To find the year’s best baby carriers, I looked at quality, versatility, ease-of-use, and functionality.
I love baby carriers (it’s the only baby item I’ve ever gotten really excited about). I’ve used many different types with my own three kids over the years. And I know that with so many options, it can be hard to choose the best baby carrier for your family.
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In this post I’ll go over my top picks for the Best Baby Carriers of 2020. In my opinion you really can’t go wrong with any carrier on this list, but there are pros and cons to each to consider when deciding what’s best for you and your baby.
Before I go into details, here are my picks:
The best baby carriers of 2020
- LILLEbaby Complete
- Ergobaby Omni 360
- Tula Free-to-Grow
- Ergobaby Original
- Baby K’tan Original
- Tula Explore
If you’re totally new to babywearing, this Babywearing for Beginner’s Guide is a good place to start to learn about your various options.
1. LILLEbaby Complete
The LILLEbaby Complete is tied for my top spot for overall best baby carrier. I didn’t discover it until my third baby, and I wish I had known about it sooner.
The LILLEbaby Complete is comfortable and cute, and it can be used from birth through toddlerhood. If you’re looking for a practical carrier that’s not hard to use and that you’ll get a lot of mileage out of, I would highly recommend this carrier!
Let’s go over some of the most important details about the LILLEbaby.
The LILLEbaby Complete has 6 carrying positions:
- Inward facing (front carry)
- Outward facing (front carry)
- Wide seat front carry (inward facing)
- Back carry
- Hip carry
- Fetal position (for tiny babies)
Even though you’ll probably have a few favorite positions and won’t necessarily use all the options, it’s nice to have versatility.
I think there’s so much to love about this carrier.
- The LILLEbaby is really simple to adjust and to put on by yourself. This is a big deal! It can be difficult to reach around to clip the neck buckle on some carriers (some are much harder than others).
- It has a built-in storage pouch large enough to hold a phone, wallet, and set of keys, as well as other important things like a diaper and wipes. When you’re out and about with a baby, having good storage is essential.
- The International Hip Dysplasia Institute recognizes the LILLEbaby as a “hip-healthy product”.
- This carrier breathes well, which can make a big difference if you’re in a warmer climate. The LILLEbaby Complete All Seasons carrier is a great choice if you want maximum flexibility for different weather conditions.
- The straps can be worn either crossed across the back or parallel.
- This carrier has a built-in hood, which is useful for sun protection and especially useful for nursing or having your baby nap on the go.
- The LILLEbaby can be used starting at about 7 pounds without an infant insert. This is nice if you just want to invest in one carrier for the long-term, and don’t want to purchase a separate infant insert.
- Initially I didn’t think the material felt quite as durable as on some of my other carriers. However, I’ve had my LILLEbaby for a year now, and it’s held up very well even after regular use. I still think the fabric on the Ergo is ultimately more durable, but I don’t anticipate it being a big issue either way.
- The rear lumbar support is a separate attachment that threads onto the waist belt, and I don’t love the way it looks. That being said, it provides good back support, and I’m getting kind of old, so…
You can go the manufacturer’s website for pricing and material options.
2. Ergo Omni 360
The Omni 360 is Ergobaby’s top of the line model (with a somewhat higher price-tag to match).
You can read my complete Ergobaby Omni 360 review here.
The Ergo Omni 360 is tied for my top pick for the best baby carrier of 2020. (I’ve gone back and forth between the LILLEbaby and the Omni, and have come to the conclusion that both are excellent, it really just comes down to personal preference).
The Omni 360 is the premiere carrier in Ergobaby’s line of (excellent) carriers. All of Ergobaby’s products are high quality, but the Omni 360 is a real standout with its versatility and comfort.
The Omni 360 is a great choice if you plan to use the carrier right from the newborn stage, and if you’d like to have a forward- facing option as your child gets bigger.
- Features great ergonomics in every carry position (which is something all Ergo carriers are known for).
- Exceptionally well-built and durable carrier.
- Includes a well-sized, detachable pocket (which you can see in the photo above – it attaches in the front, under the baby’s bum).
- Good lumbar support, and extremely comfortable in all carrying positions, even for long stretches of time.
- Waist strap is a nice size and doesn’t put extra pressure on your abdomen.
- You can use this carrier from birth without an infant insert.
The Omni 360 really is a premiere baby carrier (This would make an excellent baby shower gift).
It’s extremely versatile and can be used for newborns without the need to purchase an additional infant insert (if you do want a softer carrier for those newborn days, here are my recommendations for the best baby carriers for newborns).
The forward-facing option appeals to many parents, and Ergobaby is known for providing proper ergonomic support for your baby.
The Omni allows for the straps to criss-cross in the back, which many people (including me!) find to be comfortable.
- The body of the Ergo Omni 360 is thicker and stiffer compared to some other soft structured carriers on the market (including the Ergo Original). It’s just a trade-off you have to think about – if you want a carrier that you can use in all positions, the fabric will be a little less soft and cozy in order to accommodate those various positions.
- Although the 360 has a pouch, it’s a detachable pouch which I don’t think is as nice as having a built-in pouch.
All of Ergo’s carriers are so well-built that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend any of them. This is an excellent, high quality product, and in all the years that I’ve used Ergos, I’ve never had any issues.
3. Tula Free-To-Grow
This carrier is nicely designed, lightweight and made of 100% cotton. I find it very easy to use, and appreciate the fact that it’s not bulky or cumbersome. The carrier has a streamlined feel that makes it perfect for young babies, allowing you to hold them close. (I included the Tula on my list of Best Baby Carriers for Newborns for the cozy factor).
The Tula Free-to-Grow has 2 carrying positions:
- Front carry (facing parent)
- Back carry
Let’s look at some pros and cons.
- Durable, high-quality fabric. In addition to being durable, the fabric is also soft to the touch.
- Comes with a hood, which is useful to protect a napping baby from the sun, or if you’re trying to nurse in the carrier.
- Recognized by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a hip-healthy product.
- There are so many adorable Tula carriers available, and I’m not gonna lie, this is a big selling point! I had trouble choosing my favorite. If you’re looking for a stylish and well-made carrier, the Tula is a compelling choice.
- Works for newborns without the use of an infant insert.
- The pocket is on the small side, and secures shut with velcro rather than a zipper. I’d prefer a slightly larger pocket and a zipper, since I’m often carrying things I can’t afford to drop!
- Only offers two carrying positions, which may feel limited to some people.
4. Ergo Original Baby Carrier
The Ergo Original is the first soft structured baby carrier I ever owned, and 7 years (and numerous other carriers later) it’s still one of my favorites.
The Ergo Original is, like all of Ergobaby’s carriers, well-built and ergonomically friendly. What I especially like about the original carrier is the soft, cuddly fabric. This softness takes a bit of a hit in the higher end models (like the Omni 360).
The carriers which offer more carrying positions need to have a somewhat more rigid and bulkier fabric, in order to accommodate the various carrying positions. This results in a bit of a trade off – you’ll sacrifice some coziness for versatility.
I included the Ergo Original in my Top 5 of 2020 list because many parents will find that you don’t necessarily need 6 carrying positions (this is a personal preference thing). If you are only planning to use a standard inward facing front carry, hip carry and a back-carrying position, the Ergo Original makes an excellent choice.
- Exceptionally nice fabric – lasts for years of heavy use and only gets cozier over time. The more you wash it, the cozier it gets!
- Comes with an extra large zippered storage pouch (this is the best pouch of any carrier I’ve ever used).
- Great for the back-carry position, especially for slightly older babies.
- Comes with a napping hood.
- Limited carrying options (3 options as opposed to some carriers which offer 4-6 carrying positions). This won’t necessarily matter to everyone, as lots of people never use that many positions!
- Requires an additional infant insert for newborn babies.
5. Baby K’tan Original
The Baby K’tan Original baby carrier makes my list for a few reasons. It’s extremely easy to use for a wrap (a lot of wraps can feel very complicated and overwhelming for new parents). The K’tan is super snuggly, which is a huge plus for newborn babies, especially during those first few months where you really want to be cuddling.
- Easy to use for a wrap – you can get the benefits of wrapping, but without the long swatches of fabric or complicated techniques needed for using more traditional wraps.
- Lower price point than the other carriers on the list.
- Very snuggly feeling for those first months with a newborn.
- The comfort level goes down with older/larger babies. This carrier really shines with small and newborn babies, but there’s a good chance you’d want to get a second carrier for when your baby is older.
- Less versatility than with traditional wraps, which offer lots of different carrying positions and wrap techniques.
- May be hard to share with a partner who is a very different body size. The Baby K’tan comes in sizes (Small, Medium, Large, etc.) so it might not be practical to share with a partner. Other carriers on this list are adjustable and therefore easier to share.
6. Tula Explore
The Tula Explore is a very highly rated and versatile carrier, and it offers a forward facing option for older babies who want to get a good look around. This is a more versatile option than the Free-to-Grow (adjustable panels make this versatility possible)!
The Tula Explore (like the Free-to-Grow) has a more streamlined and less bulky feel to it than the Ergo Omni 360 and the LILLEbaby Complete.
- The Explore is a good option for plus-sized parents, as it has an extended adjustment range at the waist and shoulder.
- Tula is known for having adorable fabrics to choose from, so if style is high on your list, this might be the brand for you.
- Storage pocket on the front waist isn’t as useful as the pockets on the LILLEbaby Complete or Ergo Omni 360.
- Not quite as comfortable as the LILLEbaby or Omni for extended use.
Finding a comfortable baby carrier can really be a game changer as a new parent. It can make life so much easier when you find that perfect fit for you and your baby.
I hope you’ll find the perfect baby carrier on this list!
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