Q:  What type of cloth diaper should I use?

A:  Ahh...the million dollar question. Unfortunately, there is no black and white answer to that question. Fortunately, the cloth diapering industry has entirely redefined itself over the past 20 years. Parents are now offered the flexibility of choosing from a plethora of options to meet their cloth diapering needs. 

One thing I have noticed as a mom and a retailer is that no two moms (and dads) have the same cloth diapering preferences. While one person likes a particular type for one reason, another prefers another kind for another reason.  We suggest trying a variety of cloth diapers, at first, to experiment with all the industry has to offer and to discover what works best for you.
I have set out to attempt to simplify the choosing process. Below, I have rated the various types of diapers based on 6 factors: Affordability, Ease of Cleaning, Degree of Bulk, Absorption, Durability, and Ease of Use.

Keep in mind that this isn't an exact science. You may decide that Prefolds are best for you for most of the time but prefer to have some All-In-Ones on hand for Grandma or for day trips. Your choice ultimately depends on your family's lifestyle and your family's needs.

Diaper Comparison Chart  
Highest Rating ******  Lowest Rating *
Flat
Prefolds
Contours
Fitted
Pocket
All-In-Ones
Economic
******
*****
****
***
*
**
Ease of
Cleaning
******
*****
****
**
***
*
Minimizes
Bulk
*
**
****
****
*****
*****
Absorption
***
******

Depends on brand

Depends on brand

******

Depends on brand

Durability
 * ******
****
***
*****
***
Ease of Use
*
**
***
****
*****
******

Cloth Diapers Defined

Flat Birdseye Diapers

Flat Birdseye Diapers - The old fashioned diaper of your mom's generation. Made from 1 layer 100% cotton birdseye weave measuring 27" x 27". Requires folding, fastening, & leakproofing with a diaper cover. 

Price - $8.00 per 6
  • Pros

  • One size can be folded to fit all

  • Dries quickly 

  • Very affordable

  • Cons

  • Takes a true pioneering spirit & patience to fold, fit, & cover.

  • Not as absorbent

Recommended accessories for Flat Diapers:
Snappi Diaper Fasteners or Dritz Diaper Pins
Waterproof Diaper Covers


Cotton Prefold Diapers

Cotton Prefold Cloth Diapers - The mostly widely used cloth diaper. 
Design with three panels of varying layers of absorbency. Diapers listed as
4x6x4 have 4 layers of cotton gauze on the side panels with 6 layers in the
middle. Come in an array of sizes & absorbencies to match your baby's
needs. Requires some folding, optional fastening, & leakproofing with a
diaper cover.

Price - $14.00 to $51.00 a dozen
  • Pros
  • Affordable
  • The most durable of cloth diapers
  • Very absorbent
  • Dries fairly quickly
  • Cons
  • Is a 3-step process of folding, fitting, & covering.
  • A bit bulky

Recommended accessories for Cotton Prefolds:
Snappi Diaper Fasteners
Waterproof Diaper Covers


Fitted Cloth Diapers

Fitted Cloth Diapers - A great middle-of-the-road diaper. Shaped and attached with convenient velcro, snaps, or Snappis. Elastic around baby's legs and torso to create a great fit. Comes in an array of sizes & absorbencies to match your baby's needs. Requires no folding, fastening system is usually attached, & needs leakproofing with a diaper cover. 

Price - $10.50 to $23.00 each
  • Pros
  • More convenient than prefolds
  • More affordable than All-In-Ones
  • Trim fit & better overall coverage
  • The best at preventing leaks
  • Cons
  • A bit less absorbent than prefolds
  • A bit less durable than prefolds

Recommended accessories for Fitted Diapers:
Waterproof Diaper Covers
(Snappi Diaper Fastener for Snappi Fitted Diapers Only)


All-In-Ones

All-In-Ones - The most convenient cloth diaper, sometimes referred to as AIO. Fitted and attached with velcro or snaps. Includes a built in waterproof shell. Comes in an array of sizes and fun colors to suite your needs. Requires no folding, no fastening, and no diaper cover.
 
Price - $9.50 to $15.00 each
  • Pros
  • The most convenient diaper
  • Easy to use
  • Trim fit
  • Comes in fun colors & prints
  • Cons
  • A bit pricier
  • Can be a bit leaky

Recommended accessories for All-In-One Diapers:
None Needed


Pocket Diapers

Pocket Cloth Diapers - Pocket diapers are made from two layers. The shell is a waterproof and the inside lining is made from a single layer of fleece or soft polyester (depending on the brand). Between the two layers (in back) lies a pocket opening made for stuffing with an absorbent insert. The inside layer creates a great wetness barrier between baby and the wetness stored inside the 'pocket'. Pocket diapers are to be stuffed with a special made insert, prefold, or anything absorbent. Comes in an array of sizes to match your baby's needs or in a One Size design. Requires no folding, fastening system is attached (velcro or snaps), & leakproofing is built-in. 

Price - $15.00 each
  • Pros
  • Comfort galore
  • Customizable & superior absorbency
  • Easy to use
  • Trim fit
  • Comes in fun colors
  • Resists staining
  • Cons
  • Priciest cloth diaper
    (But still more affordable than disposables!)

Recommended accessories for Pocket Diapers:
Inserts