Baby Carrier Comparison: Ergo, Beco & Líllébaby

I’m no stranger to babywearing. I have written about my love for my old Beco carrier before and how it was a lifesaver for myself and my husband when our oldest was a baby and well into his toddler years. I didn’t stop wearing him until he was almost four! Baby Carrier Comparison: Ergo, Beco & Líllébaby

I have since added many carriers to my arsenal (and had my second baby) and I have been thrilled to get opportunities to try out a variety of different ones. I recently reviewed one of my current favorites, my Líllébaby Complete Organic carrier, and that carrier is still one of the first ones I grab when heading out the door.

This year, Líllébaby is launching redesigned carriers that include a few new features, including a pocket (woo hoo!) and straps that are easier to adjust in either a front or back carry. I received one of their redesigned carriers, an AirFlow, and have been loving it.

I also received an Ergo360, as these two are often compared since they both have the option to let your baby be worn facing out. To make my review more thorough, I borrowed a Beco Gemini from a friend of mine so I could compare all three carriers.

The main selling point with all three of these carriers is they are all ergonomic carriers and have the ability for your baby to face forward. I have written my thoughts with all three carriers and then I added a chart comparing the main features, pros and cons of all three.

For reference, I’m 5’9″ and a size 12. My son is nine months old and twenty pounds.

Ergo360:

Ergo is a popular name when it comes to soft-structured baby carriers. I’ve worn my son in an older Ergo Organic carrier and an Ergo Sport a few times and both were pretty comfy. I mean, there’s a reason they are one of the most popular brands, right?! The Ergo360 is a newer, redesigned model with a lot of different features, including the ability to wear your baby in four ergonomic positions.

Upon first impression, the fabric seems really sturdy and durable. It’s not nearly as soft as some of my other carriers, but it looks like it can handle some wear.

The flap can pivot up to give an infant more head support or a toddler higher back support. I really like this feature on baby carriers. The hood is stashed inside this flap. I like that it can be hidden out of sight, but I wish the hood was removable. I’m someone who doesn’t use hoods very often and it would be nice to be able to remove the hood completely and use the zipper pouch for my wallet and phone on occasion.

At first I scoffed at the buttons that hold the flap, but they were surprisingly easy to use. I can unbutton them with just one hand. Buttoning with one hand is a little harder, but not impossible.

Adjusting the seat to allow a baby to ride front-facing is really simple and uses the same big buttons as the flap. You can even make this adjustment without taking the carrier completely off.

This carrier requires an infant insert if you want to wear a baby smaller than about fifteen pounds. It’s sold separately and runs between $25 and $38. 

The overall size of this carrier is on the small side too, hence the smaller weight limit of 35 pounds. I can see this being a benefit for petite mamas and/or petite babies. But the overall length of time you will be able to wear your baby is less because they will outgrow it sooner. To me, this makes the higher price tag kind of a bummer. 

The biggest and most noticeable stray from the common carrier design is the waistband. Instead of a padded waistband and buckle, it’s all Velcro with a small buckle for added security. This seemed like an interesting concept and it was surprisingly comfortable. But, ultimately, I feel this is where Ergo totally missed the mark with the 360.

Cons of Velcro:

  • Velcro is loud. Babies typically like to sleep in carriers. Loud Velcro and sleeping babies usually don’t mix.
  •  You have to make sure the Velcro is perfectly aligned. It’s most secure this way and if you have it even slightly askew, it will snag on any fuzzy or delicate fabric that brushes against it… like your favorite sweater.

  • This is the biggest deal breaker for me: You can’t make small adjustments to the waistband while wearing it. You have to undo the whole thing to tighten or loosen it. Because of this, I cannot do a comfortable back carry in the 360 without help. I usually do the hip scoot with a somewhat-loose waistband so it doesn’t drag my shirt around too. Then I tighten it once my clothes are straightened and my son is situated. I can’t do that with the waistband on the 360. I have to take the carrier off completely to adjust the snugness of the waistband. The only way I can do a back carry is if I put the carrier on my back and then my husband puts my son in the carrier. When I’m alone with my kids, I’m limited there.

The waistband alone would prevent me from buying the Ergo360, or recommending it to friends.

EDIT Sept 2016: Ergo has changed the waistband on the newer 360 models that have mesh to not be mostly made of Velcro. My ears than you, Ergo!

Beco Gemini:

Beco has been around for a while and was my favorite soft-structured carrier with my oldest baby. I had a Beco Butterfly 2 (a discontinued model) and I adored it. I was thrilled to get to try one of their newer carriers, the Gemini. The model I borrowed from my friend is a couple of years old, but the main features of the Gemini are still used on their new models, along with some really gorgeous patterns and colors.

First impressions are that it’s feels really secure and is decently comfortable. I do wish that the padding on the waistband and shoulder straps would extend further than it does. The padding on the waistband only extends to the front half of the waistband, so the strap kind of digs into my side, accentuating my love handles. Same goes for the shoulder straps. I wish they extended under my arm pit more. You can see this illustrated in the photo by my attractive back bulges and how the waistband is digging into my waist. The bulges are a lot less pronounced when I wear the Ergo360 and Líllébaby Complete.

The construction and location of the buckles and straps makes it really easy to wear the carrier with criss-cross straps; an alternative of the traditional backpack style. Which is great for babywearing for long lengths of time and I’ve been told that it’s typically more comfortable for petite mamas.

Adjusting the seat to allow for a forward facing carry is really, really easy: just unsnap the two flaps and fold them over to the two snaps in the front. You can do this without taking the carrier off. 

I’m also not a fan of the tri-lock buckles that Beco uses. They have an added security feature that means you need two hands to undo each buckle. I like the security, but wish I could open them with one hand… especially when my son is impatient, wiggly and hungry. If I had shorter arms, it could really be a struggle to undo the buckles on the sides. 

No infant insert is needed with the Gemini.

The biggest thing I notice with this carrier is that it’s a lot smaller than what I’m used to. The seat is only 13 inches wide vs 15 inches on the Líllébaby. I can see this being great for a mama who’s really petite and/or has a petite baby. But for an average-to-large-sized mama, I can see the lifespan of this carrier being much shorter than I want, and my child out-growing it quickly. I’m someone who wants to wear my baby well into his toddler years. With the Gemini, I don’t see that happening.

Líllébaby Complete Airflow:

Líllébaby is a relatively new brand to me and I was immediately impressed with their Organic carrier last year.

I love the flap that gives head support for my sleeping baby or higher back support for an older toddler. The flap is a bit taller than the one on the Ergo360 and the Beco Gemini, and it attaches to the shoulder straps with little buckles and elastic straps. I use the flap when my baby is asleep to secure his head. I imagine the elastic is more comfortable for him and allows his head a little wiggle room.

Adjusting the seat to accommodate a front facing baby is more complicated than the Ergo360 and Beco Gemini, but not ridiculous by any means. You do have to take the carrier off first though. I’ll admit, I don’t wear my son facing out very often, so this has never been an issue for me. 

Líllébaby’s redesigned carriers have two pockets in the front. The zippered pocket is fantastic for holding my wallet and phone. The outside pocket is great for stashing the hood. Or, if you don’t need the hood anymore, you can remove it and just use the pocket for your phone.

The AirFlow model has solved my hot weather woes completely. It’s made out of a breathable mesh that has been wonderful in warmer weather. Do we still sweat when it’s over 90°F outside? Sure. But it’s noticeably cooler with the AirFlow than with my Líllébaby Organic carrier.

It comes with a detachable thingie that goes on the waistband to give you added lumbar support when you’re wearing your baby in front. I don’t use it often, but I have for some long babywearing days. I used it when wearing my son at MommyCon last November and it was so, so nice.

Lastly, the shoulder straps have two spots to adjust the snugness of the carrier. So it’s easy to tug on either strap whether you’re wearing your baby in front or on your back. In this photo, you can also see how the padding on the shoulder straps extends pretty far down. So there’s a lot less digging into the bulges on my back. 

The Líllébaby has the highest weight limit between all three carriers at 45 pounds and it has a noticeably wider seat. Parents will be able to wear their babies for a lot longer into toddlerhood than the Ergo360 and the Beco Gemini. 

Comparison conclusion

At the end of the day, the Líllébaby is the winner for me over the Ergo360 or Beco Gemini. Whether I’d opt for the AirFlow, All Seasons or Organic would depend on where I live, the climate and the colors and patterns available. I know that Líllébaby has a variety of colors and styles coming out within the next couple of months. Many of them are already in stock on various babywearing retail shops. 

Click on chart to see a larger view

Any Mama Say What?! readers own either of these three carriers? Please share your thoughts.

24 Responses to Baby Carrier Comparison: Ergo, Beco & Líllébaby

  1. Great comparison. I’ve never tried a Beco before…but of course, I’m sticking with my Lillebaby!

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  3. Thank you for this great comparison and review! Very thorough and candid – now I just need to see these bad boys in person & try them on, and we’ll be good to go!

  4. I tried the Beco Gemini on the other day at a baby store adnd the owner showed me how to open the Beco buckles with one hand so you do not need two hands to open it. :)

  5. So glad I stumbled upon this review.. Was debating the beco and ergo for my second baby.. And now, I’m leaning toward the lilliebaby haha. And it’s got a better price tag too.. Now to find it.. :)

  6. Thank you so much for this review. I have recently become interested in the Lillebaby and live in a very humid area. I was a bit concerned about the mesh leaving marks on baby’s legs, but you didn’t mention that so hopefully that isn’t a very common problem.

    • Hi Maureen, We haven’t had any issues with the mesh leaving marks on baby’s legs at all. We did wash the carrier before using it and the mesh is much softer than it looks in photos.

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  8. Hi, thanks for a great review. I was wondering if the wider seat on the Lillebaby makes it a less comfortable option for smaller babies/newborns? I have an original ergo but I can’t stand using the infant insert, so I’m looking for a SSC to use now with my 8 week old. TIA!

    • I have the lillebaby all seasons and it has the option of adjusting the width of the seat so a newborn can seat in it. My daughter is only 2 months old and sits very comfortably in it :)

      • The wide seat is meant for newborns being worn in the frog position with a rolled up receiving blanket under their bum and then for older babies whose legs are long enough for the wide seat. With the Lillebaby, you can make the seat narrower for newborns and infants whose legs aren’t long enough for the wide seat yet. That’s what really separates Lillebaby Complete from most of the Ergo carriers.

  9. Thank you so much for this thorough comparison! I’ve been so overwhelmed by the fact that most of these carriers seem sooo similar for a new mom who only has a hand-me-down Bjorn for reference. This was so helpful.

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  11. Great reviews. It compared almost everything I wanted to know except the ease to nurse in them. That will help me make my final decision. I will be borrowing an Ergo next weekend to test it out, but I’d love to try a lille baby, but haven’t found any in store.

    • Hi Amy! Thanks for the comment. I was able to easily nurse in all three carriers, thankfully. So far I can nurse in any carrier where I can easily reach the strap adjusters and loosen them. I just lower my baby and then I have to physically lift my breast to his mouth. It’s a little awkward at first, but now that we’ve done it many, many times, it’s a lot easier.

  12. Thank you for this! I have a Boba wrap currently and my little guy is 9 months. I want a non-wrap carrier and was actually narrowing it down to these 3 carriers. Thanks to your comparison, I think I’ve made my decision! :)

  13. There’s a Cool Air version of the Ergo 360 that has buckles instead of velcro.

  14. Thank you so much for the comprehensive review! As someone who is expecting their first child, I find the variety of options available to be overwhelming as I tend to like to do a lot of research before buying, so your article was very useful to me. I thought I was sold on the Ergo but then I read about the Lillebaby and I think I like it more. It’s helpful for me to read reviews from real moms!

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  16. Curious thought on Bjorne carrier one. I’ve been wearing a wrap so far with my 6 week old and trying to decide on a structured carrier. Hubs likes the look of the bjorn and teased that the Lille baby is what he wore skydiving…hes not wrong but ultimately it’s more important the our carrier to be comfortable for our kiddo and for us to wear.

    • Hi Jenn! I have only had a chance to play with one that a friend of mine has. I wasn’t a fan of the buckles and I wish the seat was wider than it is. My friend’s long-legged 18mo dangled from her pelvis when she was worn and she didn’t like it. I really couldn’t see how older toddlers would be comfortable. I do love that you don’t need a separate infant insert to be able to wear a newborn and I really like the fold-down head support.

      At the end of the day though, you want to see if you can try on a variety of carriers. They really fit everyone differently. The Bjorn One may fit you and your baby wonderfully, or it may not. I know that Target, Babies R Us and Buy Buy Baby all have carriers that you should be able to try on, including the Bjorn, Ergo and sometimes Lillebaby too. If you have a babywearing lending library in your area, you might be able to borrow a carrier for a week or two for just a few bucks.

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