Debating Name-Brand vs. Generic Diapers

We’ve all been there, late night shopping on Amazon for baby essentials. Type in the word diapers and you get over 50,000 results.

Depending on the brand and size, diaper prices can range from $0.10 to $0.30 per diaper.  Newborns can go through 8-12 diapers in a DAY, so those pennies add up. So is it worth it to spend the extra for the name brand? Or should you save your money and buy the generic off brands?

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Jo says, “Buy quality over quantity”

Jo discussesI am a Pampers girl, hands down. There are lots of ways to save money when you have a baby, but I don’t think diapers is the place to do it.

One of the nice things I like about buying Pampers is the consistency.

I never have to run the risk of getting a bad brand of diaper. Best-case scenario, the new diaper brand is okay. Worst-case scenario, you hate the diaper for some reason. At that point you have two options, (1) use them anyway and risk problems or (2) throw them out.

A GREAT strategy for packing your diaper bag effectively“But what could possibly be wrong with a diaper?” 

There are a lot of aspects to the diaper that we don’t even realize!

Sure the most obvious factor is how well it absorbs wetness, but you always want to look at the ability that it can wick away moisture (so baby doesn’t feel wet).

Additionally, there’s the coverage the diaper provides, the quality of the material that’s touching the baby, the durability of the clasps, and how the diaper style fits your baby’s shape.

Have you ever thought about all these aspects of a diaper? I hadn’t either! Until I was forced to use these poor quality diapers when I was traveling last year.

On trips that are a week or longer, I usually buy diapers about halfway through. (Pssst… this is just one of many packing tips I give you in my post on Essential Packing Tips for Family Vacations)

Related Post: Ways to Make Vacationing With Kids Fun and Easy
Related Post: Strategies for Traveling with Toddlers

I was shocked that the convenience store I went to didn’t carry Pampers! So I bought a different brand and didn’t think much of it….

…until we had a blowout that afternoon, and then again the next day, and the next. At that time Lily was 6 months old and hadn’t had a blowout diaper in a month or two.

Another thing I found was that the clasps didn’t feel securely attached and occasionally would rip off when I was trying to fasten it.

Finally, the smallest amount of pee seemed to fill up the entire diaper and cause it to sag down when I was holding her. I missed my Pampers desperately!

Related Post: Diapering Essentials You NEED to have
Related Post: Stop Packing Your Diaper Bag Wrong

Realize that name-brand diapers don’t even have to be that expensive

I am super cheap, so I always watch for sales on diapers.

The gold standard that I compare all sales to is the Amazon Family Subscribe and Save (S&S) price as their regular prices are already really low. Try Amazon Family S&S for free here!

Therefore if you find a sale somewhere (and make sure you also use a manufacturer’s coupon on top), you should compare the price per diaper to Amazon Family S&S to see if it’s a good deal.

My favorite coupons are the Pampers coupons on Amazon, combine those with S&S discount and those prices are hard to beat!

The downside to buying on S&S is that you have to wait for the shipment so it’s not an option if you need the diapers right away. However, if you’re shopping deals you generally want to build up a stockpile of diapers when you find a price that’s good.

Now let me tell you why buying Pampers can be even CHEAPER than store brand diaper.

Yes, you heard me right, CHEAPER.

Remember those instances when I was traveling and I had to use so-called “cheap” diapers? Well, you know what I did to prevent leaks and other issues?

I changed my kids constantly.

I easily changed them 6-7x per day, and on a normal day with my Pampers I’m usually only changing them 4 times (now that they’re out of the newborn stage).

Therefore if the price is only a few cents cheaper per diaper for the store-brand ones, you’re actually spending more money (and creating more waste!) in the long run.

Like I previously said, there are lots of ways to save money when you have a baby. Listen to me when I say that it’s not worth the money to mess around with diapers.

This is something you have to deal with multiple times EVERY…SINGLE…DAY. It’s something constantly in contact with your baby.

Do it for your sanity, just say “yes” to Pampers.

Rachel asks

Rachel asks, “Have Pampers ever let you down? Was there ever a time that they didn’t fit well?”

Jo discussesYes and no… Pampers as a brand has never let me down, BUT there are times when a certain version no longer works as well.

I used the Pampers Swaddlers for the newborn stage through size 2 because they had the helpful wetness indicator.

After that I switched to Pampers Cruisers because they seemed to hug the legs a little better and allow for the movements in rolling, crawling, and walking.

I was never a big fan of the Baby-Dry ones though, they had a strange chemical smell to me and kind of felt like a weird plastic.

Comparing Baby Diapers

Rachel says, “Save the money, they’re all just diapers.”

Rachel discusses

Sure, I may prefer some brands over others, but when I’m shopping I go with the best deal.

This means we’ve used a bunch of different brands. Store brands are often cheaper, but with sales and coupons, good deals on name brands can also be found.

My little guys have sort of sensitive skin, but we’ve been lucky we haven’t had a reaction to any of the diapers.

The diapers really aren’t that different.

While I must admit that I do notice some differences in quality, I’ve found that they pretty much all do the job.

I recently tested a bunch of brands out and the differences between them were pretty minimal. (You can read the whole post here)

Yes, Pampers and Huggies feel softer than the store brand. That said I actually prefer Target diapers since they’re similar to Pampers but better priced. I also like Walmart, Aldi, and Kroger store brand diapers.

I don’t really care for Luvs because I can often get better deals on store brands and actually find those to be better quality.

For my first, we dealt with blowouts regardless of brand. No diaper could contain the explosions and they all performed equally poorly.  

As he got older, we haven’t noticed issues with any diaper brand. On the rare instances of a leak, it was when we’d gone too long between changes. With regular diaper changes, the store brands have done just as well for us.

Comparing Baby Diapers

Buying expensive diapers is like throwing money away.

A newborn will only wear that diaper for a couple hours, maybe less. And those newborn poops can blowout even the most expensive diapers.

Babies are also prone to the occasional mid-change elimination and immediate post-change poop, completely wasting diapers.

Seriously, it is just a receptacle for excrement, so I don’t feel the need to spend more than necessary on something that will just be trash.

Comparing Baby Diapers

As baby grows, different diapers may fit better or worse.

Not all diapers are cut the same way, so the same diaper may not fit equally well on a short chunkster and a skinny mini.

Also, as they grow, babies can fall into a hole between a brand’s sizes, but fit perfectly another brand that runs a bit smaller or bigger.

I notice the differences in cut, particularly between Huggies and Pampers. Sometimes Huggies just fit better, sometimes they didn’t. It should also be noted that this may mean your baby wears different sizes in different brands.

I completely understand when moms find a diaper that works and want to stick with it, but just keep in mind that baby is going to change as they grow and what worked last week might not work next week.

That’s all out the window for night diapers…

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am much pickier about overnight diapers.

When we have found a diaper that our little guy didn’t leak through at night, we have stuck with it until it didn’t work for us anymore.

As he’s grown, we’ve had to experiment with different diapers. Just as a tip, we usually have to go one size up for the night as well.

For a while now, we’ve had success with Pampers Baby-Dry and I try to stock up whenever I can find a sale. Not changing pee soaked sheets every morning is worth the extra money to me.

For day time diapers, it is not worth the extra money. While all diapers are not created equal, in my experience, regular diaper changes make up for the disparity.

Jo asks

Did you ever try some diapers that were so horrible they ended up being unusable and you had to throw them away?

Rachel discussesWe never threw any away, once I bought them I was committed.

The diapers I most disliked were actually Seventh Generation, which aren’t even cheap! I only got them due to a good sale/coupon combo when my son was about 2 months old.

They were the closest I ever came to just tossing them out since we had blowouts nearly every single diaper. It was a smaller package so we just got through it and never bought them again. They weren’t difficult to avoid since they’re usually rather expensive.

Coming up next:  Debating Sleep Training: To Cry or Not to Cry? 

GREAT discussion on the pros/cons of sleep training.

Are Name-Brand diapers worth the cost? Should you just get generic?
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About Author

Jo & Rachel

Jo and Rachel first had the idea for 'The Moms At Odds' in 2016 when our babies were turning 2 and we realized that we were very different parents.

As a mom, Rachel immediately felt this strong connection to her son and instantly decided she wanted to become a stay-at-home mom. Though Jo obviously loved her son as well, she counted the days until she could go back to work and interact with other adults.

They both struggled over getting their babies to sleep and while Jo believed in sleep training, Rachel looked for alternatives like dream feeding and no cry methods. As time passed and their children grew older the differences started to really add up – pacifier use, drinking during breastfeeding, organic foods, screen time, diaper brands, and on and on.

During this day and age, it’s so easy to look at our parenting differences as a bad thing. After all, we’ve all seen jokes and articles about “Mommy Wars” over one subject or another. Instead, we choose to embrace our differences and show you that in many areas there is no wrong answer. What works for one family may not work for another, and that’s perfectly fine. We can still all get along and raise perfectly healthy, beautiful children.


  1. Amanda Berger says:

    We cloth diaper most of the time. When using disposable we tended toward target brand but I noticed the quality has gone down between my first and second child. I have actually had a few rip! We can’t do pampers- they made my newborns break out, they don’t fit my toddlers right and I can not handle the smell (they all smell to me). We have been buying Huggies recently, I like them but I’m still bummed about the target brand.

    1. Rachel says:

      That’s really interesting about the Target diaper because a while back I had a few of the tabs rip off. They were all from 1 box and I wrote it off as a fluke. We’ve continued to use them and haven’t had any more issues, but that is really weird. Maybe a bad batch??? And I totally agree on the smells, why do they make them so strong?

  2. Jen says:

    We’re totally all about the Pampers Swaddlers! We love them and still use them with our son. Great absorbency and moisture-wicking. It seems to have some kind of material that creates a gel to absorb the moisture as it gets wet. We’ll probably switch to Huggies Pull-Ups when it’s time to potty train in a few months. We received Seventh Generations ones as gifts, and they did not seem to absorb well, so the moisture just sat next to our daughter’s skin and we’d have to change her more often, before the pad even became full. We also tried Honest brand ones we’d received from a sample pack. They were super cute, but noticed they ran small and were just okay. We have done the Target brand ones, and these are decent, but I often save more on the Pampers Swaddlers with Subscribe and Save as you mentioned above.

  3. Rachel says:

    I had the exact same experiences with Seventh Generation and Honest Company! And they’re pretty pricey for what you get.

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