We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Our elite list of baby carriers spans a range of carrier styles, including two slings, two soft carriers, and a framed backpack. Each carrier is a top seller and a crowd pleaser, but it's important to consider the specs of each option before making a purchase.
You'll find all kinds of options out there, and it can be tough to sort the wheat from the chaff. That's where we come in!
At BestReviews, we want to help you pick the perfect baby carrier for your little one.
We're dedicated to writing the most honest and unbiased reviews out there. We never accept free products from manufacturers. Instead, we buy products off of store shelves, test them in our labs, consult experts, and examine feedback from product owners.
Our ultimate goal: to become your go-to source for trustworthy product recommendations whenever you’re faced with a buying decision.
At the top of this page, you'll find descriptions of our five favorite baby carriers on the market. These highly rated products all qualify for our top-contender list. This review presents both the pros and cons of each product.
The right baby carrier for your body type might not be the right carrier for another person's body type. In this section of our ratings, we explore what owners have to say about their comfort level with each product. We also take a look at how well each product "fits" both adult and baby.
One of the perks of wearing a baby carrier is the freedom to use your arms for other tasks without ignoring your child. However, you want to make sure the carrier will support your child as it should.
Kelle is a certified teacher, a leader of multiple children’s organizations, and a mother of two small children. Her professional network of colleagues and extensive knowledge of baby/child-related products makes her a valuable resource here at BestReviews. When she’s not caring for children or studying products, you may find Kelle engaging in watersports and other exercise.
Some baby carriers are more complex than others. "Suiting up" often entails a learning curve as wearers learn how to get the carrier properly hooked onto their body with the baby inside. We tell you what sort of learning curve to expect with each product.
Baby carrier prices run the gamut from less than less than $10 to over $900, but we focus on quality carriers that would suit the average buyer's budget. In this section of our ratings, we help you evaluate whether the cost of each product matches its benefits.
If you live in a warm area, look for a baby carrier made from breathable material. Otherwise you and your baby may become overheated.
The Boba Baby Wrap keeps little ones snug against the wearer. It's marketed for children from birth to 35 pounds, and indeed, some of the owners we surveyed carry their toddler around in it! However, the consensus seems to be that this carrier is best suited for smaller infants. You will want to tuck a tiny baby's arms inside the wrap, but larger infants can swing their arms freely outside the wrap. As a wrap, the child can only face one way – directly into the wearer's chest (unless he turns his head, of course.) This is another reason why the Boba is better suited for younger infants; older babies have the neck strength to survey their surroundings, and they're more likely to want to look around. All of the owners we surveyed said that the Boba is extremely comfortable for baby – almost like having skin-on-skin contact – and many infants fall asleep nestled inside. The manufacturer boasts that this wrap provides "no sag" support, but some owners tell us that the baby does indeed sag a bit, putting pressure on their back. The close proximity can make both wearer and child pretty hot and sweaty after awhile; this could be attributed to the fact that the Boba Baby Wrap is made partially of spandex. Customers of all sizes – from petite to plus – told us this wrap fits them well.
The Moby Wrap is similar to the Boba Baby in many ways. It's a wide piece of fabric that stretches across both shoulders to distribute baby's weight as evenly as possible. Like the Boba, it's suited for children from birth to 35 pounds. Unlike the Boba, this sling is made of 100 percent cotton (the Boba has a bit of spandex in it.) We didn't encounter the large volume of complaints about "overheating" with the Moby that we did with the Boba; this could be due to the fact that it contains no spandex. Babies can ride facing the wearer or facing forward, which is a plus for older children. Like the Boba, customers of all sizes – from petite to plus – can fit into this wrap comfortably.
Consult with your doctor about whichever baby carrier you choose so they can confirm it’s the best choice for you and your baby.
The BABYBJORN will hold children between 8-25 pounds, which is 10 pounds less than both the Boba and Moby wraps in this review. However, riders enjoy two-way front carrying and built-in back support, benefits that aren't an explicit part of a baby "wrap." Adults over a certain size and weight may have difficult fitting into the BABYBJORN. A six-foot man of 200 pounds told us that the carrier barely fit him. The product does have adjustable straps, however; larger owners can and should adjust these as needed. Although the BABYBJORN is a very popular baby carrier brand, it's not necessarily the most comfortable for the wearer. The shoulder straps are not padded, and according to one mother, they "dig in" to your shoulders as you wear it. Other owners complain that both their back and neck hurt after wearing the BABYBJORN for only a short period of time, especially after the infant grows to over 10 pounds. For babies, it's not always the most comfortable choice, either. One owner told us that her pediatrician condemns the BABYBJORN for the way it locks a baby's hips in one position.
The Chicco Smart Support Backpack is different from the other baby carriers on our shortlist in several ways. Suitable for infants between 17 - 40 pounds, it sports a lightweight, aluminum frame and is worn as a backpack. The frame itself weighs only 6.5 pounds, but as you can imagine, the weight of baby and frame put together adds up quickly! In terms of comfort and fit, this height-adjustable seat suits many infants quite well, but a few owners complained that their baby's feet and legs rubbed uncomfortably against the belt and plastic buckle. Potential buyers should bear in mind that this carrier, as a backpack, does not provide "skin-to-skin" contact or body-heat sharing. The manufacturer has made this backpack as user-friendly as possible by including lightweight, adjustable belts and shoulder/lumbar padding. Some owners -- particularly those who are fond of hiking -- told us that the Chicco suits their needs quite well. However, our research unveiled more than a few people who complained that their back and shoulder muscles could not sustain this carrier for more than about 10 minutes. Even some athletic parents told us that the Chicco Smart Support Backpack was not their top choice because it didn't fit their lean frames very well. Overall, the reviews on this product are mixed. If you're intrigued by the idea of a carrier backpack with a sturdy aluminum frame but not quite sure you could handle the load, it might be wise to try this backpack on before making a purchase.
The snug-fitting ERGObaby Four Position 360 Carrier, designed for children 7-33 pounds, offers something that the other products on our shortlist do not: the ability to situate a child in four different positions. The positions are front forward facing, front rear facing, on the hip, and on the back. It is, by far, the most comfortable non-sling carrier on our shortlist, and it can be used from birth with an infant insert (sold separately). Parents tell us that they can wear the ERGObaby for long periods of time without suffering extensive back and shoulder pain. This is a major selling point for us, as many carriers on the market cause near-instant muscle aches and fatigue. One mother actually said that she "loves the way it feels" when she carries her baby in the ERGObaby Four Position 360. Breastfeeding is also easier with this carrier than any other on our shortlist; as an added bonus, mothers can use the sleeping hood as a shield during feeding for added privacy. If you choose to purchase this carrier because of the four positions it offers, bear in mind that it does revert to a three-position carrier once the baby reaches 22 pounds. (After 22 pounds, the front-facing option is no longer a manufacturer-recommended position due to added weight and potential discomfort for the wearer.)
Some families purchase two carries, one for each parent. That way each one can choose the most comfortable carrier for their body.
The Moby Wrap will carry children between 8-35 pounds. It wraps over the shoulders for a secure fit, and most wearers find it to be fairly comfortable. Any cloth carrier is bound to have some owners who just aren't satisfied with its sturdiness, and the Moby is no exception. A few parents told us that their children (older babies up to two years old) stretched the fabric and bobbled back and forth more than they would have liked. Like those who complained about the stretchiness of the Boba Baby Wrap, we have no way of knowing if these detractors were wearing the carrier properly. When the Moby and the Boba are compared side by side, however, we do know that the Boba's fabric is a bit thicker (perhaps because of the spandex) than the 100 percent cotton Moby. While the Moby's lack of spandex is better in terms of body heat retention, it may be slightly inferior to the Boba in terms of sturdiness.
The Boba Wrap includes 5.5 yards of material which must be wrapped around the wearer enough times to make it sturdy. According to the manufacturer, if you wrap the fabric tightly and properly, you will enjoy the security of a supportive baby carrier. One owner told us that the difference between a mediocre wrap job and a sufficient wrap job is about 45 seconds. In other words, it's worth your time to spend an extra minute wrapping this carrier as tightly to your body as you comfortably can. The fabric is a stretchy knit cotton with a spandex component. Some wearers have reported that their precious cargo bounces around more than they think it should. One mother worried that her baby's head hangs too low, "like a hammock." We have no way of knowing for sure whether these consumers wrapped the Boba correctly, of course.
If you're feeling uncomfortably warm, chances are the baby is, too. Pay special attention to hydration when wearing a baby carrier.
Parents who are concerned about their child's physical support love the ERGObaby for its bucket seat. The seated position does not pull or yank on baby's body in any way; one mother who is a NICU nurse and a proponent of proper ergonomics told us that this is one of the carrier's main attractions for her. Baby's back is also supported quite well by this carrier – almost like a chair. If your child is a newborn, the infant insert, sold separately, is strongly recommended for the most secure fit. A Velcro strap holds the child in a seated position. Although a Velcro strap sounds like the perfect way to ensure sturdiness and support, many parents complain that it's too loud and can wake a sleeping child. The Velcro has also been known to irritate infants' skin at times. If this happens, one owner recommends dressing the baby in thin pants to protect the thighs.
If you're looking for the ultimate in sturdiness and support for baby, the Chicco Smart Support Backpack is an excellent choice. Some parents dislike the idea of "hanging" their baby around their neck in a sling or on their back in a soft carrier. Indeed, the Chicco Smart Support Backpack gives you great assurance that your little one's body is supported in an upright position. Those who wear it don't have to worry about their baby falling out or flopping around unsafely. One parent said, "If I could give it a million stars, I would!" Note: this product's weight recommendation begins at 17 pounds. Using a newborn with undeveloped neck muscles in this carrier goes against the manufacturer's recommendations. If you need a carrier before your baby reaches 17 pounds, you'll have to use a different one. This could be a deal-breaker for some families, especially those on a budget who want a one-size-fits-all option.
Babies up to 25 pounds can safely ride in the BABYBJORN, according to the manufacturer. Our research revealed that parents of babies even larger than this maximum have successfully carried their child in the BJORN. The BJORN gets high ratings for its design, with buckles that audibly click when they're secure and the option to carry baby facing in or facing out. While the BJORN is sturdy for baby, the wearer bears the brunt of the weight on his/her shoulders. One customer advised that the "average woman" will develop neck pain when carrying the BJORN for more than a short period of time, but the "average man" will fare a little better because he has more strength in his back. We don't have any empirical evidence to support or deny this claim, but it does appear that the stronger you are, the easier it will be to carry your BJORN load without the extra support of your arms.
Some baby carriers come with a sleeping hood that gives the the baby more privacy, as well as a more comfortable setting for breast feeding.
Most owners tell us that the Boba Baby Wrap is quite easy to put on and use. Instructions are provided by the manufacturer, and videos are available online as well. Suiting up with the Boba takes a couple of minutes. It's not something you'd want to repeatedly take on and off throughout the day (for example, you'd tire of the process rather quickly if you were shopping and trying on clothes.) However, it's free of the snaps, buckles, and straps that some other baby carriers have, and many people prefer this simpler approach to traveling with their child. The manufacturer says that breastfeeding with the Boba is easy, but nursing mothers who have purchased this wrap think otherwise. In the end, it may be easier to take the wrap completely off if your baby needs to nurse.
The Moby wrap, like the Boba, contains no buckles or other bothersome pieces of hardware; it's all fabric. Owners tell us that it takes a few usages to learn how to best put it on. Basically, you need to wrap the Moby as tightly as you comfortably can around your body. When you first start using the Moby, it's advisable that you have a second person with you to help out. It's a bother to take on and off; many owners prefer to put it on at home before they set out for the day. Breastfeeding isn't easy with the Moby; nursing mothers often find it easiest to take the carrier completely off when their child is hungry. Because the wrap is so long, it can drag on the floor as you wrap it -- another reason to suit up at home as opposed to out in public. Its size makes it too bulky for most diaper bags, so if you buy a Moby, you'll need to figure out how to transport it when you're not wearing it. One fun aspect of the Moby is that it's available in 10 great-looking colors, from blues to greens to purples.
All carriers take time to get used to; baby wraps require a fitting each time they are put on in order to evenly distribute the weight on the wearer’s back.
Putting on the ERGObaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier, like most carriers, takes a bit of getting used to. An instruction manual comes with the product, but most customers find the online tutorials, available on YouTube, are more helpful. Beginners often have a bit of trouble figuring out the straps, shoulder buckle, and latch that hangs in the middle of the back (in rear-carry position). With practice, however, owners tell us that they find it easy to manipulate this carrier without assistance from another adult. The two complaints we encountered most often in our research concerned the lack of an accessory pocket and the Velcro strap across baby's waist. The strap is sturdy, no doubt, but it's noisy, too, and it can wake a sleeping baby. For some, this noisy strap is a deal-breaker. If you choose to buy this otherwise-stellar product, we recommend undoing the Velcro slowly to minimize noise. Breastfeeding is quite easy with the ERGObaby, and all of its other benefits – comfort, fit, support, and the four-way carry option – outweigh the Velcro issue for a lot of satisfied customers.
One of the Chicco Smart Support Backpack's best features is the fact that it stands freely on the floor. Parents can load a child into the Chicco with two free hands, unlike some slings and soft carriers that must be attached to the wearer and the baby simultaneously. Putting the backpack on after the baby is loaded is easier for some people than others. One mother told us she had no problem putting the backpack on without help from another adult, but her husband needed her assistance because he's "not as flexible" as she is. This carrier is definitely heavier and more bulky than some other products on our shortlist, and as such, it's not easy for everyone to use. One owner said that she found it difficult to bear the weight of her 19-pound son on her back at first, but after a few weeks of practice, she had built up her stamina and could carry her son for longer periods of time. Another parent told us that she easily wears the carrier on her back while doing housework. Clearly, the "ease of use" of this product is determined on a case-by-case basis! One sticking point for some customers is the fact that the baby restraint snap buckle is difficult to reach from behind. On a positive note: when not in use, this backpack folds flat for easy storage and transportation.
A single person can put the BABYBJORN on herself, but the process is a bit cumbersome. (You have to put it on over your head, then take care that the straps and buckle are all secure before loading baby.) The BABYBJORN has a great reputation for quality and stability, but when it comes to putting it on properly, there will be a learning curve for those who buy it. In exchange for the ordeal of putting it on, the BABYBJORN offers a lot of support for babies. This product is not the most comfortable carrier for adults, as we established earlier in our ratings, but its sturdy design accommodates and supports growing babies very well. Straps are adjustable as the infant gets larger. Parents have the option of facing baby in or out, depending on the child's readiness and maturity level. Even though the BABYBJORN is a bit finicky to use and makes some adults physically uncomfortable, it continues to maintain a loyal customer following.
If you’re an active parent, a backpack carrier is a better choice than a wrap carrier.
The Moby Wrap, at a cost of $40, is similar to the Boba Baby Wrap in many ways. If you like colors, you'll love the fact that this product is available in 10 different shades. The wrap is extremely long and drapes on the floor in its full length, which makes putting it on and taking it off a somewhat arduous task. (Many owners prefer to put it on in the privacy of their home for this reason.) It's also quite a bulky wrap, which makes traveling with it a nuisance (it doesn't fit in many diaper bags). A few owners have complained about stability with the Moby wrap, saying that their baby "bobbles" a bit more than they would like. On the plus side, baby can ride facing outward or inward in this sling. The material is 100 percent cotton, so both wearer and baby are less likely to get overheated.
At $39, the Boba Baby Wrap is one of the least expensive baby carriers on our list. It's also one of the best. This product is a sling, which makes it more suitable for smaller babies. Owners don't complain as often about back and shoulder strain with the Boba as they do with many other carriers, including the BABYBJORN and Chicco Backpack. The Boba is made of thick, durable cotton that is reinforced with a bit of spandex. Baby and wearer may get hot and sweaty as body heat gets trapped beneath the spandex, but thankfully, this is a machine-washable item. If you're looking for a way to keep your baby close while using both hands for other tasks, the Boba Baby Wrap is a great solution.
When considering baby carriers, look for ones that are ergonomically supportive for both the baby and the parent's backs.
The BABYBJORN sells for $51, and if you're interested in buying a soft carrier with an outstanding reputation, this could be the product for you. However, we caution potential buyers that the BABYBJORN is not loved by everyone. Many owners complain of a stiff neck when wearing this carrier. It's also rather complicated to put on. When you use the BABYBJORN correctly, however, you can rest assured that your baby is supported very well. This carrier is definitely designed with baby's safety and support in mind.
The Chicco Smart Support Backpack, at a cost of $129, is the only carrier of its kind on our shortlist. A lightweight aluminum frame supports the child, who rides facing the front on the wearer's back. Like the BABYBJORN, it's engineered with baby's support and security in mind. It is not an ideal choice for all parents and guardians, however, because it is so very heavy and cumbersome. Getting the baby into the Chicco is no problem (because the Chicco stands upright on the floor), but getting the Chicco onto your back with the baby inside is a little more tricky. Trickier still, for some people, is the task of carrying the baby around inside the Chicco for any length of time. If you're in good athletic shape, this may be an easier task for you. However, some athletic parents told us they had a hard time balancing the Chicco backpack against their lean frame. As we mentioned earlier in these ratings, the best way to ensure that the Chicco backpack would work for you is to try it on before buying it.
The ERGObaby Four Position 360 Baby Carrier, at a cost of $159, is the most expensive carrier on our list. As a soft carrier, it's not as "floppy" as a wrap, but it's not as rigid and cumbersome as a backpack, either. Owners love the ERGObaby because it's one of the most comfortable carriers to wear. (The name "ERGObaby" derives from the manufacturer's aim to create ergonomically sound products.) Babies can ride in four different positions, which is another plus. The bucket seat is very sturdy, with an adjustable back and a sleeping shield that doubles as a privacy screen during breastfeeding. All in all, this is a terrific carrier with a lot of happy customers.
The ERGObaby lives up to its name as an ergonomically sound piece of equipment.
If you want a quality baby carrier for a small amount of money, you can't go wrong with the Boba Baby Wrap. At a cost of just $39, it's our Best Bang for Your Buck choice for several reasons.
When you use a sling like the Boba, you share an intimacy with your child that imparts a lifetime of benefits. Yes, the Boba Baby tends to get a little warm when parent and child are in such close proximity to one another. This is a common problem with all carriers. Fortunately, the carrier is machine washable, so you don't have to worry if it gets a bit sweaty from time to time. Parents who choose to use a carrier for its skin-to-skin benefits understand this trade-off and generally don't see it as a major inconvenience. Just like the Moby Wrap, this product is available in a large variety of colors. Our research turned up many positive comments and very few complaints about wearer discomfort as long as you put it on properly, which may take a few tries. If you feel strain in your back or neck while wearing the carrier, you may need to readjust it until it feels comfortable.
The Boba Baby provides an inexpensive, simple solution for transporting your baby in hands-free mode. Busy parents and care-takers appreciate the ability to swaddle and snuggle their child while still moving freely about. The best value baby carrier you'll find on today's market is the Boba Baby Wrap. We heartily recommend it.
At BestReviews, we purchase every product we review with our own funds. We never accept anything from product manufacturers. Our goal is to be 100% objective in our analysis, and we do not want to run the risk of being swayed by products provided at no cost.