The Doona Car Seat & Stroller, Reviewed by Two Moms

Is the Doona worth the hype? Two moms share their firsthand experiences with this popular car seat stroller combo.
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By Emma O'Regan-Reidy, E-Commerce Editor
Updated February 26, 2024
Convertible Infant Car Seat and Compact Stroller System with Base
Image: Nordstrom
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In a nutshell:

If you’re often on the go or live in a city, the compact, easily adjustable Doona Car Seat & Stroller is a great asset for baby’s first year. Our product testers praised its travel-friendly design, simple setup and supportive seat. However, keep in mind that it can’t be used into toddlerhood and may not be the most comfortable for tall parents to push at length.

Strollers and car seats are often at the top of each parent’s must-have baby gear lists—so why not get a model that safely serves both purposes? Case in point: The Doona Car Seat & Stroller. This car seat stroller combo has been wildly popular for years on end, due to its convenience, compact size and highly adaptable design. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that it earned a spot in our most recent Best of The Bump awards.

To really pin down why so many parents rave about the Doona, we had two moms put it to the test. Below, find their honest opinions on using the stroller on a daily basis, as well as pros and cons, technical specs and more to consider before you click “add to cart”.

Overview of the Doona Car Seat & Stroller

About the Doona Car Seat & Stroller

Doona Infant Car Seat & Latch Base - Rear Facing
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Versatile, 2-in-1 design
  • Easy to assemble and convert
  • FAA aircraft approved
  • Suitable for newborns
Things To Consider
  • Rear-facing only
  • Minimal storage space
  • No one-handed fold
  • Handlebar height may not be comfortable for tall parents

Before diving into all the details, let’s go over the top features you should know about the Doona Car Seat & Stroller before you buy. The Doona occupies a unique space in the stroller world—and the car seat world. Unlike travel systems, which allow a car seat to connect to a separate stroller frame, the Doona is an all-in-one device, transforming from car seat to stroller and back. The clever design offers the benefits of a car seat and a stroller, of course, and can be easily converted between the two while you’re on the go. This makes it an ideal option for parents who live in cities, regularly use public transport, travel a lot or are just often on the move. The Doona’s handlebar can be used in four different modes and doubles as an anti-rebound bar when installed in your vehicle. Whether you’re using it as a stroller or a car seat, you can count on the setup to be a piece of cake, thanks to the user-friendly buttons and intuitive fold. Even better, the compact design provides all of the same features you’d expect in a full-size option, including a five-point safety harness, a UPF 50+ sun canopy and durable wheels, to name a few. All in all, you can count on this convenient car seat stroller combo to be your go-to on journeys big and small throughout your little one’s first year.

Dimensions (open): 17.4" (L) x 32.3" (W) x 39" (H) | Dimensions (folded): 17.4" (L) x 26" (W) x 22.4" (H) | Weight: 17.2 lbs. | Weight capacity: 35 lbs. | One-handed fold: No | Number of children: 1

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How We Tested the Doona Car Seat & Stroller

To put the Doona Car Seat & Stroller to the test, The Bump editors conducted extensive research on the popular set of wheels. Then, we put it to the test. Here are the steps that we took to create this article:

  • We put the Doona through two rounds of tests. One was completed in-house by Kellee Kratzer, former managing editor, and the other was done by an independent product tester, Juanita, who has no affiliation with The Bump.
  • We asked Juanita to carefully assess it for ease of pushing and steering, folding and unfolding, ease of use, features, style, value and, of course, safety.
  • We researched what was being said about the Doona Car Seat & Stroller in The Bump community forums to better understand what parents liked (and didn’t like) about this model.
  • We considered several factors when analyzing this stroller, such as open and folded dimensions, weight capacity and modes of use, to name a few.
  • We read user reviews to see how this stroller has worked for a wide range of families.

Editorial integrity is at the heart of everything we publish. Read about how The Bump develops and reviews all articles, including product reviews.

Doona Car Seat & Stroller Review

When testing the Doona Car Seat & Stroller with their infants, Kellee and Juanita both considered the model’s features, performance and design. Below, read about their specific thoughts on a range of details, from the handlebar positions and car seat installation to newborn-friendly aspects, storage accessories and everything in between.

Image: Juanita M.

Folding and unfolding

The main appeal of the Doona is how seamlessly it converts from a stroller to a car seat and back again. From the get-go, Kellee was amazed at how straightforward it was to use. “All of the features were easy to master, and my husband and I were quickly impressed with this car seat stroller combo right from the very first use,” she told us. “We strapped my son into the seat in the hospital room and wheeled him down to the car, where we transitioned it back to the car seat for our drive home.”

Thanks to its intuitive design, the Doona can be folded and unfolded in seconds once you get the hang of it. All you have to do is press the gray wheel release button on the handlebar to slide it back, use your foot to steady the wheels and then push the red safety lock button on the back to transform it into a car seat. Kellee confirmed this, telling us: “Converting the Doona is fast and easy—a quick squeeze of the lever at the back of the car seat drops the wheels out and down to convert the seat into a stroller or vice versa.” The compact style may also be a plus for petite parents. In one of our forums, a member of The Bump community, k_mama91, commented: “I’m petite so I liked that [the Doona] didn’t need to be snapped into a stroller that I would fight with folding down.”

That being said, there’s always room for improvement and what may work well for one parent may not for another. Juanita suggested that it could’ve been more compact when folded. “I would’ve liked it if the wheels could fold or just get tucked once it’s folded and the car seat is on the base. That would be very helpful to make a bit more room in the car,” she commented. This is just something to keep in mind if you have a smaller vehicle or would prefer a sleeker car seat.

Image: Kellee K.

Ease of pushing and steering

Chances are you’ll be using your stroller on a daily basis in a wide range of scenarios, so you’ll want one that’s easy to push and steer, no matter the location. Kellee told us that she and her husband have found the Doona super smooth to push and steer. “In our seven months of using the Doona, we’ve never had a problem with the conversion from car seat to stroller. Despite the bumpy sidewalks of New York City, the wheels of our model are holding up nicely. Included safety mechanisms—a green brake-release pedal and red brake pedal—work well, but sometimes the green pedal comes up slightly and we need to adjust,” comments Kellee.

Conversely, Juanita and her husband reported some difficulties pushing the Doona on different terrains but overall had a positive experience with it. “When on good ground it’s smooth and easy to push. It’s easy to maneuver through different places because it’s so tiny. The steering on bumpy ground is okay and it also does well when on grass which I loved. It’s so lightweight to push it up or down a sidewalk,” Juanita explained. Kellee was also a fan of how lightweight the stroller was, telling us: “I love how convenient the Doona is around the house too. At 17.2 lbs., it’s light enough to carry up one flight of apartment stairs without even converting to the car seat.” Compared to other travel systems which may range anywhere from 20 to 30-plus lbs., the Doona is notably lighter which also makes it more simple to push and steer.

Image: Juanita M.

Ease of use as a stroller

In stroller mode, one of the Doona’s standout features is its adjustable handlebar, which can be used in four positions. The first mimics that of an upright suitcase, which is convenient when navigating crowded stores, restaurants or busy streets. The second—pushed back—allows you to seamlessly put baby in and take them out of the seat. Both of these handle positions enable the stroller to roll right up to a table at a restaurant before baby is old enough for a high chair—another highlight of this product. Plus, “the handlebar has a great grip on it and keeping it clean is easy!” adds Juanita.

To extend the Doona’s handlebar out to its fullest length (38.9"), it must be placed in the third position setting. “We don’t typically use it at this level, but we’ve found that it’s the perfect height if you have older children (or nieces or nephews) who love to push strollers,” Kellee said. This is also the position you’ll use when the Doona is in car seat mode. The brand refers to it as anti-rebound protection, meaning the handle will absorb the impact in a collision and prevent the seat from rotating quickly toward the back of the seat, therefore reducing injury.

The fourth position is where the handle is fully extended. Unfortunately, if you’re tall, this mode might not be very comfortable for you. “My husband, who is 5’ 10", has to shorten his stride to walk behind the stroller when he’s pushing it,” explained Kellee—so definitely consider the height of who’ll be pushing the stroller before you buy.

Image: Kellee K.

Ease of use as a car seat

Now let’s get into how the Doona works as a car seat. The Doona isn’t just built for convenience, but it was also carefully designed with your little one’s safety in mind. The double wall structure—which enables the wheels to fold up into the body of the seat—means there are two layers of impact-absorbing plastic. Additional layers of energy-absorbing foam and textile also provide enhanced side-impact protection for added peace of mind.

To install it, first, you’ll need to fold the wheels into the stroller by pressing the gray handlebar and the red safety lock buttons simultaneously. You can then lift it into your car and place it on the seat (rear-facing, of course). From there, you’ll use the seat belt to secure it; just thread the bottom part of the belt through the front of the seat and then the top of the belt through the blue latch on the back of the seat. Gently pull the seat belt to ensure everything is stable and supported. Lastly, move the handlebar into the anti-rebound position—and then you’re good to go!

Both moms who tested the Doona for this article praised the car seat for being easy to set up. “The instructions were very clear, but if we got stuck on some part and couldn’t figure it out we looked up a video. The videos out there are very helpful as well! It took around 5 minutes after reading all the instructions to install, and it felt very secure once the base was in place,” Juanita explained. At first, Juanita admitted she was concerned about how effective the car seat would be due to the unique design. But, she was pleasantly surprised at how well it worked once she put it in her vehicle. “When we installed it felt secure and very stable,” she said.

Similarly, Kellee appreciated how simple the installation process was—though she set up the Doona with the base, which is available to purchase separately but not a requirement to use the car seat. She commented that it was straightforward to secure the base in her vehicle. “A green button lets you know it’s securely locked, and a glance at the instructional stickers on the side of the base makes it easy to tell whether the seat is level and in the proper position to keep baby safe,” she explained, adding, “It’s also a snap to attach or remove the car seat from the base—just a quick push of a button, and it slides in or out quickly.”

Moreover, both moms liked how snug and secure their children were in the car seats once they were installed. “Similar to other car seats on the market, the Doona has a padded five-point harness, which we found easy to buckle our son into,” Kellee said. Likewise, Juanita told us, “I really loved how easy it was to take my baby out and put him back into the seat. The harness is very easy to adjust the height and tighten; he feels and looks very comfortable.”

While the 2-in-1 model offers plenty of pros, it also comes with a few cons. One of those has to do with weight; while the Doona is light compared to strollers, it’s heavy compared to other infant car seats. “My issue with the design of the Doona is that it’s so heavy. [It’s] 15.5 lbs. instead of 8-ish for most car seats (and then add in a 7- to 20-lb. baby). I know the idea is that you always use the wheels, but so often (actually most of the time because I usually carried it into my daughter’s daycare and into our house while she slept) I’m carrying the car seat up some stairs or into the house,” explained Clobert, a member of The Bump community. (And we should note that Clobert is being generous—the Doona is actually over 17 lbs.) k_mama91 agreed that the Doona has room for improvement as a car seat, commenting, “I found it to be bulky and uncomfortable compared to regular infant seats." That said, k_mama91 added that “online reviews say this is a great seat for city dwellers who Uber as it’s one piece of equipment and doesn’t require a base.”

To sum it up, if you’re looking for convenience above all else, this hybrid design is sure to check all of the boxes on your list. But, if you’d prefer a car seat that’s lighter and sleeker, the Doona may not be the best choice for your family.

Image: Juanita M.

Stroller features

Despite its compact design, the Doona is still packed with plenty of the same features you’d find in a full-size stroller. Highlights include the UPF 50+ sun canopy, the five-point safety harness and the durable wheels. What’s more, the high-quality model is made from breathable textiles and inner foams; some pieces can even be removed and washed.

If you’re a new parent, you’ll find the Doona is complete with an array of newborn-friendly details, making it a great option for baby’s first year. When testing, Kellee used the included infant insert, which comes free with the purchase. “Our son weighed less than 7 lbs. and wasn’t big enough for carriers, so we relied heavily on the Doona for several months—so much so that we preferred it over a carrier once he passed the 8-lb. mark,” she commented. According to the brand, the insert can be used from birth until your little one reaches 11 lbs., at which point it can be removed to ensure comfortable growth. “The insert does come out as your child grows, and we kept the head portion in for continued extra protection,” Kellee told us.

With or without the insert, though, the Doona has a soft interior, which creates a cozy environment should baby nap while you’re out and about. Juanita also praised this feature, saying: “My baby fit very well in the car seat/stroller. We can see that there is room for growth when he gets a bit bigger and [heavier]. The headrest gave my baby a lot of support when he napped. It made his head stay in place which I really love.” One thing to note: Kellee mentioned that the insert showed sweat stains after a while, but don’t fret—it’s washable.

While the Doona (sadly) isn’t complete with a handy undercarriage basket, there are some great storage add-ons that are sold separately. The Doona Essentials Bag, for instance, hooks into two slots on the back of the seat when it’s in stroller mode. This diaper bag features side pockets perfect for phones and keys—plus, a front zipper lets you access the large compartment without taking the whole bag off of the stroller, which Kellee found super convenient. For even more storage space, there’s a snap-on stroller accessory as well. To prep your Doona for changing weather throughout the year, a rain cover and protective sun shade are also available.

Last but not least, if you’ll be using your Doona as a travel stroller, the Doona Travel Bag makes it easy to gate check before you board your flight. “For our family, the Doona is particularly helpful at the airport. We use it as a stroller until we get to our gate and then we zip it into the lightweight backpack-style travel bag to gate check it at the airport,” Kellee told us.

Image: Kellee K.

Style and design

“We get nothing but compliments in our neighborhood, especially employees at restaurants who have never seen a stroller so small,” raved Kellee. You’ll also appreciate that this set of wheels delivers on both style and durability. “The fabric has held up well, and we’ve had no rips or tears. Our son tended to chew on the shoulder protectors, so they got quite dirty, but luckily they unbutton, which makes them easy to clean,” Kellee told us.

The Doona comes in an array of on-trend colors, ranging from luxe neutrals to brighter, contemporary hues. If you live in an urban area and will often be using it on sidewalks and public transport, Kellee suggests opting for a darker tone. “We went with the Doona in black figuring it would be a good option for New York and we were right since it did show less dirt from the city streets,” she said.

Image: Kellee K.

Value for money

For a stroller that can only be used for a finite amount of time (the rear-facing style, unfortunately, won’t grow with baby through toddlerhood), the Doona does come at a higher price. “The price tag is hefty, and when baby outgrows the car seat portion, you’re out a stroller too,” k_mama91 pointed out. That being said, many parents believe it’s worth it for the level of convenience this hybrid design offers. “I think it’s worth the price for this 2-in-1 and it’s a car seat/stroller that will last you for a long time. It’s durable and well-made, and the price is fair for what you are getting,” says Juanita. The price may be a point of consideration for some, but, according to Kellee, “it’s really the only stroller and car seat you’ll need for the first year.” We wholeheartedly agree!

Final Thoughts About the Doona Car Seat & Stroller

It comes as no surprise that both moms who tested the Doona Car Seat & Stroller for this article highly recommend it. “Since the very first day, we’ve continuously received compliments from hospital employees to passersby on the street on the Doona’s sleek design and functionality. The company refers to it as the Next Generation Car Seat, and it really is like nothing anyone has seen before. It’s a great asset for an urban family, but I would also recommend it to anyone who drives a lot since you don’t have to pack an extra caddy or stroller for when you arrive at your destination,” explains Kellee. Juanita agrees with this, saying it’s especially useful for those who travel frequently. “I would recommend the Doona to new moms or moms that want to try a new brand out. It’s useful for someone who doesn’t want to always travel with a stroller and a car seat,” she commented. The bottom line? If you’re looking for a car seat stroller combo that can really do it all from the earliest days of parenthood, the Doona is worth the investment.

About the writer:

Emma O’Regan-Reidy is an editor at The Bump. She specializes in writing e-commerce content about the latest and greatest in pregnancy, postpartum and parenting. O’Regan-Reidy has researched an array of topics, from prenatal vitamins and postpartum pads to the best non-wifi baby monitors, toddler learning towers and everything in between. With over a four-year career in digital media, O’Regan-Reidy has written dozens of articles about baby gear, aiming to create engaging, helpful articles that inform new and seasoned parents.

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