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Hands-on Gear Review

Up & Up (Target) Review

Price:   $0.14 List | $0.66 each (in 32-pack) at Amazon
Pros:  Price, eco/health, soft, chlorine & latex free
Cons:  Absorption, changes to diaper lowered score
Bottom line:  Ok for the price, but not the best
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Target

The Skinny

Target's Up & Up diaper offers a compelling combination of adequate performance for a cheap price(the lowest we tested). It finished 18 out of the 24 diapers tested, which was better than several more expensive diapers. The material quality was good and the leak performance was average; plus, it offered some of the eco/health features we value. While there are better performing diapers available, we didn't find any that offered more for the money. The closest competitor was Cuties, which ranked 9 out of 24, and had 10 points overall on Up & Up, but costs a little more per diaper. Up & Up was not the absolute best we reviewed, but for the price and eco/health benefits it is a great value.


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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD
Mom-in-Chief
BabyGearLab

Last Updated:
Thursday
June 5, 2014

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Target's Up & Up is a very inexpensive store brand diaper. It is chlorine, latex, and perfume free, with a soft cover, using ECF pulp and a wood fluff core. It is available online and at Target stores only. It boasts elastic stretch sides, a contoured shape, and an aloe and vitamin D liner.

Performance Comparison


This photo shows the absorption comparison results for the big-box store brand diapers we tested.
This photo shows the absorption comparison results for the big-box store brand diapers we tested.

Absorption and Leaks


Up & Up diapers scored a 3 of 10 in our test for absorption, performing better in absorbency than both Walmart diapers White Cloud and Parent's Choice, and store brand Babies R Us Supreme; it proved it was a standout in the store brand diapers in our tests, as well as when compared to green diaper Andy Pandy, which scored a 2 for this metric. Up & Up stood out with an overall score that was higher than some well-known brands like Luvs Ultra Leakguards, and Seventh Generation Free & Clear. So while the absorbency was not great, and actually scored lower than last year (a decrease that cost it the Best Value award), it was still a diaper worth considering.

The absorption test for Luvs Ultra Leakguard (left), White Cloud (middle), and Up & Up (right) are shown below. The larger green area indicates more surface moisture; less green indicates better absorption.
 

For our leak tests, it came in higher with a score of 5, which was excellent in its price range. You have to go up about in price before you find a diaper with a better score in this metric. Pure n Gentle Ultra earned a 6 and cost about a little more depending on the day. In general, there weren't many diapers that scored better than 5, it required a significant price jump of almost twice as much per diaper before the scores moved up. Even one of the award winners for Best Value failed to score higher than a 5; Cuties earned a 4 of 10 in our tests.

Comfort and Durability


Skin irritation from Up &amp; Up diaper
Skin irritation from Up & Up diaper
The fit and materials are comparable to the average diaper, with Up & Up scoring higher in our tests than some brand name diapers for comfort and durability. Nothing stands out, but nothing was skimped on either. The diaper offers a good fit and acceptable softness. With a score of 6 for comfort it proved a higher price is not necessary for a comfortable diaper. It scored higher than most diapers in its price range, with only Cuties matching the score of 6.

For durability, Up & Up scored a 4 of 10 in our tests, which was low for the price range, but better than some more expensive diapers. During our tests we had very few SAP crystal/gel explosions; the materials were relatively durable. Our tests revealed that almost all diapers in the under $0.20 range, were more prone to expelling the SAP crystals than the more expensive brands. However, some higher priced diapers seemed plagued by this as well; Huggies Pure & Natural had several complaints about gel in the Amazon reviews we read. There is a lot of discussion on SAP in diapers, and if you NEVER want to see it on your baby, cloth diapering may be your only option. We also researched some previous complaints (in past user-reviews) about construction of tabs, and found that the problem seems to have been corrected in the current version. We pulled, stretched, and were generally rough on this diaper, and our abuse did not reveal any issues.
 

Eco and Health


Unlike most other diapers in its price range, this diaper makes an effort to be baby friendly, and by default, eco-friendly. It scored a 4 for health and 2 for eco categories in our tests, a combo score that no other traditional diaper matched. To find these kinds of benefits in a diaper, you have to go up in price and look exclusively at green diapers. Traditional diaper Kirkland Signature Supreme earned an impressive score of 4 for health as well (but only 1 for eco), something no other traditional diaper did. Earth's Best Tender Care, earned a 6 of 10 for health but was about twice as much price-wise than Up & Up. Bottom line, Up & Up is at least making an effort in this metric where other traditional diapers are not. The only possible downside is the addition of aloe and vitamin D to the liner. It seems unnecessary to us, and in our minds, less is more where additives are concerned.

For eco-friendly it scored a 2 in our tests. Primarily it earned an extra point for using ECF pulp. This score put it on par with green diaper Seventh generation Free & Clear, which scored the same in health. Only green diapers scored better in the eco category with Nurtured by Nature, earning a 4 of 10. Kirkland Signature Supreme also earned high marks for a traditional diaper matching the score of 2 of 10. Editors' Choice winner, BAMBO Nature, earned an 8 for eco and health. Both cost more than Up & Up, but have the test results to justify the added cost in our minds.

Best Applications


Parents on a strict budget looking for a good diaper are likely to try Up & Up. Target is a store name most people trust for quality products and it's diaper is a good example of why. While not scoring as good as other diapers we tested, it did outscore all diapers in its price range ranking 18 out of 24 diapers ahead of both Luvs, Seventh Generation Free & Clear, and both Walmart store diapers. If your budget is tight, it is tough to beat. If you have a little wiggle room, Cuties is a great inexpensive diaper that costs a bit more, but gets you a higher absorbency score, but lower eco and health scores.

Conclusion


Up & Up was not the best in absorbency in our tests, the materials are okay and the leak score is about average. However, for the money it handles diaper duty well. The big victory for Up & Up is that it offers a pretty good product at a great price (really cheap). When you compare it to other low-priced diapers it shines. The Up & Up diaper is even competitive with more expensive diaper brands, and it is one of the diapers we would suggest for those on a tight budget. Cuties, one of our Best Value winners, is also a great budget diaper with an overall score 10 points higher than Target's diaper, it comes with a slightly higher but still reasonable price.

Other Versions


Target does not make any other variety of diaper. There are other store brands and even other discount diapers available, but none come close to Target Up & Up for the price.
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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Most recent review: June 4, 2014
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BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:   
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