Front baby carriers often advertise weight limits up to 45 pounds, but according to reviewers, they're best for newborns to infants who weigh 15 pounds or less. Once they start getting past that point, it can feel like you're hauling a carrier full of bricks. This is where convertible carriers come in -- the ability to shift the baby's weight from front to back to the hip can prolong your baby wearing without undue pain and suffering.
The best bet in convertible carriers is the Beco Gemini (*Est. $130) . With four carry positions – two front, one back and hip -- it's versatile and easy to shift the baby from one position to another. It's simple to adjust, and parents say it fits so well that the baby feels secure even when they bend over. However, it's 35-pound weight limit is not as high as that of other carriers.
The Ergobaby Performance Carrier (*Est. $100) has a 45-pound weight limit, but it has one flaw that keeps it from the top rankings: The baby can't face forward in the front-carry position. There are also a number of complaints about scratchy fabric and stiff sides. However, unlike the Beco, parents can use the Ergobaby as a back carrier for light hiking when their babies are too young for framed backpack carriers.
The Cybex 2.go (*Est. $120) has a 44-pound weight rating and five carry positions, but it falls short on ease of use. Parents say it's complex and confusing to adjust. It takes two people to put the baby in the back carry position, which some parents say limits its usefulness. Also, in spite of that weight rating, reviewers say it doesn't fit older toddlers well.
All of these carriers are machine-washable, versatile and comfortable for infants, but the Beco Gemini can't be beat for ease of use and a secure fit.