The Best Newborn & Toddler Diapers of 2021
Our reviews come from interviewing over 20 moms, asking them to report their honest experiences with baby diapers, and conducting some intense hands-on reviews of new additions to the market. Below are the top 5 diapers we've found, followed by in-depth reviews of about a dozen options.
|Model and Link to Amazon||Our Rating|
|#1. Pampers Swaddlers|
|#2. Mama Bear Diapers|
|#3. Hello Bello Diapers|
|#4. Honest Co. Diapers|
|#5. Target Up & Up Diapers|
Diapers will be with you all day, stuffed in your awesome diaper bag, packed into your car's cubby, stacked on your changing table, and adorning your baby's beautiful bum! Finding the perfect fit and function is critical for success in navigating the diapering fiasco!
Over the past several years, we have found issues with comfort, rashes (check out our best diaper rash creams), leakage, odors, fit, "blow-outs," and asthetics. We pooled all of this information and created our list - note that we begin by reviewing diapers for newborns and infants, and then continue to a section dedicated to toddler diapers.
Because many moms reported switching diapers as their babies became toddlers, we have two lists below: Best Infant Diapers, and Best Toddler Diapers. Some of the diapers come from big names like Pampers and Huggies, but others come from smaller companies that are doing a fantastic job outdoing some of the bigger names. Looking for cloth diapers instead? Check out our list of the best cloth diapers. Need a bag to help you carry them around, along with all the other essentials? Check out our best diaper bags list.
- Top 5 Diapers Comparison Table
- Best Newborn & Infant Diapers
- 1. Best Overall: Pampers Swaddlers
- 2. Mama Bear Diapers
- 3. Hello Bello Diapers
- 4. Honest Company Diapers
- 5. Target Up & Up Diapers
- 6. Huggies Special Delivery
- 7. Andy Pandy Diapers
- 8. Huggies Little Snugglers
- Best Toddler Diapers
- 1. Pampers Cruisers Diapers
- 2. Andy Pandy Diapers
- 3. Pampers Pure Protection
Here are the Best Infant Diapers of 2021!
The Swaddlers are the overall best diaper option for newborn babies, up to size 5. They are also the most recommended diaper by hospitals and pediatricians, due to good fit, low rash incidence rate, low fragrance-related odor, and great protection from leakage. They are also reasonably priced: if you purchase in larger quantities (like a box of 186 newborn diapers) you can get the per-diaper cost down to around 25-30 cents. That's a good price for an excellent diaper. What did our hands-on testing reveal about these diapers? We loved that they are overall the softest and thickest padded diaper on the market, they have the wet/dry indicator strip so you don't need to peek inside or guess whether it's time for a change, and it is very rare to get a "blowout" or leak. We found that they fit very snugly to the inner thighs and bum, and our test babies seemed very comfortable in them. The Swaddlers make a great daytime diaper but are not ideal for overnight. For overnight diapers, we recommend the Huggies Overnights rather than the Pampers version. Another drawback is that they aren't fragrance-free or chlorine-free, so some babies with very sensitive skin might develop a minor rash (Pampers does make a slightly more expensive Sensitive version of these diapers that is gentle and hypoallergenic: Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive Disposable Diapers). The diapers themselves are soft on the outside and inside, do an excellent job wicking moisture away from your baby's skin, have super stretchy flaps to accommodate movements and a growing baby, and the tabs do an excellent job staying shut. At this price point, we think the Swaddlers are truly excellent, and we're proud to continue featuring them at the top of this list! Overall, this is the best diaper for newborns and infants available this year, and we think they make an awesome option for your family. Who else loves the Pampers Swaddlers? Our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, The Wirecutter, and The Bump all consider them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Pampers Swaddlers here!
These are an excellent new addition to our best baby diapers list. We finally got our hands on several sizes of these last year, and after some hands-on tests we were really impressed by the performance. These new diapers are made by Amazon as part of their new Mama Bear product line, and have some great features. First, they are hypoallergenic, contain no fragrances or perfumes, and do not contain chlorine or latex. Second, they include a very effective wetness strip that basically tells you not only when the diaper is wet, but the extent of color change can also indicate a bit about exactly how wet it actually is. Third, we found them very soft and comfortable while also maintaining an excellent seal around the waist and legs, and preventing leaks (of the liquid and solid variety!). Another thing to consider about these diapers is that they come in both white (no decorations) and a simple and cute bear pattern. The white is a really great option, as it allows you to put on thinner light-color clothing without being able to see patterns on a diaper, so this was a nice touch. They also have a nice simple and modern look in just white, a little bit like the look of a good cloth diaper. In our hands-on testing, we didn't suffer any blow-outs, tab breakage, rashes, or leakage. We also didn't notice any problems with rubbing and abrasion of sensitive skin, and we think they did a great job wicking moisture away from the baby's skin. When we put them side-by-side with the Huggies, they were very similar in size and quality. The only con is that the ink on the patterned diapers can run a bit when the diaper is wet, or when using certain ointments (like zinc oxide). Overall, this is an excellent daytime diaper (it is not an overnight diaper, so don't try!), and we highly recommend it. They run about 20-25 cents each for the smaller sizes. Who else recommends the Mama Bear diapers? Our friends at WhatToExpect call them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Mama Bear diapers here!
SALE ALERT! Use code SAVE16 for a big discount at the Hello Bello website! Hello Bello was founded by Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard out of a desire to provide their own babies with high quality, hypoallergenic diapers that are free of nasty ingredients and chemicals, without having to spend a fortune. In making their daytime and nighttime disposable diapers, Hello Bello used chlorine-free processing, plant-derived absorbent cores, and eliminated the use of allergenic ingredients, lotions, fragrances, latex, and phthalates. They also use sustainable farming to develop the plant-derived fluff pulp (the absorbent fiber in the core of the diaper) that uses soft wood like spruce and pine from sustainably-managed forests that help maintain and renew forests for future generations. We got our hands on the Hello Bello diapers in late 2020 (thanks, Hello Bello!) and were excited to test them out. First and foremost, the patterns are beautiful and fun - offering sloths (if you know anything about Kristen Bell, you'd have expected this!), hearts, lions, and tons of other adorable patterns to choose from. From vintage cars to dinosaurs, Hello Bello offers amazing customization options for the pickiest babies and parents! That all feels and looks really good, but how do the diapers perform!? Out of the box, the diapers had absolutely no odor, they were reasonably soft to the touch, and surprisingly lightweight and thin. The inside was super soft against your baby's skin, breathable, and we appreciated the double gussets along the sides. On the newborn diaper size, they have a very small cutout for the umbilical cord, and the closures use thin and soft Velcro-style tabs. Sizes 1+ omit the umbilical cord cutout but preserve the nice tab closures (sizes NB to 2 have a wetness indicator). When you put the diapers on your baby, you will notice that the front flaps need to be peeled out on each side, they are folded in and a bit stuck to the main body of the diaper. That will involve using both hands to peel the flaps off, which was a bit of a nuisance. The flaps on the rear do have a good amount of stretch, but definitely less than most Pampers and Huggies options. We tested sizes NB and 1 on a 5-week old and 7-week old, respectively. We only tested the daytime diapers, not overnights. Performance was great, without any issues with leakage or seepage. We were a little worried that it would be a bigger issue given how lightweight and thin these diapers are, but were surprised and impressed with their absorbency. The only challenge we faced was that the mesh inner liner isn't nicely separated from the absorbent core, so there isn't optimal wicking of moisture away from your baby's skin. While we didn't experience any issues with diaper rash while using the Hello Bello diapers, babies with more sensitive bottoms might need their diapers changed more frequently to prevent diaper rash. We didn't have any issues with gaps forming with big leg movements or stretching, and they seemed to be comfortable for extended wearing. Overall, we were really impressed with these diapers, and think they are a great addition to our list! Not only do they look adorable make you feel good about their ingredients and sustainability, they also performed impressively well in our testing! The best way to purchase these diapers is in a bundle directly from the Hello Bello website (use our coupon SAVE16 for a discount!); not only is the price a super low 25-30 cents per diaper, but they also throw in a bunch of free baby wipes and other freebies! That's a great deal for a hypoallergenic and relatively natural diaper. Who else recommends the Hello Bello diapers? Our friends at WhatToExpect and The Bump consider them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Hello Bello Diapers here!
The Honest Company is known for making sensitive, hypoallergenic, and thoughtful personal care products; these diapers are no exception, and we loved testing them! Out of the box, we loved the colorful designs and patterns (good vibes only!). The outside of the diaper wasn't super soft, but the inside felt great. The diapers felt relatively lightweight, so we were initially worried whether they would be absorbant enough to prevent leaks - well, we tested them on a newborn (3 weeks) and 3-month old, and we were pleasantly surprised! They fit very nicely and did a great job absorbing urine, by virtue of stretchy side panels and a snugly-fitting waist and leg cuffs. Speaking of snug, the Honest Company diapers seemed to run small relative to Pampers or Huggies, so whenever you're in doubt, size up. We found the diapers to work great for daytime use, but would not suggest trying them overnight. You can feel pretty good about using these diapers given the Honest Company's commitment to sustainability, and their use of a bio-based core with absorbant pulp and several plant-derived materials. For price, they are a bit more expensive than mainstream diapers, coming in at about 30-35 cents per diaper, but we think it's definitely worth it! The only cons are that there are intermittent quality control issues with the closure tabs on these diapers; this issue is widely reported online, though we didn't encounter any such issue ourselves. Overall, we think these are a great option for parents interested in sustainability and plant-derived ingredients while maintaining great absorbency and overall performance. Just buy a size larger than usual! Who else recommends the Honest Company diapers? Our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, and The Bump all consider them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Honest Co. Diapers here!
Target has done a fantastic job with their Up & Up diapers, and we were super jazzed to have tried them out! Available from Newborn up to size 7, these diapers are hypoallergenic, free of latex, chlorine, phosphates, dyes, phthalates, and lotions, and have no added fragrances. On a more practical level, but they are super soft and durable, have a great waist and leg holes, and use a blue wetness indicator up front. In our testing, we loved the breathable outer lining, the soft and absorbant inner lining, and the complete lack of fragrances. The diapers fit very similarly to Huggies, but are a bit thinner and less absorbant. The wetness indicator was very reliable, and the tight but stretchy waist did a good job preventing blow-outs! We did have some leaky accidents with toddlers in the larger sizes, so our Up & Up diaper recommendation is limited to sizes newborn through 3. When we first tested the Up & Up diapers about 5 years ago, we thought they were absolutely amazing; in our more recent testing, there is some suggestion that the quality has gone down a bit. The diapers seem a bit thinner and weaker, and not quite as good at stopping leaks. For an infant during the daytime, they are very sufficient; for an older baby, or during the night, we think other brands would perform better. Overall, we think these offer a good bang for the buck, coming in at about half the price of some major brands (about 15 cents each in newborn size!). Just expect to phase out of them once your baby gets above about 6 months old. Who else recommends the Target Up & Up diapers? Our friends at Babylist, WhatToExpect, The Wirecutter, and The Bump all consider them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Up & Up Diapers here!
Pampers and Huggies have both released greener diaper options for parents who are more environmentally conscientious - the Pampers Pure, and Huggies Special Delivery. While neither option is biodegradable, they are relatively natural. The Huggies Special Delivery diapers are made with 23% plant-based materials, do not include any harsh ingredients, are hypoallergenic, fragrance free, chlorine free, and paraben free. So they're about as close as you can get to something like the Andy Pandy while not spending quite as much and retaining the amazing functionality of the Huggies Little Snugglers. That was a bit of a spoiler - these are basically the Little Snugglers but with the added bonus of being hypoallergenic, partially plant-based, and without many of the harsh chemicals that plague the more mainstream diaper brands. The other difference is what we fell in love with - just how amazingly soft and comfortable these diapers are! They feel like something we wanted to put on ourselves, and you need to feel them to believe it! With all that softness, they still have some great features: the newborn diapers include the umbilical cord cut-out, they all include the front and rear wetness indicator strip, and up to size 2 includes the rear flap to prevent blow-outs (we got a pack of size 3 and they didn't have the flap). And the patterns and sayings on the back are really cute - "The SNUGGLE is real" and "FREE Hugs" were some of our favorites! How did they function? About the same as the Little Snugglers - really well, and we didn't experience any leaks, blow-outs, or diaper rash. There wasn't any sort of gel mess when they were wet. We didn't try them for nighttime use because we prefer overnight diapers for that purpose. No blow-outs were experienced, but we do note that the awesome Huggies rear flap only seems to be on sizes Newborn to 2 with these diapers, so we think they are perfect as a newborn diaper. If you have a toddler who still experiences loose stools up the back of the diaper, then definitely consider a different diaper! Interested? You can check out the Huggies Special Delivery Diapers here.
This is a premium diaper for discerning parents who are willing to pay a bit more (about 15 cents more per diaper) for high quality and eco-friendly alternative to the big brands. There are a lot of small companies cropping up and selling all natural premium diapers, but this is the best reviewed one out there. These diapers are so free of everything, we're not sure what's left for ingredients! They have no perfumes, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, alcohol, latex, PVC, chlorine, or phthalates (BPA). They are a great diaper for babies with contact allergies, given that they are also free of gluten, wheat, and corn. How do they do it? These diapers use biodegradeable and eco-friendly bamboo, making them super soft and comfortable, and giving them very high absorbency. The company that makes these diapers, sends a portion of sales to St. Jude's hospital, so you can feel good about paying a bit extra; they are also very responsive to questions or concerns, and customer service is reportedly fantastic. The diapers are also compostable and biodegradable, Moms reported how surprised they were that a diaper from a small company that has so many good things going for it could actually work so well! Some moms reported that these diapers were great for overnight, but others reported that they wouldn't suggest using them for overnight. We suspect that this has to do with baby size, bladder size, and sleeping positions; maybe give it a shot and cross your fingers. These diapers are highly recommended, and without the increased price they would have been #1 on our list. Same goes for the BAMBO Nature diapers, which are very similar to these and quite excellent (though not as good on absorbancy), but also a bit too expensive to include here.
The Huggies Little Snugglers come in at third place for use in newborn babies up to size 3. The Little Snugglers use Leak Lock technology that has strong absorbency and a unique "pocket" on the rear waistband that helps stop the mess from spraying up the back. Moms said this feature was more than a marketing gimmick and actually worked on a few occasions when they thought the mess would have been much larger without it! Like the Swaddlers, these have a reliable wetness indicator that changes color when your baby pees. They also have a great umbilical cord cutout that keeps the diaper from rubbing up against the sensitive umbilical cord area. Like the Swaddlers, they are not designed for overnight use, and we suggest using Huggies Overnights if your baby is alreading sleeping for 6+ hour stretches at night. They will leak with overnight use. Moms report that they have a great fit around the thighs and bum areas, and the fragrance is tolerable.
Here are the Best Toddler Diapers of 2021!
The Cruisers are the overall best diaper option for babies about 16 pounds and up. Several moms recommended that once your baby begins to move around a bit, you transition from Swaddlers to Cruisers for active babies with growing bladders. The Cruisers have 3 layers of absorption, a flexible fit for babies of different shapes (the long lean ones, or short pudgy ones), and provide much better overnight protection than the Swaddlers. This is good since your baby will likely begin sleeping for longer stretches at night (fingers crossed) and the last thing you want to do is wake your baby up every 3-4 hours for a diaper change! The Cruisers are about the same price per diaper as the Swaddlers if you buy in larger quantities (like a box of 128 or 174). We found these for a good price at Amazon. What did our moms say about these diapers? They reported that blow-outs and leaks were very rare with these, due mostly to high absorbency and strong and nicely-fitting elastic that contours nicely to the thighs and bum. They are not as soft and padded as the Swaddlers, as they are prioritizing leak-proofing versus comfort, and they also no longer include the wetness indicator like the Swaddlers. But they are a great all-around diaper with good fit and excellent absorbency, and very few moms reported any rashes with this product.
Yes, this is #2 for both infants and toddlers; they're just that good! This is a premium diaper for discerning parents who are willing to pay a bit more (about 15 cents more per diaper) for high quality and eco-friendly alternative to the big brands. There are a lot of small companies cropping up and selling all natural premium diapers, but this is the best reviewed one out there. These diapers are so free of everything, we're not sure what's left for ingredients! They have no perfumes, fragrances, dyes, preservatives, alcohol, latex, PVC, chlorine, or phthalates (BPA). They are a great diaper for babies with contact allergies, given that they are also free of gluten, wheat, and corn. How do they do it? These diapers use biodegradeable and eco-friendly bamboo, making them super soft and comfortable, and giving them very high absorbency. The company that makes these diapers sends a portion of sales to St. Jude's hospital, so you can feel good about paying a bit extra; they are also very responsive to questions or concerns, and customer service is reportedly fantastic. The diapers are also compostable and biodegradable, Moms reported how surprised they were that a diaper from a small company that has so many good things going for it could actually work so well! Some moms reported that these diapers were great for overnight, but others reported that they wouldn't suggest using them for overnight. We suspect that this has to do with baby size, bladder size, and sleeping positions; maybe give it a shot and cross your fingers. These diapers are highly recommended, and without the increased price they would have been #1 on our list.
These are the direct competitor to the Huggies Special Delivery Diapers (above). They have the same principles: provide a mainstream diaper that can compete with the more natural brands emerging on the market, including a super soft outside that's lined with cotton, no chlorine use, no fragrances or perfumes, no parabens or latex, and hypoallergenic. That makes most parents feel much better about what's coming in contact with their child's skin - after all, these are sitting up against their body (and against mucous membranes) 24 hours a day, so it's worth considering. To be fair, these are really impressive diapers. Are they as good as the new Huggies Special Delivery? Not quite, but they're a good step in the right direction. We definitely prefer the Special Delivery ones for newborns up to size 2 because it includes the rear flap for blow-outs, and then it's sort of a toss-up between these two options once you get to size 3 (because that's when the Huggies option loses the rear flap). That said, these are basically the Pampers Swaddlers that have been modified to remove irritants and harsh chemicals, and add some softness. Side-by-side with the Swaddlers they really look identical in shape and size, save for some different patterns and less fragrance with the Pure option. And they function really similarly. We didn't experience any leakage or blow-outs, and no diaper rash. They were soft and comfortable, and we think they are a great option for toddlers! Worth the extra cost over the Cruisers? Maybe, but we'll let you figure that out! Who else recommends the Pampers Pure diapers? Our friends at Babylist and Babygear lab also consider them a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Pampers Pure Diapers here.
A few years ago we suggested Huggies Little Movers as a top toddler diaper. Unfortunately they recently changed their diaper design and have been receiving terrible reviews about leaks and blow-outs.
Last year, we were going to recommend the diaper that has always been a close second to the Little Movers, the Luvs Ultra Leakguards, but unfortunately they have also gone downhill. They must have revamped their diapers around the same time as Huggies. Unfortunately the revamping was for the worse, and we learned quickly to steer clear of these diapers since the redesign.
Finally, we also tested the Naty by Nature and Seventh Generation diapers. We experienced quite a bit of blow-outs with the Naty by Nature, and the Seventh Generation diapers seem to have gone downhill a bit in the past 2 years. We do like the fact that these options are marketed as "free & clear" in that they use minimal harsh chemicals, and can reduce diaper rash and allergic reactions. We will definitely re-test these options again in the future and see how they perform.
We are always interested in trying out newcomers, so if you have one to suggest, please don't hesitate to send us a message (see About Us section). On a related note, check out our reviews of the best baby wipes, best changing pads, and best wipe warmers to make for the perfect changing table setup! Finally, if you're looking for a good place to put smelly diapers, check out our reviews of the best diaper pails.