The Best Baby Carrier Review

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We tested 15 different carriers over 3 months to find the very best way to "wear" your baby
Looking for the best way to wear your baby? We took 15 of the top-rated and most popular baby carriers on the market today, and tested them extensively over a three month test period to find out which is the very best. Comfort? Ease-of-use? Back strain issues? To find out, we used each and every carrier on three babies of increasing weight and size, ranging from infant to toddler, to see how carriers perform as your baby grows. We then rated the carriers side-by-side on a variety of performance metrics, coming up with some pretty interesting results. We came into the review expecting that carriers from BabyBjorn and Ergobaby would take home the prizes, but in fact we found the performance from lesser known and newer carriers were surprisingly strong against these proven brands. Based on our hands-on testing process, each carrier received scores relating to baby's safety, baby's comfort, parent's comfort, ease-of-use and ease-of-cleaning. Read on to find out which carriers landed themselves a top spot.

Read the full review below >

Review by: and Lindsay Ellis March 16, 2013

Top Ranked Baby Carriers Displaying 1 - 5 of 15 << Previous | View All | Next >>
Our Ranking #1 #2 #3 #4 #5
Product Name
Beco Baby Gemini
Beco Baby Gemini
Read the Review
Baby K'tan
Baby K'tan
Read the Review
Infantino Sash Mei Tai
Infantino Sash Mei Tai
Read the Review
Boba G3
Boba G3
Read the Review
ERGObaby Original
ERGObaby Original
Read the Review
Editors' Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award  Best Value Award     
Price $130 List
$125 from Amazon
$60 List
$40 from Amazon
$35 List
$25 from Amazon
$120 List
$100 from Amazon
$115 List
$115 from Amazon
Overall Score 
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84
100
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77
100
0
75
100
0
72
100
0
69
Editors' Rating
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Pros Modern, stylish, user-friendly, comfortable, ergonomic, practical, versatileSimple, versatile, lightweight, easy to take along, ideal for newbornsSturdy, well made, lightweight, easy instructions, secure hold, excellent hip/spine positioning, great valueSturdy, well made, easy instructions, close/secure hold, excellent hip/spine positioningSturdy, well made, easy instructions, close/secure hold, excellent hip/spine positioning
Cons Tricky safety bucklesOne size does not fit all (5 sizes), not toddler friendlyLacks front carry facing out position, two sets of ties, back carry with toddler could be more supportiveLacking front carry facing out position, tricky to get baby on back solo, bulkyNo front carry facing out, tricky to get baby on back solo, infant insert bulky and annoying
Bottom Line Great carrier offering fantastic options to get you from birth to toddlerhood.Offers the perfect close swaddle for newborns and younger babies.The Infantino Sash Mei Tai is an easy to use, quick-tie carrier that travels well and is comfy for both baby and parent.This is an overall comfortable, easy carrier to wear, we wish it was more versatileComfortable, easy carrier to wear, but lacks too many important functions in our opinion
Date Reviewed Mar 04, 2013Feb 28, 2013Feb 28, 2013Feb 28, 2013Feb 28, 2013
Weighted Scores Beco Baby Gemini Baby K'tan Infantino Sash Mei Tai Boba G3 ERGObaby Original
Baby's Safety - 35%
10
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9
10
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8
10
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7
10
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7
10
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6
Baby's Comfort - 20%
10
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9
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
10
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8
Parent's Comfort - 20%
10
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8
10
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7
10
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7
10
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8
10
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7
Ease of Use - 20%
10
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7
10
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7
10
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8
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6
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7
Ease-of-cleaning - 5%
10
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7
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7
Product Specs Beco Baby Gemini Baby K'tan Infantino Sash Mei Tai Boba G3 ERGObaby Original
Weight limits 7-35 lbs. newborn-35 lbs. 8-36 lbs. 7-45 lbs. newborn-45 lbs. (use infant insert for babies 7-12 lbs.)
Type of Carrier Soft-structured Baby Wrap Hybrid: combines Wrap & Soft-Stuctured styles Soft-structured Soft-structured
# of carry positions 4 6 3 2 3
Available in Organic yes yes no no yes
Infant insert or seat extender required no no no no yes
Toddler- friendly (in our opinion) yes no yes (back carry could use more support) yes yes
Machine Wash yes yes yes yes
Machine Dry no yes no yes (hang dry when seams still damp)

BabyGearLab Editors' Hands-on Review


  • Review Photos
  • Editors' Choice Winners
  • All Reviewed Products
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Beco Baby Gemini
Beco Baby Gemini
$130
100
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84
Editors' Choice Award
Baby K'tan
Baby K'tan
$60
100
0
77
Top Pick Award
Beco Baby Gemini
$130
100
0
84
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Infantino Sash Mei Tai
$35
100
0
75
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  • 5
Baby K'tan
$60
100
0
77
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Boba G3
$120
100
0
72
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Stokke My Carrier
$250
100
0
63
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ERGObaby Original
$115
100
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69
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ERGObaby Performance
$120
100
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61
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BabyBjorn Original
$80
100
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59
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BabyBjorn Miracle
$200
100
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62
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Cybex 2.Go
$120
100
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62
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Maya Wrap Ring Sling
$75
100
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40
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BabyBjorn Air
$120
100
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62
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Moby Wrap Original
$48
100
0
61
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Infantino Swift Classic
$20
100
0
30
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Britax Baby Carrier
$130
100
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54
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Although baby wearing has been around for centuries, today's technology and understanding have presented more choices than ever before. Today's carriers are evolved designs, modern-takes on the historic wraps, papooses, backpacks, and slings used in the past. Companies like BabyBjorn applied modern technology and approaches to baby wearing over
Click to enlarge
Sioux Indian Papoose 1908
Credit: Edward Curtis
40 years ago, and have continually evolved their designs since. In 2002, Ergobaby ushered in further innovations with their classic Ergobaby soft-carrier, and inspired today's many variations on that original design.

We urge those interested in wearing their baby to give our safety guidelines article a read:
In our tests of 15 top competitors, we were amazed at the wide-ranging and quality implementations for baby carrying available today. Best of all, we discovered that wearing your baby is not only extremely easy and beneficial today, but can now be considered fashionable as well! For more on how we performed our tests, and how our ratings were scored, please check out our articles How We Tested and for more background information take a look at our article, How to Choose the Best Baby Carrier.

Why Consider Baby Wearing
The first few days after having a baby can be some of the most blissful you'll ever experience as a parent. Staring for hours at this new little person you've just welcomed into the world, congratulations and helpful hands all around make life easy, dreams and anticipation of what lies ahead, it can all be very euphoric. As the days pass and you slowly begin to transition back into real life, the day-to-day tasks and not-so-beautiful responsibilities of life begin to creep back in. You crave the feeling of keeping your baby close to you but you know life isn't going to allow you to just sit and rock your newborn all day every day until, well, forever if possible! So what's a new parent to do? You can try the tricky and often not-so-safe one-handed juggle: baby in one arm, dishes/typing/cleaning/etc. with the other, or, you'll have to set baby down (if they'll allow it!) and go about your business feeling disconnected. Neither are optimal choices.

Probably since the beginning of time, mothers have been keeping their little ones close to them while they go about their daily chores and activities. Historically this has often been done by using a "wrap" or a long piece of fabric to secure child to parent. Known in more modern day lingo as "Baby Wearing", and using new designs that seek to improve on traditional wraps, this method of parenting is becoming as natural and accepted as using a stroller is in today's society.

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Baby Wearing is safer today than ever before.
Baby Wearing advocates claim that when babies are kept close to a parent in this manner they tend to be calmer and cry less and pediatric experts agree. In fact, it can help in all areas of development including social and emotional. Whether you plan to wear baby throughout the day or just when you need to get some laundry done or run into the grocery store, you can be confident there are mutual benefits.

For the parent, wearing baby close can help increase your bond with your baby, and this is a really good point for dads to remember as well. A baby carrier can also be extremely helpful when you just need to be hands free. Here are a few examples:
  • Soothing a fussy baby, day or night
  • Getting chores/work done around the house
  • Running errands
  • Walking/hiking
  • Navigating crowded places where strollers can be a hassle (airport, farmers market, sporting events, etc.)

How to Choose the Best
We consider a baby carrier, like a stroller, to be a long-term investment that you should be able to rely on as a daily tool for the first 2-3 years (for strollers we extend that time window to 4-5 years).

Our testing experience left us feeling that one factor is more important than any other: versatility of carrying positions.

Why?

Because as your baby grows, the most comfortable postion to wear your baby, if any, will change. A carrier which works great in the first few months, may not perform well as your baby reaches 1 year and older.

The holy grail is a product that can work from newborn to toddler, by allowing you to seamlessly shift baby carry positions and retain comfort in each stage. Until recently, that holy grail was a fantasy.

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Only a few of the carriers we reviewed, such as the Beco Baby Gemini, performed well with all four of the carrying positions shown above
Credit: Beco Baby
BabyBjorn and How Comfort Varies With Baby's Age
The fact is that when baby is a young infant, they weigh a wonderfully light 7 to 15 lbs (birth to 4 months). During those first months a front carry position is ideal, with baby facing inward toward the parent, and combined with ample neck support.
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BabyBjorn Original Front Carry Facing In with newborn. This is a great carry position for the BabyBjorn; we think it is as good or better than any competing carrier for infants 0-4 months.
Credit: BabyBjorn
This is the BabyBjorn's sweet spot and a big part of why this quality carrier has been a best seller for many years. And, for good reason. In our opinion, the BabyBjorn Original remains one of the very best carriers from newborn (8lbs) to 4 months and we wholeheartedly recommend the product in this age range; it is simple, fast & easy to put on and off, and comfortable for both parent and newborn. But, once baby gets older and heavier, the virtues of competing designs, both from BabyBjorn and competitors, become more than evident. For example, in the 6-12 months age range when baby grows to over 20 lbs on average, many parents feel the BabyBjorn starts to become uncomfortable for extended wearing, and may cause neck/shoulder or back pain. When baby is 18 months old, and on average weighs about 26 lbs, a back carry position is most comfortable for the parent; yet the BabyBjorn Original cannot accomodate a back carry position. For the last decade, the Ergobaby original carrier has been the standard for older babies, and a top-seller in its own right due to performance in the 5 mo to 3 years age range.

For most of the last 10 years, many parents have faced a common dilemma in the carrier market: get the BabyBjorn, which excels for the first 4 months, or the Ergobaby, widely considered better for later months and years. Neither choice covered the full spectrum perfectly.

More Choices Today, and Better Choices
Today, carrier makers have innovated with new designs that attempt to cover the full age/weight spectrum with comfort from newborn to toddler by accommodating a broader range of carry positions. A whole slew of new solutions, from the premium priced $250 Stokke My Carrier to the impressive $130 list Beco Baby Gemini, winner of our Editors' Choice Award, have taken their own approaches to answer this versatility challenge. Even BabyBjorn has innovated on their original design with the $190 list BabyBjorn Miracle which adds significant shoulder and lumbar back support to the classic Bjorn, and the BabyBjorn Comfort, designed exclusively for heavier babies age 3 mo to 2 years.

What we see in the market today is a lot of quality choices, and many offer compelling and innovative designs. Yet, those choices leave many parents even more perplexed than ever about which carrier to buy. That's where we come in…

And, the Winners Are…
Without further adieu, allow us to share the results of our 3 month test of the top 15 carriers.

Editors' Choice Award: Beco Baby Gemini
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Beco Gemini
Credit: Beco Baby
Our Editor's choice award goes to the top scoring Beco Baby Gemini. Between sturdy construction and comfy fit for both parent and baby, this carrier really held its weight. The feature that set it above the rest though, was its versatility of carry positions. This carrier does it all, with strong performance in each position, handling babies from newborn to toddler-hood with ease. There are no extra pieces to buy and we think its quick-snap ability to convert to a front carry facing out carrier is genius. It's easy to use, easy to care for and we think its adaptability should make for a very worthwhile long-term investment.

Best Value Award: Infantino Sash Mei Tai
We were thrilled when an affordable option landed as our third highest scoring product. In this case, it was the Infantino Sash Mei Tai.
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Infantino Sash Mei Tai in a front carry facing in position. Baby is held nice and close with excellent hip positioning. There is also a detachable hood (not shown) in case baby decides to fall asleep and needs a little more privacy.
Credit: Lindsay Ellis
This wrap-style carrier is sort of a hybrid between a heftier carrier like the ERGObaby Original, but sturdier and easier to use than the Moby Wrap Original. It was lightweight and compact enough to throw in your diaper bag, but also versatile and supportive enough to keep both parent and baby happy. The instructions were simple and we love that they have discreet labels on the inside of the carrier to remind us which strap goes where. With a price tag of just $35, this is a steal. You'll definitely get your money's worth here.

Top Pick Award for Use With a Newborn
If there's one place a newborn loves to be, it's swaddled tightly and close to mom or dad. The Baby K'tan does this perfectly, and without a lot of hassle. It's made of ultra-soft 100% cotton mix that keeps tiny babies in a comfy, womb-like hold, but can also be used in different positions as baby grows. It comes in its own stuff-sack which makes it convenient to take on the go.
Baby K&#039;tan
Baby K'tan
Credit: Baby K'tan

Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Ellis
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 How to Choose the Best Baby Carrier

by Juliet Spurrier, MD and Lindsay Ellis
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