If you're set on disposable diapers but don't have the budget for luxury brands, Target Up & Up will do the trick. They are not as soft or as sturdy or as absorbent as more premium diapers, but they work well enough, and they are fragrance-free.
What We Love
- Inexpensive High Performers: The low price point is the (only) reason this diaper is on our list. At $0.13 a diaper, and often even cheaper with Target coupons, these diapers do a great job on the cheap.
- Mostly Chemical-Free(ish): Fragrance-free. Latex-free. Hypoallergenic. Target specifies that the pulp used in these diapers is chlorine-free, but does not specify the same for the rest of the diaper. The lack of transparency (even after repeated requests for information) is moderately troubling, but at the price point, this is to be expected. These diapers also contain a sodium polyacrylate fill*, which is the same moisture-absorbent gel fill used in all effective disposable diapers on the market.
- New, Softer Outer: The new and improved Up & Up diapers have a soft outer, a quilted inner liner, and soft stretch tabs, making the diaper more comfortable for baby.
What We Don't Love As Much
- Lack of Transparency: See “Mostly Chemical-Free(ish)” above.
- Fine but Not Special Designs: Each pack features both polka dots and whales in inoffensive colors as a band across the front of the mostly white diaper. They are certainly better than commercial character designs (cough, Huggies, cough), and since the diaper itself is mostly white, we can't complain too much!
Target Up & Up Diaper Alternatives
- If You Want Eco-Friendlier Options… Plan to pay for it or opt for cloth. Naty by Nature Babycare diapers are the least expensive actually eco-friendly option (still 2.5x the price of Target brand). They are commercially compostable and available in a nice neutral print.
- If You Love Great Prints… Aden + Anais, Honest Co., Parasol, and Pampers Pure diapers are all more expensive, but have great prints.
- If Cost is (Still) a Concern… If money is tight, the only less expensive option that is also fragrance-free and hypoallergenic is cloth. Give it a thought. It's not as hard as you might think!
Total Cost of Ownership**
- $750 – $1200/child (list)
- No subscription available, but Target often has coupons and discounts
*Sodium polyacrylate fill is considered safe in diapers by all current measures and standards, but has been linked to toxic shock syndrome when used in tampons and feminine hygiene products. If its use concerns you, cloth diapers may be a better option for your baby.
**Total cost of ownership was calculated using a few arbitrary averages, knowing full well that no baby is average. We used approximate weights from height/weight charts to determine how many days the average baby would be in each diaper size. These are the numbers we used:
- 30ish months as the arbitrary average potty training date, though this is “early” for some and “late” for others
- Five Newborn diapers/day on the low end and fourteen Newborn diapers/day on the high end, for 40 days
- Seven Size 1 diapers/day on the low end and ten Size 1 diapers/day on the high end, for 60 days
- Seven Size 2 diapers/day on the low end and ten Size 2 diapers on the high end, for 110 days
- Five Size 3 diapers/day on the low end and eight Size 3 diapers/day on the high end, for 160 days
- Five Size 4 diapers/day on the low end and eight Size 4 diapers/day on the high end, for 180 days
- Five Size 5 diapers/day on the low end and eight Size 5 diapers/day on the high end, for 365 days.