Types of Cloth Diapers: An Overview

Here is the next installment in our series on cloth diapering! Today we are talking about types of cloth diapers. Have you wanted to try, but are confused about all the different styles?  Or do you still think these are your grandma’s safety pins and rubber pants? Not so. This will be a quick and simple post about the different styles, and then I will do spotlight features in the future, giving you more detailed information as we go along! So let’s get started!

My youngest, rocking cloth!

My youngest, rocking cloth!


These are the old-school diapers you might be most familiar with–white rectangles that are folded and fastened on the baby, then covered with a waterproof layer, also known as a shell. Luckily, these are safety-pin free now, thanks to innovations like the Snappi, which keeps the diaper secure without sharp objects! Pros: Prefolds are your cheapest option for cloth diapering, and they are easy to wash. Cons: There is a learning curve for folding techniques, and it takes a smudge longer to change your baby, since you have to fasten two layers (pre fold + cover/shell).



These are just what they say they are–everything you need in one package. AIO’s include both an absorbent layer and a waterproof outer layer so that it is all together, just like a disposable. Pros: Ease of use, especially for newbies and babysitters or day cares. Cons: These tend to be a little pricier than other options.



These diapers are like already-folded refolds; they fit directly on your baby (usually with snaps or velcro), and you cover them with a waterproof shell to keep things dry. Pros: Fitteds tend to be ultra-absorbent, which makes them the perfect choice for nighttime diapering. Cons: These are the priciest diapers of the lot, especially when you add in the cost of a shell or lanolized wool cover. However, they hold A LOT of moisture.



These are diapers that can be flexible–most are part of systems that involve a snap-in liner and/or some type of disposable insert. Plus, the shells can be re-used if they do not get wet, or the shells can be used as covers for fitteds, prefolds and more. (Psst they also make great swim diapers!) Pros: Flexibility, smaller laundry loads. Cons: Somewhat less absorbent than other styles.

grovia_callout soaker_stay_drygro_biosoaker_lg_20


Pocket diapers are diapers that allow you to stuff them with different types of absorbent materials, depending on your needs. With stuffing, the diaper stays as a single package, but you can adjust absorbency as needed. Pros: Flexibility, reasonable cost. Cons: Stuffing takes extra time, and diapers may need to be unstuffed before washing.



I put this one in mostly for fun. Flats are what cloth diapers used to be before refolds. Some moms still prefer these, but they involve A LOT more folding. Pros: Super cheap. Cons: Origami.



That’s right–you can use cloth for potty training, which is especially nice knowing how much pull-ups cost. Style diffes by company, but most are one piece with insert options for added absorbency. I’m a huge fan of GroVia’s trainers because they have side snaps, you know, in case of #2.


Swim Diapers

Honestly, any cover/shell can be used as a swim diaper, but several brands also make super cute cloth swim diapers. You only need one, so you will save a ton over buying disposable swim diapers!


Interested in learning more? Check out the rest of my series:
Why Use Cloth Diapers?

Cloth Diaper Accessories

Cloth Diaper Laundry Tips


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