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As a new parent, you want what’s best for your child, and that includes the best diaper. And let’s be real: When it comes to poop, you want diaper changes to be as easy (and clean) as possible.

Whether you’ve always been interested in cloth diapers or just want to compare their pros and cons with disposable diapers, we know making the switch to cloth can feel like a big undertaking.

But don’t stress: We’ve compiled allllll the information you need to know about cloth diapers, including the types available, how many you need, how to get started, and our choices for the best across all categories.

Cloth diapers have a lot of things going for them!

  • Used consistently, they will be cheaper than disposable diapers over time, especially if you plan to use them for multiple children or resell them.
  • Cloth diapers don’t contain a lot of the chemicals that disposable diapers do. This can mean fewer skin irritations like diaper rash and potentially fewer health effects.
  • While cloth diapers do need to be washed, you can feel good knowing you’re putting less waste in landfills.
  • Because cloth diapers allow your child to feel wet skin when they pee, they can be helpful in potty training to bring body awareness and alert your child to when they’re having an accident.
  • Did we mention that cloth diapers have many adjustable fitting options? If baby always seems to be leaking out of their disposable diaper, cloth diapers may allow you to get the perfect leg and belly tightness to keep that pee in.

Flats and pre-folds

The cheapest option, these will also require the most knowledge and experience to get right.

They consist of a cotton rectangle divided into three parts, with the middle one being the most absorbent. They’re the most similar to the old-fashioned cloth diapers you’re likely picturing.

Traditionally kept together with diaper pins, these will need a diaper cover since they’re not waterproof.

The downside? These require some folding. The benefits are that they’re cost effective, easy to care for, and can also be used for burp cloths, changing pads, and cleaning rags.

Fitted

These diapers have elastic, snaps, or Velcro closures at the legs and waist. They come in different sizes, so you’ll need to buy the appropriate sizes as baby grows. These aren’t waterproof, so you’ll need a diaper cover.

Pocket

With a waterproof exterior, these diapers have an inside pocket for absorbent inserts. This means you can use different amounts of absorbency and also position the insert into key positions.

All-in-one

The closest to disposable diapers, these have an outer waterproof cover and an inner cloth lining to absorb fluids — no folding or inserting needed!

Best of all, when it’s time to clean, you can just toss the entire diaper into the dirty pile to be washed and not worry about separate pieces.

Hybrid

Very similar to the all-in-one style, these diapers have both a waterproof cover and an inner cloth lining.

However, the inner cloth lining is removable, so during diaper changes you can pull out the dirty liner and just snap a new one into the shell if there was no leakage.

This means you can hopefully spend less money on shells and just invest in some extra liners of different absorbency levels.

When choosing the best cloth diapers, we listened to parents like you and their opinions on fit, cost, and, of course, absorbency. We also factored in those special features that really set a diaper apart!

Pricing guide

  • $ = under $20
  • $$ = $20–$30
  • $$$ = over $30

Best for beginners

Best for newborns

Best fitted diaper

OsoCozy Organic Fitted Diaper

Price: $

You gotta love a good organic cloth diaper. OsoCozy’s diapers are made in the United States from 100 percent unbleached GOTS-certified organic cotton. Made to fit well, they have an hourglass shape, snap fasteners, and gentle elastic bands on the legs and waist.

The downside: They come in four different sizes, so you’ll need to buy more diapers as your baby grows. They also take a bit of time to dry.

Best pocket diaper

Rumparooz Pocket Diaper

Price: $$

Super absorbent and very soft, these diapers actually wick the moisture away from your baby’s skin to keep it dry. With multiple rise adjustments, it’s easy to find a great fit for your baby as well.

Because this is a pocket diaper, it can require a little extra work placing inserts and can be a little bulky, but the added control over absorbency is nice.

Best hybrid diaper

GroVia Hybrid Diaper

Price: $

Parents love that this diaper offers a biodegradable disposable insert option as well as a snap-in cloth insert. It’s easy to wash, but keep in mind the covers are line-dry only.

Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers

Price: $$

If you’re willing to spend a little extra money, parents also love these. They include a fleece lining that’s soft on baby’s skin, and all Charlie Banana products are Climate Neutral-certified.

Best cloth diapering system

Best organic cloth diaper

Price: $

Made from both organic cotton and sustainable hemp, parents say Smart Bottoms are incredibly soft and absorbent without pesticides and chemicals.

Unlike many other organic options, it only requires one prewash to maximize absorbency. Best of all, as an all-in-one diaper, this pick is easy for parents to take care of and put on.

Best affordable cloth diaper

AlvaBaby Cloth Diapers

Price: $

While not the best-performing cloth diapers, the price and utility of these diapers is enough to win over many parents (six diapers and 12 inserts for $36!?!?!?!).

These are pocket diapers, so you can use more inserts for extra absorbency as needed. With lots of snaps, it’s easy to get a good fit, and they even form a secure newborn fit.

Best reusable swim diaper

Beau & Belle Littles Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper

Price: $

The Nageuret is adjustable from sizes N to 5. Snaps allow for three different height options as well as multiple options for the waist and legs.

If you want another reason to feel good about this diaper, you’re supporting a small family business that donates 5 percent of their yearly sales.

Nageuret diapers also have a 1-year better than money-back guarantee, where you get the cost of the diaper back and a new one to try the brand again.

Best for heavy wetters

Best for potty training

Blueberry Trainers

Price: $

These stand out due to the underwear appearance and elastic waist that makes them easy for your toddler to pull up and down all by themselves.

While great for catching minor accidents with their hidden waterproof panel, these are only partially waterproof, so not recommended for overnight and nap use.

Best overnight cloth diaper

EcoAble Hemp Night Fitted Cloth Diaper

Price: $

The hemp in these diapers is super absorbing. It’s also extremely comfortable, hypoallergenic, and naturally antibacterial. Since the hemp absorbs more liquid the more you wash it, it’ll only get better after those first few uses, too!

One downside: You’ll need to get a waterproof covering for this diaper.

Easiest cloth diaper

Bambino Mio Miosolo All-in-One Cloth Diaper

Price: $$

Getting the right fit can be a concern for parents new to cloth diapers, but not with the Miosolo. The Velcro closures around the waist allow for easy fitting, and it’s easy to let out more fabric using the resizing snaps as your baby grows.

Only downside to this all-in-one is that you need to pull out the insert for faster drying, so you’ll need to reinsert it before the next use.

Newborn babies go through more diaper changes in a day, so you’ll need more diapers during the younger months.

To be safe, you’ll probably want to assume that you’ll go through 12 to 18 diapers a day for a newborn and 6 to 10 a day afterward until your baby is potty trained.

Ideally, you’ll want to have 2 days’ worth of cloth diapers on hand, and while 36 diapers may sound like a lot, you’ll probably want at least 16 to 24. If possible, it’s not a bad idea to err on the side of too many in case you can’t keep up with washing them every 2 days.

  • diaper pail appropriate for cloth diapers (wet or dry option)
  • diaper pail liners
  • wipes (you may want to consider homemade or flushable options)
  • a wet bag for carrying diapers home from public places
  • safety pins or clips depending on the cloth diaper style you choose
  • disposable diapers (for use in public or overnight, or as a backup if your power goes down or the washing machine breaks!)

One way to make sure that you’re on the right track when getting started is to talk with someone else who has either used cloth diapers or is part of the cloth diaper community.

They can help you pick out the right diapers for your needs, show you how to fasten them, and troubleshoot any problems once you get started.

In the beginning, you may want to purchase your diapers secondhand. This will help keep costs down and allow you to test out a variety of diapers to find which ones work best for you and your baby.

You may also want to experiment with combination diapering, where you use disposable diapers in public or overnight and cloth diapers at other times.

Cloth diapers definitely require a little work and may not be your first choice for every situation, but they also come with plenty of advantages.

Whether you’d like to add less waste to landfills, save some money, or just want more control over the diaper’s fit, cloth diapers have you and your little one covered!