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The best baby carriers can be a godsend for mom and dad. Not only is using a baby carrier convenient — keeping a baby held securely to an adult while freeing the adult’s hands — baby carrying is also believed to have several other benefits. There have been some studies that suggest using a baby carrier can help reduce fussiness and crying, facilitate bonding between parent and baby and improve the baby’s health when baby carriers are used with skin-to-skin contact.
Today’s Top Deals
As with any product for babies and children, safety is paramount. All of the products in our guide to the best baby carriers have been certified as hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute when used correctly. Each baby carrier comes with an instruction book, and we recommend checking out YouTube for tutorials on any carrier you buy.
While some baby carriers have a larger learning curve than others, we know that using any style of baby carrier can be intimidating. With a little practice (and, again, YouTube!), using a baby carrier can be convenient, comfortable, and can help save a parent’s back — literally and figuratively.
As a men’s website, we went looking for the best baby carrier for dad as well as mom, and all of the options on our list can be used by any parent. In our testing, we found that the best baby carriers could be passed between parents easily, although we’ve noted when this is not possible due to sizing constraints.
The Best Baby Carriers at a Glance
Finding the right baby carrier for you and your little one may require more than one carrier. We included a variety on our list, testing structured carriers, hybrid carriers, wraps, and slings. We looked at the quality of materials used, usefulness of features, the lifespan of the carrier, the comfort level of baby and dad, and how much value parents and caregivers get for their already-stretched parenting bucks.
Here’s a sneak peek of our top picks for the best baby carriers of 2022. Keep reading for our full review of each carrier, including pros and cons, photos, and videos.
1. Best Overall: Ergobaby Omni Breeze – $199.99 at Amazon
2. Runner-Up: LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow – $124.99 at Amazon
3. Most User-Friendly: Nuna Cudl – $199.95 at Nordstrom
4. Most Size-Inclusive: Tula Explore – $169.00 at Amazon
5. Best For Newborns: Ergobaby Embrace Soft Air Mesh – $99.99 at Amazon
6. Best Bargain: Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid – $49.74 at Amazon
7. Most Stylish: Cybex Yema Tie – $99.99 at Amazon
8. Best For Baby Wearing Beginners: Baby K’Tan – $59.95 at Amazon
9. Best For Two Kids: Chicco Sidekick Plus 3-in-1 – $99.99 at Amazon
10. Best Sling: LoveHeld – $84.00 at LoveHeld
11. Best Budget Wrap: KeaBabies Wrap Carrier – $26.96 at Amazon
12. Most Lightweight: Solly – $76.00 at Amazon
1. Ergobaby Omni Breeze
Best For: Parents who want ample padding and support for their lower back, multiple pockets, and a structured carrier that can handle warm weather. Parents who want a baby carrier for dads.
Why We Chose It: The Ergobaby Omni Breeze is one of the most comfortable and supportive carriers available with multiple convenient pockets. It also has a large weight range that works for newborns up to toddlers and the was one of the easiest to adjust out of all the structured carriers we tested.
Ergobaby makes several carriers that provide excellent support for both parents and babies, but our favorite is the Omni Breeze. We previously featured this in our guide to the best gifts for new dads, and it’s absolutely the best baby carrier for dads and moms tested by SPY so far. It has the best ventilation of all the Ergobaby carriers and is one of the coolest structured carriers we tested, with multiple ventilation points including a ventilated waistband.
The Ergobaby has a higher price point than others but you get more ventilation, a larger zippered pocket with a removable fanny pack and two small side pockets, and better color options. We also love that it has a much faster setup for changing the width of the base, which is useful if you have a baby that likes to switch between inward-facing and forward-facing out.
Like all structured carriers, the Ergobaby is too big to fit inside a diaper bag and can be cumbersome to pack. But if you’re going to be doing a lot of walking or hiking, the Ergobaby offers ample support for parents and babies.
We also really liked the large, zippered fanny pack on the front of the waistband. It was the most useful pocket on all the carriers we tested. It was easy to access regardless of carrying position and the zipper made us feel like our belongings were secure. There is a second zippered section inside the pocket that fits cash and several cards. We were able to fit a phone, keys, glasses, and a passport inside, making this an excellent option for travel or weekend excursions. The side pockets are small and open at the top and can store pacifiers, tissues, lip balm, an earbud case, or other small items.
The front of the carrier has a zippered pouch that contains a hood for privacy and sun protection, but unfortunately, the hood can’t be removed. This is both a pro and con. It’s a pro because parents don’t have to worry about losing the hood and it’s a con because those who don’t like the hoods can’t remove it and get rid of extra weight.
Adjusting the base on the Omni Breeze was simple thanks to three Velcro patches inside the carrier. A color-coded diagram is included above the Velcro patches to help parents know which base width is appropriate for their baby.
The Ergobaby Omni Breeze was easy to adjust even when wearing baby. We tested it on a 5’5” parent and a 6’4” parent and both were able to comfortably wear the carrier.
Baby seat base is easy to adjust quickly
Multiple pockets, including a removable fanny pack with a zippered closure for security
Hood for privacy and support
Safe for newborns to 48 months or 7–45 pounds
All positions available, including front facing out and back carry
Hood cannot be removed, which some parents may view as a negative
Side pockets are small, can only fit one pacifier or a few tissues
Baby Weight: 7–45 pounds
Carrying Positions: 4
Includes Pocket: Yes
Waist belt: Up to 57”
2. LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow
Best For: Parents in hot climates who want ample support for themselves and their little ones.
Why We Chose It: The LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow is one of the most supportive and comfortable baby carriers around and it has an affordable price point. It can be used from birth to toddlerhood in any position and it’s one of the coolest of all structured carriers, making it ideal for warmer climates.
LÍLLÉbaby has one of the most comprehensive offerings of carriers, from wraps to carriers with a 60-pound weight limit for older children. We chose the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow as our top pick from the carrier company because of its wide weight range (7 to 45 pounds), versatile carrying options (forward-facing outward, hip and back carry included), and breathability. For an affordable, structured carrier that focuses on keeping parents and baby cool and comfortable, it’s tough to beat the LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow.
The LÍLLÉbaby Complete Airflow is $125, significantly less than other structured carriers on our list, but it still packs several extras, including a large, padded lumbar cushion that offers excellent support, and a zippered front pocket.
LÍLLÉbaby is the only company that includes a small pad for the upper back strap. This is nice to have when wearing babies in back carry since it stops the strap from rubbing on the parent’s chest. We found the LÍLLÉbaby comfortable for tall and petite parents. The waistband fits users up to a 52” waist and LÍLLÉbaby sells a waist extender for up to a 61” waist.
We also like that the mesh fabric was gentle on the baby’s exposed skin and didn’t aggravate them even on warm days when legs and arms were rubbing on the carrier. However, there’s no mesh on the padded shoulder straps, unlike the Ergobaby Omni Breeze, which makes the LÍLLÉbaby slightly warmer for parents. The front pocket holds a removable mesh hood to support the baby’s head when sleeping in the back carry position, but the mesh fabric doesn’t offer sun protection.
The biggest con for the LÍLLÉbaby is adjusting the width of the base, which only has two seat widths, unlike other carriers that have three. It’s also cumbersome and more time-consuming to change the widths, which shouldn’t be an issue unless little ones like to change positions throughout the day.
Parents can remove the lumbar cushion when carrying baby on their back, which is a pro and a con since it’s more comfortable but is one more thing to keep track of (LÍLLÉbaby does sell backup lumbar supports just in case). And, as you can see in the picture below, it’s a great baby carrier for dad, too.
Zippered pocket on the front of the carrier is secure and easy to access
Best lumbar support of all carriers
Soft mesh is gentle on baby’s skin and good for airflow
Wide weight range (7–45 pounds) and six carrying positions
LÍLLÉbaby sells extenders for larger parents (standard waistband fits up to 52”)
Excellent baby carrier for dad
Baby Weight: 7–45 pounds
Carrying Positions: 6
Includes Pocket: Yes
Waist belt: Up to 52”
3. Nuna Cudl
Best For: Parents who want a supportive and comfortable structured carrier that comes with high-end finishes and accessories, can easily be used by multiple caregivers with few adjustments and can be fully on the parent before the baby is inserted. Anyone who needs a dad baby carrier specifically.
Why We Chose It: We are very familiar with the Nuna car seats, including the Pipa and Rava, and have been impressed with their quality and ease of use. The Cudl is another high-quality offering from Nuna and the most user-friendly carrier we tested.
The Nuna Cudl is definitely one of our top picks thanks to its user-friendly design, which won the Red Dot Product Design award in 2020. The Cudl makes it easy to put baby in the carrier and has a barrier between baby and parents, which can cut down on sweat. Though it’s one of the best baby carriers for moms and dads alike, we think this is a great dad baby carrier specifically thanks to its unique design and versatility.
The Cudl band fits between 24” and 57” waists and has a large Velcro waistband, which means unlike waistbands with buckles, caregivers won’t have to adjust it between users. Since Velcro can be loud, we suggest wearers stay away from sleeping babies when removing the carrier. The Velcro waistband also feels more comfortable when seated than buckle waistbands, which is good news for travelers who want to go from a seated position to standing and back again without removing baby from the carrier.
Our favorite feature of the Cudl is that users can put the carrier on before inserting baby into the carrier, unlike most structured carriers that require the user to maneuver the carrier while holding the baby. This is a great feature for anyone who isn’t comfortable putting their carrier on without assistance. We also liked that we could keep the carrier on while running errands in our car, taking baby out of the car seat, and putting them directly into the carrier.
The Cudl has a hammock-like infant insert built into the carrier that parents can use or unsnap when baby is older. We also liked that the Cudl had a piece of mesh fabric that sits between the baby and the parent. It could be argued that this decreases the bonding effects that come from using a baby carrier, but it also helps parents and their baby not overheat from sweating against each other.
We liked that the Cudl included two removable GOTS-certified organic cotton bibs. Teething babies can really go to drool town with their carriers, so having a removable bib feels much more hygienic than the baby biting on the carrier. The head support can be folded down or removed, which some may like to remove so it’s not weighing them down, but the downside is the hood is connected to the head support and must be removed with it as well.
We also found the magnetized buttons much easier to use than traditional snap buckles and do not pose a threat to tiny fingers.
One amazing feature of the Cudl is that it doesn’t require users to adjust the seat base when baby goes from inward to outward-facing. We were worried that the base would be too wide for forward-facing out and that our baby would be uncomfortable, but he was content facing outward and we were content to not have to do any work changing the seat base. Unfortunately, it is an extremely bulky carrier compared to other structured carriers on our list and weighs a full pound more than some.
Much easier for parents to put on solo compared to other carriers
Built-in infant seat
Velcro waistband doesn’t require any adjustments between users
Magnetized buttons are easier and safer to use than buckles
Don’t have to adjust the base when switching from inward- to outward-facing
Excellent baby carrier for dads
Bulkiest carrier on our list
Higher price point than other structured carriers with shorter usefulness (35-pound max weight)
Some find the magnetized buttons difficult to open
Baby Weight: 8–35 pounds
Carrying Positions: 4
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Adjustable up to 57”
4. Tula Explore Baby Carrier
MOST SIZE INCLUSIVE
Best For: Parents who want a size-inclusive carrier that offers several carrying positions, is easy to adjust, and can be used from birth to toddlerhood.
Why We Chose It: The Tula is one of the most comfortable carriers available thanks to its padded shoulder straps and waistband. We love the available patterns, as well as its wide weight range for babies, generous sizing for parents, multiple carrying options, and ease of use.
If a carrier is good enough for Daniel Craig, it’s good enough for us. James Bonds’ pick for his favorite carrier is one of our top choices as well thanks to its comfortable fit, adjustable waistband that works for larger parents, and generous weight range for babies.
The Tula Explore works for parents of most sizes thanks to its adjustable shoulder straps and waistband, which goes up to a 57” waist, tying with the Nuna Cudl as the largest waistband on a structured carrier. Easily one of the most comfortable and supportive carriers on our list, the Tula Explore helps to evenly distribute a baby’s weight so that parents can wear their little one for an extended period.
The Tula Explore comes with a removable hood that can be used to help keep the baby shaded from the sun or hold their head in place while napping in the back carry position. We loved that the snaps for adjusting the headrest and seat width were discreetly placed for a cleaner look.
Changing the Tula Explore from a wide to a narrow seat takes seconds and we found it much easier and faster to do than with the LÍLLÉbaby. This is useful if you have a child who likes to switch between facing in and facing out, but it’s not a dealbreaker for the LÍLLÉbaby (we’re talking 30 seconds versus 90 seconds).
The Tula Explore is one of the best options for parents who want to purchase only one carrier. The company makes several models that we like, including the ultra-portable Tula Lite Travel Carrier that folds into a fanny pack and their carriers for bigger kids, including their Toddler Carrier and Preschool Carriers. For a carrier that will last the longest, it’s the Explore, which has a 7-to-45-pound weight range and every carrying position, including forward-facing out and back carrying.
The Tula Explore does have a large pocket on the waistband, but it feels flimsy and has a Velcro closure that does not feel as secure as a snap or zipper. We probably wouldn’t put much more than some tissues or a pacifier in the pocket.
Unlike other carriers, the Tula Explore does not come with additional back support. The company does make a lumbar support cushion that can be purchased, which may be a good idea for parents with lower back pain or who plan on wearing the carrier for extended periods. Even without the lumbar support, the Tula Explore still has ample padding and helps to evenly distribute the baby’s weight, making this a great option for long walks or even hikes. Tula also sells Tula Droola strap covers, another worthwhile accessory for teething babies.
Our main issue with the Tula Explore is the fabric. Although the cotton was breathable, it was not as soft as the other structured carriers on our list. For families in warm climates who often have their baby in shorts and short sleeves, we did find that the Tula Explore rubbed on our little ones’ exposed legs and arms. However, if you live in an area that gets cold and plan on using your carrier during chillier months, the Tula Explore is a great option.
Adjusting seat width is fast and easy
Large weight range of 7–45 pounds
Attractive colors and patterns
Fits a wide range of body shapes and sizes for parents
At 1.7 pounds, the Tula is lighter than the other structured carriers by several ounces
Baby Weight: 7–45 pounds
Carrying Positions: 3
Includes Pocket: Yes
Waist belt: Up to 57”
5. Ergobaby Embrace Mesh
BEST NEWBORN CARRIER
Best For: Parents who want the convenience of an easy-to-use hybrid wrap and carrier that works for baby’s first year.
Why We Chose It: We are big fans of the Ergobaby Omni Breeze and like that the Embrace is now available in a similar Soft Air Mesh finish that is great for warm weather. We also like that it has the snug fit of a wrap and is one of the easiest structured carriers to put on solo.
We were hesitant to include the Ergobaby Embrace in our guide to the best baby carriers since the goal was to focus on carriers that would last parents as long as possible (i.e., have a large age and weight range) and therefore give them the biggest bang for their buck. The Embrace’s classification as a “newborn carrier” scared us a bit at first, but we ultimately decided to include it because even with the “newborn” categorization, the Embrace has three things going for it.
First, its weight range is all the way up to 25 pounds, which will work for most babies up to their first birthday, thus extending the carriers’ usefulness. Secondly, unlike some carriers that are more newborn-focused, such as traditional fabric wraps, the Embrace includes the option of forward-facing-out carry, which may be the only way your child wants to be carried. Thirdly, it provides the snug fit of a wrap without the bulkiness of a full-sized carrier.
We like that the Embrace has a mesh option that is lightweight and cool for hot temperatures (sweaty parents, we feel you). We found the criss-cross straps easier to put on solo than the typical structured carrier’s buckle in the middle of the parent’s shoulder blades. We also like that this carrier offered a hybrid between a wrap and a structured carrier while taking up much less space than a typical structured carrier.
The Embrace stood out from similar designs, like the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier and the ultra-expensive Cybex Yema Tie, because there weren’t long straps to tie or drag on the ground.
Inward facing for all three carriers is comfortable, but we found with both the Embrace and Boppy, baby facing forward out pulled on the shoulder straps and became uncomfortable after a while. This was less noticeable with the Embrace, which has adjustable shoulder straps and works better for larger parents.
The cross straps are easier to put on than traditional carriers that snap between the shoulder blades
More lightweight and portable than structured carriers
Can be used from birth (7 pounds versus 8 pounds)
Works on petite and large parents (waistbelt fits 22” to 54” waist)
Embrace Mesh is great for warm weather
Baby Weight: 7–25 pounds
Carrying Positions: 3
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Adjustable up to 54”
6. Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier
Best For: Parents who want the benefits of a structured carrier, including forward-facing out carry, with the portability and lightweight makeup of a wrap carrier.
Why We Chose It: The Boppy is one of the most popular breastfeeding pillows on the market and we were excited to see if they made one of the best baby carriers, too. The Hybrid pulls in some of the best features of a wrap and structured carrier, creating a lightweight, portable option that is easy to use. While it’s not as sturdy as a traditional carrier, we love its price point, small footprint, and that it provides more carrying options than a sling or wrap.
The Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier is one of our top picks thanks to its versatility, portability, and ease of use. For parents who are still intimidated by wraps and slings, the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier has a user-friendly design with each section of the carrier labeled with left shoulder, right shoulder, and where to put the baby’s bum.
The breathable, stretchy, UPF 50 material of the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier is described as “yoga-inspired” and we would agree. It was soft on our skin and baby’s bare skin, and it was easy to wrap and tie.
Unlike most wraps, the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier allows parents to carry baby forward-facing. The padded waistbelt was adjustable and had a large buckle that helped establish a secure base for the carrier. We also liked that the entire front section of the waistbelt was a zippered pocket. Accessing the pocket while a baby is in the carrier is tricky, but we could fit an iPhone 12, a few cards, some cash, and a key in the pocket.
Unlike structured carriers, which require parents to spend a few seconds adjusting the seat base to go from inward to outward facing, the Boppy is similar to the Nuna Cudl in that it doesn’t require any adjustments, which is useful for babies who like to switch things up.
As for the negatives, there is no option for a back carry with the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier even though it has a wide weight range of 8-35 pounds. At 35 pounds, a front-facing-out carry would likely be uncomfortable for parents.
The Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier has a head support that is great for newborns and it also folds down with the use of a snap, a benefit for older babies who don’t need the support or want to face forward. The head support does provide some privacy for sleeping babies, but the carrier doesn’t include a hood like many larger, structured carriers.
The biggest issue with the Boppy ComfyFit Hybrid Baby Carrier is that it’s not as adjustable as other carriers, specifically with the shoulder straps. Although the fabric is strong and very stretchy, larger parents may find the ComfyFit difficult to fit their arms through the shoulder straps. We also found that it was significantly more comfortable to use the Boppy with a baby facing inwards, with the facing-out position pulling on our shoulders.
The Boppy didn’t feel as secure as a traditional carrier and we wouldn’t recommend it for long walks or hikes, but as a backup carrier to keep in the diaper bag and take on trips, you can’t beat the price or versatility.
Includes a convenient storage pouch that was easier to get the carrier into compared to others
Soft, yoga-inspired fabric is gentle on baby’s skin
Much smaller learning curve than a straightforward wrap
Can be used for forward-facing carry
Large zippered front pocket
Straps are not adjustable making it uncomfortable for larger parents
Like a traditional wrap, must be careful to not let straps drag on floor when removing baby
Back carrying not available
No privacy hood for baby
Baby Weight: 8–35 pounds
Carrying Positions: 3, including front face out
Includes Pocket: Yes, zippered
Waist belt: Adjustable up to 54”
7. Cybex Yema Tie
Best For: Parents who want a comfortable carrier for inward-facing carry and are looking for high-end finishes and a luxurious design element.
Why We Chose It: In addition to being the most beautiful baby product we’ve ever seen, the Cybex Yema Tie is made of high-quality material and is comfortable for babies and parents.
Most of the carriers on our list are available in beautiful colors and prints, but Cybex takes aesthetically pleasing to a whole other level with their Yema Tie, which won the Red Dot Design Award in 2018. It even arrives in a tiny suit bag! New parents love tiny things!
The Yema Tie is available in several incredible designs and while the carrier we reviewed was part of the Fashion Collection and leans much more toward a floral aesthetic, the company does make the same carrier in more subdued options. The Comfort Line is available in Stardust Black, Midnight Blue, and Manhattan Grey and is $90 less. Both the Fashion Collection and Comfort Line under the Yema Tie umbrella fit the same and have all the same features. There are also much more affordable versions of this baby carrier on Amazon, with four styles under $100.
The Yema Tie has a structured waistband with a concealed buckle and fits up to a 60” waist, the largest waistband of any of the carriers on our list. We liked that the excess material of the waist strap could be tucked into the waistband and didn’t drag behind parents.
Babies can be carried in three positions, including front-facing in, back carry, and hip carry. The carrier can be used from birth and comes with an infant insert pillow that helps to ensure even tiny babies are in the correct position when in the carrier.
The two long shoulder straps, which are heavily padded and comfortable, crisscross in the back and are tied under the baby’s legs and bum. The top of the middle piece of fabric, which is soft and stretchy and will expand to fit newborns up to toddlers, can be used as a hood for the baby or rolled and secured to create a headrest for little ones.
The inside of the waistband has an adjustable panel that helps ensure parents have the correct seat width for their baby. It was simple to move the panel in and out and we would compare its ease of use to the Ergobaby Omni Breeze and its Velcro panels.
The Yema Tie is the best baby carrier for parents who want the softness of a wrap and the support of a structured carrier without all the snaps and buckles. The Yema Tie comes in several stunning colors, was comfortable for our petite and tall testers, and can be used from birth to toddlerhood.
As with any carrier, there are some drawbacks. Babies cannot be seated in a forward-facing out position. The Yema Tie doesn’t include any pockets for parents and there’s nowhere to hook a pacifier clip. The Yema Tie doesn’t include a lumbar support cushion and while the material is very soft, it wouldn’t be our first choice for warm weather.
The Fashion Collection packs some sticker shock at nearly $290 and while the Comfort Collection is priced significantly lower at $199.95, it’s the same price as the Ergobaby Omni Breeze and Nuna Cudl, both of which allow for more carrying options, have a higher weight restriction and include storage for parents.
Baby Weight: 7.7–33 pounds
Carrying Positions: 3
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Up to 60”
8. Baby K’Tan Original Baby Wrap Carrier
BEST FOR BABY-WEARING BEGINNERS
Best For: Parents who want a user-friendly wrap and a lightweight option that will work for a baby’s first 18 months.
Why We Chose It: The Baby K’Tan looks like a traditional wrap, but it has less of a learning curve and can be used in the forward-facing out position.
For parents who want the lightweight feel of a wrap and the added benefits of skin-to-skin bonding with their little one, the Baby K’Tan offers that and more.
The snug fit of a traditional wrap is mimicked in the Baby K’Tan, which has a vest-like structure that offers a more user-friendly experience than a traditional wrap. We also like that the Baby K’Tan comes with an additional wrap piece that is tied around the baby and parent’s trunks, providing more security than a traditional wrap and doubling as the carrier’s storage bag.
Like all carriers, the Baby K’Tan has a learning curve. We had to watch the instructional video several times and even then, our first attempt didn’t look like it should. However, the baby still felt safe and secure and the wrap was surprisingly comfortable. Wrapping did get easier each time we used the Baby K’Tan.
As far as wraps go, like the KeaBabies, the Baby K’Tan can be used with babies up to 35 pounds. In comparison, the Solly Baby has a 25-pound weight limit. The Baby K’Tan gets bonus points for having additional carrying positions, including hip carry and forward-facing out (Baby K’Tan refers to this as Adventure Carry).
One of the biggest pros of the Baby K’Tan is also one of its biggest downfalls. The carrier is available in sizes XXS to XL. This is great because it provides a secure fit for parents, creating a more customized and comfortable carrying experience and helping hold the baby securely against parents, making it more comfortable because there’s not as much pull on the straps when baby is forward-facing out.
On the flip side, specific sizing can also be a con because it can prevent sharing a carrier between caregivers who are different sizes. But at $60, the Baby K’Tan is one of the least expensive baby carriers, and buying multiple sizes is still less expensive than purchasing one structured or hybrid carrier.
Easier to put on than a traditional wrap
Wrap support piece doubles as a storage bag
Lightweight and good for travel/carrying in diaper bag
Can be used comfortably in forward-facing mode
Exact sizing for custom fit
Baby Weight: 7–35 pounds
Carrying Positions: 5
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: XXS up to XL (Men’s Jacket 47-52)
9. Chicco Sidekick Plus 3-in-1 Hip Seat Carrier
BEST FOR TWO KIDS
Best For: Parents of multiples or those who want a versatile carrier that can be used in a traditional style or as a Hip Seat.
Why We Chose It: The Chicco Sidekick Plus 3-in-1 Hip Seat Carrier offers the versatility of a structured carrier and a Hip Seat in one, while also giving parents ample storage. It’s also the most affordable structured carrier on our list and can be used from birth to toddlerhood.
The Chicco was the most unique carrier we tested thanks to its innovative design that enables parents to use it in three modes:
Mode 1: A traditionally structured baby carrier and allows baby to be worn facing in from 7.5 to 33 pounds.
Mode 2 is enabled when the Hip Seat is zipped to the top section of the traditional carrier, creating a sturdy seat base for baby, and allowing baby to be worn facing in (7.5 to 33 pounds), as well as facing out and back carry (6 months to 33 pounds).
Mode 3: Parents can use the Hip Seat alone which allows for baby facing in and hip wear (4 months to 33 pounds) and baby facing out (6 months to 33 pounds).
Hip Seats are growing in popularity, especially for older children who are learning to walk. A Hip Seat allows parents to let their child roam free for a few minutes and then be carried with the added benefits of storage and lumbar support for parents. While Hip Seats don’t give parents the hands-free experience of a traditional carrier, it does help with squirmy kids who want to get their wiggles out.
The Chicco provides lumbar support regardless of the mode in which parents are using the carrier, which we really liked along with the detachable and washable hood and soft shoulder straps.
The Chicco wasn’t the coolest of all the carriers we tested, but it did have a zip-off panel on the infant carrier that reveals mesh ventilation to keep baby cool, but this also removes the zippered pocket. We were also disappointed that the headrest couldn’t be folded down and secured for older babies who didn’t need the support or wanted to have their face fully exposed when in facing-out mode.
As for storage, it’s tough to beat the Chicco. When using the Hip Seat, parents can store items inside the seat portion, which is large and roomy. The downside is that when using the carrier in Mode 2 (infant carrier attached to Hip Seat), it’s impossible to access the storage inside the Hip Seat. Thankfully, there is a large, zippered pocket on the side of the Hip Seat for items that parents need to access easily.
The Chicco works for families with two children. The carrier can hold one child inward-facing and the other child (over 4 months old) can be seated on the hip seat. However, one limitation is that in order for infants to be forward-facing out or carried on the parents’ back, parents must use the Hip Seat Carrier configuration.
While we liked Chicco’s innovation, there were a few drawbacks. The Chicco has the smallest waistband, which is designed to fit waists from 23” to 46”. We found the back buckle snug on the largest setting on our dad tester who wears a size 42 jacket. The Chicco is the sole carrier on our list that is hand-wash only and not safe for the washing machine. This is a big bummer for anything that has to do with babies because spit-up, poop, and pee happen.
That being said, if you’re looking for a baby carrier only for the first few months and then plan on switching to a Hip Seat, the Chicco is a great way to go. It’s the same price as many Hip Seats and gives parents the versatility of having two products in one.
Can be used as one carrier or two separate carriers
Plenty of storage in hip seat
Includes lumbar support
Machine washable shoulder straps great for teething
Baby Weight: 7.5–33 pounds
Carrying Positions: 5
Includes Pocket: Yes
Waist belt: Up to 46”
Best For: Parents who want to keep baby close and not deal with the buckles and zippers of a structured carrier.
Why We Chose It: LoveHeld slings are made from lightweight linen and cotton that is breathable for parents and baby, soft on a newborn’s skin and strong enough to hold toddlers up to 35 pounds. We also like that the company offers three sizes of slings.
LoveHeld is one of the few companies that offers multiple sizes for ring sling-style carriers, which is one of the reasons we chose it. Like most wraps, ring slings have a big learning curve and parents will likely need to spend some time watching tutorials or practicing in the mirror. Ring slings allow for parents to hold baby inward-facing and in a hip-carry position. The LoveHeld can hold toddlers up to 35 pounds, which is one of the highest weight restrictions we found for slings (in comparison, the very popular Moby Sling has a weight limit of 33 pounds).
In addition to a higher weight restriction, we also like that LoveHeld offers three sizes for most of their slings. The size-inclusive brand makes carriers in medium (approximately 80/83”), long (approximately 90”) and extra long (approximately 95”).
LoveHeld offers several colors and materials for their slings, including ultra-lightweight Oeko-Tex certified linen, which is great for warm weather, a soft linen/cotton waffle blend, and a woven rustic hemp carrier. The company also makes a select number of specialty carriers, including their luxurious cotton, silk and hemp carrier made by expert artisans. According to LoveHeld, all the carriers are made in the U.S., free from harmful chemicals, and safe for baby and parents.
We didn’t find any drawbacks with LoveHeld that aren’t present in most sling carriers (large learning curve, limited carrying positions, no pockets) and it’s priced mid-range for the category and one of the coolest carriers on our list thanks to the lightweight fabric.
High weight restriction for babies
Lightweight for warm weather
Made without harmful chemicals
Several colors available
Baby Weight: 8 – 35 pounds
Carrying Positions: 2
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Four sizes available up to Extra Long
11. KeaBabies Baby Wrap Carrier
BEST BUDGET WRAP
Best For: Parents who want the convenience of a wrap and need a carrier large enough to fit just about any adult.
Why We Chose It: The KeaBabies was one of the longest and widest wrap carriers we found, which helped with the learning curve that comes from using a wrap for the first time.
If you’re willing to invest the time it takes to master putting on and taking off a wrap-style carrier, the KeaBabies is a great pick. It’s affordable, lightweight for packing in a diaper bag, and it has a long and wide design that makes it comfortable for most body types. That, plus the neutral colors, make this a great dad baby carrier as well as a solid option for moms. The stretchy and breathable cotton blend fabric can be worn even in warm climates and the wrap style promotes bonding and can help soothe a fussy baby.
We found the KeaBabies easier to use than the Solly Baby because of its length and width, which makes it more size-inclusive and easier for taller or larger parents. The fabric is thicker than the Solly Baby, so if you’re looking for the MOST lightweight wrap, opt for the Solly Baby.
Wrap styles tend to take longer to put on than structured carriers, but once they’re on, you can take baby out and leave the wrap on without carrying around added bulk. The KeaBabies comes with a carrying pouch, which when in its carrying case, measures about 9” by 6” and can be used as a small pillow, another plus for travelers.
Long and wide enough to fit most adults
Lightweight, portable and includes a carrying case
Huge variety of colors
Can be difficult to master wrap technique
Doesn’t require booster or newborn insert
May be uncomfortable for older, heavier babies
Baby Weight: 7–35 pounds
Carrying Positions: 1
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Wrap is 202.7” in length and designed to fit petite and plus-sized wearers
12. Solly Wrap
Best For: Parents who are ready to tackle baby wraps and want the lightest material possible.
Why We Chose It: The Solly Wrap is a highly rated baby wrap that has gone viral thanks to its ultra-lightweight material that is super soft on baby and parent’s skin. It’s a good option for smaller parents who want a wrap that encourages bonding and can be used for skin-to-skin carrying.
For parents who don’t need the extra material of the KeaBabies wrap and want the lightest material possible, we recommend paying a few more bucks for the Solly Wrap. They are available in several colors and patterns and their wraps are made using 100% TENCEL™ modal. Solly describes its wraps as buttery soft and we would agree. This was the most lightweight material of all the carriers on our list and if used with a proper wrap technique, baby should feel secure and parents can be hands-free.
The Solly is approximately 198”, making it almost 5” shorter than the KeaBabies. Solly advertises its wrap as one that fits parents of all sizes, but we found the longer KeaBabies much easier to wrap on our larger tester. At 6’4” and typically wearing a Size Large shirt, he was still able to use the Solly Wrap securely, but there wasn’t much fabric left over after tying the wrap. Solly does make a second carrier called The Loop, which is for older babies that weigh between 15 and 45 pounds. The Loop is available in Standard (XS to L) and Extended (XL to 3XL) for parents who need extra material for a comfortable carrier position.
Solly wraps can be machine washed in cold water on the gentle cycle and tumbled dry. The wrap has a built-in pocket that acts as a pouch when not in use. The Solly has a lower weight limit at 25 pounds compared to the KeaBabies, which can be used to 35 pounds. This could account for the shorter length of the wrap, which can only be used up to 12 months.
Lightweight, buttery fabric
Multiple colors and patterns available
Has built-in storage pouch
Soft material can be used for skin-to-skin contact
Can be used as blanket
Baby Weight: 7–25 pounds
Carrying Positions: 1
Includes Pocket: No
Waist belt: Wrap is 198” in length and designed to fit petite and standard sizes
How We Chose the Best Baby Carriers
Baby carriers have several benefits, but if the carrier is uncomfortable for baby, mom or dad, or is overly complicated to put on, it will likely gather dust and be a waste of money. That’s why we tested each carrier on our list with a real baby, a real mom, a real dad, and a realistic parent’s budget.
For our baby carrier roundup, we researched each carrier, tested all the features and claims made by each company, and put each carrier through a multi-step testing process that included wearing the carrier with a baby for an extended period both inside and outside to ensure it would be a comfortable and useful carrier for moms or dads.
We looked at a variety of styles, price points, and body types. All the carriers were tested with a baby that was between 5 and 7 months in age and some of the carriers were also tested with an older baby between 12 and 18 months of age. We wore the carriers around the home, while on outdoor walks with baby in warm weather and indoors in public spaces. We tested each carrier multiple times to practice putting it on and taking it off with baby in the carrier and to ensure the carrier was comfortable when wearing it for 30 to 60 minutes (it’s a good idea to give yourself and baby breaks when using a carrier).
Ease of Use: How easy was the carrier to put on with the help of another adult? While parenting solo? Could the carrier be easily stored when not in use? Was it machine-wash friendly?
Lifespan of Carrier: Some of the carriers on our list were for newborns only, which typically means it has a max weight limit of 25 pounds. Other carriers could be used into toddlerhood and had a max weight restriction of 35 to 45 pounds. We also noted when carriers came with an infant insert, which is a pillow or other way to adjust the seat of the carrier to ensure that even tiny babies are in correctly.
Overall Comfort: Was the carrier comfortable for dad? Did it help evenly distribute the baby’s weight and take pressure off the shoulders and lower back? Was baby comfortable in the carrier? Did the carrier’s material irritate baby’s skin?
When applicable, we also tested the best baby carriers with the baby forward facing out. While wearing baby facing out can be overstimulating for little ones and uncomfortable on their hips, we know from personal experience that some babies are only happy when facing out in carriers. Since the baby’s weight is leaning away can make the carrier more uncomfortable, we made sure to note which carriers were better suited for facing out.
Warm-Weather Friendly: We tried to focus on carriers designed specifically for warm weather. While not everyone lives in areas that are hot year-round, babywearing can get warm very quickly (babies are tiny furnaces). It’s always easier to add layers to a baby’s outfit than remove clothes, so we tried to test carrier styles that used breathable materials, making the baby-wearing experience more comfortable for baby and dad.
Features: We looked for important features such as a hood to shield baby’s head from the sun or support their head. We also looked for storage pockets for items like phones or keys, as well as whether there was a lumbar support pad that came with it or if it was an accessory that required an additional cost.
Price: Knowing that most parents have to stick to a budget when choosing the best baby carriers, we made sure all of our options featured a fair price and long lifespan. Did the value of the carrier justify its price? Did higher-priced carriers have a longer lifespan of use? Were they more comfortable than lower-priced competitors?
What To Consider Before Buying a Baby Carrier
Who Is Going To Wear the Carrier: You’ll want to consider if you’re going to be the sole person wearing the carrier or sharing with a partner or caregiver. Some carriers are easier to adjust between users, making them ideal if multiple people are going to wear them. Also, some carriers are sold in specific sizes, which gives a better fit for an individual but may be an issue if multiple people using it are of different sizes.
Where and When You Plan on Using the Carrier: If you plan on mostly using the carrier outdoors in the heat, opt for a style that is breathable and includes a hood to keep the sun off baby’s head. If you only want to use a carrier sporadically, a lower-priced, hybrid carrier may be a better fit. For people who want a carrier that keeps baby secure during hikes or while traveling, a structured carrier with ample support for baby and parents is a good choice.
Baby’s Age: Keep in mind that some carriers are better suited for newborns, while others have a high weight restriction that makes them useful for older babies and toddlers. Depending on your child’s age and how often you plan on using a carrier, you may want to purchase multiple carriers that work for different weights and activities.
Why You Should Trust SPY When Shopping for the Best Baby Carrier
SPY.com editors are professional product testers and parents. All the parenting products we feature are tested by reviewers and editors who are also parents, so they know what is important to moms and dads because they are moms and dads. At SPY.com, we test products for babies and toddlers from the every day to the unique. That includes parenting products like baby monitors, diaper pails, sound machines, baby swings and more.
We will continue to update this piece as we learn more information about each baby carrier and if there are any carriers that we think should be added to our “best of” list.
About the Author: Allison Bowsher
Allison Bowsher is an entertainment writer and a long-time contributor to SPY.com. In her years writing for SPY, she has reviewed everything from baby monitors to folding kayaks, and she is one of our most experienced e-commerce writers. As a mom, Allison often reviews parenting products, including parenting gadgets and baby monitors. Before joining SPY as a contributor, Allison spent four years as the editor and head writer for Much.com (aka the Canadian MTV).
Allison’s work continues to focus mainly on entertainment, as well as parenting, fashion, travel, fitness, and household goods. Her writing has been featured on E! Online, MTV, Etalk, Metacritic, Bustle, and CTV. Born and raised outside of Toronto and now living in the United States, Allison earned her Masters in Communication and Culture from York University. Allison spends most days running around after her two children.
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