This is an article I just wrote for the Cloth Diaper Retailer Coop - check it out! There's lots of great information and resources there!
When you first get started in the exciting world of cloth diapers, there are some basics that take some getting used to. The single option sticky tabs that come with disposables aren't the only option anymore. Most cloth diapers close with either Velcro (brand name - but also known as aplix or hooks/loops) or Snaps. Some close with hooks or other fancy options as well.
So why choose one over the other? And does it really matter? For most people it's a personal preference. They just like one better. But there really is a few factors to take into consideration.
Ease of Use
Velcro closure is easier to use generally. There's no learning curve. When I used to send snap Fuzzi Bunz to my elderly babysitter, it was often difficult for her to figure out how to get a snug fit. She might snap the top row but forget the bottom row, resulting in wing droop. Snaps can also be harder for weak or arthritic fingers to maneuver, adjust, or open. With velcro you just attach and you're done. No mathematical equations to figure out which setting to put the snaps on. +1 for velcro!
With snaps, you have to use their pre-settings. The diaper's not as adjustable. Velcro allows you to angle in order to get a tighter or looser fit whether in the legs or the waist. Most people who use snap diapers remember the settings they use for their baby to get a good fit, which you don't have to do with velcro. If your baby fits well in the settings the snaps are arranged in, that's a bonus for you. But if the snaps can't create a snug enough fit, velcro might be a better option. +1 for velcro!
Snaps are going to last longer, hands down. Velcro eventually loses it's "stickiness," gets full of lint, or may separate from the fabric. Even velcro that stays sticky for a long time, sometimes is TOO sticky, and it's hard to detach from the laundry tabs without pulling them off the diaper. In most cases you can replace the velcro or replace it for snaps. bumGenius even provides replacement kits as they know their velcro is not long-lasting. Some ways to make your velcro last longer includes hang-drying the diaper as much as possible, as the dryer will speed up the wear and tear; using a seam ripper, safety pin, or other small object to remove the lint; use care when opening and closing the velcro; have a few days worth of diapers as the less you use each diaper, the longer it will last. Snaps, on the other hand, don't have any of these issues. They will almost always work just as well as when you bought them. And in the instance a snap becomes dislodged or broken, most of them are under warranty for at least a year. +1 for snaps!
Velcro diapers come with laundry tabs that are used to attach the velcro to when washing. This is so all the diapers don't stick together in the wash and you end up with a chain of diapers! Most laundry tabs stick very well to their velcro. Some don't. There will always be some brands whose velcro is just not sticky enough to remain adhered to the laundry tabs and come apart in the wash. This velcro will stick to your other diapers and often causes pilling or slight running depending on the material. Snaps don't have this issue as they don't stick to anything! But in general, most laundry tabs do their job well! +1 for snaps!
Aren't they fun!? So this one has both sides to it. My son went through a stage, and still does sometimes, when he would rather run around without a diaper. Changing time became increasingly difficult as I would attempt to put on a clean diaper while running after him. It's much harder to close snaps on the go than velcro! +1 for velcro!
On the other hand, many toddlers LOVE taking off their diapers! A snap diaper is harder for little fingers to pull off than a velcro one! +1 for snaps!
So, as you can see, there's argument going both ways. It just depends what concerns you the most. Snaps will hold up better in the long run while velcro is easier and creates a better fit. But this is just my opinion! I'm sure you probably have your own benefits and downsides to each one - depending on which is your favorite diaper. Which is why it's so fun that there are so many options of diapers out there - to satisfy everyone's preferences!
Some of my favorites:
FuzziBunz- FuzziBunz prides themselves on their long lasting snaps-only diapers. Their one-size even comes with replacement elastic; between that and the snaps, these diapers could last forever!
Happy Heinys- Happy Heinys has lots of snap options. Their one-size comes with a great placket of snaps that offers lots of adjustability options. The Stacinator Deluxe Fleece cover is my favorite nighttime option over a Happy Hempy with a Superdo. The Heiny Huggers are a cozy sherpa fitted option - great for newborns. Their pocket trainers have the option of side snaps on both sides, one side or without snaps - great for toddlers to pull up and down. Plus the pocket makes them adjustable for absorbancy.
Knickernappies - Knickernappies makes a great One-Sized or Sized pocket diaper. The side-snap closure is great for chunky legs, big bellies, and easy to transition to a trainer.
Berry Plush - This amazing minkee cover has a snap-in soaker made of hemp with a minkee lining. You just can't stop touching it! Plus if the cover doesnt get dirty, you can just snap a new soaker in!
Thirsties Duo Diaper - This is my current favorite diaper. As opposed to one-size diapers, which don't fit newborns well and don't always last until potty training, the Duo Diaper is a 2 size system. Size One is 6-18 lb - really will fit a newborn- and Size Two is 18-40 lb- fits bigger than most one-size diapers. The diaper also has a sleeve which is open on both ends, so the insert agitates itself out in the wash. No need to stick your hand in the dirty diaper to pull out the insert! Plus the insert is 2 parts - microfiber and hemp - a very absorbant insert that is still trim.
Thirsties Duo Wrap - Same benefits as the diaper in terms of sizing. Trimmer with a higher rise than Thirsties original cover for those long babies that the cover's always a bit too short on!
Bummis Super Brite - Has been one of my favorite covers since my son was a newborn. They have gussets which hold in extra material around the legs and super velcro that still works for me!
Easy Fit - This is a pretty new diaper on the market. Made by TotBots in Scotland, distributed by Bummis. It's got a super-soft rayon (made from bamboo) lining and a tongue that you stick in the pocket for extra absorbancy where you need it, which is attached and doesnt get lost in the wash! The Easy Fit is a one-size diaper. The Tini Fit is a super newborn option for 5-12 lb.
So now you have lots of options, regardless of your closure preference. Choose your favorite and enjoy the journey!
Happy Cloth Diapering!
Soft and Cozy Baby
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