In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

bumGenius 4.0 Review

Disappointing, Nice design but better performing diapers out there.
bumGenius Original 5.0
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Price:   $540 Estimated lifetime cost
Pros:  Quality construction, nice features, many sizing and insert options.
Cons:  Poor absorption, performed weakly in testing, retains odors.
Manufacturer:   Cotton Babies
By Alison Buck ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 5, 2014
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62
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 15
  • Absorbency - 25% 3
  • Fit / Leakage - 25% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 8
  • Ease-of-use - 20% 7
  • Eco - Health - 10% 7

The Skinny

The bumGenius 4.0 is a pocket diaper, so it consists of a removable insert that slips between two sewn together layers that make up the cover. We really wanted to like this diaper because it has a lot of nice features, but it just didn't perform as well as the other diapers we tested. It's a nice looking diaper and is comfortable on baby, but it scored in the bottom of the barrel in absorbency and had a tendency to leak. It retains ammonia easily from the get go, even when following the manufacturer's laundering instructions to a tee. They are one of the only cloth diapers we tested that have stripping instructions of washing them with 1/4 cup of bleach once a month. Many cloth diaper brands will void their warranty bleach is used. Overall, we were left feeling disappointed about this diaper.

Update — January 2017
bumGenius has released and update of the 4.0 Pocket Style Diaper, now called the Original 5.0 to which we are now linking. Further detail can be found below.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

New BumGenius 5.0


bumGenius Original 5.0 has replaced their 4.0. Still a pocket diaper, new updates include:
  • Updated stay-dry inner fabric with stretchy fabric for fit
  • Redesigned pocket that is more trim across the back
  • New colors and prints
With other features remaining the same such as adjustable snap sizing and two inserts (a newborn and a one-size), we believe that our current review will give you a good feel for this popular pocket-style diaper. Below are photos of Original 5.0 (left) and the older 4.0 version (right) which as you can see, not much looks different structurally on the outside, apart from updated colors and prints.
bumGenius Original 5.0
bumGenius 4.0 One-size Cloth Diaper

Hands On Gear Review


The bumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper is well-made with quality stitching and materials. It's very soft and its construction holds up to use well.

Absorbency


Scoring a disappointing 3 of 10 in absorbency, the bumGenius was near the bottom relative to competitors.

The bumGenius 4.0 comes with two 80% polyester/20% nylon inserts, one newborn and one one-size for older babies, allowing absorbency to be customized as your baby grows. Using both inserts is also handy to use as an overnight booster or for heavy wetters.

During our absorbency testing, we found that the liquid literally pooled on top of the inner layer of the cover which is the layer that is meant to wick moisture away from the skin. It seems as though the leaking is not caused by the insert not being absorbent enough, but instead because the wicking layer doesn't pull liquid through very quickly. (More on this below in Fit/Leakage.)

Fit/Leakage


The bumGenius 4.0 is trim and doesn't have a lot of extra bulk. It comes in either velcro or snap closure; we tested the snap. There are a variety of sizing options via 3 rows of adjustable snaps at the rise. With the snap closure, there are two rows of snaps at the waist. The snaps are sturdy and don't easily pop open, and there is some stretch to the "butterfly closure" waist tabs.

Although the 4.0 leaked initially, absorbency (and leakage) did improve over time. However, remember to wash bumGenius cloth diapers with 1/4 cup of bleach once a month to keep absorbency maximized. Otherwise, leaking will return. This stripping is necessary with the 4.0 because it both retains odors and resistant faster than the other diapers we tested.

Comfort


Our testers were comfortable in the bumGenius, scoring an 8 of 10 in comfort alongside FuzziBunz Elite and gDiaper (all in 5th place in comfort out of 15 cloth diapers tested).

Ease-of-Use


With a roomy pocket, the bumGenius 4.0 is easy to stuff. Other than this redeeming quality, we have quite of a few dislikes about the 4.0 regarding ease-of-use compared to other pocket diaper brands we tested.

As mentioned above, bumGenius cloth diapers need to be washed with 1/4 cup of bleach once a month which will help with odor build-up. Caution here because many other diaper brands like the Rumparooz have strict "no bleach" instructions. Therefore, if you are using multiple cloth diaper brands, separating the wash is very important.

Additionally, while the inserts may be machine dried, the cover requires line-drying. Fortunately, this cover dries pretty quickly.

Another 4.0 feature that we were not fond of is the flap that covers the pocket where you stuff the insert. When the back of the diaper is covered with solids, it is not fun digging through there to remove the insert. This flap can be troublesome using the "dunk" or "swish" method for removing solids from the cover, so you definitely want to invest in a good diaper sprayer. We recommend the Handy Spray.

Eco-Health


The bumGenius 4.0 is fabricated from synthetic fabrics which include polyester, nylon, and elastic earning it an eco-health score of 7 of 10, relatively low compared to competing cloth systems.

Conclusion


Our advice: Skip the bumGenius 4.0 and and go for the Flip Hybrid (made by the some company)! It has basically the same outer cover features and a very similar insert. The big difference, however, is that you don't have to stuff the liner into the pocket with the Flip and there's no inner layer on the cover to possibly hinder with liquid absorption as with the 4.0. Additionally, the Flip cover can be reused prior to washing. The difference in estimated lifetime cost between the two is significant, about $240.

Video


We love this video primarily because it is from a dad's viewpoint on cloth diapering. He is totally psyched on cloth diapering and tells us why. In the midst of discussing their choice for cloth diaper, the bumGenius 4.0, he discusses how to launder them as well as putting them back together to await baby's next change. Darn cute baby, too!



Alison Buck