Since Knox has officially completed his diapering cycle now (newborn to potty training), I figured it would be a good time to review and share our cloth diapering experience (perhaps in the hopes of inspiring some of you to try it yourselves). I spoke briefly about this topic in a guest post I did for my friend Charlotte’s blog (which you should definitely check out if you haven’t already), but I thought it might be helpful to do a more in-depth review of specific brands we used. I remember being extremely overwhelmed by the amount of information I found on the internet about cloth diapers when I first began researching them. There are so many different types and brands, not just of diapers, but of detergents, cleaning methods, sizes, the list goes on and on. I’ll try to keep it as simple as possible for those of you considering making the switch. This will just be a basic review of the types & brands of diapers we have used.
When I was pregnant with Knox, I began to invest in diapers based on reviews I read on the internet and discussions with people I knew who had experience with it. Everything I learned led me to this website, which carries lots of different brands and has a great Q&A page. I purchased (or registered for & was gifted) a few different types of diapers in small quantities to try. I figured I could sell back the ones I didn’t love through a website like this, but I ended up being really glad that I purchased all of the ones I did and have used them all quite regularly, especially now with our second baby.
This was my very first diaper stash:
Econobum - I chose these because according to my research this was the cheapest way to cloth diaper.
12 100% unbleached cotton diapers + 3 one size waterproof covers = $48.95.
Review: These diapers are VERY bulky. Knox looked absolutely ridiculous in them until he was probably 6 or 7 months old, and, even then, it’s tough to button a onesie over them or fit jeans on top of. However, I rarely experienced leaks in these diapers (probably due to their size) until Knox was walking, in which case, if he had a particularly large mess in his diaper, there might be a problem, but I’ve found the same to be true with disposables. They are very absorbent and he seemed very comfortable in them.
Flip - I read that these particular diapers were very easy to use, which is why I purchased them (I also got them on sale), along with the fact that they offered an organic cotton insert.
2 one size covers + 6 organic cotton inserts = $59.95 (~$45 on sale)
Review: Though I heard they were known for their ease of use, I didn’t see much of a difference between these diapers and the Econobums. The covers have a slightly better fit, but other than that, they’re practically identical. The inserts are VERY absorbent. I have never experienced a leak using these inserts. They are also just as bulky as the Econobums. You can interchange these inserts and the Econobum prefolds.
I used both the Flip & Econobum covers with a standard Gerber prefold (which is MUCH thinner and MUCH less absorbent) for newborn cloth diapering this time around. They fit wonderfully on a newborn, but need to be changed often, because of the lack of absorbency. But if you think about it, you’re changing newborn diapers all the time, anyway because they poop every 5 seconds, so I didn’t feel like I was changing them any more than I would a disposable diaper. I had to use snappis to keep them in place, which run around $8.00 for a 3 pack.
Bumgenius Pocket Diapers - I picked these because they got very good reviews & seemed to be the most popular brand.
6 one-size pocket cover + 6 stay-dry inserts + 6 stay-dry doublers = $86.90 (this is a buy 5, get 1 free sale price that they offer from time to time). I also bought one All-in-One sized diaper (insert sewn in) and I liked it okay, but it took a lot longer to dry than the pockets, so I never purchased anymore.
Review: These are the diapers I used the most with Knox. I love the way they fit, I love how easy they are to use, I love that the wetness is drawn away from the skin by the pocket cover. Once you stuff them, they work just like a disposable. Here’s the catch - I started out with velcro, which was a mistake. The velcro wore out pretty quickly. When I bought more, I invested in the snap covers, which are much more durable. They are bulkier than a disposable, but not so much that they won’t fit under a onesie or pants. Once you add the diaper doubler they bulk up a little more, but not too much.
After diapering for a while, I decided I wanted to try some new brands that friends recommended or that I had read good things about. Here are some of the other brands I tried.
Happy Heiny Pocket Diapers - I thought they looked really cute in pictures I had seen and I read on a few message boards that they worked well. I purchased them used from this website and I can’t recall how much I spent on them, but I know they sell a 6 pack for $110.00.
Review: I don’t love the fit of this diaper. There is always a gap at the front which can allow for leaks and they sag in the back which has been a problem since Knox has been walking. I won’t use them outside of the house, but since I bought them, I do use them at home and hope they don’t get pooped in.
Gro-Via Shells - Several people I know love these diapers. I bought the shells I have from BabySteals to try them out. I think they typically run about $17.00 for just the shell, then you have to buy the insert, but I think I got 2 for $20.00. I’ve been using inserts from Econobums & Flips as well as Gerber prefolds with them & they’re working great. The fit is amazing and they have really cute designs. I would like to find some of their inserts/soaker pads on sale (they are about $3.00 a piece) to try because they snap directly into the shell.
BabyKicks Fitted Diapers - I want to preface this by saying that I know nothing about fitted diapers & I didn’t really do my research regarding how to use them. I bought just one of these and I didn’t realize you were supposed to use a separate cover with it. Knox was soaked after just one little pee so I got rid of the diaper. I did love the way it fit and the material is so soft & felt great on his skin. BUT, it is $22.00 for the diaper PLUS you need a cover? The price kills this deal for me along with the fact that they are soaked after one use. They are definitely less bulky than Econobums or Flips, but I can’t get over the price.
Best Bottoms - I wanted to try these because they seemed innovative and were advertised as being a combination of all types of cloth diapers. I just bought one to try it.
1 shell + 1 hemp insert + 1 stay dry insert = $16.95 (I think - couldn’t remember if I bought the inserts separately)
Review: I wanted to love these, but I didn’t. The inserts are GREAT. Very absorbent & also thin. I’ve used the hemp one with my Gro-Via shells, but I didn’t like the fit of the Best Bottom shell at all. Way too tight on the legs for my chubby boy. I don’t like putting stay-dry inserts (microfiber) directly against the baby’s skin, either, so I ended up using that one in a pocket cover.
Duca Duca - These were featured on BabySteals & since I already loved pocket diapers, I assumed they would work at least similarly to the ones I had already tried.
I think I got 2 for $20, which included cover & 2 inserts for each one, but I may as well have crumbled the $20 & thrown it in the garbage.
Review: This was by far my worst cloth diaper purchase. I even shared the deal with a friend who was interested in trying cloth & she bought a bunch since they were so cheap. I feel absolutely terrible for telling her about them because they are just awful. Terrible fit, terrible absorbency, terrible quality (the diapers she bought actually started coming apart at the seams after just a couple of washes).
Bonnibums - I got it as a BabySteal (can’t remember what I paid for it).
Review: This diaper looked so cute on Knox, but he only fit in it for about a day. It was marked as a One Size fit, but he was under a year old, about 25 lbs and it barely fit him. I have used it on Lately, though & I really like the fit, not too bulky for a diaper of this type.
Bummis - My sister gave me the 2 Bummis covers I have. I believe she got them second-hand.
Review: They have a great fit. I have used them with Gerber prefolds as well as the diapers that came with my Econobums & Flips & they fit really well. The velcro also seems to be more durable than the BumGenius were. I’ve also used there swimmis swim diapers and they were great as well. This might be the best fitting and most durable diaper cover I’ve tried.
Phew…that was a longer list than I had remembered! I hope this helps some of you trying to figure out what brands to buy, or maybe even inspires someone to switch to cloth. I think it is important to make choices for my family that reflect environmental responsibility and it has also saved us tons of money.
I am considering trying a few new types of diapers for Lately and learning more about different brands, so any suggestions are welcome. I would love to find a brand that is made in the USA.
Do any of you cloth diaper? What were your favorite brands?
Edit: I totally forgot to mention gDiapers! A friend handed down a bunch of them to us when I had Knox, so I’m not sure how much they cost. She gave me a bunch of size XS & some disposable inserts.
Review: They are really cute looking & not bulky on newborns. The disposable liners were not very absorbent & they always leaked into the covers. I also used them with Gerber prefolds which worked pretty well, but since they were sized & my babies get big fast I was only able to use them for a short time with each child.