Babywearing is a trend that is here to stay, and we’re not surprised. It is multi-tasking at its finest and makes swerving through busy shops with a buggy a thing of the past.
Slings, wraps and soft-structured baby carriers can vary in price, style and limitations. What works for one person may not suit another. And if you plan to share your baby carrier with another adult, you’ll have to consider your needs and preferences as well as the other person’s.
In our efforts to find the best baby carriers on the market, we commissioned Adele Jarrett-Kerr, journalist, blogger and passionate babywearer, to research and write about baby carriers.
Adele is an experienced babywearing parent who carried her older two children from newborn to age four. She currently carries her two-and-a-half-year-old.
She's been writing about babywearing for nearly eight years and has tried just about every style of sling and carrier available on the UK market, from soft-structured buckled carriers to woven wraps, ring slings to stretchy wraps, podaegi and lots of options in between.
During the testing process, she partnered with three families, one with twins, one with a newborn and one with a toddler to put the top 19 slings to the test.
While we do recommend that you try before you buy, either in-store or at a sling library, we’ve done the legwork for you. We’ve researched and tested a wide range of products to find the baby carriers that work best for most parents.
Which baby carriers did we test and how did we test them?
We spoke to parents on the Mumsnet Talk boards, in addition to a team of babywearing consultants from the St Ives Sling Library, and looked at the most popular baby carrier options on the market, observing the names that came up again and again and noting why.
After 10 hours of research, we produced a longlist of 38 highly recommended baby carriers, which we then narrowed down to a shortlist of 19, to put to the test, including stretchy wraps, hybrid wraps and soft-structured buckled carriers.
- Boba X
- Ergobaby All Position 360
- TwinGo Air
- Boba Wrap
- Ergobaby Adapt
- Ergobaby Omni 360
- Hana Stretchy Wrap
- Baby Tula Ring Sling
- Close Caboo Lite
- Baby Tula Free-to-Grow
- Lillebaby Complete
- Beco Gemini
- Boba 4G
- Baby Tula Standard Baby Carrier
- Je Porte Mon Bébé JPMBB
- Wrapsody Stretch-Hybrid
- Baby Björn Carrier One
- Weego Twin
Which baby carrier is best?
After months of thorough testing in a variety of scenarios and conditions, five baby carriers triumphed: the Boba X (Best Baby Carrier 2019), the Ergobaby All Position 360 (Best Multi-Position Baby Carrier 2019), the Connecta (Best Budget Baby Carrier 2019), the TwinGo Air (Best Twin Baby Carrier 2019), and the Boba Wrap (Best Baby Carrier for Newborns 2019).
The Boba X impressed us most as it's an easy-to-use soft-structured carrier with great longevity that offers good value for money. We think it’s the best baby carrier for most parents and awarded it Best Baby Carrier 2019.
Our testers used each baby carrier while carrying out everyday tasks around their homes, taking them on the nursery run and on days out with their families.
Additionally, they were used for nap time, during fussy periods and at times when our testers simply just wanted to get things done.
Who tested the products?
For continuity, we think it’s best to get one tester to use all the models. This means our results are based on like-for-like comparisons and reduces any potential variables during the testing process.
In this case, we asked two testers, Claire and Becky, with babies at different ages to put the single baby carriers through their paces so we could see how they performed in back carrying positions and how well they supported different developmental stages. Our twin carriers were scored by Sam, a tester with twins.
One tester had a new baby when we started testing. She carried him while also looking after her three-year-old. She had previously used a couple of carriers with her older child and was new to most of the products she tested.
Our second tester’s baby was 11 months old when we started testing and her older child had just turned two. She is an experienced babywearing parent, currently completing her babywearing consultancy certification.
Our twin tester, Sam, had newborn twins at the start of this process. She previously carried her now three-year-old in a sling.
How were the baby carriers scored?
Each product was put through a series of specific tests to help us find the five baby carriers most likely to suit parents new to ‘wearing’ their babies.
The baby carriers were scored based on how practical and comfortable they proved to be for a family relatively new to babywearing, used regularly over an extended period of time.
The testers were asked to wear each carrier for a minimum of 20 minutes each day for a week but they exceeded the suggested time for many of the baby carriers we tested. Our top five carriers were worn for hours by our testers with younger babies.
When you buy a baby carrier, you’re investing in an item you’ll likely use on a daily basis. While the right carrier can aid bonding and make it easier for you to look after your baby, the wrong match can be both a source of frustration and of physical discomfort.
We wanted to find the products that stand up to all the challenges of everyday family life while also being comfortable to wear.
How did you test for safety and stability?
We only reviewed products which passed British safety standards, but our tester was asked to comment and score each carrier based on how secure she felt while using it.
Was it easy to follow safety guidelines? Did the baby feel well supported and comfortable? We tested each carrier daily over the course of a week, noting how our testers felt during and after using the baby carrier.
How did you test for assembly?
We checked that instructions were clear and detailed enough to remove room for error and noted whether video demonstrations were available.
We looked at how easy each baby carrier was to use the first time and how quickly our testers were able to learn to use the carrier without looking at the instructions.
Vitally, we tested how achievable it was to put on and take off the carrier without help.
How did you test for ease of use?
Knowing that baby carriers are often in high day-to-day usage, we wanted to find out whether the carriers we tested were easy to use while doing other tasks.
We looked for convenient features like pockets, head covers and supports, and even checked whether our testers could breastfeed in them.
Our testers put each carrier to the test in a range of locations and situations, checking whether they felt fully hands-free or still needed to support their babies with one hand for peace of mind.
How did you test for cleaning?
Baby carriers are subject to the usual mess of family life, whether from nappy leaks, baby drool or food spills.
We asked whether the carrier could easily be machine washed at 60 degrees if necessary. Was the baby carrier prone to showing up dirt? Did it trail the ground when being put on or taken off?
What about aesthetics?
Our mission was to find the best baby carriers for most parents, so while we know that baby carriers are virtually items of clothing and subject to personal tastes, we asked our testers how they felt the products fit with their wardrobes.
Did it match or clash with most outfits? Was it minimalist or a feature in its own right? Would you need more than one baby carrier for variety?
What about value for money?
The baby carriers we tested covered a broad price range. We asked our testers to rate how satisfied they were with each product overall, and used a standardised scoring system to help us determine whether performance justified the price tag.
We also considered whether it was worth buying different baby carriers for different ages and stages, based on comfort, quality, functionality and affordability.
How did you choose the top five?
We scored each baby carrier using the same tests – we evaluated safety and stability, assembly, day-to-day usage, cleanliness and hygiene, aesthetics, and value for money, and considered which carriers were likely to suit most parents new to babywearing, giving an overall score.
We then used the results to choose the top five baby carriers we recommend. We also chose the best baby carrier for newborns and the best soft-structured buckled carrier to cover newborn to toddlerhood.
Why you should trust us
Mumsnet has been making parents’ lives easier since 2000 and, in those years, we’ve seen, tried and reviewed countless products. We’ve watched trends come and go and safety features become more and more slick. Our testing is best in class – we rigorously test each product with real children in real-life situations as well as standardised lab-style testing and we're confident that our testing leaves no stone unturned. This means that parents don’t need to compare reviews or hunt around for other opinions. They know Mumsnet has it covered.
About Mumsnet Reviews
All Mumsnet product reviews are written by real parents after weeks of research and testing. We work hard to provide honest and independent advice you can trust – brands can’t pay to win a Mumsnet Best award.
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