Cloth vs. Disposable: Which is Better?

If you haven’t tried both cloth and disposable diapers, we’ll lay it all out for you.
Many people have a strong preference for one or the other but there’s benefits to each type.



Reusable – The main draw. They don’t fill up your trash and you can keep wearing them even when you are broke.

Extra Thick – If thickness is your thing, nothing beats puffy cloth between your legs. You can control the thickness and wear lower-profile thin ones too.

Style choice – Unlike disposable diapers, you can choose from an endless array of waterproof pants. There are a dozen different materials and hundreds of different prints.


Absorbs less liquid – Don’t get me wrong, cloth diapers can hold a lot. But they have to be a lot bulkier than a disposable diaper that holds just as much.

Not as fast to put on – Since you have to wear waterproof pants over cloth, it takes more effort to change.

Feels wetter when wet – You might like this or you might not.

Saggy – When wet, cloth diapers can sag under the weight. Tight fitting plastic pants help.

Laundry – If you hate doing laundry, cloth might not be for you. Then again, it’s a great way to force yourself to have a good laundry habit!




Highest¬†Absorbency¬†– Store brands aren’t so great, but premium disposable diapers hold an incredible amount without leaking.

Stealth – You can get long lasting disposables (6+ hours) that fit under normal-fitting pants. On the other side, trim cloth diapers exist but they might only last a couple hours between changes.

Form-fitting – Thanks to the integrated outer shell and highly absorbent interior, disposable diapers will always fit closer and tighter.

Easy to change in public – You can un-tape and change a disposable diaper in a bathroom stall without even taking off your pants.


Wearing more means spending more – Unlike cloth, you have to pay each time you wear.

Function and Style are Inseparable – Did you find the cutest diaper? You better hope it fits you just right and holds as much as you want. Otherwise, you might have to go back and forth between the most functional and most stylish without ever getting both at once.

Waste – If you have limited garbage space or you feel guilty about padding up the landfill, disposable diapers can be a drag.

Parting Thoughts

Personally, I think both have their place and I use both (duh, that’s why I can write a comparison!). You’ll find that most people use primarily one kind or the other depending on their priorities and personal preferences. Try them both yourself and see what you like best. Sometimes it takes a few tries to really figure out what works for you so don’t be afraid to keep dabbling.

What are the most absorbent diapers?

Diapers made for ABDLs have much higher capacities than run-of-the-mill adult incontinence briefs. How much can they hold and which diapers are the best value? ADISC has revamped their testing protocol and released a huge survey of diapers on the market. The winner is Crinklz which has the very highest capacity and at a reasonable price compared to the competition.

They also found that price and absorbency aren’t closely related which means some of the other brands are an unusually good deal as well.

Looks, fit, and feel also play an important role in choosing diapers. So there’s nothing wrong with choosing the “losing” brands in surveys like this. Variety, as they say, is the spice of life! If you want to dive into all the options, check out our direct links to every diaper manufacture.