Friday, June 11, 2010

Soft Structured Baby Carrier Comparison Chart

I have been wanting to put this chart together for some time, as we get so many questions from people asking about the differences in features among the various soft structured carriers out there. Choosing the right carrier for your needs can be an overwhelming decision to make, and I'm hoping this chart helps make that decision a little easier.

I have chosen to include in this comparison chart the two that we sell (Beco and Pikkolo) and two that we don't (Ergo and Baby Bjorn). I include the Ergo and Baby Bjorn because they are probably the two most well-known carriers -- BUT they are not the most well-designed soft structured carriers out there (in fact the Baby Bjorn is probably one of the poorest designs out there in my opinion).

I used to use an Ergo and loved it at the time, but then discovered Beco and Pikkolo and you will see that both of these come out above the Ergo based on the chart features. I've never used a Baby Bjorn, so cannot speak from experience on this one. I include it because it's mass-marketed but in my opinion a it's a very poor option that I would like to prevent people from choosing if at all possible. I just cringe every time I see a baby dangling in one of those things! Baby Bjorn, you make a good potty but please, get out of the babywearing market!

So, without further ado, here's the chart. I welcome constructive feedback in the comments.

SOFT STRUCTURED BABY CARRIER COMPARISON CHART


Beco Butterfly

Pikkolo

ERGOBaby

Baby Bjorn

Price

$139 USD

$149 CAD

$129 USD plus $22 USD for Babywearing Support Belt

$105-135 USD plus $25-38 USD for infant insert accessory

$80-145 USD

Wearing Positions

Front carry (facing in only), back carry (made easier than with other carriers due to internal harness)

Front carry (facing in or out, ergonomically), back carry, hip carry (not recommended for long periods of time due to uneven distribution of weight)

Front carry (facing in only), back carry

Front carry only, facing in or out BUT does NOT allow baby to be carried in ergonomically correct seated position; instead baby hangs suspended by the crotch which concentrates pressure at base of baby's spine

Age/Weight

Newborn through toddler with removable infant insert (included in purchase price)



7 to 45 lbs

Newborn through toddler



8 to 40 lbs

Newborn through toddler but need infant insert for babies <4 months (purchased separately)



Up to 40 lbs

Newborn to about 1 yr maximum but more likely 6 months



8 to 25 lbs stated but due to its design it is likely to be very uncomfortable by about 16 lbs

Carrier Fabric

Shoulder straps and carrier lining are 100% organic brushed cotton as of 2010 collection; select organic options in prior years' models;gorgeous printed panels (non-organic) on body of carrier as well as solid color options

No organic fabric options at this time; 100% brushed cotton straps with gorgeous printed panels on body of carrier as well as solid color options

Both organic and non-organic options; solid colors only, some with embroidery

Both organic and non-organic options; solid colors only

Carrier Height

16" from top of waistband

15" when worn folded at the bottom with apron-style waistband; 17" from top of waistband when Babywearing Support Belt is attached

13" from top of waistband; wearer may find it too short in the body for older babies

11.5"

Carrier Body Width at Seat

13"

8" when cinched to narrowest setting; 13" at widest setting

14"


Infant Insert

Yes, removable insert for babies 8-15 lbs (included in purchase price) that holds them higher in the carrier and allows for minimal leg spread

No, but carrier body cinches narrower at base to accommodate smaller baby

Yes, purchased separately, a bit awkward and bulky

No

Harness System

Yes, baby is buckled into carrier and carrier is then put on; baby can be passed from one person to another while in the carrier

No, parent buckles carrier on and then puts baby in; baby cannot be passed to another wearer while in the carrier

No, parent buckles carrier on and then puts baby in; baby cannot be passed to another wearer while in the carrier

No, parent buckles carrier on and then puts baby in; baby cannot be passed to another wearer while in the carrier

Sleeping Hood

Yes, elasticized and snaps to shoulder straps; detachable with snaps for storage in sleeve on carrier base

Yes, elasticized and attaches with snap hooks to D-rings on shoulder straps; detachable with velcro but no storage on carrier; height not adjustable

Yes, hood-shaped to hold baby's head; elasticized sides; non-detachable with snaps; height adjustable

No

Shoulder Straps

Always worn backpack style and held together with height-adjustable chest clip; single direction pull to adjust strap

Can be worn with straps crossed at the back for front carries or backpack style with a height adjustable chest clip for front and back carries; dual adjustable straps can be tightened from either direction and buckle can be relocated forward or back for customized comfort

Always worn backpack style and held together with height-adjustable chest clip; single direction pull to adjust strap





Ergonomics

Weight is distributed to wearer's lower body via padded hip belt and balanced on wearer's shoulders with nicely padded shoulder straps

Weight is distributed to wearer's lower body via unpadded hip belt (padded belt is an optional accessory) and balanced on wearer's shoulders with comfy memory foam shoulder straps

Weight is distributed to wearer's lower body via padded hip belt and balanced on wearer's shoulders with fairly bulky padded shoulder straps


Does not have a hip belt and therefore does not distribute the weight to the wearer's lower body; the baby's weight is almost entirely borne by the wearer's shoulders and upper back

Ease of Nursing

Possible for most moms: loosen shoulder straps and lower baby down to latch on then tighten straps to get baby back in proper carrying position; T-shaped harness might be in the way for some wearers; high carrier body and sleeping hood (if attached) provide good privacy

Easy for most moms: loosen shoulder straps (easy due to placement and dual-adjustment straps), lower baby down to latch on then tighten straps to get baby back in proper carrying position; sleeping hood provides good privacy if attached.

Fairly easy for most moms: loosen shoulder straps, lower baby down to latch on then tighten straps to get baby back to proper carrying position; sleeping hood provides decent privacy coverage but shorter carrier body means less privacy than with other carrier

Possible,but likely not very secure, comfortable or private (due to small carrier size and lack of sleep hood)

Where Manufactured

California

Chicago and Estonia

China

Sweden

8 comments:

alissa said...

A couple corrections to your otherwise informative chart. The upper weight limit on the Ergo is 40 pounds. I believe this is the same for the Pikkolo, while the Beco is correctly stated at 45 pounds. The standard Ergo does not have a removable sleeping hood. It is attached to the carrier and has two buckles which allow the height to be adjusted. The Ergo Sport model does have a snap open pocket for the hood. The Beco Butterfly 2 is made in both California and China, the only way to be sure of manufacture location is to check the tag on each individual carrier.

Michelle said...

I have an infantio, similar to the bjorn, and hate it. It hurts my back so bad. I love my moby and pouch sling, but might eventually want a becco :)

A Mummy of 3 woops 4 boyz said...

The 3rd generation Pikkolo features an updated seat cinching mechanism, a redesigned sleeping hood, and a detachable chest strap on sliders. The sleeping hood is a soft cotton that fold ups and tucks into it's own pocket.

A Mummy of 3 woops 4 boyz said...

The 3rd generation Pikkolo features an updated seat cinching mechanism, a redesigned sleeping hood, and a detachable chest strap on sliders. The sleeping hood is a soft cotton that fold ups and tucks into it's own pocket.

Pamela said...

Wondering if you have any thoughts about the Boba? I found that it's much more comfortable for me than the Ergo, but curious to see how it compares with the others.

Continuum Family said...

I am looking forward to the updated Pikkolo - haven't seen one yet. Pamela, I haven't tried the Boba but have heard good things about it.

Michelle said...

Could you update this chart to include the Boba carrier? After doing my research, it was my top SSC choice. :)

Continuum Family said...

Michelle, yes, I do plan to add the Boba to this chart now that we are carrying it. Thanks for the reminder! :)