The Best Ring Slings You Can Buy in 2021

Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on June 16th, 2021

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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!

There’s lots of ways to wear your baby, but some moms find that ring slings offer a better balance of comfort and convenience than bulkier worn carriers and wraps that need to be tied.

Some ring slings are more durable and comfortable than others, so we’ve taken a look at 2020’s top picks to help you choose the best ring sling 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 which connects and secures on the wearer’s shoulder with a ring. At first glance, a ring sling may look a lot like a typical baby wrap, but it’s actually a shorter piece of cloth. Ring slings are typically made out of durable, soft, machine-washable fabrics that are comfortable for mother and baby, and the ring that’s used to secure them is typically 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 a structured carrier offers a few benefits to the wearer.

  • It’s not as long as a standard baby wrap, so it’s more convenient to clean and store when it’s not in use
  • Because it uses less fabric, it’s also less hot on a sunny day than a structured carrier or bulkier wrap and there’s less hanging or dragging ‘tail’ to worry about
  • Learning to use a ring sling is basically foolproof, and it’s not hard for one parent to use on their own, which makes it easier 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 good that your wardrobe is already full of them. As you might imagine, then, choosing a bright patterned carrier means it’s not likely to look good with all of your outfits! Choosing something that’s subtle means you won’t have to work hard not to clash with your baby wrap.
  • Soft clothes, light layers: Clothes that aren’t comfortable to begin with certainly don’t get any more so when you’re wearing your baby, so stick to stylish picks that aren’t too tight or restrictive so that you stay comfortable. Light layers like a cardigan on top can help you control your temperature without having to mess with your wrap.

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

  • Ring material: The ring is the point on which all of the sling’s resistance rests, which means it has to be durable. Metal, plastic, and wooden rings can all be good picks.
  • Fabric type: A machine-washable material with a little bit of stretch to it is best for a ring sling, so avoid anything that’s too heavy or too stiff. An unpleasant texture won’t be enjoyed by you or your 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 your ring sling; some picks offer padded rails, which can help 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 simply does not fit all. Not all ring slings are equally sized, and some picks actually have size options that allow parents to buy a sling that works for their body type.
  • Weight allowance: Safely putting your child in any worn carrier means being aware of and adhering to the prescribed weight limit. Most ring slings are safe for children up to at least one year, but check the weight allowance on any sling or carrier to be sure it’s appropriate 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 a bit more comfortable. The difference can be noticeable when carrying large 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

Editors Choice

Our opinion

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

There’s a lot of lessons new parents learn rather quickly when baby comes around — a big one is 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. It’s 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, which can be helpful both in post-pregnancy recovery and as a wardrobe extender. It’s rather large, so it’s great for plus-size wearers and sharing with different-sized family members, but very petite wearers may feel dwarfed by the amount of fabric this wrap is made of.

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

Upgrade 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 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 small pack of wipes.

There’s light shoulder padding for the wearer’s comfort as baby grows larger, and it also helps to keep fabric spread across the shoulder to ensure even weight distribution. It’s also helpful that this ring sling is available in medium and large sizes, as carriers that are too big or too small are both uncomfortable and unsafe for you and your child. This wrap features a lightly padded shoulder for the wearer’s comfort. It’s breathable, so you and 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 are babywearing.

It’s a great way to help baby get adjusted to the feeling of the 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 leave the pool.

What we love
  • It’s designed to be worn into the pool, which is comfortable and secure for both you and your baby
  • The material is breathable both in and out of the water to prevent overheating on Summer days
Watch for
  • This wrap has no sun protection factor, so as always, headgear and sunblock are 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 (check price on Amazon) 100% cotton construction can be trusted to securely and comfortably hold 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 front tummy, tummy, and hip carries.

There’s not tons of extra fabric with this pick, so it stashes easily in a diaper bag and won’t monopolize your load of laundry. There’s 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 out for:
Watch for
  • The fabric isn’t very 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 offerings are durable, ergonomic, comfortable, and meet safety standards. This cozy Ring Sling (check price on Amazon) is no exception, and it comes with the added benefit of being ideal for nursing.

Some breastfeeding covers can feel bulky, uncomfortable, and obvious, but feeding baby in the Moby sling is simple and discreet. Worried about learning to use the carrier? Don’t be — it comes with a handy instructional guide, and Moby’s website is packed with helpful details for wearing comfortably.

What we love
  • It’s ideal for allowing discreet breastfeeding on the go
  • Despite its thickness, the soft fabric is very 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

Soft, sweet newborns need clothes and carriers that are gentle on their skin, and this Turkish Cotton Ring Sling (check price on Amazon) is perfect for their needs and yours. The pre-washed, 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 only become softer and more comfortable. The other 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 it’s perfect for plus size wearers
Watch for
  • The material is so soft that it can be slippery if it’s 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 Amazon) use extra soft bamboo and linen to create a soft, flexible cradle for your little one.

Although the sling is very strong, the material allows air to pass through easily, so it’s easy for you and 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 charity in order to support low income families, so it’s a buy you can feel great about. Nalakai is the rebranded name of Pura Vida, a popular line of ring slings moms are often on the hunt for

The Vlokup Baby Sling

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’re not comfortable during wear. That’s not a worry with the Vlokup Baby Sling (check price on Amazon), which is generously sized to be ideal for both plus-sized wearers and sharing between family members. It also has a lightly padded shoulder, which can prevent the uncomfortable digging caused by some wraps when carrying young toddlers. Finally, it’s a great pick for lovers of trendy prints, because classic cute chevron and gingham are among the 15 design options available.

What we love
  • It’s a generously sized sling, so it’s great for plus size wearers
  • It’s a generously sized sling, so it’s 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 is near the top of the list — it’s one of the reasons it’s so popular for baby clothes and gear. ION & MAY’s (check price on Amazon) trendy patterned bamboo ring sling is ideal on a summer day, preventing both you and baby from discomfort caused by overheating. It comes with a convenient canvas storage tote that can keep it from becoming tangled or dirty in your diaper bag.

The bamboo fabric also naturally fights odor, so daily washes won’t be required. Though we love this pick for hot days, parents should note that the upper weight limit of this sling is only 25 lbs, which means you will not be able to use it for as long as competitor slings.

What we love
  • 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 is near the top of the list — it’s one of the reasons it’s so popular for baby clothes and gear. ION & MAY’s (check price on Amazon) trendy patterned bamboo ring sling is ideal on a summer day, preventing both you and baby from discomfort caused by overheating. It comes with a convenient canvas storage tote that can keep it from becoming tangled or dirty in your diaper bag. The bamboo fabric also naturally fights odor, so daily washes won’t be required. Though we love this pick for hot days, parents should note that the upper weight limit of this sling is only 25 lbs, which means you will not be able to use it for as long as competitor slings.
Watch for
  • The upper weight limit is a bit low compared to competitor picks

Ring slings FAQs

Are ring slings safe for my baby?

Safety is the most paramount parental concern, and any time 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 are following the safety guidelines, which 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 have a great deal more fabric to accommodate the tying necessary for them to be worn. You can not safely wrap your baby in a standard ring sling without a ring. Some offerings, like our editor’s choice pick, are designed to be used with or without rings, but this is not standard.

Can a baby sleep in a ring sling?

Absolutely! As long as you are wearing your ring sling correctly and safely and your child is in an upright position with unobstructed airways, there’s no reason why they can’t sleep in the ring sling while you’re wearing it. In fact, closeness to parents during sleep has been shown to reduce the risk of SIDS in infants under 6 months, and that same closeness has been shown to facilitate quieter and more undisturbed sleep in 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’s possible for a ring sling to be suitable and safe for a premature baby. Of course, it’s essential that all safety guidelines be followed, and parents should always have the go-ahead from their doctor to attempt babywearing with a preemie.

Can ring slings be used on airplanes?

Air travel with babies introduces a whole new set of travel concerns, including how to keep baby secure during flight while also obeying the law and safety regulations set forth by airlines. Ring slings can be worn throughout airports, while boarding a plane, and while the plane is in flight. However, babies may not be worn or tethered to their caregiver in any way during both takeoff and landing, so you’ll need to use an approved child safety seat 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’ll avoid the friction and tension that structured carriers can create against your surgical site, because you’ll be able to carry your baby a bit higher. Always heed your doctor’s recommendations, and wear baby for short periods to start out.

Are ring slings the same as baby pouches?

Baby pouches, a long tube of fabric that functions like a mini-wrap, are neither the same as or as safe as ring slings. They’re technically considered to be a carrying aid, not a carrier, and shouldn’t ever be relied on as a hands-free carrying method. They can provide some minor back support, but have limited functionality overall.

Can you carry twins in a ring sling?

If you thought you were out of luck in the babywearing department when the stork brought two babies instead of one, think again. It’s possible to carry twins in a ring sling, with the caveat that it can’t be the same ring sling. When your twins are big enough for hip carry, typically around four to six months, you can wear two ring slings in tandem to carry both babies at once.

And the winner is…

Versatility truly 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; we’re not totally sure about the fourth use the name suggests, but three is impressive on its own, especially because some postpartum belts can be expensive. If you’re looking for an option that will let you carry baby your way on any given day, this wrap/sling/belt combo is a surefire winner.

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Neve Spicer
Written by Neve Spicer Updated on June 16th, 2021

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