Guy eating a donut in front of an Uppababy Minu at the park

Uppababy Minu Review

Guy eating a donut in front of an Uppababy Minu at the park

Uppababy Minu Review

When it comes to lightweight strollers, they don’t get much more uppa-end than the Uppababy Minu.  Built and branded as a lightweight travel stroller, it’s the kind of equipment that will leave your in-laws saying things like “back in my day, we had umbrella strollers and that was good enough for our kids!”  The big difference between the Uppababy Minu and an umbrella stroller (besides the $400 gap in price point) is the fact that “back in the day,” nobody liked using the umbrella strollers. Compared to those nightmares, this stroller is a dream. By the way—we think about (and test) strollers a lot. You can find our picks for the 9 best strollers of 2022 here.

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To start off our Uppababy Minu stroller review, here’s a breakdown of the features of the Uppababy Minu, piece by piece:

  • Durable and compact: Crafted from aircraft aluminum, and weighing in at only 15lbs, the Uppababy Minu is durable, lightweight, and folds up into a compact package at only 11.5″x20.5″x23″ and is designed to fit in the overhead bin of most commercial airliners (probably not Spirit, but if you are flying with kids, why put yourself through that kind of hell?). 
  • Wheels: The 5.8″ composite wheels have rubber tires and  shock absorbing spokes for a smooth and comfortable ride.   The front wheels swivel on casters and provide adequate turning with a short radius.
  • Frame: When opened, the distinctive triangle frame is incredibly durable, with aluminum arms and ABS plastic joints, that resist corrosion and wear. It looks like it was designed by someone who was really into mountainbiking.
  • Locking mechanism: The frame folds up with one hand, though the locking mechanism is a little more involved than other strollers.  Simply slide the mechanism to the right with your thumb and squeeze the front mechanism and the whole shebang folds up like a Transformer to stow away in your car, overhead bin, or closet when not in use. One-hand operation is also great when your other arm is full of squirming toddler, groceries, your diaper bag, or you just don’t want to get your other hand caught in the frame as it folds up.
  • The seat: The seat is washable fabric (which is good, because toddlers seem to exude jelly somehow), and strong enough to carry a 50lb kid.  At 13.5″ wide, the interior of the seat is roomy, compared to other lightweight strollers, so if your kid is on the larger side, they should be able to ride just fine with a little more headroom than other strollers (such as the Colugo).  With an easy-to-use adjustment strap at the back of the seat, you can lay your passenger back for naps or just to chill.  The seat does not lie back fully, however.
  • Safety: The Uppababy Minu features a locking 5-point harness with adjustable straps to keep your toddler from toddling off as you are wheeling them around.  It also keeps them snug in their seat when maneuvering down the sidewalk, weaving through pedestrians.  The brake is simple enough to use.  Pedals by the back wheels are marked red for stop and green for go.   Push down on the red pedal with your foot to lock both back wheels into position, or push down on the green pedal to release the brake.  The opposite pedal will move up or down accordingly, so it is easy to see if the brake is engaged or not. 
  • Canopy: The canopy features a peekaboo mesh window which you can use to check on your baby and the flap is closed with the help of magnets. The canopy extends over your little one’s head and also features a sunshade extension that extends out even further.  The fabric is rated at 50+ UPF for protection against the sun’s UV radiation (but it’s still no excuse to not put sunscreen on your kid–or yourself!).
  • Handlebar:  A selling point of the Uppababy Minu seems to be the leather grips on the handlebar, which give you a sure grip whether it is sunny or rainy outside.  A departure from the ratty foam grips of less expensive brands, these are probably nicer than what you have on the steering wheel of your car. 
  • Baggage compartments: We’ve all got baggage.  The Minu features a compartment underneath the seat for carrying some of it around–up to 20lbs!  Perfect for a diaper bag, toys, or our personal favorite: a box of a dozen donuts (maybe not 20lbs of donuts, but we can dream), this fabric shelf takes off some of the load with plenty of space, (compared to the Colugo). The drawback to the open-end design is you might not see items if they roll out of the front or the back of this shelf.  If this happens with your kid’s favorite toy, you know there will be hell to pay when you get back to the car.  A handy pouch on the back of the seat also holds your keys, phone, wet wipes, or any other miscellaneous stuff parents have to carry around.
  • Handy-dandy shoulder strap: When you fold the Minu up, you can carry it around with the help of an attached shoulder strap.

Available trims

The Uppababy Minu is available in four trims, each one named after one of the kids of the developers at the company.  Uppababy will also let you pick up to four free swatches to see which you like best.

  • Devin: Light gray fabric with silver frame. Chestnut leather handgrips. (see it on Amazon)
  • Jake: Black fabric with carbon finish aluminum frame.  Black leather handgrips. (see it on Amazon)
  • Jordan: Charcoal fabric with silver frame.  Black leather handgrips. (see it on Amazon)
  • Ryan: Teal fabric with silver frame.  Saddle leather handgrips. (see it on Amazon)
Look at that chestnut leather! (We tested “The Devin” trim, in case you were wondering)

Accessories

You can upgrade your Uppababy Minu lightweight stroller with a variety of accessories.  A conversion kit allows you to clip in your Uppababy MESA (or Maxi-Cosi, Nuna, or Cybex) infant car seat to the stroller for children under three months.  Bumper bars, snack trays, changing backpacks, storage basket covers, organizers, and the coveted upholder are also available.  For extreme weather conditions, you can add on rain shields, and the CozyGanoosh for winter weather.

Drawbacks

We’ve already touched on some of the drawbacks of the Uppababy Minu lightweight stroller, but here they are again with a more critical eye.

The problem with the brake:  If you are on the tall side, or simply have really big feet, you might find yourself walking along and accidentally stepping on the brake, sending the whole stroller screeching to a halt.  Compared to other strollers, however (like the Colugo), the distance of the angle from the wheels to where your feet probably are is a lot further back, so with practice, you should be able to master how to walk in no time at all.  There have been complaints about the brake mechanism malfunctioning as well, which means you might have to flip the mechanism up manually to disengage the brake.

Lieback seat: The seat doesn’t lie all the way back.  There.  I said it.  This probably isn’t the worst thing in the world, however, since it also keeps your kid’s head clear of your feet when you are pushing them down the sidewalk.

Mesh window: The peekaboo window is nice to check in on your kid (did you remember to latch the five-point harness?), but considering it is mesh, if it is raining outside, you are going to want to keep that flap down.

The mesh peek-a-boo window of the Uppababy Minu

Lack of cupholder: Cupholders are important for parents.  They hold milk bottles, they can hold your coffee that you need in order to function, and you can use them for things like your keys or anything else you need within arms reach.  There is a decided lack of cupholders that come standard with the Minu.  You can purchase them as an accessory from Uppababy. 

Price point: When compared to other lightweight strollers, the Uppababy Minu is at the upper end of the spectrum.  Considering the add-ons and accessories you might want to purchase to make the unit more compatible with your lifestyle, the price only goes higher.  Accessories can really start to add on the price, and at some point you might ask yourself if it’s really worth another $45 for a snack tray or $90 for a gear bag.  At least the fabric will match!

Storage space that’s not a basket. For some reason (maybe to allow you go get bigger things into it) the storage basket under the Minu isn’t actually a basket. It’s more like a slide in storage bay. But you know the old saying … if it can slide in, it can slide … ok maybe we made up that saying but you get the point.

The under the seat storage area of the Uppababy Minu

Uppababy vs Colugo

We did a video deep dive into the Colugo Compact v Uppababy Minu. Here it is, with the preface my hair was not cooperating that day, hence the super cool backward-hat-dad look.

We’ve covered the comparison between the Uppababy Minu and the Colugo lightweight strollers before, but it is worth mentioning again.  The Colugo (our review of the Colugo Compact here) is a little bit more comprehensive when it comes to features (including a cupholder), and though the two are comparable in size, somehow the Minu features a little bit more headspace and a little bit wider seating for bigger kids. 

Both fold up to a compact enough size to make them manageable. The locking mechanism for the Colugo is simpler, without the whole Rubic’s Cube effect of slide over and squeeze and push that the Minu uses.  The Colugo just requires that you squeeze the handle and the unit collapses into its portable shape. The storage basket on the underside of the Colugo is closed at the front end, meaning your possessions won’t go flying out the front if you stop suddenly. 

The five-point harness on the Colugo also features a magnetic locking mechanism rather than  the traditional buckle.  It can be a learning curve to figure out how to hold the pieces together and fit them into place, but otherwise it works well.

Detail of the Uppababy Minu 5-point harness
Minu harness detail, which is simpler to learn than the Colugo’s (though the latter is cool when you get the hang of it).

Both strollers have a sturdy, triangular frame for strength and support as well as canopies to protect your kiddo from the elements. The canopy and seat on the Colugo are probably more durable for machine washing over repeated loads.  The seat and canopy are available in a wider variety of colors, but the basket is available only in black and the frame in silver. The basket only carries up to 10lbs of gear, which is a little more limiting for what you can haul around.  It does, however, still feature enough volume for a box of donuts. These things are important!

The Colugo does lay back all the way, giving your kiddo a full 180 degree reclining position for naps, chilling out, or whatever else a full reclining position lets them do.

Where to buy

The Uppababy Minu is available on Amazon in a variety of trims and includes the options to buy the stroller as a package, like the “from birth kit“.

Uppababy strollers are also available at retailers like BuyBuyBaby and Nordstrom. Worth noting you can’t buy Uppababy strollers directly on Uppababy’s website like you can with other direct to consumer brands like Colugo and Mockingbird.

FAQ

Is Uppababy Minu good for newborn?

The Uppababy Minu is not recommended for children under 3 months of age, however, you can buy accessories that allow for a portable bassinet (the From Birth Kit) which lets your newborn travel while lying flat, or Car Seat expansion kits that connect with various infant car seats.

Is the Uppababy Minu worth it?

Your mileage may vary.  The stroller is engineered with comfort, convenience, and compact carry in mind.  There are other competitors (such as the Colugo) which are just as durable, capable, and stylish as the Uppababy Minu.  It all boils down to a matter of personal preference.  For the price point, this stroller is on the spendy side (around $400 new), but it might fit your aesthetic, and if you can afford it, then why not?    

Can you fly with the Uppababy Minu?

Yes.  But always check with your airline to see if it still qualifies for carry-on status, since those rules seem to change at the drop of a hat.

An Uppababy Minu in folded position
Folded and travel ready (the stroller, not the truck)

Does the Uppababy Minu fully recline?

It does not.  But it lays back quite a ways.

Does it face backward or forward?

The Uppababy Minu is a forward facing single-occupancy lightweight stroller.  If you would like to know more about double strollers with rear facing positions, check out this link to the Mockingbird stroller which we have also reviewed.

The Verdict

The Uppababy Minu lightweight stroller isn’t going to be for everyone, but it is a damn fine stroller that holds up well year after year, and is durable enough to use with more kids as you have them.  The stroller is designed to go wherever you want to go, is folded up and stowed for easy transport on planes, lightrail, subways, and even your car.  What it lacks in accessories it makes up for in engineering and ease of use.  It’s a no BS piece of equipment to have in your kid arsenal that looks great, isn’t clunky, and gets the job done.  A little on the expensive side, but hey, your kids are worth it.

What’s next?

Hey, we’re Fathercraft, a company focused on helping expecting and new parents with product reviews, online courses, free checklists, and more. If you enjoyed this review, you’ll probably enjoy more from us! Learn what we’re all about here, get some free checklists for expecting parents here, or check out more of our stroller reviews here.

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