If you’re having a hard time choosing between a Tula vs. Ergo, you’re not the only one.
Today I’m going to do a head-to-head comparison of two of the most popular baby carriers – the Tula Free-to-Grow and Ergobaby’s Omni 360 – to help you decide which is the better overall baby carrier.
I’ll admit that I’m kind of a baby carrier junkie. It’s the one type of baby item that I’ve always gotten excited about – I own lots of carriers, more than my husband thinks is *strictly necessary* (he may have a point, since the other day a bunch of them fell out of my closet in an avalanche, which did strike me as a bit over the top).
In my defense I score some of them secondhand. And also, I want to review them thoroughly for this blog. That’s my job! I’m kind of a professional baby carrier owner, if you want to get technical here.
Before I go into the details, I’ll cut to the chase: the Omni 360 is the clear winner here.
As much as I love the look of the Tula, and was super excited to get one when I had my daughter – I prefer my Omni. It’s the less flashy of the carriers, but has more going for it overall, in my opinion.
In a Tula vs. Ergo Omni match-up my money is on the Ergo Omni 360.
That being said, there are pros and cons to each of these soft structured carriers (as there are to all of the seven types of baby carriers, which range from soft structured carriers to slings to wraps).
*If you’re totally new to baby wearing, my Baby Wearing for Beginner’s Guide can help you figure out how to choose (and use!) various types of carriers.
First, lets take a look at the Tula Free-to-Grow.
Why consider the Tula Free to Grow?
The Tula Free-to-Grow may be a good choice if you’re looking for a streamlined, light-weight carrier that works really well for young babies.
The Tula is a durable, well-made carrier that’s 100% cotton. It’s easy to use, and I like that it’s not bulky. The body of the carrier has a streamlined feel that makes it great for use with young babies. I included the Tula on my list of Best Baby Carriers for Newborns for just that reason!
The Tula Free-to-Grow has 2 carrying positions:
- Front carry (facing parent)
- Back carry
Let’s take a look at some pros and cons.
- The fabric is durable and high quality. And despite its durability, it’s also soft to the touch.
- The Tula comes with a hood, which is useful to protect a napping baby from the sun, as well as for nursing on the fly.
- The Free-to-Grow has been acknowledged by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a hip-healthy product.
- There are lots of adorable patterns to choose from! The Tula’s cute factor is a major selling point. If you’re looking for a stylish and well-made carrier, the Tula is a good choice.
- It works for newborns without the need for an infant insert! This is a big advantage if you only want one carrier to use from infancy through toddlerhood.
- The waist belt is not too wide, which I find to be an issue with other carriers. I’m 5’2″, so for me a giant waist band is a little much. For a taller person this probably wouldn’t matter so much. Although I can’t say for sure, seeing as I myself have never been any taller than I am today.
- The pocket is small, and secures shut with velcro rather than a zipper. I’d prefer a larger pocket and a zipper, since I’m often carrying things I can’t afford to drop, like my credit card, keys, and cell phone.
- The Free to Grow only offers two carrying positions, which is a bit limiting. I don’t personally use the forward-facing out position or the side carry too often, so to me this isn’t a big deal. But if you want those choices, you won’t find them with the Tula Free-to-Grow.
Ergo Omni 360
The Omni 360 is Ergobaby’s top of the line model (with a somewhat higher price-tag to match).
Why consider the Omni 360?
The Omni 360 may be a good 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. This is an excellent long-term carrier for your child – it will hold up even with years of daily use.
The Ergo Omni 360 has 4 Carrying Positions
- Front facing in
- Front facing out
- Hip carry
- Back carry
- The Omni 360 has great ergonomics in every position, which is not surprising since this is something that all Ergo carriers are known for! I mean, it’s right in the name….
- The Omni is really well made and durable – as soon as you feel the fabric you’ll be able to tell that you’re dealing with a quality product.
- The carrier includes a large detachable pocket. This is crucial! I feel like good pockets should be mandatory in all carriers. I mean, where do people put their things?! Half the joy in using a baby carrier is that you get to be “hands-free.” You need a good pocket for that.
- This is an extremely comfortable carrier in all of the various carrying positions. This is partly due to the good lumbar support, and partly due to the nicely cushioned straps. It’s probably also due to other technical details that I don’t understand.
- The waist strap is a nice size and doesn’t put extra pressure on your mid-section.
- In related news, the Omni 360 has been acknowledged by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute as a hip-healthy product.
- The Omni can be used from birth without an infant insert, which is a major plus. Infant inserts are bulky, and hot in the summer. Plus, nobody wants to buy an extra infant insert when you’re already buying a carrier! (If you happen to be the exception to that proclamation, feel free to message me and explain yourself).
- The Omni allows for the straps to criss-cross in the back, which many people (including me!) find to be comfortable.
As you can see, the Omni 360 has a lot going for it. It’s extremely versatile!
- Although the Omni 360 has a pocket, it’s a detachable pocket, which I don’t personally like as much as having a built-in pocket.
- Like other Ergos, the fabric selection is good but somewhat limited. There are pretty colors to choose from, but if you’re wanting a really fancy pattern you might not get what you’re hoping for.
- The fabric is stiffer than the fabric used in the Tula. This is a necessary evil if you want a carrier that offers multiple carrying positions, so you’ll have to decide what your priority is here. If you want a softer, more pliable carrier for those newborn days, here are my recommendations for the best baby carriers for newborns.
Despite a few minor cons, this is an excellent, high quality product, and in all the years that I’ve used Ergos I’ve always been very happy. And the Omni 360 is hands-down the best Ergo carrier I’ve used.
Tula vs. Ergo Omni 360: The Verdict
Here’s a quick side-by-side comparison chart, in case you find charts handy!
Tula Free to Grow
Small Pocket with Velcro
Large detachable storage pocket w/ zipper
7-45 lbs. (no infant insert needed)
7-45 lbs. (no infant insert needed)
Adjustable waistband with buckle
Lumbar support waistband
No option to criss cross shoulder straps in back
Option to criss cross shoulder straps in back
Lots of cute fabric options
Nice, but more limited, fabric options
In a head-to-head battle of Tula vs. Ergo, my vote goes to the Ergo Omni 360.
I genuinely like both carriers, and I could make a case for either.
If you want the selection of cute patterns that Tula offers, I say go for it! It’s a great carrier and I really like mine. I also think this carrier is ideal for newborns; it’s not bulky, easy to use, and cozy.
But at the end of the day, the Omni 360 is more versatile, really well-made, and has a significantly better pocket, which to me really is a big deal. I can wear my Omni 360 for long periods of time without my back getting sore, and my toddler seems very content and comfortable the entire time.
The Omni 360 is a well-loved “go-to” carrier for me these days, and I wholeheartedly recommend it.
Here are some other baby carrier head-to-head comparisons you might be interested in:
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