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Name Brand Vs. Generic Diapers: Do They Stack Up?

Updated on October 23, 2010

Name Brands v. Generics

In today's price-conscious society, families are cutting costs wherever they can. They are engaging in practices that a short time ago they might have scorned: coupon clipping, bargain hunting, and garage sale scavenging.

Some things, however, can rarely be bought cheaply. Many young mothers, like me, have started to wonder if there is any way to reduce that nagging weekly cost: diapers.

The generic diapers we have tested at our house are the store brands from:

  • Target
  • Walgreen's
  • Aldi
  • Toys R Us
  • Kroger
  • Publix
  • Jewel
  • Whole Foods

Some of the name brand diapers we have tried are:

  • Pampers
  • Huggies
  • Luv's
  • Seventh Generation

Effectiveness Rating System

The big question is, do they protect against leakage?

To answer this question, I will use a simple rating system:

Leakage Protection: 1-5 (5 being the best, 1 being the worst)

Comfort: 1-5 (5 being the most, 1 being the least)

Flexibility and Fit: 1-5 (5 being the best, 1 being the worst)

Quality of Construction: 1-5 (5 being the best, 1 being the worst)

Prevents Diaper Rash: 1-5 (5 being prevents, 1 being causes)

Our findings apply to our babies, and therefore are based on a small sample (2 children).

Name Brand Diaper Effectiveness Ratings

You'll see here that a few clear winners emerge:

Huggies Little Movers, which have great fit for crawling babies; Huggies Little Snugglers for new babies, and Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive for new babies.

A bit of explanation on the lower than expected ratings for Pampers and Luv's: Both of these diapers have a lot of fragrance, which caused excessive diapers rashes in both of my children. This is not uncommon with fragranced diapers, and caused my children to not be able to use those brands. It should be noted that the Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive diapers also contain fragrance, albeit less, and that the comparable Huggies have no fragrance.

A note about Pampers Baby Dry Diapers: These used to be the best thing going for Pampers, in my opinion, especially since they have a very low amount of fragrance. Three years ago, they were the only thing I would use for my older son for several months. However, in the last year, the product has changed to become less breathable, and smaller fitting with a shorter rise (not good for my tall babies).

About Seventh Generation: If you have a particularly sensitive or diaper-rash prone baby, these are a godsend.  Otherwise, their papery texture and extra-narrow fit can be a big turn-off.

Generic Diaper Effectiveness Ratings

The winners of the generic diapers are Up & Up by Target and Publix brand, with the runners up being Walgreen's Premium and Kroger brand.

I found that I agreed with my rating totals when they worked out. I do prefer Up & Up and Publix brands to Pampers and Luv's, despite their lower price. The lack of fragrance is a big deal, but Up & Up and Publix brand diapers are also very stretchy and great-fitting, with great leak-protection and a low incidence of diaper rash.

Price Points for Recommended Diapers

Recommended diapers are those with a score of 20 or above in my effectiveness rating system. Under 20, and I must protest the purchase, regardless of whether or not there is a sale. You, your baby, and your baby's clothing, may regret it.

A disclaimer: These prices are obviously subject to change at each company's whim. I am not including sale prices. These prices will be based on Size 3 diapers, unless otherwise specified. I am placing them in their order of effectiveness, not in order of their price.

  • Huggies Little Movers (@Amazon): $0.26/diaper
  • Huggies Little Snugglers- Sz. 2 (@Amazon): $0.22/diaper
  • Huggies Snug N Dry (@Amazon): $0.19/diaper
  • Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive (@Amazon): $0.31/diaper
  • Up & Up: $0.14/diaper in club packs, $0.17/diaper in jumbo packs
  • Publix: $0.22/diaper
  • Seventh Generation (@Amazon): $0.29/diaper
  • Pampers Swaddlers - sz. 2-3 (@Amazon): $0.27/diaper
  • Walgreen's Premium: $0.21/diaper
  • Pampers Cruisers (@Amazon): $0.24/diaper
  • Kroger: $0.15/diaper
  • Pampers Baby Dry (@Amazon): $0.19/diaper


So, by now you might be overwhelmed by all this information, and wondering to yourself, "Which diaper brand should I buy, then?"

Keep in mind that my article is not exhaustive, nor is my experience with each of these brands.  My babies are not a large sample of the general population of babies.  That being said, I have tried a lot of diapers.  For the sake of having clear choices, here are the name brand and store brand diapers that stand out over all the others as the best diaper for the price:

  • Huggies Snug N Dry, Rated 22, $0.19/diaper
  • Up & Up, Rated 21, $0.14/diaper

I think my rating system makes it abundantly clear that while there are some definite duds out there in store brand diapers, price notwithstanding, some generics do indeed stack up.

Kroger Comforts for Baby


You Decide

Would you buy store brand diapers?

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    • profile image

      ProudMama 5 years ago

      Very informative article. Pampers actually caused chemical burns on both my daughters. My youngest actually had to be treated for a chemical burn in the diaper area while in the hospital at only 3 days old!! The hospital only supplied Pampers Swaddlers to new moms. Huggies & cloth diapers were always the wiser choices since other than teething rashes, they never came down with chemical burns or excessive diaper rashes as they did in Pampers. Through my own research, I came to find that not only is the fragrance behind the chemical burns in my children but there is also a certain chemical they use in the bleaching process that would give actual chemical burns to babies with sensitive. And I'm going back almost 6 years ago with my oldest daughter. They've always used this chemical and despite the complaints made to them directly, they just shrug it off and continue with their normal processing of diapers. So to all out there with babies with sensitive skin, beware of Pampers. Nothing hurts your heart more than seeing your child suffer through actual chemical burns down there.

    • profile image

      brittany 5 years ago

      tank u soo much this will definetly help my daughter with her science fair project

    • AustralianNappies profile image

      AustralianNappies 6 years ago from Australia

      Wow, here in Australia we have several of the same brands as you - Snugglers, Pampers and Huggies - but not the same nappies as you from these company's. Actually you seem to have a choice of several types of Nappies from these brands to choose from, where we only seem to have one style of nappy from each company (Except for we do have Huggies Nappy Pants). I was surprised to see your statistics and that for your family Huggies didn't cause your children Nappy Rash whereas they are the only brand that has given my daughter nappy rash, and yours seem to have got it from Snugglers where my daughter didn't. Really interesting, I enjoyed this Hub.

    • Kotori profile image

      Kotori 7 years ago from Chicagoland

      cbris52: I think it's marketing, yes. But it's also the free samples. I think that's the biggest part. We choose Pampers because we get a free package to take home from the hospital. If we're formula feeding, we choose Enfamil or Similac because we get a free can of it in our hospital bag. We choose mostly based on experience, and the profitable companies know that and exploit it.

    • cbris52 profile image

      cbris52 7 years ago

      The marketing firms always seem to get the new moms with advertising slogans right off the bat... I mean... really do all choosy moms only choose Jif?

    • profile image

      Songbird718 7 years ago

      I would say that your analysis and assessments are extremely exhaustive. It is not often that a young mother, would take from their very busy schedules to present such detailed information to help others. Unless, of course, they have a vested, monetary interest in doing so. Thank you, Kotori, for offering your knowledge and experience to make the diaper purchases of mothers, grandmas, care givers, much easier, and, more importantly, better for babies everywhere!!!

    • Kotori profile image

      Kotori 7 years ago from Chicagoland

      Thanks, Nicole.

      By the way, all of the above mentioned diapers are great for making diaper cakes!

    • NicoleSpencer profile image

      NicoleSpencer 7 years ago from Tennessee

      Very detailed analysis. Thanks!