Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Disposable diapers comparison - is brand name worth it?

Luvs disposable diapers has a great advertising campaign. The commercials comically divide new moms vs. experienced moms by showing the differences in anxiety level.

For example...

First-time mom: hand sanitizer galore!
Experienced mom: hands baby to greasy auto mechanic

A female voiceover says: "By their second kid, every mom is an expert, and more likely to choose Luvs than first-time moms."

Clearly, the commercial was also well placed because I saw it while hanging out at home with my second baby. And the message made a lot of sense. I am not nearly as worried this time around. It is okay if Andrew cries, a little dirt will not hurt him, and disposable diapers do not have to be the top of the line. However, I wanted to test them for myself.

I purchased small packs of various diaper brands in order to do a disposable diaper comparison:
Pampers Swaddlers
Huggies Snug & Dry
Up & Up (Target) store brand
Babies-R-Us store brand.

Currently, Andrew is in size 1. To choose the best disposable diaper, I evaluated price, size, capacity, feel, and special features.

If you choose disposable diapers for your family, this information is for you. Do you want to know how these disposable diapers stacked up?

Note: Prices may vary somewhat based on store, box size, diaper size, and sale/coupon

Pampers Swaddlers  = $0.23 per diaper, based on 168-count box
Huggies Snug & Dry = $0.20 per diaper, based on 128-count box
Luvs = $0.13 per diaper, based on 252-count box. (or $0.14 for 50-ct package)
Target = $0.15 per diaper, based on 112-count package
Babies-R-Us = $0.13 per diaper, based on 192-count box (or $0.22 for 60-ct package)

I noticed right away that the less expensive diapers are a bit smaller. I felt like Pampers and Huggies were easier to put on the baby because I did not have to pull as much to get the coverage and fit I wanted for him. I took out a ruler - Pampers, Huggies, and Up & Up measure about 7 inches when unfolded. Luvs measured 6.75 inches, and Babies-R-Us store brand measured only about 6.5 inches. One half or quarter of an inch doesn't sound like much, but I could tell the difference. Also, Huggies have more of a rounded shape and more elastic which may hold the mess in a little better as baby gets bigger, but it makes them seem a bit smaller to me. Pampers are my favorite for size alone.

My baby boy is a diaper-dirtying machine. He fills wet diapers very quickly and dirties them at least 2-3 times each day. Sometimes with great gusto (and a lot of noise)! However, I have yet to experience a blowout. All five diaper brands hold whatever he can put in them. So far, anyway. Because of the smaller size of the lower-priced diapers, I find myself intentionally reaching for the Pampers or Huggies at night. I just feel like bigger, in this case, may be better for night. During the day, I really have no preference. So far all are holding what we need them to hold.    

Pampers Swaddlers are my hands-down favorite in this category. They are extra soft. Huggies are nice as well. The Up & Up brand and Luvs comes in close with a similar feel to Pampers, but they are not quite as soft. The Babies-R-Us store brand has the most plastic/stiff feel.

After week one of his life, I know when my boy's diaper is wet because it is big and smooshy! But for some parents, the magic line may be a nice feature to indicate when a diaper is wet. Pampers, Huggies, and Up & Up have the wet indicator line that changes color when the diaper is wet.

I do not know a mom out there who cares what characters are on the diapers... but I thought I'd mention this as well. Pampers and Huggies partner with well-known character brands like Sesame Street and Disney, so those have cute recognizable characters on the front. Luvs have a cute purple monkey and the Babies-R-Us brand have jungle animals. The Up & Up diapers just have polka dots and the number size. But really... who cares?

My disposable diaper comparison results...
1.  I do not like the Babies-R-Us brand. They are the smallest and least soft.
2. Luvs are good and I would buy them again, especially if I need a small package, such as for a weekend vacation. The price stays low even with the smallest count packages.
3. Up & Up (Target) is my favorite store brand, and I believe these are the most similar to Pampers.
4. For night, I really prefer a name brand diaper like Pampers or Huggies. There may be no scientific basis to this preference, but I feel like they would be the best for keeping everything in - and his skin dry - for the longer night time periods in between changes.
5. Price is not as drastically different as I had expected. All diapers are expensive. If you use nine diapers per day (at size 1), the difference between the cheapest and most expensive is $0.85 per day. Not a ton of money saved, although it is $310 per year.

If I were to give advice to parents on how to choose the best disposable diaper, I would recommend having two kinds on hand to combine quality with a little bit of price savings.  I would personally recommend Luvs or Up & Up brands during the day, and Pampers Swaddlers for the main night diaper. This probably gives baby the best of both disposable diaper worlds, and you can save a little bit of money.

Cute buns like these need a good diaper experience!

This post is not sponsored in any way. It is an honest review that I conducted on my own.
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