In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

The Best Baby Carriers

Our little testers seemed happy and content in the ComfortFit during t...
Credit: Abriah Wofford
Tuesday September 21, 2021
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Looking for the best baby carrier for wearing your baby? We researched more than 32 products and purchased over 13 of the top contenders for side-by-side testing over several months. With so many kinds of carriers, it can get confusing quickly. Luckily, we have the details you need to find the right carrier for your little one. We test carriers for baby's comfort, parent's comfort, ease of use, and ease of cleaning using multiple parents and babies of varying sizes. Continue reading for all of the details necessary to choose the right carrier for your family and budget.

Top 13 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 13
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Awards Best Value Award Best Value Award  Top Pick Award  
Price $50 List
$49.95 at Amazon
$40 List
$39.95 at Amazon
$45 List
$44.99 at Amazon
$159 List
$115.98 at Amazon
$180 List
$166.99 at Amazon
Overall Score
72
63
63
76
50
Star Rating
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Pros Budget-friendly, easy wrap, machine wash and dryMachine wash and dry, comfy for baby and parents, economicalEasy to clean, comfy for baby and parent, economicalComfortable to wear, machine wash and dry, cozyEasy to clean, sturdy fabric, multiple positions
Cons Size specific, no adjustabilityNeed to hold baby while you put it on, lots of fabric, hard to wrapHard to use, lots of extra fabric in the wayPrice, harder to adjust on-the-goPoor instructions, expensive, not as comfortable
Bottom Line Inexpensive, easy to use, wrap style without the wrap hassleBudget-friendly wrap that is comfortable but harder to useComfy option that is easy to clean but much harder to useComfortable carrier for parents and baby, but it's harder to use and expensiveExpensive and uncomfortable for parents and passengers
Rating Categories Baby K'tan Original Boba Wrap Moby Wrap Classic Tula Free-to-Grow Ergobaby Omni 360
Child Comfort (25%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
7.0
5.0
Parent Comfort (35%)
7.0
7.0
7.0
9.0
4.0
Ease Of Use (30%)
7.0
4.0
4.0
6.0
5.0
Ease Of Cleaning (10%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Specs Baby K'tan Original Boba Wrap Moby Wrap Classic Tula Free-to-Grow Ergobaby Omni 360
Min/Max Weight 8 - 35 lbs 7 - 35 lbs 8 - 35 lbs 7 - 45 lbs 7 - 33 lbs
Carry Positions Kangaroo Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Hug Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Adventure Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Explore Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Hip Position (8 - 35 lbs)
Facing In (Newborn - 35 lbs) Kangaroo Position (< 8 lbs)
Facing In (Newborn - 35 lbs)
Hip Carry (5 mo - 35 lbs)
Facing In (7 - 45 lbs)
Back Carry (Head/Neck/Torso Control - 45 lbs)
Facing In (7 - 33 lbs/min 20")
Facing Out (14 - 33 lbs/min 5 mo)
Hip Carry (17.2 - 33 lbs/min 6 mo)
Back Carry (17.2 - 33 lbs/min 6 mo)
Weight sm 0.89
lg 1.04 lbs
1.41 lbs 1.3 lbs 1.25 lbs 1.83 lbs
Packable Size Small Small Small Medium Medium
Fabric 100% Cotton 95% Cotton
5% Spandex
100% Cotton 100% Cotton 100% Cotton
Hood No No No Yes Yes
Storage Options Pouch on the belt. Storage Pouch None Velcro pouch on waist belt Storage pouch below headrest,
Zippered pouch on the waist belt
Other Features & Notable Azo Dye-free None None Adjustable Seat Width, Oeko-Tex Standard 100, Class 1 None
Included Accessories None None Stuff Sac None None
Care Instructions Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low. Machine wash cold, tumble dry low.


Best Overall Baby Carrier


Nalakai Ring Sling


86
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 8
  • Parent Comfort 9
  • Ease of Use 9
  • Ease Of Cleaning 7
Carry Positions: 2 | Material: Bamboo & Linen
Comfortable to wear
Comfy for baby
Easy to use and adjust
Line Dry
Fewer carry positions

The Nalakai Ring Sling is a straightforward, comfortable sling that is easy to use and super cozy for passengers. It is a soft bamboo and linen blend that stretches somewhat for comfort and has quick-drying properties for fast cleaning. We appreciate that you can make adjustments with your baby in the sling to improve fit or comfort for passengers and parents. You can even pull the fabric up for head support or tighten the sling to bring your little one closer to you. This ability can make a huge difference when offering comfort to your baby by increasing close physical contact. We love almost everything about this budget-friendly simple sling.

The Nalakai requires line dry after washing, which is a potential flaw as it takes longer to return to use than those options that can be tossed in the dryer. So, there is the possibility that you'll be without a sling when you need one. However, this fabric dries quickly. Our tests' drying times were lower than the padded or structured carriers (drying times vary depending on your local climate and humidity level). Overall, the Nalakai has a reasonable price, is easy to use, and is comfortable for most users, making it tough to beat and one of our favorites.

Read review: Nalakai Ring Sling

Best Comfort Sling


Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling


85
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 8
  • Parent Comfort 9
  • Ease of Use 9
  • Ease Of Cleaning 6
Carry Positions: 3 | Material: Cotton & Polyester
More positions
Less expensive
Comfortable
Synthetic materials
Unwieldy fabric

The Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling is a ring sling with somewhat rougher fabric than the competition, but it has a super helpful zippered pocket on the tail. This sling is easy to use with a single shoulder adjustment. It offers impressive comfort for passengers and wearers with a close-hold design. We like that this sling works for children from 8-35 lbs. The shoulder strap of this sling is lightly padded. It includes more material for a broad placement across the shoulder and back when wearing it to increase comfort. The thoughtful design translates to longer, more comfortable adventures, making the Maya one of the most comfortable products in this lineup.

If your child has delicate skin, the Maya may not be at the top of your list, given that the material is somewhat scratchy. However, the Maya zipper pocket is functional and easily within reach, giving the wearer a feature we didn't see on any other sling in our tests. Overall, the thicker fabric can be comfortable for the wearer and ideal for winter use, and we feel the wearable comfort makes up for the lack of softness.

Read review: Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling

Best Traditional Carrier


BabyBjorn One


79
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 7
  • Parent Comfort 10
  • Ease of Use 7
  • Ease Of Cleaning 5
Carry Positions: 3 | Material: Cotton, Polyester & PU Foam
Adjustable seat width
Easy to put a baby in
Comfy for parents
Synthetic materials
Harder to keep clean

The BabyBjorn Carrier One is a soft structured option with three positions for little ones between 8-33 lbs. This product is a quality contender with multiple adjustment points providing parents and babies with a custom fit for comfort and security. This BabyBjorn has safety buckles that work well and has forward pull adjustment straps for quick on-the-go alterations, and the seat width is adjustable depending on the baby's age or size. The One is easy to put on, and you can attach it before you pick up your baby, making it significantly more straightforward (and potentially safer) than the wrap carriers we tested that often necessitate a secondary helper.

This carrier is one of the most expensive in the review, which might put it lower on the list for parents with smaller budgets. However, for a structured carrier, the price is average compared to the competition. The One is also drip dry only, resulting in a significant downtime depending on your climate (humidity is not your friend). Outside of the unfortunate washing instructions (babies are messy and cleaning could be frequent), we think most parents will find the One can be the potential "one" for them.

Read review: BabyBjorn One

Easy to Use Wrap


Baby K'tan Original


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 7
  • Parent Comfort 7
  • Ease of Use 7
  • Ease Of Cleaning 9
Carry Positions: 5 | Material: 100% Cotton
Easy to setup wrap
No extra fabric tail
Several positions
Layers can get warm
Not as comfy as some

The Baby K'tan Original is a wrap "-ish" carrier without the convoluted wrap features that make them harder to master without assistance. This "special" wrap is two loops of fabric linked together, making it easier to put on without holding your baby and easy to put the baby in once the carrier is in place. We love this unique design, the soft, somewhat stretchy fabric, and the use of 100% cotton for little ones from 8-35 lbs. The K'tan's price is reasonable and ideal for tighter budgets, and the easy-to-use design makes the minimal price bump over ordinary wraps worth it.

The K'tan's design isn't as versatile as a regular wrap, and it can be more challenging to fit this wrap for parents who are vastly different in size or shape. There is also no fit or comfort assistance as there are no adjustments to use. However, if you are average size and you and your mate have similar shapes or don't plan to share, then the K'tan is an easy-to-use "wrap" we think you'll love.

Read review: Baby K'tan Original

Great Wrap on a Budget


Boba Wrap


63
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 7
  • Parent Comfort 7
  • Ease of Use 4
  • Ease Of Cleaning 9
Carry Positions: 1 | Material: 95% Cotton & 5% Spandex
Stretchy comfort
Super easy to clean
Inexpensive
Only 1 position
Lots of extra fabric
Wrapping learning curve

The Boba Wrap is a wrap carrier that looks is essentially a broad length of material that wraps around your body in various ways depending on the desired position for carrying or the age/size of your baby. The Boba wrap is super duper soft and has stretchy fabric that pulls your baby securely into your body with the ability to move while retaining snuggly comfort. We love that this option is budget-friendly, versatile, and works for little ones from 7-35 lbs. The Boba is machine-washable and dryable, reducing cleaning time (potentially during a nap or overnight), so you can use it more often without waiting for air drying (a standard method in the competition). It is also helpful for parents of different sizes and growing little ones because you can make adjustments on the go for a custom fit for comfort or size, and the fabric is long enough to work with almost any size adult.

Wraps can be somewhat challenging to use because there is a learning curve that often requires holding your baby as you maneuver the fabric ends around your body. Some even need to carry a cheat sheet card on wrapping for several weeks before committing the process to memory. The Boba could be trouble as your little one gets bigger and becomes more interested in the world around them. While it has positions where little ones can look out at the world, it can be limiting because the fabric stretches, and some babies won't want to be pressed so tightly against their parents. However, if budget is a concern, or you want a comfy, easy-to-care-for wrap that may not last until 35 lbs, then the Boba Wrap is a good choice that will fit in most budgets.

Read review: Boba Wrap

Lifetime Carrier for Infants to Toddlers


Tula Free-to-Grow


76
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Child Comfort 7
  • Parent Comfort 9
  • Ease of Use 6
  • Ease Of Cleaning 9
Carry Positions: 2 | Material: 100% Cotton
Longer lifetime use
Comfy for parents
More customized fit
Limited positions
Harder to use

The Tula Free-to-Grow is a soft structured carrier with a variety of possible adjustments, so it can grow with your baby and should work for the lifetime of your babywearing years, potentially translating to a "one and done" choice that can save you money and hassle over time. This carrier is super comfortable for parents to wear even on prolonged adventures, and the strap style means you can make minor adjustments on the fly for both comfort and fit. The structured design of this Tula gives babies a little more space to wiggle and breathe than wrap or sling options.

This carrier might not be the best choice for those on a budget or families looking for various positions for a baby to ride. This Tula is one of the most expensive in the review and only features two potential riding options. However, this carrier is a high-quality choice that works well, feels good, and can function for several years without issues. Depending on your wearing goals, it could be the right fit for you and your goals.

Read review: Tula Free-to-Grow

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
86
$65
Editors' Choice Award
Comfy sling to wear and sit in with an easy to use design
85
$95
Editors' Choice Award
Comfy for baby and parents but the fabric could be softer
79
$190
Editors' Choice Award
Comfortable and easy to attach with a cozy place for baby
76
$159
Top Pick Award
Comfy to wear and cozy for baby but it's spendy and harder to adjust
72
$50
Best Value Award
Budget-friendly wrap style that is easy to use and comfy enough
67
$179
A complicated carrier that is less comfy for baby than the wearer
63
$40
Best Value Award
Economical and comfortable but you need to hold baby when you put it on
63
$45
Hard to use wrap that is comfortable but can get hot
59
$40
Somewhat average and uninspired with average comfort and features
56
$140
Harder to use and not as cozy for little ones
50
$180
Harder to use and uncomfortable with a higher price
46
$140
Harder to use and wear option that isn't as cozy as the competition
45
$32
Cheaper choice with poor features for comfort and useability

Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us


BabyGearLab has been testing baby carriers for over 6 years with various styles and types in our wake. Founder and board-certified pediatrician, Dr. Juliet Spurrier uses her background as a mother of two and a pediatric doctor to help her during product selection and test development to choose products safe for developing hips and convenient for parents.

Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz began her carrier love after having her first child 10 years ago. With a closet containing over 10 carriers, she's tried every style and brand with her children and almost every carrier at BabyGearLab. The team also includes Senior Analyst Bob Wofford, father of 7, for the male perspective on child wearing. Bob has been professionally testing baby gear since 2014 and has a vast knowledge of baby carriers and their recent rise in popularity. Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford, a BabyGearLab contributor since 2015, rounds out the team.

Related: How We Tested Baby Carriers


Analysis and Test Results


Babywearing has been around for centuries (probably as long as there have been babies), and today's technology and design advances present safer wearing choices than ever. Carriers continue to evolve in their designs to meet the needs of modern parents and busy families looking for safe, hands-free alternatives for carrying little ones for comfort, convenience, and bonding. We test each carrier for parent and child comfort, ease of use, and ease of cleaning, so you can find an exciting and helpful carrier that best fits your needs and lifestyle.

Related: Buying Advice for Baby Carriers

Helpful Tip
Avoid the frustration and hassle of a stroller by using a baby carrier! Not only are they quick and easy, but they take up significantly less space, and most babies find the experience soothing with increased feelings of closeness, which decreases crying and public meltdowns.


Value


One of the nice things about carriers is the variety of price ranges available, which means most families can find a suitable option within their budget that meets their needs. Alternatively, should the carrier of your dreams be outside your budget, you should consider putting it on your registry or skipping a stroller until your baby is older to postpone the purchase until you aren't spending as much on gear. The Boba Wrap is a straightforward option with a reasonable price and various wrapping methods that work with little ones up to 35 lbs. The Baby K'tan Original is in the same price range and is easier to use, with almost 10 more points for its overall score. The Nalakai Ring Sling is also relatively inexpensive compared to the competition, and it offers a lot for the price. Want a structured carrier? High-quality soft structured carriers (SSC) can last for years through multiple children, which can justify a more significant initial investment. Some parents skip buying a stroller and choose something like the Tula Free-to-Grow with a higher list price but small compared to a quality stroller. While structured options typically come with higher price tags, you can usually use them for longer, and if it translates into forgoing a stroller, it can save you even more money.

We tested a variety of styles and options in our newest review of...
We tested a variety of styles and options in our newest review of baby carriers including the most popular brands and types.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Did You Know?
Wearing your baby not only adds ease and convenience to your daily routine, but the practice also contributes positively to the baby's social, emotional, and physical development.

The Nalakai offers soft, stretchy support for little ones with a...
The Nalakai offers soft, stretchy support for little ones with a simple design that both supports and conforms to their body and movement with little restraint.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Baby's Comfort


Wearing your baby isn't going to work for very long if your little one isn't comfortable. We considered which positions the baby favored, and if they fell asleep, were they able to stay asleep comfortably?


The material also significantly impacted comfort, so we considered which materials were hot or caused chafing or didn't offer enough support or the right kind of support. We looked for proper head and neck support, a nice deep and wide seat, soft fabric, stretchy materials, and an overall sense of security.

Safety Tips
We urge those interested in babywearing to read our safety guidelines article entitled Best Practice Tips for Baby Wearing.

The Infantino Flip and several of the other soft structured carriers...
The Infantino Flip and several of the other soft structured carriers aren't as comfortable for little ones because they don't have give for freedom of movement and the space for baby can be too small with few ways of adjusting some of them for size.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Some carriers are more comfortable for babies than others, and some are better for newborns but grow uncomfortable as little ones get bigger. In our tests, little testers were happiest in options with the most adjustability for size and carriers with softer and somewhat stretchy fabric that allow natural body postures without sacrificing support. These preferences mean the slings have an advantage over the structured carriers, with the Nalakai Ring Sling and the Maya Wrap ComfortFit Ring Sling both earning an 8 of 10 for baby's comfort (the high in the group). The most uncomfortable products have rougher fabrics, less adjustability, or designs that limit movement or growth. Several carriers earned a low score of 5, and all were soft-structured products, including the Infantino Flip Advanced.

The BabyBjorn One is so comfortable to wear that no trip is too long.
The BabyBjorn One is so comfortable to wear that no trip is too long.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Parent's Comfort


As with a baby, if the person wearing the carrier is uncomfortable, using it regularly isn't going to happen. The chief complaints are shoulder and back strain, so we test how long we could wear the products before experiencing discomfort.


Things that make a difference for us are padding (especially in the shoulders), strap width, lumbar support, and waist strap adjustability. Being able to wear your baby in various positions is also crucial to comfort, including quickly and easily switching from front to back, etc., when desired.

The ComfortFit sling is so cozy our tiny testers often fell asleep...
The Infantino Flip waistbelt has no padding or support on the...

While most parents can wear any of the carriers in this review for a short time without significant discomfort, we feel they should be as comfy as possible so you can get the most from your babywearing and bonding time. The BabyBjorn One is the most comfortable carrier for parents, with nicely padded shoulder straps and a supportive waistband that helps distribute your baby's weight evenly for a comfortable fit. This carrier earned a perfect 10 of 10, something unrivaled by any competitor in our tests. The Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling (above left), Nalakai Ring Sling, and the Tula Free-to-Grow all earned 9s, making them almost as comfortable as the One. So whether you prefer a structured pack style carrier or a shoulder sling, there is a carrier that works for you. The most uncomfortable option is the Infantino Flip Advanced (above right) with a 3 of 10 and less padding in the shoulders with a supportless waistband. While you can wear this product for short durations, it won't work for long adventures or frequent use.

With only one adjustment point, the Nalakai Ring Sling is easy to use.
With only one adjustment point, the Nalakai Ring Sling is easy to use.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Use


Carrier ease of use on a day-to-day basis can make or break whether you choose to use it more than a couple of times. We started our ease of use testing by taking the products out of the packaging to ensure a complete experience.


We prefer user manuals with clear illustrations and directions. We consider how straightforward a carrier is to grab and go or to use without assistance. Does it fit inside a diaper bag? How quickly can you get it on? We also compare how easy the carriers are to adjust for fit and if your baby needs a new position.

The ComfortFit is intuitive and simple in design with the advantage...
The ComfortFit is intuitive and simple in design with the advantage of a storage pocket which makes it easier to use than some of the more convoluted competition.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Simple carriers are easier to use, both out of the box and on the go. The slings have only one ring adjustment point and one end to pull or loosen, making them the easiest to put on, use, and fit. The Nalakai Ring Sling and the Maya Wrap ComfortFit Sling (above) earned 9 in this metric. The wraps are complicated with a giant swath of fabric that requires significant wrapping skills while holding your baby as you put it on. The learning curve is high, including remembering how to perform the wraps and holding the baby while you do it. Both the Moby Wrap Classic and the Boba Wrap earned 4s and function the same way with the same challenges. The soft structured carriers vary for ease of use, with scores between 4 and 7 depending on the number of straps and adjustment points and how hard they were to operate with a baby inside.

The Free-to-Grow is easy to clean on the go and in your washer and...
The Free-to-Grow is easy to clean on the go and in your washer and dryer.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Ease of Cleaning


Cleaning is a crucial factor as you can predict significant wear and tear with a well-loved carrier. Carriers are often grabbed, stuffed, dragged, chewed, drooled on, covered in spit-up, or victims of accidental blow-outs.


To put it simply, your carrier will require regular cleaning, making it essential to know ahead of time how easy or difficult this process will be. The options that score highest for ease of cleaning are machine washable and can go in the dryer. The second best includes those that are okay in the washer but are hang dry only. Unfortunately, when dealing with babies, sometimes only a good machine wash will do.

The K&#039;tan is machine washable and can be tossed in the dryer for a...
The Beco needs to hang to dry and is harder to spot clean.

Air-drying your carrier translates to an increase in downtime between uses. Living in a humid climate could result in more than a day for a padded soft structured carrier to completely dry. This extended drying time means you'll be waiting to use your carrier longer than those that can be machine dried. Several carriers in our tests earned 9 of 10 for ease of cleaning. The Baby K'tan Original (above left), Boba Wrap, Moby Wrap Classic, and Tula Free-to-Grow are all machine-washable and dryable. These contenders are also easy to spot clean when accidents happen. Several products, including the Nalakai Ring Sling, are machine washable but need to hang dry. Slings dry quicker than structured carriers like the Tula Explore with thicker padding that increases drying time. The hardest to keep clean are those with the longest possible downtime for hang drying earned 4s and include the Beco Gemini (above right) and the Infantino Flip Advanced.

With so many carrier options on the market, it can be difficult to...
With so many carrier options on the market, it can be difficult to figure out which options are the best. Use our detailed review to help you narrow the options to find the best choice for you.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


Choosing the right baby carrier for your baby can be a confusing challenge with so many styles, types, and fabrics from which to choose. Our research and extensive testing include an analysis of performance features and functionality for each carrier in this review. We use a hands-on, side-by-side comparison to help narrow the field of potential options so you can find the best one for your baby, budget, and goals. We suspect that there isn't one carrier that will work for all families, nor is there a perfect style for every baby. However, we believe there is something for most parents and caregivers in this review of popular carriers, and you will find a great option in our high-ranking products and award winners.

Wendy Schmitz & Juliet Spurrier, MD