Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers: How does the store brand from Costco, one of the biggest wholesale stores, stack up to a hugely popular name brand? We’ll talk about it and I’ll share not one, not two, but THREE secrets that diaper manufacturers don’t want moms to know! OK, actually, the first two secrets are more of diaper manufacturing tips that will help you understand the differences between Kirkland Signature Supreme diapers and Huggies. And the third tip is somewhere you can buy Costco’s Kirkland diapers besides Costco! I had no idea!
Kirkland diapers are very similar to Huggies. They don’t have a pocketed waistband, absorb a little less, bunch up more when they are wet, and both diapers have different patterns.
I thought about inserting a picture here saying “Three weird tips a mom in Ohio discovered that diaper companies hate!”
And of course, since I’m a nerd, this post is full of comparison pictures and testing of Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers for size, fit, absorbency, construction, and more. I’ve used over 200 of diapers from both brands, as well as read Huggies and Costco diaper reviews all around the internet.
Secret #1: Who makes Kirkland diapers? Who makes Huggies Diapers?
First, before comparing the two types of diapers, let’s start at the very beginning, all the way back at the diaper factories. Who makes Kirkland diapers? And who makes Huggies diapers? The answer surprised me! Kimberly Clark manufactures both Huggies and Kirkland diapers! For years, Costco asked Kimberly Clark and Procter and Gamble (who makes Pampers) to develop a private label diaper that they could sell under the Kirkland brand name. And Kimberly Clark agreed! That’s why Costco sells Huggies and not Pampers- due to their agreement with Kimberly Clark.
Secret #2: Kirkland Supreme Diapers are old versions of Huggies
So knowing who makes Kirkland diapers makes this comparison a lot easier! According to several different websites, Kirkland diapers are the previous generation of Huggies diapers! Up front, that tells us that if you are comparing Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers, they’re already pretty similar! And you’ll see shortly that they sure look almost identical! Reading Costco diaper reviews, parents claim that Kirkland diapers are just as good as Huggies. And now we know why!
Costco’s Kirkland Signature Supreme Diapers vs Huggies Little Snugglers
The other thing I’d like to clear up is what brands we are reviewing here. I’m comparing Kirkland Signature Supreme diapers to Huggies Little Snugglers. Those are quite a mouthful, so I’ll simply call them Kirkland vs Huggies from here on out. Kirkland is Costco’s store brand. Huggies is a premium diaper brand that is neck and neck with Pampers for brand-name recognition. Many hospitals use Huggies on newborns. Now that we have some background, on to our comparison of Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers!
Diaper Tabs: Tie – they are nearly identical!
Tab Sturdiness: Tie
I unfastened and refastened the tabs on a Kirkland diaper and Huggies diaper ten times, and both still held well. The area where I fastened the diaper looked a little raggedy, but both brands still held up well
Tab Fastening Power: Tie
Both diapers have what they refer to as “double grip strips” or “secondary fasteners” to help hold the diapers on. That means that in addition to the normal velcro- like diaper tab, they also have a purple area on the outside of the diaper waistband to hold the tabs in place- check out the picture below. The secondary fasteners don’t feel sticky to the touch, but the diaper material sticks to them very well.
I assume this gets more and more important the older your baby gets- they’ll be more likely to try to take the diaper off or be crawling around doing something that might make it come off! Every little thing that helps it stay on is a plus!
Diaper Design: Tie
The Kirkland Signature Supreme diapers have bright and fun animal- themed prints, with two different designs in each box. The size 3 diapers have a monkey. I just have two small quibbles with the patterns on Kirkland diapers. First, there’s a bright red circle with the diaper size right in the middle of the back of the waistband. When I am changing my baby’s diapers, I can faintly see it through the diaper and I always think the diaper leaked or something got on the back of the diaper. Second, the Kirkland diapers don’t have a size up indicator like Huggies do.
The Huggies currently have a more subtle Winnie the Pooh design in blue, red and gray. They do have markers showing when you should think about going up a diaper size.
Wetness Indicators: Tie
Both Kirkland and Huggies have yellow lines that turn blue to show when there is moisture in the diaper. They both appear to be the same length and thickness, so I rate this a tie.
Outside Feel: Tie
Both feel about the same, pretty soft!
Fit: Huggies are slightly better
Both Kirkland and Huggies have really great elastic around the legs and waist, so they fit a wide variety of babies very well. My baby has very fat legs and I’ve never had a leak out the legs with either of these brands. (Suffering from diaper leaks and blowouts? Read my tips here! )
How do Kirkland vs Huggies compare for bulkiness? Unfortunately, both brands tend to sag down between your baby’s legs. Personally, I think it makes more room to contain poop, but they do look pretty saggy. Other brands, like Pampers, fit more snugly around the butt. (Read my comparison of Pampers and Huggies here!)
Leg Cuffs: Tie
The leg cuffs on both brands are identical. They both hold snugly against your baby’s legs!
Both diapers have great elastic waistbands that hold the diaper on snugly.
However, the waistbands between Kirkland and Huggies are different. Kirkland is “just” some really awesome elastic that holds the diaper on snugly. Huggies has the same elastic and is like a little pocket. I’ve seen it catch and prevent diaper blowouts up the back. I bet this is even more important once my baby starts crawling around and being more active!
Best Absorbency: Huggies, but Kirkland are still great!
Of course I wanted to test the absorbency of Kirkland vs Huggies diapers. So, I added some blue food coloring to water, and added water to each type of diaper, one tablespoon at a time (one tablespoon is about 15 ml). This isn’t totally accurate since who knows just where in the diaper your baby is peeing, so I’m open to suggestions for a better test if you have ideas!
The Kirkland diaper held 63 tablespoons of water! That’s about 4 cups, which is 32 ounces or a quarter of a gallon! For the metric users out there, that’s 930 ml,or nearly a liter of water. It’s nearly 2 full Solo cups worth!
The Huggies diaper kept going! I was able to add 83 tablespoons, which is 5.25 cups, about 42 ounces, or about ⅓ of a gallon! Again, for the metric users, that’s 1474 ml.The Huggies diapers held about 32% more than the Kirkland diapers.
That’s amazing to me that the diapers can hold that much volume!
As for the dryness, I patted the diapers with a paper towel throughout the test. As the diapers got fuller, they absorbed the water more slowly, so they were more likely to be a little damp. But even after 36 tablespoons of water (over 2 cups), after waiting for one hour, the paper towel came away dry from both types of diapers. That means that even if your baby pees a lot during the night and you don’t change them right away, their skin will stay dry. Dry skin means less diaper rash.
The Kirkland diapers curled up more than the Huggies diapers during the absorbency test. In fact, the Huggies stayed nearly flat. I wasn’t able to fold it up for a comparison picture without making a giant mess and leaking blue water everywhere.
So at the end of the day, both diapers hold a ton of liquid, which is great! But Huggies holds about 32% more.
Most Baby-Friendly Ingredients: Huggies
Huggies are not manufactured using elemental chlorine bleaching, and do not contain latex or fragrances.
Kirkland diapers packaging only mentions that they are hypoallergenic and do not contain natural rubber latex. This information was not readily available on Costco’s website, but you can read it on the back of the box.
Therefore, Huggies wins this round. They have clearer labeling about their ingredients that is more accessible to parents and their diapers have fewer potentially harmful or irritating chemicals.
Where are Kirkland diapers made? Where are Huggies made?
Kimberly Clark makes both Huggies and Kirkland Supreme diapers. Both brands are made in the United States. This information is also available on the diaper packages.
To sum it up: How are Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers different?
If the two diaper brands are almost the same, what are the big differences?
- Huggies have a pocketed elastic waistband. Kirkland waistbands are just elastic
- Huggies have different patterns and designs than Kirkland
- Huggies hold about 32% more liquid than Kirkland.
- When they are wet, Huggies tend to stay flatter and Kirkland tend to curl up
Now that we know how the properties of Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers compare, let’s look at what most parents are concerned about: the price!
Best price: Kirkland diapers
It depends where you buy. Huggies prices vary wildly, depending on if you purchase them on Amazon, Target, or at Costco. Costco even had a deal going on while I was writing this article – $9 off each box of Huggies, plus free shipping if you ordered them online. Doing a quick comparison, this was only $1 more for Huggies when compared to the same size box of Kirkland diapers. As for Kirkland diapers, that leads us to…
Secret #3: You can buy Kirkland diapers on Amazon
Yup. I thought I’d have to be a Costco member to buy their brand of diapers. Turns out, you can buy Kirkland diapers at a Costco store or on Costco’s website if you’re a member. Or, on Amazon if you aren’t! I recommend checking both options to see which is cheaper. If you are willing to sign up for Target or Amazon’s subscription service, or have an Amazon or Target credit card, be sure to factor in those savings!
Conclusions: Kirkland diapers vs Huggies diapers
Personally, I’ve found that both Kirkland and Huggies diapers work great for me and my baby. Since Kirkland diapers are a little cheaper, they’re my top choice right now! However, Costco is kind of out of my way, so I do buy Huggies when I’m not able to get to Costco. What experiences have you had with Kirkland vs Huggies diapers? What other brands would you like to see reviewed?
PS: Bonus! A sort of defective Kirkland diaper!
I picked out a Kirkland diaper and Huggies diaper to compare the tabs, and was really confused when I looked at the Kirkland diaper! It actually had two tabs on one of the sides!
Looking more carefully, I saw the top tab was sewn into the waistband, so I couldn’t use it. But Kirkland helpfully added another tab so that there was a usable one! I actually did put this diaper on my baby and didn’t have any issues besides that it was a little weird to fasten.