motor (at the cranks) should mostly have regular axle setups, but bikes with rear hub motors might have more specialized hardware.
One seat or two?
Yes, size matters in this instance. If you know you’re only going to need it for one child it will be a lot lighter and more maneuverable, taking up less space when stored – and not to mention cheaper – than if it’s wide enough for two. However, it might be nice to have that second seat as room for a friend or bag of supplies. (All of the options we listed above have room for two children.)
Some models come with cargo space behind the seats, but your kid won’t be able to access them while riding along…which could be a good thing. All the models we recommend come with 5-point harness restraints for safety.
Is it Convertible?
Does the trailer come with attachments to convert into a jogger (large front center wheel) or stroller? Some units include these options, some sell the conversion kits separately. Either way, it’s nice to have the option of wheeling the kids around on foot once you get to your destination by bike. A good bike trailer should at minimum convert to a stroller so you can run errands by bike with ease.
Some even have kits to convert into snow sleds… And others have waist attachments for hands-free hauling:
Ease of use
How heavy is it? Is it easy to remove the wheels and fold down? Is it light enough for one person to carry up stairs or load into a car? Will it fold down small enough to fit in your car? (Note: Some trailers do take a few tries to get used to the design but once you understand how it works, they’re usually pretty easy!)
Buying a nicer, more durable model may cost more up front, but it’ll be much more enjoyable to use, and make it easier for you to resell the trailer when you are done with it. Many budget models come with plastic wheels that look thick and hearty, but when exposed to the elements, and wear and tear, plastic wheels may crack and need to be replaced entirely (versus spoked wheels that can be trued or repaired at almost any bike shop).
Are you riding on the Road, or the Mountain Bike trails? Or something else entirely?
We have known some parents to take their kids in the trailer out on a mountain bike trail or two – though the trails were not super rough and rugged, it’s still something to consider. Burley’s luxury model comes with a plastic molded undercarriage to protect from rough trails, and all of its X models have added suspension on the rear wheels. (Note that none of the bike trailers we’ve listed here are truly capable of tackling singletrack—stick to wide ATV trails at most!)
In all cases, having air-filled tires (as opposed to solid rubber tires) and spoked wheels (as opposed to hard plastic wheels) will help absorb some of the vibrations and make for a smoother ride for your kiddos whether you’re on the road or a trail.
Frequently Asked Questions about Kid Trailers
What features are most important in a kid bike trailer?
These are the top features we’d look for on any kid hauler:
- Inflatable tires – will ride smoother than solid rubber, easier to replace
- Wheels with metal spokes – makes it easier to true and repair with standard parts
- 5-Point harness – keeps your kids securely in their seats, even if you tip it over
- Ventilation – front and rear panels that zip open to let air flow through
- Mesh front panel – lets air flow in, but protects against bugs and dirt from your rear tire
- Windshield – clear front window panel that zips over the mesh panel if it starts raining
- Solid floorboard – prevents things from poking kids feet, more stable for cargo
- Larger Front wheel – extends use off the bike for jogging
- Locking hand brake – helps you slow it down and stop when jogging with it & park it on hills
Are bike trailers safe for my kids?
Yes, but you need to take all of the normal precautions, follow the rules of the road, and make sure your kids are wearing helmets inside the trailer. But there are a few more tips for keeping them safe…and upright.
- The trailer is wider than your bike, so you’ll need to ride farther from the edge of the road lest it roll one wheel off the side (or up onto a curb). This might be scary at best, or cause you to wreck at worst.
- If you’re going to take it on the trails, make sure your singletrack is wide enough for the trailer and your increased turning radius.
- Yep, you’ll have to take turns wider, too…just like semi trucks pulling a trailer, you’ll need more room to get around a corner.
- The trailer is essentially a tricycle, which means you can flip it if you corner too fast or sharp. We’ve done that, fortunately only while hauling cargo in ours, and it’s not fun.
- Kids like to climb around, so be sure to use the seatbelt straps in the trailer to keep them safely inside.
- Kids should be wearing helmets (and so should you!)
Should I buy new or used?
This Bikerumor staffer lucked out when it was time for us to find a trailer – we purchased it for $50 from a friend who didn’t need it anymore. At that point we weren’t being choosy, it fit two kids safely and attached to our bike, the wheels weren’t falling off (yet), and we had only one minor fabric tear to repair.
If you’re not picky, or you’re on a tight budget, keep in mind that kids outgrow these all the time, so there’s a healthy used market for them. That said, make sure you look it over well for signs of damage, wobbly wheels, or tears in the supporting material. Most kid trailers’ fabric panels are stitched around the frame, so if those are showing signs of wear, the weight of your kids could tear the fabric quickly and make it unsafe to use.
Connect it to your bike, put your kids in it, and give it a test ride. Does it roll smoothly…and straight? Is it clean? Free of weird odors? Kids spill stuff, sometimes from a cup, and sometimes from a hole in their body, so give it a thorough look over. And a sniff test if you dare.
The upside to buying new is that you’ll likely be able to pass it along to family or friends for years to come, then sell it once everyone in your clan has outgrown it.
Can I put my dog in my children’s bike trailer?
You can, yes, but if you’re shopping for a trailer specifically for Fido, you may be better served with a dog specific one, since they have different needs than your three-year-old! (We have a whole list of our favorite dog accessories for the ride right here.)
What’s the difference between a Jogger and a Stroller wheel?
A jogger wheel will be larger diameter, helping it roll over bumps and potholes easier, especially since they’re usually air-filled pneumatic tires like a regular bicycle tire. The larger wheel will roll more quietly and feel a lot smoother, but it’s usually fixed to roll in a straight line. That means you’ll have to lift it slightly to turn, but don’t worry, it’s easy…just push down on the handlebar slightly as you round the corner.
A stroller wheel is smaller, and can be solid rubber or another firm material. It’s usually on a pivot, like a shopping cart front wheel, to make it easy to cut sharp corners, like between racks in a store. It won’t roll smoothly or quietly enough to work for jogging, but it’s easier to maneuver in crowded spaces.
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