9 Best Cloth Diapers for Your Baby
Cloth diapering has come a long way from the safety pins and cotton pads of your grandparents’ generation. Now, there are plenty of options available for parents looking to take this earth-friendly route; and the best cloth diapers are almost as accessible and convenient as their disposable counterparts. And while cloth diapering is still considered fairly niche, it continues to be a steadily growing trend. Today’s parents are actively striving to make environmentally and socially responsible choices when bringing up baby. And going with cloth diapers seems like a natural choice, in more ways than one.
Of course, going green as new parents can feel pretty overwhelming. After all, convenience and ease-of-use are among the most common reasons parents choose disposable diapers in the first place. But the truth is that cloth diapering, while certainly not the right fit for every family, is not as difficult or daunting as it may seem.
Thinking about taking the cloth diaper leap? First, you’ll need some basic cloth-diapering how-tos. Second, you’ll want to find the best cloth diapers for your lifestyle and needs. These nine selections are a great place to start.
There are a lot (like, a lot!) of cloth diapering options out there, but we’ve narrowed the playing field down to four of the most popular cloth diapering categories:
• All-in-ones. These diapers (also called AIO) are considered the easiest, least-fussy option. They’re ideal if you’re asking others, like grandparents and babysitters, to change baby’s diaper too. Here, an absorbent pad is sewn directly to a fastener-free waterproof cover. When baby soils an AIO, you remove the whole shebang and toss it in the laundry. You’ll pay more ($15 to $25 a pop) for the convenience, but know that these generally take the longest to dry. (AIOs come in a one-size diaper option or sized varieties.)
• Hybrids or all-in-twos. Similar in ease and construction to AIOs, these have a removable pad insert that can either be washable or disposable. Since the pads can be washed or tossed, parents have added flexibility. Plus, hybrid covers can withstand several uses before getting tossed in the laundry. Like AIOs, they can be purchased sized or as a one-size-adjusts-to-all diaper. (They cost between approximately $20 to $25.)
• Pocket diapers. These are made up of an attached waterproof cover, a stay-dry lining and a pocket within the lining to insert an absorbent pad. (You can switch out pads depending on the absorbency you need.) When baby dirties the diaper, you slide out the insert and wash them both. They come in both a one-size option and sized varieties, but know that parents say these diapers are on the bulkier side. (Pockets run between about $7 and $20.)
• Prefolds. This is simply layered cotton fabric folded to mold to baby’s bum, like what your grandma or her mom may have used. A cover is worn over it to keep the diaper in place. When baby poops or pees, remove the prefold and replace with a fresh one. The same cover goes right back on. This is the least expensive option (roughly $1 to $3 per diaper), but they have the steepest learning curve and you’ll need to continue to size up as baby grows.
Now that you’ve got the quick-and-dirty basics, it’s time to delve into the best cloth diapers and brands for you.
Best Cloth Diapers for Newborns: Thirsties Newborn All in One
For new parents who are also new to cloth diapering, choosing an on-and-off-in-one-step AIO option to start with is often the wise move. These shrunk-down Thirsties are perfect for babies who weigh between 5 and 14 pounds. They’re trim-fit and include an umbilical cord snap down and adjustable rise, allowing plenty of customization and room for umbilical-cord healing. And with four layers of super-absorbent terry, a microfleece liner and a waterproof exterior, our top pick for the best cloth diapers for newborns offers lots of wetness and leak protection. (These come in hook-and-loop or snap closures, whichever you find easiest to use.)
Buy it: Thirsties Natural All-in-One Reusable Snap Cloth Diaper, $16, Amazon.com
Best Cloth Diaper for Beginners: Esembly Baby
Equally overwhelmed and intrigued by cloth diapering? Esembly Baby is a great place to start. The one-stop cloth-diapering shop provides everything novice parents need, from diapering materials to clean laundry products to organic (and cloth safe) diaper creams. A handy quiz helps determine the best fitting bundle for your needs, and the products are all incredibly simple to use. Composed of a two-part soft organic cotton inner layer and a waterproof outer shell—each available in two sizes and with rows of adjustable snaps—these Esembly Baby diapers make cloth diapering as easy and accessible as disposables.
Buy it: Esembly Baby Deluxe Try It Kit, $100 (includes three inner layers, one outer, washing powder and waterproof bag), Esemblybaby.com
Best All-in-One Cloth Diaper: Bambino Mio Miosolo All-in-One Cloth Diaper
Once baby weighs at least 8 pounds the Miosolo will take you through every stage and every mess. Adjustable snaps and hook-and-loop fastenings allow you to create a custom fit that will grow with baby until the potty training days. But that’s not even our favorite feature. This is definitely one of the easiest cloth diapers to clean; a pull-out tab system allows you to easily retrieve the soiled core from inside the diaper and toss it in the laundry. It’s no wonder it was a Best of Baby 2021 winner.
Buy it: Bambino Mio Miosolo All-in-One Cloth Diaper, $22, Amazon.com
Best Overnight Cloth Diaper: GroVia O.N.E.
Most cloth diapers require a booster pad for nighttime protection. Not GroVia O.N.E. This is one of the best cloth diapers for nighttime and it’s also amongst the very best cloth diapers for heavy wetters. It has super-high absorbency, thanks to an inner poly microfiber layer, a cotton and poly microfleece soaker and another liner of 100 percent polyester microfleece—plus, it’s all sealed in with a water-resistant poly-based-material outer layer. And a customizable snap-in soaker adjusts for boys or girls. Another perk: This cloth diaper has both a (removable) hook-and-loop closure and snap closures. (The O.N.E is an all-in-one, one-size diaper that fits babies weighing 10 to 35+ pounds.)
Buy it: GroVia O.N.E., $26, Amazon.com
Best Inexpensive Cloth Diapers: OsoCozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers
The most budget-friendly cloth diapering option will always be a prefold, which is used with a separate cover. OsoCozy’s version is unbleached and made from 100 percent pure cotton, making it one of the softest and best prefold cloth diapers around. And because it’s got four layers of absorbent fabric on the sides and eight in the middle, it’s no slouch in the soaking-up-wetness department either. (Tip: Wash these about three times prior to diapering to remove natural oils and ensure maximum absorbency.) You can also triple-fold these and use them as inserts in pocket diapers.
Buy it: OsoCozy Unbleached Prefold Cloth Diapers, $12 for 6, Amazon.com
Best Hybrid Cloth Diapers: Amazing Baby Smart Nappy NextGen Hybrid Reusable Diaper System
Cloth diapering, but make it cute: These Smart Nappy NextGen hybrid cloth diapers come in four sizes, two fabrics and dozens of adorable designs. The best cloth diapers balance fashion with function, and these feature two elasticized barriers and two water-resistant fabric layers to ensure leaks are non-existent. The easy-tab design (reminiscent of a disposable diaper) means no fussing over snaps and hooks, and the diaper can either be used with a reusable tri-fold insert or a disposable (for when you’re on the go). Plus, Smart Nappy’s disposable inserts contain no plastic liner, making them more environmentally friendly than a standard disposable diaper.
Buy it: Amazing Baby Smart Nappy NextGen Hybrid Reusable Diaper System, $24 (includes 1 cover and 2 reusable inserts), Amazon.com
Best Pocket Cloth Diaper: Rumparooz One-Size Cloth Pocket Diaper
Rumparooz is another awesome one-size-fits-all choice that adjusts to fit wee newborns up through the potty-training years. (Snaps make for easy modifications.) One reason these are one of the best pocket cloth diapers available is the double inner-leg gussets—or turbo-charged hem. This soft seal works to keep even the messiest of messes contained. Plus, the inner microchamois is not only blanket-like in softness—it does a stellar job of wicking rash-causing moisture away from baby’s bum. (The only drawback: Sometimes it’s hard to tell when baby’s diaper needs changing!) Finally, Rumparooz comes with two micro-terry inserts that can be combined to up the absorbency for babies who are heavy wetters.
Buy it: Rumparooz One-Size Cloth Pocket Diaper, $26, Amazon.com
Best Organic Cloth Diaper: Cloth-eez Workhorse Fitted Organic Diaper
Many parents put “organic” on the tippy top of their cloth-diapering must-haves list. Why? Organic cotton is grown sustainably and sans pesticides or chemicals, which makes it a safe choice to drape over baby’s sensitive skin. And the Cloth-eez Workhorse fitted organic diaper lives up to its name: It’s made of 100 percent organic, unbleached cotton and features up to eight layers for maximum absorbency, keeping this diaper working overtime. Plus, all of the snaps are covered in cotton, ensuring nothing rough touches baby’s skin. It’s as close to au naturel as your little one can get—without being totally bare bottomed.
Buy it: Cloth-eez Workhorse Fitted Organic Diaper, $12, Greenmountaindiapers.com
Best Cloth Swim Diaper: Beau and Belle Littles Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper
This is the only swim diaper you’ll ever need: The Beau and Belle Littles Nageuret Reusable swim diaper features adjustable legs, waist and height, making it usable from 3 months to 3 years (or up to 36 pounds). The waterproof polyester shell keeps messes secure (preventing any poop-in-the-pool incidents), and the soft inner mesh is comfortable against baby’s skin (preventing diaper rash and irritation). The snap features also make this swim diaper easy to remove if and when your little one does have an accident, keeping clean up simple and streamlined.
Buy it: Beau and Belle Littles Nageuret Reusable Swim Diaper, $17, Amazon.com