Disposable diapers brands: The 5 Best Disposable Diapers

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How to Choose the Right Disposable Diaper for You

The choices may seem endless when searching for a disposable diaper. It’s impossible to know from glancing at the package how one brand compares to another in absorbency, fit, and comfort, or whether or not a more expensive diaper is worth the price. Our goal is to spare you this guess-work and aid in the decision making process. This article will give you the information you need to make an informed decision for you and your baby.

Refer to our companion article on diaper materials, for the inside skinny on what makes a diaper work.

For those trying to decide whether to go with cloth or disposables, Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: How and what to choose is a helpful article which attempts to take on this question in an objective, fact-based, manner.

In the Beginning

  • First, consider your infant’s needs as well your priorities. Every family has their bottom line. Cost? Health? The environment? The perfect fit? Or do you want it all?

  • Second, don’t buy in bulk until you are satisfied with a specific diaper’s performance and fit.

  • Third, wait to buy baby’s first diapers until just before or after he/she is born and you know their weight. A few packages of newborn diapers (up to 10 lb) may be all you need before heading onto size 1 (8-14 lb). Ordering diapers online is a breeze, and typically they can arrive at your doorstep before you even get home from the hospital.

  • Important tip: European brands, like Eco by Naty, have unique sizing systems.

  • Last, cost per diaper will be best once you are ready to buy in bulk. The prices listed for each brand in our Best Disposable Diaper Review comparison chart reflect bulk rates.

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

Choose a Diaper that Exceeds in Absorbency

Absorbency is the most critical trait of any diaper, disposable, and cloth alike. Absorption covers how much liquid a diaper can hold, how well that liquid wicks away from the baby and distributes throughout the diaper’s core, and how well it continues to keep that moisture away from the baby’s skin. Poor absorption can expose the baby’s skin to persistent dampness, which can lead to diaper rash. Our absorption tests gave us some interesting insights into how each of the disposable diapers we tested compared to one another both in absorption and overall function. In our testing, the diapers that claimed the highest absorbency scores also earned the best overall ratings.

SAP is claimed to absorb up to 300x its weight in water and retain it. In the left photo, you see a small pile of white SAP crystals from a diaper’s absorbent core. It has a consistency of a very fine white sand. We then added 65 drops of water, which was completely absorbed by the SAP in a few minutes to become the gelatinous crystal pile you see from two angles in the center and right photos.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP)

Please allow us to delve briefly into the construction of diapers. For us to assess diapers fairly, we must discuss the details of their contents. We want to make sure everyone is aware of the secret chemical ingredient that is in almost every brand of disposable diaper. Whether a diaper is green or traditional, the absorbent core of the diaper contains SAP: Super Absorbent Polymer.

Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP). While believed to be safe and non-toxic, this crystal-like gel material freaks out many a parent if it escapes from a soaked disposable diaper’s absorbent core and onto the baby’s skin. Manufacturers recommend just wiping it off.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

In the middle of the absorbent core layers, between the outer cover and inner liner, you will find SAP powder, which looks like fine white sand. SAP is the meat of your diaper’s absorbency sandwich; it provides the primary method of absorbing urine and wet fecal matter and trapping it in the core.

This photo shows the same brand diaper (Bambo), cut in half to reveal the absorbent core, when dry (top) and when wet after an overnight wetting (below). The top layer of the wet diaper feels dry to the touch, owing to the urine being effectively absorbed into the core. SAP crystals do the heavy lifting, and are sandwiched between the upper and lower layers of the diaper core material.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Even green diapers like Bambo Nature, Seventh Generation, and Honest Company rely on SAP for absorption and consider it safe. In our research, we have not found any scientific research that shows otherwise.

Find a Good Fit to Help Avoid Leaks

The weight of your baby determines the diaper size you need. However, much like baby’s clothes, fit between disposable diaper brands vary. Most diapers help ensure a leak-free fit by providing a double elastic sealing edge, one alongside the absorbent core, and one alongside the outer shell of the diaper.

Most diapers use two elastic edges to prevent leaks, however the quality of materials is really what separates a diaper’s performance on fit and leakage.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

However, despite this similarity, we found that not all diapers were equal in fit, and they performed differently in leak tests. In our testing, we found that materials differed significantly from diaper to diaper and that this affected fit and leakage. Some were softer and conformed to the body nicely, while others were stiffer, leaving small gaps that created a poor fit.

The best fitting diapers in our tests implemented an elastic stretch in the back of the diaper and/or the side wings/closure tab (as shown above). This flexibility, when combined with soft materials, can help create a great fit that is comfortable for baby.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Every Baby is Unique

Of course, every baby has different proportions, so finding a disposable diaper with the perfect fit can involve some trial and error. Let’s face it; even the best absorbing diaper may leak if the fit is not right. Parents may need to try a handful of brands to find the diaper that fits their baby best. Again, try to avoid buying in bulk until you find your «go-to» diaper, and remember to pay attention to the weight range, so you know you are purchasing the right size.

The quality of securing closure tabs can make a difference for baby’s comfort. Too scratchy and they may cause irritation of baby’s sensitive skin.

Credit: BabyGearLab Staff

Baby’s Comfort

Keeping your baby comfortable requires not only stellar absorbency and an adequate fit but also materials that feel soft on a baby’s skin. Securing tabs need to stay put and should have soft or rounded corners. Also, edges and seams need to feel seamless to avoid chafing. Because it is impossible to truly know what you are getting your baby into without buying and comparing them all side-by-side, we reviewed these qualities for you. Of course, your baby will be the first to let you know if there are issues, and as one of our little in-house testers did, might even start indicating which diapers they like the best.

For the Eco-Health Minded

Save the Earth

Much debate surrounds which is more earth-friendly: green disposable diapers or cloth diapers. Some brands manufacture their diapers with attention to minimizing their carbon footprint. However, they end up in the landfill where even compostable diapers will fail to biodegrade if in a dark, airless environment. Alternatively, cloth diapers require lots of precious water and electricity to clean over and over.

Nonetheless, if you and your family do not want to commit to cloth diapering, but still want to make an effort toward being eco-conscious, more green diapers exist than ever before. These options may include chlorine-free processing, use of renewable resources, boast minimal packaging, use biodegradable materials, and often contribute to charities in an attempt to offset their footprint. But, in our analysis comparing cloth vs. disposable diapers we concluded that cloth is a much better option for the eco-health minded parent (and for the budget-minded parent too).

One thing we can assure you of is that you don’t need to sacrifice quality to be more Earth-friendly. In our tests of disposables, the green diapers were the top performers, handily outperforming traditional brands like Pampers and Huggies on basic performance metrics like absorbency, leakage, and comfort.

Keeping Baby Healthy

Whether your child has chemical sensitivities, allergies to perfume, or latex, or you are just a parent that is concerned about minimizing your baby’s exposure to synthetic chemicals; we can all agree that baby’s health comes first. Health-conscious qualities in disposables are now more commonplace. They are often present in well-performing, more affordable options like Seventh Generation, as well as high-end brands like Eco by Naty, and Bambo Nature. One word of caution would be the industry’s use of the word «Hypoallergenic,» which is a non-regulated word that means very little and is not an indicator of a product designed with the baby’s health in mind. We at BabyGearLab believe that in this area, less is more.

Our recommendations are:

  • Chlorine-free — recommended. Chlorine treatment of diapers can leave trace quantities of a dangerous chemical called Dioxin. We don’t feel it is worth the risk, and there are a lot of chlorine-free options available.
  • Fragrance-free & Dye-free — recommended. Fragrance and dyes are unnecessary in a diaper, and some babies can be allergic to them. Leave them out. The best way of dealing with dirty diaper smells is by changing the diaper, not adding fragrance to it.
  • Super Absorbent Polymer — You will be hard-pressed to find any disposable diaper, even a green diaper, without Super Absorbent polymer (SAP). If that is your desire, the only practical option may be cloth diapers. However, we have been unable to find any evidence-based literature to suggest SAP use in disposable diapers is harmful. Even Bambo Nature, the winner of the coveted Nordic Swan Eco-label, uses SAP (in their «mix of wheat starch and acrylic polymers which do not contain phthalates»).
  • Consider Cloth Diapers — without a doubt, cloth diapers are better than ever before and represent a superior choice for eco-health metrics. They cost much less, reduce environmental impact, come in colorful, cute patterns, and do not contain materials that leave us anxious. What’s more, modern cloth diapers are a lot easier to work with than the ones your parents might have used. See our comprehensive review of the best cloth diapers for more information.

Price per Diaper Estimates

New parents commonly price compare using newborn or size 1 diaper prices. However, we advise caution in using this approach. Here’s why:

  • The cost of size 1 diapers is deceptively low when compared to a weighted average diaper cost across all sizes and typical amounts used per size.
  • Manufacturers may offer their size 1 as a low-cost loss-leader, knowing that most parents stay with the brand until their baby is out of diapers. Then they set higher prices for the larger sizes, seeking profits in the more frequently used size 2, 3, and 4 diapers.

We Used Size 3 for Our Price Comparison

Based on our analysis of weighted average costs across six popular diaper brands, we believe the Size 3 diaper cost represents the approximate weighted average cost, and can reasonably represent the lifetime cost of diapers. You’ll see in our reviews that we calculate an estimated diaper per unit price using size 3 bulk-volume diaper prices at Amazon (or other retailers, if not available at Amazon) to estimate a fair price. We did not include shipping prices because Amazon offers Prime, which we feel is a bargain for frequent Amazon shoppers.

Subscription Pricing Discounts

Some vendors offer additional discounts if you purchase a diaper purchase «subscription.» Subscription discounts can be smart and convenient if you have settled on a specific brand you are comfortable using. But, we urge you to avoid subscription pricing until you have determined which diaper works best for both you and your baby. The prices we show are estimates; the list or street prices do not reflect subscription prices.


To aid you in your selection process, we encourage you to take a look at our companion articles:

  • What Is Inside Those Disposable Diapers?
  • The Best Cloth Diapers Review
  • Cloth Diapers vs. Disposables: How and what to choose?

Choosing a disposable diaper can be daunting. The sheer number of options available, and the inability to try them all can leave a parent confused and frustrated. We recommend that absorbency be your top priority, and the rest will follow. In our tests, the diapers that scored the highest in absorbency usually scored very well in the other metrics. Besides, we feel that going green is the right thing to do (as well as a natural choice) since our testing revealed that most of the high-scoring diapers were both Earth and health-friendly at a variety of price points sure to work with most budgets.


Choosing the style and brand of diaper to use with your baby is no quick decision. We understand there are so many brands and so many styles to choose from that it could be easy to lose sleep over what to use and what is best for your goals and your baby. We hope our review of top brands and articles on diaper types and truths can provide the information you need to make a selection you can feel confident with.

How We Tested Disposable Diapers

We have tested more than 60 of the most popular and highest rated diapers, including several eco-friendly diapers, in a side-by-side comparison to determine which was the absolute best and best for your little one’s needs.

A key part of our testing process is seeing how each diaper performs in day to day use. By combining hands-on testing with quantitative tests, we believe we can better rate relative performance of each product.

Credit: NGK

Hands on Testing

We tested each diaper in normal day-to-day use over a 3+ month test period and carefully noted each diaper’s performance relative to its competitors. We found hands-on testing observations for absorbency correlated well with our lab test findings. For example, diapers that felt wet to the touch on the surface after a diaper change were the same diapers that scored poorly in our lab tests for absorption.

Credit: Genaveve Bradshaw

Fit and Leakage

We relied on our observations from normal day-to-day diapering, our in-house leak and absorptions tests, and Amazon user reviews to determine fit and leakage. Since we can’t ask an infant to report comfort, we carefully assessed any marks on the skin and determined if they were caused by the diaper and why. We also lined up each diaper to feel and investigate tab placement, leg and back elastic quality, as well as to rough them up a bit and determine construction. After spending some time comparing and getting to know each diaper, we assigned a score for their leakage, fit, durability, and comfort.

Creating the Lab Tests

After our extensive hands-on testing combined with researching other reviews and reading parents’ opinions on diapers, we felt the number one performance consideration when buying a diaper was absorption. This was not a big surprise since manufacturers tend to emphasize their diaper’s absorbency in marketing the advertising. Absorption plays a key role in diaper performance because keeping a baby’s skin dry helps avoid diaper rash and avoids overall leaks. The other concerns were leaks, comfort, durability, and eco/health friendly. We then assigned each a % weighting value in our overall ratings.

  • Absorption 45%
  • Leaks 25%
  • Comfort 20%
  • Durability 10%

Every diaper was carefully reviewed and scored on this system to determine their rank and to select the winners.

Credit: Genaveve Bradshaw

Lab Testing Absorbency

While stating that absorption is the #1 performance factor is easy, actually testing for it in a fair and objective manner is another thing altogether. We found that making fair scores based on hands-on use testing with babies proved too imprecise; it is hard to determine fairly how much and often a child is urinating, and these variances made judging diaper performance solely from hands-on testing too subjective.

We also found that the easiest test, namely soaking the diaper completely and measuring the total weight of liquid absorbed, did not predict or correlate to the actual performance differences we observed in hands-on use (this type of test is also discredited by industry professionals, see the section on Inspiration below). We believe that the reason a soaking test fails to predict real-world performance is that it ignores the importance of a diaper’s ability to accept urine flow from a point of entry from the middle of the inner surface and then redistribute the fluid throughout the diaper’s inner core (and away from baby’s skin). We found this to be the crucial factor that separated a great diaper from a good one.

We set out to create a diaper absorption test designed to simulate how effectively the diaper absorbs a significant urination event into a diaper’s inner core and measure the amount of surface moisture remaining next to the baby’s skin. We’re not so much testing for the absolute maximum ability to absorb fluid like a sponge, as we are looking for a diaper that can absorb a large urine release into the inner core of the diaper while keeping the surface area next to the baby’s skin as dry and comfortable as possible.

Credit: Genaveve Bradshaw

Umm… Can You Mix Up Another Batch of Mock Urine?

So, after experimenting with various approaches to testing absorbency, we eventually came up with the test described below. First, we added salt and food dye to sterile filtered water to create mock urine with salinity that matches baby urine. Then we used a medium-sized syringe to distribute 100 ml of the fluid into the diaper, using a standardized entry location and flow rate that approximates actual urination. We choose 100 ml to simulate a heavy overnight urine event for a size 1 diaper.

To put the 100 ml in perspective, that would correspond to a heavy overnight wetting volume from a well-hydrated 14 lbs baby, at the upper limit of the size 1 range, which is what we were after to put the diapers to the task at stress-test levels. After slowly wetting the diaper with 100 ml, we waited one minute for the diaper to absorb and distribute before adding 15 lbs of weight evenly distributed over the diaper area. This process was then repeated for another one-minute interval of rest and weighting. We believe this weighting and the unweighting process is important to be realistic since the diapers are designed to redistribute the urine and then (ideally) absorb/lock it into the core away from the baby’s skin. Baby’s movements play a role in that redistribution process. The time and 15 lbs weight was used to simulate, in a standardized and highly repeatable manner, the redistribution of fluid in the diaper’s core that naturally occurs from the baby’s movements. At the end of this process, most diapers will have absorbed the 100 ml into their inner core, and the surface layer which sits next to the baby’s skin should be mostly dry. However, we found that some diapers did not completely trap the fluid in the diaper core; some diapers leaked from the edges, exhibited spots where fluid pooled, or simply were wet to the touch across significant areas of the diaper’s top layer.

To create a record of the surface wetness on the layer next to the baby’s skin, we placed a science-grade filter paper on the diaper with 5 lbs of weight on top for 1 minute. Any green-dyed mock-urine moisture at the surface layer was readily absorbed into the filter paper, creating a visual record of how much mock-urine remained closed to the baby’s skin versus locked into the diaper’s inner core. We’ve included comparison photos of each diaper’s filter paper tests in our reviews to help document our findings. We found these absorbency tests predicted accurately and with higher precision, the same performance differences we more subjectively observed in our hands-on testing with a baby in normal day-to-day use.

The poof has the lowest score for absorption with an excessive amount of urine captured on the test paper, implying that the core of the diaper struggled to lock moisture away from baby’s bottom.You can see almost no moisture transfer onto the test paper for the Nature Babycare absorption test. This translates to a drier baby which could mean less skin irritation, less diaper rash, and a happier baby.The photos above are a comparison of the Poof diaper with the worst absorbency in our tests in the past (left) and Eco by Naty (right).


Our absorption lab tests were inspired in part by a 10-page white paper published by P. Hardy of Disposable Consultancy Service. Mr. Hardy is a consulting engineer who has invented various diaper testing machines and is familiar with the details of diaper manufacturing and design from years of industry experience. Mr. Hardy points out that the most typical test, namely soaking the diaper to determine its maximum absorbency, does little to predict the actual characteristics parents cite as most important in focus group panels. His white paper outlines more sophisticated testing methods that more closely predict actual field performance. Mr. Hardy’s white paper can be found here.

Credit: Disposable Consultancy Service

What’s In Those Diapers Anyway?

We relied on the manufacturers’ claims to determine the most «green» diaper meaning baby and earth-friendly. This is an intense debate, with many reporting that no disposable can be green, thereby advocating only cloth diapering. We purposefully did not try to determine disposables versus cloth diapers. We intentionally kept the reviews separate, although we do use the same scoring system and absorption testing processes for both.

It was difficult to tell which diaper contained what and how that particular item was different from what other diapers contained. Manufacturers sometimes offer information, but it is usually vague, often full of greenwashing, and intentionally misleading without telling you much. We suggest you proceed with caution concerning ingredients and potential irritants. Whether it is dyes, lotions, fragrances, or other additives, we’ve found that most manufacturers are bending words to suit their needs, and we’d suggest taking any claim with a grain of salt. Less is more, and we’d like them all to use less, and we encourage manufacturers to be transparent going forward so parents can make educated decisions based on similar data.

Over time, we’ve tested over 40 disposable diapers in our lab. Some of these contenders are shown here.

Credit: Abriah Wofford

No Bias

None of the diapers were given advantages or preferences in our tests. We pride ourselves on simply reporting our findings in an accurate and objective manner without bias. Some parts of our testing were inherently subjective, such as fit and comfort. However, when combined with the diaper’s absorbency performance, it did directly link to leaks. In the end, we simply wanted to report what we saw in our tests, supported by facts from our research and experience.

Good luck with diapering, and may potty training come sooner rather than later!

How to choose the right disposable diapers (pampers) for adults?

Adult disposable diapers are a modern personal hygiene product used in cases of urinary and/or fecal incontinence. As a rule, they are used as a means (objects) of care for bedridden patients, the elderly (at home and in a hospital), but can also be used by people who lead an active, mobile lifestyle. In this case, there is a good alternative to disposable diapers — disposable absorbent underpants (adult diapers), which are more comfortable to wear in everyday life.

Before you buy diapers (pampers) for an adult, it is very important to choose them correctly. There are several important criteria that you need to pay special attention to when buying.

1. Diaper size. Diapers are available in different sizes. To determine which ones are suitable for the patient, you need to measure the volume of his abdomen with a centimeter tape (not the waist and not the hips, but the abdomen: along the line that runs just below the waist, along the most protruding points of the abdomen). Each size corresponds to certain volumes of the abdomen, expressed in cm. For example, adult diapers from Hartmann «Molicare Comfort Extra» No. 2 (Medium) correspond to a stomach volume of 70-120 cm. And diapers from Seni «Super Seni Air» (day, medium) corresponds to the volume of the abdomen 75 — 110 cm.

2.Volume of liquid absorbed (absorption rate of the diaper). In the description of the product, the level of absorption is indicated both in milliliters and in “drops”. If you can’t change your diaper often, it’s best to choose a diaper that’s the same size but more absorbent. Some companies produce «day» and «night» versions of diapers. The latter are designed for more liquid at the same sizes. You should not buy larger diapers for the sake of greater absorbency — this can lead to leakage, discomfort for the patient when wearing, etc.

3. Material. Inside, modern diapers are arranged approximately the same, although some differences are still present from different manufacturers (which we also advise you to pay attention to). The outer (outer) layer can be breathable (special material that allows air to pass through) and non-breathable (oilcloth material). The absence of latex reduces the risk of allergic reactions. If a person leads an active lifestyle, then choose diapers that will not be visible under clothes and do not rustle when moving.

4. Fixing the diaper. To do this, usually in modern models, reliable Velcro fasteners on both sides should be provided. Well, if they are reusable, with a secure fastening on the outer surface of the diaper. The edges of the diaper should fit well in the abdomen, groin.

The choice of an adult diaper (Tena, Seni or Hartmann, etc.) is a purely individual matter. Consult with your doctor. It may take time to decide on a particular type of diaper. Therefore, do not rush to immediately buy a large batch of one brand. Be extremely careful, make sure that you are not mistaken with the size, number of packages, etc., because disposable diapers are included in the list of goods, the return and exchange of which is prohibited by law (Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation of 10/20/1998 No. 1222, dated February 6, 2002 No. 81).

Remember that wearing disposable diapers doesn’t have to be permanent. For the health of the skin and internal organs, it is necessary to follow a certain regimen for their use, as well as to carry out timely hygiene and air procedures.

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