Rosa is a work-from-home mom of 2 active children. An author of both fiction and non-fiction, she enjoys reading almost as much as writing.
Which Diaper Is Better?
I wanted to use cloth diapers on my newborn; however, she arrived 6 weeks early, and I was left with little choice but to use disposable diapers until she was big enough to fit into cloth ones. This gave me the opportunity to use and compare the two big-name diaper brands: Huggies and Pampers. While these products look almost the same and tout similar perks, they were not created equal, as I found out.
Pampers Worked Best for My Baby
My ultimate conclusion is that Pampers Swaddlers are better, at least up until diaper size 3. To see why I chose Pampers, let's compare the following aspects of these two diapers:
- Visual Appeal
- Umbilical Cord Clearance
- Wetness Indicator
The size of the newborn diapers is the same for both brands, and the design looks almost identical—with the exception of the closure tab shape and the waistband. Both brands of diapers work the same; however, the Huggies tabs presented some problems.
- Con: First, the tabs are not part of the Huggies diaper itself; they're merely attached to the side of the diaper. This causes problems when putting the diaper on baby. The tabs flop and fold into the diaper, creating more work for the parent who has to continually fish the tabs out and manoeuvre them into place.
- Con: The tabs are on stretchy material attached to the back of the diaper, which means that baby's sides were not covered by the diaper if the waistband folded in.
- Con: The stretchy material is flimsy, and a rushed or unmindful parent is apt to yank the tab right off the diaper.
- Con: Lastly, I discovered that the round shape meant there was less tab surface holding onto the waistband. When baby is active, the Huggies diaper tabs become loose and require frequent refastening to make sure the diaper doesn’t fall off.
And, yes, the diaper does fall off. We had an unpleasant episode of baby pee leaking all over because the tab on one side had come undone and the diaper had skewed enough that baby wasn't properly covered.
- Pro: While the Pampers tabs are not as visually aesthetic, they are a more solid part of the diaper. When you open the diaper and pull out the tabs, they stay there.
- Pro: The tab placement ensures that the diaper wraps completely around baby, so her hips were fully covered.
- Pro: No matter how active baby is, the tabs stay put.
The tabs give Pampers a huge advantage over Huggies in function.
2. Visual Appeal
Huggies has a cute Baby Pooh Bear pattern with a colourful print while Pampers sports the Sesame Street Babies. While the commercial invention and prostitution of “baby” versions of beloved characters is offensive to me, I’d much rather look at Baby Pooh than the slightly creepy Sesame Street Babies.
The Huggies brand gets my vote for this category.
Which Looks Better to You?
3. Umbilical Cord Clearance
The Huggies brand umbilical cord cut-out has better belly clearance than the Pampers umbilical cord notch. However, I found that the top of the Pampers-brand diaper above the waist is loose enough that it does not interfere with or irritate the umbilical cord in any way.
- Pro: Huggies has a Dry Touch® liner made to quickly pull moisture away from baby. This equates to an extra layer of what looks like quilting on the inside of the diaper.
- Con: We've discovered that these diapers use silica gel to lock in wetness. Daddy found little silica beads on baby when changing her wet diaper, which was both annoying and disturbing. After a bit of online research, I discovered that, ironically, the "leak lock" technology . . . well, leaks. The leakage of silica onto babies wearing Huggies diapers is a common complaint from parents.
- Pro: The Pampers diaper lacks the extra quilted layer; however, I found that it is not necessary. During my first “baby pees when the diaper is off” experience, I grabbed a Pampers diaper to use as a shield and discovered that this brand soaks up wetness immediately (thank goodness!).
- Pro: There has been no appearance of silica with Pampers.
- Con: When baby pees, the diaper occasionally emits an unpleasant chemical smell.
5. Wetness Indicator
Both brands have a wetness indicator in the form of a yellow line that runs down the middle of the diaper from front to back. When the diaper is wet, the line turns blue.
Do I find a wetness indicator useful? Not really. I find it near impossible to miss the heavy bulk and smell of a wet diaper. I’ve never needed an indicator in the past and never think to look for one. This is a pointless “perk” for me, although Daddy finds the indicator priceless.
It's slowly grown on me, but I'd rather have a diaper with a “poop indicator” so we don't have to do the "sniff test" to find out if baby left us a present.
Do You Use It?
How Huggies Fit
- Con: Despite their acclaimed Baby Shape® design, the Huggies newborn diapers leave an excess of material hanging down between the legs (see the photo above). This bulge will not go away, regardless of how high you hike the diaper up baby’s crotch or how tightly you secure the waist tabs.
- Con: They also leave a gap around baby’s legs, regardless of their double gusset leg design. No matter how I adjusted the diaper or waist tabs, I could not create a snug fit around the legs. It seems that Huggies are made for babies with chubby legs only, and the Dry Touch® liner is no protection against leakage when baby has a squishy bowel movement.
- Con: When baby finally reached a respectable 7 pounds, I expected the gussets to fit better around the legs. They did. Unfortunately, the waist no longer fit properly. The tabs were so low that they cut into the top of baby's legs when she tried to move. I tried securing the tabs higher on the waistband, but the problem was the low anchor point of the tabs. The next size up (Stage 1) was still too big for baby, making it a no-win situation with the Huggies.
How Pampers Fit
- Pro: The Pampers Preemie diapers folded perfectly around baby’s bum, and when the diaper was affixed around her waist, the leg gussets sealed nice and snug. I was confident that the fit would continue to be just as superior when baby finally reached 5 pounds and could fit into the less expensive newborn diapers. This was the case. The Pampers continued to fit nicely when baby reached 7 pounds.
- Pro: Unlike the Huggies, the interior gussets seal snugly, eliminating the likelihood of leakage.
- Con: However, just like the Huggies, the Pampers newborn diapers also have excess material between the legs that cause unwanted bulk (although not as big).
- Con: The Pampers diapers also have a slight gap around the leg.
Bonus points to Pampers for a great fit.
Conclusion: Huggies Failed to Perform
These two diapers seem to be clones of each other, right down to the price. While the Huggies brand appears to be higher quality due to its special perks, those perks could not propel them above Pampers in functionality.
The fit was the biggest deciding factor for me. One package of Huggies was enough of a nightmare that my darling baby went right back into Pampers, and there she’ll stay until she’s big enough to fit into cloth diapers.
Update: Baby Outgrows the Pampers
When baby hit size 3 in diapers, Pampers began to give us problems. We had leaks and actual soak-through problems after a few hours. We reluctantly switched to Huggies, and, although we still hated the silica beads, Huggies fit baby better now. The absorbency is also much better.
For a while, we used President's Choice diapers, but as she moved into toddler sizes, they stopped fitting properly and just didn't absorb enough to make it through the night. So, we were stuck with the same dilemma: Huggies Pull-Ups or Pampers Easy Ups Training Pants?
What About Cloth Diapers?
When our daughter reached 8 pounds and was finally big enough to fit in cloth diapers, we did a ton of research to find the best ones. We made a huge financial investment in the cloth diapers we thought would suit us best. And then, we discovered a few hitches in the "eco-parent dream". Here is my review of Flip Hybrid Cloth Diapers.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Joanna on December 27, 2019:
Brynne on August 14, 2018:
The pricing you’ve posted blow my mind. I got my 88 packs of Huggies diapers at superstore for 22.97. Or at Walmart they’re 2 for $40 all the time.
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on December 15, 2016:
You're welcome and thanks for sharing, Melinda!
Melinda on December 15, 2016:
I love Pampers swaddlers. My daughter was 5 pounds 7 ounces and pampers fit so good, we used the sensitive, scent free type of swaddlers for newborns. I don't know if you've seen the newest diapers that pampers has made but theyre for preemies under 3 pounds, I do believe, the diapers are amazingly small... I have been at the hospital for the last 3 months with my second child, hes a boy, Kodah due dec 31st 2016.... and I see preemies everyday, a few of the girls on this unit that I am on have babies in the NICU and they use Pampers on all the babies who go through the NICU as well as when they are on the regular units with mom... I heard a few people say that pampers aren't as good for a boy but I think Im still going to go with them anyway as they worked so good for my daughter and all they've done to help preemies, I'd rather put my money on that, because I've seen what a difference it makes to have a under 3pound diaper rather than a 10 and under as huggies has or an under 7 pounds, with the pampers newborn. :) I am glad I read this article, thank-you very much for posting it...
Desiree on October 29, 2016:
We have 5 kiddos and have always used Pampers for them as newborns because Huggies just didn't fit as well. We had 2 that were born 5 and 4 weeks early and the Pampers brand fit them wonderfully! That being said, as they got bigger, we fell out of love with Pampers and switched to Huggies. We always recommend to our friend/family to start with Pampers for NB's
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on June 12, 2015:
Hey MarloByDesign! Do you think if you sent Huggies a bill for all the extra laundry they create, they'd change their design??? LOL
MarloByDesign from United States on June 12, 2015:
I find that Huggies leak much more than Pampers. I dislike Huggies immensely - too many soaked-through clothes!!
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on December 06, 2014:
Hey cheyenne2014; Thanks for sharing your experiences! ..... Ahhhh, bootie blow-outs .... *shudder* lol
cheyenne2014 on December 06, 2014:
We are a huggies family as of right now, my daughter also got chemical burns from pampers, ive never had an issue with silica beads, but tge snugglers are made with different material now than what's shown above. I love how soft they are and ive never felt a "wet" pee diaper because it soaks up moisture so well. Shes blown out a couple diapers but what baby hasn't? I found she doesn't as often when i make sure tge inner leg bands are stretched aroumd her leg and not left folded it. I love my huggies snugglers
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on October 10, 2014:
YIKES, KatieLynn2011! Poor baby :-( We just recently tried Pampers Pull ups (they were on sale cheaper than the store brand) and the chemical stench was horrific! Instant migraine :-( I'm so glad you've been able to find something that works good for your daughter :-)
Katie from Arkansas on October 09, 2014:
I prefer huggies for my daughter. I bought some pampers one time and they burned my daughter every time! But I've found that the off brand diapers work just as well
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on August 23, 2013:
Glad to hear they work so well for your family! Thanks for the feedback, topkidsreview :-)
David Heinz from Salt Lake City, UT on August 23, 2013:
I think that Huggies are the best. They will hold every thing in and I have never had a problem with them. They are just so easy to use and keep everything in.
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on January 20, 2013:
Blow out suck! lol Glad that you guys were able to find diapers you could rely on! I find it interesting to see that other parents are also having to switch between brands as their child grows. Thank goodness for variety and options!
ExpectGreatThings from Illinois on January 20, 2013:
Interesting hub and comments. We used cloth with our daughter, but because of our son's frequent blow-outs, we searched high and low to find something that would contain the mess. Pampers won for us. We did usually move up to the next size before his weight indicated we should move, when they started leaking. For pull-ups we prefer Huggies.
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on December 20, 2012:
@ wizardofodds - Thanks for your feedback!
@miranda - Very cool info. Thank you for the details. It's always interesting to hear about other people's experiences. I suspect each child is different (even in the same family). We actually found that once our daughter hit size 3, Pampers gave us problems and we had to switch to Huggies! We still hate the silica beads, but the fit is better now and so is the absorbency. Funny how things work out - I'll have to add an update to this article!
miranda on December 20, 2012:
We prefer Huggies. We actually had the opposite experience on everything, except the tabs. We tried pampers for a week and they did not fit our son well. He continually leaked out of them and they bulged at the bottom. He also seemed irritated by the pampers. This was extremely irritating considering we wgiveneral packages of pampers. Since switching to Huggies we could not be happier.
Kayla Brown from Wichita, Kansas on October 16, 2012:
I completely agree with your conclusion! When I was testing the diapers for my first, I came to find that Pampers did outperform Huggies!
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on August 12, 2012:
Allergies is an interesting issue that doesn't usually get mentioned. I'm curious what Huggies uses that would cause rashes in your son. Perfumes? Dyes? Or the materials? Thanks for sharing your experience with these brands.
Mom of 4 on August 12, 2012:
I have an allergic reaction to almost every diaper brand but Huggies so have used them for all of my kids except my 2nd. He would get rashes as soon as huggies would touch him so we used the pampers brand for him n honestly I hated them. They were always falling on the sides or he would leak thru constantly, I just had the worst experience with them. The huggies however, yes they use silica but if u change them right away n the diaper isn't left they do not get it all over their bums. My twins just turned 1 last month n never have I had that happen to me. Also the closures I like the biggies cuz its harder for them to undo when they r older n tryin to take their diapers off. My kids r super active n do not take naps, they have not napped during the day since 5 months of age n the huggies movers r a perfect fit for them.
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on August 07, 2012:
Glad you found it helpful! Thanks for commenting :-)
Helna Reneesh on August 07, 2012:
Oh i prefer pampers from all the other brands its really worth th price ur hub is really informative
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on July 11, 2012:
WOW! Sounds like that was a rough night! Thanks for sharing!
Kaitlin on July 11, 2012:
I prefer huggies for my son... I tried using pampers one night... I put 4 on him and he peed through 3! Never had that problem with huggies.... Just a better fit for him I guess
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on April 26, 2012:
Thank you for sharing your experience, Laralulu!
Lauralulu on April 25, 2012:
We experienced the complete opposite in the comparison. Pampers (not dry max) created blisters from the chemicals they use to absorb the wetness. I myself and my baby prefer silica on him every once in a while and no chemical burns. Thought I would add my two cents.
Rosa Marchisella (author) from Canada on January 18, 2012:
Thank you, ladies for your comments. I was debating trying Huggies again when my little one is ready for a bigger size to see if they perform better. After reading your feedback, I feel encouraged to follow through on that.
jacqui2011 from Norfolk, UK on January 18, 2012:
It's been a few years now since my daughters were babies, but I change around 50 nappies a day as a nursery nurse. At work we use pampers on babies up until around 1 year old. I find that when they are mobile, the Huggies seem to fit better. I love the fact that there is a wetness indicator, as this can be so time consuming in the nursery. Informative article and well researched. Voted up and useful.
New 2011 Mom from Pennsylvania, USA on January 17, 2012:
I HATED Huggies for my daughter until just recently. It seemed that the Huggies would leak more than the Pampers, or even generic named diapers. After she became more mobile and sleeping through the night I got a free sample of Huggies and Pampers diapers. I used the Huggies on her first, because I had bad luck with them before, but they ended up being better than the Pampers! No leaks, messes leaking out anywhere, and they seemed to feel good on her as well. I should have started to use Huggies on her a month or two ago for when she slept, but that's ok.
Eileen from Kildare, Ireland on January 17, 2012:
I had tried both Pampers and huggies and found that Pampers is a much better nappy for my son. Unfortunately, huggies failed me several times and it leaked. So I only bought Huggies once and have been with Pampers till today.