In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

The Best Overnight Diaper Review

Thursday March 1, 2018
  • Share this article:

Waking up in the middle of the night to a soaked baby and bedding can certainly be frustrating for both baby and parent. If this is a common scenario for you, it is probably time to find a reliable nighttime diaper solution. With a lot of choices, selection can get confusing. We've narrowed down top performing brands to help you choose. We recommend purchasing the smallest available single pack first to make sure sizing and fit are right and if your baby has sensitive skin, that there are no issues with rash. Read on for our top disposable picks where we highlight each brand's pros and cons to help you select the best for your baby. Then, stay tuned for the addition of top overnight cloth diapers which will be added to this list.


1

Best Overall


Pampers Swaddlers Overnights


Pampers Swaddlers Overnights
Editors' Choice Award

$0.55 each (in 72-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Traditional | Fragrance-free: No
Great absorbency
Good leak protection
Elemental chlorine-free
Contains fragrance
Daytime & overnights appear similar

With Pampers advertising "all night protection" and "up to 12 hours of wetness control" for their Pampers Swaddlers Overnights, we were pleasantly impressed with the results of our absorbency testing which showed very minimal residual surface liquid. This means that Swaddlers Overnights (available in Sizes 3 to 6) do a great job of absorbing liquid into the diaper's inner core and that baby's skin is kept dry. Users also report great leak protection, which is crucial in an overnight. Though a seemingly superfluous addition, some may like the wetness indicator included.

If you are looking for an eco-friendly diaper, Swaddlers Overnights only partially fits the bill. Although Pampers uses an elemental chlorine-free process, their diapers contain perfumes, lotions, and dyes. In addition, some users express frustration with a design change of the nighttime diaper making it appear almost exactly the same as the daytime counterpart. The difference? On the overnight version, Sesame Street characters don night time caps. So, get out your reading glasses. Although some complain that the Overnights feel no thicker than the daytime Swaddlers, we do not find this to be an issue as performance is optimal. Overall, this is a great choice for an affordable overnight diaper with great absorption.

2

Best 24/7 Bang for Your Buck


Luvs Ultra Leakguards


Best Value Award

$0.21 each (in 160-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Traditional | Fragrance-free: No
Excellent absorbency
Inexpensive
Newborn to Size 6
Strongly fragrant
May irritate sensitive skin

Luvs Ultra Leakguards is a solid diaper at a great price. With the lowest price point in this Round-Up, it is one of the top performers in our absorbency testing. This is an all-around winner for a 24/7 value diaper and is available in the widest range of sizing in this review going from Newborn to Size 6.

Nonetheless, there are a few things about Luvs we want you to keep in mind. Some may find its fragrance to be too strong for their liking which means that this is probably not a great choice for babies with sensitive skin. We recommend purchasing a small pack first to ensure this brand agrees with your baby before going for a large bulk box.

3

Good Value for Both Day and Night Use


Pampers Baby Dry


Pampers Baby Dry
Best Value Award

$0.22 each (in 180-pack)
(5% off)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Traditional | Fragrance-free: No
Soft and comfortable
Excellent absorbency
Good price point
Overfull diapers may expose SAP core
Contains fragrance
Reports of counterfeit diapers on Amazon

Pampers Baby Dry (available in Sizes 1 to 6) is a great option if you want one diaper for day and night. They have a soft cloth-like feel and were one of the most comfortable diapers we tested in our Battle for the Best Disposable Diapers. Its smooth tabs bend and flex with babies without chaffing. In our absorbency testing, Baby Dry performed well in locking away moisture effectively.

One notable con with Baby Dry is that on occasion, really full diapers may split open and expose core contents which results in finding hydrated SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) crystals on baby's skin. In our research, we have found that SAP is considered to be non-toxic and safe. So, if this should occur, wiping baby clean is all that is needed. Nonetheless, this can be a frightful finding, so be forewarned. Overall, however, Baby Dry is an economical choice with good absorbency. Lastly, we do want to mention reports of counterfeit Pampers Baby Dry diapers being sold on Amazon; this is an issue that other brands may suffer from as well. If you feel you may have purchased a counterfeit version, we recommend contacting Amazon directly. Lastly, before purchasing, you may want to do a few minutes of due diligence by checking recent user reviews to see if the brand you are considering has been encountering this issue.

4

Top Eco-Friendly Pick


Nature Babycare


Nature Babycare
Top Pick Award

$0.43 each (in 108-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Green | Fragrance-free: Yes
Great absorbency
Great leakage protection
Totally chlorine & fragrance-free
Tabs don't reattach well
Rougher material
Expensive

Nature Babycare, available in Newborn to Size 6+, delivers as a dependable overnight diaper by testing very well in absorbency and excelling in leakage protection. As a company, Naty is transparent about the ingredients in its disposable diapers which is extremely rare in this industry and is among a handful of stand-outs for having a totally chlorine-free production process. (Other companies who also do so are Babyganics, Seventh Generation, Honest Company, and Andy Pandy). Naty has a lofty claim of being "free of all known allergens or substances classified as locally irritating, sensitizing, carcinogenic, or mutagenic". They indeed practice what they preach with multiple certifications and awards to back up their eco-conscious model. Naty also markets their diapers as being 99.9% biodegradable. Though this is indeed impressive, you will have to go to great lengths to ensure it degrades into nothingness rather than winding up encapsulated in a landfill, deprived of oxygen, sunlight, and turnover.

Where Nature Babycare seems to suffer is in durability and comfort. The tabs do not reattach well, whether to readjust the diaper or to secure a used diaper to be thrown away. This may really frustrate some and you could end up going through rather expensive diapers unnecessarily. Unfortunately, Nature Babycare's material is simply not as soft as its competitors and some users complain about chaffing of baby's skin. However, take heed that Naty uses European diaper sizing and they do tend to run small, so paying attention to their specific weight ranges when you are ordering and sizing up when necessary may eliminate issues with chaffing and rash. As a total package, however, we feel that Nature Babycare delivers excellently and is well worth the elevated price point if the budget will allow.

Read Review: Nature Babycare

5

Ideal For Sensitive Skin


Bambo Nature


Bambo Nature
Top Pick Award

$0.36 each (in 30-pack)
(16% off)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Green | Fragrance-free: Yes
Good absorbency
Elemental chlorine and fragrance-free
Comfortable
Expensive
Reports of faulty tabs

If your baby has sensitive skin, Bambo Nature is a great choice for a day and night disposable. It is a really soft and comfortable diaper with good absorption. It is free of elemental chlorine, perfumes, fragrance, and dyes. They are available from Size 1 to 6.

Because Bambo Nature diapers are pricey, you'll want to test a package on your baby first to make sure size and fit are correct before purchasing in bulk. Some users complain of issues with leaks and faulty tabs, but in our tests we found it performed above average on leakage, and we did not experience faulty tab issues in our testing. Keep in mind that Bambo uses a sizing system that differs from traditional brands like Pampers and Huggies, so you will want to check size and weight range to ensure a good fit.

Read Review: Bambo Nature

6

Best Big Box Store Brand Overnight


Target Up & Up Overnight


Target Up & Up Overnight

$0.41 each (in 86-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Traditional | Fragrance-free: Yes
inexpensive
soft
elemental chlorine and fragrance-free
reported leaks
appear similar to Target's Daytime Up & Up

Just edging out Honest Overnights in absorption tests at more than half the cost, Target Up & Up Overnight available in Sizes 3 to 6 are worth trying if you are on a budget and shop at this popular chain store often. They are value-priced for an overnight and soft without perfumes, so will appeal to babies with sensitive skin.

Be forewarned, however, that Target's Overnight has quite divided user reviews with many experiencing an overall good performance at an awesome price and other just simply expressing flat-out disappointment due to leaks. That said, some report success by sizing up in this brand. Nonetheless, these overnights are the cheapest on the market without added perfumes, so are worth considering a trial if you're on the hunt for a fragrance-free overnight that won't break the bank.

7

Green Overnight with Adorable Graphics


Honest Overnights


Honest Overnights

$0.53 each (in 104-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Green | Fragrance-free: Yes
Good leak protection
Totally chlorine and fragrance-free
Cute nighttime design
Expensive
Reports of faulty tabs

Honest Overnight diapers in Sizes 3 to 6 are a fun choice for those willing to spend more for a sweetly-designed overnight diaper that is fragrance-free and uses totally chlorine-free processing. Of the overnights we tested, they scored middle of the road in absorbency and do a good job with leak protection.

Along with Seventh Generation Overnight diapers, Honest Overnights are definitely the most expensive on the market in this genre. If you are using them for just overnight and it fits within your budget, then they are worth consideration for the cuteness factor alone. Nonetheless, if you're your baby has sensitive skin, be aware that any cute design on a disposable is created with pigments which could potentially be irritating. Thus, we recommend purchasing a small package and trying them out on baby to make sure that rash isn't an issue and to ensure a good fit and successful leakage prevention before making the big investment on a bulk order. If rashes are a problem and you are looking for a great green disposable, we recommend either Nature Babycare or Bambo Nature as your overnight go-to. Lastly, a few users complain of faulty tabs on Honest Overnights that don't remain in place all night long, so this is something to take into consideration when purchasing.

8

A Boost for Heavy Wetters


Sposie Diaper Booster Pads


Sposie Diaper Booster Pads

$0.31 each (in 90-pack)
(6% off)
at Amazon
See It


Type of Diaper: Traditional | Fragrance-free: Yes
Extra absorption
Extra leak protection
Good for tummy sleepers
Subpar moisture-wicking
Lacks adhesive strips

Sposie Diaper Booster Pads is a one-size fits all booster designed to be placed on the inside of a diaper for extra absorption during naps and/or nighttime for heavy wetters. It can be a particularly useful addition to boy tummy sleepers that need extra absorption at the front of the diaper. Just be aware that it may take a few nights to hone in on the correct placement for adequate leak protection.

Although Sposie Pads do absorb lots of liquid, our testing showed that they aren't as good at wicking away moisture from baby's skin as traditional diapers. So, be on the lookout as there could be some potential for rash here. One option to circumvent this possible issue is to line the booster pad with a synthetic cloth liner such as Kanga Care Reusable Diaper Liner to keep the skin dry. We also wish there was an adhesive strip on the pads to help keep them in place throughout the night as they could shift if your little one moves around a lot during sleep. Despite these drawbacks, if you have tried multiple brands and sizes of diapers and your child still wakes up soaking wet, these boosters are definitely worth a shot and may just be the answer to a good night's sleep.

Notably Disappointing


Huggies OverNites


Huggies OverNites

$0.33 each (in 56-pack)
at Amazon
See It


Huggies OverNites has historically been the cream of the crop for overnight disposables. However, it appears that Huggies has recently made an update to it which unfortunately has resulted in a loss of dependability. In our absorption testing, Huggies OverNites performed inconsistently, so much so that we re-tested to ensure that the error was not on our end. After additional research, it looks as though we are not the only ones noticing a distinct unfavorable difference in their new design. Thus, we are disappointed to say that we do not recommend Huggies OverNites as a reliable overnight disposable diaper.


Analysis and Test Results


We chose fourteen disposable diapers to test for our Overnight Diaper Round-Up, and we recommend half of them. Only the following six brands market a dedicated overnight disposable diaper: Pampers, Seventh Generation, Target, Honest, Huggies, and Walmart.

How We Tested


We hand-selected five leading popular diapers from our Disposable Diaper review with excellent to average absorption for inclusion and also entered Pampers Cruisers and Huggies Little Movers to see how they stack up to the competition. Our resulting recommendations are based on a combination of in-house absorbency testing (results below), hands-on overnight testing, and lots of research.


Absorbency Performance


Below, we've compiled the best to worst performers in our absorbency testing going from left to right and top to bottom. The disposable diapers that are bolded represent our overnight recommendations in this Round-Up. Each diaper received the same amount of mock urine as would occur over the course of a night's sleep for a 22 lbs. toddler. This quantity was divided into several urination events. We also simulated baby's weight and movement to give an accurate representation of the forces this quantity of urine would be subject to within the diaper over the course of a full night's sleep. The filter paper with the least amount of green dye (mock urine), shows how said diaper does the best job absorbing liquid and locking it into its inner core while wicking moisture away from the filter paper (a.k.a. baby's skin), keeping it nice and dry. As you can clearly see, not all overnight diapers are created equally.

Luvs Ultra Leakguards
Pampers Baby Dry
Luvs Ultra Leakguards (Best Value, above left)
Pampers Baby Dry (Best Value, above right)
Pampers Swaddlers Overnights
Pampers Swaddlers Overnights (Editors' Choice, above left)
Nature Babycare (Top Pick, above right)
Bambo Nature
Seventh Generation Overnight
Bambo Nature (Top Pick, above left)
Seventh Generation Overnight (above right)
Target Up & Up Overnight
Honest Overnights
Target Up & Up Overnight (above left)
Honest Overnights (above right)
Huggies OverNites
Walmart Parent's Choice Overnight
Huggies OverNites (above left)
Walmart Parent's Choice Overnight (above right)
Pampers Cruisers
Babyganics
Pampers Cruisers (above left)
Babyganics (above right)
Sposie Diaper Booster Pad with Pampers Baby Dry
Huggies Little Movers
Sposie Diaper Booster Pads (above left)

Huggies Little Movers (above right)

Differences between Infant and Overnight Diapers
In our testing of diapers we have proven that the best performing diapers on absorbency for infants are not necessarily the best performers for Overnight use. For that reason, we'd recommend you do not rely on our Best Disposable Diaper Review to choose Overnight diapers. In our Overnight Review we focus on absorbency for older babies wearing a size 3 diaper and up (our tests use size 4), which is the primary size range you'll rely on Overnight diapers for. In our Disposable Diaper review, we focus on performance for infants, and test absorbancy with Size 1 diapers. Performance on absorbency varies considerably in sizes most typically used for Overnight.

Overnight Diaper Buying Advice


Keeping your baby dry through the night is an important part of a good night's sleep. If your little one is consistently wetting through a well-fitting daytime diaper at night, then finding a superabsorbent overnight diaper that can handle a full night's quantity of urine is key. After all, it is no fun for baby to wake up cold, wet, and uncomfortable in the middle of the night. Equally, it is no fun for a parent to change baby and bedding in the wee hours of the night, let alone the extra laundry this scenario creates.

Most daytime diapers are simply not designed to hold the amount of fluid that can come from a 10 to 12-hour sleep. Overnight diapers have more SAP, superabsorbent polymer, than daytime diapers to contain the additional moisture that a full night brings. However, some brands while not specifically marketed as "overnights" are designed to work well day or night. Pampers Baby Dry advertises "12-hour protection" and Luvs Ultra Leakguards have their "nightlock plus" moniker, and as our absorbency testing shows, both brands doing a great job absorbing lots of fluid, "locking" it both in and away from baby's skin. These are products that actually live up to their marketing hype.

With a lot of options, choosing can be difficult. And, as both babies and families vary in their needs, there is typically not a "one size fits all" choice. So, to help you in your selection, we will briefly touch upon the following four key factors to consider when selecting a great overnight diaper: Absorbency, Price, Fit and Comfort, and Traditional versus Green.

Absorbency


Of top importance in the selection for best overnight diaper is absorbency. A great diaper excels in this metric, meaning it absorbs lots of liquid and keeps it locked into its central core away from baby's skin. Super Absorbent Polymer, (SAP), is the secret sauce that makes this happen. All disposable diapers contain this petroleum by-product which can absorb up to 300 times its own weight. (While research and development are being done toward plant-based SAP, as of the date of this publishing, it has yet to be implemented into any disposable diapers, neither traditional nor green, sold on the market.) Although not biodegradable, SAP is considered safe. And it really is SAP in conjunction with the fabric lying directly against your baby's skin that keeps baby's skin dry which is very important to reduce the incidence of rashes.
Noticeable difference in the amount of SAP in Pampers Swaddlers Overnights versus Sposie Booster Pad
Noticeable difference in the amount of SAP in Pampers Swaddlers Overnights versus Sposie Booster Pad

Cost


Overnight diapers are more expensive than 24/7 ones as they tend to have more SAP and materials in their construction to get baby through an entire night of wetting. Nonetheless, this can typically be considered money well-spent if you are just using them for sleep. With any diaper, we do not recommend buying a product in bulk until you have honed in on the correct brand and size for baby. It should fit well without gaping around the thighs, be comfortable, and perform well with minimal leakage. This approach is particularly important with green brands like Bambo and Nature Babycare that have different sizing ranges from traditional manufacturers.

Fit and Comfort


Even a diaper with stellar absorbency will leak if it doesn't fit correctly. So, a good fit is truly key for both daytime and nighttime diapering. Be sure to pay attention to each brand's sizing range as they can differ among brands. In addition, some brands run small while other run large, so it is about finding what works. This may mean trying out different brands and sizes, particularly when a baby has either really slender or chubby thighs.

The elasticized material around the thighs should be snug without gaps but not tight. There should be room for adjustment of waist tabs with elastic banding around the upper back and/or medial to the tabs to help prevent blowouts. If a baby has sensitive skin, the rough fabric found in some green diaper brands as well as tabs with rough edges or predominant seams may chafe and irritate skin, particularly if they fit too tightly. Diapers that utilize fragrance or colored pigments (particularly on the inner part of the diaper which directly contacts baby's skin) can cause rashes.
Here is an example of how the same size diaper can vary considerably between brands. Size 4 Seventh Generation Overnight (left  22 to 32 lbs.) not only is quite a bit smaller in dimensions than Size 4 Honest Overnight (right  22 to 37 lbs.)  but sizing ranges differ as well.
Here is an example of how the same size diaper can vary considerably between brands. Size 4 Seventh Generation Overnight (left, 22 to 32 lbs.) not only is quite a bit smaller in dimensions than Size 4 Honest Overnight (right, 22 to 37 lbs.), but sizing ranges differ as well.

Nonetheless, diapers designed for daytime use can fail even with a good fit, particularly with heavy wetters. As such, common troubleshooting efforts to reduce nighttime leaks are either sizing up for nighttime or double diapering. While either of these may be the solution for some, they will not work for the majority as sizing up often creates a poor fit with gaps particularly around the thighs and double diapering literally doubles the cost and bulk, the latter which can make sleep less comfortable.

Traditional versus Green


When it comes to buying diapers, parents have three choices: Traditional, Green (i.e. Seventh Generation, Bambo, etc.), and Cloth (see our Search for the Best Cloth Diapers review!). Typically, traditional diapers are easily found at the grocery store and are brands you are probably familiar with, such as Huggies and Pampers. However, even traditional overnight-specific diapers can be hard to find at the store and may need to be purchased online. Traditional overnights generally work well but contain ingredients like fragrances, lotions, pigments, and phthalates. If your child has allergies or sensitive skin, these ingredients could aggravate the skin. We recommend reading our article titled What Is Inside Those Disposable Diapers? to learn more about these issues.

Green diapers, on the other hand, are going to be ones that have more eco-friendly practices in the production of their diapers and typically are free of fragrance, lotions, and phthalates. Consequently, they are generally offered at a higher price point. For a more detailed look, check out our article Green Diapers vs. Traditional: What's the Best Choice?

For a large step beyond green diapers, cloth diapers are a big draw and have come a long way in recent years with a plethora of brands and types available. It can be very difficult to choose, but this method of diapering is well worth considering, we believe. Although cloth diapering requires more labor than disposables due to the laundering they require, they will typically bring cost savings over the long-term as well as reduce landfill waste. A big benefit of cloth diapers is that they do not contain SAP, fragrances, or lotions and they are soft on baby's skin as well as straight-up adorable on baby. There are a variety of fabrics and types from which to choose and there is definitely a learning curve if you are new to this approach. Nonetheless, we think it is a very intriguing option, so if you are keen to learn more, read our informative article titled Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: How and what to choose?

Pre-Bedtime Strategy


While using a great overnight diaper is key to a good night's sleep, this is only half the battle. Below, we review some behavioral modifications to employ as part of your sound sleep plan so that baby is less likely to soak through even the overnight.
  • Limit fluids prior to bedtime — Refrain from indulging your toddler with that extra glass of water or milk right before bed. Limit fluids an hour before bedtime. If they get thirsty (and not dealing with illness), a few sips at this point is all that is necessary.
  • Put the diaper on last — The diaper should be dry when you place them in their crib for bedtime. This means that the very last thing before baby goes down is putting on that diaper! Let's face it, becoming sidetracked is the rule, not the exception. Before you know it, baby is being put down an hour later, already wet, and you have begun the night behind the eight ball. Toddlers are true professionals at stalling by inventing distractions that easily delay bedtime. Make sure that the last diaper of the day goes on as they are going down. We can't stress this enough.
  • Diapering logistics — When you are putting the diaper on, make sure that the inner ruffle is pulled out. If not, you are just asking for leaks. Run your finger along this part to make sure it is properly placed. In addition, if you have a boy, position his penis downwards before securing that diaper. Truth be told, this really helps reduce front leakage in boys.

Conclusion


A good overnight diaper can mean the difference between a blissful, full night's sleep and a morning of fatigue plus another load of laundry. Using a diaper that can handle the extra load for a complete night of zzz's is well worth it, we think. We hope this article has helped you find the right nighttime solution for your well-hydrated little one. Come back soon for our additional recommendations for best cloth diapering overnights. Sleep tight.


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Lindsay Selig