Making your decision over which stroller may suit your lifestyle need not be as tricky as you think. Many umbrella strollers function in a similar manner, so let price be your dictator. The Tippitoes Spark is great value but sturdily built...see what you think...
As we saw from our ‘Strollers under £150 group test’ earlier this year, the variety of quality and style under £150 is wide but it also proved that you don’t always get what you pay for.
Prices in the stroller category vary wildly, from the supermarket special at around £10 to the well branded yummy buggy nearing the £200 mark. But you have to do your homework when it comes to strollers, as although they are all pretty similar, some contain a unique selling point.
With the Tippitoes Spark, that unique selling point has to be the price. At only £64.99, it is going to prick-up-the-ears of Mums and Dads looking for a quick, carefree stroller that can be thrown into the boot of the car or stored at Grandma’s house.
What’s in the box
The RRP for the Tippitoes Spark is £64.99
Available in Black and white, Brown and white and Midnight Blue.
We have the unpatterned Midnight Blue Spark that has a look of the 70’s about it. Anyone old enough to remember the TV programme ‘Magpie’ will recognize the similarities in the Spark logo. It’s also very square in the seat and Navy blue, which was a very popular colour back then (or possibly the only colour available!).
To soften the utilitarian look, the hood is beautifully arched and padded around the rim. Brackets each side tension the canopy to give your passenger adequate shade.
It has the nippy manoeuvrability of any stroller but seems to have a low centre of gravity making it solidly stable. This can only be accredited to the steel frame which adds weight but also strength.
Ensure the hood of your Tippitoes Spark is closed and then lift the central black button (near your knees) on the back of the pushchair, with your foot. This releases the horizontal tension from the frame, then stamp on the lever on the right and it will collapse vertically into the familiar umbrella fold. The bracket on the side automatically locks the fold in place and it can be transported using the carry handle on the opposite side.
Opening is simply a matter of unclipping the locking bracket, picking up the handles and stamping on the black button again to re-tension the frame.
I can’t really rave about the recline. As with all tape reclines, going down is not where the problem lies. Simply press the release button on the toggle and slide it down the tapes, the back of the seat should then follow, especially if weighted by a snoozing child.
No, the problem with this mechanism is on the way back up; when you try to sit your child upright again not only is it difficult sliding the toggle up against a loaded seat, but this requires you to slide the button on the toggle downwards at the same time as pushing the toggle upwards....it’s not easy.
Once reclined, the head of the seat is nicely enclosed in the rear apron of the canopy resulting in a well protected darkened cavity. The foot rest can be angled to suit the comfort of your prone passenger.
The basket is difficult to access when the seat is reclined, but this is the nature of the beast and the same applies to most umbrella strollers. The basket is not vast but would accommodate a small bag of shopping. It sounds large at 38cms long, 16cms deep and 30cms wide, but half of this is located under the seat where it is only 8cms deep.
The brake is applied by pressing one of the levers on either of the back wheels. A chunky click ensures you know it’s on; giving the impression that it’s going to break your toes to release it but it is surprisingly effortless.
The small wheels (15cms) are a little plasticy, but once again, typical in size for a stroller. The front wheels can be prevented from swivelling using the wheel lock in the centre of each one. In swivel mode, this stroller weaves through traffic with nimble agility, firm control being delivered by the foam covered, punch-hold handles.
The raincover for the Tippitoes Spark is a surprising touch of finesse. It clips to the canopy, covering your passenger without leaving them in cling-filmed claustrophobia thanks to the curved support incorporated in a seam that runs across the front.
It actually gives the stroller a whole new look. Ironic when models three times the price of the Spark either don’t include a raincover or simply throw-in a universal piece of PVC that barely fits anything.
The Spark is great value for money and does what it says on the tin, a niche that Tippitoes fulfil with great professionalism. The Spark is not trying to be anything else, i.e. travel system or reversible – it’s just a stroller. But it is half the price of other, very similar strollers!
It’s a little weighty thanks to the steel frame but this only helps with the stability and it’s not overweight enough to make this a deterrent.
The recline is poor and could to with modernising. It’s one of those elements of a pushchair you use a lot, so you don’t want to keep falling out with it.
Design wise, there is nothing spectacular about this pushchair but you have to remind yourself that it is a fantastic bargain for only £65.
We give the Tippitoes Spark
3 out of 5 stars
Age: Newborn +
Open size: 107 x 51 x 87 cms
Folded size: 37 x 33 x 107 cms