Best Diaper & Wipes 2018
Last Updated: Best Diaper & Wipes 2018. After extensive research into 18 different diaper brands, surveying our readers about their diaper favorites and evaluating several diaper leakage lab tests, we pick Pampers Swaddlers as the Best Disposable Diaper 2018. (If you’re a cloth diaper fan, don’t worry we cover that topic below). .
Scroll down for our picks for Best Budget-Friendly Disposable, Best Disposable to Buy at 2am, Best Eco-Friendly Disposable, Best Cloth Diaper, Best Diaper Wipes (overall) and Best Eco-Friendly Diaper Wipes
New to diaper shopping? Read our 7 Money Savers No One Tells You About Buying Diapers for advice and tips.
Pampers Swaddlers checks all the boxes we look for in a diaper—great leak protection (as judged by independent tests), excellent reader feedback for overall fit and performance and wide availability with affordable pricing.
Yes, there are some bells and whistles here that you don’t see in generic diapers (Pamper’s color-changing wetness indicator), but what we care about is performance and fit. On that score, Pampers Swaddlers is excellent.
A box of 216 count Size 1 Pampers Swaddlers runs 24 cents per diaper on Amazon (you can slice that price down to 23¢ by being a member of Amazon Prime, sign up for the free Amazon Family program and use Subscribe & Save.). Walmart sells the same diapers for 22¢ per diaper. (Amazon and Walmart are in a fierce battle over diaper prices, so these prices can change daily!)
Pampers does sell a couple of variations on the Swaddlers, including Swaddlers Sensitive (for babies with sensitive skin). Those are also excellent diapers, but much more expensive (32¢ a diaper).
Best Budget-Friendly Disposable. We conduct rolling price checks on diapers, both online and offline, chain stores and warehouse clubs. We then take the lowest priced diapers and compare them to lab tests for effectiveness.
The winner this year is Luv’s Ultra Leakguards—on Amazon, these diapers are as low as 10 cents—that’s for Prime members who do Subscribe & Save.
FYI: both Amazon and Walmart are engaged in a diaper price war as of press time. In the past, we found generic diapers like Walmart’s Parent’s Choice and Target’s Up & Up to be the least expensive diapers, along with club picks like Costco’s Kirkland Supreme diapers. But Kirkland is now 16¢ per diaper—and not everyone has a Costco near by.
Fans of Target say their diaper promo sales (buy $125 worth of diapers, get a $20 or $25 gift card) drop prices under 10¢ per diaper for top brands like Huggies. Target’s Cartwheel app also regularly features diaper deals.
Of course, a disposable diaper deal that leaks is no bargain. That’s why Luv’s Ultra Leakguards tops our list of bargain choices, based on fit and leak testing. A close second would be Huggies Snug & Dry when they are on sale on Amazon or Walmart.
We realize we are talking cents per diaper savings and that may not seem like much. But pennies add up when you’re talking about buying 2300 diapers in your baby’s first year.
Total annual savings of Luv’s Ultra Leakguards at Amazon versus Pampers Swaddlers would be $115+. That’s more than 50% less money on diapers! Heck, just following that one tip paid for this book almost ten times over!
Best Eco-Friendly Diaper. How is that even possible—to be both eco-friendly and disposable? Our top pick for best eco-friendly disposable, Bambo Nature, manages that and more.
Made in Denmark, Bambo Nature backs up its environmental talk with certifications: the diapers are FSC-certified, Nordic Ecolabel and the EU’s Ecolabel. Other eco-friendly diapers talk eco-friendliness but rarely back it up with third-party testing.
These diapers tick just about every box for sustainability and eco-friendliness. While we don’t have room here for a full run- down, Bambo Nature’s web site lays out the features in detail.
Bambo Nature diapers scores at the top for performance— very little leakage, strong absorbency and comfort/fit. Too often we see expensive green diapers that tout their eco credentials but do an average to poor job of stopping leaks.
So what’s the catch? Well, if you said price, give yourself bonus points. Like many other eco-baby gear picks, all the environmental goodness will cost you. Even on Amazon size 1 Bambo Nature diapers run about 50¢ each. Walmart has them for slightly less, 33¢. Ouch.
Another caveat: the sizing of European diapers is a bit different from the USA. Basically, the Bambo Nature diapers run large compared to Pampers or Huggies.
Best Cloth Diaper. Ask ten cloth diaper afficionados for their favorite cloth diapers and you’ll probably get 11 different answers! That’s because there are so many different options out there it can be confusing. And then there is the learning curve.
So let’s cut through the clutter and give you a pick, assuming you are a first-time cloth diaperer and looking for a simple solution: BumGenius First Year Adjustable All-in-One cloth diaper.
Also known as the BumGenius Freetime, this diaper is the easiest for first-timer cloth diaperers—as an all-in-one, you don’t need to buy separate covers or inserts. Basically, you pop the entire diaper in the wash.
Best of all, the BumGenius adjusts to fit babies from eight to 35 lbs. So what’s not to like? Well, the BumGenius must be line- dried, and that can take a while (especially in humid climates). Also: the diaper is a bit bulky. These diapers run $22 each on Amazon.
Also Great Cloth Diaper. If you consider yourself a more advanced cloth diaper, we would suggest the Rumparooz One-Size Cloth Pocket Diaper. Rumparooz is a one-size diaper that adjusts to fit babies six to 35 lbs. What our readers love about this cloth diaper is Rumparooz’s attention to detail and high quality materials. You can customize the absorbency via different liners (the diaper comes with a microfiber “6r soaker” insert).
An inner and outer elastic barrier stops nearly all leaks. Overall, excellent quality. What’s not to like? Well, you do have to deal with those inserts, with can be a pain. The Rumparooz is bulky and a few readers complain it doesn’t fit toddlers well, despite the claimed 35 lb. weight limit. On the plus side, Rumparooz is more affordable than BumGenius (as of this writing): $16 per diaper.
Also Great Eco-Friendly Wipes. What if you took out all the chemicals in wipes and just left water? That’s the essence of WaterWipes, which we would also recommend as an eco-friendly wipe. These wipes run about 6¢ per wipe on Amazon.
As the name implies, these wipes are 99.9% water with the balance being grapefruit seed oil. Readers love their simplicity, especially for babies who’ve developed rashes from standard wipes.
A few caveats: some of these chemicals in standard wipes keep them from molding. So it doesn’t come as a surprise we heard more than a few complaints about molding with WaterWipes— this would be a case were we suggest NOT ordering in bulk. And no wipe warmers. Critics note that a 2016 change to WaterWipes made them smaller and thinner, which dismayed fans. These wipes can also be drippy, irking more than one reader.
Those caveats aside, we still like WaterWipes for folks who desire a simple wipe for babies with super-sensitive skin. Or just use a washcloth dipped in water–can’t get much cheaper or simpler.
Why Trust Us
We’ve been rating and reviewing diapers since 1994 (and actually diapering babies since 1993!). In addition to hands on changing and cleaning, we have also tapped a number of lab tests of disposable diapers. We also evaluate consumer reviews posted on sites like Amazon, as well as our own message boards. We also tap our reader cloth diaper experts.
Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Baby Bargains is your independent and unbiased source for expert baby gear reviews. We’ve been writing and reviewing baby gear since 1994. Yes, that long!
How we picked a winner
We evaluate diapers with in-depth inspections, lab tests and parent interviews. We look for for overall leak protection comfort. We gather significant reader feedback (our book, Baby Bargains has over 1 million copies in print), tracking diapers (both cloth and disposable) for quality and durability. The reliability of diaper brands is another key factor. Since we’ve been doing this since 1994, we have developed detailed profiles of major diaper brands that help guide our recommendations. See below for links.
7 Money Savers No One Tells You About Buying Diapers!
1. Buy in Bulk.
FYI: To make these tips easier to follow, think of diapers in terms of per diaper prices. That way you’re comparing apples to apples.
Don’t buy those little packs of 20 diapers—look for the 80 or 100 count packs instead. You’ll find the price per diaper goes down when you buy larger packs. That’s why grocery stores are usually the most expensive place to buy dia- pers—they sell diapers in smaller packages, with the highest per diaper price. Online discounters often sell packs of more than 200 at even bigger discounts.
2. Go for Warehouse Clubs.
Sam’s, BJ’s and Costco wholesale clubs sell diapers at prices that are lower than grocery stores. For example, Costco sells a 192- count package of Huggies Little Snugglers stage 1 for just $37.49 or about 19.5¢ per diaper. We also found great deals on wipes at the wholesale clubs. The downside to these warehouse clubs? You buy a membership to shop at clubs, which runs about $45 to $55 a year. And clubs don’t stock the usual sizes of diapers—some carry “size 1-2” diapers, instead of just size 1 or 2. Readers are frustrated with this combined sizing, according to our message boards.
FYI: In the past year, Amazon and Walmart’s price war on diapers have dropped prices BELOW that of warehouse clubs, as of this writing. So be sure to compare online prices before buying a warehouse club membership to get diaper deals.
3. Buy Store Brands.
Many readers tell us they find store brand diapers to be equal to the name brands. And the prices can’t be beat—many are 20% to 30% cheaper. Chains like Target and Walmart carry in-house diaper brands, as do many grocery stores. Warehouse clubs also carry in store brands: Costco’s Kirkland, BJ’s Little Bundles and Sam’s Club’s Member’s Mark.
4. Online Deals May Beat In-Store Prices.
If you’ve got Amazon Prime, sign up for Amazon Family (it’s free) to get another 20% off “Subscribe & Save” deals on diapers. Not to be outdone, Walmart now offers free two-day shipping on diapers with no membership fee. And Walmart aggressively prices diapers to be completive with Amazon.
5. Don’t Buy Diapers in Grocery Stores.
We compared prices at grocery stores and usually found them to be sky-high. Most were selling diapers in packages that worked out to over 25¢ per diaper. Of course, sales and coupons can lower those prices—some grocery chains aggressively price diapers as a loss leader.
6. Use Coupons and Gift Cards.
Yep, it doesn’t take much effort to find high- value coupons for diapers. If you have to make a late-night diaper run to the grocery store, use these to save. We’ve got diaper coupons on our web site here.
When friends ask you what you’d like as a shower gift, you can drop hints for gift cards from stores that sell a wide variety of baby items—including diapers and wipes. That way you can get what you really need, instead of cute accessories of marginal value.
7. Tips for Cloth Diaper Fans.
Cloth diaper fans highly recommend buying used cloth diapers.
Many of the best brands of cloth diapers last and last and last. So you may see them on eBay or cloth-diaper message boards. Buy them—you can get some brands for as little as a buck or two. As long as you know the quality and age of the diapers you’re buying, this tip can really be a money saver.
If you want to buy new, however, consider introductory or trial deals. Many suppliers have special introductory or trial packages with built-in discounts. Before you invest hundreds of dollars in one brand, give it a test drive first.
Cost Analysis: Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
The great diaper debate still rages on: should you use cloth or disposable? Fans of cloth diapers argue cloth is better for the planet. On the other hand, those disposable diapers are darn convenient—and the choice of 96% of parents in the US.
Considering the average baby will go through 2300 diaper changes in the first year of life, this isn’t a moot issue—you’ll be dealing with diapers until your baby is three or four years old (the average girl potty trains at 35 months; boys at 39 months). Yes, you read that last sentence right . . . you will be diapering for the next 35 to 39 MONTHS.
Now, in this section, we’ve decided NOT to rehash all the environmental arguments pro or con for cloth versus disposable. Fire up your web browser and you’ll find plenty of diaper debate on parenting sites. Instead, we’ll focus here on the FINANCIAL and PRACTICAL impacts of your decision.
Let’s look at each option:
◆ Cloth. Prior to the 1960’s, this was the only diaper option available to parents. Fans of cloth diapering claim that babies experienced less diaper rash and toilet trained faster. From a practical point of view, cloth diapers have improved in design over the years, offering more absorbency and fewer leaks. They aren’t perfect, but the advent of diaper covers (no more plastic pants) has helped as well.
Another practical point: laundry. You’ve got to decide if you will use a cloth diaper service or launder at home. Obviously, the latter requires more effort on your part. Meanwhile, we’ll discuss the financial costs of cloth in general at the end of this section.
Final practical point about cloth: most day care centers don’t allow them. This may be a sanitation requirement governed by state day care regulators and not a negotiating point. Check with local day care centers or your state board.
◆ Disposables. Disposable diapers were first introduced in 1961 and now hold an overwhelming lead over cloth—about 95% of all households that have kids in diapers use disposables. Today’s diapers have super-absorbent gels that lower the num- ber of needed diaper changes, especially at night (which helps baby sleep through the night sooner). Even many parents who swear cloth diapers are best often use disposables at night. The downside? All that super-absorbency means babies are in no rush to potty train—they simply don’t feel as wet or uncomfort- able as babies in cloth diapers.
The jury on diaper rash is still out—disposable diaper users generally don’t experience any more diaper rash than cloth diaper users.
Besides the eco-arguments about disposables, there is one other disadvantage—higher trash costs. In many communities, the more trash you put out, the higher the bill.
The financial bottom line: Surprisingly, there is no clear winner when you factor financial costs into the diaper equation.
Cloth diapers may seem cheap at first, but consider the hidden costs. Besides the diapers themselves ($100 for the basic varieties; $200 to $300 for the fancy ones), you also have to buy diaper covers. Like everything you buy with baby, there is a wide cost variation. The cheap stuff (like Dappi covers) will set you back $6 to $7 each.
And you’ve got to buy several covers in different sizes as your child grows. If you’re lucky, you can find diaper covers second- hand for $2 to $4. Of course, some parents find low-cost covers leak and quickly wear out. As a result, they turn to the more expensive covers—a single Mother-Ease cover is $20, for example. Invest in a half dozen of those covers (in various sizes, of course) and you’ve spent another $300 to $500 (if you buy them new).
What about laundry? Well, washing your own cloth diapers at home may be the most economical way to go, but often folks don’t have the time or energy. Instead, some parents use a cloth diaper service. In a recent cost survey of such services across the U.S., we found that the average is about $1000 to $1200 a year. While each service does supply you with diapers (relieving you of that expense), you’re still on the hook for the diaper covers. You’ll make an average of eight changes a day (more when a baby is newborn, less as they grow older), so be sure you’re getting about 60 diapers a week from your service.
Proponents of cloth diapers argue that if you plan to have more than one child, you can reuse those covers, spreading out the cost. You may also not need as many sizes depending on the brands you use and the way your child grows.
So, what’s the bottom line cost for cloth diapers? We estimate the total financial damage for cloth diapers (using a cloth diaper service and buying diaper covers) for just the first year is $1100 to $1300.
By contrast, let’s take a look at disposables. If you buy disposable diapers from the most expensive source in town (typically, a grocery store), you’d spend about $700 to $800 for the first year. Yet, we’ve found the best deals are buying in bulk from the discount sources we’ll discuss shortly. By shopping at these sources, we figure you’d spend $450 to $550 per year (the lowest figure is for private label diapers, the highest is for brand names).
The bottom line: the cheapest way to go is cloth diapers laundered at home. The next most affordable choice is disposables. Finally, cloth diapers from a diaper service are the most expensive choice.
Reviews of 11 disposable diaper brands
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