Best Baby Carriers of 2016

Last Updated: June 6, 2016
Best Baby Carriers of 2016Need some advice to help you pick the best baby carrier? Here are the 5 best carriers of 2016 - based on our own research + input from thousands of parents. There is no one must-have baby carrier. Every family is different. Use this guide to help you figure out the best carrier for your needs and priorities.

No matter how cozy a swing or bouncy seat is, babies like being cradled in your arms best. But toting your love around all day isn’t really feasible unless you have arms of steel, and a bunch of minions to do your daily tasks. That’s where a baby carrier comes in handy.

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 it is the only gadget that lets you do your own thing, hands-free, while your little one relaxes against you. Most 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.

When do you need a carrier?

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.

Most parents swear that baby carriers are a lifesaver, so you really can’t go wrong adding one to your registry. Baby carriers come in three styles: -Wraps__: A super long piece of stretchy fabric you configure and tie around your body, usually over your shoulders and around your mid-section, to create a carrier -Slings: A wide piece of fabric that goes over one shoulder and across your torso -Structured Carriers: More like a backpack with straps over the shoulder and a padded carrying "pack" that can be placed on your chest or back

Choosing one depends on what you think will work best for your family. To start take a look at these carriers that got the highest props from BabyList parents.

BabyList Best Picks

Carriers for Newborns

These carriers are ready for your little love as soon as they are born, without the use of an extra insert. However, your baby will most likely outgrow these picks when they turn 12-15 months old.

WHY WE LOVE IT

Getting baby in and out of this carrier is a breeze, which is especially awesome if you want to transition a sleepy child from carrier to crib. Just undo two side fasteners and the entire front opens right up! And, this style comes in at a good price.

KEEP IN MIND

The original design’s shoulder straps aren’t padded and can dig into shoulders over time. Plus, there’s no waistband to distribute baby’s weight so this carrier can weigh down your shoulders and neck. Although other BabyBjorn styles do incorporate both of those supportive measures, they are at least double the cost of the original style. Also a downer? This carrier has a lower max weight than others so you won’t be able to use it as long.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY

“It is a great way to carry your baby, especially a newborn, and have your hands free to do other things like make dinner. It is also super useful when traveling and allows you to use both hands while doing things like going through airport security.” - Julie R.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight Limits
8-24 lbs.

Available positions for baby
Facing inward or outward on your front

Find more information on BabyList and Amazon.


WHY WE LOVE IT

A wrap style that’s ready to wear, the Baby K’Tan fits neatly in a diaper bag and is easier to manipulate than other wraps since you don't have to deal with an unwieldy length of fabric. This soft carrier is also fabulous for breastfeeding moms - you can put your baby into the sling position for discreet nursing.

"I've used a number of carriers and this is by far my favorite."

KEEP IN MIND

The downside to the Baby K’Tan is that it is sized for the wearer. So, getting the perfect fit is vital to making this carrier work and you can’t easily swap it with a partner whose body size might be different from your own. It also requires practice to master the steps of looping the material into various positions.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY

“I babywear almost everywhere I go and I also use it around the house to get chores done. Having twins and a toddler, it's easy to wear one baby and fit the other two in the stroller.” - Candice L.

“This is similar to a Moby wrap, but without all of the wrapping and tying. Having less fabric means it isn't as hot to wear for parent or baby. The sizing is somewhat particular so try one on ahead of time if possible. I've used a number of carriers and this is by far my favorite.” - Victoria M.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight Limits
8-35 lbs.

Available positions for baby
Facing inward or outward on your front torso; Facing inward sling-style across your torso or hip

Find more information on BabyList or Amazon.


Carriers for Older Babies

These picks can typically support little ones well into the toddler stage and can often carry baby in many versatile positions. To be used with newborns, however, these picks usually require an infant insert.

WHY WE LOVE IT

The Ergo is hugely popular for reducing strain on your neck and shoulders by evenly redistributing the baby’s weight. It also offers baby sturdy support, and is easy to adjust to different heights for multiple users.

KEEP IN MIND

The big bummer about the Ergo is that if you want to use it straight away, you’ll need to purchase an infant insert. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait until your baby is several months old to reach the minimum weight. You also won’t be able to position your baby facing out from your chest unless you buy their pricier style, the Four Position 360 Baby Carrier ($160).

"I can't live without my Ergo carrier."

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY

“There is a slight learning curve, but once you get past it, the Ergobaby is so easy to use and is great for traveling. We recently took it and our stroller to Taiwan for two weeks, and never once did we use the stroller. Wearing him was so convenient and helpful from the airport to the streets of Taipei!” - Julie W.

“I can’t live without my Ergo carrier. I have a big baby that is heavy to carry around, so when we go run errands, the Ergo makes it easy for me to bring him with me. Also, when fussy hour strikes in the early evening, I strap him to me in the Ergo as I do household chores and it keeps him happy.” - Virginia T.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight Limits
12-45 lbs.

Available positions for baby
Facing inward on your torso, hip, or back

Find more information on BabyList or Amazon.


WHY WE LOVE IT

The LILLE offers great value for the price when compared to similar carriers. You can use it from the get go without having to purchase a separate infant insert, your baby can be positioned a bunch of different ways, and the carrier seat adjusts in width to accommodate your child’s growth from infant to bigger baby to toddler. We’re big fans of the lumbar support pad that protects the lower back too!

KEEP IN MIND

It takes practice to figure out how to put this carrier on by yourself and switch it to the different positions.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY

“I love this carrier because you can use it from birth without having to buy a separate infant insert. Also it's really soft and light and gives much better back support than other brands. I love that my baby feels safe and secure and it's super comfortable to wear!” - M.S.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight Limits
7-45 lbs.

Available positions for baby
Facing inward or outward on your front torso; Facing inward on your hip or back

Find more information on BabyList or Amazon.


WHY WE LOVE IT

This best-of-both-worlds hybrid combines the soft, stretchy feel of a wrap with the shape of a structured carrier. The Boba comes with an integrated infant insert, so no additional purchase is necessary. It also offers sweet conveniences like a front zippered pocket for easy access to credit cards, cash and a phone as well as a shoulder strap that locks your purse or tote in place (no more sliding bags!). And, it has removable stirrups to support your baby’s legs.

KEEP IN MIND

The Boba 4G does not have a front position for baby that faces outward.

WHAT BABYLIST PARENTS HAVE TO SAY

“I love that the Boba came with a newborn insert, has foot straps to use as my little guy grows and that it's so easy to put on. It also fits both me and my husband despite our very different statures.” - K.G.

ADDITIONAL SPECS

Weight Limits
7-45 lbs.

Available positions for baby
Facing inward on your front or back

Find more information on BabyList or Amazon.


Choosing what's right for you

When choosing a baby carrier, keep a few factors in mind. The first, and most important, factor is comfort. Will the carrier be comfortable not only for your child, but also for you? You might be using it for multiple hours a day. Also, will it need to adjust to fit another caregiver? If yes, make sure that the carrier you choose can accommodate a wearer of a different size. Lastly, do you want a carrier particularly suited for the baby stage or one that will work for toddlers as well? The more your child weighs, the more back support you need and you’ll have to be sure to purchase a carrier that will accommodate a higher weight. Once you find the perfect match though, you’ll join the ranks of those who love cuddling with their baby and still being able to get things done.