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Hands-on Gear Review
Earth's Best Tender Care Review
Price: $0.36 List | $0.34 each (in 140-pack) at Amazon
Pros: Mostly free of additives, price, green
Cons: Waxy feel to cover, lower absorbency
Bottom line: Great green diaper for a nice price
Earth's Best Tender Care stands out in our field of 24 diapers as one of the best combinations of performance, price, and eco-health virtues which helped it earn a Best Value award. With a similar price to top Pampers variety, this diaper offers above average absorbency, superior fit and comfort, a great leak score, and durable construction. There weren't many diapers we liked this much, and we were sad to see it lose the Editors' Choice award (to a very worthy opponent BAMBO Nature), but nonetheless it is still a great diaper for the price, and we would recommend this diaper.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Absorption and Leaks
Tender Care did well in the absorption category Nature Babycare, another green diaper of similar price to Earth's Best. BAMBO Nature, our Editors' Choice, earned a 9 of 10 for absorption in our tests, but came with a price bump. Both diapers offered more for the eco/health categories, which gave Earth's Best more competition than last year. It's above average score for absorption did help it score higher than other green diapers, Seventh Generation Free & Clear and Babyganics Rear Gear. Nurtured by Nature, earned a 5 in this metric, but failed to even approach Earth's stunning score in our leak tests.
The absorption test for Earth's Best Tender Care (left), BAMBO Nature (middle), and Nature Babycare (right) are shown below. The larger green area indicates more surface moisture; less green indicates better absorption.
For leaks, this diaper scored higher than any other diaper we tested, earning a score of 9. Broody Chick had similar, but slightly higher, scores in both metrics as Earth's Best with a 7 for absorption and an 8 for leaks, but it was also one of the most expensive diapers in our tests, competing for top price with Honest Company diaper. For its price range, no other diaper came close to Tender Care's score in this category in our tests.
Comfort and Durability
During our testing, we found Earth's Best diapers to be well-constructed with a great fit. The materials are soft, if a bit waxy feeling on the outer cover; it scored well for the softness of materials on the inside liner that touches baby's skin and for the thoughtful tab placement and nice elastic throughout. The diaper scored a 4 out 10 in this category, losing a point for the pokiness of the tabs themselves, and failing to gain points for breathability when compared to the other diapers in our tests. However, testers were satisfied overall with the comfort and fit of this diaper.
Several other diapers scored higher in our tests for this metric; primarily for using softer materials on the outside, but many of them either suffered in durability as a result or simply cost extra. Walmart's White Cloud scored a high 8 of 10, and cost significantly less, but it only scored a 3 for durability. On the other hand, BAMBO Nature scored high in both metrics with an 8 in each, but it carries a higher price.
All of the 24 diapers we tested contain SAP, which is the key to absorbency. Once SAP absorbs urine, it expands creating little gel blobs that puffs up the diaper. If a diaper is particularly full, these blobs can leak out onto baby's skin. Earth's Best is a well-constructed, durable diaper, which means the SAP has a better chance of staying inside the diaper's core and away from your baby.
Earth's Best withstood some heavy night time saturation and not only resisted leaks, but it maintained its integrity. The diaper did inflate significantly, as it absorbed, but it did not release any SAP onto baby that we could see. The outer cover also stayed intact, unlike its green brother Nature Babycare which had some incidence of structural integrity issues.
Eco and Health
Earth's Best offers many eco-friendly and baby health attributes for a pretty good price. It isn't the highest ranking diaper in these metrics, but it was a great diaper out of those we tested. It is made without the use of chlorine, latex, perfumes, or dyes, which made it very sensitive to baby. It also does not add anything like aloe or lotion to the inner liner, which in our opinion, is a good thing. We feel that less really is more when it comes to additives. It scored a 5 of 10 in our tests for this metric. Only 4 diapers scored higher than Tender Care in our tests in the category of health, BAMBO Nature, Attitude, Andy Pandy, and the already mentioned Nature Babycare. It is worth noting however, that all of the other diapers cost more than Earth's Best which is just part of the reason why it earned Best Value award.
For being eco-friendly, Earth's Best earned points in our tests for using a chlorine free processing, plant based products, renewable resources, less petro-chemical products than leading brands, and more natural absorbent material such as corn and wheat than many other diapers. We felt they did a pretty good job of balancing the eco-benefits, with keeping the price fairly low. It earned a 3 of 10 for this category in our tests. However, once again, several other green diapers outscored it in our testing, but most of them were also more expensive too.
Parent's looking for a green diaper, those concerned about the environment, or baby's sensitive developing systems will be interested in Earth's Best Tender Care. With a brand name that many parents have at least seen on their grocery store shelves, and a reasonable price point compared to many other green diapers, it is hard not to be intrigued by Earth's Best dip in the diaper pool. Parents who try it will likely be impressed and not even notice the extra few cents they will pay per diaper over Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive. Its hard not to love this diaper; even one of our 2 year old in-house testers specifically chose it over Huggies Snug & Dry. Which says a lot when Snug & Dry is adorned with Mickey Mouse and Tender Care is not.
Earth's Best Tender Care was last year's Editors' Choice and a Best Value award winner this year; this diaper changed our initial perceptions of green diapers. What we found in Tender Care was a diaper that was not only green, but highly effective and a top performer. This year, Earth's Best continued to be a top-notch performer ranking 6 out of 24 diapers tested. Priced only slightly higher than Pampers, it performed similarly to Pampers in absorbency and leaks, but outperformed both Pampers and Huggies in almost all our other testing categories. When you add eco-friendly and health attributes to the mix, it creates a diaper that traditional diapers couldn't equal. All-in-all, we feel that Earth's Best makes a great diaper with a price point on par with more traditional brands. Even though it lost the coveted Editors' Choice award to BAMBO Nature, we still highly recommend it.
— Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
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Most recent review: December 14, 2014