BabyStyle is a brand that appeared on my radar last year when I first saw their exquisite range of Egg Strollers. Always well known for their excellent Oyster stroller (Oyster 2 is the current version) and Oyster Max the addition of the Egg started what seems to be a concerted move towards becoming one of the UK’s most important pushchair brands. Their revolutionary Hybrid Stroller launches in the next couple of months and from what I saw at the Harrogate Nursery Fair earlier in the year it looks set to be a genuine game-changer. For our needs though we were looking for something to use when we didn’t want to lug something as big as our first pram system around with us and when something more substantial than the Babyzen YOYO was required. We spotted their other new 2016 release in a store recently, and here I am delivering my BabyStyle Oyster Zero pushchair review.
At the start of the shopping trip I expected to be buying one of the more traditional second stage pushchairs such as the Silver Cross Pop or an UPPAbaby G-Luxe. This part of the market appears to have been dominated by those ‘umbrella-fold’ style pushchairs for years and years, and was always the playground of Maclaren and the like. It seems though that the times they are a changin’ as there is now a healthy choice of pushchairs that offer so much more than the umbrella-folds and for just a few pound more. The G-Luxe was coming in at around £195, and it looks great and seems really nice to use, and similar models by Cosatto, Recaro and Silver Cross were all in that £170-£200 area and at first glances it was difficult to put a cigarette paper between them as they were all so…well…samey!
We were lured into a demonstration of the Oyster Zero at the suggestion of the store salesperson who could see that our faces were NOT lighting up with joy as we browsed and tried the various standard lightweight pushchairs. This product passed through the £200 mark and actually retails for £229 but after just a couple of minutes of trying it out it soon became clear that the extra couple of tenners was going to be money well spent (we had budgeted £200 and managed to negotiate a small discount on this product so we only overspent by £20).
The initial appeal was the range of colours. I have always been a sucker for green and this olive green version ticked every box for me, especially with the contrast of the tan leather on the bumper bar and handlebar. There are 4 other colours available, all of which are lovely, especially the Oxford Blue, but Olive Green is right up my street.
The Oyster Zero comes in one very neat and compact box. Everything inside is carefully wrapped and very well protected with foam and cardboard. There is real attention to detail in the packaging and I especially liked the extra bits they do such as adding plastic protectors to the ends of the metal axles on the wheels and including a safety strap for your wrist that is already attached to the handlebar of the pushchair.
The instruction manual is very easy to follow and unlike many nursery product manuals goes into plenty of details through its 21 pages and all of the pages are in English!
Sometimes you get a decent sized manual but all there is are 3 pages for the UK with weird diagrams and very little text and then 100 extra pages in every other language under the sun. This one is absolutely specific to the UK and no aspect of the product is missed out or leaves you guessing. They use photographs of the actual product and its components throughout the brochure with a real person’s hand showing you where to push or pull.
It’s hardly rocket science but it is one of the basics that brands have moved away from in their quest for conquering all corners of the world. It’s the little basic things however such as this attention to detail that make life that little bit easier for a parent.
From unpacking everything to having a pushchair that is ready to roll it took me around 25 minutes. I must add though that if it wasn’t for my insistent little helper that it would have been a 10 minute job, maximum. This is a very easy product to set up.
It literally is unfold the chassis and then slot the wheels in.
Folding and unfolding the Oyster Zero is a doddle and it is very satisfying just how small it is when folded. The Zero is a relatively large pushchair which is absolutely ideal at this stage as really you are looking to use a second stage pushchair for 2 or 3 years, but it folds down to a really compact size and, importantly, shape. The fold is also something that can be done one-handed which is really handy as often baby needs to be picked up straight away when out of the pushchair.
Once folded it is easy to lift and carry by use of the bumper bar and weighing in at under 8kg it is light enough to carry around and easy to lift into the boot of a car or to use on public transport. The small fold also allows it to be easily stowed on public transport, kept in the hallway without tripping anyone up and also means you get a load of boot space back when out and about in the car.
The hood is really big and I mean REALLY big and offers factor 50+ sun protection. There is also an extra pull out sun visor which is a really nice touch.
The hood is one of a number of excellent features that I love about this stroller and when we have been using it baby M has always managed to snooze as no matter how bright the sun was we were always able to create a comfortable shaded environment for her to relax in.
The actual seat unit is large also. I had just one concern that the seat would be too big for M in the first few months of use as she is quite a dainty little lady but this was never an issue and that is mainly down to the quality and design of the harness.
The harness is very easy to fasten, unfasten and adjust and has plenty of padding around the shoulders and crotch area. We were able to keep M securely strapped in so that she didn’t rattle around the seat area, whilst allowing enough freedom of movement for her to not get grumpy by being restricted.
Over time that seat unit size means that she will never grow out of it before actually growing out of the need to be in a pushchair at all, and that has value and adds to the reasons why investing those extra few pounds will ultimately pay off.
Another reason we body-swerved away from the traditional umbrella fold pushchairs was the basket size. We were not looking for a part-time holiday stroller or something that couldn’t handle a decent amount of baggage. We needed something that would hold the trappings of daily life with a toddler or at least have enough room to hold a couple of bags of shopping in. The baskets on the umbrella folds didn’t seem big enough or sturdy enough to meet our needs.
We have been spoiled with the basket on our first pram system as that is huge, but the basket on the Oyster Zero is big and has more than enough space for what we need without any compromise.
There is even a special compartment in the basket to store the raincover in. Oh, yes, the raincover is included with the Oyster Zero. Don’t take that for granted either as some brands offer what seems like a good standard price but then charge an extra £30 for a raincover!
So, we have a great basket, a comfy passenger who can be protected from all the elements and a neat little fold that fits in pretty much any car or nook and cranny. That really was all of the boxes ticked, along with the colour choice. It was no surprise then to find out that the Oyster Zero pushchair is a real joy to push.
The ride is really smooth and the suspension is all round and provides a fine level of cushioning when mounting kerbs and coming off them also. The swivel on the front wheels can very quickly be locked into place also which helps when the terrain is a little tougher than a normal pavement or road. We have tested the Zero out in fine weather on roads, pavements, country paths and firmer wet sand on a beach and it was perfect every time. We haven’t ploughed through deep mud or deep fine sand yet and to be honest I don’t intend to. This isn’t an ‘off-road’ pushchair and doesn’t claim to be. For 99% of daily surfaces that we will be pushing it on it passes with flying colours and even performed well on a cobbled street in York last week.
I couldn’t finish this BabyStyle Oyster Zero pushchair review without mentioning that the stroller also looks really classy as well. For what you get the price tag of £229 is actually low but nothing about this product suggests any corners have been cut or that it is a budget product in any way.
I love how it looks! I also think that the branding on the product is nice and subtle; just enough to show that it is part of the Oyster stable by BabyStyle without being too ‘in your face’ with it.
The main test for any product I buy that also impacts on baby M’s time, as well as how much I like using it, is how much enjoyment she gets out of it also. The passenger is more important than the driver when it comes to pushchairs and M loves being in the Oyster Zero.
We have been using the Zero extensively for the last couple of months and it has quickly become the pushchair that we reach for the most. This is mainly because of the boot space that is still available when we take it on days out and because of the ease of carrying it around when going into town or making quick trips to shops or to visit friends and family.
M has remained her usual placid self every time she has been in the Zero and seems to actually enjoy the space she has in the seat unit. The seat unit actually fully reclines to a lie-flat position so from that position to fully upright there are plenty of options for giving her the maximum comfort she needs for a nap or the best possible view for her curious eyes.
In summary, as you can tell from this BabyStyle Oyster Zero pushchair review I am genuinely delighted with this product. It has passed every test, looks the part, is so easy to use and full of features.
It was not one that I intended to buy. I assumed that I would graduate from the VISTA to the G-Luxe or try to convince myself that our YOYO was adequate for all of our day-to-day needs, but having discovered the Zero the extra small expenditure has so far proved to be more than worth it.
I think the days of parents spending £150-£200 on umbrella fold strollers are pretty much done. They don’t look great, feel flimsy to use, rarely have any real practical sized baskets, are awful to fold and too long when they are folded! The seat units are also very basic when you see past the branding and the shiny fabrics. You can get everything you ‘need’ from such a short shelf-life stroller in the Joie Nitro which regularly sells for only £50-60 so why pay so much more for an umbrella fold pushchair that isn’t really that much better?
There are a few very decent pushchairs available now that are in the £200-£260 price range and I think the smart parents will spend the extra money when baby is around 12 months old and look for a product that will then see them through until a pushchair isn’t needed any more and you could be looking for something that will last 3 years.
£229 for the Zero over the course of 3 years of regular use is a very, very low cost per use and it is unlikely that the Zero will ever let us down in those years to come. It is sturdy, big, comfortable, easy to use and feels like a significant purchase without having that sort of significant price tag (in the grand scheme of things).
Now this doesn’t apply to my current position but there is further real value in the Oyster Zero when you consider using it as a from-birth pram system. You can use the existing carrycot from the BabyStyle Oyster range with the Zero by buying a set of adaptors which cost around £15. The price of the Oyster carrycot is usually around £130, so for an extra £145 you have a from-birth pram system that is perfectly fine to use for a total outlay of around £375!!
Car seat adaptors are also available as an accessory for £19 so you can use it as a full pram and travel system for under £400!!
Food for thought, especially as prices seem to be going up for some brands after Brexit and a lot of ‘traditional’ from-birth pram systems are now pushing £900+. Hand on heart, I believe the Oyster Zero would be a perfectly good, if not excellent, from-birth pram system that would last the 4 years you need to push a small human around without any compromise or disappointment. After the first 6 months baby moves out of the carrycot anyway and this is a fantastic pushchair from then on. I can’t comment on the Oyster carrycot as I have never used one but a quick read of some online reviews suggest that it is very good.
Anyway, not a point for me to labour on, just wanted to mention it though in case anyone reading this was still looking for a from-birth solution.
For the second stage user, as I mentioned above the raincover is included and the extra accessories you might need such as a footmuff or an insect net are also available to support this product.
Ok, I’ve said all I need to say, and then some…the BabyStyle Oyster Zero pushchair gets a big Dadness thumbs up and for buying it I have become, from this Zero, a big hero in our household.
Thank you for stopping by and reading this far. You can find out more about this product on the BabyStyle Oyster Zero webpages.
Please feel free to drop me a note if this review has sparked off any further questions that you think I might be able to answer.