Best Overall Baby Carrier 2019
Boba X review
Award-winning soft-structured baby carrier Boba X comes out on top as a genuine birth to toddler option. It's stylish, comfortable, easy to use and highly adjustable to suit a wide range of wearers.
Written by Adele Jarrett-Kerr, published 13 March 2019
Verdict in 10 seconds
- Comfortable even after long stints
- Quick to learn with little room for error
- Extremely adjustable to grow with your baby
- Soft while structured – highly supportive of your baby while you get on with your routine
- Incredibly clear written and visual instructions
- Seat and body panel micro-adjust to fit your baby perfectly
- Has dual pull shoulder straps, which make adjusting while wearing a walkover
- Minimally padded structured waistband and wide straps distribute weight well
- Can be personalised to fit a wide range of body types
- Contains three pockets under the main seat including a zippered waist pocket for securing your phone as well as a shoulder strap loop for fastening items like bags and teethers
- Good value for money as it lasts into the preschool years – can even be quickly swapped between newborn and toddler settings
- No newborn insert needed
- Simple lines and design will compliment diverse styles
- Thick material can make this carrier warm to use
- Cannot be washed at high temperatures – spot cleaning and occasional cold washing recommended
- Wearer’s long hair could potentially get tangled in the back clip when putting the carrier on
- No outward-facing option
What are the key features?
- Offers front inward-facing, hip carry and back carry positions
- Suitable for infant to preschooler – 7-45 lbs
- Soft cotton construction and machine washable at 30 degrees
- Extendable and reducible seat and body panel
- Removable and adjustable sleep hood with its own pocket for tucking away
- Padded leg openings
- Available in 15 colours and patterns
- Contoured, crossable shoulder straps
What are the specs?
- Suitable from birth to approximately four years old
- Minimum panel size: H: 30cm, W: 20cm
- Maximum panel size: H: 40cm, W: 53cm (with zip-on toddler extenders)
- Maximum seat width without toddler extenders: 35.5cm
- RRP: £125 at time of review
- Estimated resale value: £75-100 at time of review
- Extras you can buy: teething pads (£14.50), Boba babywearing hoodie (£59.50)
How easy is the Boba X to operate?
The Boba X is a real buckle-and-go option. If you’ve previously used a soft-structured baby carrier, this one will be a cinch. If not, you’re likely to quickly get the hang of its uncomplicated and intuitive design.
Every detail is covered in its exceptionally easy-to-follow manual, complete with straightforward written instructions and photographs for front, back and hip positions, along with links to videos on their website. There’s even a video on how to breastfeed in the carrier on the Boba website.
Back carrying will take practice if you haven’t previously used a similar carrier. Boba advises positioning the carrier on your back and supporting your baby with one hand while moving them into the carrier with the other. It’s worth getting along to a sling library or asking someone to spot you while you get to grips with this.
All in all, there’s little room for error. Our testers found they only needed to consult the instructions once or twice and were single-handedly ready to go.
How adjustable is it?
Boasting many features for adjustability, the Boba X is an all-rounder when it comes to getting the perfect fit for both you and your baby.
The dual pull shoulder straps make it particularly simple to tighten and loosen the carrier while in use and the chest strap (worn at the back when using a rucksack-style front carry) is set on sliders for easy access.
You can also cross the shoulder straps, which some wearers may find more comfortable. Consequently, this carrier has the potential to fit most shapes and sizes.
The carrier also adapts to grow with your child. Straps at the waistband and buckles at the shoulders allow the body panel to extend depending on your baby’s size.
Extenders zip on to significantly widen the panel’s seat to allow you to comfortably carry a toddler. Making the switch is quick once you’ve sussed the technique. One of our testers found the Boba X fit both her 11-month-old and her two-year-old.
How comfortable is it?
Our testers found the Boba X remarkably supportive and comfortable for long stretches both with a newborn and an older baby.
With wide, padded straps and a structured waistband, the carrier evenly distributes your baby’s weight across your body. The ability to micro-adjust also wards off any pinches or strains.
The cotton construction makes the Boba X softer than many structured carriers that sport a rough weave.
Padded leg openings make this a relaxing ride for babies too. While held snugly, they can freely move their arms and legs and take a good look around. Extending the body panel and seat keeps them well supported so they will continue to feel at ease in the carrier as they grow.
“My baby really enjoys being worn in this sling and actually will only settle in this particular model! I can carry out all tasks while wearing it as my baby is so well supported. And I don’t feel achy at all.”
How does it look?
With simple lines and design, the Boba X is unfussy and adaptable to your personal taste. There’s a choice of 15 patterns and colours, allowing it to either feature or blend in.
Durable and well constructed, our testers found the fabric didn’t turn up any pulls or wear and tear. You may just find it holds its own as a statement piece in its own right. The sleep hood can be detached or tucked away.
What's it like to use day-to-day?
The Boba holds your child securely while allowing you to carry on with your routine, truly hands-free. There’s no need to support your baby at all unless you need to lean right over to pick something up.
While the carrier’s structure makes it easy to move around a lot while keeping your baby in a healthy, comfortable position, its softness encourages wearers to feel close to their babies. It's a win-win situation in that you can enjoy keeping your baby near while getting a few jobs done.
For children who need swift ups and downs, the simple buckled design makes it easy to put them in and take them out. This is especially handy for toddlers who frequently change their minds when walking and exploring.
It also easily adjusts for quick switches between parents of different builds or for a change in position, whether front carry to hip carry or to lower your baby for breastfeeding.
One tester found she was able to breastfeed her 11-month-old in the carrier while helping her older child make cornflake cakes. The other found her newborn preferred not to breastfeed upright but she often kept the Boba X secured around her waist while feeding so she could buckle him in it again once he’d fallen asleep, without having to put him down.
How safe is the carrier?
Our testers found that their babies felt secure going in, staying in and coming out of the Boba X.
Wriggly newborns can be difficult to support whilst getting buckles and straps in place so it’s best to wait until your baby is settled and relaxed or ask for help while getting used to the carrier.
The tester with a newborn found putting her baby in the Boba X rapidly became easier with use. Both testers found that, once in, their babies stayed in a supportive position and didn't move around.
The Boba X is finished to a high standard – nothing feels cheap here. No fingers will catch on the buckles as they’re placed well away from your baby and safety elastics keep longer cords out of your baby’s way. The wide waistband helps you to feel more secure as you clip in and remove your baby from the carrier.
Its high adjustability is also a safety feature for your baby – the carrier creates a deep seat which is important to protect developing hips. In fact, the International Hip Dysplasia Institute has certified the Boba X as “hip healthy”. The design makes getting babies into the optimal 'M' position for healthy hips incredibly simple.
How easy is it to clean?
With heavy use and a passenger who’s likely to be sucking straps, spitting up or eating snacks while in the carrier, the Boba X needs to clean up well to qualify as a best buy. After a week of use and smearing with food, our testers washed the carrier and found it looked as good as new.
While it can’t be washed at 60 degrees, spot cleaning by hand with the occasional gentle wash at 30 seems to do the trick.
The fabric did not fade with washing and won’t show up dirt easily depending on the colour you go for. The shoulder pads are likely to get soaked if your baby likes to suck or chew anything within reach but suck pads can be purchased from Boba. Darker colours are less likely to show up drool.
As for getting dirty in the first place, none of the carrier’s components trail the floor when putting your baby in or taking them out – one less thing to worry about.
Our top five baby carriers had a close finish, but the Boba X stood out as an easy-to-use structured buckled carrier with the softness of a baby wrap.
Our testers scored it highly in every area. They called it good value for money as its supreme adjustability makes it both comfortable for many ages and stages as well as effortless to share between carers.
You won’t need to move on from this carrier for a long time – and then only if carrying beyond toddlerhood. Some will still prefer a stretchy wrap for the first month or so but, depending on the size of your newborn, this could well be the only carrier you’ll need.
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All prices correct at time of publication
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