Which Cloth Diapers Are Best (For Beginners & Pros!)

By April Duffy •  Updated: 04/03/24 •  17 min read

You don’t want to drop hundreds of dollars on a stash of cloth diapers only to have them leak, fit weirdly, or fall apart. That sort of disappointment will likely make you give up on cloth diapers altogether.

In my 8+ years helping thousands of cloth diapering parents in the Cloth Diapers for Beginners community, that (i.e. buying the wrong, crappy diapers) is what causes more people to give up than anything else. Heck, it almost made me give up years ago when I couldn’t get my crummy cloth diapers to stop leaking!

So, which reusable cloth diapers for babies won’t let you down and make you quit? Here are quick links, followed by some more information about who each cloth diaper is best for, so you can find your perfect diapers.

Best for Hesitant Beginners
Best Cloth Diaper for Heavy Wetters
Best Cloth Diaper for Skinny Legs
Best Cloth Diaper for Chunky Thighs
$26.75 ($26.75 / Count)
Best Cloth Diaper for Heavy Wetters
Best Cloth Diaper for Skinny Legs
Best Cloth Diaper for Chunky Thighs
03/08/2024 08:11 am GMT

The Best Diapers for Cloth Diapering, Nothing More

In this article, I’m going to run you through the absolute best reusable diapers on the market in  2024 (and trust me, brands come and go, so staying current matters).

What I won’t talk about here are (but I’ve talked about elsewhere, just click the links to read more):

It should also be noted that I have no horse in this race. While a scattered few of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning I receive a small commission if you make a qualifying purchase after clicking one of those links (at no additional cost to you) they really had no influence on my recommendations. It’s really just because if I’m linking to them already, why not include the special link?

I value my community and reputation more than any $0.05 commission and genuinely want to recommend the diapers that will help you stay on your cloth diaper journey.

So let’s dive in!

Best Cloth Diapers for Hesitant Beginners

2024 Cloth Diaper Community Choice Award Winner
Charlie Banana Reusable Cloth Diapers
  • Very high and quality materials used
  • Snaps and unique leg elastics offer a ton of adjustability
  • Super-thirsty inserts included in the box
  • Amazing company and customer support
  • May not be suitable for some heavy-wetters overnight (as with all pocket diapers)
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

If you have a spouse, grandparent, and/or caregiver who is not fully convinced that cloth diapers are going to work (or worse, downright negative about the whole thing), choosing the right diaper to get them on board with cloth diapering is the smart thing to do.

For them, you want a diaper that’s easy to figure out at the changing table, won’t leak, and is aesthetically better than a disposable diaper. Charlie Banana’s One Size Pocket Cloth Diaper will give you all of those things. First off, it’s a pocket diaper, so once you “stuff” the insert inside it, it’s ready to go on, just like a disposable diaper. The insert you get with it is Charlie Banana’s deluxe reusable insert, which is super absorbent and the pocket diaper shell is made with a solid outer waterproof TPU shell; so leaks shouldn’t happen with timely changing.

Finally, the super soft fleece inner lining is one of the softest linings I’ve ever felt in my whole time working with cloth diapers, and no one, not even the crabbiest of nay-sayers could possibly say that a scratchy, papery disposable diaper is more comfortable against baby’s skin than this diaper’s plushy softness.

I honestly just don’t know how someone on the fence about cloth or disposable could choose disposable over this diaper, so it should convert even your toughest skeptic.

Best Cloth Diaper for Heavy Wetters (Daytime)

Best Overnight All-In-One
GroVia O.N.E. Cloth Diaper

If you're looking for an all-in-one diaper strong enough for heavy-wetters during the day, or moderate-wetters overnight, this is the diaper you're looking for. GroVia's O.N.E is absolutely unmatched when it comes to all-in-one absorbency, and it's the only non-fitted diaper we recommend for overnight.

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03/08/2024 08:11 am GMT

Heavy wetters do exist, and they can be a challenge for cloth diapering beginners. But the GroVia O.N.E is going to be the thing that reins in even the heaviest wetter. GroVia is a great brand, known mostly for their Ai2/ hybrid diaper line, but it’s their O.N.E diaper that really shines.

This diaper is actually an all-in-one diaper system, but unlike most all-in-ones, it packs a ton of absorbency into a tiny package. With a hidden inner layer of microfiber under microfleece, and soakers made of generous amounts of 100% cotton topped with microfleece this diaper is serious business and thirsty.

In fact, I often recommend this diaper for kiddos who aren’t heavy wetters to wear as a nighttime option! But of course, for heavy wetters, I recommend it for daytime only. These cloth diapers are great, but they likely won’t hold a heavy wetter at night; for that, you need the big guns I talk about for overnights below.

Another perk with these particular cloth diapers is that tye come with the “Outlast closure system”, which is a Velcro snap-in attachment; so they can be either Velcro or Snaps, or switch between BOTH whenever you want.

Best Cloth Diaper for Babies with Skinny Legs

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03/08/2024 04:06 am GMT

All babies have skinny legs at birth, but if you have a three-month or older baby with legs so skinny that they’re giving you some fit problems, what diaper will give you the best fit can change.

For babies with skinny (also called twiggy) legs, you’ll want to look for a few special features when purchasing your cloth diapers, specifically external double gussets.

I speak a lot about double gussets in this post here, but basically external double gussets are an extra set of elastics sewn into the PUL side of the diaper (not the lining, as that would be an internal gusset and serves a different purpose).

A photo of the two types of double gusset cloth diapers.

Double gussets in the PUL side of the cloth diaper serve one purpose, to help get a more snug fit around baby’s legs.

This is important because, in order to stop cloth diaper leaks, the leg elastics need to be firmly (not tightly but firmly) inside your baby’s leg crease without any gaps. This is the challenge with skinny-legged babies as many cloth diapers, especially one-size diapers, can be made for the average baby leg measurements. The extra gusset helps compensate for that size variation.

The Thirsties Natural pocket diaper adds those external double gussets onto a powerfully absorbent and superior cloth diaper. The diaper sandwiches inserts with three layers of serged 100% GOTS certified organic cotton snapped together with five more layers of hemp jersey, between a 100% organic cotton liner and the PUL waterproof outer layer. Like the name suggests, this cloth diaper is thirsty and won’t let you down.

All that translates into a great cloth diaper, that will help prevent leaks for skinny-legged babies.

Thirsties itself is probibly the best-known premium cloth diaper brand, and when you ask cloth diapering pros to list quality diaper brands it’s their name that’s usually on the top of the list.

Best Cloth Diapers for Chunky Babies

Everybody loves a baby with chunky thighs, but sometimes those delightful rolls can cause issues with the fit of your cloth diapers.

In order to stop cloth diaper leaks, the leg elastics need to be firmly (not tightly but firmly) inside your baby’s leg crease without any gaps. Often, babies with chunky legs have no problem with the leg elastics fitting inside the crease, but the waist of the diaper can sometimes be too large when the diaper is adjusted to fit the legs. If the diaper is then re-adjusted to fit more snuggly, it can often lead to deepening red marks around the legs.

Two cloth diaper features can solve this issue: rolled elastics and more adjustability snaps.

Rolled Elastic (Right) vs. Encased Elastic (Left)

Rolled elastics at the leg openings are more forgiving than typical encased elastics you find in most cloth diapers, and help with creating a seal around your baby’s leg while being gentle on your baby’s skin.

Having more adjustability (snap options) also helps get a good fit for babies with larger legs, as it can help seal tighten the tummy area without tightening up the legs too tightly.

Smart Bottoms, a long-standing and trusted cloth diaper brand, checks all of these boxes and many more with their Dream 2.0 diaper. Not only do you get the great rolled elastics at the leg openings, which are hard to find, but you get tons of adjustability and great hemp and organic cotton interior which means great absorbency right out of the box.

Smart Bottoms is another great, longstanding brand who have been perfecting their products for some time, so you can trust thier quality.

Another fantastic option, so on-par with the SmartBottoms Dream Diaper that it was hard to choose between the two when writing this, is the Blueberry diapers Organic Cotton Simplex diaper. This one-size all-in one has the rolled elastics and 10 layers of 100% organic birdseye cotton fabric in the wet zone. So if you’re shopping for you heavy wetter do check out the Simplex cloth diapers as well!

Best Cloth Diapers for a Trim Fit

Cloth diapers have many advantages over disposable diapers, but one of them is not a trim fit. That said, there are cloth diapers that will give you a nice, trim fit without the big fluffy bum.

The catch is, to get a truly trim fit, you need to go with stretchy flats or, even better, preflats.

Stretchy preflats are a one-size cloth diaper that’s a combination of a flat diaper and a prefold, so it must be wrapped around baby, secured with a cloth diaper fastener, and then covered with a cloth diaper cover.

Stretchy preflat cloth diapers are not a beginner’s diaper by any means, but if you’re willing to do a little learning, a good stretchy preflat will keep your diaper so trim, people will think your baby is in a disposable. Stretchy preflats also come in heavy wetter options, which are still trim and well-fitting.

Stretchy flat diapers are actually the newest style of cloth diapers on the market, and so they aren’t sold by any long-established cloth diaper brands, BUT there are several start-ups that are making a name for themselves in the space, and making a lot of cloth diaper parents switch over to this new style.

Our Cloth Diapers for Beginners community admins, Miranda and Carissa are not longtime users (and lovers) of stretchy preflats and find Fruit of the Womb brand and KingaliveCreations (Etsy shop) to be the best sellers of stretchy flats in 2024. Since Fruit of the Womb has a slight edge with their own storefront, and also a reputation for working with parents on a limited budget, they are our number one choice for this recommend list, but if you’re an Etsy shopper, definitely check out KingaliveCreations as well.

It should also be noted that these cloth diapers are also great for babies with both skinny and chunky legs, as it gives a custom fit around your baby’s curves; the only curve these diapers make difficult is the learning curve (ha ha).

Recommend Cloth Diaper Cover for your Stretchy Preflats

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03/08/2024 02:17 am GMT

While preflats are an awsome diaper, they do require you to cover them with a cloth diaper cover, as they are not waterproof themselves.

Of course, you don’t want to ruin the trim lines of your new stretchy preflats with bulky diaper covers, so I suggest the Thirsties Duo Wrap to keep your diaper trim.

As I mentioned earlier, Thristies is probibly the most respected and well-known cloth diaper brand out there today, and their Duo Wrap is an excellent quality very trim fitting cover.

The nice thing is when you use cloth diapers like preflats, flats and prefolds with a waterproof cover like the Thirsties Duo Wrap, when you change your baby, you can simply wipe down the cover inside and use it with the next preflat diaper.

You can keep cleaning and reusing it until it becomes soiled, meaning you don’t need to purchase as many waterproof covers as you do absorbent preflats.

Best Diapers for Easy Wash & Care

I almost wasn’t going to include this category, but then I thought of all the cloth diaper beginners in our community who get completely stressed out just thinking about when they will need to wash cloth diapers and any potential setbacks. These parents stress to no end over washing incorrectly, and one smelly diaper could be the straw that broke the camel’s back for these folks.

If this sounds like you, I want to recommend a diaper that washes clean very easily for you, and that without a doubt is prefold cloth diapers or flat cloth diapers (flats).

Flats? Didn’t I just recommend stretchy preflats as the best trim diaper option? Yup, and those same stretchy preflats would also wash very easily, but I want to recommend an alternative as well, and something a bit more economical as well.

So what is both economical and washes even easier than a two-ply stretchy flat? A single-layer flat diaper. And the best traditional flat diaper is without a doubt GreenMountain Diapers’ Cloth-eez Flats.

Simply due to their construction, single layer cotton flat diapers are just much much easier to get clean than multi-layered, synthetic diapers that are half-wrapped in a waterproof cover.

GreenMountain Diapers (GMD) is a brand that has specialized in cotton flats, prefolds and fitted diapers for decades, and are very good at what they do.

You can get GMD flats in organic/ unbleached or regular white. Since this recommendation is for folks looking for easy laundering, I recommend the unbleached as it will show cloth diaper stains a little less.

Best Cloth Diapers for Overnight

Our #1 Choice for Overnight
EcoAble Hemp Fitted Cloth Diaper

This hemp fitted diaper is our first choice for overnight because it can hold what even heavy-wetters can throw at it when paired with a good diaper cover. Virtually bulletproof under wool!

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03/08/2024 05:11 pm GMT

Overnight cloth diapering is just a completely different beast from daytime diapering, especially if you have a heavy wetter.

Absorbency is the name of the game because in order to let your baby sleep for the entire night your diaper needs to absorb all your baby can wet in that long stretch of time.

To soak up all that liquid you need a lot more fabric than what you can stuff into the typical pocket diaper. You’ll also want to use fabrics that can absorb the most per inch in order to cut down on bulk.

Here’s a quick chart outlining fabric absorbency to give you an idea of the differences between fabric absorbencies:

Insert TypeAbsorption AmountAbsorption Speed
Microfiber/Bamboo blend💧💧💧💧💧💧

As you can see from the chart, hemp, bamboo, and cotton rule the roost when it comes to absorbing things fast and holding a lot. (Zorb is great, but it’s incredably hard to find. You can learn more about Zorb fabric here).

This is why many overnight diapers use hemp/cotton or bamboo/cotton blends.

As for the types of cloth diapers to use at night, fitted diapers are very well-suited for overnight cloth diapers as they wrap baby in absorbency from side-to-side, front and back; packing more absorbency in without bulking up just one area.

What this all boils down to is the absolute best cloth diaper you can get for overnight is a hemp/cotton blend fitted diaper, with a close second being a bamboo/cotton blend fitted diaper.

The one I’ve used and love is the EcoAble Hemp fitted diaper. EcoAble is a sort-of off the radar brand of cloth diapers that focuses on prefolds and fitteds, but their products are great and very well priced for what you get.

Whenever I hear from a parent who is struggling at night with a kiddo who will wet through both cloth and disposable diapers, I recommend these EcoAble hemp fitteds, specifically under a wool diaper cover (keep reading I’ll tell you about them below), and I always get a happy follow up message of thanks.

Recommend Cloth Diaper Cover for your Overnight Fitted Cloth Diaper

2024 Cloth Diaper Community Choice Award Winner
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03/08/2024 05:31 pm GMT

Unfortunately, as awesome as the EcoAble hemp fitted diaper is, it isn’t waterproof, so you will need to pair it with a diaper cover.

You can use a PUL cover, like the Thirsties cover I mentioned earlier in the article, but if you really want the bulletproof overnight solution, pairing it with a wool diaper cover is unbeatable.

Wool is a little bit different though, in that it’s not washed and dried like normal cloth diapers, but instead you have to clean and “lanolize” it so that it repells water.

Wool diaper covers manage to both absorb, neutralize, and lock in wetness so it doesn’t escape. It’s really cloth diapering magic and it’s no wonder your great-great-grandma loved them. You can learn more about wool diaper covers here.

Disana wool covers are probibly the only wool diaper cover brand that’s been around for a while, and for good reason, their wool covers for cloth diapers are fantastic, and very reasonably priced for the solid-quality wool you’re getting.

Thankfully it can also be reused several times before needing to be cleaned (as long as it’s not soiled). Since Disana wool covers are also good and stretchy, this means you won’t need many to level up your overnight cloth diapering game to expert level.


What are the Best Cloth Diaper Brands?

The best cloth diaper brands have spent years active in the cloth community, perfecting their diapers. Charlie Banana, GroVia, SmartBottoms, MotherEase & GMD are a few of the top-quality brands.

What’s the Best Cloth Diaper?

The best cloth diaper offers a great fit and is made from quality materials that provide great absorbency and leak-free protection. The Rumparooz OBV is a good everyday daytime diaper among others…

April Duffy

April is the founder of Cloth Diapers for Beginners and author of The Cloth Diaper Wash & Care Handbook. Since 2015, April has helped well over 75,000 parents and caregivers cloth diaper their children through this website, her book, her YouTube Channel, and the Cloth Diapers for Beginners Facebook Group.