10 of the best baby carriers

The top structured carriers tried and tested by expert mum and dad reviewers, there's a carrier to suit your babywearing lifestyle

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MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.

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What is a baby carrier?

A baby carrier is a basically a comfy “pouch-on-a-harness” that allows you a hands-free way of carrying your baby on your front, side or back, with the bonus of keeping your baby close.

Generally suitable from birth to around 3 or 4 years, front carriers can be used for more than just transport, and are great for getting things done around the house or soothing a fractious baby.

Carriers are also worth a shot if you’re interested in baby slings, but feel a little daunted by how to wear them.


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What are the different ways of carrying a baby?

Baby carriers (we’ve picked the best in this article): Carriers are made with firm fabric, have structured waist and padded shoulder straps and can be fastened with buckles or straps. They tend to have multiple seating positions (front, back, hip), and more structure than a sling with some featuring an actual frame. They are easy to put on and take off and have straps that allow adjustments to be made easily too.  You can also feel more confident the carrier is in the correct position on your body.

Wraps: Slings are a wonderful way to carry your baby around. A sling is (usually) a stretchy or woven long piece of fabric that wraps around you and lets you carry your baby against your body (front or back). Ideal for smaller newborns, slings differ from baby carriers in that they don’t usually have clips, buckles or buttons, and have to be tied to fit securely, which will take practice.  And if you’re looking to buy a baby sling then check out our 10 of the best wraps and slings.

Mei Tai’s, Pods and Onbu: A mix combination of a structured buckle carrier and wrap.  They traditionally have a square body with waist straps and longer shoulder straps and are tied around the parents’ waist. Often allowing multiple seating positions (front, back, hip).

One shoulder and hip ring slings: Made up of a long piece of fabric that is stitched around two rings and secured by passing the free tail through the rings. These slings can only be used in one position and so your shoulder will take all the weight of your child.

Backpack carriers: Backpack carriers are great for parents who like to head places a buggy would struggle to go, whether this is an epic mountain trek or just the local market!  Back carriers are suitable for babies who can sit up and support themselves – generally you’ll see them labelled as being okay for use from 6 months and last until your child’s 3 or 4 – if your back can withstand it!

Facing in or facing out – what’s the safest way for baby carriers?

The best carrying position is the one that mum/dad and baby are happiest with, however safety experts recommend that baby faces parents for the first 4-6 months, as they need the neck support.

After that, when they can hold their head up, many babies enjoy facing forward and discovering the world with the warm feeling of the parent.

Essential safety tips on carrying your baby:

  • A newborn baby’s position should be changed often, it’s best if you alternate between a baby carrier, lying your little one on her back and carrying her in your the arms.
  • Always follow the T.I.C.K.S guidelines whenever you’re babywearing.
  • Support you baby’s hips, head, neck and back when you’re using a carrier of any kind, but allow them to move their arms and legs freely.
  • Facing inwards is beneficial to your baby’s cognitive development, particularly in the first 4-6 months.  Once he is old and strong enough to hold up his head he can face outwards and benefit from interaction with the world, while still having you close.
  • Choose the position that’s best for you and your baby
  • It’s vital to position your baby safely – we explain the right way and wrong ways here.

Baby carriers, slings and hip dysplasia – what you need to know

The carrier you choose will depend on your needs, so before you buy anything, click through to see the best front and back carrier options, and don’t miss our buyer’s guide to baby carriers.

The 10 best baby carriers currently on the market:

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1. Ergobaby Omni 360 Baby Carrier, £154.90

Age suitability: Newborn to toddler (3.2kg to 20kg)

Number of carrying positions: 4 (front – out and chest-facing, side and back)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Over £130 – Gold

The Omni 360 is the most expensive on this list – but with 4 carrying positions and the promise to fit from newborn through to toddler it offers great value and longevity. Ergobaby has ditched the bulky infant insert and replaced with easy to use colour-coded seat straps to adjust for the smallest babies.

There’s also a very handy zipped pocket for keys and phone which most other carriers do not have.

Our judge says: “I love that you can also now adjust the shoulder straps from the side once your baby is in the carrier – ideal when you’re on your own. I am impressed with the improved design, comfort is excellent, it is machine washable so convenient for busy mums and value for money is great as it grows with your baby.”

There’s also the Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh Baby Carrier – great for travelling in hot countries.

Available from: John Lewis, Ergo Baby, Amazon

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2. Tula Half Buckle Carrier, £129.90

Age suitability: Newborn to toddler (3.2kg to 20.4kg)

Number of carrying positions: 3 (back, front and hip)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Under £130 – Gold

This hybrid carrier offers the comfort and fit of a wrap with its tie straps, but the ease of use of a buckled carrier with its structured baby seat. It comes in a range of vibrant colours and patterns compared with the plain block colours of the Ergobaby, although it doesn’t offer a front facing carrying position, which the Ergobaby does.

Our judge says: “My favourite of all the baby carriers. This carrier gives the best of both worlds. Perfect for parents that like the idea of having baby in a sling but don’t feel confident putting one on as it provides more structure. Initially seems expensive but given that it can be used from birth up to about 3 to 4 years it’s quite good value and still cheaper than the Ergobaby.”

Available from: Amazon, Tula Baby, Love To Be Natural

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3. Integra Baby, £75 to £95

Age suitability: Birth to around 2 years (size 1), 18 months to around 3.5 years (size 2) and 3 years to around 5 years (size 3)

Number of carrying positions: 2 (front and back)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Under £130 – Silver

The Integra comes in a great range of prints for style-conscious parents, most of which are machine washable, although spot-cleaning is recommended for some. The size 3 goes right up to age 5 which is longer lasting than the Tula or Boba X, although it would be expensive to buy all 3 Integras to ensure you were covered from birth right through to the upper age limit.

It only offers 2 carrying positions but is less bulky than the BabyBjorn, making it easier to stash under the pushchair.

Our judge says: “A great example of a soft structured carrier, with lots to love. It’s easy to get on with in the front carry position, I managed to breastfeed in it without too much adjusting, and my little one fell asleep in it.”

Available from: Integra Baby, Sling Spot, Wear My Baby

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4. BabyBjorn Baby Carrier One, £139.99

Age suitability: From newborn to 3 years old

Number of carrying positions: 4 front and back carrying positions

BabyBjorn’s structured back support is great for heavier children or parents who need extra support, compared with the less padded Integra. But different sized parents would need to fully adjust the carrier to fit each time they swapped over which is more time-consuming.

It offers 4 different carrying positions, as with the Ergobaby, but is a cheaper option. The longer torso of the carrier can work well with taller parents and this is a carrier especially loved by dads, as well as those parents who prefer a structured carrier with rigid fasteners as opposed to the adjustability of the Ergobaby.

Available from: Baby Bjorn, John Lewis, Mothercare

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5. Tula Free-to-Grow Baby Carrier, £119.90

Age suitability: Newborn to toddler (3.2kg to 20.4kg)

Number of carrying positions: 2 (front and back)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Over £130 – Silver

Tula offers many bright and jazzy designs, like Integra, although there are also plain colours available. It has similar straps to the Ergobaby but only offers 2 carrying positions. But if you don’t want or need baby to be forward facing then it’s a cheaper option.

Our judge says: “This is a great carrier. If the reverse ruck style straps work for you, and it fits you well, it can be extremely comfortable. It adjusts really well and fits babies from a few weeks old (once they’ve started to “uncurl”) and fits well to 2-3yrs. The panel is really soft which means it comfortably moulds around your baby and, as it’s simply fabric, it’s really breathable.”

Available from: Tula Baby, Babipur, Amazon

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6. The Boba X, £125

Age suitability: Newborn to toddler (3.2kg to 20.4kg)

Number of carrying positions: 2 (front and back)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Under £130 – Bronze

The Boba X has rucksack style straps like the similarly priced Tula Free-to-Grow and also has 2 carrying positions. It comes in a wide variety of vibrant patterns and plain block colours, and although the Ergobaby has 2 additional carrying positions, the Boba X also has a really useful zipped pocket for keys and phone, which is a great added feature.

Our judge says: “The panel extenders are genius! They simply zip in at the sides, and velcro to the waistband and extend the width of the panel by another few inches. Things like this are usually an ‘optional extra’ but, Boba have included them in the price of the Boba X.”

Available from: Boba, Slumber-Roo, Carry My Baby

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7. Je Porte Mon Bébé PhysioCarrier, £99.95

Age suitability: From birth to 20kg

Number of carrying positions: 3 (front, hip and back, but not forward facing on front)

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Baby Carrier Under £130 – Finalist

This offers similar flexibility to the Tula Half Buckle carrier but at a lower price, although it isn’t available in as many colour schemes.

An unusual and handy feature that we love is the rearview mirror attached for when baby is on your back. However, smaller babies need a booster extension pack to sit on the back which is not included in the price (unlike the Izmi, for example, which includes the booster seat).

Our judge says: “Great carrier, extremely easy to use, soft quality material and a rather comfortable baby! The only thing I would say is it would be fab to have more colours available but all in all a very high-quality product that baby was very relaxed in.”

Available from: JoJo Maman Bebe, Vertbaudet, Carry My Baby

izmi-baby-carrier

8. Izmi Baby Carrier, £80

Age suitability: Babies from 3.2kg to 15kg

Number of carrying positions: 4 (front – out and chest-facing, side and back)

This reasonably priced buckle carrier is a great lightweight option which packs down small into its own bag. It’s got 4 carrying positions but with a lower weight limit of 15kg it’s only suitable for up to around 18 months, similar to the Integra Size 1 carrier and not with the longevity of most other carriers on this list. As with the BabyBjorn and Boba X, there’s no integrated sleep hood, which the more expensive carriers like the Ergobaby do offer.

Available from: Amazon, Cheeky Rascals, Wear My Baby

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9. Connecta Baby Carrier, £77.95

Age suitability: Birth to 4-5 years (3.5kg to 24kg)

Number of carrying positions: 2 (front and back)

The Connecta is one of the cheapest carriers on this list but can carry the heaviest load, making it fantastic value for parents who are keen to carry baby from birth up to 4 or five years old. This means it’s a good option if your newborn has a significantly older sibling because the same carrier can be switched between the 2. It comes in a range of stylish prints as well as plain block colours for a more traditional look. There’s no zipped pocket for keys or phone but it does come with an integrated sleeping hood which doubles as a sun shade.

Available from: Connecta, Baby Sling BoutiqueKoala Slings

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10. Mountain Buggy Juno Carrier, £139

Age suitability: Birth to 4 years (3.5kg to 20kg)

Number of carrying positions: 4 (front – out and chest-facing, side and back)

Like the Izmi this comes with an infant insert cushion for newborns which is included in the price, and with 4 carrying positions ranging from birth up to 20kg this offers long lasting appeal for parents who want to get their money’s worth.

There are only 3 plain colours available, unlike the jazzier Tula or Integra carriers, but it does have an integrated hood to provide protection from the sun and support when sleepng. It also has a hands-through pouch so you can feel connected to your baby when they’re on your front.

Our reviewer says: “The 2 little pockets on the strap which goes around your waist are fantastic. They are large enough for a phone and keys, which means when I’m totally free to hold my toddler’s hand and carry his bag.”

Available from: Mountain Buggy, Mothercare, Amazon

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