Cloth VS Disposable Diapers Cost Comparison: What’s Cheaper?

cloth vs disposable diapers cost

*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for your support!

Share this post

We spent several days comparing and calculating cloth vs disposable diapers cost. You will make a significant upfront investment with cloth diapers but the savings are worth it.

You can save about $433.08 to $834.29 in year one if you use cloth diapers, and approximately $1,387.03 to 2,381.27 in year two.

We cloth-diapered our daughter since she was a newborn and while the initial cost of cloth diapers was higher, we saved a good chunk of money in the long run.

Our calculations below summarize the cost of using cloth vs disposable diapers and will give you a general idea of how much you can spend on diapers.

If you use a mix of cloth and disposable diapers, your savings will be somewhere in the middle of our savings calculator.

Cloth vs Disposable Diapers Cost

If you can’t see the table below or if it appears distorted (mobile devices), you can view the Google Sheets version here.

Cloth vs disposable diapers comparison chart:

 All-in-OneAll-in-Two / PocketFittedDyperHello BelloHealthy BabyHuggies, Pampers, Kirkland, Up & UP, etc.)
# diapers needed363636
Cost / diaper$17.99$16.99$12.88
Total diaper cost$647.64$611.64$463.68
Additional Inserts3636
Cost / insert$3.99$3.99
Total insert cost0$143.64$143.64
Additional Covers0036
Cost / cover$12.99
Total cover cost$0.00$0.00$467.64
Cost per box$18.00$8.99$22.60$51.00
Ave. # diapers / box322841156
Ave. cost / diaper0.560.320.550.33
Monthly diaper cost$168.75$96.32$165.37$98.08
Monthly laundry cost$5.78$5.78$5.78
MONTH 1 TOTAL$653.42$761.06$1,080.74$168.75$96.32$165.37$98.08
YEAR 1 TOTAL$722.78$830.42$1,150.10$2,025.00$1,155.86$1,984.39$1,176.92
ESTIMATED YEAR 2 TOTALS$0.00$0.00$0.00$2,430.00$1,387.03$2,381.27$1,412.31
Resale value40%40%40%
CASH BACK$259.06$302.11$429.98$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00
Cost for 2nd child$0.00$0.00$0.00$2,025.00$1,155.86$1,984.39$1,176.92
TOTAL FOR 2 KIDS$0.00$0.00$0.00$4,050.00$2,311.71$3,968.78$2,353.85
YEAR 1 SAVINGS: $433.08 to $834.29     
YEAR 2 SAVINGS: $1,387.03 to 2,381.27     
SAVINGS FOR 2 KIDS: $1,588.93 to $2,818.68     

We used our own experience with cloth diapers and made some assumptions to bring you this table. As you can see from our calculations, you can save big time when you use cloth diapers.

Below are more details on how we calculated the cost of using cloth diapers vs disposable.

Cloth vs disposable diapers cost details 

Calculating the cost of cloth vs disposable diapers is not as easy as it seems. There are different kinds of cloth diapers and each varies in price.

Similarly, the cost of disposable diapers varies by brand, and you can spend a lot more money if you buy environmentally friendly and organic diapers like Dyper, Hello Bello, or Healthy Baby.

The price of disposable diapers also varies by size and quantity included in each pack. 

For example, a pack of 76 newborn-size diapers from Huggies costs $24, while a pack of 158 size 3 Huggies diapers costs $52.

We made several assumptions in our calculations to give you a ballpark number of your total expenses and savings for 2 years.

Let’s go over these calculations and assumptions in detail.

Types of cloth diapers

We like cloth diapers from Nicki’s Diapers, Charlie Banana, and because they are good quality and affordable.

types of cloth diapers

The cost of these cloth diapers varies in price and you’ll see a significant upfront investment depending on which brand and type of cloth diaper you choose.

We used All-in-One cloth diapers, All-in-Two or Pocket cloth diapers, and Fitted cloth diapers in our diaper cost calculations. 

Just to give you a quick overview of the types of cloth diapers, All-in-One diapers combine an absorbent layer and a waterproof cover into a single, ready-to-use cloth diaper.

These diapers cost a little more but you get everything you need in one piece.

All-in-Two and Pocket cloth diapers consist of a waterproof cover and an absorbent layer that is placed inside the cover separately. You can replace the absorbent layer while reusing the cover.

The fitted cloth diapers are contoured to fit your baby’s shape and have elastic around the legs and waist for a snug fit. 

Fitted cloth diapers are highly absorbent but you need a cover to avoid leaks.

All-in-Two, Pocket, and Fitted cloth diapers are more affordable but you need to buy separate inserts and covers which can add to your upfront investment.

Cloth diaper inserts

Cloth diaper inserts are made with absorbent material to, well, absorb pee.

All-in-One diapers already have an insert built in. You will have to buy separate inserts with All-in-Two and Pocket diapers, so your costs will be a bit higher.

Fitted Cloth Diapers

Fitted cloth diapers are very absorbent but do not have an outer layer to prevent leaks. So if you buy fitted cloth diapers, make sure to include covers with your order.

Cloth diaper size

You can adjust the size of cloth diapers and most of the time you’ll need one size of cloth diapers. 

One-size diapers fit most babies from 8 lbs to about 40 lbs. But if you have a small baby like ours, you can get newborn sizes which are good for about 3 months.

When your baby outgrows the newborn size, you can buy one-size diapers that can be adjusted to accommodate your growing child.

The price of newborn-size diapers and one-size diapers is about the same but could vary slightly from brand to brand.

Average changes per day

From personal experience and from asking other parents, the average number of disposable diaper changes is about 8 to 10 per day.

This is just a good estimate but keep in mind that the actual number of diaper changes will depend on your child.

For cloth diapers, it is about 12 changes per day because cloth diapers don’t absorb urine as efficiently as disposable diapers, hence it requires a few more diaper changes.

The cloth diapers I recommend are made with great quality and are more comfortable on your baby’s skin.

Disposable diaper brands

The type and brand of disposable diapers can also affect the amount you spend over the years.

Brands like Dyper, Healthy Baby, and Hello Bello are great quality diapers but do cost a bit more compared to Huggies, Pampers, Kirkland, or similar brands.

The cost per diaper is much lower than cloth diapers and although it may not seem much, you will be spending a lot more money in the long run.

For example, the cost of one All-in-One cloth diaper is $17.99, and one Huggies diaper comes out to about $0.33.

It makes sense to buy a big box of Huggies diapers because they are cheaper but if you factor in the number of changes per day over a 12-month period, you will spend about $1,176.

Laundry cost

The cost to wash cloth diapers is very minimal but I included it just to show you how much it can cost you to wash diapers.

You can use this laundry cost calculator to calculate your expenses. Make sure you input your electric, water, and detergent costs to get a good estimate.

In my case, I can expect to spend about $5.78 per month washing cloth diapers assuming that I wash them every 2-3 days.

Resale value

This is where things get interesting. Once a disposable diaper is used, you have to throw it away.

But with cloth diapers, you can resell them and make a bit of extra money. A good rule of thumb is to sell them at about 40% of the original price.

Of course, this will depend on your location and the condition of your cloth diapers.

 All-in-OneAll-in-Two / PocketFittedDyperHello BelloHealthy BabyHuggies, Pampers, Kirkland, Up & UP, etc.)
Resale value40%40%40%
CASH BACK$259.06$302.11$429.98$0.00$0.00$0.00$0.00

How much do you save a year using cloth diapers?

Based on my calculations of cloth vs disposable diapers cost, you can save $433 to $834 in the first year when you switch to cloth diapers.

You can save about $1,387 to 2,381 in year two because you can continue to use the same cloth diapers assuming that they still fit your older toddler.

If you have 2 children and assume that your older child is no longer wearing diapers, you can save up to $2,818 in cloth diapers.

As you can see, cloth diapering requires that you make a big upfront investment but you don’t have to continue buying boxes of disposable diapers which can break your bank in the long run.

YEAR 1 SAVINGS: $433.08 to $834.29
YEAR 2 SAVINGS: $1,387.03 to 2,381.27
SAVINGS FOR 2 KIDS: $1,588.93 to $2,818.68

Cloth diapers pros and cons

In my opinion, the biggest advantage of cloth diapers is long-term savings. 

It does require a bigger upfront investment but you can save a lot of money in the long run, especially if you plan on having more than one child.

Cloth diapers are great for the environment because they are reusable and reduce the immense volume of disposable diapers that end up in landfills. 

I also like that cloth diapers can promote healthier skin for your baby. They are typically made of natural, breathable fabrics that allow for better air circulation and can reduce diaper rashes.

You can also customize and adjust the size of cloth diapers. You can adjust the level of absorbency by adding or removing inserts or layers.

But cloth diapers do have some drawbacks. First is the initial cost which can be a significant hurdle if you don’t have the money upfront.

You also have to do laundry more often to have a supply of clean cloth diapers always available. Just make sure to follow the washing instructions to maintain the quality of cloth diapers.

You may also need a cloth diaper pail to store cloth diapers and minimize the smell. 

Trust us, you can’t just use any diaper pail so make sure to read our cloth diaper pail recommendations.

What to do next?

As you can see, cloth diapers are cheaper in the long run and you can save a lot of money if you reuse them. Plus you can expect to get some money back if you sell them.

If you are using disposable diapers in tandem with cloth diapers, check these overnight pull-up diapers I recommend. 

Also, read how to potty train the Montessori way if you are ready to start the process.

About Leslie - Latinx Montessori

Hello, I am Leslie. I am on a mission to help you support the growth and development of your child. With the right tools and proper guidance, you can navigate parenthood with confidence and assertion! My goal is to equip you with knowledge to help you construct a strong foundation for your child’s life.

Suggested articles

You May Also Like

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website.

Get The Free Gentle Parenting E-Book

Gentle parenting is a leap forward towards setting a solid foundation for your child’s life trajectory.