Best Baby Carriers in Australia | Ergo Baby vs Baby Bjorn vs Tula vs Manduca

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This article compares the most popular baby carriers in Australia like the Ergobaby Omni 360 vs BabyBjorn One. This list of baby carriers are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Certified hip-healthy by the International Hip Dysplasia Institute
  • Ergonomic for wearer, i.e. evenly distributes baby’s weight with wide shoulder straps and waist belt
  • Adjustable to fit newborns
  • Rating of at least 4 stars on ProductReview
  • Value for money, good long term use beyond infant stage

Based on the above, this comparison article looks at the most popular and highly rated infant carriers in Australia. These are the best full-buckle soft-structured carriers suitable from birth (at least 3.2kg).

If you have a baby under 3.2kg, you may want to consider other baby carriers like the Meh Tai or baby wraps. See this article with the pros and cons of different types of baby carriers.

However, less than 50% of babies are born under 3.2kg, and even then nearly all of them will hit 3.2kg within the first month after birth. As such, it may not be financially savvy getting a whole new carrier just for a couple of weeks of use.

Comparisons

Costs, materials & ratings

Prices accurate as checked on 15 May 2020

BrandR.R.PSaleMaterialsRating
Ergobaby Omni 360$329Cotton4.3
Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh$349Polyester + Cotton4.3
Ergobaby Adapt$199Check priceCotton4.9
Ergobaby Adapt Cool Air Mesh$229Check pricePolyester + Cotton4.9
Baby Tula Explore$329$229Cotton4.6
Baby Tula Free-To-Grow$259$155Cotton5.0
Manduca$219$180Organic Cotton4.8
BabyBjorn One$269$150Polyester + Cotton4.5
BabyBjorn One Air$299$240Polyester + Cotton4.6

Baby Tula is the most affordable big brand baby carrier

If we’re talking about the full price R.R.P of the baby carriers, Ergobaby, Baby Bjorn and Baby Tula are all comparative in their pricing, with the Manduca being slightly cheaper.

However, because Baby Tula frequently releases new print patterns, they often have massive discounts on older prints. You can easily find discounted Baby Tula carriers that are the most affordable amongst the four brands.

Baby Tula baby carriers on sale - up to 40% off stripes, florals and geometric print patterns

Air mesh baby carriers are more expensive

It is also worth noting that the cool air mesh versions of both Ergobaby and Baby Bjorn are more expensive than the standard versions. This is puzzling considering the mesh carriers are made from polyester, a synthetic fabric that is cheaper than cotton.

Ergobaby & Baby Tula are highest rated

Based on customer reviews from ProductReview, the most well-received carriers are the Ergobaby Adapt and the Baby Tula Free-To-Grow.

Although the R.R.P of the Free-To-Grow is more expensive than the Adapt, Baby Tula often has baby carriers on sale. You can snag the Free-To-Grow at up to 40% off which puts it at a lower price point than the Ergobaby Adapt.

Carry positions

All baby carriers can be used for standard front and back carry, but only a select few allow for forward-front facing (i.e. baby is facing outwards, away from you) and the hip carry.

The Ergobaby Omni 360 is the only carrier that can achieve all four positions, while the Baby Tula Explore, BabyBjorn One and Manduca are close contenders allowing for three positions.

For essential babywearing needs with just the standard front and back carry, the Baby Tula Free-To-Grow is a good basic carrier.

Despite this being a popular carry position for many babies because they get to see the big wide world front-on, it actually puts spinal and lower back pressure on both the baby and yourself.

When the baby is facing away from you, her weight distribution is thrown forward. To compensate for the off-centre weight balance, the wearer’s spine will instinctively arch out of its natural alignment.

In the photo below you can see how the adult is leaning backwards and arching her lower back to balance the forward weight of the child. This puts a strain on the wearer that can quickly lead to lower back pain.

forward front facing vs inward front carry in a carrier

Photo source: The Eco Friendly Family

BrandLoad (kg)Front (forward)Front (inward)BackHip
Ergobaby Omni 3603.2 – 20✔︎✔︎✔︎✔︎
Ergobaby Adapt3.2 – 20✔︎✔︎✔︎
Baby Tula Explore3.2 – 20✔︎✔︎✔︎
Baby Tula Free-To-Grow3.2 – 20✔︎✔︎
Manduca3.5 – 20✔︎✔︎✔︎
Baby Bjorn Carrier One3.5 – 15✔︎✔︎✔︎

Shoulder straps

All full-buckle baby carriers have shoulder straps that buckle across to form an “H”, but some also allow you to crisscross the straps to form an “X”, which is more similar to how baby wraps are tied.

Brand“H” standard style
“X” crossover style
Ergobaby Omni 360✔︎✔︎
Ergobaby Adapt✔︎✔︎
Baby Tula Explore✔︎
Baby Tula Free-To-Grow✔︎
Manduca✔︎✔︎
Baby Bjorn Carrier One✔︎

Advantages of the crossover “X” style

The crossover style is a great alternative for those with a petite build and narrow shoulders. These parents would otherwise often find the shoulder straps slipping off when buckled in the standard “H” manner.

Some people find the “X” style more comfortable and easy on the back, but this is completely personal preference and differs between individuals.

Disadvantage of the crossover “X” style

It is worth noting that the “X” style is a bit more cumbersome and requires you to re-attach both straps to the carrier every time you carry the baby, whereas in the standard “H” style you can leave the straps always attached to the carrier and only buckle the connecting strip.

This video shows how the Ergobaby Omni 360 is used in crossover style:

Size/bulkiness

Full buckle baby carriers are generally quite bulky as compared to baby wraps and slings. But even amongst full buckle carriers, there are some that are pretty lightweight.

The weight of the baby carrier itself isn’t the main problem, but the thickness of the shoulder straps and waist belt means it takes time to fold and stow away in your nappy bag or in the pram basket.

The illustration below shows how to fold a Tula baby carrier, but the same steps can be used for any full-buckle baby carrier.

Step by step instructions how to fold a baby carrier

Image source: Baby Tula UK

As can be seen, although it’s not a complicated process, it does take a few seconds, and the final bundle isn’t small. The Manduca, for instance, is one of the lightest baby carriers, but when folded it still measures about 31cm x 15cm x 13 cm.

This is only a problem if you’re often out-and-about and the baby switches between the pram and baby carrier frequently. If you have a bulky baby carrier, you might find it easier to just leave it fastened around your waist rather than attempt to stow it away neatly.

Most bulky baby carriers to the least:

  1. Baby Bjorn Carrier One (most bulky)
  2. Ergobaby Omni 360
  3. Ergobaby Adapt
  4. Baby Tula Explore
  5. Ergobaby Omni 360 Cool Air Mesh
  6. Ergobaby Adapt Cool Air Mesh
  7. Baby Bjorn Carrier One Air
  8. Manduca
  9. Baby Tula Free-To-Grow (most lightweight)

Best All-In-One Baby Carrier

Baby Tula Explore (Editor’s Choice)

baby tula explore baby carrier designs - abstract blue mountains, yellow and white flowers, mint with colourful love hearts, brown with black stars
  • 100% OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified Cotton
  • 3 positions – front-forward, front-inward, and back carry
  • From birth 3.2kg up to 20kg
  • Padded, adjustable neck support pillow
  • Adjustable body panel width
  • Storage pouch on waistband
  • Removable hood canopy

Premium materials, handmade with love

Founded by a husband and wife team in the US and handmade in Poland, Baby Tula is a high-quality yet affordable brand that is incredibly underrated here in Australia.

Made from premium cotton materials and available in a wide range of designer patterns, Tula baby carriers stand out from the crowd as highly functional and aesthetically pleasing.

Highly affordable with all features you need

The ‘Explore’ baby carrier has a very unique and practical design that has a fully adjustable body panel to fit every newborn (at least 3.2kg).

The video below demonstrates how to set up and adjust it for an infant.

The Baby Tula ‘Explore’ collection is their top tier product, similar in pricing and features to the Ergobaby Omni 360.

However, they usually have one or two baby carriers on sale at up to 30% off R.R.P, which makes it less than half price of the Omni 360.


Ergobaby Omni 360

ergobaby omni 360 standard baby carrier vs cool air mesh
  • 100% cotton (standard) / Cotton + polyester (cool air mesh)
  • 4 positions – front-forward, front-inward, back, and hip carry
  • From birth 3.2kg up to 20kg
  • Padded, adjustable neck support pillow
  • Crossable shoulder straps
  • Adjustable body panel width
  • Detachable waist storage pouch
  • Removable hood canopy

Big brand, low rating

Despite being one of the most common and highest-selling brands in Australia, it’s surprising that the Ergobaby Omni 360 has the lowest rating on this entire list.

The most common complaint appears to be the leg cuffs, which customers say cause baby’s legs to go purple from lack of blood circulation. Also, some customers find it difficult to strap in baby without assistance from their partner.

However, these issues could all be due to incorrect use of the carrier. The video tutorial below has instructions for proper use of the Omni 360.

Most expensive baby carrier

The Ergobaby range is one of the most expensive baby carriers with very few sales taking place. However, you can find very affordable secondhand Ergobaby carriers on eBay.

As baby carriers are generally good quality and made to last, buying preloved carriers are a good way to save money. They are also machine washable so you can always give it a thorough clean for peace of mind.


Baby Bjorn One

babybjorn carrier one special edition yellow and denim grey
  • 3 positions – front-forward, front-inward, and back carry
  • From birth 3.5kg up to 15kg
  • Adjustable head support for baby
  • Adjustable body panel height
  • No hood canopy
  • Made from cotton/polyester blend

Lack of important features

The BabyBjorn is probably the only baby carrier that doesn’t have a privacy hood for sleeping, nursing or shielding baby from the sun and wind.

It is also not made from 100% cotton. Although polyester is more durable and hardy, it can get very hot and sweaty in summer, which is bad particularly for babies with eczema or sensitive skin.

Bulky, uncomfortable for baby and parent

Despite receiving higher overall ratings than the Ergobaby Omni 360, the BabyBjorn One doesn’t appear to be ergonomic for either the wearer or baby.

Negative customer reviews say that it causes shoulder pain and is much too big for baby, even after he/she grows a bit bigger.

The BabyBjorn One Air seems to be better and more lightweight, as demonstrated in the following video. However, it is more expensive than the BabyBjorn One.

Best Essential Baby Carrier

Baby Tula Free-To-Grow (Editor’s Choice)

tula baby carrier patterns florals and polka dots

(Above) Baby Tula ‘Free To Grow’ Baby Carriers

  • 100% OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified Cotton
  • 2 positions – front-inward and back carry
  • From birth 3.2kg up to 20kg
  • Padded, adjustable neck support pillow
  • Adjustable body panel width
  • Storage pouch on waistband
  • Removable hood canopy

Best essential features at affordable prices

The ‘Free-To-Grow’ by Baby Tula is a highly economical baby carrier that offers the best of everything you need for your babywearing journey from newborn to toddlerhood.

Designed in the US and handmade in Poland with 100% cotton fabric, it comes in a range of beautiful patterns that are often on a discount of up to 50% off!

It is also incredibly easy to adjust and fit to use for a newborn, with adjustable body panel widths and neck support.

Certified for healthy baby hips

Being a certified hip-healthy baby carrier, the ‘Free-To-Grow’ ensures that your newborn is always in a froggy-position with knees above the hips and bottom to prevent hip dysplasia.

Baby Tula baby carrier demonstrating newborn in M sitting position to prevent hip dysplasia

Ergobaby Adapt

(Above) Ergobaby ‘Adapt’ Baby Carrier

  • 100% cotton (standard) / Cotton + polyester (cool air mesh)
  • 3 positions – front-inward, back and hip carry
  • From birth 3.2kg up to 20kg
  • Padded, adjustable neck support pillow
  • Adjustable body panel width
  • Storage pouch on body panel
  • Included hood canopy

Ergobaby offers two full buckle baby carriers – the more well-known Omni 360 and the lesser-known Adapt series. Both are almost exactly the same in features and design, with a few differences.

Omni 360 vs Adapt – Which Ergobaby carrier is the best?

1) Only the Omni 360 allows for outward-facing front-carry position

However, there is increasing research suggesting that the outward front-facing position is bad for both baby and the wearer, so it’s a feature that you should consider giving a pass.

2) Different position of storage pouch

The Omni 360 comes with a detachable storage pouch that goes on the waist belt, whereas the Adapt has a built-in storage pouch at the front of the carrier.

3) Omni 360 is 35% more expensive than Adapt

The R.R.P of Omni 360 costs $120 more than the Adapt.


Is the Ergobaby Omni 360 worth it?

Personally, I don’t believe the extra features of the Omni 360 are worth the extra cost, which is why I highly recommend the Adapt instead.

The Ergobaby Adapt retails at $229 for the air mesh version or $199 for the standard carrier.


Manduca

Manduca baby carrier range of colours and designs
  • 100% certified organic cotton
  • 2 positions – front-inward and back carry
  • From birth 3.2kg up to 20kg
  • Crossable shoulder straps
  • Extendable body panel (height)
  • Built-in newborn insert
  • No storage pouch
  • Included hood canopy

See also: Manduca Baby Carrier Review

Premium materials at mid-range cost

The Manduca is notably the only baby carrier made with organic cotton, yet its price is very reasonable even at full R.R.P.

It is fairly lightweight as its fabric is thinner compared to the other baby carriers and has all the essential features you need.

Fiddley adjustments for newborns

The main problem with the Manduca is that it is quite an old carrier – it’s been around for at least 10 years – so its adjustments for newborn carry is not as streamlined as newer carriers like the Ergobaby or Baby Tula.

Unlike other carriers that have adjustable body panel widths to allow newborns to sit more comfortably, the Manduca has a built-in newborn “flap” that essentially creates a second, narrower seat for shorter baby legs.

The video below demonstrates how the attached newborn insert works.

In the early days after birth, the newborn would sit in the flap with their legs tucked in. After a few weeks, their legs will be long enough to extend outside of the seat and sit in the M-position.

However, because the width of the seat is not fully adjustable, there will be an awkward period where the baby’s legs aren’t quite long enough to sit in the main seat, yet they are too long to go in the newborn seat.

This can lead to a very uncomfortable baby as noted by several customers.

However, given its low price and premium materials, it’s still a worthwhile baby carrier to consider beyond the newborn stage, particularly since you can often find pre-owned Manduca for less than $50.


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This was written at night while my kids are in bed. Help me stay awake so I can keep producing free & useful content for Aussie mums!

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