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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 all 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 considered:

  • Fit: The best diapers not only fit snuggly around the waist and leg holes, but have a variety of sizing options, so they can grow a bit with your baby. We gave bonus points to those with adjustable sizing.
  • Absorbency: Cloth diapers that have the option to add extra absorbency or make it easy to change out wet sections got bonus points from us.
  • Cost: Knowing that budgets vary, we tried to include diapers with a range of prices.
  • Special Features: Snaps, cute designs, and the ability to go in water are some of the features that can set a diaper apart from the pack, and we took these into consideration.
  • Customer Reviews: There’s nothing like actual parent users to give the real facts about how a diaper fits and holds pee and poop. We know you value this information, so we made sure to prioritize those cloth with good customer reviews.

Pricing guide

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

Best for beginners

bumGenius Freetime

  • Price: $$
  • Material: microfiber layer sewn into the waterproof outer shell

This diaper isn’t only an all-in-one, but also a one-size-fits-all! With lots of snaps to offer various sizing options, it’s easy for parents new to cloth diapers to find the right fit. Plus, since it is designed to fit little ones 8-35+ pounds you won’t have to buy new diapers anytime soon. It also has semi-attached inserts to address any absorbency issues.

While some parents mentioned this diaper feeling a little bulky at first, after a few washes bulkiness decreased without affecting the fit or amount of liquid the diaper could hold.

Pros

  • lots of snaps help with sizing
  • semi-attached inserts make putting the diaper together easier
  • lasts awhile, since it can fit 8 to 35+ pounds

Cons

  • can be a bit bulky in the beginning
  • some parents prefer pocket-style cloth diapers because they felt like they had more control over adjusting the absorbency

Best for newborns

Thirsties Newborn All in One

  • Price: $
  • Material:
    • Outer layer: 100% polyester with waterproof TPU laminate
    • Inner liner: 100% polyester microfleece
    • Inner absorbency: one layer of microfiber terry
    • Inner soaker: 100% polyester (three layers of microfiber terry topped with a layer of microfleece)

These diapers are specifically designed with newborns in mind. (There’s even an umbilical cord snap-down feature option to lower the waistband for newborns in those first days.)

Best for newborns weighing 5 to 14 pounds, these likely won’t last you too long, but they offer a great fit for those first weeks. Bonus: The easy all-in-one style works well for many sleep-deprived parents!

Pros

  • has a special umbilical cord snap-down feature that works well for newborns
  • all-in-one style is easier for new parents to master
  • one of the more affordable options

Cons

  • best for newborns weighing 5 to 14 pounds
  • some parents complain that these seemed to leak pretty quickly

Best fitted diaper

OsoCozy Organic Fitted Diaper

  • Price: $
  • Material: organic cotton

Who doesn’t like an organic diaper designed to fit snuggly? OsoCozy’s diapers are made in the United States from 100% unbleached Global Organic Textile Standard (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.

Pros

  • made with unbleached GOTS certified organic cotton
  • includes elastic bands at the waist and around the legs to help prevent leaks
  • one of the least expensive products on our list

Cons

  • take longer to dry than some other options
  • sizing is such that you’ll need to buy more as your baby grows

Best pocket diaper

Rumparooz Pocket Diaper

  • Price: $$
  • Material:
    • Outer: 100% waterproof TPU polyester
    • Inner: 100% microchamois polyester
    • Insert: 100% polyester microfiber

Super absorbent, hypoallergenic, 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. Plus, since it fits children weighing 6 to 40+ pounds, these diapers will grow with your little one.

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. They also come in a range of colors to make matching with your little one’s outfit easier!

Pros

  • lots of snaps enables it to fit children weighing 6 to 40+ pounds
  • hypoallergenic
  • lots of color and pattern options to choose from

Cons

  • can be a little bulky
  • you’ll need to place the inserts inside each time

Best hybrid diaper

GroVia Hybrid Diaper

  • Price: $
  • Material: waterproof TPU

This diaper checks off a lot of cloth diaper must-haves. For example, lots of snaps make this diaper easy to put on and adjust. It will also last a while, since this shell can fit children weighing 8 to 30 pounds. Additionally, the range of colors and patterns makes it a fun addition to your little one’s wardrobe.

Parents love that this diaper offers a biodegradable disposable insert option and a snap-in cloth insert. It’s easy to wash, but keep in mind the covers are line-dry only. You’ll also need to buy the inserts for this diaper separately.

Pros

  • includes lots of snaps to help with putting it on and finding the right fit
  • a variety of insert options can be used with this diaper, including a biodegradable option
  • wide range of colors and patterns available

Cons

  • shell has to be hung dry
  • inserts need to be bought separately

Most stylish cloth diaper

Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers

  • Price: $$
  • Material: diaper
    • Outer layer: 100% polyester, 18% polyurethane
    • Lining: 100% polyester)
    • Top layer of insert: 100% polyester
    • Bottom layer of insert: 88% biconstituent fiber (80% polyester, 20% nylon), 12% polyester)

If you’re willing to spend a little extra money (though not much), parents love these stylish diapers known for their beautiful and playful patterns.

They’re more than just pretty to look: They include a fleece lining that’s soft on baby’s skin, and all Charlie Banana products are Climate Neutral certified. The fabrics are also OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified.

Parents can choose to use one or two inserts depending on the amount of absorbency they think they’ll need.

Pros

  • lots of patterns and colors to choose from
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • parents rave about how soft they are

Cons

  • diapers are on the thicker side
  • some of the other options are our list are less expensive

Best cloth diapering system

Esembly Cloth Diapering Try-It Kit

  • Price: $$$
  • Material:
    • Inner shells: certified organic cotton
    • Outer shells: OEKO-TEX certified recycled fabric from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles

Everything you need to diaper sustainably is in this kit! From organic diapers to a storage bag made from post-consumer plastic bottles, this kit has it all, including cloth diaper-safe rash cream and balms. As a bonus, the outer part can be used by itself without an inner as a swim diaper.

If you plan to frequently use cloth diapers, you’ll definitely need to invest in more outer (and inner) shells then the try-it kit provides. You’ll also want to keep in mind that the two-step design of the diapers takes a second longer to put on. It does help to keep blowouts in, though!

Pros

  • products included in this kit are eco-friendly (made from organic and recycled materials)
  • outer shell can be used by itself as a swim diaper
  • kit includes a storage bag and cloth diaper friendly diaper balm

Cons

  • this isn’t the most budget-friendly option on our list
  • two-step diapering process is more complicated for new parents and takes longer

Best organic cloth diaper

Smart Bottoms Born Smart 2.0

  • Price: $$
  • Material: 55% hemp, 45% organic cotton (outer layer is 100% PUL)

Made from both organic cotton and sustainable hemp, parents say Smart Bottoms are incredibly soft and absorbent without pesticides and chemicals. For parents who prefer U.S.-made products, Smart Bottoms check that box as well.

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. There is also a variety of cute style options!

Pros

  • made in United States with organic cotton and sustainable hemp
  • only requires one wash before using
  • all-in-one style makes these easy for new parents or those new to cloth diapering

Cons

  • parents note that this diaper does run small
  • takes a while to dry

Best affordable cloth diaper

AlvaBaby Cloth Diapers

  • Price: $
  • Material:
    • Outer: polyester with waterproof and breathable TPU
    • Inner layer: suede cloth
    • Insert: three-layer microfiber

While perhaps 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 $30!). They are also designed to fit kids from 6.6 to 33 pounds, so you won’t have to rush out for more cloth diapers as your little one grows.

These are pocket diapers, so you can use more inserts for extra absorbency as needed. With lots of snaps, it’s also easy to get a good fit. Another bonus? They come with a 1-year guarantee!

Pros

  • lots of snaps to help find the right fit
  • can add more inserts for extra absorbency
  • low price tag

Cons

  • some parents suggest buying a bamboo insert instead of the microfiber ones that comes with the diaper for better absorbency
  • parents of newborns say they had difficulty getting a tight enough fit to prevent leaks

Best reusable swim diaper

Beau & Belle Littles Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper

  • Price: $
  • Material:
    • Outer shell: 100% PUL polyester cloth fabric
    • Inside: polyester mesh

Especially since your baby may not go swimming all the time, having a swim diaper option that will grow with them is a major bonus. The Nageuret is adjustable from sizes N to 5. The snaps also allow for three different height options and 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% of their yearly sales.

Nageuret diapers also have a 1-year better-than-money-back guarantee, where they’ll refund you the cost and give you a new swim diaper.

Pros

  • adjustable from sizes N to 5 (8 to 36 pounds)
  • snaps allow for three different height options
  • purchase includes a 1-year better-than-money-back guarantee

Cons

  • parents note that it runs small
  • not for regular, daily use

Best for heavy wetters

GroVia O.N.E.

  • Price: $$
  • Material:
    • Hidden inner layer: 100% polyester microfiber
    • Outer layer: 100% water resistant polyester TPU
    • Soaker: 100% cotton topped with 100% polyester microfleece
    • Body lining: 100% polyester microfleece

If you feel like you’re constantly changing diapers and they’re still getting soaked through, you’ll love the extra absorbency of GroVia O.N.E. diapers. These diapers include a hidden body layer and also have an adjustable snap-in soaker.

In addition, these diapers offer both hook-and-loop and snap closures. As a bonus, they also fit kids weighing 10 to 35 pounds, so you won’t have to replace them the minute your child starts growing.

One thing to keep in mind is that the layers that make these diapers so absorbent also take a long time to dry. However, since the diaper is an all-in-one, it’s an easy one for parents to put together.

Pros

  • fit kids weighing 10 to 35 pounds
  • include a hidden body layer and adjustable soaker insert
  • offer both hook-and-loop and snap closure options

Cons

  • drying can take a while
  • can feel a little bulky

Best for potty training

Blueberry Trainers

  • Price: $
  • Material: 50% cotton, 50% polyester outer lining

Is your child getting ready to use the toilet? This cloth diaper alternative has an 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.

Pros

  • underwear appearance can be motivating and build you child’s confidence
  • elastic waist is easy for toddlers to pull-up and down
  • includes a hidden absorbent layer for minor accidents

Cons

  • only partially waterproof and not absorbent enough for overnight or nap use
  • can shrink after first wash

Best overnight cloth diaper

Ecoable Overnight Diaper with Cotton Hemp Insert

  • Price: $$
  • Material: 55% hemp, 45% cotton

The key to dry overnights? An absorbent diaper! 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.

Pros

  • the hemp is hypoallergenic and naturally antibacterial
  • absorbs more liquid the more you wash it
  • includes a lot of snaps, which makes it easier to get the right fit

Cons

  • you’ll need to get a waterproof covering for this diaper
  • some parents complain that the hemp didn’t wick moisture away from the skin the way other materials do, so their child’s skin felt more wet with these diapers

Easiest cloth diaper

Bambino Mio Miosolo All-in-One Cloth Diaper

  • Price: $$
  • Material:
    • Outer: 100% polyester laminated
    • Core: 85% polyester, 15% nylon
    • Inner: 100% polyester

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.

Additionally, every part of this product is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, so you don’t have to worry about the fabric touching your baby’s skin.

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.

Pros

  • includes both Velcro and snaps to help with sizing
  • OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
  • lots of color and pattern options to choose from

Cons

  • even though it’s an all-in-one, you’ll still need to pull out and reinsert the absorbent pad each time if you want it to dry quicker
  • while not the most expensive option on our list, there are some cheaper options

ProductPriceMaterialProsCons
bumGenius Freetime$$microfiber layer sewn into the waterproof outer shell• lots of snaps
• semi-attached inserts make putting the diaper together easier
• can fit 8–35+ pounds
• can be a bit bulky in the beginning
• some parents prefer pocket style cloth diapers
Thirsties Newborn All in One$Outer layer:100% polyester with waterproof TPU laminate
Inner liner:100% polyester microfleece
Inner absorbency: one layer of microfiber terry
Inner soaker: 100% polyester (three layers of microfiber terry topped with layer of microfleece)
• has a special umbilical cord snap down feature
• all-in-one style
• one of the more affordable options
• only fit best for 5–14 pounds
• some parents complain that these seemed to leak pretty quickly
OsoCozy Organic Fitted Diaper$organic cotton• made with unbleached GOTS certified organic cotton
• includes elastic bands at the waist and around the legs
• one of the more affordable options
• take longer to dry than some other options
• you’ll need to buy more as your baby grows
Rumparooz Pocket Diaper$$Outer:100% waterproof TPU polyester
Inner: 100% microchamois polyester
Insert: 100% polyester Microfiber
• lots of snaps enable it to fit children 6–40+ pounds
• hypoallergenic
• lots of color and pattern options
• can be a little bulky
• you’ll need to place the inserts inside each time
GroVia Hybrid Diaper$ waterproof TPU• includes lots of snaps
• a variety of insert options can be used with this diaper (including a biodegradable option)
• wide range of colors and patterns
• shell has to be hung dry
• inserts need to be bought separately
Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers$$• Diaper (Outer layer:100% polyester, 18% polyurethane; lining: 100% Polyester)
• Insert (Top layer: 100% polyester; bottom layer: 88% biconstituent fiber (80% polyester, 20% nylon), 12% polyester)
• lots of patterns and colors
• OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
• super soft
• on the thicker side
• not the most affordable
$$$Inner shells: certified organic cotton
Outer shells: OEKO-TEX certified recycled fabric from 100% post-consumer plastic bottles
• eco-friendly (made from organic and recycled materials)
• outer shell can be used by itself as a swim diaper
• includes a storage bag and cloth diaper-friendly diaper balm
• not the most budget-friendly option on our list
• two step diapering process is a little more complicated
$$55% hemp, 45% organic cotton (outer layer is 100% PUL)• made with organic cotton and sustainable hemp
• only requires one wash before using
• all-in-one style
• parents note that this diaper runs small
• takes a while to dry
$Outer: polyester with waterproof and breathable TPU
Inner layer: suede cloth
Insert: three-layer microfiber
• lots of snaps
• can add more inserts for extra absorbency
• affordable
• some parents suggest buying a bamboo insert instead of the microfiber ones that comes with the diaper for better absorbency
• may not be tight enough on some newborns
$Outer shell: 100% PUL polyester cloth fabric
Inside: polyester mesh
• adjustable from sizes N–5 (8–36 pounds)
• three different height options
• includes a 1-year better-than-money-back guarantee
• parents note that it ran small
• not for regular, daily use
$$Hidden inner layer: 100% polyester microfiber
Outer layer: 100% water resistant polyester TPU
Soaker: 100% cotton topped with 100% polyester microfleece
Body lining: 100% polyester microfleece
• fits babies 10–35 pounds
• includes a hidden body layer and adjustable soaker insert
• both hook-and-loop and snap closure options
• drying can take a while
• can feel a little bulky
$50% cotton, 50% polyester outer lining• builds child’s confidence
• elastic waist is easy for toddlers to pull-up and down
• includes a hidden absorbent layer
• only partially waterproof
• not absorbent enough for overnight or nap use
• can shrink after first wash
$$55% hemp, 45% cotton• made from hypoallergenic and naturally antibacterial hemp
• absorbs more liquid the more you wash it
• Includes a lot of snaps
• you’ll need a waterproof covering
• hemp may not wick moisture away from the skin as well as other materials
$$Outer:100% polyester laminated
Core: 85% polyester, 15% nylon
Inner: 100% polyester
• includes velcro and snaps
• OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
• lots of color and pattern options to choose from
• need to pull out and reinsert the absorbent pad each time if you want it to dry quicker.
• expensive

Trying to chose the best cloth diaper can feel overwhelming, but it can help to:

  • Measure and weigh your baby so you know what size cloth diapers will fit.
  • Think about how much folding you want to do! While diapers without snaps can be cheaper, using all-in-one cloth diapers can simplify the changing process.
  • Consider what designs and colors you might like. (While this probably isn’t the most important consideration, dressing up your mini-me can make the unpleasant task of changing diapers more fun.)
  • Keep an eye out for sales! If you’re open to slightly used cloth diapers, you can frequently find these for extremely low prices.

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.

Do you save money with cloth diapers?

Cloth diapers cost more initially than disposable diapers, but the only major expense after that is the cost to launder them. On the other hand, disposable diapers are a consistent cost until your child is potty trained.

So, if you use them for a while or use them on multiple children, cloth diapers can work out to be cheaper.

Do cloth diapers need to be changed more often?

Whether a diaper is cloth or disposable, the same timelines for changing them apply. Any diapers (cloth or disposable) should be changed promptly after a poop. Diapers should also be changed regularly to prevent rashes and leaks from excess urine.

Can babies wear cloth diapers to sleep?

Yes, babies can wear cloth diapers while they sleep. Some cloth diapers come with thicker inserts for overnight use. These help hold more urine.

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!