Best Baby Carrier: Ergo Omni 360°

ERGObaby’s Ergo Omni 360° is our top pick for best front carrier. Compared to its many rivals, the Ergo Omni 360° has best-in-class quality, construction and safety. As the name implies, the Omni 360° is a front carrier that allows you to face baby out as well as in, plus piggy back or on the hip. Here are more details:

What we liked

  • Structured bucket seat. Keeps babies’ legs and hips in the correct position to avoid hip dysplasia.
  • Four positions. As mentioned above, this offers excellent flexibility.
  • Wide waist belt for parent comfort. The belt can be worn high when baby is little and adjusted down to carry the weight of older babies and toddlers.
  • No need for an infant insert. The 360° can be used with infants as small as 7 lbs. without requiring a separate insert that can be lost or misplaced.
  • Adjustable straps. They can be used in the traditional H position or crossed in the back for a more custom fit.
  • Excellent videos to help parents use and adjust the carrier.

What Needs Work

  • Hood is too small and doesn’t store away.
  • Back latch can be uncomfortable. And hard to buckle on your own when in the H strap configuration.
  • Some parents think it’s too bulky.
  • Velcro adjustments can stick to your clothing. Velcro also becomes less sticky over time, so you have to clean the lint to get a tight fit.

Best Budget Carrier: Boba Wrap

Priced affordably, the Boba Wrap carrier is a great option for newborns and younger babies. Here’s more about the Boba:

What We Liked

  • Soft cotton fabric. With the addition of spandex for stretch this carrier is very comfy,
  • Instructions and video are very helpful. Especially check out the “helpful tips” section of the instructions.
  • Fabric holds its shape well even after long term use.

What Needs Work

  • Can take some practice at first. The key to making this carrier work is getting a tight enough fit. If it’s too loose, the fabric will sag and your back will hurt.
  • Some parents note they had to tie it so tight, they had a hard time slipping the baby into it.

Best Gift: Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier

We get it—a baby carrier is more than just a carrier for baby. It’s also a fashion statement. If you’re looking to give a baby carrier as a gift that is sure to win over a baby shower, Tula is the go-to brand. Our pick: the Tula Free-to-Grow. Here’s why:

What We Like

  • Gorgeous organic fabrics. OEKO-Tex certified.
  • Hood for head support and sun protection.
  • Hip belt for parent support with a storage pocket.
  • Padded adjustable shoulder straps with buckles and padded leg openings.
  • No infant insert needed. The body panel adjusts both width and height to allow for snug position from newborn to early toddlerhood.
  • Resale value. That’s right, Tula carriers have a brisk second-hand market. You may be able to sell this carrier for a few bucks when you’re done.

What Needs Work

  • Can’t use it forward facing out. This carrier works with baby facing the parent or piggyback. Baby can’t face out.

Tried & True: Baby Bjorn Original

This is the carrier that put carriers on the map. While Bjorn has since expanded their line with a variety of carriers for different ages and stages, the Original is still a favorite.

What We Like

  • Great for newborns. No infant insert required.
  • Compact and easy to carry with you in your diaper bag.
  • Safety. Colored buckles with obvious clicking sounds help make sure your baby is safely secured in the carrier.
  • If baby falls asleep, you can easily separate the carrier from the harness. Then you can lay them down in a crib or bassinet without waking them.

What Needs Work

  • Can’t use with older babies. It only goes up to 25 lbs. or about 12 months of age.
  • Back/neck strain. Without an ergonomic waist belt, some parents complain this carrier causes back or neck pain when used for prolonged periods with heavier babies.
  • Curvy moms say it is uncomfortable because baby sits so high.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing baby carriers since 1994. In addition to hands on inspections (we tried on a lot of carriers!) of front carrier, we have also visited with manufacturers and retailers—and when we travel, we pay our all of our own expenses. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted online, as well as our own message boards.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!

How we picked a winner

We evaluate carriers with in-depth inspections, checking models for overall quality and ease of use—for example, checking the ease of adjustment between smaller moms and taller dads, as well as detailed evaluation of fabric, fasteners and construction.

We also gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking carriers on quality and durability. Besides interviewing parents, we also regularly talk with retailers of retailers to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.

 

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