If you’re agonizing over whether to choose an Ergo or a Tula, you probably already know that both of these award-winning baby carriers are endorsed by medical experts and beloved by parents everywhere for their ergonomic design, exceptional craftsmanship and durability.
Either carrier will transport your little one in the developmentally ideal “frog-leg” position on your front or back, and look terribly chic doing it. The Tula and Ergo each come in a dizzying array of colors, patterns, and materials to suit any parent’s style, and are designed to comfortably fit women and men of all sizes.
Both are loaded with practical features, like a hood that protects baby’s head from the sun and doubles as a nursing cover. They’re machine washable. Most models have got pockets for a cellphone or spare diaper. The similarities are remarkable.
And yet… both have masses of devoted fans who insist that their favorite is truly “the best on the market.”
So, how do you decide which one is right for you?
It really comes to down to a handful of unique personal factors involving your baby, your body, and your lifestyle.
Here’s a table to compare all of the most important factors. Read on below to compare them in more detail.
Infant insert required for 8–15 lbs. Sold separately.
Infant insert required for 7 - 12 lbs. Sold separately.
One size fits all - adjustable straps
One size fits all - adjustable straps
Less carrying positions
Generally not as comfortable to wear as the Tula
For more of a detailed comparison, read on below…
Infant, baby or toddler?
Both the Ergo and Tula are designed to be used from birth until toddlerhood. However, which carrier has the edge for you depends on your baby’s physique and how many years you expect to babywear. The Ergo 360 can be used for a child ranging from 7lbs – 33lbs (3.2kg-15kg) and Ergo Original from 7lbs – 45 lbs, while the Tula Baby Carrier comfortably holds a child ranging from 8 lbs – 45 lbs (3.6 kg – 20 kg) . Both require a padded insert, sold separately by both brands, to safely hold babies at the wee end of their size ranges.
However, Tula offers a “Free to Grow” extension pack (also sold separately) which effectively widens the seat of the carrier and allows a taller child within the weight limit to maintain that comfortable, ergonomic position. Tula also offers a Toddler Carrier for children in the range of 25-60 lbs.
Front carry, back carry and other positions
For some parents, their baby’s personality or preferences will be as a great a consideration as his or her size. Though many little ones are so comfortable in the cuddly inward-facing position they immediately drift off to dreamland, others are much happier with a wider point of view.
Both Tula and Ergo offer front and back carrying positions, but only Ergo offers additional carrying options in selected models. The Ergo Original offers a hip carrying position (right or left), which offers a bit of variety for the little one. It’s also a great fit for mamas naturally inclined to balance a baby on the hip, as this carrying style gives them the luxury of doing so and having both hands free.
Only the Ergo 360, the newest player in the game, allows for a safe, front outward-facing carrying position. The trade-off for this revolutionary feature is that the large pocket on the front of their other models is not there. The Ergo 360 also has a bit of velcro in the waist strap for greater support, but it makes taking the carrier off with a napping child inside quite a bit trickier unless you’ve been blessed with a heavy sleeper (or possess ninja-like stealth!).
Comfort wearing the carrier
Both carriers feature a “one size fits all” design, and transfer easily from one wearer to another with minimal, intuitive adjustments, most of which can be made with a free hand once you’ve got the carrier on. However, many men and women of larger stature particularly enjoy the support offered by the Ergo’s slightly wider shoulder straps, while particularly petite wearers prefer the more ‘contoured’ shape of the Tula’s straps.
Tula generally wins on comfort.
The straps on the Tula are also more padded than the Ergo which adds to the comfort. Overall Tula generally wins on comfort. Many parents wear the Ergo comfortably, but many who have happily worn an Ergo for some time and then tried the Tula say the Tula is even more comfortable.
Ease of getting the carrier on
Some smaller parents also find it difficult to fasten the Ergo’s back buckle on their own with the baby in front. However, fans of both brands will tell you it takes some practice to put the carrier on without any help, particularly in the backpack carrying position, and many find YouTube videos more helpful than the printed instructions.
Unsurprisingly, any one of the Tula or Ergo models performs well in a climate-controlled indoor environment, yet if you plan on using your carrier outdoors or engaging in something more athletic than a stroll to the neighbourhood park, it’s worth noting that some models can take the heat a bit better than others.
The primary material in the Ergo Original and Ergo Organic is 100% cotton canvas and parents who like to wear their babies front-inward for long stretches or out in the sun find it can get toasty, particularly with the Original or Organic insert – though parents in cooler places find a sleeping baby in the Ergo to be an ideal substitute for a down-filled vests! The Ergo also offers two snap-on covers: a nylon shell for rainy conditions and a fleece-lined version for winter.
Parents who enjoy more active activities with their babies find that the Ergo Performance model’s breatheable mesh fabric is cooler than the cotton canvas, and those who like to hike with the baby in ‘backpack’ mode find it a particularly great fit. Though it is frequently sold out and easily the most expensive among both brands, the Tula Wrap Conversion model is made entirely of woven cotton (as opposed to canvas) which is much softer than mesh or canvas, yet also very breatheable. These fabrics also feature some of the most beautiful prints.
And the winner is?
Well…in the interest of full disclosure, I owned an Ergo Original and loved it. I’m an average-sized mama with petite little ones in a chilly climate with a modest baby gear budget. I carried my second child in it almost daily for a year without ever getting a sore back or shoulders, though I did get warm at times during our brief Canadian summer. I pushed a stroller, cooked, cleaned house, and ran errands wearing it, and when my daughter was very small, there were times I honestly forgot I was wearing her. I’ve never tried a Tula though I am tempted by the Toddler Carrier as both of my girls are now in its ample weight range.
The best carrier for baby
If you’re looking for a carrier for a baby, both are excellent options, though the Tula slightly wins on comfort and can be used comfortably for longer with the Free To Grow extension pack. On the other hand, some Ergo models offer more positioning options and fabrications to suit different outdoor lifestlyes and climates.
The best carrier for a toddler
If you’re in the market for a carrier specifically for a toddler that will be comfortable for you and baby for some time to come, the Tula Toddler carrier is the clear winner with its larger seat and weight capacity.
Go forth and buy your baby carrier with confidence
Both carriers are readily available online, but do be careful if you find an Ergo at a too good to be true price. There are many knock-offs or “fergos” out there at rock-bottom prices, the safety of which cannot be guaranteed.
Whichever one you choose, you can be confident that you’ve chosen a very well-made, high quality carrier that someone will very much want to have, even if it’s not you. Many parents find they are able to get close to retail price for either carrier depending on its condition. They are a hot item in baby consignment shops and I can almost guarantee that there is a mother in your circle of friends (or friends of friends of friends) who would gratefully receive it as a gift.
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