PROs & CONs of Different Diaper Types

There are many options for cloth diapering. To find the right cloth diaper (or combination of cloth diapers) for you and your baby, it's best to try some from each group.

All In One Diaper (also known as an AIO): This is the diaper that ‘s just about as easy to use as a disposable diaper in that it’s a one-piece design that includes all the components such as a waterproof exterior, elastic around the waist and the legs, the absorbent layer, and a fastening system.

This is the simplest, easiest and most convenient system of cloth diapering. They are great for if you’re going to have babysitters, grandparents or dads changing the diapers, and especially if you will be having your baby in daycares.

PRO: The best thing about all in one diapers is that they’re very easy & convenient. 
CON: The drawback is that because everything is sewn together, it may take a long time to dry.

Pocket Diapers: This is a 2-part system that involves stuffing the absorbent layer, otherwise called an insert, inside a pocket opening of the diaper that is composed of a lining fabric and a waterproof outer layer with elasticated waist and legs and its own fasteners.

Now you may ask why would you want to do that? Well, the biggest reason is for thorough cleaning and faster drying. Pocket diapers dry super fast. And if you don’t mind taking the extra few seconds to stuff them, they’re just as convenient as all in one diapers.

Another good thing about pocket diapers is that you can adjust the absorbency. Because you are free to use whatever inserts you want, you can use a light insert for during the day, and double up on inserts for night time or during naps. 

PRO: Dries fast, adjustable absorbency.
CON: You have to stuff them.   

Fitted Diapers: These are diapers that are shaped just like AIO’s or pockets that can have attached or semi-attached absorbent layers but does not have a waterproof layer. Unlike the AIO’s and pockets, you will have to buy a separate cover to use with your fitted diaper.

The biggest benefit to fitted diapers is that they are very absorbent and contain messes really well. Fitted diapers and covers are one of the most reliable systems, especially for babies who are heavy wetters and for overnight diapering. 

PRO: Most absorbent diaper style.
CON:  You have to put a separate cover.

Prefolds and Flats: A Prefold diaper is a rectangular piece of cloth divided into 3 sections where the middle layer is the absorbent layer.

A flat is a square single layer of cotton.

These 2 are the most economical way to cloth diaper. These are the old-fashioned type of diapers that most people have in mind when you mention cloth diapers. They’re flat, don’t have any elasticated areas, and no closure system. You will also need a separate diaper cover when using them.

But regardless of how old-fashioned they are, prefolds and flats are an absolute staple that every mother should have regardless of what system you use just because they are so cheap, and versatile. Not only are they used as diapers, but you can use them as burp cloths, changing pads, and even as rags around the house once you’re done using them as diapers.

Once you figure out how to fold these things, it is not a big deal at all. Even dads can do it. And you don’t even have to use pins with them, because there are things right now called a Snappi that you can use to fasten the diaper. 

PRO: Extremely cost effective, fast drying.
CON: Assembly required, you have to put a separate cover.  

Cloth Diaper Covers: Diaper covers are exactly what the name describes; they are simply an outer diaper covering an inner diaper such as a fitted diaper or prefold. Diaper covers provide a waterproof layer over the inner diaper, making leaks less likely to occur. Diaper covers do not need to be washed between wearings if allowed to air-out between uses. They can generally be washed with the rest of your baby’s diapers. They're available in a large variety of fabrics and styles, and are generally fastened with Velcro or snaps.