Babble Best Cloth Diapers 2012: Top Picks for All-in-ones, Prefolds, and MoreCasey Mullins
So you’re considering cloth diapers? Good for you! We promise they’re not as overwhelming as they seem, and once you find what works best for you and your family, you’ll wonder why you ever used disposables in the first place! If you plan on turning to cloth diapers full time, you’ll need a minimum of 12-18 diapers — plus a few overnight options. And although it’s a bigger initial investment than disposables, using cloth diapers will eventually pay off during your diapering years. Besides, any disposable diaper saved from a landfill is a win in our books.
And if you’re already a seasoned cloth diaper expert, we’ve updated last year’s list and found some great new options featuring a broad selection of prints, fabrics, materials, and styles that are sure to please your baby’s bum. Besides, we know that no one diaper is perfect for everyone, so if you’re still on the hunt for the best cloth diaper for your baby — look no further. From the best snap-in cloth diaper to the most stylish, we’ve rounded up our favorites. Check them out, after the jump!
NOTE: All diapers were tested on a chubby 11-month-old girl and a skinny 2-month-old boy, and some on a skinny 2-year-old toddler. Babble only tested diapers from companies that were able to send samples for testing.
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Best Overall | Rumparooz One Size Pocket Diapers | $23.50 1 of 18
Why we love it: These diapers are well made, the two inserts snap down to customize the fit and absorbency, and they snap to each other — eliminating any sliding or slipping inside the diaper. This feature made getting both inserts out at the same time a breeze!
We also loved this diaper's dual inner gussets (something not found in any other diaper we tested), which kept in the leakiest of messes without any extra bulk. Each diaper comes with a two-piece microfiber insert, but hemp and bamboo inserts are available as well (we loved the bamboo!).
Fit: These diapers passed with flying colors on both our chubby heavy wetter and our skinny breastfed newborn (who has a tendency to poop all over himself). For the littlest of newborns, Rumparooz also offers an all-in-one, Lil Joey diaper, with a cord snap down and the same inner gussets for babies 4-12 pounds.
Get it from Kanga Care, $23.50 each (6-35 lbs.); $29.95 for a 2-pack of Lil Joeys (4-12 lbs.)
Best Snap-in | itti bitti | $18.95+ 2 of 18
Why we love it: An Australian brand, itti bitti makes some seriously cute diapers from some of the softest and brightest waterproof minky fabrics available. And, cute factor aside, they have managed to keep in some serious messes.
The diapers' absorbency is highly customizable with a snap-in-one design that features three differently shaped bamboo soaker pads, creating 6 layers of absorption that utilize clever color-coded snaps (so there's no mystery as to what snaps where).
Fit: We love that this brand offers three styles to choose from: Bitti d'lish diapers are sized and come in both a snap-in-one and all-in-one design. (The snap-in-one dried much faster than the all-in-one.) The bitti tutto diapers are one size and offer great absorption. And the bitti boo fitted diapers are a trimmer alternative with a lower rise, which worked well on both our chubby and skinny babies — but we're not sure it'd be able to handle our chubby baby up to 44 pounds like their site claims.
Get it from Eco Distribution, $18.95 - $19.95 for bitti d'lish sized diapers (S - L); $26.95 for bitti tutto one size diapers (8-44 lbs.); $19.95 for bitti boo fitted diapers (S - L)
Best Hybrid | GroVia AI2 Hybrid | $16.95+ 3 of 18
Hybrid diapers give parents the option of using washable or disposable liners within the same reusable outer shell. Great for traveling or daycare, these diapers offer the best of cloth and disposable in one eco-friendly design.
The most thought-out hybrid available, the GroVia AI2 Hybrid features an outer shell that's thicker than most other hybrids as well as a polyurethane-free liner that's soft and breathable.
Highlights: The GroVia Hybrid is available in both hook-and-loop or snap closures and offers several liner options: a 4-layer hemp/cotton blend (the quickest drying), an organic cotton 5-layer, or disposable/compostable BioSoaker pads. All three liner options are designed with waterproof backing, gussets to hold in messes, snaps to hold in the reusable liners, and sticky tabs for the BioSoaker pads. We love that these pads can also be stuck into regular cotton underwear to serve as trainers
Fit: We found that the GroVia AI2 Hybrid fit our skinny baby much better than the AIO, while both the AIO and AI2 fit our chubby baby well.
Get it from GroVia, 16.95 for GroVia AI2 shell (8-35 lbs.); $19.99 for 50-pack of one size BioSoakers; $10.95 for 2-pack reusable liners
Best All-In-One | BumGenius Freetime | $19.95+ 4 of 18
Why we love it: While all-in-one (AIO) diapers are the most convenient nappies to use because there's no stuffing or liners involved, they can take forever to dry with their multiple layers of absorbent material. BumGenius introduced the Freetime AIO diaper last year, and it's easily become the best in its class.
Unlike many AIO diapers, the inserts on these are as wide as the diaper and lined with soft fleece, which doesn't allow many places for a leaky poop to run and hide. When it comes time to wash, simply throw the entire diaper into the wash and the layers will swish about freely so you don't have to touch any part of the dirty diaper. The two microfiber inserts allow the diaper to dry quicker than other AIOs, and when it's time to place it back on baby, just place the inserts flat and snap! When using overnight or on heavy wetters, a booster pad is easily placed under the other layers for extra absorbency. And if you're looking for an even greener option, BumGenius also offers the Organic Elemental AIO featuring four layers of organic cotton sewn into both the front and the back of the diaper.
Fit: With a classic BumGenius-fit in either hook-and-loop or snap closures, the Freetime has two microfiber liners sewn into the diaper — one in the front and one in the back — allowing parents the option to fold them however is best for baby.
Get it from Cotton Babies, $19.95 each (8-35 lbs.); $24.95 for the organic option (8-35 lbs.)
Best Fitted | Happy Heinys Happy Hempy One Size Fitted Diaper | $17.95 5 of 18
Why we love it: Happy Hempys are an all-natural combination of 55% hemp and 45% cotton with the option of a microfleece liner to keep baby feeling dry. Our favorite thing about these diapers is that they are absorbent on their own with the option of stuffing them with whatever suits you and your baby best — creating a completely customizable absorbency.
The diaper is so absorbent that it kept our heavy wetter's bed dry overnight when stuffed with a hemp soaker pad and paired with a wool diaper cover. (Note: These diapers do require a waterproof or wool cover to use.)
Fit: Happy Hempys are available in either sized or one size options. Super soft and stretchy, the elastic in the legs and waist fit both our chubby and skinny baby, and the hook-and-loop closures are strong and thick without digging into babies' bellies.
Get it from Happy Heinys, $17.95 each (one size or NB L)
Best Prefold | Cloth-Eez Cotton Prefolds | $15+ for a 12-pack 6 of 18
Why we love it: You spoke up, and we listened! There was tremendous support for Green Mountain Diapers Cloth-Eez prefolds last year and we have to agree — they're some of the best prefolds we tried.
At less than $3 each, Cloth-Eez prefolds are a great option for any family on a budget.
Fit: Available in either chlorine-free white or chlorine-free unbleached, Cloth-Eez come in 6 different sizes (including wide baby) that are color-coded with thread at the edge of each diaper. These soft, hardworking prefolds can be wrapped around baby and held in place with pins or Snappis then covered, or they can simply be placed inside a diaper cover. As baby outgrows each size, the smaller sizes can be used as boosters for overnight use or heavy wetters.
Get it from Green Mountain Diapers, $15 - $39 for a 12-pack (preemie - XL); $4 - $6 extra for organic prefolds
Best Cover | Bummis Super Whisper Wrap | $12.95 7 of 18
Why we love it: Unlike many diaper covers, the Bummis Super Whisper wrap has been a favorite among parents for years thanks to its thick, double-lined feel (no slick or sticky polyester on either side) and its stretchy, leak-holding elastic at the waist and legs.
With a place to tuck a prefold under the waistband, there's no "peek and leak" from an ill-folded or too big prefold. Plus, the Bummis' hook-and-loop Aplix closures are some of the best, longest-lasting on the market, and the variety of prints available are getting cuter every season!
Fit: We loved the Bummis Super Whisper Wrap over the Happy Hempy for our heavy wetter and for overnight use.
Get it from Cotton Babies, $12.95 each (NB L)
Best for Preemies | Happy Heinys Micro-Mini Stages | $10 8 of 18
Why we love it: Featuring an efficient all-in-one style (there's no stuffing or arranging required), this diaper truly is as easy to use as a disposable and can make all the difference for a tiny NICU baby.
With a lesser chance of diaper rash, skin breakdown, or increased breathing problems, the Micro-Mini Stages place soft microfleece next to baby, rather than the paper and chemicals in a disposable diaper. They were invented by a mom with a micro preemie of her own who knows firsthand what a difference something as simple as a cloth diaper can do for a struggling NICU baby.
Fit: The Micro-Mini Stages diaper comes in 3 graduated sizes that fit babies as small as 1 pound.
Get it from Happy Heinys, $10 each (available in 3 sizes, fitting babies 1-6 lbs.)
Best Budget | Econobum | $11.95 for 1 cover and 3 cotton prefolds 9 of 18
Why we love it: There's just no beating a diaper cover and three cotton prefolds for $11.95.
They may not be the cutest options available (only coming in white with either dark pink, blue, or green trim), but for anyone who isn't quite ready to fully invest in cloth or for those on an extreme budget, Econobum is the way to go. Plus, a little extra bulk never hurt anyone, especially when you consider how much money you'll be saving during your diapering years.
Fit: The covers and prefolds are one size, meaning you won't have to buy bigger covers or prefolds later down the line, just fold the rectangular prefolds the opposite direction. Less than $12 for a possible three changes with one Econobum diaper compared to upwards of $25 for an AIO? It's worth the extra practice with prefolds.
Get it from Cotton Babies, $11.95 for 1 one-size cover with 3 cotton prefolds
Most Stylish | Charlie Banana Fashion Collection | $18.88+ 10 of 18
Why we love it: These diapers are soft, bright, and well-designed with a good fit for both skinny and chubby babies alike.
If you hate the look of disposable diapers, Charlie Banana just might be your stylish baby's saving grace. Their fashion collection of pocket diapers designed by artist Matthew Langille brings bright colors and funky sketchy art to your little one's rear. Available in robots for boys and girls, graphic black and white bears, doodly hearts, and little lovey creatures — these aren't your ordinary hokey diaper patterns.
Fit: Style isn't all these diapers have to offer. We love that they're available in both a sized option (which fit our chubby baby better) and one size variety with adjustable leg elastic, and that you can choose to use disposable inserts.
Get it from Charlie Banana, $21.88 for fashion collection one size diaper; $18.88 for sized solid color diapers
Best for Older Kids | Fuzzibunz Perfect Size | $13.95+ 11 of 18
Why we love it: A great pocket diaper using microfiber inserts, replaceable elastic, and a fleece lining, Fuzzibunz's cloth diapers can save parents a bundle on disposables.
Fit: If you have a child who needs diapers for an extended period of time, be it bedwetting or special needs, no other diaper we found went up to the XXL size (70 pounds!) like the Fuzzibunz perfect size diapers.
Get it from Fuzzibunz, $13.95 $21.95 each
Readers Choice | Smartipants | $12.95 12 of 18
Why we love it: At less than $13 a diaper, Smartipants are a great option for families who like pocket diapers but don't like the high price tag that can come along with them.
Each diaper comes with a microfiber insert that kept our babies dry and a leak guard isolated insert lining that prevents moisture from seeping to the edge of the diaper. Available as single diapers, or in 3-packs, 12-packs, or 24-packs, Smartipants are an easy and affordable way to get started with cloth diapering.
Fit: A straightforward, one size design with a wide sleeve rather than a pocket makes Smartipants easy to stuff and shake out from either end.
Get it from Smartipants, $12.95 each; $144.95 for a 12-pack; $279.95 for
Readers Choice | Kushies Ultra Lite AIO | $14.49+ 13 of 18
Why we love it: While it may not be the prettiest (or quietest) diaper we tested, Kushies deserves a mention because they do work well.
Kushies is an absorbent AIO diaper with a quick drying time that is very easy to use. Our biggest complaint was the noisy, plastic sounding cover; while it was in fact lightweight, the materials were cheaper feeling than some of the other AIO diapers we tested. With six layers of 100% cotton flannel as well as a customizable sewn-in flap, Kushies did an excellent job for a reasonable price on an AIO diaper.
Fit: Generous sizing (up to 45 lbs.) fit our skinny toddler tester as well as our chubby baby, with conveniently adjustable hook-and-loop closures included.
Get it from Kushies, $14.49 $17.49 each
Readers Choice | Ones & Twos AIO | $16.95 14 of 18
Why we love it: A great easy-to-use and budget-friendly AIO diaper, Ones & Twos have the option to stuff (however, we had a hard time getting our hands in with the trim cut), as well as a soaker pad that can easily be placed inside a half sleeve at the front of the diaper.
As with any AIO, Ones & Twos take a bit longer to dry, but thanks to the pocket styling, it's much easier to tell when the diaper is in fact completely dry.
Fit: The hook-and-loop diaper did squeeze our chubby baby a bit (but fit our skinny baby well), and it held up to blowouts and heavy wetting when used with the thick soaker pad (included with diaper purchase).
Get it from Kelly's Closet, $16.95 each (including soaker pad)
Readers Choice | gDiapers | $17.99 15 of 18
Why we love it: gDiapers are probably the most unique diaper we tested; rather than using a waterproof shell like all the other diapers, gDiapers utilizes a nylon snap-in "sling." This sling system uses either a reusable insert or a disposable insert inside of a soft and stretchy cotton/spandex cover, which eliminates a lot of the bulk as well as the icky feel and sound of polyester.
A unique feature of gDiapers is that the hook and loop closures can be fastened in the back, keeping curious little hands from taking their diaper off. We also like that any prefold could be used in place of the branded reusable inserts (since the covers don't come with an insert), but we must say that the gDiaper brand inserts are quite soft and absorbent. Note: Since the covers are cotton and not polyester, we did have a problem with the red diaper cover dyeing a whole load of our microfiber diaper inserts pink.
Fit: With gDiapers only having sized options, these may not be the best choice for budget conscious parents, but if you're looking for a widely available hybrid system, gDiapers are the way to go (we even saw them available at our local grocery store!)
Get it from gDiapers, $17.99 each; $14.99 for 32-40 pack of disposable inserts; $29.99 for 6-pack of reusable inserts
Readersâï¿½ï¿½ Choice | OhKaty | $17.95 16 of 18
Why we love it: A fantastically made, well-fitting, and absorbent pocket diaper with microfiber inserts, OhKaty makes some of the prettiest colors available in solid color pocket diapers.
The fleece on the inside washes up well with less pilling than other diapers we tested, and the microfiber inserts are super plush and soft.
Fit: With an additional snap farther back on the waistband, OhKaty diapers fit our little skinny newborn as well as our chunky baby without any struggle. We only wish there was an option to snap the newborn/booster insert to the larger insert.
Get it from OhKaty, $17.95 each (including 2 inserts)
Readers Choice | AppleCheeks | $20+ 17 of 18
Why we love it: AppleCheeks is a Canadian diaper with a wide envelope-style opening that actually allows the insert to shake out in the wash (and it really does come out!).
With microfiber and bamboo inserts available, we much preferred the super soft and super absorbent bamboo inserts to the microfiber. AppleCheeks also has some of the best online support through their website, with tutorials, videos, and passionate company owners ready to answer any questions that may come up about cloth diapering. We also really loved their Gentle Cleansing Solution for our baby's tender (and dirty) bum.
Fit: The diapers are designed with a wide fit that's easy to stuff and that fit extremely well on both our chubby and skinny baby — plus they held in some of the most serious poo-namis with ease.
Get it from AppleCheeks, $20 - $21 each; $18.50 for a 2-pack of bamboo inserts
Readers Choice | Bummis Easy Fit | $23.95 18 of 18
Why we love it: Winner of the overall category last year, the Bummis easy fit diaper is undeniably fantastic. Lined with super-soft minky fabric that absorbs and dries quickly, this is the fabric we would want on our bums if we were wearing diapers.
Plus, coming soon is a whole line of fairy tale prints that we can't wait for!
Fit: It's called "easy fit" for a reason! This diaper is a pocket/AIO combo since the color-coordinated minky fabric extends from the pocket for easy washing and then can be tucked back in for extra absorbency without the added bulk.
Get it from Bummis, $23.95 each
Did we miss a cloth diaper you love? Please nominate it in the comments!
Photo credit: iStockPhoto