Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby carriers review has seen Ergobaby, Hug-a-Bub, BabyBjorn and Kmart rated on their comfort & support, fit, ease of use, value for money, durability, flexibility, fabric and customer satisfaction.
Being a parent – especially of newborns – usually means little sleep and tired bodies, so mums and dads naturally appreciate any extra help they can get. A baby carrier can certainly help keep your hands free while keeping a close tie between you and your little one. Hands come in handy for things like grabbing baby wipes, reaching for bottles, packing your shopping bags, or just generally being able to function like a normal human being.
Of course, the difference between a good baby carrier and a bad baby carrier makes all the difference. A baby carrier that is just too fiddly to use can be more of a hindrance than a help. So, which baby carriers are up to the job? It’s the fifth year that Canstar Blue has surveyed hundreds of parents across Australia to seek their feedback on the baby carriers they use, with mums and dads asked to review their carrier of choice on factors like comfort & support, fit, ease of use, flexibility and value for money. The idea is to give you as much helpful information as possible about the compared brands, so you can find the right fit for your bub – and budget. So, what did we find?
For the fifth year in a row, Ergobaby has taken top spot. It achieved five stars for overall satisfaction, comfort & support, fit, durability and flexibility. It was four stars for ease of use, value for money and fabric. It means Ergobaby continues to dominate this important category for new parents. When you’re shopping for new baby products, reviews from other parents are hugely beneficial, and they don’t come much better than five years of consistent top marks.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby carriers review saw four major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Hug-a-Bub and BabyBjorn received four stars for overall satisfaction, while Kmart was left with three. Other results of note include Hug-a-Bub securing five stars on comfort, alongside Ergobaby, as well as being the only brand to get top marks on ease of use and fabric. BabyBjorn also enjoyed a top result for durability, alongside this year’s winner, while Kmart was the only brand to be rated best in regards to value for money.
Other brands are available, but these are arguably the biggest baby carrier names in Australia and are a good first port of call for your next baby carrier purchase. That doesn’t mean other brands aren’t worth consideration, however.
It’s important to note that our review includes feedback from parents with all types of carriers. With the average spend of those surveyed being $127, doing your research before buying a new baby carrier is a helpful first step. To give you a hand, below is an overview of the brands featured in our review:
Ergobaby offers a huge range of baby carriers, with most being front carrier-centric. Ergobaby features the ‘All-Position Omni 360 Collection’, which is a range designed for all seating positions. It’s claimed to be suitable for babies anywhere from 3.2kg to 15kg in weight, which is the size of a toddler. For a sling option, Ergobaby’s ‘Aura Wrap’ is said to be 100% Viscose made from eucalyptus and acacia.
Ergobaby also publishes a guide to help parents decide, with wraps and hip seats also available, making mum or dad the ultimate kid-holding tree. Ergobaby carriers can be found for under $200, but the Omni 360 range can go up to as much as $289. Its baby wraps can be had for $99 RRP.
As the name might suggest, Hug-a-Bub is a brand primarily focussed on slings and wraps, rather than carriers. If you really wanted to turn your baby into a ‘babyritto’ then Hug-a-Bub may be a good bet. Its range includes pocket wraps, lightweight wraps, organic mesh ring slings and even reversible ring slings.
Hug-a-Bub claims to have ignited the baby wrap and sling craze here in Australia and its ring sling range is said to be ideal for breastfeeding as it’s easy to get on and off and work around. All products feature organic cotton and nice, soft-touch fabrics, with costs ranging from around $90 to $120. For a cheaper alternative, Hug-a-Bub might be it, but keep in mind it features no traditional carriers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, BabyBjorn is a Swedish company specialising in family and baby products, and has a fairly concise range of baby carriers. Most err towards front carriers, but the dearer models can be customised to suit either front or rear applications. Cheaper models feature more basic functionality but still get the same materials and designs that the dearer ones do.
The cheapest start from around $130, while the dearest fetch prices around $250. The ‘Carrier One Air’ is the flagship model in BabyBjorn’s line-up and is designed to be an ideal carrier for hiking. It’s suitable for newborns through to three-year-olds and features four-way front and back functionality.
Kmart is a purveyor of cheap and trendy homewares and clothes, but what you may not realise is that it also produces a baby carrier – just one. It’s designed to be pretty utilitarian and can be fitted three ways. It’s suitable for babies aged 3+ months old and has a max load weight of 9kg.
It features polyester for the shell and polyurethane foam for the filling to cocoon your little one. It also features adjustable head support for growing babies. It costs $29 – making it a great deal cheaper than most other brands. But does cheap really mean you’re getting a great deal?
Aside from the top four brands that made it into our ratings this year, there are several others you might like to consider:
A baby carrier needs to be more than just cheap. Ergobaby doesn’t make the cheapest baby carriers but that didn’t deter customers from rating the brand highly on value for money. They clearly see the ‘value’ in spending a little extra. Our research identified the following drivers of parent satisfaction:
Comfort & support was evidently the main driver of satisfaction and having a carrier that’s easy to use is also a huge factor. There’s a bit more involved than plonking a baby in a sling and away you go on a 5km walk! Value for money was also an interesting factor, as ‘value’ implies more than just a cheap price.
While it’s tempting to just go out and buy the cheapest baby carrier, cheap doesn’t necessarily equal a happy parent. Ergobaby’s customers were found to have spent an average of $176 on their new baby carriers, which is higher than the $127 average for all brands. With this in mind, a baby carrier clearly isn’t an impulse purchase for a lot of parents:
Other key findings from our 2019 survey include:
There are two main types – carriers (or ‘pouches’) and backpack carriers. Sling carriers are also popular and worthy of your consideration. One isn’t necessarily better than the other but it does come down to how old your child is and your personal preferences.
The most common type of carriers, these are best-suited for newborns and babies younger than 18 months. They are usually worn off the chest, with the baby facing inwards, but customisable carriers have also come into vogue recently, with slightly older children able to face outwards.
Of the parents surveyed, 56% reported preference towards having their baby at the front instead of their back. One in four (25%) reported they often get a sore back from using a baby carrier – no doubt this starts setting in when the little munchkin starts growing up! When your baby starts growing, it may be time to consider a backpack carrier.
Backpack baby carriers often feature rigid frames, but some front-facing carriers are also able to be customised to fit on the back. Those with rigid frames are best-suited to older kids who aren’t exactly babies, but can’t walk long distances yet. If you’ve ever walked a popular hiking trail, there’s probably no doubt you’ve seen these backpack carriers in action.
To the one in four of those surveyed who reported back pain, a backpack carrier might be more suited than a pouch-type. One in ten (13%) also reported that they are worried about their baby falling out of the carrier – a pouch evidently lets you keep a better eye on your baby.
Sling types are less common and less of a ‘type’ of carrier, but more of a variation of the two above. Like sling bags, sling baby carriers are worn across the shoulder and the baby sits across your body. They can be made of stretchy supportive fabric, but can also be made with rigid materials as seen in backpack carriers.
Sling carriers are arguably the most rudimentary of carrier designs and most brands tend to omit this design from their product ranges. Still, if you have a newborn and wanting an intimate feeling, a sling carrier may still be the best bet.
It’s important to take time in finding the right fit for you and your baby. As your baby grows, the heavier it will get and the more back support you may need. Most baby carriers are ‘one size fits most’, being easily adjustable for your bub, plus allowing it to be shared between parents. If you want to make it a fashion statement, the wide array of designs and fabrics can also come into play. However, it would be wise to keep in mind the price as well as the ergonomics behind it.
Picture credits: Olesia Bilkei/shutterstock.com, Dvorakova Veronika/shutterstock.com, Halfpoint/shutterstock.com, Natalia Deriabina/shutterstock.com, sandsun/shutterstock.com, Trendsetter Images/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 1,200 Australian parents of children aged 6 years and under across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased a baby carrier / sling / wrap in the last 3 years – in this case, 475 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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