Cloth diapering is fantastic, especially when you can afford all-in-ones, or AIOs. They’re the most convenient of all the fluff options, but that means that they’re also the most expensive. I’ve gotten some as gifts and I’ve purchased some “more affordable” AIOs from Amazon, and I wanted to give you a fair and honest all-in-one diaper comparison!
Does it really pay to buy a “cheaper” AIO, or are they a waste of money?
So, like I said, I love cloth diapering and I love love love AIOs. They’re no more work to put on a butt than a disposable, which means my husband has no excuse to not use our fluff! There’s no folding, no stuffing, no nada. (Confused on Cloth Diapering 101? I got you fam – here’s my intro article. And if you’d like to see the main types of cloth, because there are three styles, here’s my article on that.)
But some of the AIOs will cost you upwards of $22, which means it’s a bit of a challenge for a one-income family to build up a stash. I’ve been buying a random AIO here and there as I save a bit of money, and I wondered how good the cheaper brands would be. So I’ve gotten a few of those too.
Here you’ll see my “mainstream” brand, Thirsties, with its AIO compared to that of some other brands you can find cheaper on Amazon.
I do have affiliate links in this article. I’ve spent money so that you don’t waste yours!
Our constant: Thirsties One Size All-In-One (AIO)
It’s no secret that I love Thirsties. Their diaper covers (as seen on my comparison review here) were my default, too. They’re just reliable and so well made. So of course I put a few of the Thirsties AIOs on my registry!
The problem with these things is that they’re pricy. As everything in the fluff world, the less work it is, the more it’s gonna cost ya up front. And we honestly can’t afford to build up a stash of these at almost $25/each. I also am not crazy about their designs/colors. I have a few patterns but don’t love them as much as I love the Thirsties covers.
I feel like everything on the Thirsties works well: the width of the crotch, the elasticity of the legs, the snaps’ snappiness is all just right. The sewn-in insert is only sewn on one side, which means it washes and dries more thoroughly (and it’s easier to clean solid poop with the AquaNexxus and Spray Pal – see my full review and how-to here). And honestly the price isn’t too outrageous, but for our frugal little family it’s still a lot.
This Bum Genius was another “mainstream” brand which I got when I was still new to cloth. And I hated it.
There was something about this Bum Genius AIO that just didn’t work for my kid. The fit just seemed wonky on her, and I consider her to be pretty normal as far as proportions. We had so many issues with this diaper that I eventually just sold it back to my cloth shop. It was a waste of $25, in my opinion.
These EcoAble AIOs with pockets were the first “unheard of” AIOs that I perused on Amazon. I was a bit leery of them at first, just because I dreaded a cheaply made diaper falling apart after two uses or something. But hey, at $12.99 (yes, half the price of one Thirsties), it was too tempting to pass up.
I’m really happy with these overall! They have lots of cute designs with bright colors. They feature the double gussets around the legs, which is fantastic for catching leaks before they happen (you can see it on the righthand diaper below if you look closely). I also appreciate the double rows of snaps across the waist, and the adjustability of the rise of the diaper. This diaper is designed for you to use on Baby from approximately 10-35 pounds, so essentially it will last you the entire time your kid’s in diapers.
You can see below that the lefthand diaper is adjusted for the biggest setting, while the other two are set smaller.
The fact that it’s an AIO with a pocket means that there’s an insert, or absorbable fabric piece, sewn in to the diaper itself; that alone is sufficient for most poops or daytime wet diapers. But if you need some extra help in there, the diaper features an open pocket (just like a pocket diaper) so that you can stuff an extra insert in there. This is basically what we do for overnight, since I’m lazy. Toddler and I haven’t gotten up for a midnight change since she was about 6 months old! And no leaks in the bed!
I also find that this “open” pocket means that the diaper washes and dries efficiently.
While they’re not particularly soft, I don’t feel like they have poor quality materials or anything. The charcoal bamboo, to me, is just not as cushy-feeling as the Imagines I discuss below.
Note about shopping for EcoAble on Amazon: they also have AIOs with most of the same features I listed above. These look like this one which I also have (pink mice in the photo above), so I want to clarify something: while the microfleece on the inside is much softer, these EcoAbles do not have double gussets, nor do they have a pocket. So they take much longer to dry, and you need to be sure that the diaper is well-adjusted on Baby to prevent any leaking around the legs. Note that the title of the listing doesn’t have the word “pocket” and if you look closely you can see a different fabric listing, and no double gusset in the photo.
Ok, so I’d had a good experience with EcoAble and I went looking for another affordable AIO. And I came across this gorgeous pattern with Imagine Baby. The listing checked out, so I bought one.
The Imagines are ridiculously soft, and fit my baby really well. They definitely win the award for the cushiest tush. They call the material “rayon from bamboo” and it’s magical.
Sizing-wise, I feel like they fit accurately. They do feel a bit smaller on my child compared to the other brands, and the crotch is wider across. If you have a tiny baby or one with really small hips, this may make the Imagines a bit of an issue.
As far as affordability, they run around $15-16/diaper. So not as cheap as the EcoAbles, but still way cheaper than Thirsties or Bum Genius.
I also honestly don’t like the available designs as much as EcoAble. I’ve really only found three or four patterns that I loved. The rest seem quite drab.
A few more tips…
You can often find “bundles” on Amazon (or on your local Facebook cloth wearing group, or at your local cloth shop) where you can get 4+ AIOs all together at a cheaper rate. Check around and see what the best deal is for you!
I stopped using diaper pails for my fluff because I hated the one I had (you can see my comparison review here) so I just got heavy-duty wet bags and hung them off the side of my changing table instead. A few cheap hooks and I was good to go! I got two of these wet bags and I love them: they’re super heavy duty, have bright adorable designs, and are totally waterproof. When it’s time to wash: dump in the diapers, turn the bag inside out, and dump that in the washer too! And I have more tips here for finding a wash routine if you need help.
Viola! I hope that this has helped spare you some time and money when it comes to building your cloth stash. I love cloth diapering, and I want to help you love it too!
Have more recommendations, experiences, or suggestions? Put them in the comments below!