Children are just one of those people that can spark a series of agreements or discussions, sometimes often heated among the most loving and loyal life partners. Good news however is that some decisions are mind boggling such as whether to choose between cloth diapers or throw away diapers aka disposables. It’s really no brainer! Cloth diapers with their tremendous benefits outweigh the benefits of disposables, but with the different types of cloth diapers, the big question you’re faced with is which one is right for you. Quite briefly, a cloth diaper cover is the outer shell of the diaper, i.e. the waterproof layer that’s essential to keeping your child’s clothing dry when in use. With regards to how many cloth diaper covers you need, it is recommended that you have 6-8 for a newborn, 4-6 for an older baby and 2-3 diaper covers for a toddler. Owing to the surge of appeal, buying the best cloth diaper covers can be overwhelming, but after roughly 100 hours of research, I’ve concluded that the Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap not only looks good, but delivers a stellar performance across several metrics.
My Pick – Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap
There are several cloth diaper companies that claim they make the best cloth diapers, but Thirties is just one of the few that stands true to their word.
Not only do they make the best USA made cloth diapers, they do this while investing in the local economy and with sustainable business practices.
Adding to this, all components involved in their cloth diaper making process are USA sourced in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint, while simultaneously supporting the country’s textile mills and local economy.
Each diaper or product coming out of the Thirsties hangar showcases the best in design and goes through a stringent quality testing process to ensure they are safe for your baby and environment.
Runner-up – Best Bottom Cloth Diaper Shell-Snap
Best Bottom is a privately owned business started by a husband and wife team, and one that is dedicated to producing the highest quality products, while being responsible and maintaining industry leading social business practices.
In an effort to reduce environment impact, all the company’s products are PVC-free and CPSIA compliant, and are designed to replace disposable items resulting in less waste in the landfills.
The Best Bottom Cloth diaper shell wrap is designed to fit from infancy to potty training, and is crafted of high quality materials.
All products made by the company are guaranteed against workmanship or material defects for a full 60 days from the date of purchase, which guaranteed you get the best of stitching, seams, elastics and any other components that go into the manufacturing process.
Upgrade Pick – Blueberry Coveralls
Mom of four and founder of Blueberry Coveralls – Margarita is a leading expert in pee and poo management who claims that they do things differently than other cloth diaper manufacturers starting with realizing that they have a much bigger responsibility than just making great products.
It is making sure that all the ingredients used in the diaper making process are 100 percent safe for babies.
The company claims to pay the same attention to creating their products as you would in making a meal for your loved ones, using the best ingredients.
Blueberry Coveralls when possible uses USA sourced fabrics, which ensures that the fabric is free of any contaminants that may be harmful to babies, and also means that keep the textile manufacturing industry alive in their homeland.
Budget Pick – Wolbybug – One Size Diaper Cover
Created in the USA, Wolbybug is a distribution partner for Knickernappies – a company conceived in 2006 by a couple looking for an effective solution to fight diaper rash.
After shutting down their bookstore, Shannon and her husband invested in Knickernappies, which at the time already had a stellar reputation and a handful of patterns.
The company was introduced to the world in late 2006, and after constant improvements to their current patterns introduced their One Size diaper line. A noteworthy trait of Knickernappies is that all their products including diapers, inserts and sewn products are produced in Oregon, USA so you get nothing short of high quality at the best prices.
Also Great – Sweet Pea One Size Diaper Cover
“Isn’t your Sweet Pea Worth it” – this is the motto of the Sweet Pea Diaper company, and I’d like to believe my sweet peas truly are.
The company although fairly new makes a wide range of diapers including newborn all in one diapers, one size pocket diapers, and one size diaper covers.
The Sweet Pea One Size diaper cover showcases an economical design that fits from birth to potty training and appointed with leg gussets to contain messes.
Further, this diaper cover features an easy to clean interior for easy maintenance, and a PUL exterior for durability and softness.
Table of Contents:
- Why you should trust me
- How I picked
- How I tested
- My pick
- Flaws but not Deal breaker
- The Competition
Why you should trust me:
I interviewed 5 leading pediatricians and several other cloth diapering parents to get their take on the best type of cloth diapers and cloth diaper covers.
They filled me in on how cloth diaper covers work, and how to use them effectively, meaning with the best cloth diaper inserts. Next, I read a bunch of academic papers on clinical trials to get up to date on how the whole system works.
Before I started working on this guide, I even scoured reviews from several online marketplaces specifically eBay and Amazon to see what customers were saying about cloth diaper covers and the cloth diapers I chose to recommend.
How I picked?
Regardless of the type of cloth diaper you choose, the first most important element to consider is the material used in its construction.
The waterproof layers are generally made of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) and PUL (polyurethane laminate), which together are designed to perform important functions that most parents just can’t live without.
I found that since the processes used to create these fabrics were way too complex, the bigger questions that I thought were important to answer were if any solvents were used in the production of the material and if formaldehyde was used in the spray-on water repellants that is an essential part of waterproofing material.
I picked mostly those cloth diaper covers that underwent a slightly more expensive thermal only process or one that does not leave behind even the slightest traces of solvents.
There are other processes that use solvents sometimes combined with heat that may degrade over time resulting in chemicals seeping though the cloth diaper cover.
All waterproof diaper covers feature a layer of spray on repellant in an effort to preserve the waterproofing features after the sewing process.
Lack of this essential layer will most likely result in leaks through the pinholes made by the sewing.
And what I paid special attention to here is ensuring that spray-on repellants used in the cloth diaper covers were free of any instances of formaldehyde, a chemical that is known to lead to several short and long term health effects such as Cancer.
I also took a look at the different inserts available for cloth diaper covers AKA all-in-two diapers. There are several different types of inserts available, each with their own set of features such as absorbency levels and materials.
I picked cloth diaper covers that were compatible with the most highly rated cloth diaper inserts including those made of bamboo, cotton, hemp and polyester.
Using the right cloth diaper cover insert however depends on personal choice, and you can read more on the different types of diaper cover inserts and their features, pros and cons here.
How I Tested?
I reviewed 20 of the best cloth diaper covers, and compared them alongside to see which ones held up well to leaks and other performance metrics.
Adding to this, I not only spoke with several parents who had used these diapers covers, but also put them through rigorous tests and used them around the clock with several different types of inserts.
Cloth diaper covers are perhaps the perfect compromise between convenience, cost and functionality, and one of their noteworthy benefits is since they are simply an outer shell, you can simply remove the wet, soiled insert and replace it with a clean one.
This means that they don’t only dry much faster, but are highly customizable compared to traditional all in one cloth diapers.
First, I checked out how easy it was to stuff and remove the inserts into each cloth diaper cover, making sure they were easy to use even for new cloth diapering parents.
The only difference between cloth diaper covers and all in one cloth diapers is that the former requires a little assembly, but not much time is needed once you know how to get your feet wet.
Drying times were significantly less as most of the diaper covers I tested were made of high quality materials such as PUL (polyurethane laminate).
And lastly, I looked at the enclosures of the diaper covers, where the most common are Velcro, snap and hook and loop enclosures or Aplix or Velcro enclosures.
Snap enclosures consist of several metal or plastic snaps, and are secured around the front closure of the diaper cover.
My tests proved that cloth diapers with snap enclosures went a long way much more than the diaper elastics and even the metal snap.
On the downside, snap diapers require the extra bit of effort to snap them into place for a secure fit, and this task is a bit more challenging in low light conditions.
Aplix or Velcro undoubtedly were the most easier to use, and both these trademark names make it faster to remove the cloth diaper shell at the time of maintenance.
One of the pitfalls of Aplix and Velcro enclosures according to my testing was that they were less durable, and some even lost their gripping strength after a few washes.
My Pick – Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap
The biggest reason the Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap is my top diaper pick is its sheer performance across several metrics.
I couldn’t find a better way to test the Duo Wrap Snap than Thirsties very own and highly recommended Stay Dry Duo Insert, which when used together makes the best easy-to-use All-in-Two (AI2) system.
The cover is well padded making it extra thick and offers superior absorbency owing to its multi-layer inserts that simply snap together.
The Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap is basically part of a two part diaper system, and although it is compatible with several third party insets, the best ones to use are from the company’s insert lineup.
The choices include the Stay Dry Duo insert, Duo Hemp Prefold and the Duo Fab Fitted.
Using the Thirsties cloth diaper cover and insert together is an easy task, where you simply lay the insert, fleece side up into the cover.
One of the perks of this AI2 system is that the Thirsties inserts do not have to be folded or stuffed into the wrap shell.
Considering that the shell of diaper cover is not good without an efficient insert, and since I’ve used the Thirsties Duo Wrap Snap in combination with the Stay Dry Duo inserts, this review is for the best of both worlds.
The two layer inserts is really an all rounder given that it a combination of a micro fleece and microfiber terry top layer, which works to keep the moisture away from your baby’s skin, while the cotton and hemp bottom add to the absorbency levels owing to their natural characteristics.
The Duo Wrap cloth diaper cover can be ordered in two different sizes – 6-18 lbs and 18-40 lbs, so you will need to purchase an extra set when your baby grows.
Take note that the cover and insert are two separate pieces, each purchased separately.
When washing the diaper cover or inserts, pay special attention to the manufacturers care instructions for optimal absorbency.
For example, Thirsties recommends that a special laundering protocol be performed before first using the insert.
When it comes to absorbency, both the Thirsties cover and insert took home the gold.
The cover is appointed with three rows of snaps at the top, making it easier to adjust for a proper fit. Further, there are thoughtfully placed gussets at the leg openings to prevent messes from leaking out of the diaper.
When compared to other brand inserts, the Thirsties insert is quite thin so it is discreet under clothing, and does not make it difficult for the baby to move around.
But I can’t say the same about the cover as it’s well padded and does seem quite big on slimmer babies even on the smallest settings.
But on a brighter note, this doesn’t affect how the overall diaper cover worked and does look snug and does what it’s supposed to do.
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest advantages of an AI2 system is that you can reuse the cover without washing it separate from the insert as long as it is not soiled, which results in great service life.
Also it is extremely important that you place the insert into the cover appropriately, which is where the fleece layer is always in contact with your baby’s skin.
If you’re sleep deprived, and you mess up this placement setup, where you place the cotton or hemp layer on top or touching your baby’s skin, you will simply end up with a big stain job to clean up.
In terms of materials used in the construction and build quality, the Duo Wrap did not disappoint, and is crafted of synthetic material, and mated with a 100 percent waterproof PUL, which can be easily wiped clean with a damp cloth in case there are any leaks that spread from the insert to the cover.
Though the waterproof laminate is placed on the polyester fabric of the diaper cover through a chemical process rather than thermal or heat, Thirsties claims that the diaper cover if free of lead, latex, phthalate, PVC, VOC or any other harmful chemicals.
The lower absorptive portion of the insert is made of natural fibers of 45 percent cotton and 55 percent hemp, and the upper or fleece portion that comes in contact with your baby’s skin is made of stain resistant, stay-dry 100 percent microfleece.
Flaws but not Deal breaker
Don’t get me wrong, but the Thirsties Duo Wrap is probably the best cloth diaper cover I’ve come across, but isn’t perfect.
The insert although great sometimes doesn’t fit the diaper cover properly so messes may leak out causing you to grab a clean cover.
I found the diaper cover to do well on chunkier babies rather than trimmer infants owing to the plush padding.
Furthermore, the hemp layer of the insert can get stiff at times especially after line drying, but this is to be expected from natural material.
For this, Thirsties recommends drying in medium heat along with some wood dryer balls for softness.
Runner-up – Best Bottom Cloth Diaper Shell-Snap
For starters, the Best Bottom Cloth Diaper Shell Snap is a one size cloth diaper shell meaning it will fit from infancy to roughly 35 lbs range.
It was hard to choose the best shell for my testing given that the Best Bottom Shell Snap can be ordered in 10 different color/print combinations including Giraffe (in pink, blue and green) and orange sherbet (orange, blue).
In addition, all of these can be had in hook and loop or snap aka Velcro enclosures.
Since Best Bottoms does also offers a wide range of inserts, I decided to try three stay-dry inserts, each offered in a different size – small, medium and large.
If you have no clue which size is right for your baby, Best Bottom does include a handy size chart, which recommends small inserts for infants – 14 lbs, medium for 11-22 lbs babies and large for 16-35 lbs.
Of course, choosing the right inserts also depends on the size and shape of your little one so what works for you might work better for someone else.
One of the things I really loved about the stay dry inserts is that they are a combination of 4 layers of microfiber mated with soft fleece to keep wetness away from your baby’s bottom.
Best Bottom also offers a hemp/organic cotton insert, and a doubler for heavy wetters.
The doubler is not to be confused with a regular insert, but rather consists of 2 layers and of microfiber, and is designed to be compatible with any regular insert of the same size.
To use the Best Bottom Doubler, simply snap it in with a regular insert and in top, and place the ensemble into the diaper cover.
After testing several diaper covers, one thing I noticed about the Best Bottom cloth cover system is how easy it was to use and how trim the inset fit in the middle.
Next noteworthy feature of the Best Bottom hybrid diapering system is its leg gussets, which showcase high quality and offer great protection.
Made in the USA, the Best Bottom diapering system is highly absorbent and easy to use, where you simply adjust the snaps on the cover aka shell for the right fit, snap in the insert, snap the diaper cover on your baby and voila, you’re all set!
Upgrade Pick – Blueberry Coveralls
Made in the USA, Blueberry Coveralls is an extremely lightweight and waterproof diaper cover that is designed to fit kids between 10 and 40 lbs.
Crafted of 100 percent polyester fabric and mated with latex free elastic ensures that it will not cause irritation especially in sensitive babies.
Just like the Best bottom cloth diaper cover, Blueberry Coveralls can be had in an assortment of colors and prints as well as Velcro and snap enclosures.
Furthermore, it is compatible with prefolds, flats, contoured and fitted diapers and other inserts.
Moving to the interior, the Blueberry Coveralls diaper shell is similar to the Best Bottom cover with dual leg gussets to keep messes intact.
The exterior of the diaper cover is also similar in design to the Best Bottom cover, and features three rows of snaps on the torso that make it easy to adjust it for the right fit.
Then there are two rows of 10 snaps on the waist, which can be adjusted to fit babies between 9 and 21 inches.
When it comes to performance, this diaper cover does impress, and in my testing did not leak even after 12 hours of continuous wear.
If you’re looking for a cloth diaper cover for a larger baby or toddler, the Blueberry Coveralls fits the bill.
The dual leg gussets will prevent the messes from surging out, and the torso snaps make it easy to adjust between small, medium and large sizes.
Budget Pick – Wolbybug – One Size Diaper Cover
The Wolbybug is a one size cloth diaper cover, and the first thing that got my attention was the cute red and black ladybug print.
It is also available in several other eye catching colors and prints such as lilypad and pink dot.
The interior of this cloth diaper shell features an elasticized back flap, which helps keep the inserts in place especially when you’re putting on the diaper cover.
Although I do prefer dual gussets, the Wolbybug cover falls short with just one, but this turned out to be no biggie as I had absolutely no issues with leaks.
One of the noteworthy features of the Wolbybug diaper shell is its hip snap configuration meaning there is a double row of three hip snaps as compared to a single row of two hip snaps on the best bottom shells.
This one size diaper is a great choice for infancy until potty training and is definitely an economical option compared to other cloth diaper covers in its segment.
It is compatible with contour diapers, flat diapers, prefolds, pod diapers, cloth and even disposable inserts.
Also Great – Sweet Pea One Size Diaper Cover
The Sweet Pea is a one size diaper cover that is designed to fit kids between 10 – 35 lbs.
It is appointed with one rise of snaps for a more customized fit, and is highly affordable.
Adding to this, it can be worn over flats, prefolds, fitteds, or with your preferred natural fiber insert.
Even though it is inexpensive, the Sweet Pea one size diaper cover does feature leg gussets to contain messes especially from newborns.
Crafted of PUL material, the diaper does feel kind of stretchy somewhat like the nylon of a swimsuit, but feel snug when fitted appropriately.
Where some cloth diapers are stiff and not really flexible, the Sweet Pea cloth diaper shell is easy to adjust, and offers a great trim fit owing to its Aplix closure.
The Sweet Pea diaper cover can be ordered in several colors and prints, and makes a great choice for babies between 10-35 lbs.
AngelicWare Cloth Diapers Set – If you’re just getting your feet wet with cloth diaper covers and inserts that go along with them, AngelicWare makes it easy with bundled cloth diapers set.
It comes with four adjustable snap cloth diaper covers, 4 pack of 5 layer inserts, an XL wet bag that has 2 zip pockets for a spare diaper.
Each diaper cover is designed to fit kids between 8-35 lbs and is waterproof and leak proof, and features double gussets to contain messes.
Lastly, the package also includes 5 layer charcoal bamboo inserts, which are one of the softest and highly absorbent inserts available today.
DZT1968(TM) 1pc Baby Cloth Diaper Cover – Inexpensive at under $5, this diaper cover is crafted of high quality polyester and features a waterproof TPU liner.
It is designed for babies and toddlers between 3 and 13 kgs, and its one size design makes it possible to adjust it to your desired size – small, medium and large.
Imagine Baby Products Snap Diaper Cover – Designed to fit babies between 8-35 lbs, this Barnyard Jam cloth diaper cover features dual leg gussets and a wipeable PUL interior.
Nooya Baby Cloth Diapers – This one size, adjustable, reusable and washable diaper cover set includes 5 cloth diaper covers and 10 microfiber inserts.
Each insert is super absorbent and boasts 3 layers of thickness. Designed for babies between 8-35 lbs, Nooya diaper covers can be easily adjusted for a perfect fit.
Babygoal Baby Cloth Diaper Cover – This diaper cover is easy to use, machine washable and dryable, and is equipped with two rows of snaps for a comfortable fit.
It features double gussets to prevent against leaks, and is compatible with prefolds and fitted diapers. The package includes 6 diaper covers.
Although cloth diaper covers simply are the outer shell of a complete cloth diaper system, buying the wrong one can result in leaks and preventable messes. With my hours of diligent research in the many cloth diapers available today, you will be educated enough to make a viable choice, and I’ve even written a detailed guide on the different types of cloth diaper inserts so you might want to check that out for the right inserts to match the cloth diaper covers.