The Best Infant Carriers (Review and Buying Guide) in 2021

There are a lot of benefits to using an infant carrier for your baby. They allow you to wear the...

Best Choice
Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier
Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier
Best Value
Evenflo Infant Soft Carrier
Evenflo Infant Soft Carrier
Premium Pick
Osprey Poco Child Carrier
Osprey Poco Child Carrier

There are a lot of benefits to using an infant carrier for your baby. They allow you to wear the baby close to you while keeping both hands free to complete tasks, like grocery shopping, cleaning, folding laundry, walking your dog, and much more. They’re also an excellent space-saving option over lugging a bulky stroller all over the place. If you have to ride a bus or subway, having your baby in an infant carrier is safe and won’t annoy you or your fellow travelers by trying to cram a stroller onto a crowded space. 

Wearing an infant carrier and keeping your child close to your face and body can also help soothe them and allow them to feel more secure being able to see you and touch you. Whatever your reason for wanting an infant carrier, choosing one can become an overwhelming task with all the options on the market. Not to worry — Car Bibles has got you covered with our informative and educational product reviews and buying guide. 

The Best Infant Carriers

When it comes to versatility, high-quality construction, and innovative design, it’s hard to beat the Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier. That’s why we made it our top pick. This infant carrier can be used in an impressive six different configurations that will allow your child to grow with the carrier and you to wear the carrier in 360-degree settings. A zip-down front lets you control your baby’s temperature by revealing smartly designed breathable mesh material.

A large storage pocket, multi-position straps, removable sleeping hood, and extendable torso are just a few of the features of this carrier that set it apart from the competition. It also includes adjustable side panels that can narrow or widen the seat of the carrier to accommodate your baby’s changing hip growth and positions. Durable clips ensure security and safety for your baby and a substantial lumbar support belt makes this one of the more comfortable, long-wearing infant carriers available. Our only issue with this carrier is that it isn’t designed to be comfortably used by more petite moms and it is a little pricier than some others on the market. It’s high-quality, well thought out design more than makes up for that though.

Key Features
  • Features six different carrying configurations
  • Can support babies from 7-45 pounds
  • Multiple strap configurations
  • Adjustable seat width
Specification
  • Brand Lillebaby
  • Model Airflow
  • Weight 2.25 pounds
PROS

Substantial lumbar support

Suitable for larger babies

Mesh fabric is machine washable and easy to clean

CONS

Somewhat pricey

Complicated to figure out how to use initially

Not a great fit for more petite frames

If you’re looking for a reliable, budget-friendly option, consider the Evenflo Infant Soft Carrier. It’s offered at one of the lowest prices on the market, but that doesn’t mean you sacrifice quality for cost. This secure, locking infant carrier is fully machine washable and features two carrying positions to be able to accommodate babies between 7-26 pounds.

It’s got a well-padded headrest to protect your infant’s neck until they’re strong enough to hold their heads up independently. That headrest also folds down to let your baby see out and about in the forward-facing position once they’re bigger. The generously padded shoulder straps feature a patented cross-strapping design to add more support and comfort in the upper back and neck for long-term wearing. Secure side entry buckles click to let you know they’re secure and are great for when you need to put the carrier on in a hurry. One thing that could improve this carrier would be the addition of lower back support or waist harness to help take the pressure off the shoulders during use.

Key Features
  • Two-position buckled carrier
  • Easy-clean machine washable fabric
  • Can support babies from 7-26 pounds
  • Locking buckles that click when secure
Specification
  • Brand Evenflo
  • Model 08411437
  • Weight 8 ounces
PROS

Easy to use

Quick to put on and off

Very affordable

CONS

Limited color options

Supports a more limited weight range than some other models

No waist or lower back support

If you want the top-of-the-line, do-it-all infant carrier, the Osprey Poco Child Carrier is the choice for you. This is a ruggedly designed infant carrier that combines premium quality material construction with innovative design techniques to create an ergonomic, highly functional baby carrier that can support between 16 and 48.5 pounds, making it one of the only carriers on our list that is suitable for larger babies.

A unique double halo harness with front-facing arm loops allows you to easily and safely buckle your baby into place and ensures they will be comfortable during long treks. Ventilated side panels, a mesh breathable back panel, and a built-in UPF 50 UV sunshade provide comfortable airflow and protection for your baby. It also comes with a cleverly designed removable and washable drool pad. Multiple storage pockets for gear and a handy support base are great added touches. Keep in mind that this is a bulkier, more substantial carrier that’s designed for outdoor use and might not be your best choice for around the house wear.

Key Features
  • Lightweight folding aluminum frame
  • Durable, breathable high-tech material construction
  • Built-in sunshade for UV protection
  • Adjustable torso is capable of supporting 16-48.5 pounds
Specification
  • Brand Osprey Packs
  • Model 1002POCO
  • Weight 8 pounds
PROS

Supports larger babies

Lots of gear and storage pockets for accessories

Adjustable and removable stirrups support baby’s feet

CONS

Pricey

Bulky, not suitable for around the house use

Heavier than other models

If a more utilitarian infant carrier that focuses on functionality as well as practicality, check out the TBG Tactical Baby Carrier. This is a well-designed, military-inspired carrier that is made from rugged and tough 600D waterproof polyester and is MOLLE-compatible that works well with TBG accessories and carabiners, but also with other brands of tactical gear.

This carrier features a removable, washable inner liner and can be worn either forward or backward facing. It will support babies between 8-33 pounds, making it a versatile and long-lasting option. It’s available in four different tactical colors and patterns. It’s very quick and easy to put on and take off. While it is designed to support healthy hip growth and function, the material is not as soft or breathable as some other options on the market. It’s also lacking a lower back or waist support to help take the pressure off the shoulders during use.

Key Features
  • Rugged 600D waterproof material
  • Dual-facing construction
  • Can support babies between 8-33 pounds
  • MOLLE-compatible for adding accessories, gear, and patches
Specification
  • Brand TBG Tactical
  • Weight 1.5 pounds
PROS

Easy and quick to take on and off

Substantial buckles and side straps

Unique design and construction is more utilitarian than many models

CONS

Material is heavy-duty and not very breathable

Material is not as soft and cozy as some other models

No lower back or waist support

The YOU+ME 4-in-1 Ergonomic Baby Carrier deserves an honorable mention for being a well-designed, comfortable, and affordable infant carrier that is suitable for babies weighing 8-32 pounds. Constructed with a 3D cool mesh lining, this soft and cozy carrier promotes soothing and cooling airflow while keeping your baby supported and safe. It’s fully machine washable for easy cleaning.

This versatile carrier gives you four carrying options. Infant mode provides a small, supportive seat that faces mom or dad for good head and neck support. Forward-facing mode for babies 6 months or older lets your baby see out and about. Enlarge the seat size as your baby grows to continue to support their lower back and hips. And lastly, use the carrier as a backpack to keep your front free and unobstructed. We love the lower back support of this carrier, but there is some concern over the long-term durability of the materials and buckles.

Key Features
  • Breathable mesh fabric provides cooling airflow
  • Carrier features four position options
  • Machine wash and dry
  • Can support babies between 8 and 32 pounds
Specification
  • Brand You + Me
  • Weight 1.01 pounds
PROS

Versatile carrier good for many situations

Adjustable seat can grow with your baby

The supportive hip belt transfers some pressure off the shoulders

CONS

Limited color options

Some concern over long-term material durability

Some complaints that it isn’t the best carrier for bigger babies

Our top pick for the best sling-style infant carrier when it comes to comfort, functionality, and price is hands down the CuddleBug Baby Wrap Sling and Carrier. This is a versatile and cozy carrier that is free of any cumbersome buckle or ring hardware and is fully machine washable for added convenience.

It’s made from a premium blend of soft and luxurious french terry cotton and spandex that provides just the right amount of stretch to keep your baby safe and snug. This well-designed wrap can be configured in nine different ways to accommodate different body sizes and growing babies. Even better, you can easily tie the wrap to act as a privacy nursing sling or nursing cover if you prefer. We love that a portion of your purchase goes to charity. One drawback seems to be that for more petite wearers, there is quite a lot of material that tends to be rather bulky around the waist during use.

Key Features
  • Five yards of terry cotton/spandex blend material
  • Can be wrapped in nine different configurations
  • Supports babies from 2-35 pounds
  • Machine washable
Specification
  • Brand CuddleBug
  • Model CB-BW
  • Weight 1.28 pounds
PROS

Versatile carrier can also be used as a nursing cover

Super compact and lightweight

Allows you to keep both hands free

CONS

Can be too much material for smaller users

Limited color options

No pockets for carrying accessories

Best Infant Carriers Buying Guide & FAQ

With infant carriers available in a wide range of materials, sizes, configurations, and purposes, it can be very difficult to figure out which one is the best for you. Different parents have vastly different needs and motivations for purchasing an infant carrier in the first place.

If you’re looking for a carrier that’s going to allow you to comfortably take your baby around the house while you do chores, or walk through the grocery store, you’re probably not going to want or need a carrier that is more suited to hiking or outdoor adventuring with your baby. 

The following buying guide will help you narrow down the type of carrier that is best suited for your needs and teach you what key features and to look for to ensure you’re getting a reliable and dependable carrier that you will want to use. 

You can also check out our favorite infant car seats.

Why Do You Need an Infant Carrier?

There are numerous benefits to owning an infant carrier, one of which is portability. Carriers are much less bulky and cumbersome than portable car seats and strollers. They allow for easier travel, whether it’s to the park, grocery store, car trip, or on a plane ride. 

Father carrying a baby in the infant carrier
Infant carriers allow you to wear the baby close to you while keeping both hands free to complete tasks.

Many experts agree that using an infant carrier promotes a better parent/child connection and a feeling of security and safety for your baby. Some studies show that regular use of an infant carrier can decrease the incidence or severity of postpartum depression in parents.

Another great reason to invest in a good-quality infant carrier is that it allows you to keep your baby close to you while still keeping both hands free to do other things. The convenience of being able to bond with your baby while you work, exercise, read a book, hold your other child’s hand, or make lunch is one of the top reasons people want to use an infant carrier. 

  • Infant carriers not only promote bonding between mother and baby but also father and baby, sibling and baby, really anyone who is capable of wearing the carrier.
  • Infant carriers are great space-saving alternatives to bulky and cumbersome strollers, especially for those who may have limited storage space at home.
  • Keeping your baby close to you by wearing an infant carrier may also deter strangers from touching your baby as much as if they were in a stroller or car seat
  • With a little practice, using an infant carrier can be a convenient and discreet way to nurse your baby.

Learn more about the best infant car seat covers here.

The Most Common Types of Infant Carriers

As you’ve probably noticed, there are several different types of infant carriers available. Which one is right for you will mostly depend on what your primary purpose is for wanting an infant carrier. Who knows? Maybe you’ll realize that you could benefit from having more than one type of carrier on hand to solve different needs.

Soft Wrap

This type of infant carrier is the simplest in design and consists of a single piece of long cloth that is usually made from cotton with a blend of Lycra or spandex to make it stretchy.

It’s worn simply by wrapping it around your body in various configurations and then placing your baby inside it. This can be a bit of a learning process, so it’s a good idea to watch a couple of online video tutorials and practice with a doll beforehand.

These wraps are super soft and very compact and lightweight, making them a great option for on-the-go parents that don’t want to be laden with a ton of baby accessories. Due to their lack of stellar support, they’re usually only suitable for younger infants. For larger babies, a woven wrap is made from stiffer and more substantial material, with the same design methods.

Ring Sling

This type of infant carrier is made from sturdy, yet pliable woven fabric that is designed to be worn on one shoulder. Once you place it over the shoulder of choice, you create a pocket near your abdomen that you place the baby inside. You then secure the fabric around your waist using the ring to keep it secure.

These infant carriers, like the soft and woven wraps, are very compact and portable. Some people do complain that the pressure on a single shoulder can become uncomfortable over time, especially as your baby continues to grow.

Meh Dai

Pronounced “May Tie”, this type of carrier originated in Asia so women could more easily work outdoors with their babies close by. It consists of a panel of fabric with two straps that go around the shoulders and two straps that go around the waist.

This type of infant carrier can be worn on the front, back, or hip, making it a very versatile carrier that is suited for newborns to toddlers. 

Soft-Structured Carrier

This is a more complexly designed, yet easy to use infant carrier that can be made from various durable, yet soft materials with a series of straps, buckles, and padding incorporated into it. This is a bit more cumbersome in size than the aforementioned types of carriers, but suits a wider range of baby sizes and weights, allowing you to use it longer. Some brands can even accommodate babies up to 50-60 pounds.

This type of carrier can typically be worn in several different configurations, with your baby on the front of your body facing you, facing away from you, or on your back facing you. Some models also allow for hip placement carrying. If you’re planning to use this with a brand new infant, be sure to check beforehand if you need to purchase a specially designed insert for proper support of your newborn.

Hiking Carriers

This type of infant carrier is the most cumbersome and substantially built type of infant carrier. It usually incorporates a solid frame with a comfortable waterproof material that you wear on your back like a backpack while hiking or adventuring outdoors.

This type of carrier is still portable, but less so than the others. It often incorporates design accessories like sunshades, pockets, gear carriers, and other things to make your hike with your baby or toddler easier. These carriers can also support much heavier weights than most others.

Feel free to read all about our top tips for transitioning from infant to convertible car seats.

Features to Look for in Infant Carriers

With the plethora of options available on the market for infant carriers, it’s imperative to know that you’re getting one that is going to be super secure and comfortable, not only for your baby but for you too. Investing in an infant carrier that isn’t comfortable for you greatly decreases the chances that you will use it. So one of the first things you will want to look for is long-term wearability. Trying on various models and reading online user reviews will greatly help with this. Also, be sure to check what the uppermost weight rating is for the carrier. Some are better for smaller, younger babies, while others will accommodate babies as they grow larger.

The other feature to look for in a high-quality infant carrier is approved by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute. Hip dysplasia is a medical condition in infants and babies in which the ball and socket joint of the hip does not fully form correctly and can lead to many mobility issues in children. An infant carrier that’s been approved by the IHDI has passed rigorous testing and assessment that guarantees that the model of carrier will allow your baby’s hips and legs to sit properly to promote proper growth while in the carrier.

Check our top picks of car seat toys

Family is walking on the beach
Infant carriers not only promote bonding between mother and baby but also father and baby, sibling and baby, really anyone who is capable of wearing the carrier

Best Infant Carriers FAQ:

Do you still have a few unanswered questions surrounding which infant carrier is best for you? We’ve taken some of the most frequently asked questions on the internet and have come up with our most thorough answers for you.

Q: Which baby carrier is best for newborns?

While there doesn’t seem to be one specific brand of baby carrier that is best for a newborn, the best carriers will provide proper neck and posture support for a newborn baby that cannot hold its head up on its own. The best carriers keep the baby’s chin off of his or her chest and swaddle the baby comfortably. Many people prefer slings or wraps as their chosen form of newborn carrier.

Q: At what age should a baby be carried with a baby carrier?

If you have a carrier that is approved for newborn use, it will be configured to properly situate a baby that cannot yet hold its head up independently. Some carriers are suitable for use only after a child can lift its head on its own. Check the manufacturer’s recommendations before putting your baby in a carrier that might not be approved for its age or size, since many carriers are created differently.

Q: Are carriers safe for newborns?

Infant carriers that have made it to the marketplace have had to pass thorough and rigorous testing and compliance standards that make them safe for newborns. To that end, be sure to check to see that your chosen carrier has been approved for newborn use, as not all carriers are designed to support the needs of a newborn baby.

Our Top Pick

After reading through our thorough review and buying guide, it’s easy to see why our top pick is the Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier. When it comes to versatility, high-quality construction, and innovative design, it’s hard to beat it. This infant carrier can be used in an impressive six different configurations that will allow your child to grow with the carrier and you to wear the carrier in 360-degree settings. A zip-down front lets you control your baby’s temperature by revealing smartly designed breathable mesh material.

Final Thoughts

Whether you go with the  Lillebaby The Complete Airflow 360° Ergonomic Six-Position Baby & Child Carrier, the Evenflo Infant Soft Carrier, or one of our other stellar recommendations, one thing is certain: having a well-designed, reliable infant carrier can be a game-changer for many parents who seek freedom of movement, portability, and bonding time with their babies. Do you have a go-to infant carrier that didn’t make our list? Let us know in the comments.

Sources:

  1. Baby Sling – Wikipedia