813Qqogsi6L._SL1500_Web: BabyBjorn.com

Price: $112 to $190

Weight: 8 to 26 lbs. forward facing; up to 33 lbs. inward facing and as a back carrier (over one year of age).

Comments: The Baby Bjorn One is pitched as the Ginsu Knife of baby carriers—it works for infants. And toddlers. As a front carrier—facing in or out. And as a back carrier.

So does it live up to all the hype? Yes, it actually does.

The clever design feature of the Bjorn One is its ability to morph from a carrier that works for the smallest infants, to a carrier for toddlers. Like the Bjorn Comfort, the One has a waist belt for lumbar support and to distribute the baby’s weight on your hips. The carrier has a newborn height position that utilizes a simple zipper to position the baby high up in the carrier and facing inward. No need for a separate infant insert.

Then at about four months—and here’s the One’s secret sauce—you can unzip the seat and your baby drops down lower in the carrier. This makes the carrier more comfortable for parents as baby gets bigger. An audible click on the buckles let’s you know when the carrier is attached properly.

Once your baby hits five months, you can position your baby to look outward and then at 12 months you can convert the One to a back carrier. To use as a backpack carrier, you’ll need to adjust it into the wide leg position. Just open the zipper on each side to change from normal to wide leg. You’ll want to load your child into the carrier in the front position, then slide the carrier around to your back.

Check out the Baby Bjorn video for the One to see how it works at different stages:

Even though the  price tag seems steep, we’ve seen it online for as little as $112. And let’s look at what it would cost to buy a carrier that morphs into all these uses: a basic front carrier (that works for infants) runs about $75 to $125. To get a carrier that also works for toddlers and as a back carrier, you’d have to shell out another $100 or more. So that makes the One seem reasonable, especially if you are an attachment parenting fan and want to carry your baby beyond the newborn stage.

Since it was first released, Bjorn has made some improvements including substantially thicker shoulder straps and new loops and locking zippers for more security.

Baby Bjorn One Outdoors

The One Outdoors is made with waterproof outer fabric and breathable mesh next to baby.

Also new, Bjorn has just released its One Outdoors model. All the features of the One, but with water repellent and moisture wicking fabric. They’ve also included a waist belt pocket and loops so you can carry a water bottle or baby toy. It’s selling for $207 and $260.

So what are parents telling us about the One? Most are enthusiastic about it. They love the flexibility and find the waist belt quite comfortable. While some complain it took a while to figure out how to get the carrier on in all positions, others noted that it is easy to adjust and transfer between different size parents. Baby Bjorn has hit a home run with the One.

Rating: A