A comparison of the Connecta Baby Carrier & Nova Classic Full Buckle Baby Carrier
I have been meaning to write this blog for a long time! At the sling library session’s people generally ask for a soft structured carrier (ssc) that provides lumbar support, a ‘wrap’ of some sort be it a stretchy or a woven wrap, or a Non-structured baby carrier with buckles. For the Non-structured buckle carrier I always show the Classic Full Buckle Baby Carrier by Nova Baby Carriers or the more well-known Connecta Baby Carrier.
The Nova website states that the Nova
Classic Full Buckle is suitable from4 months to 2 years and for
users up to UK size 22 (can be made to suit larger frames on request)
There is a preschooler/toddler version available too. The Connecta website states
that the Connecta Baby Carrier is suitable from 3.5kg (birth) to toddler. There are petite & Toddler versions available too. Both of these can be cinched (and come with a cinch strap) and used from birth.
So a quick run-down on both of these
carriers. They both go on exactly the same. Waist goes on apron
style, click buckle closed, baby sits in carrier, and panel goes up
over baby. One strap gets passed over the shoulder and clipped into
buckle on opposite side, and repeat so you have crossed straps at
your back. They can also be worn like rucksack straps but are more
commonly crossed. Both are teeny to pack up and take with you and are
both equally supportive. Nova Baby Carriers are made in the UK and Connecta Baby Carriers are NOT made in the UK, as we previously thought. Apologies for the confusion on this matter!
The devil is in the details as they say and I don’t think I’ve left too many details out! Here is a full comparison to help you choose the right one. You can also head to a sling meet to try these out, a full list of sling meets around the UK & Ireland that carry these carriers (pardon the pun) is listed on their respective websites. While this is a comparison blog piece I suppose it is also a Connecta Baby Carrier Review & a Nova Classic Full Buckle Review wrapped up in one!
I’m going to work from the bottom up with these. Waistbands first! Well they are both unpadded. The Connecta measures 32cm across the panel at the base compared to the Nova at 37cm. The webbing on the Connecta starts right where the panel ends. In comparison to this there is an approx. 8cm x 8cm small padded square at the side of the Nova so the webbing never pulls directly into your body. (It also reduces muffin top a bit - sorry I do hate that phrase, but that’s what mine looks like!) I find the small bit of padding here makes the Nova slightly comfier as the webbing on the Connecta can be a bit diggy if I am only wearing a vest etc, otherwise they it is fine.
Next to compare is webbing at the waistband. The webbing on the Connecta is 5cm wide & very soft. The buckle when closed is 9cm x 5.5cm. The webbing on the Nova is 5cm wide & slightly firmer. The buckle on this one when closed is 8.5cm x 5.5cm so slightly smaller. Both are easy to adjust, easy to clip & unclick and both are equally secure and comfy against the body. The total length of the webbing & panel together on the Connecta is 125cm and the total length of the webbing & panel together on the Nova is 188cm. That is a significant difference so definitely a big thing to consider. The Nova also comes with neat little elastics that tie up all the extra slack from the unused straps, the Connecta does not.
Onto the panel of the carrier. Both baby carrier panels are approx. 50cm long. The Connecta panel starts narrower and moves up at straight angles to the top of the baby carrier. The Nova starts a bit wider and then moves up in a curved shaped, then spreading out a bit at the top, it is almost an hour glass shape. Both are totally unpadded and available in great fabric choices. Connecta releases a set number of prints on a generally regular basis. The Nova can be made in any number of fabrics from a website that offers 1000’s of choices at no extra cost. They do have in stock carriers too. I have liked all the options available on any websites that I have seen them both for sale so really the choice of print is just a matter of personal choice! I do prefer the curvy shape on the Nova as I think it fits better at the middle of the carrier, but both are comfy and provide full coverage for your baby.
The second set of buckles! These are both just above the midpoint on the Connecta and the Nova. The buckles on the Nova are stitched inside the body panel or sunk into it so they do look very neat. The buckles on the Connecta are stitched on the same way but the rectangular box on the outside is visible so more obvious on dark fabrics. We are really just nit picking at aesthetics here though. The Nova buckle is 7.5cm x 4.5cm compared to 9cm x 6cm on the Connecta. This small difference is noticeable when wearing as it is less bulk under my arm. Not an issue for everyone of course but I prefer the smaller buckle in this case.
Hoods, or lack of. The Connecta has a hood that is built in. It is the same type of fabric as the panel on the main body and is very thin. It can be clipped up onto the shoulder straps with two small buckles that are located 15cm up from the top of the body of the carrier. They can be half folded down and it has been suggested this can be used as a pocket, but I don’t think I’d store anything in there as both sides are open. This is one section where I definitely prefer the Nova baby carrier as it doesn’t come with a hood as standard. It is an optional extra, you can choose from a flat hood or a round hood. All my kiddos have had sweaty heads so I would never use a hood so I really like the option that I can buy this style of carrier without a hood. With a hood the Nova rates the same as the Connecta and either way they are a teeny piece of fabric that can be ignored if you don’t want to use it.
So we’ve arrived at the shoulder straps! The Connecta offers 36cm of lightly padded shoulder straps that are approx. 8cm wide and the Nova offers 32cm of padding that are approx. 9cm wide. The straps from the Connecta go out at slightly more of a straight line compared to the Nova which goes out at almost a 45 degree angle. The Connecta straps can cause more pulling on the neck because of the angle and if they aren’t pulled down your back before crossing them when putting them on. (Just my experience) The Nova is less likely to cause this issue as they move away from the neck and towards the shoulder. The total length of the Nova straps including unpadded webbing is approx. 124cm and the total length of the Connecta straps including unpadded webbing is 94cm. Both carrier straps can also be worn as rucksack straps, and these can then be secured with the cinch straps to make them more secure, but these carriers are normally worn with straps crossed at the back.
Onto the cinch straps. These are a small length of black webbing that have small buckles. You can use them to make the carrier smaller at the base so they fit smaller babies better. Both are equally easy to use and similar size, both in black, and if you’re anything like me, both bound to get lost at some point! I use these at the library to tie the baby carriers together to keep them neat when not in use. I like things tidy! Connecta call their strap the Connecta Accessory Strap and Nova call their strap the Chest Belt.
Connecta Baby Carriers cost from £68.00 and upwards depending on the pattern. Nova Classic Full Buckle Baby Carriers cost £59.99 without a hood and from £71.99 with a hood.
Pros & Cons of the Connecta: It is better known, this means that a second hand Connecta Baby Carrier is easier to find! You can only buy them in stock which means you get it as soon as the retailer dispatches it! If you want a hood on your carrier, it is there as standard & you don’t need to order it as an extra. Connecta don’t do any custom orders, but do have nice collaborations with some wrap companies for funky wrap conversion Connecta’s.
Pros & Cons of the Nova: It can be ordered from many retailers who keep it in stock (like us!) and can also be ordered direct from Nova themselves, you can choose from thousands of patterns & 16 different strap colours! I prefer the hourglass fabric panel on this carrier & the extra padding at the waist. I also like that I can pick and choose whether mine has a hood. The angle at which the shoulder straps leave the Nova make it easier to get a perfect low cross over the back in my opinion. The little elastics at the end of the straps are a mega deal for me as I have enough hanging off me without surplus webbing dangling from me too! If you want a wrap conversion Nova you can send in your own wrap for a custom carrier.
I hope you find these detailed run downs useful when choosing a non-structured Buckle Baby Carrier. All measurements are approximate and were taken with my measuring tape in one hand, sleeping baby on my knee. They are based on the slings I have in front of me, so it’s possible there is a slight variation. Let me know your own pros and cons for these carriers, and any similar ones on the market you use and love!