I bought my Original Ergo about a month before the Ergo Performance made it’s debut. All of a sudden the Performance was the “it” new thing and I was wondering if I’d missed out. I loved my Ergo, but would I be happier with the Performance? When Kate offered to lend me the Performance so I could compare the two, I jumped at the opportunity.

ERGObaby Carriers are:

Products to make babywearing safe, easy and comfortable – a HandsFree System with an all-in-one baby carrier that can be used in the front, back and hip position, infant to toddler.

For more info see Kate’s Review of the ERGO Performance or my blog about The Original ERGObaby Carrier.

Ergo Side By Side
Side-by-side Comparison

Size, Shape and Weight

Size and Shape: The Performance has a slimmer fit with contoured shoulder straps and a curved waistband. The Performance feels slimmer and closer fitting and I like how the shoulder straps curve along my shoulder blades when using the front carry. However, I prefer the waistband on the Original. I like wearing the waistband low on my hips, possibly lower than recommended, I’m not sure. When I do this with the Performance, the curve of the waistband hits the top of my thighs when I walk, which I find uncomfortable.

The Performance can be extended to 5 inches longer in the waist (to 48″) and the shoulder straps are longer, fitting heights to 6’5″.

Weight: The Performance is a third lighter than the Original and I can feel this when I hold one in each hand, but not when wearing them. Both carriers are a comfortable, essentially unnoticeable, weight.


The shoulder straps on the Performance have a thinner foam to “provide cushion without the bulk.” The straps are less bulky, but I find them less comfortable too. If I could make one suggestion to the makers of the Ergo it would be to make the Performance shoulder straps more like the Original.


The Performance is undoubtedly cooler than the Original. We walk along the beach in humid Florida and it gets hot. I could feel a significant difference with the Performance. I was still chest to chest (or back) with my little thermonuclear reactor, so it wasn’t completely cool, but it is a noticeable difference.

Pockets and Features

Sleeping Hood: both Ergos have attached hoods. The Performance hood is a soft, fuzzy material and has a zip-close pocket. The Original hood is the same soft cotton as the lining of the carrier and stuffs in a pocket (no zipper).

Storage: both Ergos have a vertical zip pocket on the front that is the perfect size for a cell phone, keys, or a small wallet.

Overall Look

The Performance has a sleeker, sportier look and comes in grey and the spring green pictured. I can see it fitting in well with REI attire and hiking boots and the sport materials may stand up better to the elements. The Original has a nice look too and several color options. I think it looks sporty enough for any outdoorsy family and comfy enough for anyone.


Both the Ergo Performance and the Original Ergo are outstanding carriers and I would be happy with either one. I just put both on again to take photos and I can’t decide which one Kate is getting back. (Just kidding Kate.)

Shop! Both styles of Ergo can be purchased at www.ergobaby.com or Amazonfor $105 to $120.

  1. 1.

    Thank you for this awesome comparison, Malia! It’s so informative and I hope it will help mamas trying to decide between the two.

  2. 2.

    Thank you for posting this review! It’s just in time as I’m considering which one to buy 🙂

    • .

      I’m glad Hana. You’ll love either one.

  3. 3.

    Thank you for your thorough and comprehensive comparison! We are so pleased that you love both ERGObaby carriers, and would love to offer you an ERGObaby t-shirt as a token of our appreciation for your post. If you are interested, email me at
    reviews@ergobaby.com for details.
    In any case, thank you again for your support. We truly appreciate you!


  4. 4.

    Thanks for posting this, it’s very helpful to know the differences. I’m so glad I found this.

    Ergobaby, if you’re reading this, the longer straps and waist bad make these unusable for us petite women. Please make a performance version with shorter lengths!

  5. 5.

    Malia and/or Kate,

    I own an Original Ergo carrier and am testing out the Preformance Ergo … I just recifed it today and only put my baby in it briefly but it seems as though the torso length of the Preformance is longer and baby’s head is held pretty firmly in place making it hard for him to turn his head. Is this something you ladies noticed as well? Am I not wearing it properly? Or am I just used to the Original?

    Thanking you in advance,

    • .

      Hi Melanie,
      Now that you mention it, I did notice that a little bit and can see it in the back carry photos above (my husband screwed up the front carry photo in the original, so that one is a couple months younger/smaller). I attributed it to a combo of the “pocket” (where baby sits) being smaller and the whole carrier fitting slimmer. It is possible that the rise is higher too although I can’t find anything about that on Ergobaby’s website.

      I would say it sounds like you probably are wearing it right and just need to see what your baby (and you) thinks about the fit.It is a little awkward switching back and forth because the carriers are so similar and yet different. I think once you are wearing the performance more consistently you’ll feel more comfortable. Things may change as your little one grows too.

      I hope that’s helpful. I’m sure ERGObaby could help you troubleshoot too, if you still feel like something just isn’t right.


    • .

      Thank you Malia,

      What I did was roll up a receiving blanket and placed it in the pocket under my little man’s bottom and it raises him up just enough so that it’s comfortable for both of us and I don’t feel as though he is stuck.

      I definitely like the feel and weight of the Preformance Ergo better, especially the less bulky shoulder straps and breathable fabrics!

  6. 6.

    I think the reason for the tighter/higher fit on the neck is so that your baby’s head stays steady while jogging or whatever. I’ve never tried the Performance but LOVE my original and can’t wait to put my newest in it come September. Great review tho, thanks!

  7. 7.
    jalene Welzig

    I have the original and its the only one my little girl loves after trying many others. She has special needs and loves the closeness with mommy and with low muscle tone she seems most comfortable in the ergo. I just bought the performance since summer is coming, but find the same as some other comments posted about the narrowness of the carrier. She seems like her head doesnt have as much freedom as the original and that she sits lower, so it seems like she is more squished. Guess I could try a blanket under her bottom to see it that helps. Any suggestions? Does the sports have the same issue?

    • .

      Hi Jalene,

      I haven’t tried the sport, so I can’t comment on that one. We don’t use the ergo much now that my guy is bigger (ie really really heavy) but he sometimes tries to climb out of the top of the original. I wonder if he would be able to do this less with the performance. It moved away with Kate 🙁 so I haven’t used it recently. I think you can see why I truly could not decide which carrier I liked best. 🙂

    • .
  8. 8.

    So grateful to happen upon your review, but I am still struggling to make a final decision for myself on which one to buy…Has time changed your opinion in any way?..This heat and your significant difference makes the performance sound like the pick but I do have sensitive shoulders that make me wonder if the original is significantly more comfortable on the shoulder?..Could you please let me know a little more of your opinion on how drastic the difference was for shoulder weight and comfort?..For some one like me that does feel stress and weight on my shoulders do you think its worth the extra sweat and heat or not that big of a difference?

    Thank you so much for your help…Much appreciated!!!

  9. 9.

    We’re trying to decide between the two Ergo carriers; this review is almost an year old. Do you have any updates?

  10. 10.

    Just want to ask which is better Original or Organic?Pls help thanks!

    • .

      That’s a matter of personal preference.

  11. 11.

    Robert, I agree with Kate. The original and organic are essentially identical structurally, it’s just the fabric that differs. So the best choice for you would be based on your color preference, budget and desire for organics.

  12. 12.

    Interesting. I’ve been trying to use performance on my baby boy for past 3 months. He is now 6 months and still doesn’t fit comfortably in ergo performance. I’m not sure how to describe it but the shoulder strap cuts in to his face so he looks very uncomfortable in it. I wish I can try on the original to see if it fits him better since I see other neighborhood moms with it and their babies seem to fit more comfortably even though they are smaller than mine.

  13. 13.

    I have fun with, lead to I discovered just what I was looking for.
    You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a nice
    day. Bye

  14. 14.

    Not only does the performance have a higher torso panel, it also has a wider seat than the original.

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