We are big fans of Valco Baby. They have been making quality juvenile products in Australia for 20 years. Their quality and attention to detail always has us watching for what they are going to introduce next. Well, their newest introduction is the Valco Baby Ion. The Ion comes as a single stroller (the Ion) and a double version (Ion for 2).
Falling into our lightweight plus category, the Ion weighs in at 18 lbs. This quality made stroller is the one of the newest additions in the Valco Baby family and is great for everyday use.
With a unique egg-shaped frame, the seat is wide and roomy, making for a comfortable ride even for an older child. The seat is 14” across and sports a 19” seatback. With a seatback to canopy measurement of 24” – even our 3 year old tester was able to sit comfortably without his head touching the canopy.
It has an excellent, adjustable 5-point, padded harness to fit snugly on a small child yet big enough with room to grow for a larger child. The Ion sports an almost flat recline that is rather easy to do with a strap system. The seat has a very, very slight recline when in the most upright position but is much more upright than many other strollers. There is a removable baby bumper bar but no baby or parent trays on the Ion.
Let’s talk canopy!!! The Ion canopy is GIGANTIC, and believe it or not, actually shades your child completely from the sun. The Ion canopy extends to almost twice the size of most stroller canopies on the market. There are two positions for the canopy. Not that sunny? Use the canopy as is. Need more shade? You can unzip to expose the extra panel on the canopy to extend it more. This is the largest canopy in the Valco Baby line of strollers! We can’t say enough how much we LOVE this canopy! Plus, the canopy sports a peek-a-boo window to keep an eye on your little rider.
To accommodate parents of differing heights, the Ion sports a great adjustable handlebar. It doesn’t telescope out but it does adjust up and down in six positions (from 30” to 41” from ground to handlebar) and prevents taller parents from kicking the frame of the stroller with a long stride.
There is a tall, medium-sized basket underneath the seat that can hold a medium to large size diaper bag. The wire frame around the basket is bendable so that you have some access to the basket even with the seat fully reclined. The deep but narrow basket is a good size for a lightweight-plus stroller. For other storage on the stroller, you will find a zip off storage bag on the back of the canopy. The storage bag zips closed and has a divided inner pocket that is perfect for a couple diapers and a travel wipes case. It also has two outer pockets – one that is a perfect size for a smartphone and a mesh pocket for small things such as keys. When you zip off the storage pocket, you will find a small mesh window that allows air to circulate through the stroller, keeping baby cool. We love this feature especially for the summer!
The Ion has two 9 ½ inch wheels in the back and a double 7 ½ inch wheel in the front. The wheels are tubeless meaning they are maintenance free so you don’t have to worry about ever getting a flat with this stroller. The front swivel wheel handles tight corners with ease but also has the ability to be locked straight for a bit rougher terrain. There is a linked back brake that is easy to do quickly with just your foot to lock both wheels with just one step. Even though you unlock the parking brake with the top of your foot, it is so easy to do that we could even do it with bare feet or flip flops on.
The maneuverability on this stroller is fabulous. It turns on a dime, is easy to push and can be controlled easily with one hand. We tested it at the top of its weight limit of 44 lbs and even though it took a bit more wrist power, we still weren’t disappointed. Knowing that it’s not meant to be a true all-terrain stroller, we did find that it can handle minor bumpy roads, brick streets and small rocks with the front wheel locked but it might provide a bumpy ride for baby.
The Ion features a very easy “1 twist” compact fold. It only has two steps and can be done in seconds. This unique forward facing fold allows you to collapse the stroller with a turn of a knob and a lift of a lever. The entire stroller collapses rather compactly and there is a manual locking strap to lock the stroller closed. We would love to see an automatic lock added for more convenience for parents but we are happy there is a lock at all to keep the stroller closed when transporting. A bonus feature of the fold is that by grabbing the handle of the folded stroller, you can wheel the stroller behind you like luggage. The folded stroller is a very compact package that can easily fit in the smallest of trunks with ease. Plus, all three wheels pop off easily for an even more compact unit. The unfold process is so simple we hate to even call it a process. It is really just unlock the strap, pull up the handle bar until the stroller locks open. Easy enough!
Another great feature of the Ion is that with the optional car seat adapter you can use the stroller as a travel system with Graco, Peg Perego, Maxi-Cosi and Chicco infant car seats.
There is also a Husssh Bassinet sold separately that is a luxury, plush bassinet that inserts directly into the stroller seat and has a safety harness for your baby. Other accessories sold separately are a raincover, foot muff and cup holder.
The Valco Baby Ion stroller retails for $399. Though the price may seem steep to some – remember you are getting the Valco Baby quality construction and features!
To see our full video review of the Valco Baby Ion, click the video link below: