A baby carrier is the perfect choice for parents who want to carry their little ones close to them but still want their hands free. Carriers also take the strain out of carrying your baby for extended lengths of time.
If you find your shoulders or arms getting sore from holding your baby throughout the day or when out and about, a baby carrier should be on your list of must-haves.
From distributing your baby’s weight evenly to keeping your baby snuggled while still being productive, this baby wearing item is every parent’s friend. Read on to find out our top five choices for baby carriers in 2020.
Best Baby Carrier Reviews
1. Tula Free-to-Grow
The Tula Free-to-Grow is a great low profile, sleek option that is highly versatile in terms of how it fits adults, the range of babies it can accommodate and carry positions.
The Free-to-Grow allows you to carry:
- Front Facing-In
You can adjust the waist belt from 27" to 57" and the shoulder straps are also highly adjustable, so you can fit this carrier to a wide range of adults.
The carrier is also suitable for a wide range of babies - 7 to 45lbs - making this the only carrier you'll need, right from birth to toddler-hood.
It's also designed to adjust to different sized babies, so you don't need a separate infant insert to accommodate newborns.
NOTE: Tula were just about to release a new carrier called the "Explore" at the time of writing this. The major difference between the Explore and the Free-to-Grow is that the Explore can carry baby front facing-out.
What's to like about the Tula Free-to-Grow
It's lightweight and low profile - great for those that don't like bulkier carriers.
What's not to like about the Tula Free-to-Grow
There's no front facing-out or hip carry option (though the new Tula Explore does have a facing out option - once that's released, then it will likely replace this one on the list).
2. BABYBJORN One
BABYBJORN carriers have been one of the most popular options in the market since 1973 thanks to their great design and sturdy build quality. This offering is a durable carrier that will see many years of use.
Babybjorn carriers are probably the easiest carriers to get your baby in and out of, and the One is no exception. So, if you're looking for something that makes it extremely easy to get baby in/out by yourself, as well as a bunch of other great traits, then the One is a great option.
It's also very versatile. Whilst it doesn't have a hip carry option it does have:
- Front Facing-In
- Front Facing-Out; and
- Back Carry
This carrier can be used for babies between 8 and 33 pounds. This product was developed with the help of pediatricians to ensure that it offers everything your baby needs to have his neck, head, back, and hips supported properly while providing a warm and cozy environment.
You can easily adjust the head support as your baby’s neck muscles develop and strengthen. Your baby’s arms and legs are also free to move and develop when he is in the carrier.
This carrier is made from tested and safe cotton materials that are completely harmless to your baby’s skin. Your little one can also chew on the material safely.
- Updated in fall 2015 to create a more comfortable and ergonomic carrying experience
- JPMA Certified Product designed to safely grow with your baby from newborn to 3 years - no infant insert needed
- Four ergonomic front and back carrying positions, with wide seat area for the child: newborn, baby facing-in, baby facing-out and back carrying
- Acknowledged as a hip-healthy baby carrier by International Hip Dysplasia Institute and provides proper support of baby's legs, hips, & spine
- Now with extra-padded shoulder straps for added carrying comfort and a sturdier waist belt for for added stability and pressure relief
What's to like about the BABYBJORN One
It's super easy to get baby in/out of - and this doesn't compromise other areas of the carrier either.
What's not to like about the BABYBJORN One
There's no sun hood or pocket. Not deal breakers - but nice-to-haves.
3. Ergobaby OMNI 360
The ergonomic design of the Ergobaby OMNI 360 keeps your little one in the froggy position, ensuring that they are in the prime position for healthy hip development as well as being comfortable and secure.
The ergonomic and comfortable 100% cotton carrier allows you to face your baby inwards or outwards depending on what suits you best. You can also wear your baby on your back, front, or hip.
This carrier is made for babies from 7 to 45 pounds, without the need for an infant insert - so it's the only carrier you're ever likely to need.
The waistband can be adjusted from 26 to 52 inches, and the shoulder straps can be changed adjusted from 28 to 48 inches long to suit your body shape and type. The shoulder straps are padded and aid in the even distribution of your baby’s weight. And there's the option to cross the straps for better distribution of weight - or to wear backpack style.
This carrier can be used for easy and discreet breastfeeding without having to take your baby out. It is also machine-washable, ensuring that you can always keep it clean.
- ALL-IN-ONE CARRIER: Adapts to your growing baby from newborn to toddler (~0-48 months/7-45lbs). All carry positions included, face baby in or out, wear on the hip or back. Large storage pouch included. The only carrier you need.
- COMFORT: Exceptional lower back comfort with padded lumbar support waist belt & extra padded shoulder straps with the option to wear 2 ways: crossed or "backpack style". Waist belt can be worn high or low to maximize comfort, especially post C-section.
- ERGONOMIC AS BABY GROWS: Acknowledged as hip healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Adjustable bucket seat supports baby in an ergonomic natural "M" position in all carry positions.
- CUSTOM FIT: Fits multiple wearers from petite to larger body types (waist belt adjusts 26-52", shoulder straps 28-46") & easy to reach buckles to make adjustments.
- THOUGHTFUL DESIGN: Easy breastfeeding & UPF 50+ tuck away baby hood for sun & wind protection; Machine Washable, 100% Cotton
What's to like about the Ergobaby 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier
This carrier can be used by any caregiver thanks to the easily adjustable straps. The padded shoulder straps prevent pain and pressure, no matter how long you carry your baby. The hood provides support for your baby’s head and protection from the elements.
What's not to like about the Ergobaby 360 Ergonomic Baby Carrier
Some find it bulky compared to something like the Tula Free-to-Grow or Beco Gemini.
4. Beco Gemini
The Gemini, like the Tula Free-to-grow above, is a nice sleek, low profile alternative to the likes of the OMNI 360 and Lillebaby Complete.
The Gemini has pretty much everything going for it. It has 4 different carry options:
- Front facing-in
- Front facing-out
- Back carry
- Hip carry
It can accommodate babies from 7lbs to 35lbs, without the need for an infant insert.
It's hip healthy, comfortable, lightweight and stylish.
All of that plus it is, importantly, a carrier that promotes a hip healthy position for baby.
Comes in a cool mesh version for hotter climates and a cotton version.
- HAPPY BABY, HAPPY PARENTS - Beco brings you only the very best in baby carrying quality! This remarkable Soft Structured Baby Carrier is not only versatile with four different carry options, but amazingly comfortable for both you and your little one. That paired with unmatched durability is why we're the premier choice in ergonomic baby carriers!
- FOR YOUNG AND "OLD" - When you buy Beco, you're buying for years to come! Our innovative little carrier is designed to support your child from newborn to toddler (7-35 lbs / 3.5 - 16 kg) without worry. You don't grow out of Beco, because we make sure that we grow with you.
- CLOUD 9 - With superior padding in our adjustable straps (23" - 45") and ergonomic comfort support for both you and your child, you can say goodbye to back pain and other hip and shoulder related carrying issues. Best of all, with the added padding by the leg holes, you can rest assured that your little tyke is sitting pretty in style and comfort no matter how you carry!
- GUARANTEED - With so many options to chose from, we know that picking the right carrier for you can be a harrowing venture. That's why we offer a full LIFETIME GUARANTEE on every carrier we sell! If for any reason our sling doesn't meet your expectations, just sent it back our way for a full no questions asked refund!
What's to like about the Beco Gemini
It's a lightweight, low profile option that still has all the versatility of other carriers in its class.
What's not to like about the Beco Gemini
It doesn't come with a sun hood. And whilst it does come with a pocket, it's in a bit of an inconvenient place.
5. LILLEbaby Complete
If you are looking for a comfortable and highly versatile carrier that provides great, even weight distribution, and all the bells and whistles, then the Lillebaby Complete, might be the ultimate for you.
This carrier can be used in six different carrying configurations on your back, front, and side. This allows you to choose a position that suits you best based on your activity, giving you plenty of flexibility. You can carry your baby in this carrier from newborn until 45 pounds.
The carrier comes with a variety of accessories including an adjustable hood, headrest, two pockets, a zippered pocket, plenty of padding, and adjustable straps. The entire carrier is machine washable for quick and easy cleaning.
The carrier is designed to be as supportive, comfortable, and ergonomic as possible to ensure a safe and cozy experience for both you and your baby. The shoulders and hips have lots of padding, so you do not feel any discomfort or pressure, even when worn for longer periods of time.
The Complete comes in Original, All-Seasons and Airflow options.
- ERGONOMIC: Perfect for newborns. No insert needed.
- COMFORT: Voted most comfortable baby carrier.
- SIX (6) POSITIONS: Front inward (fetal, infant, or toddler settings), front outward, hip or back carry. 7 - 45 lbs.
- ALL-IN-ONE: Lumbar support, headrest, hood, zippered pocket, dual adjustments, generous padding and more. Machine washable.
- ALL SEASONS: Unique air panel allows you to control baby's temperature.
What's to like about the LILLEbaby Complete
The LILLEbaby Airflow carrier is very versatile and very comfortable.
What's not to like about the LILLEbaby Complete
Not the best fit for smaller parents. Something like the Tula or the Beco would be better options there.
No matter how comfortable a bouncy seat or stroller is, babies love being snuggled against you best. But carrying your little one all day isn’t realistic unless you have steel arms and lots of time.
This is where the handy baby carrier comes in. But first you need to consider the different features so you can buy one that suits you and your baby’s needs.
Types of baby carriers
Baby carriers are available in three different styles:
This is a wide piece of material that goes across your stomach and over your shoulder, holding your baby in a position similar to when he is lying in your arms.
This is a long piece of material that you tie around your body, normally around your stomach and over your shoulders to make various carriers.
This is much like a backpack with two straps that go over your shoulders and a padded “pack” which is placed on your back or chest to hold your baby.
Baby carriers come in a variety of weight ranges. The most common range is newborn (around 7 or 8 pounds) to 35 pounds.
There are a few carriers that have a higher weight limit, like the LILLEbaby All Seasons Baby Carrier which is suitable for toddlers up to 45 pounds, whereas some others aren't suitable for newborns and can have higher minimums like 12lbs or 15lbs.
Most carriers allow you to carry your baby in at least two different ways: front inward and on your back. Some carriers will also allow you to carry your baby front facing-out and/or on your hip too.
These positions can be adjusted depending on how old or big your baby is. For example, when your baby is less than 5 or 6 months old, you will carry them high up on your chest and always front facing-in, whereas when they are over a year, you can carry him lower on your stomach and have the option to carry facing out, hip and back.
If you are breastfeeding your baby, it is important that you select a carrier that is compatible with this. Most front inward facing positions in a carrier allow you to discreetly and easily breastfeed your baby. Be sure to check that this is a feature in the carrier that you select.
One Size Fits Most Adults
Some carriers are designed specifically for moms, some are not adjustable, and some can be adjusted to fit almost any adult. Chances are that there won’t be just one adult carrying your little one, so a carrier with adjustable straps and waist band will allow mom, dad, family, and friends to carry your baby easily.
Baby Carrier FAQs
What is a baby carrier?
Basically, a baby carrier is a comfortable pouch that is secured with a harness. It allows you to keep your little one close by carrying him on your back, front, or side while also allowing you to keep your hands free. Baby carriers are normally suitable for newborns until about 3 years old.
Baby carriers are more than a transport system though – they help you soothe your baby with close contact, and with many you can breastfeed without removing your baby. You can also easily get things done at home or work without needing a stroller or bouncy chair.
What baby carrier should I buy?
Each baby carrier has their own strengths and advantages. Choosing the correct carrier for your baby can be difficult.
First, you need to consider what features are important to you. Think about how, where, and how often you will use the carrier. Secondly, look at safety. Check that the carrier is ergonomic and flexible.
Also check that your baby is secure and stable in the carrier when you are not holding them. You and your baby’s comfort also need to be a priority as you will be spending lots of time in contact with the carrier.
Ease of use is also important – especially if you will be using the carrier without the other parent around. Check that the buckles are easy to use and that you can get your baby in and out with ease.
Lastly, make sure that the carrier you choose is easy to clean. Chances are your baby will spit up at least a few times a month while in the carrier, so you want one that can be thrown in the washing machine for quick cleaning.
How to use baby carrier?
Position the carrier so the buckle on the waist belt is in front of your body and buckle it. Adjust the belt strap so it is tight but not uncomfortable. Turn the carrier so it is hanging in front of you. '
Recheck the waist strap for tightness. Pick up your baby and place him high on your chest so his head is on your shoulder. Place a rolled up towel or blanket under your baby’s bum and hold it in place with one hand.
Use your other hand to reach down and lift one of the shoulder straps. Pull it over your shoulder then lift the other strap. Lower your baby into the carrier, placing his legs through the leg holes.
If he is still very little, his legs can be tucked inside the carrier in the frog position. Tighten the shoulder straps until the carrier is secure and snug. Close the buckle behind your neck, adjusting it until it is snug.
Double check all the buckles and straps. Your baby should be tucked cozily into the carrier high up on your chest.
How to wrap a baby carrier?
Unlike a sling or wrap, a baby carrier is not wrapped. It comes with predefined shoulder straps and a waist belt as well as the carry pouch to place your baby in. Follow the steps above to comfortably and safely place your baby in the carrier.
Are baby carriers safe for newborns?
When worn correctly, a baby carrier is perfectly safe for your newborn. The biggest concern is your baby’s airway being obstructed.
Ensure that you place your baby into the carrier correctly and check him regularly to ensure that his nose and mouth are not blocked in any way. Also ensure that the carrier you select has support for your baby’s developing neck and head.
Newborn babies can’t support their own heads, so a carrier with this support is vital.
Baby carriers have revolutionized the way that parents carry and care for their babies. They allow you to keep your little one close and cozy while still being able to get on with your daily tasks.
Every carrier has its own benefits and features that make them great for parents, but our favorite is the LILLEbaby Complete Baby Carrier. This carrier has everything you want from a carrier and is well priced compared to some others.
The six different positions offer great support for parent and baby, and no inserts are needed for newborn babies. Although this carrier is not ideal for petite moms, it is otherwise a perfect carrier.
You may also want to read, Best Baby Wrap Carrier of 2020? Complete Reviews with Comparison for more baby carrier products.