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Best Disposable Diapers



February 2015

This article contains our picks for best disposable diapers by subcategory:

Note: Our editors developed this list by summarizing TotScoop parent favorites and adding a few hand-picked editor favorites and new releases. Our picks are 100% unbiased — we never accept compensation in exchange for coverage. That said, this page may contain affiliate links, meaning we may receive a small commission on any purchases that you make (at no cost to you); see our full disclosure.

NB: All prices throughout this article refer to size 3 diapers purchased in bulk packages (cases), typically online and at a monthly subscription price. If you run out unexpectedly and end up buying a small pack from a local store, you can expect prices to be (potentially considerably) higher.

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Best premium/green diapers

If you're willing to spend a bit more for a more health- and earth-conscious diaper, here are our top picks. (NB: We initially separated out our top picks for health and eco-friendliness, but there was so much overlap that we ended up combining the two categories. For those who care more about one than the other, we've done our best to highlight strengths and weaknesses for each product below.)

WINNER: Bambo Nature

Designed in and imported from Denmark, Bambo Nature (MSRP $0.44 per diaper, Amazon $0.44, Amazon Subscribe & Save $0.35) is our top overall pick — this is the disposable diaper that we recommend to friends and family. Bambo offers industry-leading performance: great absorption, stretchy side wings for great fit, and a wetness indicator (it's the only green diaper to have one). And all this comes in one of the most health-conscious, eco-friendly packages around. Bambo diapers are free of all the nasties you can probably think of, and then some: chlorine, latex, perfume, lotions, dyes, phthalates, heavy metals, optical brighteners, formaldehyde, AZO-pigments, organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT), colophonium, and PVC. Like every other diaper on this list, they do use SAP, but Bambo claims they are able to use less SAP through the addition of wheat starch absorbers and acrylic polymers (making it less likely that those gel crystals will end up on your baby). In terms of eco-friendliness, they have been awarded the Nordic Swan Eco-label for minimal environmental impact throughout the product's lifecycle. The wood pulp used in the absorbent layer is produced via sustainable forestry, the manufacturing process produces minimal waste, and the diapers are 75% biodegradable. Bambo also offers excellent transparency into its manufacturing process and testing of its products — very refreshing in comparison with mainstream manufacturers. You pay a premium for Bambo diapers, but in our opinion they are worth it — especially if you plan ahead and can get them at the lower subscription price.

Runner up: Naty by Nature Babycare

Manufactured by a Swedish company, Naty diapers (Amazon $0.36, S&S $0.29; Target $0.36, subscription $0.35) are another great choice for non-toxic, green diapers. They boast industry-leading absorption, are very soft to the touch on the inside, and sport one of the cutest visual designs around. However, the outside has a paper-like feel, the leg cuffs are relatively coarse, and some parents also report problems with leaks. They have a stretchy back, but no stretchy side wings or wetness indicator. Naty is also probably way ahead of you in terms of its strict standards for health-consciousness; their diapers are free of fragrance, chlorine, latex, dyes, lotions, phthalates, organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT), heavy metals, formaldehyde, colophonium, AZO-pigments, optical brighteners, and PVC. Their absorbent core includes TCF pulp and includes less SAP vs. mainstream diapers. In addition, Naty also has eco-friendly chops: it uses renewable and biodegradable materials whenever possible (the wood pulp in the inner layer is derived from sustainable forestry and is biodegradable, and it uses a 100% biodegradable corn-based outer waterproof layer, instead of conventional plastic); and has won several eco awards. Naty diapers are definitely worth a try to see if they work for you. Be prepared to size up, as they do run small. Naty also makes health-conscious, eco-friendly nursing pads and feminine hygiene products.

Runner up: Earth's Best

Earth's Best (MSRP $0.34, Amazon S&S $0.24) is our pick for best premium diaper on a budget. It performs very well, with good absorbency and a stretchy back (no stretchy side wings or wetness indicator). It's free of all the key nasties, including chlorine, latex, perfume, and dyes. Its absorbent core contains material derived from corn and wheat, in addition to SAP. It is somewhat eco-conscious, containing more plant-based products and fewer petrochemical-derived products than most mainstream choices. It is also very reasonably priced, especially when purchased as part of a subscription, making it a no-brainer step up from mainstream diapering options. In our opinion there's simply no reason not to buy Earth's Best diapers over Pampers or Huggies.

Runner up: The Honest Company

The Honest Co. has burst onto the baby scene with its range of non-toxic, green, beautifully packaged products, and its premium eco-friendly disposable diapers (MSRP $0.41, $0.39 + free wipes as part of a bundle) do their part representing the brand well in the diaper category. They perform well, with very good absorbency and a stretchy back (though no stretchy side panels or wetness indicator). They sport uniquely cute, full-panel designs, reminiscent of cloth diapers. They are free of chlorine, latex, perfumes, dyes, phthalates, lotions, optical brighteners, PVC, heavy metals, organotins (MBT, DBT, TBT), and toxic adhesives, and feature an absorption layer made from wheat/corn starch blended with SAP. The wood pulp is TCF and comes from sustainably managed forests, the inner/outer and moisture barrier layers are made from plant-based PLA, and the diapers are partially biodegradable. Diapers contains natural citrus and chlorophyll odor inhibitors. Overall Honest diapers are attractive, but in our opinion don't justify the price premium.

Runner up: Andy Pandy

The most expensive diaper on our list, Andy Pandy (MSRP $0.54, Amazon $0.46; exclusively available through Amazon) is an up-and-coming option derived from bamboo. At least one independent third-party testing organization reported significant issues with absorbency, however the vast majority of parent reviewers more than satisfied. Andy Pandy diapers feature an elastic waistband as well as flexible side panels and a wetness indicator, and the bamboo makes them super soft to the touch. They also do well on the health dimension: they are free of perfumes, lotions, latex, chlorine, dyes, PVC, phthalates, TBT, and antioxidants; however, they do have an aloe liner, which we lament. The top and back sheet are both made from moisture-wicking bamboo, which is a renewable resource. The diapers overall are 75% biodegradable. Due to the astronomical price and absorbency concerns, they're not our top pick, however if other options aren't working for you they may well be worth trying!

Best mainstream diapers

Our cheapest pick in the category above (Earth's Best) only costs a few cents more than mainstream options, so in our opinion it's well worth the cost to step up. However, if you're caught between Subscribe & Save shipments, or run out of diapers while traveling, here is your best bet for a mainstream diaper that you should be find at almost any local store. See also our top value picks below, which are also available at selected local stores.

WINNER: Pampers Swaddlers

Manufactured by P&G, Pampers Swaddlers (MSRP $0.32, Amazon $0.28, Amazon S&S $0.23) is the 800-pound gorilla in the disposable diapering world. They are the de facto choice for many first-time parents, due to their strong brand name and apparent endorsement by hospitals. If your primary criterion is performance (i.e., absorbency, leak prevention, and fit) at a reasonable price, then this is a great diaper for you. They boast excellent absorbency, a moisture-wicking liner, great fit (stretchy side wings), and a crystal-clear wetness indicator. However, mum's the word from P&G on the health-conscious and eco-friendly fronts; either they've got a terrible marketing department, or they just don't have anything to brag about. In the absence of any information to the contrary, we have to assume they are not chlorine, latex, or dye free. And they definitely aren't perfume-free: sensitive noses may well be offended by the chemical scent they emit when wet. Last, they are the definition of eco-unfriendly diapers. In short, these are the best choice if you need a mainstream diaper in a pinch, but we don't recommend them for long-term use — as you can get a lot more if you just pay a couple more cents per diaper and step up to Earth's Best. Also, for those of you wondering about Pampers' other brands, including Swaddlers Sensitive (MSRP $0.35, Amazon $0.31, Amazon S&S $0.25) and Baby Dry (MSRP $0.26, Amazon $0.23, Amazon S&S $0.18), these both also score poorly on the health-consciousness and eco-friendliness dimensions, and we feel there are better diapers available for the money.

Best value diapers

Here are your best bets if you're on a tight budget.

WINNER: up & up (Target)

Available at Target and Target.com only, Target's store brand up&up diapers (MSRP $0.17, Target.com subscription $0.16) are our value pick. They're cheap, and offer very good performance for the price. The absorbency isn't fantastic, but outperforms most other store brands. up&up diapers features elastic stretch sides and a contoured shape. They also offer some health-conscious features (unusual in this price range): they are chlorine and latex free; however, they do have aloe and vitamin D added to the liner. They also demonstrate at least some environmental awareness through their use of wood fluff pulp (which will will biodegrade in the appropriate conditions), blended with SAP in the absorbent core.

Runner up: Kirkland Signature (Costco) Supreme

Available at Costco and costco.com only, Kirkland Signature diapers ($0.19 per diaper) receive a 4/5 average rating from Costco members. They offer very good absorbency for a store brand (though definitely not as good as our top picks) and feature stretchy back and tabs as well as a wetness indicator. Kirkland Signature diapers do pretty well on the health dimension (they're chlorine, perfume, and latex free), and the chlorine-free processing means they're at least a little easier on the environment than mainstream diapers as well. Kirkland Signature offers only a combined size 1/2 (up to 15 lbs.), so may not offer the best fit for newborns.