How can I compare different disposable diaper brands? What diaper is best for my baby? What features are important? I was overwhelmed by the number of brands and options available. I’ve summarized what I’ve found by categorizing the different types of diapers into a chart
In general, there are brand-name diapers, store brand diapers, and eco-friendly diapers. Brand name diapers are expensive, but good quality and absorb a lot. Store brand diapers are cheaper, but may leak or overflow more easily. Eco-friendly diapers are often more expensive, but are good for sensitive skin, and are made from renewable materials.
Disposable Diaper Features
When comparing disposable diapers, first decide which features are most important to you. How do you rank cost, brand recognition, absorption, and other features? Does your baby have sensitive skin? Are you looking for diapers sourced from sustainable materials? Do you plan to buy your diapers in-store or online?
Parents want to know the typical cost of diapers. Your child could wear anywhere between 3,500-6,800 diapers in their life! This depends on how many diapers they go through per day, as well as when they are potty-trained. I found diapers as cheap as approximately $0.11-0.12 each, and as expensive as $0.37 each (or more, depending on where you buy them)! That’s anywhere from $385-$2,500 on diapers alone! I’ve also listed a few money-saving tips for diapers at the end of this article to help you, no matter which brand of diapers you choose.
Many diaper brands have a yellow stripe that turns blue once it gets wet. Parents can quickly tell if their baby has a wet diaper. However, some brands do not. I was surprised to find that many of the most expensive diapers do not have wetness indicators!
Made for sensitive skin?
Some babies are allergic to or have negative reactions to materials in disposable diapers. Some brands are specially designed to be gentle on your baby’s delicate bottom.
Diapers available in-store or online?
You can find most disposable diaper brands in-store and online. However, there are a few brands that are only available in-store, or only online. If you plan to buy online, you may need to stock some extra diapers if you have to wait a few days between shipments. If you purchase in-store, you may miss out on savings from subscription programs.
I’ve divided the disposable diaper brands into three categories: Brand Name, Store Brand, and Environmentally Friendly. I’ve detailed these distinctions after the chart.
I could list dozens of other disposable diaper features, but then the choices become even more overwhelming. If I’ve missed something important, let me know in the comments.
Chart: Compare Disposable Diaper Brands
Quickly compare disposable diapers by brand, price, and features with this chart.
Most people have heard of Huggies, Pampers, and Luvs. These are the diapers that parents (or people attending a baby shower) often choose because of brand recognition. Pampers and Huggies brands are the best quality, while Luvs is a budget, but well- known brand. So how do the name-brand disposable diapers compare?
Pampers Swaddlers are the premium diaper and the most-used diapers in US hospitals. They are usually more expensive than Huggies. However, they have many features to justify the price: wetness indicators, tabs showing when it’s time to go up a diaper size, great absorbency, elastic waist bands and leg bands to prevent leaks, and some cute decorations. Parents say great things about Pampers, and have few complaints about leaks, blowouts or irritation from these diapers. But part of the high price tag is the premium name.
Huggies Little Snugglers
Huggies Little Snugglers are the fastest- growing diaper in US hospitals. They are usually less expensive than Pampers and don’t have quite as much brand recognition. Like Pampers, Huggies have wetness indicators, tabs showing when it’s time to go up a diaper size, great absorbency, elastic waist bands and leg bands to prevent leaks, and some cute decorations. Parents love the waistband on the back of Huggies that contains poop well, and the many features. The outside of the diaper is not as cloth-like as Pampers, however, and feels more plastic-like.
Proctor and Gamble manufactures both Pampers and Luvs. Luvs is their budget brand. Some parents say Luvs do the job just fine, but other parents feel they suffer more leaks and blowouts, and the diapers aren’t as durable as other brands. Since some parents feel Luvs are less absorbent, they use them during the day and use a more absorbent diaper at night.
Most large retailers have their own store brand of diapers including Parents Choice (Walmart), Up&Up (Target), Kirkland (Costco), Members Mark (Sam’s Club), and Little Journey (Aldi). Overall, the store brands will be the lowest cost choices, and are often decent quality, though some brands tend to be better than others. In particular, Kirkland diapers tend to get great reviews, and you can buy them online on Costco’s website with a Costco membership, or even on Amazon without a Costco membership. Walmart and Aldi have the cheapest diapers, but the different brands fit differently and have different absorbency.
Parents Choice (Walmart)
Walmart sells the cheapest diaper available. Some parents love it but others complain about leaks, poor absorption, and the fastener tabs coming off the diapers.
Target’s store brand Up&Up has similar performance to Walmart’s. Some parents find Up&Up diapers perform just fine, but others had issues with leaking and poor absorption. These diapers tend to run larger than other brands.
You’ll need a Costco membership to purchase Kirkland diapers, unless you get them on Amazon. Like the other store brands, some parents find they work well but others complain about leaking and poor absorption.
Members Mark (Sam’s Club)
Member’s Mark diapers, available at Sam’s Club, also require a club membership. Overall, parents find they work well, but a few complain about leaking.
Little Journey (Aldi)
Low- cost grocery store Aldi offers Little Journey diapers, but you can only purchase them in-store. These are some of the cheapest diapers you’ll find, but they are still decent quality. Parents find that they don’t leak, but are less absorbent than other brands, and don’t recommend them for overnight use.
Many parents wonder what will happen when their diapers are thrown into a landfill where they may not decompose for years, or want to know where the raw materials to make their diapers come from. Environmentally conscious brands have sprung up over the last several years. These brands used to be much more expensive than the other types of diapers, but today there are good options for the cost-conscious parent. Some brands also claim to be better for babies with sensitive skin. In general, the environmentally friendly diapers tend to be less absorptive than other brands, so some parents use a different brand of diaper overnight. Each brand has a slightly different focus – cost, gentleness on your baby’s skin, environmentally friendly raw materials, or an environmentally friendly manufacturing process.
Honest Company is probably one of the most well-known eco-friendly diaper brands. They are made with wood pulp, which is a recyclable material, have very soft liners for sensitive baby skin, and are made without latex, chlorine, lotions,or fragrances. Their high quality elastic waistbands fit well and prevent blowouts. While their diapers have adorable prints, many parents find their diapers run small, are less absorbent than other brands, and don’t have wetness indicators. They are also the most expensive diaper I found.
Similar to Honest Company, Seventh Generation diapers have cute prints and no wetness indicator, but tend to be less absorbent than other brands. They are also made with wood pulp and other sustainable ingredients. Great for babies with sensitive skin or ones who are prone to diaper rash, but they may leak. Size- wise, they are true to size.
Target’s store brand Cloud Island environmentally friendly diapers also includes wipes and other items for your baby. Just launched in January 2019, most parents have favorable things to say about the diapers. Cloud Island are made with wood pulp and are made without latex, chlorine, lotions,or fragrances. However, Cloud Island diaper may leak, are not as soft as other brands, and tend to run large- some parents found that their newborn size diapers are as large as most other brands size 1 diapers.
Formulated without chlorine, latex, petroleum based lotions or fragrances, Babyganics diapers are made from sustainable materials. Many parents prefer these diapers for their babies with sensitive skin. They may run a little small, so some parents saw leaking when they were at the upper end of the size range. Babyganics are one of the more expensive environmentally friendly diapers, but you may be able to find lower prices elsewhere.
Brandless diapers are only available on the Brandless website. Made with sustainable wood pulp, and free of chlorine, latex, petroleum based lotions or fragrances, they are on-par with the properties of Honest Company, Seventh Generation, and Cloud Island. Brandless offers a subscription-based service, which may save you money and ensure you don’t run out of diapers. A few parents thought Brandless diapers are thin, but overall they get good reviews.
Amazon’s exclusive brand of eco- diapers, Earth+Eden are gentle on your baby’s skin since they are free from lotions, parabens, latex, fragrance, and chlorine bleaching. And they are made with sustainable materials. Similar in cost to Cloud Island and Brandless, but many parents claim they are similar quality to Honest Company, and are only missing the full-coverage cute prints. They also go up to size 7, which many other brands do not. Some parents feel that they leak a lot, especially overnight, since they are fairly thin.
Diaper Cost-Saving tips
No matter what criteria you use to compare disposable diapers, price probably factors into your decision. As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, diapers are expensive! So how can you save money over the long run with diapers, no matter which brand you buy?
Add diapers to your baby registry
Adding diapers to your baby registry has several perks. First, you can ask for several different brands to compare disposable diapers, and try them out to see how they work for your baby. Some parents stock up on tons of one type of diaper before their baby is born, and to their dismay, find out their baby gets a rash from that type of diaper, or it doesn’t fit their baby well. Secondly, some places like Target, Amazon, and Buy Buy Baby give you a discount on baby gear that friends and family do not purchase off of your registry, so you’ll have a chance to pick up some savings (click here to set up an Amazon Baby registry). Finally, when you set up a baby registry, you may get coupons from the retailer, especially for diapers. Combine all these perks, and you can get some seriously discounted diapers!
You don’t even have to plan on having a baby shower to create a registry. Add things you want, and enjoy the coupons and free samples!
Buy the big box
Once you find the diaper that works well for your baby, buy the biggest box. While it will cost more, the cost per diaper is less. However, a large box of 150-200 diapers usually lasts about a month, so be careful buying too far in advance in case your baby goes through a growth spurt.
Check other stores
I based the cost of diapers above on my area. A little research goes a long way- compare disposable diapers prices where you live. You may find stores near you offer them at different prices. From what I saw, drug stores often had very high prices (often 2-3x other stores!), and big box stores like Wal-Mart and Target tend to have better prices. But don’t forget to scope out the prices at clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club. Keep an eye out for sales or rebates as well!
You will receive coupons when setting up a baby registry, and be sure to let various diaper brands know that you’re expecting. Pampers sent me coupons when I signed up for their email list. Combine coupons with a registry discount, and you can save some serious cash!
Subscribe and save
Some places, like Target, Amazon, and Brandless offer discounts if you set up a delivery of diapers every month. Amazon has the Amazon Family program, for example, which gives 20% off of diaper subscriptions. If you tend to always buy your diapers on, say, Amazon, or at Target, consider signing up for their credit card for further savings or cash back.
Use cheap diapers during the day and more absorbent diapers at night
Some parents find that store-brand or environmentally-friendly diapers work just fine during the day, but leak when their baby sleeps for a long period overnight. So, they use the lower-cost diapers during the day, and more expensive diapers at night. Check out my article on preventing diaper leaks and blowouts for other tips.
Conclusions: Comparing Disposable Diapers
Every parent and every baby is different, and I hope I’ve provided you with enough information to compare disposable diapers and make an educated choice on what brand you’d like to try for your child. I would love to hear from you in the comments- what brands of diapers do you like, and why? What diaper features would you like to hear more about to make a good comparison?