Manduca versus Ergo? The best baby carrier is..

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I spent a lot of time trying to find the right title for this post. It started off as “Manduca versus Ergo? You make the choice.” I felt this was perfect because carriers fit and suit parents and bubs – all differently. I began to compare the carriers and realised that my blog is exactly that – my stuff. My opinion. That given, the most appropriate titles here should be “Manduca, where have you been all my life?!” or “Manduca, you win hands down.” Nevertheless I do prefer to give a neutral position when trialling a new product and I want to assure you that I started with one. Hopefully I can squish all my comparisons succinctly into one post that will show you how I reached the strongly biased position – completely brimful of admiration for the Manduca baby carrier.

Manduca Baby Carrier for Manduca vs Ergo Post

Token photo of hot baby-wearing Dad – funnily enough we think the carrier is not positioned well in this marketing shot – too high up at the waist as opposed to where it should be closer to the hip.

Now you might be thinking we are biased because we do sell this carrier in our eco baby store. But we also sold lots of others before we started feeling it with unethical when we knew that this was the best product. We were blindsided, you might say – because hubby and I were Ergo users and thought we couldn’t be converted otherwise. When our son arrived 3 years ago, all the wise women we knew were using the Ergo, and could articulately express their good reason. If you are considering these carriers you probably already know that a soft structured carrier is an extremely convenient, comfortable, simple, long lasting, ergonomic option for both baby and family. The ‘M’ position (with knees higher than bottom) is ideal for babe. If you don’t already know why soft structured carriers are it and a bit; read this article which might help you second guess that Baby Bjorn carrier – or indeed any other front facing option, also read this comprehensive article if you are still in the early research stages.

Gardening with an Ergo in Back Carry

Here is a pic from October 2008 of my hot baby-wearing DH for our Manduca vs Ergo post 😉 with 5 month old DS on his back in the Ergo – DH is tilling soil. DS loved it and would fall asleep from the repetitive motion. Sure DH didn’t expect this pic in his gardening clothes overdue for a haircut was ever about to hit public view.

Anyway, so what I am saying is that I can’t help asking if my head has been buried in the sand, because the Manduca has been around for a little while and I consider myself a savvy consumer, that also has regular contact with other similarly minded natural parenting baby wearing consumers. Why didn’t I know about this carrier earlier? The answer is probably that I was pregnant and had hyper emesis when most people I know where starting to discover this German designed carrier. Or likely that Ergo has been stretching its corporate muscle and out-marketed Manduca until now.

Let’s compare them – quick table styles:

Manduca Versus Ergo Quick Reference Table

  Manduca Ergo
Organic Entire range Limited range of organic
Extra $$
Infant Setup Included – no extra $$ Extra $$
Well designed Bulky and not very portable
Body Length 31cm – extends to 41cms 35cms fixed
Hood Y Y
Shoulder strap (width) 6cm 9cm
Weight maximum 20kgs 18kgs
Price (RRP) 159.00 Standard 159.00
Organic 189.00
Infant Insert Standard 39.00
Infant Insert Organic 59.00


It really is exciting to be able to offer a carrier that is only available in an organic fabric selection. Yes Ergo do offer an organic option, but with a crazy markup – that sort of unnecessary markup on ‘organic’ that really erks me. Why support organic? – That needs a dedicated post [and will probably get one too!]. Too often with the Ergo people are drawn to the cheaper, non-organic option. That is not an issue with every Manduca being either 100% organic cotton or an organic cotton/hemp blend.

Neither my son nor daughter has taken to being carried as newborns – my daughter would like the odd Peanut Shell ride. We did try the Ergo Heart-to-Heart Insert Infant Insert on both occasions but found it too bulky and restrictive.  Another awesome, cost saving factor with the Manduca is the built-it infant insert that requires no separate purchase or additional outlay.

Manduca Infant Solution

I absolutely love the zip open torso and my setup is to have it open (longer) for naps and closed (shorter) for an awake babe. With the extra length a sleeping baby has that little more neck support for a bobbling head. I cross the straps over my back as a rule and find that much more comfortable than the Ergo, no more feeling like the straps are going to slip off my shoulder. The waist belt buckle feels more sturdy and has a 3 point safety system that I actually do notice feels more secure.

Manduca Baby Carrier - With Extendable Torso

Extendable torso or body of the carrier

What we feel is that somewhere Ergo got stuck and didn’t move forward. Manduca however has streamlined the concept of a soft structured carrier to a more sleek, sophisticated and functional product. Some have commented that it is ‘less like a hiking pack’ and ‘something more beautiful and refined.’ We hear (often!) that the Manduca is also more comfy for people of shorter stature or even simply slim build. Manduca versus Ergo for shorter stature; Manduca just has to be the choice.

Yes my heart was beating a little faster after looking over the only carrier I have come across that I feel competes properly with our Ergo. Actually, I have now sold our once ‘trusty’ Ergo and I no longer sell the Ergo either, although I have an account and could if I had wanted to. I just can’t conscience selling a product that I know now is now providing the most functional experience for our community. People may have heard the comment I often make that families need to find what works for them in many aspects of parenting and feel confident to construct their own tool kit from the many options available. For our babes and our bodies and our sanity, the Manduca is simply an item that makes our lives easier and more enjoyable and we can only hope to share that with others. It’s like our hammer! A tool we just can’t do without.

If you have questions or need advice about comparing Manduca versus Ergo or any other carrier and our experience with them please don’t hesitate to comment.

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15 Responses to Manduca versus Ergo? The best baby carrier is..

  1. Avatar
    emma September 28, 2011 at 1:15 pm #

    We took our Manduca to Melbourne yesterday and Frances happily spent most of the day in it. It was far easier and more comfortable to use than our old Ergo. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction and for getting it to me so quickly.

  2. Avatar
    Jehanne February 29, 2012 at 5:20 pm #

    I was afraid of this. That one day I would have to take my head out of the sand and acknowledge that my beloved ergo may have a rival. In fact it was very soon after I purchased my beloved ergo 2.5 years ago that I noticed Manducas in an online store; I tried SO hard not to look, even though their styling and colours really appealed to me so much more…
    Now I am so torn – do the boring but financially responsible thing and just use the perfectly good ergo for our new bub due in May; or do what I really want to, sell the ergo and infant insert and buy a gorgeous new Manduca…

  3. Avatar
    Pip October 25, 2012 at 3:41 pm #

    Thanks for this article. I had a baby bjorn for number 1 – because that’s what I was given and didn’t know any better. Now 3 years on and expecting number 2 am looking at getting an Ergo or a Manduca – found your article interesting. Might have to find somewhere I can actually try a Manduca – I have seen a few friends with Ergo’s so know these ones – just never physically seen a Manduca.

  4. Avatar
    Deb January 22, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    Hi Pippa,
    I’m about to buy a carrier & the choice is between an ergo or manduca. Most of the reviews I’ve read online are in favour of the manduca, however the appeal of the newer ergo performance is that it is super breathable & has had a few features modified to improve it. I don’t want my baby getting hot, and with the manduca being 100% cotton, I think it may get hotter than the ergo performance (even though i would prefer to support the organic market). Essentially for me it comes down to how comfortable it is to wear & how cool both baby & I can stay. I know both the ergo & manduca are comfortable, but with these two preferences, what is your absolute honest opinion about which one would be better for what I’m looking for?
    Hope you can help!

    • Avatar
      Pip Buxton January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm #

      My absolute honest answer is that in terms of a carrier, your body thermoregulates for the baby anyway when you have skin-skin contact so that you should be able to have a comfy baby no matter the choice. That said, of course – I am a declared Manduca fan, I have fully moved over to the brand now. The Manduca originals are actually organic cotton/hemp blends and our FNQ customers have given great feedback about their use in the warm weather. Hemp is naturally a very breathable material, I believe more so than cotton. The manduca body piece is not as bulky as the Ergo either – and with the ability to zip down also gives more airspace for baby at the end of the day. Hopefully something in that ramble is helpful for you Deb. Best of luck and don’t hesitate to let me know if I can be helpful in any other way. Cheers, Pip.

      • Avatar
        Sarah March 10, 2013 at 3:19 pm #

        Hey, everyone has been going ga-ga over how Manduca is great for shorter people and I really want to buy one but I am 6ft/180cms! and not slim at all! will it work for me?

      • Avatar
        Emma March 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm #

        I recently moved to a very hot climate & considered switching from a manduca to an ergo performance because I thought it would be cooler. After chatting to some local women who use carriers and comparing them, I decided to stay with the manduca. It has less padding and covers a smaller area. I think the performance is targeted at people who want to do heavy exercise wearing a carrier (like hike up a mountain or something).

  5. Avatar
    maria May 19, 2013 at 1:55 pm #

    What do you recommend for bigger men and women? I’m a size 18 since the pregnancy and have an ergo at the moment but really considering a manduca.

  6. Avatar
    cara September 24, 2013 at 9:25 am #

    Like 2 previous posters, I am looking at a Manuca but am a larger build…would it be suitable?

    • Avatar
      Pippa Buxton (@littleeconest) February 22, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Hi there Cara. Thank you so much for your message – I’m sorry I haven’t seen this until now. The Manduca is super adjustable, but I am a slim build and haven’t got first hand experience to guide you with your question. I had hoped that another Mama might give their experience with wearing the Manduca on a larger builder to help us and other Mamas in the community. Hope you found something that suited and have enjoyed wearing your babe xx Pip.

  7. Avatar
    Kerri February 5, 2014 at 12:14 am #

    Hi Pippa,
    I’m all confused about carriers but have kinda decided that the Manduca will suit my 4 week old best. I like that it seems much easier for newborns than other carriers with having the ‘pouch’. I have back and neck injuries from car accidents, and am interested in your comment that one can wear this carrier with the straps crossed at the back. I can’t find any other information about this so would it be possible for you to explain and send a photo? I also like that this carrier seems to suit smaller frames as that is me. In contrast, my husband is quite broad so would it also be comfortable for him to wear? Unfortunately we live in Adelaide and I don’t believe there are any retailers for Manduca that we can go looksie, so we’re limited to comments from others. Thank you for your fabulous article

    • Avatar
      Pippa Buxton February 9, 2014 at 12:32 am #

      Hey there Kerri. Thanks for your kind words and your question. Sure thing I will scour my photo albums for a pic of me cross carrying or try to take a new one. It is super easy 🙂 I would say it would be comfy for your broad husband too; it is just so adjustable! Hope to report back soon.

  8. Avatar
    Gee April 25, 2016 at 2:12 pm #

    Hi Pippa I’ve been looking into both the Manduca and ergo. Iv been able to try on the ergo and found it was easy on my back as I have back issues, also i found that the carrier evenly distributed the weight therefore putting less pressure on my back..making it easier for me to carry my baby. I havent tried the Manduca and was wondering what it is like on your back and if wearing it is similiar to the ergo…I really love the idea of the cross over straps. I look forward to hearing from you! Thanks!

  9. Avatar
    Anastasia April 23, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    Hello Pippa )
    I have a 6 month old who is massive for his age, almost 10kg. Up until now we had just been using a stroller and a sling, so not really tried baby carriers with this baby. With our first, we used the baby bjorn but found it was strenuous on the back, and it only goes up to 10kg anyway.
    So at the moment, I am looking at manduca and ergo carriers, and though I kind of am leaning toward the manduca carriers, I have found baby is really curious and keeps squirming around to look at everything when he is carried. Hence I am debating between a manduca (because of lots of good reviews) and an ergo 360 (because it gives the forward facing option). Could you give me a bit of advice here please? 🙂
    Thanks in advance

    • Pippa Buxton
      Pippa Buxton April 23, 2017 at 11:57 pm #

      Thanks for your question Anastasia <3 Our first child was 10.5kgs at 6 months of age so I can relate! I did adore the Manduca, and for a lot of reasons I prefer not to use a forward facing option as I believe it goes against what suits me in babywearing (helping my little one to experience the world from the comforted bear hug view with the ability to turn away from stimulation.. front facing feels too exposed for me) among other factors. You definitely can think over what feels right for you and your little one. I had a really active, busy little boy at that time and as he grew, but we all loved the Manduca and used it for a very long time with him and my other children.

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