Ergobaby Omni 360°: Best model for most folks

Ergobaby’s Ergo Omni 360° is our top Ergobaby carrier pick for most folks. The structured bucket seat of the Omni 360° makes forward facing more comfortable for baby and avoids those dangling legs. You can wear baby in four different positions, from 7 lbs. to 33 lbs. Our readers praise this carrier for its overall quality and ease of use.

Before we discuss the Omni 360° in more detail, a few words about Ergobaby:

ERGObaby debuted their first front carrier in 2002. Designer Karin Frost wasn’t satisfied with carrier options when she had her first child, so she created a soft-structured carrier with multiple positions. First sewn in Hawaii, the Original Ergobaby design worked in three positions: front carry facing inward, back carry and hip carry.

Ergobaby’s design with the wide waist belt helps support baby without killing mom or dad’s back, especially as your child grows and gets heavier. The design has proven so popular that it subsequently has been copied by other soft structured carriers—what do they say about imitation?

Adjustments are either buttons or buckled straps that allow for an easily customized fit for parent and child.

While the Original is still available (see below for best budget option), Ergobaby refined their soft structured concept over the years, culminating with the Omni 360°, which adds that fourth position of forward facing out.

The Omni 360° is made with a structured bucket seat that keeps babies legs and hips in a correct position (again, no dangling legs). It comes with a wide waist belt (with plastic buckle), which can be worn high when baby is little and adjusted down to carry the weight of older babies and toddlers.

A plus: the Omni 360° can be used with infants as small as 7 lbs. without a special infant insert. The older version (called just the 360°), requires the purchase of a separate infant insert for babies from 7 to 12 lbs.

Additional features include a detachable pouch for small items like keys or a phone, a privacy hood (standard on all versions), and for parent comfort and flexibility, the straps on the Omni 360° can be used in the traditional H position or crossed in the back for a more custom fit.

Here are the four positions of the Omni 360°:

What we love about the Ergobaby Omni 360

• Feedback on the Omni 360° from parents has been mostly positive.

• Ease of use is excellent say readers.

Drawbacks but not deal killers about the Ergobaby Omni 360

• Critics of this carrier say the hood is too small and doesn’t store away. We see that point.

• A few complain that the back latch is uncomfortable and hard to buckle (when used in the H-strap configuration).

Bottom line

Despite these minor concerns, the Ergobaby Omni 360° is an excellent carrier for most families.

Ergobaby Original best budget option

Here’s where it all started. The Original has been around for over 15 years! The ergonomic waist belt was a brand new concept when Ergobaby debuted the Original, and its still going strong.

While it only has three positions (front facing in, hip and back), the price is about half the cost of the Omni 360°. It still comes with the quality fabric, ergonomic waist belt and padded straps.

The only real disadvantages to the Original are the starting weight and the lack of a “front facing in” position. The Original cannot accommodate small infants like the Omni 360°, Adapt or 360° with insert; the weight starts at 12 lbs. (about 2 to 2.5 months of age for an average baby).

An infant insert is available for an extra charge. But you may not need it if you plan to use your baby’s infant car seat to haul her around the first couple months.

The other issue: you can’t face your baby out when carried in the front position. Older babies like to get a look at their world once they get a bit older, so your child may get a bit frustrated at being in the front facing in position. Once she reaches about four months of age, she’s going to want to check out her world.

The Ergobaby Original is a great deal compared to the other versions. It’s still popular after all these years and the price makes a good fit for those who want the quality here but are on a limited budget.

Best Ergobaby Carrier for Summer: Ergobaby Carrier, 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier with Cool Air Mesh

Ergobaby has expanded its line of carriers not just with new models, but also with new fabrics! Any experienced baby wearer knows it can get a bit toasty for both mom and baby especially in the summer. Ergobaby’s solution: cool mesh fabric. A good example is this model: Ergobaby Carrier, 360 All Carry Positions Baby Carrier with Cool Air Mesh fabric.

FYI: This isn’t the only model that has cool mesh: you can purchase the Omni 360°, the plain 360° (no integrated infant insert) and the Adapt (see below) in Cool Mesh versions for the same price as the regular versions.

The mesh panels are strategically placed in the front panel, at the sides, back of the harness and on the waist belt. The mesh is lighter weight and soft to the touch. Parents note that the mesh really does make a difference in how hot they feel.

So this would be a good bet parents who have a summer baby or live in a warm climate.

Best Carrier for Extended Use: Ergobaby Adapt

Some kids never want to give up the carrier. So why stop at 33 lbs?

For those families that want to carry their toddlers a bit longer, Ergobaby has introduced the Adapt carrier with a weight range from 7 lbs. to 45 lbs. Compared to other versions, this gives you an extension to almost 5 years of age!

How can a carrier work to that age? Ergobaby has beefed up the lumbar supports as well as the straps and padding. Plus it has a built in infant insert so you can wear your infant as well. The biggest disadvantage to the Adapt: baby cannot be worn front facing out, only front facing in, which may explain why it’s the least popular of the Ergobaby carriers.

Priced somewhat less than the Omni 360°, the Adapt is a great option for families who want to extend their baby wearing years.

Why we like Ergobaby carriers

Ergobaby is our top pick for best baby carrier. Here are some key pros:

  • The line offers excellent quality and ease of use.
  • We’re especially happy with the safety features of these carriers.
  • Head and neck support is found on all styles as well as button closures and adjustments.
  • Three of the four versions use high quality buckles for the waist band and straps with elastic strap holders to keep the excess out of your way. The plain 360° version uses extra strong velcro to close the waist band.
  • Baby’s legs are supported in all positions so they don’t dangle or create hip dysplasia issues. The infant facing in position keeps baby in the froggy position as recommended by pediatricians.
  • Fabric is 100% cotton or cotton/mesh and these carriers can easily be machine washed and last for years.

Drawbacks but not deal killers

  • Original: Only allows three positions (no front carry facing out option); requires a separate infant insert at an additional cost for babies between 7 and 33 lbs; no Cool Mesh version.
  • 360°: Requires a separate infant insert at an additional cost for babies between 7 and 33 lbs.; velcro waist belt instead of buckle.
  • Omni 360°: Price—this is the most expensive version.
  • Adapt: Only allows three positions (no front carry facing out option); pretty expensive compared to the Original which also only has three positions.

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 look to our reader feedback to give us a real world perspective on baby carriers. 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 about 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 analysis of the 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 to see which brands are most trustworthy and other key quality metrics.

The reliability of carrier manufacturers is another key factor—we meet with key company executives at least once a year. Since we’ve been doing this since 1994, we have developed detailed profiles of major carrier brands that help guide our recommendations.