- Cloth diapers are an economical alternative to disposable diapers that are better for the environment.
- The GroVia Hybrid Reusable Baby Cloth Diapers are our top pick because they are economical, earth-friendly, and super cute.
If there’s one thing new parents will have to do every day, it’s change diapers. When it comes to cloth diapers, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by the array of choices and acronyms. What is a pre-fold? What is an AIO? Will the diapers handle a big blowout? Do they smell after you wash them?
These kinds of questions make cloth diapering confusing. Yet today’s cloth diapers are super-absorbent, easy to clean, and environmentally friendly. But not all cloth diapers are created equal. Just like disposable diapers, when it comes down to finding the best cloth diaper for your baby or toddler, there are three factors to consider: cost, sustainability, and absorbency.
As for a baby’s health, is there an advantage to using cloth diapers over disposable versions? Not really, said Dominica Wood, a pediatrician and a mother of two. But every baby reacts differently. Ultimately, it’s a matter of preference.
“It’s fine to use [cloth diapers] if you time on your hands,” said Wood. “Your baby could have less exposure to chemicals used in disposable diapers, but then again, even with cloth diapers, the chemicals in detergents used to wash them is also something a parent might need to worry about.”
To narrow down the options to the five best cloth diapers, we consulted other parents, researched product specs, and relied on personal experience to find the best cloth diapers you can buy.
Here are the best cloth diapers:
- Best cloth diapers overall: GroVia Hybrid Reusable Baby Cloth Diapers
- Best budget cloth diapers: OsoCozy Prefolds
- Best high-end cloth diapers: Charlie Banana One-Size Diaper
- Best cloth diapers for toilet training: Super Undies Pull-On Undies 2.0
- Best all-in-one cloth diapers: Thirsties All-in-One Cloth Diaper
Prices and links are current as of 3/18/2020.
The best overall
GroVia Hybrid Reusable Baby Cloth Diapers handle big blowouts, fight diaper rash, and dry quickly.
When my children were infants, I used these simple-yet-flexible cloth diapers every day for a few years. The system combines a soft outer shell with a combination of soaker pads. Shells come in vibrant and fun designs with either snap or loop closures. You'll want the snap to keep toddler hands from taking off the diaper.
At night, you can snap-in extra soakers to prevent accidents. Some parents even use the cotton soakers to clean the house or wipe up finger marks long after their little one is out of diapers - I know I still do. If you don't want to add soakers, GroVia has an Organic All-In-One (AIO) Cloth Diaper with no cover, stuffing, or folding.
As a working mom, I loved that I could use the shells three to four times before washing. Some cloth diapers take a long time to dry, but GroVia makes laundry a breeze. In fact, Babylist named GroVia the best hybrid cloth diapers for their convenience.
The best part is the cost savings. Disposable diapers cost anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars per year. The entire GroVia Hybrid cloth diaper system costs roughly four hundred dollars, and that's from newborn to potty training. You can even use cloth diapers for multiple kids.
GroVia cloth diapers are also made with eco-friendly organic cotton. Swaddle your baby in a chemical-free product that doesn't clog up the landfills. Sure, you're using water and soap to wash them, but when you compare cloth diapers to disposable, GroVia Hybrid cloth diapers are way better for the environment.
Pros: Super affordable and absorbent, landfill friendly, toddler-proof, impossibly cute, less diaper rash, make potty training easier
Cons: Bulky baby bottom, some daycares won't accommodate cloth diapers
The best budget cloth diaper
OsoCozy Prefolds are high-quality, super absorbent, and cost-effective.
Prefold diapers are layers of 100% cotton, bamboo, or hemp woven together in a durable square. These cloth diapers have maximum soaking capacity down the center, with thinner edges for easier folding. In the past, prefold was the luxury diaper.
When you purchase OsoCozy Prefolds, you will also need waterproof covers and fasteners. Thirsties Duo Wrap Cloth Diaper Cover is by far the best choice. The covers work seamlessly with OsoCozy and come in cute designs and colors. You can use the covers three to four times before washing. All you have to do is wipe clean between changes. The covers are breathable with an adjustable rise, making them fit well from newborn to toddlerhood. For fastening, Snappis make securing the prefolds easy and secure. I used Thirstie covers with OsoCozy for three years and never did one cover come apart or tear.
From newborn to potty training, the OsoCozy and Thirsties combo system costs a little over two hundred dollars. The cost-savings make this cloth diaper system a smart choice. You can even use prefolds as burp rags or a water overflow catcher during bath time. The use lasts way after your child is out of diapers.
OsoCozy Prefolds come in two different sizes and fabrics. As far as size goes, you'll need to start with size 1 for newborns to six months (6 to 18 pounds) and size 2 for bigger babies, although this will depend on the prefold fabric. Parents tend to purchase the bleached cotton, but the unbleached, 100% organic cotton is bigger and softer and hides stains easier.
What to Expect picked these as the best prefold cloth diapers, highlighting their eight layers of absorbency. I definitely agree: I used OsoCozy Prefolds with my babies, and you can't beat the cost savings, durability, and softness.
Pros: Low cost, super absorbent, soft, durable, multipurpose (baby and cleaning), less leakage, easy to clean
Cons: Folding makes quick changes harder, bulky baby bottom
The best high-end cloth diaper
Charlie Banana's award-winning cloth diapers are highly absorbent, easy to take care of, and last from newborn through potty training.
The hybrid cloth diaper system comes with soft covers and organic cotton and hemp inserts. At night, add an extra insert for added protection. The earth-friendly materials are snug and can withstand big blowouts. For those concerned about the cleanup, you can add biodegradable bamboo liners between the baby's bottom and cloth diaper to collect the waste.
Charlie Banana cloth diapers come in vibrant colors. For those who adore Sophie La Giraffe Baby Teether, you'll love that they've partnered with Charlie Banana to create a Sophie Classic One Size Hybrid and AIO.
As with most cloth diapers, fewer chemicals touch your baby's skin, and some reviewers report fewer diaper rashes with Charlie Banana cloth diapers.
While diaper rash happens regardless of whether you use disposable or cloth, it's important to change diapers regularly and wash diapers with natural laundry detergent like Rockin' Green Natural Laundry Detergent Powder. Cloth diapers need special soap to help the cloth retain their absorbency and skin-protective qualities. Reusable cotton cloth wipes with essential oils help too.
Charlie Banana cloth diapers are on the more expensive side. Verywell Family named these best luxury cloth diaper, saying, "The versatility of these diapers marks them out from the rest, they can have disposable or reusable liners inserted, allowing parents the best of both worlds."
Pros: High quality, eco-friendly, super soft, vibrant colors and designs
Cons: Small pockets make it hard to stuff extra inserts, not great for overnight, more expensive
The best for toilet training
Toddlers dislike the feeling of wetness from soggy diapers and will potty train earlier with these super absorbent pull-ons.
For some parents, potty training is easy, and for others, you need a helping hand. In comes Super Undies Pull-On Undies 2.0 to the rescue. Super Undies makes potty training easier with its pull-on sides and stretchy fabric. You can start using them right before you start potty training, to help your little one get ready for big-kid land (life without diapers).
Most babies don't like the feeling of wetness from a soggy diaper, and wearing cloth undies accentuates this irritation. Wearing Super Undies Pull-On Undies protects your growing toddler like a diaper, but be careful when your kid has a blowout - pull-ons smear waste when pulled down.
But the point of these undies is, you can teach a child from going to the bathroom in the undies by reminding them to tell you when they need to go to the bathroom. Once this happens, you place them on the potty, and hopefully, she will go to the bathroom - without getting the undies dirty.
At night, your child can wear them like bedwetting underwear, further preparing them for letting go of diapers or needing night diapers at all. Long after your child is out of diapers, they could still require a night diaper. Kids slowly learn how to control their bladder at night; this may take some time.
Super Undies come in fun designs shaped like big-kid underwear. Since you can use these overnight undies from toddlerhood to preschool, the price is affordable too.
Pros: Best for potty training and overnight accidents, easy to pull on and off, cute designs, transitional pants (between diapers and underwear)
Cons: Smeared poop accidents, only for the transition between diapers and underwear
The best all-in-one cloth diaper
Thirsties All-in-One Cloth Diapers are a convenient alternative to disposable diapers and are great for caregivers who don't want to worry about inserts.
When it comes to cloth diapers, sometimes you want ones that look and act like a disposable diaper. Thirsties is an all-in-one cloth diaper that mirrors a disposable diaper. The butterfly closure system makes it easy to put on and secure.
Most parents love that there's no added stuffing, extra inserts, or liners. Inside the shell are four layers of absorbent microfiber terry to protect against accidents. When you have a lot to do, adding something extra, even as small as a liner, might be too much.
The cost of AIOs is usually higher than other types of cloth diapers, but since there's no stuffing, you have your entire diaper system streamlined. You'll need around 20 or so to last until potty training. Be sure to purchase the correct size, since Thirsties are available Even so, this system still beats disposable diapers by a landslide.
Pros: All-in-one cloth diaper (no stuffing), easy to put on, absorbent, soft, durable
Cons: Bulky baby bottom, runs small, air dry
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