My twins have enriched my life in many ways. For example, I’m basically an expert in cheap diapers now. I really wanted to get into cloth ones when the girls were born, but changing two at a time and washing them was just too much. I barely have time for the regular laundry, so we quickly became — and stayed — a disposables family.
Diaper Economics: They’re Too Expensive!
However, premium pampers quickly add up. Even if they’re only about 50 cents each, considering that by the time a baby is potty training, she goes through at least 3000 of them, it costs at minimum $1500 on disposables alone per baby.
Or Are They? The Quest for Reasonably Priced Nappies
I’ve compiled a list of nine brands of cheap diapers. These are all daily diapers for babies who aren’t potty training, and generally available at most stores in the United States or online.
Every baby is different. Every mother is different. However, this is my overall impression of each brand. The price is definitely a major deciding factor, but so is comfort and dryness. A diaper could be free, but if it gives her a rash and leaks, then it’s not worth it.
My Top Nine Brands of Cheap Disposables, from Just Okay to Miraculous:
White Cloud (Wal-Mart):
- Overall: White Cloud, Wal-Mart’s store brand of cheap diapers, is widely available and easy to find.
- Affordability: At about 20-cents each, these disposables are a bargain, but certainly not as cheap as other brands.
- Quality: This one does leak from time to time, and if the baby is sick, forget it. I found small leg gaps. It’s a little papery and pretty boxy. Tabs may not be as strong.
- Comfort: Overall, this one goes on comfortably, is elastic enough, and moves with the baby. However, it’s not the most absorbent and doesn’t keep the baby as dry as other brands. It tends to shift.
- Overall: This cheap brand is a bargain, but a mediocre one.
- Affordability: This one is insanely cheap, at about 14-cents per diaper at most, and that’s why it’s better than just okay.
- Quality: Cuties are of average quality. They’re not as absorbent or comfortable as others, but they don’t leak all the time. Wetness is a minor, ongoing problem, so they need to be changed regularly.
- Comfort: Cuties are little wider and less contoured than other cheap diapers. They’re a little bulky, and the bulk lends to gaps. It’s more papery than others and tends to get soggy and wet more easily.
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Parents Choice (Wal-Mart store brand):
- Overall: This is definitely budget friendly, easy to find, and a reliable option if nothing else is available.
- Affordability: At 14-cents a diaper, these are a great price.
- Quality: One issue with these is that they don’t mask the smell well, so you know when it’s time to change the diaper. It’s not too papery, but not too soft. It’s also less contoured than other brand of cheap diapers. It doesn’t get completely soggy, but it doesn’t stay dry, either.
- Comfort: Aside from the smell (because the baby usually doesn’t care) they’re not bulky and there are usually no gaps around the legs. It moves well with a busy baby.
- Overall: If you can afford them, get them. It’s the most comfortable cheap diapers out there.
- Affordability: Pampers are about 23-cents a diaper, just barely squeaking under budget.
- Quality: Odor isn’t a problem, and the lining is absorbent, so baby stays fresh and dry. Rash isn’t as much of an issue. However, because it’s thinner and softer, it doesn’t hold up as well with bowel movements, and leaks can occur.
- Comfort: Pampers wins here. They’re the softest while being one of the thinnest. This is easy on the diaper bag and easier for young walkers. However, this obviously comes with a trade-off of costing more.
- Overall: Both the cheapest option and a solid performance make it great for stocking up if you can get them in bulk.
- Affordability: Costco, and its store brands. Still, the price comes in at a very kind 12-cents per piece, which is the absolute cheapest nappy on this list.
- Quality: Overall, these are solid, basic disposables. There was some leakage sometimes, usually overnight, as they aren’t the most absorbent ever. However, they’re still very good and the price is amazing.
- Comfort: Overall, this is one went on easily with no leg gaps and just the slightest bit of bulkiness.
- Overall: A good, average diaper for a very nice price…if you can get them, because they’re only sold at BabiesRUs.
- Affordability: Coming in at 16-cents, this a good price for a decent diaper.
- Quality: BabiesRUs diapers are great for young babies and for sleeping. They’re very absorbent while keeping your infant almost 100% dry. I have friends who swear by them, but my daughters tended to leak with them.
- Comfort: The diaper is on the thin side, and it’s not so comfortable if you don’t get the tabs right. However, it’s breathable, which means less skin rash.
- Overall: A solid, reliable disposable. It’s not the best of the cheapies, but certainly not the worst.
- Affordability: These barely cut the muster at 25-cents apiece. With cheaper options, I’d consider Huggies more of a stand-by than a go-to.
- Quality: Huggies are up there. They’re absorbent, locking in liquid and odor, flexible, and with no leg gaps. They’re cute, and the tabs are easy to use.
- Comfort: Huggies are bulky. The trade off is that you get an absorbent nappy at the cost of a large one. However, this is definitely a good road trip or airplane disposable.
Up & Up (Target):
- Overall: A gem among generics. This is an especially great disposable for overnight and for young babies.
- Affordability: These cheap diapers are 15-cents a piece, well under the 25-cent mark, making these quite affordable though they’re not “cheap.”
- Quality: Just about every store brand item at Target is good quality, and these are no different. They’re generic, but they’re absorbent, leak-resistant, and can be used overnight while keeping moisture away from the baby.
- Comfort: Overall, these are medium comfort. They’re not as soft as Pampers or even Huggies, but not as paper-like as Cuties or Parents Choice. They’re on the long side, lending to leg gaps, but they don’t actually leak…much.
- Overall: This is the reigning king (or queen) of cheap diapers, and my favorite.
- Affordability: At 16-cents each, this is a great bargain for everything you get.
- Quality: Luvs is soft, contoured, elastic, and the tabs make it easy to put on evenly. It’s great for small babies and active toddlers.
- Comfort: These are second in comfort to Pampers, but a close second. They’re soft and absorbent but not bulky, and they fit so well that leaks are rare. They’re super absorbent, even after a night’s sleep, so the baby stays dry, too.
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…But Every Baby (and Mother) is Different…
While I know that every baby is different, and that every parent will have a different experience, I know that for my babies, and me cheap disposable pampers are the way to go, and that my list may not be definitive. My recommendation, if you can, is to try a few different brands of cheap diapers to see what works best for your own baby and your own budget.