Types of Cloth Diapers

From Prefold Cloth Diapers to All-in-One Diapers to Pocket Diapers

Going green has never been easier! Here are all sorts of types of cloth diapers that suit almost every need. We hope this information helps you in your next eco-friendly diaper purchase.  


Flat cloth diapers and prefold cloth diapers

Perhaps the oldest style of cloth diaper, the flat diaper is basic by design, though highly functional. These are simply square or rectangular pieces of absorbent material that you fold to fit your baby, then fasten with pins or Snappis. Prefold diapers are very similar, but they are made with layers of fabric (outer, absorbent center, and inner) sewn together, usually with three panels and extra layers in the center.

These options are highly economical, though they do come with some downsides, most notably the potential for bunching, especially with squirmy babies. On the other hand, because you can fold to fit, they may not be outgrown as quickly as some other fitted cloth diaper models will be.

  • Cover: You’ll require a separate cover or wrap.
  • Fasteners: Most likely will require snaps or pins.
  • Fabrics: Most often made of things like organic cotton, hemp, bamboo, flannel, or velour.
  • Elastics: None.
  • Brands: Bumkins, Little Beetle, ImseVimse, Green Mountain, Bummis


Fitted cloth diapers

Much like disposable diapers, fitted cloth diapers are made to fit your baby, with contours for legs and elastic gatherings to keep the diaper snug against your baby’s shape. Sometimes called contour diapers, these are much easier to put on baby than prefold diapers and generally do not have the same bunching problems.

  • Cover: These require a separate cover or wrap.
  • Fasteners: Often fitted with built-in snaps or Velcro closures, though some require pins or naps.
  • Fabrics: Will contain several fabric layers, though none are water proof.
  • Elastics: Contour diapers do not generally have elastic.
  • Brands: Little Beetle, Firefly Diapers, ImseVimse, Mother-ease, Fuzbaby, Tiny Tush


All-in-one cloth diapers

The all-in-one (AIO) diaper is exactly what you’d think it would be—all of the parts you need are sewn together into one diaper unit, including the waterproof cover, the absorbent layer, and the inner lining. The snaps and/or Velcro closures are also included in the design.

Some designs allow you to add a doubler or diaper insert to add an extra layer of absorbency, giving them the name all-in-twos (AI2). These allow for quicker drying times and since the doubler can be replaced they can last longer than other options.


Pocket cloth diapers

With a pocket diaper, the diaper portion is merely the vessel into which an insert goes—you can’t have one without the other. These are made with two layers (inner and outer forming a pocket) between which you insert a separate absorbent material. Sometimes a waterproof outer layer is built into pocket cloth diapers, and sometimes you need separate wraps. All pieces come apart for effective cleaning.

  • Cover: Usually has built-in wrap or cover.
  • Fasteners: Usually closes with snaps or Velcro.
  • Fabrics: Made with a waterproof outer layer and absorbent inner layer.
  • Elastics: Yes.
  • Brands: gDiapers, Happy Heiny’s, BambooLite, Tiny Tush


One-size cloth diapers

One-size cloth diapers allow you to adjust the size of the diapers as the baby grows taller and wider, and can usually accommodate a wide range of weights. These have the big benefit of being more economical since they will work from infancy to toddlerhood, though some parents find them difficult to re-size.

  • Cover: Not generally.
  • Fasteners: Usually come fitted with some sort of fasteners, including Velcro or snaps.
  • Fabrics: Made with absorbent materials only.
  • Elastics: Sometimes.
  • Brands: Baby by Nature, Tiny Tush


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