In this installment of the Cloth Diaper Fastener series, we’ll give you some of our personal experiences with the various fastener types and at the end, reveal the Gold Medalist in the cloth diaper fastener awards.
Our experience with hook-and-loop (Velcro)
Our experience with Velcro is mixed. We love it because it’s super easy to do up. As well, hook-and-loop cloth diapers are typically cheaper than those with snaps, so if you’re on a budget, like we were, then hook-and-loop is the way to go.
That said we only really used hook-and-loop on our cloth diaper covers, because we had a couple of bad experiences with cloth diapers (under the cover) coming undone and rubbing.
Our hook-and-loop covers were great, but got quite ratty after a few months of washing. By ‘ratty’, we mean the sides would curl up, or lint would accumulate in the hooks. We would remove the lint, but we think the removal action is hard on the hook-and-loop tape, as is general attaching and unattaching. Over the course of the diaper’s life, the hook and loop's holding power diminished a lot.
Overall though, we give a big thumbs up to hook-and-loop because of its ease. Grandparents, caretakers (and reticent spouses?) are unintimidated by it. And let’s face it: winning over family and getting them onboard with cloth diapering is half the battle. So kudos to hook-and-loop for family-friendliness.
Our experience with snaps
After some of our hook-and-loop cloth diapers bit the dust, we started doing some more research into cloth diapers and discovered the plethora of options available to us like wool, fleece, bamboo and SNAPS!
The first snap covers we used only had one row of snaps across the front. They were great, but the wings didn’t lie flat and gave the impression the cover was too small even though it wasn’t. It’s funny that this fit issue bothered us, but it did.
Despite that small niggle, we loved these covers because we didn’t have to worry about them in the wash. No snagging! Now, we do realize that hook-and-loop diapers usually come with fold back tabs that keep the hook-and-loop secure, but in our experience, those tabs only worked to a point. We found that any amount of hook-and-loop that was left unattached, even if it was a tiny corner, would snag on things in the wash. It was very disappointing to see other cloth diapers’ fabric all scuffed and napped because of an unfortunate encounter with the hooks of hook-and-loop.
Snaps, on the other hand, gave us peace of mind, and we eventually transitioned all our covers to snaps.
Our experience with Snappis and Boingos
Our experience with Snappis and Boingos is fairly limited, so take our opinions with a grain of salt.
Snappis and Boingos hold a special place in our hearts because we love their companion: prefold diapers. So if you too love prefolds, then Snappis and Boingos are a natural fit, and we strongly suggest adding a few to your stash.
The problem I (Christina) had with Snappis and Boingos was that I only half-heartedly used them, preferring to tri-fold the prefold and lay it in the cover unfastened. For the times that I did fasten up the diaper, both worked well.
I have to say I preferred the smaller amount of rubberized plastic in the Snappis over the Boingos, and the fact that the Snappis were a one-unit piece. Although I never lost a Boingo, I could see it happening frequently, the same way I lose socks.
Further, the Boingos felt a little chunky; however, to be fair, their chunkiness did not affect their performance.
On the fastening front, I have to give the edge to Boingos. I liked how they fastened in the middle front (vs. middle bottom with Snappis). That made the fastening process easier (you can do one side at a time) and I think it also led to a more secure fit.
Our experience with pins
We actually never used pins on our babies; however, I (Christina) do remember my parents pinning up my brothers' cloth diapers. (I was about 3 years old at the time. Crazy that I retain this memory, but there ya go.)
Obviously, my memory is hazy, but I DO remember seeing the cloth diapers becoming a bit droopy on my brothers as they moved around. The metal part of the pins would actually touch my brothers' sides where the diaper had become loose. I can't say definitively that it was painful for them, but it certainly looked uncomfortable.
Winner of the Cloth Diaper Fastener Award
Now that we've dissected all the cloth diaper fastener types, it's time to award a winner.
And the award for cloth diaper fastener goes to...
Snaps are a great choice. They don't wear out both functionally and looks-wise, and most importantly, they don't snag in the wash!
The lack of snagging and durability mean that snap diapers are by and large more expensive initially than their hook-and-loop counterparts. HOWEVER, over the long term, you'll actually end up saving money by preserving your stash from freak snag-storms. This feature is gold and totally worth the small extra upfront cost.
As a final note on snaps: While they don't offer the infinite adjustability of hook-and-loop, we still feel that when used in conjunction with an elasticized waistband and legs, there is no compromise on fit.
And the runner up is...
We know, this is kind of cheating, but doing the "lay-in, tri-fold" thing is dead simple, provides an enormous amount of absorbency, is family-friendly, and enables you to use cheap prefold or flat diapers! The only real downsides are:
- It's bulky. Trifolding creates a lot of bulk between the legs (but in our experience with heavy wetters, this bulk is very necessary).
- It requires a diaper cover. For us though, the idea of going without a cover was untenable anyway due to unpredictable heavy peeing.
Thanks for tuning in and happy diapering!