Types of cloth

different diapers for different puprposes


This is the part of the diaper that absorbs pee, or poop, and is most often seperate. Absorbency could be a fitted diaper, insert, prefold, flat diaper, or booster.


Pockets & Covers

Absorbency needs some sort of exterior shell to keep clothing dry and poop where it belongs.

There are two main types of cloth diapers responsible for this task – pocket diapers and covers.

All In One Diapers

The ultimate cloth diaper? Perhaps, the All In One diaper is a diaper with sewn in absorbency. This is everything you need in one bundle, no extra’s needed.

Different Types of Cloth Diapers? How does this work?

We used to just use cotton sheets wrapped around baby’s bottom and call it a day, but in 2020, innovation called and developed a wide array of diaper types and styles. These can be broadly categorized:

  • Absorbency – Prefolds, Flats, Inserts
  • Fitted Diapers
  • Cloth Diaper Covers
  • Pocket Cloth Diapers
  • All In One Diapers
  • All In Two, Snap In One, Hybrid

Within each of these types are many different variations, sizing, and options. Not all diapers function the same and each brand has a unique twist on the product. Many brands even have patents to protect the creativity in their design features.

Which Type of Diaper For Me?

You might find a combination is best for your family.

When you read through the descriptions of each cloth diaper type – there are pro’s and con’s – but it’s important to recognize that these are opinions. The benefits of an all in one can be a drawback for some families. The benefits of a flat diaper can be inconvience for another. Cloth diapering is all in the eye of the user; so as, you read about cloth diapering and learn about cloth diapering, remember to focus on your story, your family, and your needs. And understand that you might now know what those are yet, and that’s perfectly okay too. That’s why, we always recommend you try at least two styles. Don’t buy an entire stash of one type of diaper. Please don’t. 

Example of an AIO Cloth Diaper

All In One Diaper

The simplest cloth diaper in the idea that everything is sewn together and there’s no need to assemble the diaper. An All In One Diaper is a one step diaper. 

These are one of the most expensive diapers, can be challenging to wash because of their multiple layers of absorbency, and have a wide array of fit and function.

Not all AIO diapers are one step, some diapers are marketed as an AIO diaper but rather more a All in Two or Snap In product. Watch out for this is you are not looking for that.   

Example of a Pocket Cloth Diaper

Pocket Diaper

This a two step diaper consisting of a diaper shell with a pocket and inner liner (most often micro fleece for stay dry) and inserts that needed to be added to the pocket.

These are one of the most popular diapers because of easy they are to source. Pocket diapers tend to be a cheaper product and people like them because once assembled it’s a simple-easy-to-use diaper package. 

Big disadvantages for many families is stuffing the pocket cloth diaper and subpar inserts – whether that’s microfibre or poor performing bamboo. Many families upgrade their pocket diaper inserts with better quality materials.


Example of a Cloth Diaper Cover with Inserts
Example of Wool Cloth Covers

Cloth Diaper Covers

Covers are another two part cloth diaper. A cloth diaper cover is just the water resistant exterior shell of the diaper. You use a cloth diaper cover with inserts or prefolds, or place them over a fitted diaper.

Cloth diaper covers are made from PUL/TPU or wool/fleece.

They are loved because one cloth diaper cover can be reused 3+ times during the day, and can be a way to create a more budget friendly diapering experience. 

Different cover variations exist including internal snaps that allow you to snap in an insert. When an insert is snapped in this can be more functional for  external childcare providers as it begins to function like a pseudo AIO diaper 

Example of a Cloth Diaper Cover with Inserts

Fitted Cloth Diaper

A fitted diaper is one step in a two step diapering system. You will need a cover to make it waterproof. The entire body of the diaper is absorbent and typically features a fastener and inserts.

Fitted diapers are one of the more expensive diapering systems because of the textiles and materials used.

Fitted diapers are often used for nights and naps because it offers all over absorbency for maximum absorbency.

Example of a Cloth Diaper Cover with Inserts

All In Two or Hybrid

And in some parts of the world, this is called a Snap In One diaper.

These are either pocket diapers or cloth diaper covers, sold under the disguise of multi-function. They have snaps or natural fibre inserts that allow you to use the product in untraditional ways.

These are great products because of the high quality design and you can use them in many different ways. You’ll find reviews for them lumped under the diaper they are most like: pocket or cover.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learn How it Works!

Which Cloth Diaper Type is the Cheapest?

The one you get for free?

Pockets & Covers tend to be the cheapest types of cloth diapers.

You can use one cover for every three inserts/flats/fitteds – so that reduces some of that cost.

But, if you have a childcare centre where you need a new diaper every change, this is a mute point.

Many families find cheap pockets for $6-10 a pocket. They may come with cheap microfibre that can be easily replaced with prefolds, repurposed flats, or t-shirts. 

Which Cloth Diaper is Best for Beginners?

That’s a really good question… you can learn to use every cloth diaper. I think it’s more important to find a diaper that supports your lifestyle or fits your budget.

They are all easy with right support

Which Cloth Diaper is Most Expensive

A stash exclusively of fitted diapers and wool covers. 

Why more than one type of diaper

You should try more than one type of cloth diaper to broaden your cloth diaper experience.

If AIO are too difficult to wash, or pockets make you angry, then you have a back up – and hopefully a diaper you don’t hate.

It also gives you an opportunity to have different types of diapers in your stash for different uses. I sent pockets to the babysitters, fitteds for nights, and covers at home.

Which Cloth Diaper is Best For hand washing

Flat Diapers. 

If you have a finicky washing machine, or might need to handwash, consider using flat diapers.

You can simply padfold and add to your favourite pocket or cloth diaper cover.

which cloth diaper is best for babysitters

Simple AIO diapers (no loose tongues or extra piees to adjust) or assembled pocket cloth diapers are best for babysitters or childcare providers.

You can teach anyone anything. 

Which brand do I buy?

Ask for recommendations from your friends, retailers, or bloggers.

Start somewhere, with whatever diaper captivates your heart.

Every cloth diaper has a fan group.

What about Inserts?

Cloth diaper inserts offer a wide array of functionality and absorbency.

Available in different textiles and sizes, you get to choose what will work for your family and lifestyle.

I personally prefer prefold diapers for their ease of use and stuff them in pockets and covers. But, many families check out inserts variations to get the absorbency they need. 

My Book on Cloth Diapering

Ready to take this conversation offline? Or maybe you just want to learn about cloth diapering in one easy-to-load resource. The Cloth Diaper Book is everything you need to get started cloth diapering. This is the cloth diaper book for beginners and covers many topics in a simple to read Cloth 101 style

FAQ on Every Topic

Detailed Graphics & Images on Diapers

Wash Routine Support & Info

Professional Cloth Diaper Educator

Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.

Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.

Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.

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