Britax Smile III Travel System Review

by Your Baby Club

The Britax Smile III and i-Size Comfort Plus Bundle is a complete travel system with one-click attachment change, easily adjustable harness, narrow chassis, air-filled wheels, smart lighting technology, and is suitable from birth to 4 years old (approx. 22kg).

The bundle includes the Britax Smile III pushchair, Baby-Safe iSense car seat (suitable up to 13kg), Smile III carrycot and their lay-flat 360-degree Flex Base iSense ISOFIX car seat base, which is also compatible with their DualFix iSense (suitable up to 18kg) - sold separately.

Britax Smile III Review

Weight7Storage8
Steering9Features and Accessories7
Ease of Folding7Design7
Durability8Affordability7


Your Baby Club Rating

7.5

Best For?

All-Terrain - parents needing manoeuvrability on tight pavement corners, and stability on uneven ground, large shopping basket and easy to change travel system components from newborn right through to those toddler years.

Pros & Cons

Pros - Larget storage/shopping basket, easy manoeuvrability, compact when folded, easy to change attachments, feels very sturdy and durable, suitable from birth to 4 years.

Cons - Cannot fold with one hand, included infant car seat not suitable beyond 15m, not super lightweight.

Britax Smile III Specifications

Features

- Easily Adjustable Harness- Air-Filled Wheels
- Swivel Front Wheels- Narrow Base
- Central & Front Wheel Suspension- Extra-long Backrest
- Extra-large Shopping Basket- Extra-large Canopy Hood with Ventilation Window
- Glow in the Dark Reflector Stripes- Compact Freestanding Fold
- Lie-flat Backrest and Footrest- Reversible Seat Unit
- Adjustable Comfort Handle- Brake and Front Wheel Lock

Specifics, Weight & Dimensions

Suitabilityup to 22 kg
Total Weight (incl. seat unit)13 kg
Chassis Weight9 kg
Size when folded (incl. seat unit)90H x 40W x 57D
Size unfolded (incl. seat unit)112H x 57W x 97.7D
Base Width57 cm
Basket Capacity7 kg
Basket Dimensions40W x 42L x 27 D
Backrest Height48 cm
Footrest Length23 cm
Handle Height80 to 113cm
Canopy Hood UV ProtectionUPF 50+

Smile III Price

Britax Smile III Stroller£695
Smile III Carrycot£179
Baby-Safe 3 i-Size Car Seat£199
Flex Base iSense ISOFIX Car Seat Base£229

Travel System Bundle

£1149

What's in the Box

  • Smile III Chassis frame
  • Child Carrier
  • Front wheels and rear wheels
  • Car Seat adapters
  • Bumper bar
  • Rear-wheel Mud-guards
  • Bassinet and canopy
  • Car Seat
  • Car Seat Base
  • Instruction manuals

Car Seat, Base and Bassinet packaged and bought separately.

Colour-ways

Frost Grey, Indigo Blue and Space Black

Accessories Available

Stay Cool Canopy, Smile III Rain cover (which came as standard on the previous Britax Smile model), Smile III Carrycot Rain cover, Shiny Cosytoes Footmuff, Cup Holder.

The Parent Test

Jasmine is a first-time mum-to-be on the lookout for her baby's first pram. She lives in a large rural town, meaning she'll be subject to a range of terrains - cobblestones, pavements, fields and dirt-track paths with the buggy, and like most parents, wants something compact, lightweight and with lots of space for her storing things from trips to the shops, but also something durable and easy to use. Jasmine will be conducting a number of reviews to help her find the perfect solution. She put the Britax Smile III to the test and here are her thoughts:

First Impressions

Straight out of the box, the Britax Smile III feels very robust. The chassis frame is solid, chunky (in a good way) and has a good quality finish. Having never owned a pushchair before, I always assumed they came pre-assembled but was delighted to see how easy it was to do - literally a matter of clicking the air-filled wheels and mudguards in place, and attaching the bumper bar and seat unit. After checking the easy-to-follow instructions, I was able to figure out how to fold and unfold the chassis and felt silly for it being so obvious; just a little catch on the side and a swift lift of the handle and it's up. A pull mechanism on either side of the handlebars then allows it to fold again.

After a little 360-degree spin around the kitchen, I was amazed at how lightweight it felt to push and steer, considering its robustness. It was really easy to wheel around my small kitchen and ground floor, turning tight corners and doing complete U-turns on a penny. 

Manoeuvrability

As I'm not expecting my little one for a couple of months, I popped in a 5kg weight and began testing it around the house and down the garden - lifting over thresholds, wheeling over grass, uneven terrain, paving slabs, carpet and hard floor. The pushchair's air-filled wheels and bouncy suspension made it glide across each surface and the suspension on the front and rear wheels barely disturbed the bottle of water I also placed on the seat unit to see how much movement occurred- great to know my little one will have a smooth ride when fast asleep on our day trips (wishful thinking, I know). The front wheels also lock into position, meaning that you can push it over uneven ground much easier as the wheels aren't twisting and turning about.

I was easily able to turn tight corners and after pushing it to my car and back, it was really easy to lift over and down curbs too. The front wheels swivel with ease, allowing you to do complete 180 turns effortlessly.

It's clear from the get-go that this is a good all-terrain stroller.

Folding, Unfolding, Storage & Lifting

Folding and unfolding the pushchair chassis was impossible to do one-handed as the two release clips are on either side of the handlebar and both require engaging at the same time in order to collapse the frame. It is still easy to do, provided the wheels don't catch the shopping basket - I found this to hinder the collapse in a couple of attempts when the front wheel brake isn't engaged, so it's worth bearing in mind.

The frame itself isn't the lightest, but also isn't too heavy. At 13kg with the seat unit, it can be lifted with one hand, but if holding your child with the other, you would need to be strong to balance the two. With two hands, however, it can be easily lifted in and out of the car boot and once folded, the pushchair chassis doesn't take up too much space and fits in both our SUV and hatchback cars with ease.

The carrycot can collapse flat too, which makes storing it or travelling with it in the boot much easier. Though you'll want to allow extra time to construct and deconstruct the carrycot if you have a small or shallow boot.

The Britax Baby-Safe i-Size Car Seat is very easily secured onto the Britax Flex Base and can recline and swivel at the press of a button on the base itself - much easier than some other systems I've seen where buttons are in awkward places on the seat.

To remove, it's the same as before - pull the lever on the back and lift. The base is also simple to install as it has ISOFIX connectivity, allowing you to just pull the connectors out and clip it into place, adjusting the foot support to suit your car's dimensions until the red indicators have disappeared so you know it's installed correctly.

Travel System Component Change

The Britax Smile Carrycot is really easy to remove and click into place with one hand. To remove, you need to press the button on the top of each connector, which can be done one after the other, and lift from the carrycot canopy handle. This seems perfect for when your newborn is asleep and you don't want to disturb them, though this feature would have been great on all components and not just the carrycot.

The car seat requires adapters that also come in the box as standard and can be added and removed single-handedly. It does, however, need two hands to lift off, as you need to pull the lever at the back of the seat and lift it off simultaneously. Not so much of an issue however as your little one will likely be in the seat when you remove it, rather than in your arms.

The reversible seat unit similarly requires both buttons on either side to be clicked in order to remove, but can very easily be attached to the pushchair chassis whilst holding onto the bumper bar to help guide it.

Overall, the Britax Smile III is really straightforward and easy to use for parents looking for a durable stroller and foolproof component change.

Comfort & Ease of Use

After having a play about with the harness in the Britax Smile III child seat unit, it's clear there are lots of ways it can be adjusted through the backrest to fit your growing child. The backrest can be placed in a full lay-flat position as well as upright, and you can adjust the footrest in a number of positions to complement this, to ensure your child is comfy and safe. This is really easy to do with a lever on the rear of the backrest and two buttons on either side of the adjustable footrest to adjust the positions.

The reversible seat is well-padded and has shoulder pads to better secure your child and prevent the straps from digging in. I usually find harnesses a faff, with 4 different things to connect and click in place, but the harness on this child seat is very straightforward as there's no need to click the shoulder straps to the lap straps, it's all connected for you - so just a click in from each side to the central round button. Not something that's easy for a child to undo either though, which is always a plus. It also can be put in either mum/dad or world facing positions.

The bumper bar is removable on both sides, meaning getting your little one in and out of the stroller system is really easy, and also gives you something to clip toys and books to in order to keep your child entertained on their smooth ride.

The mattress in the Britax Smile III carrycot seems nice and padded, perfectly suitable for a sleeping baby in a complete lie-flat position. With the apron cover over the carrycot, my little one would be nice and snug in the colder months too, whilst giving me a good view of their little smile to ensure all is well. The carrycot also has a huge hood canopy with an extendable sun visor and a mesh ventilation window in the hood you can unzip to reveal, which gives great ventilation and airflow, keeping your baby cool in the warmer months from birth right up to around 4 months old when they can move on from the carrycot to the stroller child seat.

As for mum/dad's comfort, I thought the handlebar was easy to adjust; with two buttons at the side which simply click in and allow the stroller handle to be folded in angled down or up positions. This means it's adjustable for users of differing heights. The brake is easy to use and large so you can be confident you can engage the brake regardless of shoe type, size etc. The handlebar is also smooth and padded, with lots of room to attach your favourite add-on accessories, like a cup holder or pushchair organiser bag, and is just comfy to hold and push. Thanks to the suspension, any cobbles or rough ground won't be felt by you either.

My only qualm with the infant seat is that you can't store it folded, even in full upright and the footrest all the way down, it's still not quite as slim like the carrycot is when collapsed, so it takes up a lot of room until you need it - which is fine if you have the room, not so much if you don't.

Safety

The Britax Smile III pushchair features a 5-point safety harness, something I never knew I needed in a pram until I had a play with it and thought, actually, this is essential! Once the straps are in the right position for your child's height, you can also adjust the stroller seat position from upright to lay flat. The car seat also has a 5-point safety harness and adjustable headrest and removable newborn insert, which gave me peace of mind that my tiny newborn will be safe when in the car - particularly with my driving!

A nice little addition to the Smile III stroller is the reflective stripes on the basket. These reflective panels ensure your pushchair is visible in low light or nighttime conditions, which is good to know if you're a city dweller or needing to go out on a walk at night to get your newborn to sleep. A few more on the buggy wouldn't have gone amiss, however.

It has an easy to engage paddle brake, which can be done in any shoe type thanks to its size and swift movement. The brake also has a handy indicator on it to tell you if it's engaged or not - a feature I know many prams don't have. This indicator also appears on the base to tell you it's locked in position correctly, that the support foot is correctly clicked in place and that the ISOFIX arms are attached properly. There is also a switch underneath the base to allow for forward-facing from 15-months, but that will be for when you upgrade to the DualFix iSense car seat. All of these attributes give you great peace of mind to know your precious new family member will be safe and secure.

A cool little feature to go alongside this is on the Britax Baby-Safe i-Sense. It has little indicator lights both at your child's head level and at the base of the seat to ensure you can see if they're secured in place and that the base's indicators are confirming a correct installation. These need charging every now and then, but they come with a USB cable to do so.


The Basket

I love shopping, so a shopping basket that can fit as much in as possible is essential, as I'm sure it is for most parents. I packed a baby changing bag full and loaded up my handbag with bottles of water and other heavy things I might want to take with me, and popped them in the basket to put it to the test. Thankfully, there's lots of room for everything you need, which is always a bonus when you're a new parent and aren't sure what you need to pack so pack everything and the kitchen sink for a little excursion. There is a crossbar as part of the chassis which restricts how you load things onto the buggy, but even with that, I was still able to put two large bags (a handbag and a big rucksack changing bag) in there with ease and could probably fit a bit more in too.

Price

The Britax system as a whole sits in the mid-level price range, with the individual system components again, being quite average. Overall, it seems good value for money, and I would feel I got a good saving buying the stroller, carrycot, car seat and base together rather than separately. For the price, the stroller is sturdy, durable, is a smooth ride thanks to the suspension, and has pretty much everything you need as a new mum/dad. It's definitely a contender for me.

Your Baby Club's Final Thoughts

What we liked most about the Britax Smile pram, was the ease of use and solidity of the frame. It feels robust, durable and fool-proof. Its weight and size are forgiven with the generous storage and safety features designed to keep your new bundle of joy safe and secure, providing a smooth ride and comfort to both parent and child. There aren't many colour options but are all quite neutral so there's something for everyone. It's easy to fold up but requires two hands for most components and has everything you'll need for your baby from birth to 22kg.

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Your Baby Club

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