There is a strong correlation between what you spend on a baby carrier and the quality of your babywearing experience.
However, the difference in price between the cheapest and most expensive baby carriers can be very wide – and there are pockets of value to be found depending on what your needs are.
In this post, we will look at what price range to expect or all of the most popular baby carrier designs and provide some info on whether are better off with a low, mid, or high priced carrier.
How Much Should I Spend On A Baby Carrier
You can buy a good budget baby carrier for as little as $20. However, you will have to sacrifice on comfort, features, and longevity of use.
Generally, we recommend those in the mid to high price range due to the following reasons:
- Higher-priced carriers are generally far more durable and can last years.
- A well-designed carrier will have superior ergonomics and minimize the chance of experiencing back pain or other injuries.
- You will get more user-friendly features in the higher-end carriers.
However, this will vary slightly for each model and we will note that below.
Baby Carrier Price Range Per Design Type
We have provided a price range for eight of the most popular models of baby carriers available and an indication of what price range offers the most value.
|Baby Carrier Design
|Soft Structured Carrier
|Hip Seat Carrier
If you are interested in our recommendations for the best carriers in each of the design categories below then click on the links for a more detailed market review.
The price range is widest with the structured carrier and the breadth of quality you receive is even wider!
If you want this style of carrier then we recommend that you spend more than $100, and if you can afford it aim for the high end >$150.
The quality at the top end is miles ahead of an entry-level carrier. The feel of the fabric, the cushioning, the ergonomics and lumbar support, and the strength of the stitching are almost always far superior.
If you plan on babywearing for many years then you can get excellent value from even the most expensive carrier.
The price of your baby wrap will depend entirely on the quality of the material used and how well-known the brand name is.
You will find a number of small private label brands with 100% cotton material that will be priced at the low end and are just as good as the mid-tier of popular brands such as Moby and Boba.
The more expensive baby wraps are usually made from a more environmentally friendly material like bamboo. They are not necessarily a better experience for the user, but more sustainable for the environment.
Very similar comments apply here to the baby wrap section above. The material is the primary driver of the cost of a ring sling.
However, the ring component is the differentiator and the quality significantly different from the lower end to the high end.
Some of the modern and higher end ring slings are as much of a fashion accessory as they are a practical piece of baby gear.
The range of quality available with a hip seat carrier is as broad as the standard soft structured carriers.
A major difference is the large foam seat built into the waist belt. This can be uncomfortable with some of the lower-priced brands if cheap and firm foam pieces are used.
The more expensive models will be far more comfortable. Considering these are generally used with larger babies the comfort factor when carrying a heavier load can be much more important compared to other models.
A hiking carrier is a more serious investment and is built to carry a much higher load than all other categories on our list. With extra weight comes the risk of injury if you do not have the correct fit, back support, or weight distribution.
Cheaper hiking carriers can be useful if you don’t hike that often, or only expect to do shorter trips.
If you are a more serious hiker then you should buy the most expensive carrier you can afford. Models like the Deuter and Osprey Poco are in the mid to high price range and are exceptional products.
Right at the top end, you have the Thule which is a serious piece of equipment and amazingly comfortable and practical considering the weight you would be carrying.
You will only find a narrow price range for this style of carrier. They are made from light materials designed to dry quickly, which is what makes them suitable for swimming.
The weight stress will be less the whole time you are in the water and almost all carriers in this category will do a similar job so the price is less of an issue.
You will be hard-pressed to find a mid-priced Mei Tai. They are either really cheap or really expensive.
Unless you really want this style of carrier you will find better value and many more choices in the other categories discussed so far.
As a quick summary of our findings, you will get the best value by focusing on the following price points for each category:
- Low – Waterproof carrier, mei tais
- Mid – Soft structured carrier, baby wraps, ring slings
- High – Hiking carrier and hip seat carrier
However, as long as you understand what you are giving up with a carrier below the recommended level and are ok with this then you may be perfectly fine saving some money also.
Check out our complete babywearing info hub if you would like to learn more.