In the past ring slings were generally a cheap throw-together kind of baby carrier. It has always been my least favorite style of carrier due to the poor ergonomics, look, and quality available.
Previous versions of this post reflected this level of enthusiasm and encouraged our readers to look at baby wraps or structured carriers instead of baby slings.
However, in this latest update, we have reviewed some high-quality and stylish options that perform as well as a wrap in some basic circumstances.
The best ring slings on our list are as much a fashion statement as they are a practical carrier. This is what caught our eye initially, and as we analyzed their performance we grew in confidence making these recommendations to you.
In This Post:
What Has Changed in this Update?
The top two ring slings in our previous version of this post are no longer available and have been dropped from our list:
- Mamaway Sling
- Maya Ring Sling
They may not have made the cut anyway with the latest rankings a big upgrade in quality and style.
Ring Sling Performance Comparison
Here is a quick summary of the best baby slings that suit various users:
We also reviewed the following baby slings to provide some alternate designs, and lower price points for your to pick from that also performed well against the broader market:
Best Ring Slings of 2021
It is rare that you look at a ring sling as a fashion accessory – most are fairly plain. But as soon as I laid eyes on the pink Moby sling my brain immediately started racing as I started to mix and match my whole wardrobe in my mind!
This is a rare feeling for a new mom who is still transitioning out of maternity clothes.
The rosy pink color is not very gender-neutral. So if you want dad to use it then there is a grey and blue option also.
Looks aside, the Moby is our best baby sling due to the quality of the cotton material and the ergonomic positioning you can achieve (which isn’t always possible with a sling!).
The cotton is the same material Moby use in their woven wrap that is a long-term best-selling baby carrier.
The front carry position is comparable to what you can achieve with a baby wrap and is more ergonomic for the wearer than the side carry position – which can distribute weight unevenly.
You have a weight capacity of 33lbs which is not the highest on our list (The Mebien @ 35lbs) but those two pounds are unlikely to affect your babywearing experience.
- Beautiful color and elegant look
- Total of 85″ of breathable fabric
- Weight limit of 33 lbs
- Same material as Moby Wrap
- You can have a lot of spare cloth
- Material is thick and can get hot
The Nalakai sling performs just as well as the Moby in most circumstances. The main difference between the two is the Bamboo linen material used to make the Nalakai.
The bamboo makes it better to use in warmer weather than the Moby. A study that compared heat retention for cotton materials vs regenerated bamboo showed that body heat storage in the material is reduced with bamboo which can help keep your baby cool in warm weather.
What was surprising is that the Nalakai is heavier than the Moby by nearly four ounces!
Both are soft to touch and will be comfortable for both you and your baby. So which one you choose may come down to two factors:
- The bamboo material is more environmentally friendly.
- The look of the sling.
A cherry on top is that 5% of all Nalakai profits go to charities that support low-income families around the world.
- 20 different colors to choose from
- Cheaper than the Moby
- Weight limit also up to 33 lbs
- Variable fabric length (74″ to 85″)
- Heavier material
The Mebien is made from Turkish cotton that is produced organically and completely free of any chemical manufacturing processes. Like the Nalakai (No. 2), this rates highly on the environmental sustainability scale.
With large 3″ rings this makes it very easy to thread the material through and pull tight to a comfy and supportive fit with your baby close to your chest.
You also have a slightly higher weight capacity with this sling compared to the top two on our list (35 lbs vs 33 lbs). This gives you the option to use with babies weighing upwards of 30 lbs without pushing the boundaries for what is safe.
This could be the difference for you if you intend to babywear long-term as your baby grows.
The material is machine washable but a wash bag and a gentle cycle should be used if possible.
- Organic and naturally soft materials
- Mid-range pricing
- High weight limit (35 lbs)
- Lightweight material
- Shorter fabric length (76″-82″)
- Material is less durable
This Vlokup ring sling is made from 100% polyester mesh that is a quick dry material. This makes it great for use in water.
This carrier puts your child close to your upper chest which is important in any water activity.
But this carrier is not only for carrying your child in water environment, many moms find this carrier very suitable for hot and humid weather.
Thanks to the breathable mesh that was used to made this ring sling.
- Can be used in water
- Affordable budget sling
- Lower weight limit (30lbs)
- Not great for everyday use
If this whole cotton vs bamboo debate causing you to hesitate the Hip Baby Wrap branded sling comes in both cotton and bamboo. This provides the best point of direct comparison with the same design.
The differences come down to two factors:
- Weight of the ring sling – The cotton is much lighter (11.3 oz vs 15.1 oz).
- Cost – The cotton version is much cheaper than the bamboo.
You also have the environmental sustainability angle to consider. The bamboo wins out here but you will need to pay around 50% more… So do it for the planet!!
When comparing performance to the other baby slings you will notice a key difference in the design around how the baby is positioned. There is more of a pouch shape to the baby sling which we feel limits the flexibility in its use.
on our list you get a comparable result, but it was knocked down to no. 5 on our list due to price.
The 78″ of fabric is slightly shorter than the Moby
- Bamboo and Cotton design options
- Equal highest weight capacity (35lbs)
- Didn’t like the pouch design
We have included the Kids n Such due to the ring sling baby carrier combo that this clever design offers.
Included in your pack is a cotton cloth that can be used as a regular baby wrap. You also get two metal rings that allow you to tie off in the classic ring sling position. This offers infinite control with how you tie it off.
Many parents like the flexibility of alternating between a wrap and sling use. A good front carry wrap can be a bit more hands-free. When in baby sling mode it can take a little practice to position the two rings correctly but you will master it in no time.
Wraps are generally much longer than the 75″-85″ slings on our list. The Kids ‘n’ Such comes in at 200″ which is definitely more on the wrap side of things. You may be able to use as a single layer wrap and potentially double it over to compensate for the length when using it as a sling.
So more of a learning curve with this sling and for that reason, we have dropped it down a few places, despite the versatile design.
The breathable cotton is a spandex blend which gives it that little bit of stretch (compared to woven)
- Cheapest cotton option
- Genuine wrap, sling design
- Infinitely adjustable
- Removable rings for easy machine washing
- Slightly lower maximum weight (32 lbs)
- Lots of extra fabric in baby sling mode
Why Use a Ring Sling Baby Carrier
As you can see some of these baby slings have an elegant look that will compliment your outfit as well as doing a great job creating a safe environment for your baby.
We still think that they are a step behind a wrap or a structured carrier but the gap is much narrower than in the past. If you are still not sure then we wanted to summarize the good a bad about slings compared to other baby carrier types.
- Convenient breastfeeding position.
- Extra fabric makes an easy nursing cover.
- Designs like the Kids ‘n’ Such can be used as a wrap or a sling.
- Most sling holds support the child’s head directly with the fabric.
- Suitable for all body types.
- Easily machine washable.
- Baby’s weight usually concentrated on one side of the wearer’s body if using the standard hip carrying positions.
- Less suitable for older babies compared to a structured carrier.
- Moms need to frequently monitor that the position of the baby is maintained properly.
Materials Used in a Ring Sling
Ring Size and Materials
The ring component in a baby sling is usually made from aluminum or nylon and needs to be manufactured to standards set by Consumer Product Safety Commission.
There are three common ring sizes used to assemble the final design. The sizes quoted below are the inner size with an extra 0.5″ added for the outer size:
- Small (2″) – These rings are used for light and very soft fabrics. This can make your sling more secure and tight when in place, but is also less user-friendly.
- Medium (2.5″) – Best for thicker fabrics. It is secure and it is easier to adjust than the small-sized rings.
- Large (3″) – For heavier or wider fabrics.
Type of Fabrics For Ring Sling
Remember to check for the quality of the fabric of the ring sling that you are buying. It needs to be able to stand the wear and tear of babywearing.
- Cotton – Cotton is a natural fabric that is breathable and soft. At least one baby sling on our list blends with spandex to give that little bit of extra stretchiness in the fabric.
- Bamboo – Environmentally sustainable fabric that releases more heat compared to cotton.
- Polyester – This is a synthetic fabric that is heavier and less breathable, but should not deteriorate as fast as natural fabrics.
- Turkish Cotton Muslin – Muslin contains cotton and is blended with other fabrics. It is a more open weave and will be less durable than 100% cotton.
Ring Sling Designs
There are two styles of ring slings that we have included in our list:
- Open Ring Slings – You create your own pouch by threading the tails of the fabric through the rings to support your baby.
- Closed Ring Slings – One end is in a fixed position which makes it a bit easier to use.
Alternatives to a Ring Sling
If you are also considering other baby carrier designs then check out the following posts:
- Best baby carriers – If you are looking for more structured carriers.
- Eye-catching baby wraps – Performance plus stunning patterns.
Now that you have a full understanding of the best ring slings on the market you can buy the design that best suits your budget and lifestyle.
Our top-rated ring sling was the Moby, but everything included in our shortlist performed well under our assessment.
Only one sling remains on our last from the previous update – the Vlok water sling. Everything else is a big upgrade on the previous leaders and we know that you can now buy with confidence.