We researched over two dozen varieties of disposable baby wipes before purchasing and testing 8 popular options in this roundup of the best wipes available in 2020. Diaper changes necessitate the use of some kind of cleanup cloth and disposable baby wipes are still the most popular choice around. Our tests include side-by-side analysis of each wipe's durability, ease of use, and eco-health features with an eye for keeping parents happy and babies clean as a whistle.
The Best Baby Wipes of 2020
Water Wipes are exactly what they claim to be, a simple & clean wipe, and we couldn't love them more. This straightforward wipe is sturdy, stretchable, fragrance-free, and moist. They are easy to pull from their package, the package is easy to open and close, and the wipes are soft enough to please the most sensitive skin. This wipe is the only one in this review accepted by the National Eczema Association, and we think any parent looking for the lowest number of ingredients with the least amount of chemicals has no reason to look anywhere else with 99.9% of this wipe being water and 0.1% being fruit extract.
These wipes are more expensive than most of the disposable wipes on the market, with an average price almost 3x that of the other options(9 cents versus 2-3 cents per wipe). They are also one of the smallest wipes in the group by 1-3 inches in length depending on the brand, but we suspect most parents won't notice the size difference. Water Wipes really are one of a kind, and we think most parents will find the additional cost acceptable to have such a simple chemical-free product for their baby, especially newborns or premies. If your little one has sensitive skin or you want to avoid chemicals when you can, we think Water Wipes are the best in the business.
Amazon Elements Unscented is an inexpensive, sensitive wipe that works well and is easy to use. This wipe is slightly textured with round bubbles to help make clean up a breeze, but it is still soft and feels good. These wipes are moist without being wet and are free from many things that give parents pause like alcohol, dyes, parabens, phthalates, and more. We like what this wipe brings to the table a lot to love and not much to quibble about. Amazon also uses a zero landfall plant and works toward transparency with information on where they source all of the ingredients.
While there is much to love about this wipe, we do wish it had a shorter ingredient list. Amazon does a great job justifying each ingredient, which is nice, but less is often more, and we wish there were less. Otherwise, this wipe is impressive and well-liked by testers making it a good buy for those on a budget with sensitive skin needs or those looking to avoid the top known irritants.
Amazon Elements Fresh Scent is a budget-friendly, scented wipe with a more pleasing aroma than other scented options we tested. The package is easy to use and dispenses wipes without too much follow on that can make it difficult to close the lid with one hand. These wipes, like other Amazon wipes, are durable, somewhat textured for picking up goopy messes, and are fairly large compared to some of the competition. Amazon wipes are also relatively environmentally friendly on the production side, and the lid is recyclable.
This wipe has a similar but less pungent odor as the Huggies Natural Care and about twice as many ingredients. Like the Huggies brand, it contains fragrance, which is proprietary and means that Amazon doesn't have to list the individual makeup of the fragrance, so it is impossible to say exactly how many ingredients are in this wipe or what they are. This lack of transparency gives us pause, and since fragrance isn't necessary for a useful wipe, we prefer those without it to limit the number of chemicals we use on and around babies, especially their skin. Overall, if you must have a scented wipe, we prefer this option over Huggies as it is more durable and less expensive, saving you money and frustration over time.
Honest Baby Wipes is a high-end wipe that comes in a variety of package designs. These wipes are durable, thick, and work well. We like that they are free of many concerning things, including alcohol, parabens, phthalates, quaternary ammonium compounds, and fragrances, and they use chlorine-free processing (which is good for baby and the Earth). Chlorine-free processing is relatively unique for this kind of product, which makes them one of the most Earth-friendly disposable wipes around.
According to many users, Honest recently changed the formulation of their wipes and the newer version seems less sensitive than the previous version causing skin irritation. While we didn't experience this, if your baby is super sensitive we recommend the Water Wipes as a truly chemical-free option. Honest is also on the spendy side for wipes, so it may not be the right fit for tighter budgets. However, for parents concerned about the environment and the use of chlorine in production or finding a wipe free of certain things, Honest does a good job of avoiding the top irritants and concerns.
Amazon Elements Sensitive is Amazon's answer to compete with the sensitive wipes on the market. This wipe has the same construction as the other Amazon offerings and comes from a zero landfill waste plant. The wipe is soft but textured to help with sticky messes, and it is wet without being messy or leaving behind a residue. We like that this wipe is free of so many known irritants and that it is extremely durable. The package is easy to use, and the follow on pop-up wipe is short so you can easily close the lid with one hand.
These wipes aren't as soft as some thanks to the raised circle pattern. They also contain more ingredients than is probably necessary for a wipe intended for sensitive skin. However, Amazon does an excellent job with transparency, both explaining each ingredient and where they source from. If you aren't looking for a totally chemical-free option and are on a budget, then the Amazon Sensitive could easily fit the bill.
Pampers Sensitive is a well-known brand name wipe you can easily find in most stores. This wipe comes in a flip-top pack you can open with one hand, and the wipe itself is soft and thick. The Sensitive wipe is free of alcohol, perfume, parabens, phenoxyethanol, and dyes.
This wipe is not stretchy, and it will tear if you push it too far. While the pack is easy to pull from, the follow on wipe comes out far too much, leaving you with the decision of using two wipes when you only need one or pushing it and folding it back into the pack to get the lid closed. It also has a scent that can be troubling to those expecting a totally scent-free product. While not overpowering, it is there and we worry parents will confuse "fragrance-free" with scent-free, but this only means there is no added scent. The wipes in this pack are not the most durable and one of the few in the review to tear if stretched. However, for basic clean-up work, this shouldn't be a problem. Overall, we like the limited ingredients of this wipe and feel some parents will appreciate the lack of additional chemicals with a light smell.
Pampers Aqua Pure boasts limited ingredients and organic cotton construction with this high-end wipe. This wipe is sturdy and stretchy with no tearing in our tests (and believe us, we tried!). The Aqua Pure has more moisture than much of the competition, which can be useful for some messes or an after-sleep diaper with some crusty poo. We like that the Aqua Pure is devoid of dyes, parabens, fragrances, and some alcohols (they specify "drying" alcohols).
We do Not like the marketing hype of this wipe and feel that there is greenwashing and misleading claims happening. While branded as "Aqua Pure," this wipe contains more than water. Also, it boasts the use of "organic cotton," implying the wipe is only cotton when the fine print states "a touch" of cotton or specifically only 15%. While not a deal-breaker, we don't like the misleading language that we believe is designed to make parents believe this wipe is organic and contains only water, neither of which is true (it contains 1% cleansers and Ph balancers in the form of 6 ingredients other than water). This wipe is also a little more expensive than most, probably as a result of the organic claim and green marketing hype. However, it does have fewer ingredients than most of the competition and is more readily found in more local stores than our top choice of Water Wipes, making it a potential choice for parents who value fewer chemicals and easy accessibility.
Huggies Natural Care Refreshing is an easy to find, popular-brand name baby wipe with a cute bear embossed pattern and super soft texture. These super moist wipes come in an easy to use plastic package with a film opening that works well but can be tricky to operate with one. The wipes are ultra-soft and work well on small messes.
The Natural Care wipes are not very natural with an overpowering fragrance that may smell "fresh" and plant-like to some, but for others, it is too strong and hard to get past. They also have a list of ingredients that is 12 strong with "parfum" included (which typically means chemical concoction we don't need to identify by law). These wipes are the flimsiest in the group and tear as easily as wet paper without much force required (Huggies does not list what they are made of), so you may need more wipes to get the job done than you would with a more durable option. While we think parents will be drawn to the well-known name and the promise of "natural," we do not believe these are as natural as some of the competition, nor should they be anyone's top choice. Perhaps if they were fragrance-free or sturdier, they might be more impressive. If you simply must have Huggies brand, they do make a fragrance-free version, but the durability is still likely a problem.
Why You Should Trust Us
After testing a variety of gear in the last 7 years, we know what it takes to test each product hands-on in the real world. Baby Wipes are no exception to our "buy and use" testing process. We provide all the details you'll need to find the best wipe for your little one with our unbiased analysis. Real moms used each wipe in our roundup in the trenches of motherhood, including Wendy Schmitz, mom of two boys, and a Senior Review Editor at BabyGearLab since 2014. The wipes were used in a variety of clean-up situations and assessed for durability, wipe ability (ease of use), and eco-health.
Analysis and Test Results
We performed tests for ease of use, durability, and health ranking each baby wipe in comparison to the other wipes in this review. Our results give you the information you need to make the best choice for your family.
Ease of Use
How hard could a wipe be to use? Utilizing the wipe itself isn't challenging, but opening and getting wipes out of the package can be. Depending not the style of the package and how the wipes are dispersed, your experience can vary. Many wipes come in hard plastic tubs or refills in plastic bag style containers; some have flip-top lids that open easily, and others have a thin recloseable film. While most wipes come out of their packaging like tissues, where pulling one wipe causes the next to appear ready for pulling, not all of them work well, and some work so well that the second wipe pulls out almost completely prevents the lid from fully closing.
The Honest container plastic flip lid is so great at staying closed it is nearly impossible to open with one hand. And given that your second hand might be holding a wiggly baby on a public restroom changing table, it needs to open with one hand. Once open, pulling the wipe is easy enough, but the follow-up wipe will come almost halfway out with the first wipe, so if you don't need it you'll have to stuff it back in or fold it up to get the lid closed (again, all with potentially one hand).
Both Pampers options also have a hard plastic flip lid. The lids are easier to open and close than the Honest lid, but they also suffer from the follow-up wipe coming all of the way out with the first. It makes us wonder if you might end up using/wasting wipes you wouldn't ordinarily use because you can't get them back in the package. It is a minor hiccup, but one worth noting if you end up going through your wipes twice as fast as necessary. The Amazon wipes, on the other hand, also have the hard plastic flip lids, but the second follow up wipe only peeks out of the top when you pull the first making it super easy to reclose without fiddling with the follow-on wipe. Amazon proves it is possible to create an easy to use dispenser and operate a wipes package with one hand. Both the Water Wipes (on the go format) and the Huggies have a film cover that presses in place, which means less plastic in the landfill, but you'll almost certainly need two hands to get them open. The Water Wipes are the only option in our review that does not dispense like tissue, and pulling one from the package does not cause the second to be more readily available. However, they are still easy to remove and access, and this design means the film closure is always easy to press back in place.
This modern-day marvel of convenience is probably one you haven't given much thought to, but the first time your hand slips through a torn wipe while cleaning up a messy blowout, you'll be wishing you'd paid more attention to choosing a quality wipe. Whether or not a wipe can be torn or stretched and how well it withstands the rigors of wiping up seriously dirty messes is what separates the pups from the big dogs of disposable cleaning wipes. While almost any wipe can tackle a quick swipe on a bare bum after a urine-soaked diaper change, you'll need something more substantial to make it through a sticky mess of meconium tar during the first week of life or a severe prune explosion when your little one starts eating real foods.
The Pampers Sensitive and the HUGGIES Natural Care both tear easily and without much effort, which can lead to dirty fingers or poop under your nails. While both are soft, this extra softness brings with it the ability to break under pressure. The Huggies wipe tends to split in two while the Pampers Sensitive has more of a stretch spread into a thread laced hole as opposed to becoming two separate parts. All of the Amazon brand wipes are durable, but the round bump texture isn't the softest, even if it does give it extra oomph to do the job. These wipes will eventually tear, but it takes deliberate force and intention not common to a diaper clean-up. The Pampers Aqua Pure is softer and impossible to tear even when we tried very hard to do so. Honest Wipes and Water Wipes are both similar in durability to the Aqua Pure.
Given that you'll be using these little quick clean up devices multiple times a day, it can have an impact on your baby's skin, especially if they tend to have sensitive skin or allergies. The last thing you need is your wipe creating or contributing to a rash or irritation in such a sensitive already overworked area of your baby's body. For this reason, we recommend using the wipes that work the best for you with the least amount of additives or chemicals. This includes lotions and fragrances that, while maybe lovely to your nose may not be nice to sensitive new baby skin.
Many of the wipes have some kind of scent when you open the package (even those that say fragrance-free), but only the Huggies brand knocked us off our feet. While many testers felt it was the softest, and the little embossed bears are definitely the cutest, it has a strong cleaner odor that most testers did not find pleasant or soothing. At best, it is fresh and invigorating and, at worst annoying and pungent. It really depends on how much you enjoy artificial scents, but the strength of the smell is what concerns us and makes us believe it might be irritating to some babies. The Huggies ingredient list is 10 items long. It includes "parfum," which is a fancy way of saying a bunch of chemicals we don't have to identify because, legally, it is a proprietary blend, and we can keep it a secret. This ingredient list could potentially be even longer if they were required to list all of the fragrances ingredients, and the additive makes it one we aren't big fans of.
When a product is listed as fragrance-free this only means that an additional fragrance was not added to the formulation of the wipe. It does not mean that the wipe is unscented. Most ingredients have some kind of scent and creating a scent-free wipe will typically include chemicals to combat the smells of other ingredients. It is normal and typical for a fragrance-free wipe to have an odor. An un-scented wipe, however, should not.
The Amazon wipes have 17+ ingredients depending on the type (unscented has the least), which is concerning given that it really only takes moisture to clean a baby's bum (perhaps a preservative to prevent bacterial or mold growth). We feel confident that the xanthum gum in the Pampers Sensitive isn't necessary for a clean finish. Even the Honest wipe, which professes to be 99% water on the package, still has 12 ingredients, though it is free of alcohol, parabens, fragrance, and chlorine processing (woohoo!). Pampers Pure Aqua has 7 ingredients, which is better, but not exactly "pure water," as implied by the name and marketing. However, it is free of alcohol and fragrances, which is a plus. If you are looking for limited ingredients to avoid as many chemicals and additives as possible, then it simply must be the Water Wipes which, as the name implies, is primarily water (precisely 99.9%) with 0.1% of grapefruit seed extract. These durable wipes have no odor, are nice and soft, and leave no residue behind. The Water Wipes are the smallest in the group and relatively thin, but they stretch to over 14 inches long without tearing, and they get the job done without all the chemicals.Water Wipes also says:
Which we think is pretty darn cool.
Amazon is also leaning into being more environmentally friendly with their wipes coming from a zero-landfill production plant where waste is recycled or converted to steam heat. They also boast that that lid on the flip-top pack is recyclable and can go straight in the recycling bin.
With so many wiping options, it can be hard to know which one is better than the rest or which option has the features you're looking for. We believe the ideal wipe can clean up the messiest of blowouts while staying in one piece and being gentle on the baby's skin, leaving no residue or odor behind. These reasons are why we favor the wipes that retained their shape, had fewer ingredients, and were gentle on the bum. We believe there is a wipe in our lineup for every family and every bottom, no matter what your goals might be.
— Wendy Schmitz and the BabyGearLab Review Team