Name Brand Vs. Generic Diapers: Do They Stack Up?
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:
- Toys R Us
- Whole Foods
Some of the name brand diapers we have tried are:
- 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.