Note: There is no one universal “best,” especially when it comes to parenting. These are “The Best Cloth Diapers” based on Also Mom's strict criteria, detailed here.
We’re guessing you’re here because you’ve decided that cloth diapering is not terrifying. Solid conclusion! Modern cloth diapers are all sorts of wonderful. They’re easy to use. They contain blowouts like champs. They save you a ton of money for a premium product, especially when amortized over multiple babies. And, the no-surprises-here kicker for most who are interested in cloth diapering in the first place, cloth diapers are significantly kinder on the environment than their disposable diaper counterparts. Scroll down for our answers to all your cloth diapering questions.
These are the best cloth diapers, in loose order of preference…
- GroVia One Size All in One ($21.56 – $23.95/diaper) – The slimmest cloth diaper and, in our humble opinion, the best all-around cloth diaper, the GroVia All in One is a total workhorse despite its minimal footprint. Fitting babies from 10 to 35 pounds, this diaper can be worn under leggings and skinnies without bulk, is super absorbent with some room for adjustability, contains blowouts like it's its job (it is), and requires no stuffing. Because of the way this diaper goes on, it is slightly more challenging for caregivers not used to cloth diapering and for those with squirmier babies. [full review]
- bumGenius 5.0 ($14.66 – $17.95/diaper) – A great all-around pocket diaper with a medium-slim fit that fits babies from 7 to 35 pounds, the bumGenius 5.0 is absorbent, easy to spray clean, super simple for caregivers to use with minimal instruction, and comes in nice colors. Many parents who use this diaper report never having experienced a single blowout! On the downside, you'll have to unstuff these diapers for the wash and restuff them as part of your folding process, so if you're the type who tends to let laundry pile up on that random chair in the corner, pocket diapers probably aren't for you. [full review]
- GroVia O.N.E. ($20.66 – $22.95/diaper) – The GroVia O.N.E. is super absorbent, comfortable for babies 10 to 35 pounds, and easy to clean. As an added bonus, you can use either snaps or hook-and-loop (velcro) closures, and the diaper is organic. On the downside, because the soaker pads are only attached at the back, the O.N.E. can be slightly more challenging to use for caregivers not used to cloth diapering and for those with squirmier babies. It is also bulky, meaning your baby's fashion repertoire might be limited to dresses, skirts, harem pants, and loose-fitting joggers. [full review]
- bumGenius Freetime ($16.66 – $19.95/diaper) – An all in one diaper with adjustable absorbency, the bumGenius Freetime is a favorite for good reason. It fits babies from 8 to 35 pounds, requires no stuffing, is not too bulky, and contains blowouts like a champ. On the downside, because of the way this diaper handles absorbency adjustability, it can be confusing for caregivers not used to cloth diapering, and it is more difficult to spray clean once your baby starts eating solid foods. [full review]
- bumGenius Elemental ($18.66 – $22.95/diaper) – An easy-to-use, easy-to-launder all in one cloth diaper, the bumGenius Elemental is a one-piece organic diaper that works great for most babies from 8 to 35 pounds. Because it is a single piece, it is super simple for caregivers to use (it goes on similar to a disposable diaper), but also because it is a single piece, it has limited absorbency, is more difficult to spray clean once your baby starts eating solids, and takes longer to dry. [full review]
- GroVia Hybrid ($15.26 – $16.95/diaper shell + $16.95/soaker pad) -GroVia's Hybrid diapers give you lots of options, and because your baby will typically only soil the soaker pads instead of the entire diaper as they would with an all in one or pocket diaper system, instead of buying 24 diapers for your stash, you can get away with buying as few as 8 to 10 shells. However, since you'll still need about 24 soaker pads, this only makes your diapering system less expensive if you go with cheap soaker pad options, like prefolds (~$8 each). If you use the GroVia soaker pads ($16.95 each), you won't be saving any money. This diaper is bulky and will limit your baby's wardrobe options, but it works well, is super absorbent when used with the right soaker pads, is simple to clean, and is easy for caregivers to use. You can even use these diapers with disposable soaker pads if you're not totally committed to the cloth diaper concept. [full review]
Which Are the Best Cloth Diapers for Your Baby and Lifestyle?
If you want our top best all-around cloth diaper stash recommendation… Get 18+ GroVia All in Ones for daytime use and 6+ bumGenius 5.0 pocket diapers for nighttime. The GroVia AIOs are nice and slim, meaning baby can wear normal outfits without the burden of having too much junk in the trunk. The bumGenius 5.0s allow a bit more customizability for nighttime heavy wetters. Total Cost of Ownership: $930 for the first kid, $440 for subsequent kids ($490 for the diapers + $440 for laundry costs)
If you want our alternative all-around best cloth diaper stash recommendation… If you don’t mind stuffing diapers after laundering them and don’t mind a fluffier fluff butt (this plan does somewhat restrict baby fashion options but saves you some $$), get 18+ bumGenius 5.0 pocket diapers and 6+ GroVia All in Ones for outfits requiring slimmer diapers. Total Cost of Ownership: $875 for the first kid, $440 for subsequent kids ($435 for the diapers + $440 for laundry costs)
If you want a cloth diaper that's pretty much foolproof… bumGenius Elementals are one-piece– meaning no stuffing– and ridiculously easy to use. BumGenius 5.0 pocket diapers are another great option, though you have to unstuff them to wash and restuff them to use.
If you are one of those who is good about doing laundry but terrible about folding it… bumGenius Elementals and bumGenius Freetimes are both single piece diapers, meaning no snapping or stuffing after washing.
If you are one of those who is bad about doing laundry or has to go to a laundromat… seriously consider getting a compostable diapering service as an alternative to cloth diapering. If getting the laundry done isn't a priority to you now, it probably won't be in the future… and those cloth diapers will need to be washed every 2-3 days regardless of the other stuff life throws at you.
If you have a squirmy baby and want a cloth diaper you can put on in just about any situation… bumGenius Elementals and bumGenius 5.0s are both one piece options you can put on while your baby stands and squirms.
If you want a cloth diaper that won't leak… all of the above options are excellent and will prevent leaks, though cloth diapers in general need to be changed a little more frequently than disposables.
If you want to avoid blowouts… all of the above options are wayyy better than disposables. Many cloth diaper parents report never experiencing a single blowout. Seriously!
If this is your first time foraying into cloth diaper land, you’re probably going to have a few questions. Head here to get answers to your burning cloth diapering questions, like the ones below.
- Are cloth diapers actually easy to use?
- What about the poop?
- What’s with all the different kinds of cloth diapers? Which ones should I get?
- What’s the difference between microfiber, cotton, hemp, and bamboo inserts?
- How do you wash cloth diapers?
- How do you get stains out of cloth diapers?
- How many cloth diapers do I need?
- What else do I need in addition to the diapers themselves?
- Cloth diapering blogs talk about needing a “mixed stash” consisting of different brands and different types of diapers “to find what works.” Is this necessary?
- How are cloth diapers sized?
- Do cloth diapers fit tiny newborns?
- Let’s talk cost savings. How much money do you save by cloth diapering?
- Are cloth diapers really better for the environment?
- How do I know if cloth diapers are not right for me and my family?
What Didn't Make the Cut
There are many cloth diaper brands out there, and most of them are pretty good. The ones reviewed at the top of this article are our favorites, but there are plenty of parents out there who swear by the brands below. We’ve noted here why we prefer our picks.
- Alva Baby Pocket Diapers ($5.50): These diapers are very inexpensive, but we fully believe you get what you pay for. There is no fold-over flap to prevent poop from creeping onto your inserts (similar to Rumparooz), and the elastic tends to degrade more quickly than with premium brands like bumGenius and GroVia. All things being equal, we'd rather buy lightly used bumGenius diapers if budget is the main concern.
- Blueberry Deluxe Pocket Diapers ($26): These premium pocket diapers are well constructed, but compared to bumGenius 5.0s, they’re 70% more expensive and have a significantly bulkier fit with no significant increase in wetness protection. All things being equal, we’d prefer bumGenius 5.0s.
- KangaCare Rumparooz ($26): We liked this diaper for smaller babies, but for most bigger babies and toddlers, this diaper is quite tight around the legs, causing skin irritation. They are also significantly bulkier than other pocket diapers, which isn't a great look.
- gDiapers ($11.50 + inserts): The marketing message is strong with these guys… gDiapers are cloth diapering without the hassle of cloth diapering. gDiapers are designed to be used with disposable inserts, which can get expensive, and they're sized (small through large), so one size will not fit all. We also think this “best of both worlds” marketing message is sort of bogus. If you want to use disposable inserts, try Grovia Hybrid diapers, which easily work with cloth inserts as well.
- Thirsties All-in-Ones ($20): These diapers are very similar to bumGenius Freetimes and comparable in price. They are not as good at containing leaks as the Freetimes and although they come in several cute patterns, their selection of solids is lacking. All things being equal, we’d prefer the Freetimes.
- Thirsties One Size Pocket Diapers ($24): Call us vain, but we don’t love the look of these compared to bumGenius 5.0s. In most ways, these diapers are very similar. They are absorbent, have a medium bulky silhouette, are similarly priced, and fit most babies well. The only ding for Thirsties is due to their emphasis on woodland patterns over nice solid colors. Maybe those are your thing though.
In addition to buying your diapers at full retail value, you can often buy them used for roughly half the price. Try brand-specific buy/sell/trade (BST) groups on Facebook like the Official GroVia Buy + Sell + Trade and bumGenius Cloth Diapers B/S/T and Chat. Try non-brand specific Facebook groups like Cloth Diaper BST – No Cheapies Allowed. You can also search Craigslist or your local mom’s group for great deals.