Which is the best cloth nappy?

We hear this question all the time at Darlings Downunder. Actually it’s usually phrased in one of two ways: as a challenge ("If you had to choose one nappy out of the millions you stock…?") or with a kind of desperation ("Why are there so many choices? Please, just tell me which one I should get!”).

We are the first to admit that the choices available in cloth nappies can be overwhelming – especially if you don’t want to try every nappy on the market in order to find the ones that work for you. As every baby and parent is individual there will always have to be some research on your part, but there are a couple of quick and dirty strategies you can use to reduce the pool of cloth nappy brands down to those which you think might be for you.

It involves being ruthless and it may include cutting out nappies that you’ve heard good reviews about, or that your best friend raves about. At this early stage, that doesn’t matter – you can explore those options later. This is not a lifetime decision. It’s about coming up with those first few nappies that you will ever try. What you want to do is narrow down the number of nappy styles/types you have to trial, focussing on what you know about you and your circumstances.

Here are the steps:

1. Decide between One Size Fits Most nappies (OSFM/Onesize/Birth to Potty) and Sized nappies.

Have a look at the table below and go with your gut. Pick one.


 SIZED (S, M, L etc)





- You don’t need to buy larger nappies/covers as your baby grows
- You can use the same nappy on two children if you have two in nappies at the same time.
- Bulkier on newborns and may not fit for the first weeks
- Most brands require some adjustment to right size
- Nappies may wear out faster due to sustained and prolonged use         
- Fits baby better at each stage
- Nappies are often in better condition to pass to another baby as they haven’t been continually worn for 2.5 years
- Can be more expensive as you may need to go through several sizes by toilet training

On our website you can bring up nappies based on whether they’re Sized or One Sized. You can see One Size nappies here and Sized nappies here.

You may find that this restricts your choices enough for you to decide on a few nappies to try. If not:

2. Choose between Snap or Velcro fastening.

This seems like a petty thing, but most parents will find they prefer one type of fastening over another, though plenty end up with both sorts in their stash. It’s an easy way of restricting your options.
The pros and cons of fastenings are as follows:
- Snaps are more durable and Velcro is more adjustable.
- It’s usually fairly easy to replace Velcro in nappies (depending on how good you are at sewing!) whereas snaps are a different matter altogether.
- Some people don’t like having Velcro on nappies they change on sleepy babies, because of the noise it makes when undoing.
- Snaps don’t get caught on other items in the wash (though if you use the laundry tabs on the nappy you shouldn’t end up with the Velcro sticking to your wash!).
- As a gross generalisation, men prefer Velcro and women lean towards snaps.

The above steps should restrict your choices to only a few brands/types of cloth nappies from which you can choose those that appeal to you based on budget, aesthetics, and recommendations.

If there are still too many to choose from, you can restrict your nappy choices further.

3. Decide what style of nappy you prefer.

Pick a type (or two): Fitted, Pocket, All-in-One or All-in-2. You can see a summary of these different types of nappies here.

After this process you should end up with two, three or four different cloth nappies that have a good chance of meeting your individual requirements. That’s not a guarantee they’ll end up being the nappies that make up the majority of your stash – our preferences can change over time - but it’s a more logical way of choosing the first nappies to try than taking a random stab in the dark.

If you're still not sure, perhaps an already assembled starter pack is for you. These contain a variety of nappies to try and may be an option if you're not sure about your choice.

And, of course, if you would like any advice before taking the plunge, you can always email us with your questions. We’re more than happy to help you out.

Back to blog