Types of cloth diapers explained! AIO vs Pocket vs AI2

Confused about cloth diapers? You probably imagine pins and rubber pants when you think of reusable diapers.

There are so many options available for reusable diapers, but don't let that trip you up. This quick guide will give you a breakdown of the difference between All-In-One, Pockets, and AI2 cloth diapers.

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What are Cloth Diapers made of?

Reusable diapers are a washable diaper. No matter what type you choose, there are two features; a waterproof outer layer and an absorbent inner layer or insert.

The absorbent layer absorbs liquid, while the waterproof outer layer prevents liquid from seeping through the diaper. Cloth diapers are simpler to use than you may imagine and are available in different styles and colors. The best thing is that cloth diapers are adjustable and fit multiple-size babies.

Here is a summary of the three main types of cloth diapers.

What are all-in-one cloth diapers (AIO)?

All-In-One Diapers are the simplest choice when it comes to cloth diapers. AIO cloth diapers are one-piece diapers that do everything without needing extra things or separate inserts.

AIO diapers have inserts that are attached to the waterproof cover. This makes it as easy as a disposable diaper that you wash. There are no extra steps. AIOs are available in multiple sizes and fit babies from birth to potty training.

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Pros of AIO cloth diapers: 

  • Simple to put on the baby exactly like a disposable.
  • No need for additional inserts or covers.
  • No stuffing inserts, saves time when washing diapers.
  • Ideal option for daycares or babysitters, as it is a single unit.

Cons of AIO cloth diapers:

  • Compared to other reusable diapers, these ones are more expensive.
  • Some AIOs can take longer to dry because the fabric layers are attached.
    • LKC dries 5x faster than regular AIO diapers. This drastically reduces drying time.

When should you choose All-In-One cloth diapers?

AIO diapers are great if you have multiple kids, are short on time, or hate laundry. Because of the short stuffing time, you can place diapers straight from the dryer onto the baby's bum. LKC AIO Size 1 is the perfect newborn cloth starting at 6lbs.

 

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What are pocket cloth diapers?

Pocket diapers have a pocket on the inside that you can stuff the insert into. You can choose different types of cloth diaper inserts depending on your preference. Popular pocket cloth diaper inserts are microfiber, cotton, bamboo, or hemp.

Pocket diapers have a stay-dry material inside, so babies feel dry even when they wet themselves. The most commonly used stay-dry material in modern pocket diapers is Athletic Wicking Jersey (AWJ), Microfleece, or Microcamous.

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Pros of pocket cloth diapers: 

  • Flexible and highly adaptable: it's effortless to enhance absorbency by including additional inserts or experimenting with different insert varieties. Great for nighttime use.
  • The absorbent insert is detachable, making washing convenient.
  • If the insert is bamboo or hemp, it can go on the outside of the diaper lining.
  • Easy to spray poop off compared to other types of cloth diapers.
  • Buying diapers is easy as pockets are the most common type of reusable cloth diapers.
  • LKC offers two size pockets. Size 1 (6-32lbs) for newborns or skinny babies, and Size 2 (15-55lbs) for toddlers and special needs children.

Cons of pocket cloth diapers:

  • Pocket diapers require stuffing, which adds an extra step and takes longer.
  • Some brands of pocket diapers come with inferior inserts such as microfiber which tends to leak.

 

When should you choose pocket cloth diapers?

If you are new to using cloth diapers, pockets are readily available online. Pocket diapers are the most common type of modern cloth diapers.

Pocket diapers are easy to use and putting them on your baby is just like using a disposable diaper. Pocket diapers are also simple to clean and maintain.

If your baby needs more absorbency, you can just add additional inserts to the diaper.

Easier to use, but costs more. Though you will ultimately save money in the long run, you may have to initially invest more in your collection. However, if your goal is convenience and user-friendliness, pocket diapers are a great choice!

 

What are all-in-two cloth diapers (AI2)?

AI2 diapers, also known as all-in-two diapers, consist of two components: inserts and covers. AI2 diapers are also called Covers or Hybrid diapers (if you are using disposable inserts).

These diapers are similar to pocket diapers, but the insert snaps inside the diaper, and the outer shell is wipeable. This feature is helpful because it allows for easy maintenance. If the baby wets, you can simply replace the insert. Additionally, you can wipe the shell and put in a new insert.

Similar to pocket diapers and all-in-ones, AI2 cloth diapers can come in various sizes or one size. It is essential to choose inserts for AI2s that have a soft lining, as they directly touch the baby's delicate skin. Do not use microfiber inserts with AI2 diapers.

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Pros of AI2 cloth diapers:

  • Similar to pockets and all-in-ones, AI2s are simple to put on your little one.
  • AI2 Diaper covers can be wiped down and reused. If the baby pees, only change the inserts, but if the baby poops, replace both the cover and the insert.
  • AI2 or covers are a less expensive system than AIO or Pockets.

Cons of AI2 cloth diapers:

  • The process of removing soiled inserts can be messy because it may get on the cover.
  • It could be difficult to change how much liquid it can hold if you can only use one kind of insert.
  • When changing diapers, you need to add an insert, unless you have already attached them beforehand. This adds an extra step to the diapering routine.
  • It's hard to customize absorbency because you can only use inserts with the right snap attachment. LKC AI2 cloth diapers contain a universal KAM Snap 20 attachment.
  • AI2 Covers offers convenience and savings. LKC AI2 Covers come in Size 1 (6-32lbs) and Size 2 (15-55lbs), so you have the perfect fit every single time.

When should you choose all-in-two cloth diapers?

If you require a quick and easy fix, all-in-two cloth diapers might be the answer you've been looking for. AI2 Cover diapers are a perfect combination of convenience and efficiency. All-in-twos have removable inserts, which means you can reuse the waterproof cover and save time drying them.

All-in-twos are cheaper than all-in-ones and pocket diapers. Making them a more affordable option overall.

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About the author:

Vanessa Tomchik is the founder and CEO of Lighthouse Kids Company - an Award Winning cloth diaper brand made with the highest quality recycled materials and Voted Best Cloth Diaper Brand of 2021, 2022.  LKC has helped thousands of parents cloth diaper easily since 2017.  Vanessa is passionate about natural parenting and toxic-free products and is a certified babywearing instructor as well as a former cloth diaper instructor for the Real Diaper Association (2016-2017).  Connect with Vanessa on LinkedIn.  

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