The Best Ring Slings You Can Buy

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on May 25th, 2023

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There’s a lot of benefits to babywearing — it encourages bonding with your little one, can make feeding on the go easier, and frees up your hands!

From all the ways to wear your baby, some moms find that ring slings offer a better balance of comfort and convenience than bulkier, worn carriers and wraps that need tying.

Some ring slings are more durable and comfortable than others, so we’ve taken a look at the latest top picks to help you choose the best one for you and your baby.

Everything you need to know about ring slings

What is a ring sling?

A ring sling is a long piece of fabric that connects and secures onto the wearer’s shoulder with a ring. At first glance, a ring sling may look much like a typical baby wrap, although it’s actually a shorter piece of cloth.

Ring slings are usually made of durable, soft, machine-washable fabrics that are comfortable for both mother and baby. The ring that’s used to secure them is made of metal, wood, or plastic.

Related: Baby K’tan vs Moby Wrap (2021 Comparison Guide)

Why choose a ring sling?

Choosing a ring sling over a baby wrap or structured carrier offers the following benefits to the wearer.

  • It’s not as long as a standard baby wrap, so it’s easier to clean and store when not in use
  • Because it uses less fabric, it’s cooler on sunny days than a structured carrier or bulky wrap, and there’s less hanging (or dragging ‘tail’) to worry about
  • Learning to use a ring sling is basically foolproof, and not difficult for a parent to use on their own, making it easy to leave the house quickly

What are some handy tips and tricks for stylish babywearing?

  • Pick a wrap that’s cute, but neutral: If you’re someone who loves bright colors and patterns, chances are that your wardrobe’s already full of them. So choosing a bright-patterned carrier means it’ll possibly clash with your other outfits! Choosing something subtle means you won’t have that particular fashion problem to contend with.
  • Soft clothes, light layers: Clothes that aren’t comfortable to begin with don’t get any better when wearing your baby, so stick with stylish picks that aren’t too tight or restrictive. Light layers, like a cardigan on top, can help control your temperature without messing with your wrap.

What are the important factors to consider when buying a ring sling?

  • Ring material: The ring is where all the sling’s resistance rests, which means it has to be durable. Metal, plastic, and wooden rings are all recommended picks.
  • Fabric type: A machine-washable material with a little stretch is best for a ring sling, so avoid anything too heavy or too stiff. An unpleasant texture won’t be enjoyable for you or the baby, so look for something like organic cotton, which is hypoallergenic and feels comfortable and soft against the skin.
  • Rails: These are the seams on the outside of the sling; some picks offer padded rails to prevent the fabric from creating pressure or friction against baby’s legs during wear
  • Size: As many moms quickly realize when buying so-called “one-size-fits-all” baby gear — it rarely actually fits all! Not all ring slings are equal in size, some actually offering size options allowing parents to choose one that suits their body type.
  • Weight allowance: Placing your child safely into any worn carrier requires awareness of and adherence to the prescribed weight limit. Most ring slings are safe for children up to at least a year, though always check the weight allowance to be sure it’s suitable for your little one.
  • Shoulder padding: Parents’ comfort matters too, and some ring slings have a shoulder area that’s lightly padded to make the wearing experience more comfortable. This can be noticeable when carrying larger-size babies, so it’s worth looking into.

Related: Baby Carriers vs. Wraps vs. Slings: An Easy yet Expert Guide

Our top picks of the best ring slings

Upgrade choice

Our opinion

Fabric: Cotton
Ring material: Metal
Weight range: 8 – 35 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

There are many lessons new parents learn quickly when the baby comes around — the biggest being that babies come with a LOT of stuff.

Toys, gear, and clothes stack up quickly, and anything that’s multi-purpose becomes a fast favorite.

A good reason to like this pick from Kids N’Such (check price on Amazon), which can be used as both a wrap carrier and a ring sling.

The utility doesn’t stop there, as this carrier can also be used as a postpartum belly band, helpful both in post-pregnancy recovery and as a wardrobe extender.

It’s rather large, so ideal for plus-size wearers or sharing with different-sized family members, though smaller wearers may feel dwarfed by the amount of fabric this wrap is made of.

What we love
  • It’s on the larger side, so great for plus size wearers
  • There’s a good balance between secure durability and stretchiness
Watch for
  • It’s on the thick side, so can be pretty warm during the summer months

Editor's choice

Our opinion

Fabric: Cotton
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 33 lbs
Padded shoulder: Yes

While there’s a lot to love about ring slings, one thing they typically lack is storage for a baby’s on-the-go essentials.

The Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Sling (check price on Amazon) defies expectations, providing the wearer with a convenient zippered pocket that’s perfect for a spare diaper and a small pack of wipes.

There’s light shoulder padding for the wearer’s comfort as the baby grows, also helping to keep the fabric spread across the shoulder, ensuring even weight distribution.

It’s also helpful that this sling is available in medium and large sizes, as carriers that are too big or small are both uncomfortable and unsafe for both you and your child.

This wrap features a lightly padded shoulder for the wearer’s comfort. It’s breathable, so you and your baby will stay comfortable on hot days.

Best budget buy

Our opinion

Fabric: 100% Polyester jersey mesh
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 30 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

Babywearers who are keen to spend time in the pool on a warm day will be quick to snap up the Vlokup Baby Water Ring Sling Carrier (check price on Amazon), which is expressly designed to make poolside time easier and more fun for you and your baby.

This ring sling is made of a Polyester jersey knit that’s designed to be worn right into the pool — at safe depths, of course! — as you babywear.

It’s a great way to help babies adjust to the feel of a swimming pool while maintaining the comfort they’re used to from being close to you.

The sling is also breathable and comfortable outside of the water and dries quickly to prevent irritation when you and baby have left the pool.

What we love
  • It’s designed to be worn into the pool, and is comfortable and secure for both you and your baby
  • The material is breathable both in and out of the water, preventing overheating on hot days
Watch for
  • Has no sun protection factor, so headgear and sunblock are, naturally, needed for baby

Best lightweight

Our opinion

Fabric: Woven cotton
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 33 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

Trusty, eco-friendly cotton is one of the best materials for a ring sling, and the Hip Baby Sling’s (check price on Amazon) 100% cotton construction can be trusted to securely and comfortably carry your little one.

The breathable fabric of the sling is secured by a seamless, aluminum ring that stays put nicely during wear.

Like most ring slings, it’s ideal for babywearing during their first year in the front-tummy, tummy, and hip carries.

There’s no excess fabric with this pick, so it stashes easily in a diaper bag and won’t monopolize your laundry load.

There are also 14 beautiful colors and patterns to choose from, so there’s a style option for everyone.

What we love
  • It’s super-lightweight, so neither you or baby will overheat on a hot day
Watch for
  • The fabric isn’t too stretchy, even after a few washes

Best for nursing

Our opinion

Fabric: 100% Cotton
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 35 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

Moby is a trusted name in baby carriers for good reason — their products are durable, ergonomic, comfortable, and meet all safety standards.

The cozy Ring Sling (check price on Amazon) is no exception and comes with the added benefit of being great for nursing.

Some breastfeeding covers feel bulky, uncomfortable, and conspicuous, but feeding a baby in the Moby sling is simple and discreet.

And don’t worry about learning to use this carrier. It comes with a handy instructional guide, and Moby’s website is packed with information about wearing it comfortably.

What we love
  • It’s ideal for allowing discreet breastfeeding while on the go
  • Despite its thickness, the soft fabric is extremely breathable
Watch for
  • The fabric is so thick that it takes some effort to work it through the rings

Best for newborns

Our opinion

Fabric: 100% Turkish cotton muslin
Ring material: Metal
Weight range: 8 – 35 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

Newborns need clothes and carriers that are gentle on their skin, and this Turkish Cotton Ring Sling (check price on eBay) is perfect for both their needs and yours.

The prewashed, ultra-soft, cotton muslin fabric is light and breathable while also providing a durable, flexible hold for your new baby.

With every further wash, the wrap’s material will become softer and more comfortable. Another cool thing about this pick? It’s reversible, so you can coordinate with your outfit or accessories.

What we love
  • The extra soft material feels great for both you and baby
  • It’s a larger ring sling, so perfect for plus size wearers
Watch for
  • The material is so soft that it can be slippery when not evenly distributed in the rings

Best for style

Our opinion

Fabric: Bamboo and linen
Ring material: Metal
Weight range: 8 – 35 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

If you’ve ever used and loved Pura Vida slings, you’ll be excited to know that they’re back, albeit with a new name.

Nalakai Luxury Slings (check price on eBay) use extra-soft bamboo and linen to create a soft, flexible cradle for your little one.

Although the sling is strong, the material allows air to pass through easily, making it easy for you and your baby to regulate your temperature on a hot, sunny day.

There are 18 beautifully vivid colors to choose from, and Nalakai donates 5% of each purchase to a charity supporting low-income families, so it’s a buy to feel good about.

Nalakai is the rebranded name of Pura Vida, a popular line of ring slings moms are always on the hunt for.

Our eighth choice

Our opinion

Fabric: 100% cotton
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 40 lbs
Padded shoulder: Yes

Ring slings are all about comfort for both parents and babies, but if they’re not well-designed and appropriately sized, they’ll be uncomfortable during wear.

That’s not a problem with the Vlokup Baby Sling (check price on Walmart), which is generously sized, so ideal for either plus-sized wearers or sharing with family members.

It also has a lightly padded shoulder, which prevents the uncomfortable digging caused by some wraps when carrying young toddlers.

Finally, it’s a great pick for lovers of trendy prints as classic, cute chevron and gingham are among the 15 design options available.

What we love
  • It’s a generously sized sling -- great for plus size wearers
Watch for
  • The shoulder padding can make the sling’s fabric somewhat difficult to tighten or loosen

Best for summer

Our opinion

Fabric: 100% Bamboo
Ring material: Aluminum
Weight range: 8 – 25 lbs
Padded shoulder: No

When it comes to lightweight fabrics that are durable and breathable, bamboo often tops the list — one reason it’s so popular for baby clothes and gear.

ION & MAY’s (check price on Amazon) trendy, patterned bamboo ring sling is ideal for summer days, protecting you and your baby from the discomfort of overheating.

It comes with a convenient canvas storage tote that keeps it from becoming tangled or dirty in your diaper bag.

The bamboo fabric also naturally repels odor, so daily washes aren’t required.

Though we love this hot day pick, parents should note that the upper weight limit of this sling is only 25 lbs, meaning you won’t be able to use it for as long as some other slings.

Ring slings FAQs

Are ring slings safe for my baby?

Safety is always the number one concern for parents, and whenever we choose gear, toys, or clothes for our little ones, we need to know they’re safe.

Ring slings are perfectly safe for your child as long as you follow the safety guidelines. This means adhering to weight limits and wearing the sling properly.

Can a ring sling be used as a wrap?

Not typically. Ring slings and wraps are not usually interchangeable, as wraps contain far more fabric to make room for the tying needed to wear them.

You can’t wrap your baby safely in a standard ring sling without a ring. Some, like our Editor’s Choice pick, are designed to be used with or without rings, though this is not standard.

Can a baby sleep in a ring sling?

Absolutely! As long as you’re wearing the ring sling correctly and your child is in an upright position with unobstructed airways, there’s no reason why they can’t sleep in the sling while you wear it.

In fact, closeness to a parent during sleep has been shown to greatly reduce the risk of SIDS in infants under 6 months, and also to provide quieter, more peaceful sleep to newborns.

Related: Baby K’tan Breeze vs Active (2021 Comparison Guide)

Can I use a ring sling for my preemie?

Unlike wraps and structured carriers, it is possible for a ring sling to be used safely for a premature baby. It is, of course, essential that all safety guidelines are followed, and we recommend that parents seek clearance from their doctor before babywearing with a preemie.

Can ring slings be used on airplanes?

Air travel with babies presents a whole new set of travel concerns, like how to keep babies secure during flight while also obeying the law and the safety regulations of airlines.

Ring slings can be worn throughout airports, while boarding, and while the plane is in flight.

However, babies may not be worn or tethered to their caregiver in any way during either takeoff or landing. An approved child safety seat must be used at those times.

Can I use a ring sling during C-section recovery?

Recovering from a C-section is tough on your body, and not all worn carriers will feel comfortable, even if they’re technically acceptable.

With a ring sling, you can avoid the friction/tension that structured carriers usually create against your surgical site as you’ll be carrying your baby a bit higher.

Always heed your doctor’s recommendations, and wear your baby for short periods, to begin with.

Are ring slings the same as baby pouches?

Baby pouches, or long tubes of fabric that function like mini-wraps, are neither the same nor as safe, as ring slings.

They’re technically considered to be a carrying aid, not a carrier, and should never be used as a hands-free carrying option.

They provide some minor back support but have limited, overall functionality.

Can you carry twins in a ring sling?

If you thought you were out of luck in the babywearing department when the stork delivered two babies instead of one, think again!

It is, in fact, possible to carry twins in a ring sling, with the caveat that it can’t be in the same one.

When your twins are big enough for hip carry, typically at around 4 to 6 months, you can wear two ring slings in tandem, carrying both babies at once.

And the winner is…

Versatility is the name of the game when it comes to a good maternity purchase.

The Maya Wrap Lightly Padded Ring Sling (check price on Amazon) can act as a wrap carrier, a ring sling, or a postpartum belt — though we’re not sure about the fourth use the name suggests.

Three is impressive on its own, especially because some postpartum belts can be expensive. If looking for something that lets you carry baby your way on any given day, this wrap/sling/belt combo is a surefire winner.

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on May 25th, 2023

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