No matter how cozy a swing or bouncy seat is, babies like being cradled in your arms best. But toting your little one around all day isn’t really feasible unless you have arms of steel and an army of helpers to do your daily tasks. That’s where the baby carriers come in handy.
For the past four years, I’ve tried almost every baby carrier out there while running through airports, hiking through forests and on mountain trails, and wandering city streets.
In order to produce fair, thorough, and unbiased reviews, we test products in our labs and out in the field, talk to experts, and consult existing customers to find the opinions of real people who use these products day in, day out. What we never do is accept free products or samples from manufacturers.
We analyzed reviews in the Amazon Community to discover parents’ most-recommended baby carriers, and combined their recommendations with our editors’ research and experience to find the best baby carriers. Read on to find out which baby carriers parents think are the most stylish, the most affordable, and more.
Do You Need a Carrier?
Getting a carrier isn’t a necessity—you could use a stroller when you’re out and about and a bouncy seat or swing at home. But a carrier is the only gadget that lets you do your own thing, hands-free, while your little one relaxes against you.
Many parents say it’s their favorite baby product, no matter the type or brand. It gives your arms a break and can easily sub in for a stroller, especially if your child gets upset when they can’t see you, or you need to navigate crowded spaces like airports and stadiums. It’s also great to use if you like hiking and want to bring your child along.
Some parents only use a baby carrier when their child is small—newborn through six months or so. Other parents continue to use a carrier well into the toddler stage. You’ll get the most out of it before your little one learns to walk and wants to roam free.
5 Best Baby Carriers of 2021:
Over and over again we hear parents swooning over their Solly wrap—and we couldn’t agree more. The Solly is a wrap you’ll reach for again and again thanks to its super soft, lightweight fabric, ease of use and comfort factor. It’s made in the USA from sustainably sourced material from Austrian Beechwood trees and uses environmentally friendly dyes for its (many) beautiful colors and patterns. It’s easy to fold up compactly in its self-encolosing pocket to store in your stroller or diaper bag.
The Solly only offers one carry position—front-inward. And although it works with babies up to 25 pounds, many parents like to use it while their baby is still young and then move onto a carrier with more positioning options as their little one grows.
Lightweight, washable, easy to learn, cute, packable…everything about this is great! I bought a second one even. It’s really not complicated, don’t be intimidated!
- Perennial parent favorite
- Lightweight, super soft sustainable fabric
- Universal fit that’s comfy for you and your baby
- Not a one–size-fits-all carrier
If I have to go for a classic and fuss-free front-facing baby carrier, the first brand that’d pop up in my mind would be BABYBJORN Original Carrier. It is one of the best baby carrier for newborn & also great for first-time wearers who are worried about the comfort, safety, and practicality of baby carriers.
The reason why this seemingly plain-looking carrier has topped my list is its smart design that ensures optimal comfort. Not just for the baby but also for the wearer. This particular product features wider shoulder straps, back support and waist belts, allowing for better weight distribution. This makes it easy for the parent to carry their baby for hours without feeling fatigued.
You can sneak in your precious little one in this carrier from the very first day of life till he turns a year old. It can handle babies of up to 24 pounds and offers two carrying positions: facing in and out.
Due to the no-frills, snap-on backing design, it’s super easy to get the babies in and out of the carrier. The buckles in this carrier are color-coded and produce satisfying a “click” sound, assuring you that you have fastened the carrier properly.
- Keeps the newborn remain in the correct position
- Provides adequate head, back, and hip support
- Ensures secure fastening with safety click
- Two-part design lets you easily uncover a sleeping baby
- Allows two positions- baby facing in and out
- Probably won’t be able to use it when the baby is older though
One of the greatest mysteries has to be the ability of certain no-frills products to not only meet or even exceed our expectations but also look great too. That’s how we felt when we examined all the Infantino Swift Classic Carrier had to offer.
Because it’s light and compact, it’s extremely convenient to wear and perfect for those moments when a last-minute dash out of the door was called for.
It also comes with the option of carrying little cherubs facing in or out, providing them with the opportunity to take in sights and sounds during their adventures, or simply snuggle up and snooze blissfully.
The baby carrier also comes with a few handy extras too, such as a Wonder Cover bib to protect outfits and an outside pocket for keeping favorite knick-knacks within reach.
If you like the way it all sounds, you too will be able to experience all the no-frills — but nonetheless amazing — Infantino Swift Classic Carrier has to offer and make it an essential part of your and your baby’s daily routine.
- Comfortable for parents and infants
- Babies may face inwards or outwards
- Provides bib for extra protection
- Outside pocket for extra convenience
- No hood provided
- No headrest provided
4. Beco Gemini
The Beco Gemini is a favorite among babywearing experts for good reason: Its crossable straps fit better on both narrow and wide shoulders and small and large frames, and they make it easier to put on and adjust than many carriers with more conventional backpack-style straps.
Thanks to its minimal, streamlined design, it’s simpler to use than carriers overloaded with extra straps and padding. Its trim panel—the body of the carrier that supports your child—fits small babies and petite adults better, and it feels cooler on just about everyone than the bulkier panels of other models.
Unlike most other carriers we looked at, the Gemini has an adjustable seat and panel that allow you to position your baby on your chest facing outward. It doesn’t require an unwieldy infant insert for newborns, and it fits babies under a year old—when they’re carried most frequently and longest—better than all the other models we considered. Beco carriers are the only ones we looked at that use safety buckles, too. The buckles bother some people because they require two hands to undo, but we think the added security is worth the inconvenience.
- Ergonomic seat to ensure baby’s comfort
- Removable canopy hood for sun protection
- Suitable for use as a front or back harness
- Suitable for all body types
- May be too tight for babies
Another ideal example of a well-designed wrap baby carrier. Thanks to the custom fitting and soft, breathable material, it’s super easy to pop in a newborn in this carrier. It allows you to carry the baby in front-inward position. From my personal experience, I can tell you that babies fall asleep faster in this “warm embrace” position.
I loved the fact that it is a one-size-fits-all carrier. You will have no problem sharing it with your partner or a caregiver. The wide fabric covers your entire back and crosses your shoulder, providing an extremely secure fit.
This unique design also aids even weight distribution, thus taking the strain off your neck and shoulder. It can carry weights from 8-33 lbs. Tying the wraps can be a little tough at first but there are tons of instructional videos available to save your day.
You can easily adjust the wrap for custom fitting and changing the position of the baby. It allows the mothers to discreetly breastfeed the baby in a park or airport.
Due to its wide fabric cover along with easily customizable fitting, you can hold the baby into a great position for breastfeeding. If you are specifically looking for the best baby carrier for breastfeeding a newborn, it’s worth checking out.
- The newborn can be put to an ideal position for breastfeeding
- Highly secure fit
- Can be adjusted for different body sizes
- Doesn’t cause back pain to the wearer
- 360-degree support providing freedom of movement
- The fabric is really long and multilayered
Types of Baby Carriers
- Soft structured baby carriers are made from soft, often padded, material sewn into the correct shape, with straps and buckles for fastening. So, you just put it on, fasten it, and pop the baby in.
- A baby carrying wrap is essentially a long length of slightly stretchy fabric, which can be arranged and tied in a number of ways to carry your baby in various positions.
- Slings are made from woven, non-stretch material, and are worn over one shoulder.
- Baby backpacks are designed to be worn on the back. and may be framed or unframed.
Tips for using the baby carriers
To avoid improper hip development, and issues such as hip dysplasia, babies should always be carried with their legs in the “M” position — that is, with knees bent up and legs spread wide. Ensure your chosen carrier allows your baby to sit in this position.
Some towns have baby carrier “libraries” that allow you to try on different baby carriers, and sometimes even borrow them for a short trial, which can help you find one that’s right for you and your baby.
Be careful your baby doesn’t overheat while in their carrier. Treat it as an extra layer of clothing and dress your child accordingly.
If your baby can’t yet hold up his own head independently, make sure your chosen carrier will offer appropriate support, as it’s a pain to have to use one hand to hold up your baby’s head at all times.
How we tested
In applying our criteria, we narrowed our initial list of more than 70 carriers down to 16. Once I received those finalists, I read the instructions for each carrier and then tried each one with my 25-pound toddler in the forward position, facing in—the mode of carrying we’ve used for most of her 19 months, and one that all the carriers are designed to do. I assessed how easy or difficult each carrier was to put on, take off, and adjust by myself, how well- or ill-considered any additional features were, and, most important, how comfortable the carrier was for both of us once I had it on (I’m a petite, 5′2″ woman).
We did not dismiss any models for being too complicated to put on: Initially some were more difficult than others, but you could get used to doing the extra steps. Discomfort and inconvenience were another matter. The most inexpensive models lacked sufficient support or padding, one promising carrier was made of a coarse synthetic that we found too abrasive to wear, and some models encapsulated the baby in a pouch, which would make breastfeeding very difficult. Still others weren’t designed for enough adult body types—some were so big they could fit only larger adults, leaving out people with shorter torsos or smaller frames. We eliminated all of those, ending up with just six carriers.