The 8 Best Baby Carriers for 2019

February 28th, 2018

A plethora of studies have shown the bond built by close physical proximity between parents and baby works wonders. It promotes bonding, and helps the baby—and even parents, caretakers, and siblings—learn to build healthy relationships and experience a full range of emotions throughout their lives. There’s a reason so many animal species around the world have this in common—it’s an important instinct that works.

It would be handy if babies could grip on to our backs and tummies like spider monkeys or hop in a pouch like kangaroos, but unfortunately, human babies can’t. And our arms can only do so much holding until they’re tired. Strollers are great for getting baby around town and having a bit of storage, but for the times you really want to hold baby close and have full use of your arms—cue in the baby carrier.

Choosing The Best Baby Carriers

Like all baby products, there’s an overwhelming amount of options when searching for the best baby carrier and a bunch of things to think about before buying, including how long you want to carry baby, what kind of support is important (shoulder, lumbar, etc.), fabric, structure, and more.

Wrap carriers are really just a long piece of fabric, that are wrapped in such a way to keep babies—and especially newborns—close to your body in a tight swaddle. There is a bigger learning curve to using them, and figuring out how to properly wrap the fabric is tricky. Keep in mind that baby will be wrapped tightly and close to your body, so look for a soft, breathable fabric.

Mei Tai baby carriers combine wrap carriers with a soft, structured seat and back and neck support for baby. There are generally no buckles or non-fabric parts, and are made with soft fabric that can be pulled and tightened to adjust to any body type. Like wrap carriers, however, there is often little to no extra padding.

Sling carriers are best for swaddling and holding newborns close. The sling goes over one shoulder, is threaded through rings, and can be pulled to adjust. Sling baby carriers are also rarely padded.

Frame carriers are designed for families that have the outdoors and adventure in mind. They have lightweight, metal frames with lots of compartments for storage, sun shades, and lots of back support for parent. They’re only used like a backpack, and have padding and harness straps to hold baby safely on outings

Soft structured baby carriers are made from soft, flexible materials that still hold their shape and often provide great ergonomic support for both parent and baby. They’re designed for even distribution of weight along the shoulders, back, and hips and also work great with older, heavier children.

We took the stress out of searching, and compiled a list of the best baby carriers out there so you don’t have to. We studied customer reviews and questions and outlined the pros and cons of each product to give you the best shopping guide to start your baby carrier search.

Best Baby Carriers: Score Sheet

Baby Carrier Amazon Score Blueprint Score Overall Score
Baby K’tan® Active Baby Carrier 4.0 4.3 4.1
boba® Wrap Baby Carrier 4.0 4.1 4.0
Infantino Wrap & Tie Mei Tai Carrier 4.0 4.5 4.2
lillebaby® Ring Sling 4.0 4.0 4.0
lillebaby® Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier 4.5 4.5 4.5
Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Ergonomic Baby Carrier 4.5 4.6 4.5
BABYBJORN® Baby Carrier Original 4.5 4.6 4.5
Clevr Baby Cross Country Carrier with Stand 4.5 4.4 4.5

Baby K’tan® Active Baby Carrier

I loved how easy it was to use, compared to the wraps that are not structured for you. It was very breathable for the hot summer days as well.” -Ryan, Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • Unique wrap carrier that doesn’t require complicated wrapping and tying of long fabric, just slips on like a shirt
  • Has the feel of a wrap carrier, but comes sized (XS-XL) and pre-wrapped for less confusion
  • Can carry preemies, newborns, and children up to 35 pounds
  • Made of breathable, self-wicking jersey mesh knit fabric
  • Five different wrap positions
  • Has a patented double-loop feature to adjust baby’s weight and position with ease
  • Machine washable
  • Includes matching carry bag that converts to strap for added support if needed

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Must use K’Tan’s size calculator to determine the best fit. If you’re unsure or in between sizes, it’s best to size up
  • Not particularly ergonomic or padded, and reviewers noted achiness after prolonged use
  • Only intended for front-facing use

boba® Wrap Baby Carrier

She falls asleep in it no problem while I do activities around the house. I was even able to get in a little exercise while wearing it.” -Damon, Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • A more traditional wrap carrier, the Boba is a one-size fits all 5.5 yard long fabric wrap
  • Made of 95% cotton and 5% spandex and is soft, stretchy, and chemical-free
  • Supports babies from infancy up to 35 pounds
  • Many different wrapping styles, including styles best for infants and parent’s personal comfort
  • Great for comfortable and concealed nursing
  • Includes carry bag made from the same fabric
  • Machine washable

CONSIDERATIONS

  • No added padding and may get uncomfortable with heavier babies
  • Intended for inward facing carrying only
  • The learning curve for properly and comfortably wrapping can be high for some, but will get easier with practice
  • 95% cotton fabric may be too warm for some babies and parents

Infantino Sash Wrap and Tie Mei Tai Baby Carrier

“I like how you can use the long end to put around the back of the head/neck for extra support. I also like the little pouch that comes with the sling, with the option to have it on or off.” -Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • A unique combination of wrap and soft, structured carriers
  • Can comfortably carry children from infancy to 36 pounds
  • Adjustable positions, including inward-facing, backpack, and hip-hugging
  • Fully customizable tying capabilities, so you can wrap baby safely in a way that’s comfortable for both
  • Includes removable hood for nursing and sun and light protection
  • Padded and wide shoulder straps allow you to wear even a heavier baby longer
  • Ergonomic natural seat holds baby’s bottom and balances weight
  • Wrap and tie design means no cumbersome buckles
  • Machine washable
  • One-size and conforms to bodies of all shapes and sizes without much readjustment

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Needs to be rolled up or down for desired head support
  • Fabric not as flexible as traditional wrap carriers
  • Slight learning curve to figure out tying styles, but gets easier with practice

lillebaby® Ring Sling

“I like how you can use the long end to put around the back of the head/neck for extra support. I also like the little pouch that comes with the sling, with the option to have it on or off.” -Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • Ring Sling holds babies between 7 and 33 pounds
  • Fabric measures 27 inches by 78 inches and and one-size fits most
  • Made from 100% soft, breathable, and lightweight linen fabric
  • Uses two engraved zinc alloy rings to adjust carrier
  • Includes a removable padded pocket to hold small items and provide additional padding along the shoulder for extra comfort
  • Easier to get baby out of sling than a wrap carrier
  • Front-facing, back-facing, and hip carrying tie options
  • Extra fabric can be draped for concealed breastfeeding
  • Machine washable

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Weight is concentrated unevenly and can be painful for those with back issues
  • Linen isn’t the softest, but will get softer after several washes
  • Some reviewers have noted that the fabric slips in the rings when the child gets too heavy

lillebaby® Complete All Seasons Baby Carrier

It is SO comfortable, my 6 week old sleeps the entire time when he’s in there and I can chase my toddler around.” -Lindsay, Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • Soft, but structured baby carrier holds babies from infancy up to 45 pounds
  • Ergonomic design is great for both parent and baby
  • Six possible positions: forward-facing for fetal, infants, or toddlers, front-outward-facing, backpack, and hip hugger
  • Includes headrest, sun/nursing hood, and zip-up air panels to regulate baby’s body temperature
  • Adjustable neck support, two-way straps, and seat
  • Wide, padded belt with great lumbar support and even weight distribution
  • No infant insert needed
  • Machine washable

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Back clip can be difficult to snap in with wriggling baby
  • Some reviewers noted that their baby’s legs felt a little too spread out when forward-facing

Ergobaby 360 All Carry Positions Ergonomic Baby Carrier

Great carrier! Versatile, adjustable, waist strap takes the pressure off the shoulders. Also great for the airplane” -Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • Structured, but soft carrier with ergonomic design for parent and baby’s comfort
  • Made with lightweight, breathable 100% polyester mesh to keep you and baby cool
  • Holds babies between 12 and 33 pounds, or newborns with infant insert (sold separately)
  • Adjusts to fit people of all shapes and sizes with minimal effort, making it great for sharing between partners
  • Includes extra padded shoulder straps and a tuckaway hood for sun protection and concealed breastfeeding
  • Hold smaller babies in the inward-facing position, and switch to backpack or hip-hugging as they get bigger
  • Lower back strap provides extra lumbar support and even weight distribution

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Does not include infant insert, but is compatible with all brands
  • Height of the back strap is not adjustable for height
  • Carrier clips shut on the lower back and shoulders, which can be difficult to reach on your own or with a wriggling baby

BABYBJORN® Baby Carrier Original

Couldn’t live without it. Wife and I have very different schedule so with baby and walking both dogs it is a life saver.” -Walter, Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT REGISTRY

  • Designed with newborns in mind, this structured and cozy carrier doesn’t need an additional infant insert
  • Made with soft and comfortable cotton and cushioned mesh fabrics
  • Adjustable head support and back straps
  • Ergonomic seat that helps keep babies legs and arms in the right position
  • Side buckles open the front of the carrier to easily take baby out after they’ve fallen asleep for a smooth transition to bed
  • Side buckles are adjustable so the carrier grows alongside baby
  • Buckles are color coded to ensure they’re connected properly and safely
  • After first 5 months, baby can be held outwards-facing in the carrier
  • Head support can be folded down when baby is facing outwards
  • Machine washable

CONSIDERATIONS

  • Does not include back strap or lumbar support, which may get uncomfortable as baby gets heavier
  • Cannot be used in backpack form
  • Maximum baby weight is 24 pounds, so not ideal for bigger or older babies

Clevr Baby Cross Country Carrier with Stand

I was all alone & able to get [my 2 year old son] loaded up by myself, the pack has a great kickstand, he felt safe and secure in the pack.” -Jason, Amazon Reviewer

BLUEPRINT SUMMARY

  • The best option for the adventurous family, the Baby Backpack Cross Country Carrier is made from a strong, but lightweight aluminum frame and 600d waterproof oxford cloth
  • The entire backpack carrier weighs only 5 pounds
  • Can hold children between 6 months and 4 years or up to 33 pounds
  • The frame folds flat for easy travel and storage
  • Includes padded adjustable shoulder straps and bolsters, removable and adjustable canopy, energy absorbing lumbar padding, and several storage pockets to store water bottles and hiking and/or baby gear
  • Will stand upright on any flat surface with kickstand
  • Child’s adjustable seat platform includes padded sides and harness straps with buckles to keep them strapped in and safe

CONSIDERATIONS

  • This backpack carrier is designed specifically for taking your child on hikes or long walks
  • The water bottle pockets are on the side of the child seat, and can be difficult to reach without taking the backpack off
  • Backpack could a bit cumbersome for more petite parents

From infant to toddler, or back and forth between parents, finding the right baby carrier that works for everyone is a must. You don’t need to sacrifice an arm or put your daily activities on hold when you have the perfect carrier—grow your bond and keep baby close for as long as you can, even while washing the dishes or hiking the Grand Canyon.

How has a baby carrier helped you and your growing family? Share your stories with us on Twitter and Instagram!