Best Cheap Baby Carriers
Published on By Raechel Conover
BabyBjorn Original Review
From $54 Best
Users love the ease of use and comfort of the BabyBjorn Original. Their favorite part: this cheap baby carrier can be unbuttoned from the front to remove a sleeping baby without waking her/him. A front carrier that holds babies weighing between eight and 25 pounds, you can carry the baby facing you or the world.
The best, awesome, favorite and worth every penny are just some of the great user comments from Amazon of the BabyBjorn Original. Users posting BabyBjorn Original reviews at Babies R Us agree saying that it is easy to use, comfortable for both wearer and baby, and it's sturdy. Target users also rate the low cost baby carrier extremely high saying it's a great quality baby carrier that is easy to adjust and easy to use.
As a front carrier designed for babies weighing in between eight pounds (21 inches long) up to 25 pounds, the BabyBjorn Original (starting at $54, Amazon) is one of the cheapest in this baby carrier manufacturer's line. The inexpensive baby carrier is completely adjustable for the wearer with adjustable straps and it's adjustable for the baby with an adjustable seat and buckle. Infants can be worn facing in while older babies can be worn facing out. It's made from 100% Cotton/Oeko Tex Class 1 Certified material and has a head rest to support a baby's head, but folds down once they no longer need the support. Perhaps the best feature of the BabyBjorn Original is its front buttoning system. This allows the baby to be removed from the carrier seamlessly and transferred to a crib without him being woken up.
We love this cheap baby carrier. As every parent knows, don't wake a sleeping baby and the front button system on this carrier is very handy for just that. If that's not enough, the user reviews have convinced us that this carrier is the best of the best - maybe even better than some pricier versions. The multiple reports of quality, durability, ease of use, comfort and adjustability all make us crazy about this low cost baby carrier.
Moby Wrap Original Review
From $40 Good
Many users report they can wear the Moby Wrap Original for hours, citing its comfort for parent and child. Designed for preemie babies up to toddlers weighing 35 pounds, the child can be carried on your side, back, or front. Made from 100 percent cotton, the Moby Wrap also can be used as a pillow or blanket.
Users at Babies R Us really like the Moby Wrap Original with one Moby Wrap Original review saying it is easy to use once you get the hang of it and it is really comfortable for wearer and baby. Comfort is a big selling point of the cheap baby carrier for users at The Sling Station who call the carrier comfortable, soft, super useful and awesome.
The Moby Wrap Original (starting at $40, Amazon) is a sling style baby carrier that is suitable for preemies up to babies weighing 35 pounds. Because it is basically just one long piece of fabric, it can be worn many different ways making it extremely adjustable and giving the wearer many wearing options such as on the front, on the back, sideways and on the hip. Additionally, the baby can face in or out. The fabric is 100 percent cotton and it can be used as a pillow or blanket when not in use as a carrier.
We really like the multitude of options for both the wearer and the baby in this cheap baby carrier. That coupled with users' many positive comments on comfort, we really think this carrier is a great price and worth a try.
Where to buy
Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling Review
From $48 Good
A sling for babies weighing up to 45 pounds, the Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling wins applause because it's easy to use and gives privacy while nursing; the baby is carried in front. This model is made of breathable fabric and has pockets for keys and a cell phone.
One user at Cotton Babies says in a Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling review that it is a lifesaver, great for wearing it around the house and to run errands in. Other users on the site also really like this sling saying that it is very easy to use and convenient to breastfeed in. Baby wearers at Attached to Baby also like this low cost baby carrier saying the padded shoulder is very comfortable and soft, breathable fabric gets even softer with use.
A purely sling style baby carrier, the Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling (starting at $48, Amazon) can only be worn in the sling style or on the hip and the baby must be laid down or face in. It can hold babies up to 35 pounds and the ring on the shoulder makes it adjustable. The extra fabric from the ring can be used to cover mom and baby while breastfeeding. The material used is a breathable, woven fabric and the carrier has a pocket for keys and a cell phone. Although it is adjustable, it can be purchased in different sizes to accommodate different wearers.
We really like the padding in this sling and the fact that the extra fabric acts as a cover for breast feeding. How convenient! User reviews are great making us even more convinced that this sling is a good choice in cheap baby carriers.
Where to buy
Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier Review
From $28 Think Twice
Designed as a front carrier that can convert to a back carrier, the Infantino Front 2 Back is dinged by many users who say it's uncomfortable, hard to use, and suffers from durability issues. It's made with ventilated fabric, has memory foam straps, a pocket for keys, and a bib that folds down.
Users at Amazon are not big fans of the Infantino Front 2 back Rider Baby Carrier saying that it is extremely hard to get on and off by yourself, the straps are complicated and the clips come undone making it unsafe to carry your baby in. The same complaints are echoed at Babies R Us Infantino Front 2 Back reviews where users also comment that the carrier is extremely uncomfortable especially for breastfeeding moms with a strap cutting across the chest area. It is reported that the lumbar support is also useless and does nothing to make this low cost baby carrier comfortable.
The Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier (starting at $28, Amazon) is designed to be a front and a back carrier, while the baby can ride facing in or facing out. It is made out of BreatheMesh ventilated fabric and accommodates babies weighing eight to 32 pounds. It comes with a lot of extras such as a bib that folds and snaps down, pockets for keys and such, a lumbar support system and memory foam in the straps for added comfort to the wearer.
Despite the low cost and the many extras with this carrier the user reviews scare us. Not only do users report that this cheap baby carrier is not comfortable, but some users worry about the actual safety of the product to the baby since the clips seem to come easily undone. Our bottom line - stay away from this budget baby carrier.
Where to buy
One must-have item in your arsenal of baby gear is a cheap baby carrier. Baby carriers come in several styles, including cheap baby slings, cheap front carriers, and not-so-cheap backpack carriers. Each type of discount baby carrier frees up your hands, which means you can work, run errands, and do household chores with your baby as close as could be. Experts at The Cradle also note that discount baby carriers are soothing for infants, provide stimulation, and enhance mental development.
Cheap Baby Carriers Buying Guide
Obviously, personal preferences are critical when deciding which type of cheap baby carrier to buy. But several other factors demand consideration. One is your child's size. Some discount baby carriers are best suited for infants while others work well for babies at least six months old. You'll also want a carrier that can be tweaked for fit and comfort. Most cheap baby carriers can be adjusted for the baby and the wearer to some degree, although some can't be adjusted but do come in different sizes for different-sized adults. Then there's the position in which the baby is carried. Some discount baby carriers are fixed in one position for both wearer and baby, while others allow some choice. Fabric type is also important to check out, as are convenient extras like pockets, or the ability to use the baby carrier as a pillow or blanket.
Prices at the high end of the baby carriers spectrum range upwards from $150, but cheap baby carriers cost between $25 and $65. Baby carrier slings are cheapest because there's less to them. They're one big piece of cloth with few frills, and the design somewhat limits your range of activities; for example, experts recommend against going on long hikes or bouncing around while holding a baby in a sling. Front baby carriers and backpack baby carriers cost more than slings but they're generally more comfortable and easier to use. Cheap front baby carriers have a soft structure comprised of pads, straps, and a seating area for the baby. Backpack baby carriers have a frame structure that supports the seating area, shoulder and waist straps for the adult, storage compartments, and often a harness and a protective canopy for the child; most backpack baby carriers are beyond the Cheapism niche. In general, pricey baby carriers offer more in the way of comfort padding, support for the adult's lumbar region, a design/structure that can hold more weight, and convenience features like a zip-off diaper pad or fanny pack.
The best cheap baby carrier slings that we found are the Moby Wrap Original (starting at $40) and the Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling (starting at $48), which stand out for their ease of use and versatility. Our research indicates that the best cheap front baby carrier is the BabyBjorn Original (starting at $54) for its efficient, convenient, and adjustable design. The Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier (starting at $28) is an unusually cheap baby carrier that looks good on paper -- it can be worn as a cheap front baby carrier or cheap backpack baby carrier, it's made of breathable fabric, and it has memory foam straps -- but consumers pan the build quality and say it's not user-friendly. True backpack baby carriers with a frame support are not cheap, although the Chicco Smart Support Backpack (starting at $85) comes close, and its features and performance are good enough that it's worth mentioning here.
Safety is obviously critical when carrying a baby in a carrier of any price or style. Experts at BabyWearing International and the Consumer Product Safety Commission recommend the following: make sure the baby's chin isn't tucked into his/her chest when in a sling to prevent suffocation; don't let anything block the baby's face; situate the baby so his/her back is straight and supported; keep your movements steady and even when wearing a baby carrier; and monitor the child at all times.
There are three basic types of baby carriers, each letting you carry the child in one or more ways. Your choice of baby carrier will depend on your comfort and preferences and those of the child. Other features to note as you search for a best cheap baby carrier include specifications for the child's size and weight, how adjustable the baby carrier is, the fabric it's made of, and the extras it offers.
Slings vs. Wraps.Slung over one shoulder and around the opposite side of your waist, slings are the simplest and cheapest baby carriers. They let you carry a baby in several ways, be it the cradle position, facing forward, or on your hip. Cheap slings, like the Hotslings Baby Carrier (starting at $42), may be one piece of fabric sewn together or have a ring at the shoulder through which extra fabric is looped and secured, as in the Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling. Some baby carrier slings feature padding in the shoulder area and some don't. Others have extra fabric to provide a cover for nursing, and some have pockets to hold small items like keys or a pacifier.
A baby carrier wrap, like the Moby Wrap Original, is one long piece of fabric that can be tied in various ways, either over one or both shoulders. One advantage of a discount baby carrier wrap is that it can double as a blanket or pillow when not worn as a carrier. The disadvantage of a wrap is the lack of padding or pockets.
Front Baby Carriers.Moving up a step in price and construction gets us to cheap front baby carriers, like the BabyBjorn Original or its upscale sibling, the BabyBjorn Baby Carrier Synergy (starting at $126). Cheap front baby carriers have a soft structure and are worn on the front of your body; they have two straps, one for each arm to evenly distribute the child's weight, and they tie or clip in the back or sides. Newborns can face in towards your chest, and when they develop more neck support, they can be carried facing out.
Backpack Baby Carriers.These baby carriers have a frame support system and a built-in seat for the child, which positions him/her facing forward and high on your back. They're sturdy and rarely cheap. Backpack baby carriers like the Kelty FC 3.0 Child Carrier (starting at $200) are chock full of comfort and safety features that range from a five-point harness to secure the child and lumbar support and well-padded and adjustable straps for the adult to a kickstand for easy loading and unloading, a sun/rain hood for the passenger, and storage pockets. The Chicco Smart Support Backpack (starting at $85) is the cheapest good baby carrier backpack that we found. Like the pricey backpack baby carriers, it comes with a kickstand, a hood, and pockets, but is lacking in some comfort features. If you want the flexibility of a baby carrier that serves as a front or a backpack baby carrier, you can opt for a combination. The Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier has a soft structure that lets you carry the child on your back facing front, or on your chest facing in or out; it features memory foam straps, lumbar support, and mesh panels. The Beco Butterfly II Baby Carrier (starting at $139) is a high-end front/backpack model that boasts more in the way of comfort and convenience for wearer and passenger.
Baby Size.Some baby carriers are better for newborns and others are better for older and stronger children; as your child grows, you may need a different type of carrier. The experts at BabyCenter say slings are suitable for newborns and until the child is a year old; front carriers are designed for newborns and children weighing up to about 30 pounds; and backpacks are appropriate for children who can sit by themselves (generally at about six months) and until the child is three years old or weighs 40 pounds. (Note that some pricey and heavy-duty backpack carriers can hold children up to about 50 pounds.) These are just guidelines, however, and each baby carrier has its own specifications for weight and height. The BabyBjorn Original, a cheap front baby carrier, is meant for infants weighing between eight and 25 pounds and measuring at least 21 inches long. The Moby Wrap Original and the Maya Wrap Sling work for infants and children up to 35 pounds; the Moby Wrap Original can also hold preemie-sized babies. The Infantino Front 2 Back carries babies weighing between eight pounds and 32 pounds, and 40 pounds is the cutoff for the Chicco Smart Support Backpack.
Adjustability.The best cheap baby carriers can be adjusted to meet the parent's and child's comfort needs. Experts note that even weight distribution is important to prevent injuries to the wearer, regardless what kind of carrier you're using. As for the child, Parenting.com says leg openings in front carriers and backpack carriers should be large enough for little legs to kick freely but not so large that the baby slumps down.
Front baby carriers and backpack baby carriers have adjustable components, but the design of slings and wraps determines what you can fiddle with. The BabyBjorn Original, our best cheap baby carrier, features adjustable straps for the wearer and an adjustable seat and buckle for the baby. Straps, lumbar support, and the buckle system on the Infantino Front 2 Back can be adjusted. With the Chicco Smart Support backpack, the child's seat moves up or down and the straps and lumbar support can be made looser or tighter. The Maya Wrap, one of our good discount baby carriers, is adjustable on one shoulder and comes in four sizes, while the Moby Wrap, another good cheap baby carrier on our list, can be wrapped in different ways to accommodate both parent and child. On the other hand, the Hotslings Baby Carrier is a sling that can't be adjusted, although it comes in various sizes to accommodate different-sized wearers.
Baby Carrier Fabric.Young children's skin is sensitive, so opt for a baby carrier made with a soft fabric that doesn't chafe. Experts are partial to cotton, calling it an ideal fabric for baby carriers because it's warm, soft, and breathable. Among the budget baby carriers we researched, the BabyBjorn Original, Moby Wrap Original, Chicco Smart Support, and Hotslings Baby Carrier are made of cotton, although the latter contains some spandex. If you live in a warmer climate or expect to use a baby carrier during the summer, mesh fabric is a good choice because it lets air circulate, which helps keep you and the child cool; the Infantino Front 2 Back is made of a ventilated mesh fabric as is the pricier BabyBjorn Synergy. Nylon is good for cold or wet climates because it holds in the heat; the Kelty Kangaroo Infant Carrier (starting at $40) uses nylon fabric. The Maya Wrap is made of an unspecified but hand-loomed "breathable" fabric.
Extra Features.Some cheap baby carriers actually feature a variety of extras. Conveniences like pockets and versatile functionality enhance a baby carrier's appeal without much impact on price. Both the Maya Wrap and Infantino Front 2 Back feature pockets for keys and cell phones; the Moby Wrap Original doubles as a pillow or blanket and the Maya Wrap can be used as a cover while nursing. Other frills include design elements that accommodate the needs of children. The Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier has a bib that folds and snaps and the BabyBjorn Original has a headrest that folds down when head support is no longer needed and it unbuttons in the front so you can remove the baby without disturbing him or her.
Features Comparison Buying Guide continues below table
Baby Carrier Reviews
Among the products we researched, baby carrier reviews indicate that several are clear winners with consumers. Consumers and experts focus on comfort, ease of use, and durability. Below is a summary of the baby carrier reviews for the models on our list.
Baby Carrier Comfort.Comfort for all concerned weighs heavily in parents' assessments of baby carriers, according to baby carrier reviews on a variety of websites. The BabyBjorn Original scores high on the comfort scale in scores of reviews posted on Babies R Us; one mother, for example, says the BabyBjorn Original doesn't strain her back and the baby seems relaxed and secure, while another reports it's the most comfortable model she's tried and the easiest to use. We noted similar comments about the BabyBjorn Original on Amazon, where one mom reports that she and her husband use this model most of the year and switch to the BabyBjorn Air (starting at $75), with its mesh fabric, during the hot months. Baby carrier reviews also give the Moby Wrap Original high marks for parent and child comfort. One mother who posted a review on Babies R Us says she can wear the Moby Wrap for hours without neck or back pain, although it takes some getting used to; several users comment in reviews that their babies fall asleep right away once tucked inside. The Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Sling also wins praise in baby carrier reviews on AttachedtoBaby.com; one user writes that the breathable fabric is soft and gets softer with use, and the padded shoulder is comfortable without being bulky. Comfort proves to be a sore point with the Infantino Front 2 Back Rider, however. Parents posting baby carrier reviews on Babies R Us complain about sore necks and backs, and one mom says the chest strap is tight and cuts across her breasts when the carrier is on her back. Reviews of the Infantino Back 2 Front also grumble about inadequate lumbar support, poor weight distribution, rough mesh, and a front flap that doesn't pull down far enough when the baby is facing front. Although most users say the Chicco Smart Support Backpack is comfortable enough, several baby carrier reviews on Target and Amazon report sore shoulders and several moms say the chest straps and the pack's dimensions seem better suited for men, and for women taller than 5'5".
Ease of Use.Praise is showered on the BabyBjorn Original for ease of use. The front adjustments and buckles are often singled out, with users noting in baby carrier reviews on Amazon that these design features let you manage the in-and-out process without anyone's help and without waking the child. The yards of fabric that constitute the Moby Wrap Original and lengthy instructions may seem intimidating, say reviewers on TheSlingStation.com, but it's actually a cinch to wrap and a practical means for baby carrying. Parents posting baby carrier reviews on AttachedtoBaby.com and CottonBabies.com are likewise enthused about the Maya Wrap, and appreciatively add that its design makes it possible to discreetly nurse in public. By way of contrast, the Infantino Front 2 Back disappoints many users, who note in baby carrier reviews on Amazon that it's hard to adjust, the many clips and straps are frustrating to deal with, and it's impossible to use in the backpack position without another set of helping hands.
Durability.Consumers are well pleased with the durability of the best and good discount baby carriers on our list, according to baby carrier reviews. One mother commenting on Amazon reports that even after using the BabyBjorn Original with three children over a four-year period, it's showing few signs of wear. Users also give the Moby Wrap Original high marks for its strong construction and durability in baby carrier reviews on Babies R Us. Ditto for the Maya Wrap, according to reviews at CottonBabies.com, where one mom says it has transported three children from infancy through toddlerhood. As for the durability of the Infantino Front 2 Back Rider Baby Carrier, baby carrier reviews mention jammed clips and build quality issues, and one user commenting on Epinions.com planned to return the carrier because the locking straps on the legs started ripping at the seams when her baby hit 15 pounds.
Additional Products We Considered
Hotslings Baby Carrier Review
The Hotslings Baby Carrier gets near perfect reviews from users at Amazon who say that the sling may take some time for you and your baby to get used to at first, but it is well worth it. It's comfortable for you and your little one plus it's great because it comes in many different colors and patterns so it's very fashionable. Users at Target on the other hand somewhat mixed Hotslings Baby Carrier reviews with one user loving it saying that the fabric is soft yet strong and her baby feels secure in it while another users says she didn't feel like her baby was secure in the sling.
One of the cheapest baby carriers we looked at, the Hotslings Baby Carrier (starting at $42, Amazon) holds babies eight pounds up to 35 pounds and there are five carrying position options for you and your baby. It is not adjustable however it is sold in different sizes to accommodate different baby wearers. The fabric is a cotton spandex mix and comes in a multitude of colors and patterns.
We like this budget baby carrier, especially the five carrying positions. While user reviews are mixed, only one review is really bad leading us to believe that the reviewer perhaps didn't take the time to get used to the sling or didn't like the sling style in general. Overall, if you are on a strict budget we would recommend trying this low cost baby carrier.
Beco Butterfly II Baby Carrier Review
Many Amazon Beco Butterfly II Baby Carrier reviewers rate it as the best baby carrier around saying it's extremely comfortable, durable and their babies feel secure in it. Users at BabyEarth.com agree saying that it is very comfortable, has great back support and is easy to use. Many users like that it is easy to adjust and easy to transfer the carrier with the baby in it to another baby wearer.
A front and back carrier, the Beco Butterfly II Baby Carrier (starting at $139, Amazon) is in the higher price range of baby carriers. Wearers of this carrier can wear the baby on their front facing in or on their back facing in. It accommodates babies weighing seven to 45 pounds. The fabric is soft cotton twill, and the waist and shoulder straps are adjustable for the wearer while it is completely adjustable for babies too, with even an infant insert for newborns. This baby carrier also comes with a sleeping hood to support a baby's head while she sleeps that can also be used as a cover in the rain, snow or sun. All straps are padded for the wearer and there is an inside safety harness that prevents the baby from sliding down in the carrier.
We love the sleeping hood, the inside safety harness, and the complete padding and adjustability for the wearer. Users have nothing but good things to say about it too. If you have the money to spend, this is a great baby carrier to purchase.
Where to buy
Chicco Smart Support Backpack Review
Users at Epinions really like the Chicco Smart Support Backpack with one user saying it's a lifesaver, quite a delight and very comfortable for both her and her son who loves going everywhere in it. Amazon users are also fond of this backpack carrier with one user saying it's very easy to use, adjust and fold up plus its comfortable.
Coming in a little bit above the Cheapism price niche, the Chicco Smart Support Backpack (starting at $85, Amazon) is purely a backpack carrier meaning your child is meant to be carried on your back facing forward - there are no other carrying options. This backpack is made for children six months and older weighing up to 40 pounds. It has a height adjustable seat for your child depending on how high they want to ride on your back and for the wearer, the straps and lumbar support system are fully adjustable. While there is no comment on what type of fabric the backpack is made of it does say it's well ventilated and weather proof. Additionally, it has a hooded rain cover, a cell phone pocket and a carry all belt bag.