The Joovy Balloon seat accommodates a newborn up to 45 lbs and measures 13″ wide with a 21″ seat back and a measurement of 24″ from seat back to canopy. It sports an adjustable, padded, 5-point harness with an easy-to-do buckle. The seat has a deep, 160 degree recline that is done with a dual strap system. It’s not our favorite recline because it can be quite fiddly with a toddler in the seat but it’s doable.
The footrest adjusts to two positions and features a mesh enclosure as an extra safety precaution to turn the seat into a bassinet environment. There is also a fabric covered, removable and swing-away baby bumper bar on the seat.
A unique feature on the Joovy Balloon is the reversible handlebar that allows the seat to be in a forward-facing or a parent-facing position. Without removing the child from the seat (which is a great thing!), all you have to do is lift two levers and the handlebar will switch sides so that the seat parent-faces. We love reversible seat strollers, and really like that a stroller under $200 has this feature, but we aren’t crazy with the execution on this one. The problem lies with the wheels which therefore affects the maneuverability. When you rotate the handlebar, the rear wheels become the front wheels but those new front wheels do not have the ability to swivel. So, you will have to maneuver and turn the stroller using the back wheels. This type of strolling definitely has a learning curve and may be very aggravating for some. It’s not impossible, but you will notice the difference and may choose not to parent-face the child often because of it. We hope that the next version has some sort option to let both sets of wheels swivel and lock to give it the same maneuverability whether the seat is forward-facing or parent-facing.
The canopy on the Balloon is HUGE and is definitely full-coverage because it even folds down in front of the child to block the elements. The canopy doesn’t have a peek-a-boo window.
The Balloon handlebar isn’t adjustable, and at 40″ from ground to handle, it’s a perfect height for my 5’5 frame. If you are super tall, you may want to try it out first.
I love that there are two, removable cup holders on the handlebar and a rather large (for a lightweight stroller!) basket underneath the seat. The basket is accessible and I can even fit my Ju-Ju-Be BFF diaper bag in there with no problem.
The Joovy Balloon rolls on 5″ hard (industrial) foam wheels. The front wheels are 360 degree swivel wheels with the ability to lock straight for a bit of “mommy terrain” such as grass and playground mulch. The rear wheels sport individual locking brakes.
The stroller folds and unfolds super easy with just one hand. It folds into a flat, standing fold with an automatic lock.
Even though the Joovy Balloon is super lightweight, it has the ability to become a travel system with the universal car seat adapters that come with it. All you have to do is recline the seat, remove the baby bumper bar, attach the car seat adapters, set the car seat in the stroller seat and wrap the bungee cords around the car seat handles. You can see it in action in our video review.
Overall, the Joovy Balloon has some great travel-friendly features such as an easy fold, large canopy, roomy seat and big basket. We aren’t crazy about the reversible handle, but since that is an “extra feature” that you may or may not use for very long, it’s not a deal breaker. The Joovy Balloon retails for $199 and can be purchased on Amazon.com.