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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 22 Models Considered
  • 17 Hours Spent
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 102 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide for Best Diapers

    As any parent knows, diapers come part and parcel with child-rearing. There are lots of diaper brands on the market today, so how do you choose the right diapers for your little one? After all, your child will be wearing them almost 24/7 for the first few years of life.

    There are several key requirements most parents have of their child’s diaper brand. They are as follows.

    • The diapers must be comfortable against the child’s skin.

    • The diapers must effectively contain waste for short periods of time, until someone can replace a soiled one with a new one.

    • The diapers must be a good value. Diaper expenditures can really add up over the days, weeks, months, and years of babyhood.

    To get the lowdown on diapers, we enlisted the help of baby expert Aimee Ketchum. Aimee has been working in pediatric occupational therapy for 18 years and is the owner/operator of child development company Aimee's Babies LLC. She has produced three child-related DVDs and nine apps and is an all-round baby superstar. We’re thrilled to share the information she gave us with our readers.

    If you’re ready to buy some diapers, check the matrix at the top of this page to learn about five of our favorite products. If you’d like to learn more about diapers and how to choose the right ones for your baby, read on for our diaper shopping guide.

    A diaper that fits well can help to avoid leaks, but it's not foolproof. Even with a well-fitting diaper, you'll sometimes experience a poop explosion.

    Types of Diapers

    There are two main types of diapers of the market: disposable diapers and cloth diapers.


    Disposable Diapers

    Disposable diapers go straight into the trash after each change. They're made from different layers of materials, including a polypropylene topsheet and an absorbent center.


    • Disposable diapers are convenient and easy to use.

    • You don’t have to launder them; simply throw them away.

    • Most parents find disposable diapers easier for traveling and use on the go.

    • While they might cost more in the long run, there's no need for a large initial outlay of cash with disposable diapers. You just buy them as you go.

    The best diapers are the ones that are easy to take off and put on very quickly and easily, because babies do not lie still for diaper changes.

    Pediatric Occupational Therapist


    • Disposable diapers create a lot of environmental waste.

    • Most disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate (which is linked to allergies and toxic shock syndrome), chlorine, and artificial fragrances. Some contain traces of the harmful chemical tributyltin.

    • Unless you opt for the very cheapest package on the shelf, disposable diapers usually cost more money than cloth diapers over the two or so years your baby requires diapering.

    Price: The most inexpensive brands cost as little as $.11 per diaper. High-end eco-friendly disposable diapers can cost as much as $.67 per diaper. However, the average cost is between $.20 and $.35 per diaper.

    If you opt for cloth diapers, you'll need between 20 and 30 to comfortably keep up with washing and drying them.


    Cloth Diapers

    Cloth diapers, also known as reusable diapers, are designed to be washed after use.


    • Using cloth diapers is better for the environment, since you won’t be sending every used diaper directly to a landfill.

    • You save money in the long run using cloth diapers, especially if you use them for more than one child.

    • Cloth diapers come in a range of colors and patterns, including some very adorable designs.

    • Since cloth diapers are made from natural, breathable fibers, babies who wear them tend to experience less diaper rash.

    • Cloth diapers are arguably more comfortable for the child than disposables.

    Even cloth diapers can have flushable inserts, making them easier to use.

    Pediatric Occupational Therapist


    • There's a degree of labor involved with cloth diapers, since they need to be washed and dried between uses.

    • Cloth diapers can be inconvenient when you’re out and about, since you'll need to lug dirty diapers around with you.

    • Not all daycare centers will accept babies who wear cloth diapers.  

    Price: Most cloth diapers cost between $5 and $20 apiece. You'll need 20 to 30 cloth diapers in total. Some styles of cloth diapers (usually the cheaper ones) require inserts and liners at an additional cost.


    Cloth diapers are more eco-friendly than most disposable diapers. However, there are some disposable diapers made by companies with a focus on eco-friendliness.

    Aimee  | Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Diaper Absorbency

    Diapers must be absorbent enough to hold urine without leaking or making your baby feel too uncomfortable. Disposable diapers tend to be more absorbent than cloth diapers, but not all brands are equally absorbent. You'll want to investigate any particular brands you're considering; we suggesting trying them out to see how they perform.

    As mentioned, reusable diapers are generally less absorbent. As a result, they may need to be changed more often. However, you could purchase extra inserts for some types of cloth diapers to increase absorbency.

    The fact that babies can feel a little bit of wetness with cloth diapers can be beneficial when it comes to potty-training time, since they learn the difference between being wet and being dry more quickly.


    Hand-washing is of ultimate importance during your diaper-changing years. Keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or diaper bag for those times when you’ve just changed a dirty diaper and you don’t have access to soap and water.

    Diaper Comfort and Fit



    How comfortable are your child’s diapers? Some disposable diapers feel very plasticy or scratchy inside, which can't be very comfortable. However, other brands are softer. Cloth diapers are made from natural fibers that are breathable and feel more natural against the skin.

    From birth to successful potty training, babies require over 7,000 diaper changes.

    Pediatric Occupational Therapist


    Diapers should fit snugly enough to avoid leaks, but not so snugly that they feel tight or uncomfortable. While diapers come in different sizes designed to fit babies of a particular weight range, the fit can differ between brands. You might find that some diapers fit your baby better than others. As such, we recommend testing a particular brand before you go out and buy your supplies in bulk.


    A diaper that fits well can help to avoid leaks, but it's not foolproof. Even with a well-fitting diaper, you'll sometimes experience a poop explosion.


    • Choose diaper size conscientiously. There is no universal size chart for diapers, so look at the recommended weight range on the package.

    • Don't buy too many diapers of the same size. This holds especially true when your baby is on the brink of a growth spurt. If you over-buy, you may find yourself with a large stock of diapers that are too small.

    • Empty your trash can regularly. Or better yet, invest in a diaper pail that will minimize odors by concealing them tightly.

    • Choose your diaper bag carefully. You want something that works for you, and there are lots of good choices out there. Keep your diaper bag stocked and ready to go to you can take that spur-of-the-moment day trip if you want to.
    Many parents worry about harmful chemicals in disposable diapers. To avoid them, choose either a more natural brand of disposable diapers or use cloth diapers.


    Q. Will I save money by using cloth diapers?
    Most people find they save money using cloth diapers, as long as they don't go overboard buying their stash. An average spend is between $400 and $700 on a full set of cloth diapers, including liners, inserts, and other essential accessories. (However, you could spend less if you shop around.)

    Of course, you also have to factor in the cost of laundering the diapers, which adds up to around $200 a year in detergent, water, and electricity. So, over the course of two years (by which time your child will likely be using the toilet), cloth diapers will cost you between approximately $800 and $1,100.

    Now let's look at disposables. Most babies go through around 7,000 diapers between birth and potty training. If you use the absolute cheapest brand around, you'll only be spending around $770, but if you use the most expensive, that's over $4,500. Most parents, however, will go for a mid-range brand (costing somewhere between $.20 and $.30 per diaper), which adds up to between $1,400 and $2,100.

    There is a price difference between cloth diapers and disposable diapers. Cloth diapers do cost more upfront, but they may save you some money in the long run.

    Pediatric Occupational Therapist

    Q. What kind of fastening will I find on my baby's diapers?
    Disposable diapers are fastened using sticky tabs, but you can find a range of fastenings on reusable diapers. Most modern cloth diapers fasten either with snaps or Velcro. Some more traditional types of cloth diapers are designed to be fastened with diaper pins, although most people today use "snappies," which are an easier and safer alternative to pins.

    Q. What kind of diaper is best for a baby who suffers from diaper rash?
    Some parents believe that diaper rash is inevitable, but it can often be prevented or treated by using the right diapers. Our expert, Aimee, explains that "babies may have allergies to certain diapers, causing rashes or other skin conditions.” If this happens to your child, switching diapers brands can help.

    It's not always an allergy that causes diaper rash, either. Sometimes, a rash is the result of irritation from a certain material or chemical. If you want to stick to disposables, switching to chlorine-free, dye-free, and fragrance-free diapers may help a baby with diaper rash.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Alice
      Web Producer
    • Amy
    • Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Laura
    • Melissa
      Senior Editor

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