In-depth baby product reviews led by a Pediatrician

Best Disposable Diapers

We tested the top 18 diapers from Pampers, Huggies, Honest, Seventh Generation, and others to find the best
The Seventh Generation earned an impressive score for overall health c...
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff
By Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team
Wednesday September 22, 2021
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Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
Diving into the world of diapers can be dizzying. After testing 53 different disposable diapers, we compare the top 18 choices for 2021. With a decade of diaper testing experience, we have unique and extensive insight that helps us distinguish the best from the worst and rank everything in between. We used objective metrics such as health, absorption, eco-friendliness, leakage, comfort, and durability to select our favorites. We put these diapers through multiple rounds of absorbency testing and used each one on real babies. Afterward, we compared the results side-by-side to select the top options. The award winners are suitable for a wide range of families from those on a budget, the eco-minded, and those who just want something to keep it contained. We are sure you will find a diaper to fit your needs.

Top 18 Product Ratings

Displaying 1 - 5 of 18
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Awards   Top Pick Award  Best Value Award 
Price Check Price at Amazon$0.28 List
$0.25 each at Amazon
$0.39 List
$0.41 at Amazon
$0.41 List
$0.29 each at Amazon
$0.24 List
$0.19 each at Amazon
Overall Score
61
51
66
53
66
Star Rating
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Pros Durable, comfy, lower price, good leak protectionComfortable, durable, reasonable priceGreat for health, durable, comfortableDurable, better healthDurable, comfortable for baby, affordable
Cons Not eco-friendly, no considerations for healthDisappointing absorption and health benefitsAverage for leak protectionBelow average leakage, not eco-friendlyAverage absorbency, less eco-friendly
Bottom Line Durable and cozy diaper with good performance for the price, but it lacks ecology and health considerationsComfy and durable, but has disappointing performance for absorption and healthA healthy option that is comfortable and durable, but absorption and leak protection aren't the absolute bestA durable diaper with okay absorption, but it has a higher potential for leaks and isn't eco-friendlyA durable diaper that has some health and comfort benefits without breaking the bank
Rating Categories Kirkland Signature... Pampers Baby Dry Bambo Nature Cuties Mama Bear Gentle Touch
Absorption (40%)
6.0
4.0
6.0
6.0
6.0
Leakage (20%)
7.0
6.0
5.0
4.0
7.0
Comfort (15%)
9.0
8.0
7.0
6.0
7.0
Health (15%)
3.0
3.0
9.0
4.0
7.0
Eco Friendly (5%)
1
4.0
6.0
2.0
4.0
Durability (5%) Sort Icon
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
9.0
Specs Kirkland Signature... Pampers Baby Dry Bambo Nature Cuties Mama Bear Gentle Touch
Type of Diaper Traditional Traditional Green Traditional Traditional
Chlorine-Free Not Listed Elemental
Chlorine-free
Elemental
Chlorine-free
Elemental
Chlorine-free
Elemental
Chlorine-free
Perfume-Free Yes No Yes Yes Yes
Biodegradable No No No No No
Contains SAP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Miscellaneous Materials Details
Wetness Indicator Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stretchable Side Wings Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Stretchable Back Yes No No Yes Yes
Eco-awards Nordic Eco-label
FSC Certified
Asthma-Allergy Denmark


Best Overall Disposable Diaper


Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 9
  • Leakage 5
  • Comfort 8
  • Health 6
  • Eco-friendly 6
  • Durability 4
Good absorption
Comfortable
Less protection from leaks
Not as durable

Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection is a popular green diaper available in some stores and online. This diaper has impressive absorption rates with very little moisture transfer to the test paper and no "urine" reaching the test tray. This diaper offers softer materials and gentle motion points to keep little ones cozy even when they start to explore. Seventh Generation also provides some considerations for the Earth and your baby's health by being Totally Chlorine-Free and free of lotion and perfume.

This diaper is not the best at leak prevention, and our research indicates more users reporting trouble with leaks and blowouts than some of the competition. Also, it isn't as durable, with some diapers falling apart before a change could occur. It also isn't the greenest with some products offering more in this department. However, this diaper has the goods where it counts and is a good option for families looking for great absorption in a disposable green diaper.

Read review: Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection

Best for Leak Protection


Babyganics


72
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 9
  • Leakage 8
  • Comfort 8
  • Health 3
  • Eco-friendly 4
  • Durability 3
Great absorption & leak protection
Comfy
Not as green
Not readily available in stores

Babyganics is a green diaper with a soft-to-touch material that lasts as long as you need to between changes. Very few users complain about durability, and this diaper impresses in its performance for absorption and leak protection. Eco-friendliness and better features for the baby's health are other bonuses you'll find with this option as it is totally chlorine-free. The overall cost is lower than some competing green diapers, so you can spend less while still feeling somewhat better about your environmental impact.

It may be challenging to find this diaper in stores, so you'll likely need to purchase it online and remember to stay ahead of your need, so you aren't caught empty-handed. It also isn't very durable, with one of the lowest scores in the group and a relatively high percentage of complaints about faulty tabs and some leaking SAP. Overall, this greener diaper is comfortable and has outstanding absorption and leaks, making it an excellent choice for most families.

Read review: Babyganics

Best for Budget Diapering


Mama Bear Gentle Touch


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 6
  • Leakage 7
  • Comfort 7
  • Health 7
  • Eco-friendly 4
  • Durability 9
Durable
Healthier
Average absorption
Less eco-friendly

Mama Bear Gentle Touch diapers are an Amazon brand diaper with a very budget-friendly price and simple online delivery. This inexpensive diaper managed an average or above score in every testing metric, which is something of a rarity and makes it a potential choice no matter what your diapering goals may be. It has better than average absorption and leak protection and the highest health score of any non-green diaper in the review being free of elemental chlorine, lotion, perfumes, parabens, and phthalates.

Mama Bear is not the most eco-friendly option in the group, but it also doesn't advertise as a green diaper. However, it is produced in a zero-landfill plant which is something to brag about. It also isn't the absolute most absorbent product in our review either. However, for the price and given the other higher scores it received during testing, the lower absorption almost feels acceptable. Overall, we think this diaper is a good choice for families on a budget who don't want to sacrifice performance or health for the sake of saving a few pennies.

Read review: Mama Bear Gentle Touch

Best Eco-friendly Diaper


Nature Babycare


70
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 10
  • Leakage 6
  • Comfort 3
  • Health 6
  • Eco-friendly 8
  • Durability 1
Great absorption & few leaks
Good health & eco-friendliness
Not cozy
Faulty tabs

Nature Babycare is an excellent green diaper that impressed us in the lab and on babies. With advanced Earth-friendly features, it is arguably the closest option to cloth diapering without the extra work. This company and its diapers are trying hard to set new environmental standards for diapers while prioritizing your baby's health. The best part? Not only is it green, but it earned the highest score for absorption in our tests with virtually no moisture transfer to the test paper.

This diaper may not be the best choice for parents on a tight budget as it has a higher price than much of the competition (although not the highest). It is also relatively fragile, with a less durable outer covering than much of the competition and a low durability score. However, if your wallet allows, and you have the Earth on your mind, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better-performing, more eco-friendly disposable diaper anywhere.

Read review: Nature Babycare

Healthiest with a Green Edge


Bambo Nature


66
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 6
  • Leakage 5
  • Comfort 7
  • Health 9
  • Eco-friendly 6
  • Durability 9
Top health performer
Durable
Average absorption
Primarily sold online

Bambo Nature is a cool green diaper and has long been a favorite of BabyGearLab. A few testers feel it has the best absorption properties, even good for serious overnight wetters. This diaper earned the top score for health, with most of the competition coming in well below it. Bambo is chlorine, latex, perfume, and lotion-free. It boasts an allergy certification and a full disclosure list on the company website, so you can keep track of exactly what is in the diaper and what will be near your baby's skin. This diaper has some cool eco-friendly manufacturing bragging rights that other diapers can't claim and is comfortable to boot.

With online-only accessibility, Bambo may not be the diaper for everyone. It also has an absorption score that is only slightly above average for the group. So if you are the type to wait a long time between changes, it may not be the best for you. Still, it has a lower than average price and fits the bill for those looking for the healthiest option with Earth-friendlier manufacturing. Combine these features with impressive performance where it counts and irresistible cute prints, and you have a diaper most families will love.

Read review: Bambo Nature

Notably Disappointing


Honest Company Diapers


51
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Absorption 4
  • Leakage 7
  • Comfort 6
  • Health 4
  • Eco-friendly 7
  • Durability 5
Honest diapers historically have disappointed in our testing, and this trend continues. Because they are often highly regarded and ask a higher price, we feel the need to mention Honest diapers as notable for lower quality than the green competition to save some parents from spending more money than they need to. Honest now scores below the average for the entire group with disappointing absorption tests and lower health results. Is this because other diapers have upped their quality? Or is it possible that mass production and wider distribution have resulted in lower quality management? We aren't sure, but our test results indicate better diapers available that cost less and have higher scores overall and in key metrics. With cute print customization being their only real upside, we weren't impressed with Honest Company Diapers.

Read review: Honest Company Diapers

Compare Products

select up to 5 products to compare
Score Product Price Our Take
72
$0.36
Editors' Choice Award
A green diaper with great absorbency and a comfy fit, but the leak protection is somewhat lacking
72
$0.36
Editors' Choice Award
Keeps baby drier and leak-free in a cozy diaper with a reasonable price and availability
70
$0.48
Top Pick Award
Very earth-friendly, healthy choice with high absorption but disappointing comfort and durability performance
66
$0.38
Higher scoring diaper with average absorbency and better leak protection but disappointing durability
66
$0.39
Top Pick Award
A comfy, durable, and baby-healthy option with okay leak protection, but it isn't the best for absorption
66
$0.24
Best Value Award
An affordable diaper that holds up well and is comfortable to wear with better health and ecology scores than similarly priced options
61
$0.20
A comfy and durable diaper with acceptable performance, but it doesn't consider the environment or a baby's health
53
$0.41
Budget-friendly, durable option that isn't eco-friendly but offers some health attributes
51
$0.36
With poor absorption test results, this expensive option isn't the best despite its better environment and health results
51
$0.28
A durable and comfy diaper but poor performance for absorption and health considerations
51
$0.35
Lacking leak protection and a low absorption rate means potential for diaper rash and messes with this otherwise comfortable diaper
51
$0.32
Poor absorption results create the potential for skin irritation despite better leak protection and a comfortable fit
50
$0.50
This option has fewer leaks and is eco-friendly but the disappointing absorption results make it a pass in our opinion
46
$0.56
Below average absorption and average leakage with a higher price tag make this a healthier but disappointing green option
43
$0.25
Comfortable choice with few leaks, but poor absorption could leave baby's skin irritated and there is no consideration for health or the environment
42
$0.60
Disappointing absorption and a higher price can't be overcome with comfortable materials
39
$0.14
Disappointing absorption and leak results make this comfortable choice a no-go no matter what your diapering goals
37
$0.19
Unfortunately, despite the benefits of a lower price, it has lower performance in key metrics like leaks and absorption

We bought and tested diapers from a variety of brands to see which...
We bought and tested diapers from a variety of brands to see which one would come out on top.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us


Our BabyGearLab team has been professionally testing disposable diapers for over eight years. Combine that with years of parenting and childcare experience outside the 'Lab, and we are confident in our knowledge and use of all things diaper and diapering related.Dr. Juliet Spurrier, a mother of two, leads the BabyGearLab safety standards and product selection team. She is a board-certified pediatrician and Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP). She uses her knowledge of infant and early childhood wellbeing to guide our testing. On the research end of the review are Senior Review Editor, Wendy Schmitz, a mother of 2, and Senior Review Analyst, Bob Wofford, a father of 7. With hundreds of hours of in-depth research under their belts, their knowledge of the ins and outs of the disposable diapers world is vast. Bob helped develop the first intensive side-by-side absorption and leakage review process ever completed. In charge of in-house tests, this time is Senior Review Editor, Abriah Wofford, who has been conducting testing with BabyGearLab since 2015.

We use a combination of hands-on (real world) and in-lab tests to measure qualities such as absorbency, leakage, and durability for our review and testing. Our in-house tests involved pouring 100 ml of a mock urine solution over each diaper with a series of weighted and unweighted periods to mimic an active baby's movement when wearing a wet diaper. Our findings typically paralleled what we learned in the lab and online research when using the diapers on real babies. Diapers that did poorly in our leak test also leaked in real life, and vice versa. Overall, we spent hundreds of hours pushing these diapers to their limits and seeking out real users' opinions and experiences. This comprehensive analysis gives us a well-rounded view of the best disposable diapers on the market.

Related: How We Tested Disposable Diapers

Our scientific testing processes ensure apples-to-apples comparison...
We enlisted a few active youngsters to do some hands-on testing in...

Analysis and Test Results


We purchased and tested more than 52 diapers over the years and included 18 in this round of testing. We used a combination of day-to-day diaper use on real baby bottoms and in-house lab testing for our evaluation. We supplemented with in-depth research to compile facts and observations that allowed us to rate each diaper relative to the competition.

The Honest diapers come in a variety of patterns you can choose from...
The Honest diapers come in a variety of patterns you can choose from for a more custom look.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

When making our diaper selections, we carefully consider our options and include a wide variety of styles. We want to provide a complete picture of diapers across the spectrum of all types and brands. We put green diapers head-to-head against traditional options. We include popular Pampers and Huggies brands, but we also test some private-label diapers from Costco, Target, and Walmart to see how they fare.

Related: Best Cloth Diaper

Disposable Diaper Review vs. Overnight Diaper Review
The Disposable Diaper testing is performed on size one diapers (or equivalent) and is primarily for finding the best diaper options for newborns or younger infants. The information and test results from this review may also apply to other size diapers. However, we found a disparity in absorption test results for the smaller-sized diapers compared to the size 3-4 diapers we tested in our Overnight Diaper Review, which has older babies in mind. Therefore, any discrepancy in absorption ratings between reviews for the same diaper results from a size difference. Specifically, the Luvs Ultra Leaks and Pampers Baby Dry options performed significantly better in the larger size than they did in size one diapers we tested for this review.

Seventh Generation is one of our top choices for health.
Seventh Generation is one of our top choices for health.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

If you are reading this, you're probably looking for help finding the right disposable diaper. You've come to the right place. We're here to give you the straight poop on all things diaper-related.

Green Diapering
Before you let your green-guilt run away with you, you should know that even the Sierra Club which takes a position on cloth vs. disposable, still admits that the decision is a tough one when trying to be more environmentally responsible.

Related: Buying Advice for Disposable Diapers

Value


Finding value in a single-use product can be tricky. After a few hours of wear, every diaper inevitably ends up in the trash that same day. The price of disposable diapers ranges from 0.14 to 0.58 per diaper. Forty-four cents is a rather large gap when you stop and consider how many diapers your baby will go through throughout their diapering years. Pennies quickly add up to dollars when you multiply by the thousands. Depending on the budget you are working with, the overall cost may be the primary consideration in choosing the perfect product. However, we urge you to consider that each diaper's quality and absorbency impact the overall number of diapers you use daily. In reality, a slightly more expensive diaper can potentially lower your long-term spending because you may end up using fewer of them.

In this review, the top two performers (Seventh Generation and Babyganics) have average prices, neither high nor ultra-low. Given that some lower-ranking competitors are more expensive, you can be confident that you are getting a quality option at a reasonable price (and green). These diapers score well for absorbency and leakage, which should translate to fewer diapers overall and money in your pocket. Most of the less expensive diapers had significant trouble with absorbency in our tests, which means overall, their value is low. You'll need to use more of them, which increases your daily diaperings costs. The one exception is the Mama Bear Gentle Touch diaper that earns average or above results in every test metric and sport one of the lowest prices in the group. Add-on the free delivery of Amazon Prime, and you save even more money with this diaper, making it an even better value if your budget is restricted.

Babies go through approximately 6,000 diapers during their diaper...
Babies go through approximately 6,000 diapers during their diaper wearing years!
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Wait! How many diapers am I going to need?


In the first year alone, your tiny tot is going to go through about 2,500 diapers. If that number seems daunting, it breaks down to something like 10-12 diapers a day on average for the first 2-3 months and about 6 per day for the rest of the year. By year two, the pace slows to about 3-4 per day and continues into year three when potty training adds a twist to your diapering routine. Even after potty training, most children use 1-2 overnight diapers per day for about another year for naps and nighttime.

Estimated diaper usage over time is shown to be a total of nearly...
Estimated diaper usage over time is shown to be a total of nearly 6,000 diapers in the chart above. Your mileage will vary since babies grow at differing rates and the total depends on potty training timing, and overnight use after potty training. (Click on the chart to enlarge)
Credit: Pampers, Huggies, US CDC Weight-for-age 50th percentile

Add it all up, and your precious bundle of joy is going to amass a mountain of roughly 6,000 dirty diapers in total (but up to 9,000 in some estimations). That's a lot of diapers to put in the landfill, which is why a growing number of parents are considering green disposables or choose to diaper with cloth instead.

So, what is all of that going to cost me?


If you are a budget-savvy shopper, the cost might be the driving factor of your diaper selection. Let's start with assuming that our estimate of 6,000 diapers over your baby's lifetime is correct. The price per diaper varies depending on the diaper's size, so diapers will get more expensive as your baby grows. When considering lifetime cost, keep in mind that your baby will spend a lot more time in size 3 & 4 diapers than the smaller sizes. For these reasons, we recommend comparing the price of size three diapers as a standard because it will give you the most realistic cost average over the long run.

The Kirkland is a durable diaper that withstands a busy baby.
The Kirkland is a durable diaper that withstands a busy baby.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

If you buy a quality (yet affordable) green diaper, you'll spend on average about $0.35/diaper. For a top-notch option green diaper, it is closer to about $0.50/diaper. And a basic big-name brand will be about $0.34.

What does that come to over the four years you will be using diapers?

  • A good green diaper will cost roughly $2,016 for 4 years, or $42.00 a month
  • High-scoring green diaper will cost approximately $2,880 for 4 years, or $60.00 a month
  • Popular brand name diaper will cost about $1,728 for 4 years and about $36.00 a month

Be aware that these prices are high; if you sign up for a subscription program offered by many retailers, you could get a sizeable discount. While the price of each diaper might feel like a wash over four years, it could translate into a cost difference of over $1,000.00. Of course, these are just averages, and real costs will vary on how often you change your child's diaper and your average consumption over time. Some diapers will hold more and require fewer changes, while others might need frequent changes to avoid leaks or durability problems.

Nature Babycare diapers earned the highest overall score in the...
Kirkland diapers are a comfortable durable option with a reasonable...

Is It Worth Paying a Premium for the Best Diaper?


When spread out over your baby's ~4 diaper-wearing years, the price difference between a high-performing green option vs. the best performing diaper is almost $20 per month. Over one year, this is an added cost of nearly $240. With this difference, you might be wondering: is it really worth the extra money to buy the better diaper?

While we feel strongly that Nature Babycare is absolutely the best diaper we tested, it is more expensive than many options. So, let's compare the scores.

  • Seventh Generation: 9 absorption, 5 leakage, 6 health, 6 eco, 72 overall
  • Nature Babycare: 10 absorption, 6 leakage, 6 health, 8 eco, 70 overall

Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection earned one of the highest...
Seventh Generation Sensitive Protection earned one of the highest scores for absorption.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

The difference in metric performance between Seventh Generation and Nature BabyCare is significant. We feel the benefits are worth the extra cost depending on your goals, but Seventh Generation provides a happy medium of value with good performance and a lower price.

Diapers are constructed in three layers, an inner layer that sits...
Diapers are constructed in three layers, an inner layer that sits against baby's skin is designed to be soft, stay relatively dry, and wick away moisture into the core. The absorbent core is designed to pull moisture in and trap it to keep wetness away from baby to avoid rashes. The outer layer is waterproof to prevent leaks.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

What's In My Baby's Diaper?
Most disposable diapers look a lot alike, and all of them have similar components. They each contain an absorbent core, an inner liner designed to keep your baby's skin dry, and a waterproof outer layer to keep it all contained. However, the materials used in these components may differ from diaper to diaper, and some ingredients may have potential toxicity. Parents may (rightly) be concerned about their diapers' contents and want to know what ingredients their baby is exposed to. We recommend looking at the ingredient list of your diapers to look for potentially hazardous materials that may be present.

Related: What Is Inside Those Disposable Diapers?

The secret sauce inside the absorbent core layer of every disposable...
The secret sauce inside the absorbent core layer of every disposable diapers is a synthetic material called Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP). It is magic in it's ability to suck up to 300 times it's weight in water, which is why it is so widely used. Researchers are now making a plant-based SAP in labs, but as far as we can tell, every diaper in our review likely uses the more time-tested petroleum-based SAP.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Absorbency


Absorbency is THE most critical performance criterion for any diaper. High absorbency levels will reduce rashes, leaks, and the frequency of diaper changes. To reflect this importance, we emphasize this metric in our testing and go in-depth with our analysis. We perform a combination of hands-on testing and in-house lab tests to wring out each diaper's real-world absorbency performance. We usually find a surprising difference in absorbency levels between brands.

You can see almost no moisture transfer onto the test paper for the...
Given that some diapers had no moisture transfer, the Aleva diaper...

The photos above include the top-ranked diaper for absorption, Nature Babycare, with a score of 10 (above left), and the lowest-scoring diaper for absorption, Aleva Naturals, with a 1 (above right).


Every time we include new additions to our diaper review, we are impressed by green diapers that consistently deliver above-average absorbency results. The top 3 diapers in our review are all green, and all have scores of 9 or higher for absorbency! The top-performing options are Nature Babycare with a 10 and a 9 for Babyganics. The top traditional diapers, Mama Bear Gentle Touch and Kirkland, scored 6s. These results indicate to us that green diapers generally perform better than traditional choices. We love having the option to buy great performing diapers that make eco-friendliness a priority in their production process. The lowest scoring options for absorption were the Aleva Naturals with a 1 of 10.

While certainly not the worst in the group, the Swaddlers absorption...
We didn&#039;t like that the Snug &amp;amp; Dry performed poorly in our tests...

Which Is Better: Pampers or Huggies?


We tested many options from both manufacturers, including Pampers Swaddlers, Pampers Baby Dry, Pampers Pure, Huggies Little Snugglers, and Huggies Snug & Dry. The performance and prices of both brands are comparable. Pampers Swaddlers and Baby Dry earned an overall score of 51, with the Pure style earning the highest result for Pampers with a 66. Huggies Little Snugglers earned a 51 and Snug & Dry a 43. Pampers Pure is by far the best of the Pampers and Huggies shoot-out, largely due to its increased leakage, comfort, and health scores. However, Pure diapers come with a significantly higher price tag.

If you are trying to decide between Pampers and Huggies, we recommend you go with Pampers. If you can afford it, we especially like the Pure line. Both brands have similar scores for absorbency and are comparably priced, but Pampers offers a little more for baby health, which gives it a bump over Huggies. However, if you want the best diaper for your baby, we recommend looking outside both of these popular brands. Instead, consider one of the award winners as all score higher and offer more for a lower or similarly priced than the Pampers Pure.

Huggies Snug &amp;amp; Dry is a popular diaper with a good leakage score...
Pampers Swaddlers is a soft and cozy diaper that almost feels like...
Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive is a soft diaper with wetness indicator.
Walmart White Cloud diaper is budget friendly with a better than...
The Walmart Parent&#039;s Choice diaper has a cute pattern (contains...
Babies R Us store brand diapers offer fairly good absorption and...

Do Big-box Diapers Perform the same as Pampers and Huggies?


In short, no. While we did not find a significant difference between the two varieties, our test results show that the store brand options, such as Target, Walmart, or Kirkland, perform marginally better or the same as the popular brands overall, and often they cost less.

We tested diapers from two major big-box retailers this go around: Target and Costco. We concluded that individual diapers vary depending on the brand, and we cannot make an all-encompassing statement because it really just depends on the diaper. However, many popular options, big-box or no, place relatively low in the group. Kirkland and Pampers Pure are the only diapers that reached the top 10. Most of the Pampers and Huggies diapers have a disappointing performance coming in below average in the group of 18. It might be time to forget about the popular or well-known brand names in diapers if you want to find a truly excellent option.

We tested over 24 disposable diapers in our big diaper show down.
We tested over 24 disposable diapers in our big diaper show down.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Leakage


Leakage includes an analysis of how well the diaper contains leaks, so urine and other substances stay where they are supposed to be instead of outside the diaper on clothes and other things. Quick absorbency is a factor in leakage because fast-absorbing liquid can't escape, but leg elastic and gussets and the overall design also play a role.


The top performers for leakage are Huggies Little Snugglers and Pampers Pure with 9s. Coming in a close second with 8s are Andy Pandy and Babyganics. Combined with absorbency tests, these results show Babyganics as a top contender with great results in both metrics. The diaper with the lowest leakage analysis result is Target Up and Up with a 2.

BabyGanics proved to be comfortable and offers respectable...
BabyGanics proved to be comfortable and offers respectable absorbency properties as well.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Comfort


Comfort may not be top of your diaper consideration list, but your little one will be wearing diapers just about every moment of every day, and comfort could make a difference to them. Tight leg holes or itchy elastic can create unnecessary skin irritation and irritable behavior.


We compared all of the diapers side-by-side for softness, padding, leg elastic, and more. Kirkland diapers came out on top in this metric with an impressive score of 9. These diapers almost feel like cloth and have some of the most skin-friendly leg hole elastic on the market. However, they weren't that impressive when it came to leakage and absorbency, so there is a trade-off in the design. Alternatively, Babyganics and Seventh Generation both earned an 8 for comfort and still impress in absorbency with 9 each. Several other options earned 8s for comfort, but none of these were that impressive where it counts. The lowest-scoring for comfort is Nature Baby Care with a 3. This diaper has an almost paper feel, a design we assume aids in their claim of biodegradability but does nothing to keep little ones cozy.

Bambo is a more eco-friendly option than some of the traditional...
Bambo is a more eco-friendly option than some of the traditional options we reviewed.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Health


Health is a collection of factors influenced mainly by the addition/omission of dyes, fragrances, lotions, or chemicals that create a color change to indicate diaper wetness. Many babies are sensitive to chemicals, and we like to err on the side of caution by limiting exposure to unnecessary chemicals whenever possible, especially on sensitive skin. Given the availability of effective diapers without additives, we think it's worth considering when choosing the right diaper for your little one.

Luvs doesn&#039;t provide a full disclosure of what materials were used...
Luvs doesn't provide a full disclosure of what materials were used and how they can affect the environment or your baby's health.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

We based our analysis on what the manufacturer claims either on the packaging or their website. We also prefer those transparent brands that didn't require us to do a deep dive or send emails to find out the details. We think parents have a right to know what is in their baby's diapers, and they shouldn't have to play detective to figure it out.


None of the disposable options are that impressive, and if you want a genuinely chemical-free option, you should probably consider cloth diapers. However, Bambo Nature came in with the top score of 9. This diaper is free from chlorine, fragrances, dyes, and lotion. They disclose their complete list of ingredients and have a certification for common allergens. Most of the competition didn't manage a score higher than 4. Second place went to Pampers Pure and Mama Bear Gentle Touch with scores of 7. The worst in the group Huggies Snug and Dry and Luvs, both earning a 1. These diapers have no ingredient list at all. Luvs have a strong powder scent, and both have visible dye.

The Nature Babycare diaper is a top performing green diaper you can...
The Nature Babycare diaper is a top performing green diaper you can feel good about.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Eco-friendly


Disposable diapers are perhaps one of the most significant impacts your baby will have on the environment during their first years of life. An estimated 90% of US babies use disposables, and there are 4 million babies born each year, each going through 6,000+ diapers. When you consider these numbers, the diapers' environmental impact in landfills is ginormous.

Here's some information we believe to be factual:

  • The Environmental Protection Agency reports that about 20 billion disposable baby diapers end up in landfills every year, a shockingly large amount. Yet, we feel that might be low (our estimate is nearly 22 billion). This amount creates approximately 3 billion pounds of US landfill waste each year.
  • Traditional disposable diapers do not degrade at a reasonable pace in landfills due to the plastic materials and lack of air exposure (hampering biodegradation).
  • Some % of disposed of diapers contain feces (the right thing to do is flush solids before throwing away the diaper — who knew?) which presents a bio-hazard risk to landfills and creates the potential for human waste to seep into groundwater.

You put poop where?
Another factor that may sway the debate of "which is greener" between cloth diapers and disposables is your poop disposal habits. If you use modern cloth diapers in tandem with a flushable liner, you are (hopefully) flushing your baby's poo down the toilet. You should also flush poo from disposable diapers, but this is not the common practice among parents. Many do not even know that you are supposed to. Flushing poo is far less damaging to the environment than wrapping it up and throwing it in the landfill, and creating a biohazard risk in the process. Human poop is considered a bio-waste and should not be sent to the landfill. We suspect this is not common knowledge.

We tested both green and traditional disposable diapers with the...
We tested both green and traditional disposable diapers with the green options largely scoring higher overall and in the metrics that truly count like absorbency.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Green Diaper Performance vs. Traditional


The decision between using conventional or green diapers wasn't always a clear or easy one. Many people still think that a green diaper cannot perform on par with traditional disposables. However, our analysis of green vs. traditional diapers found this long-held assumption to be largely untrue. Modern green diapers outperform traditional diapers on absorbency and most other metrics, earning them top-ranking spots in our lineup. Hooray!

To analyze eco-friendliness, we looked at how the diapers were manufactured, whether they use renewable or recycled resources, and if they are biodegradable. Remember that no diaper will degrade inside a plastic bag in a landfill without exposure to the elements, so we caution that your expectations should be realistic and align with how you plan to dispose of your diapers. The top contenders for eco-friendliness are Andy Pandy and Nature Baby Care. Andy Pandy uses bamboo, and the manufacturing process is TCF chlorine-free. Nature Baby Care is also TCF chlorine-free and uses bio-based plastics and GM-free corn, with some components of the diaper being biodegradable (again under the right conditions). If you choose Nature Baby Care by Naty, do some research in your area for disposal facilities, as we've been informed that they are 99% compostable in an industrial facility. The lowest scoring options for eco-friendly are the Huggies brand diapers and Kirkland, all earning just 1 of 10.

The Nature Baby Care diaper suffered from more faulty tabs than the...
The Nature Baby Care diaper suffered from more faulty tabs than the competition and the outer cover can tear if a wet diaper is left on too long.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Durability


Disposable diapers weren't meant to last forever, but if they can't make it for a few hours or fall apart when wet, then they aren't much use and could end up costing you more money in the long run. We analyzed the diapers for their ability to stay together, tab quality and resticking properties, and more to determine the most durable in the bunch.


The most common complaint amongst users is faulty tabs. The tabs either pull off before a diaper is even on the baby, or they won't reattach if you remove them to check a diaper or want to secure a rolled-up diaper for disposal. The second most common complaint is diapers that leak SAP or fall apart when really wet. Some of this might be user error and leaving a diaper on for too long, while others might be design-related due to biodegradable material. We think the tab issue is a bigger problem as it can render a diaper unusable, increasing your per diaper cost. Changing your baby's diaper regularly can often head off the latter issue.

BabyGanics diapers proved to be both comfortable and durable, a...
BabyGanics diapers proved to be both comfortable and durable, a winning combination that is harder to find than you'd think.
Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

The most durable diapers in our tests earned 9s and include Bambo Nature, Cuties, Huggies Little Snugglers, Kirkland, Mama Bear Gentle Touch, and Pampers Baby Dry. The least durable are Nature Baby Care with a 1 thanks to some faulty tabs pulling off and the diaper cover breaking apart if you leave it wet too long between changes. Even though Nature Baby Care didn't perform well in this metric, we still think they deserve consideration for their absorbency and leakage results.

Babies go through a lot of diapers, so you want to find one that...
Babies go through a lot of diapers, so you want to find one that works for you and your child through the long haul.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Conclusion


Online retailers and store shelves are laden with diaper brands; all shouting claims to draw you in. New! Green! Tried and true! With all this noise, it can be hard to decide which one is best for your baby. Add cloth diapers on top of all that, and your head starts spinning. The plethora of diapers may be so overwhelming that you just want to grab and go, select something at random, or choose the cheapest option. However, thanks to our detailed testing and tiny hands-on testers, you can now make a more informed decision. No matter which diaper you purchase, our insights and unbiased test results will help you make the right selection for you and your baby.

Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team