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Published Mar. 9, 2022

The best diapers prevent leaks and blowouts while keeping a baby’s skin dry and comfortable. Unfortunately, it’s all too easy to end up with diapers that leak more often than not or leave rashes and tiny chafed buns.

Diapers need to be ultra absorbent to protect sensitive skin from all that a baby can dish out. They also need a snug fit to keep everything contained. You may even need a specialty diaper, like a tiny diaper with an umbilical cord cutout for a newborn, or swim diapers for a trip to the pool. We’ve made a list of the five best diapers with options that range from diapers for newborns to cloth diapers and budget-friendly disposables that save a few dollars. 

How We Selected The Best Baby Diapers

Methodology

As a mother of four, I’ve been through thousands of diapers. There’s nothing worse than a diaper that leaks 30 minutes after you’ve put it on. I looked for absorbency, fit, and comfort when making my picks. I also considered a few of the extra perks that come with diapers designed for babies on the move.

  • Absorbency: Extra absorbency features like wetness channels, wetness indicators, and leak guards improve performance. They also add targeted absorbency to soak up liquids and solids before they make it out of the diaper. 
  • Fit: A good fit can prevent leaks. Refastenable tabs, umbilical cord notches, and flexible-but-secure leg elastic provide the snug fit you need to reduce leaks. Some diapers have a contoured design to better fit a baby’s body, making them more comfortable and less likely to leak.  
  • Comfort: Diapers that are free of fragrances and dyes and are made with organic or natural ingredients reduce potential irritation or allergies. Comfort also has to do with how well the diaper wicks away moisture and contours to a baby’s growing body.

The Best Diapers: Reviews & Recommendations

Best Overall: Huggies Little Snugglers

HUGGIES

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Why It Made The Cut: Huggies Little Snugglers have excellent flexibility in their pocketed waistband, soft absorbent inner materials, and gentle but strong elastic around the legs, making them the best diapers overall. 

Specs:

  • Sizes: 0 to 6 (newborn to 35+ pounds)
  • Price Per Diaper: $0.25 to $0.42 per diaper
  • Wetness Indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Gentle absorbency liner protects sensitive skin
  • Pocketed waistband contains leaks and blowouts 
  • Comfortable fit
  • Free of fragrance, lotion, parabens, elemental chlorine, and latex

Cons 

  • Tabs can be a weak spot

Huggies Little Snugglers Huggies Little Snugglers have several extra features that make them the best of the best when it comes to leak protection. The first is a pocketed waistband that traps liquids and solids to prevent leaks and blowouts. Flexible legs and a waistband with excellent stretch also make them comfortable for babies. That comfort gets enhanced by a gentle liner with high absorbency. Parents also get a wetness indicator for easy diaper change alerts. Finally, these diapers are free of fragrances, lotions, elemental chlorine, parabens, and latex, all materials that could potentially irritate a baby’s skin. 

On the downside, the tabs can be a weak point for these diapers. Over tightening could cause them to break. 

Best for Newborns: Pampers Pure Protection

Pampers

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Why It Made The Cut: Pampers Pure Protection are hypoallergenic and keep parabens, latex, chlorine, and artificial fragrances away from newborn skin, making them the best diapers for newborns. 

Specs

  • Sizes: 0 (newborn) to 6 (41+ pounds)
  • Price Per Diaper: $0.27 to $0.58 
  • Wetness Indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Free from parabens, latex, chlorine, and artificial fragrances
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Plant-based liner with moisturizers
  • Soft on the inside and outside

Cons 

  • May not have as high absorbency volume as other diapers

Pampers Pure Protection Diapers are a gentle, environmentally friendly diaper option. They’re free of parabens, latex, chlorine, and artificial fragrances to reduce exposure to harmful or irritating substances. The materials are also hypoallergenic for babies with extra sensitive skin. A plant-based liner gives these diapers an eco-boost, but the moisturizers in that liner also prevent a baby’s skin from drying out and chafing. 

All those eco-friendly (and skin-friendly) materials are gentle, but sometimes they’re not as absorbent as diapers in a similar size. Consequently, you may need to change your baby more often in these diapers.

Best Cloth Diapers: ALVABABY Cloth Diapers

ALVABABY

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Why It Made The Cut: ALVABABY’s diapers come in one highly-adjustable size and provide easy access to inserts, making them the best cloth diapers. 

Specs:

  • Sizes: Single size (6 to 33 pounds)
  • Price Per Diaper: $5
  • Wetness Indicator: No

Pros:

  • Adjustable snaps on each size for a snug fit as the baby grows
  • Easy access to removable inserts
  • Waterproof exterior
  • Washable shell and inserts

Cons 

  • You’ll need more than six

ALVABABY Cloth Diapers come in solid and print options with a waterproof polyester exterior. Each diaper features nine snaps to make the diapers adjustable for babies from 6 to 33 pounds. The number of snaps gives them excellent adjustability for a snug but comfortable fit. 

An opening in the diaper’s back provides easy access to the insert at changing time. The balance of price, adjustability, and fit make these an excellent cloth diaper that will last until your baby is ready to move out of diapers altogether. They come in sets of 6 with 12 inserts. Unfortunately, you’ll need more than six to keep your baby in cloth diapers 24/7, requiring a higher upfront price but saving you money on disposable diapers in the long run. 

Best Swim Diapers: Huggies Little Swimmers

HUGGIES

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Why It Made The Cut: Huggies Little Swimmers keep water out, so they don’t swell while preventing anything unwanted from escaping into the pool, making them the best swim diapers. 

Specs:

  • Sizes: small, medium, large (15 to 32+ pounds)
  • Price Per Diaper: $0.31 to $0.55
  • Wetness Indicator: No

Pros

  • Prevents diapers from swelling
  • Easy open/close sides
  • Double leak guards

Cons 

  • Limited sizes
  • May leak if not changed quickly

Huggies Little Swimmers take the prize for the best swim diapers for several reasons. First, they don’t swell like a balloon the instant you put your baby in the pool. For the most part, they keep water out and messes in, though you need to change them as soon as the baby goes to prevent leaks. Double leak guards on the legs keep messes in. The best feature has to be the easy open/close side tabs because they help get a good fit and make the diaper easy to change. 

Little Swimmers come in limited sizes and may not fit young babies and larger toddlers. 

Best Budget: Mama Bear Gentle Touch Diapers

Mama Bear

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Why It Made The Cut: The Mama Bear Gentle Touch Diapers by Amazon keep things simple, eco-friendly, and highly absorbent, making them the best budget diapers out there. 

Specs: 

  • Sizes: Newborn to 7 (0 to 41+ pounds)
  • Price Per Diaper: $0.16 to $0.38 
  • Wetness Indicator: Yes

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Wetness indicator
  • Free from fragrances, chlorine, parabens, phthalates, and lotions
  • Thin, breathable design

Cons 

  • Holds less liquid than some other brands

Mama Bear Gentle Touch Diapers are an Amazon brand, so they’re aiming for eco-friendly at an affordable price. They’re made in a zero waste to landfill facility, and the diapers are free of chlorine, parabens, fragrances, phthalates, and — for those babies with extra sensitive bottoms — they skip lotions, too. These hypoallergenic diapers also have a wetness indicator to give you a heads up on leaks. Forget bulky. The Mama Bear diapers are thin and breathable.

Some parents report that the thin design doesn’t hold quite as much liquid as other brands. You’ll have to keep an eye on the wetness indicator to keep a handle on leaks. 

Things to Consider When Buying the Best Diapers

Fit and Size

Diapers with a good fit in the right size are better at trapping liquids and solids. Contoured waistbands and umbilical cord cutouts can improve the fit for babies of different ages and sizes. Flexible waistbands and several layers of elastic at the leg holes also provide a more secure fit. 

Diapers come in a wide range of sizes, from premie to size seven, though not every brand makes every size. Diaper companies include a size chart based on the baby’s weight. Your baby may grow out of a size before they hit the recommended weight. Bump up the diaper size once leaks become more frequent because a larger diaper provides more surface area to absorb leaks.

Absorbency

Diapers should not only absorb liquids and solid waste but also keep it away from the baby’s skin to prevent diaper rash. Some diapers include absorbency channels or additional absorbency in the front or middle of the diaper to account for differences between sexes. A diaper should be able to contain several wet messes and one solid mess before the baby needs a change. 

Extra Features

Wetness indicators and reusable closures are two of the more common extras. A wetness indicator has a line that changes color when it comes into contact with urine. It lets you know when it’s time for a change without having to do the finger peek. Reusable closures are great if you need to readjust the diaper before the baby needs a change. 

Extra features may also include organic or biodegradable materials. There are also diapers made for babies with extra sensitive skin. However, these materials may reduce absorbency, requiring more frequent diaper changes.

FAQs

Q: How do I choose a diaper?

Take a look at the diaper’s comfort features, like a contoured design and elastic waistband and leg holes. If your baby is a newborn, look for umbilical cord cutouts since you have to care for the umbilical cord for the first few weeks. Next, take a look at absorbency features. Extra channels or wetness indicators can make life easier and less messy. If your baby has sensitive skin, look for diapers that are dye- and fragrance-free. Ultra sensitive skin may do better with organic diapers. Once you’ve figured all of that out, try a single box before you commit to bulk. Every baby is different, and they may blow through some brands of diapers but not others.

Q: Do diapers expire?

Diapers don’t technically expire. If you’ve got diapers around that are a few years old, they’re safe to use and won’t hurt the baby. However, diapers are a paper product, and they may discolor, lose adhesion, or lose flexibility as they age. They may also lose some absorbency. Check the diaper before putting it on the baby, and keep an eye out for leaks when using old diapers.

Q: Are diapers biodegradable?

If the diapers are biodegradable, they will be clearly marked as such. These diapers will naturally break down, leaving less waste in the landfill.

Final Thoughts

The pocketed waistband and snug fit of Huggies Little Snugglers make them one of the best diapers on the market. They’re less prone to leaks and gentle on baby’s skin. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly diaper, Amazon’s Mama Bear Gentle Touch Diapers cost less than the competition yet are gentle on the skin and environment.

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