Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Disposable Diapers - Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test
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Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Putting them to the Test

Name Brand vs. Store Brand: Disposable Diapers

 Anyone who has children knows how expensive diapers can be. If you have a child in diapers until they are two, and assuming you can get diapers for $0.20 each, and you use an average of 4 a day, you will have spent $584 on only diapers for that one child! That doesn't even include wipes, diaper cream, etc. And, chances are you will use more than 4 diapers a day when they are little, or for the times when you change their diaper and they poop less than ten minutes later, and they may not be ready to potty train right when they are two. The kicker? I only found 3 scenarios where you can get diapers for 0.20 or less per diaper. Based on my research, the average price per diaper is $0.25, meaning the average person will spend $730 on diapers for one child. And that is if you buy big boxes, not the small packages.

If you are buying the store brand now, for about $0.28 per diaper, you can save $120 or more a year by switching to a diaper that costs $0.20 or less...So, where do you find the cheapest diaper? Keep reading, I'll tell you what I found out:

So, I performed an experiment and did some research to find out what is the best deal on diapers. First, the research: (note this is based on size 5 diapers, but results are comparable to other sizes. Prices may vary. Typically, the smaller the diaper, the cheaper it costs.)

I thought it would make a lot more sense to buy diapers in bulk. For the most part, this is true. Small packages cost a lot more per diaper than large packages. However, if you can find a good deal and have good coupons, it may be cheaper to get the smaller packages. In my experience, even with coupons, the name brand are more expensive than the store brand.

Since I am not a coupon pro, I just looked at the price comparison for the big boxes. I looked at Amazon, diapers.com, Wal-mart, and Costco to see what was the best deal. Here's what I found:

The Research

  • Diapers.com: Not a great deal at all. Unless you can find a great promotion for free shipping and money off of your order, I wouldn't buy diapers from here. The best price (which means the biggest box) for Pampers is $0.26 a diaper, and Huggies is $0.29 a diaper. 
  • Costco: You can get Huggies for $0.28 each. Kirkland, their store brand, is slightly higher ($0.29), unless you buy two boxes at a time. I don't know if the 2-case deal is only online, or if it is a limited time offer, but those diapers are $0.23 each.
  • Amazon.com: If you combine your Amazon mom discount with the subscribe and save discount, you can get an awesome deal on Huggies. ($0.19 each), and an even better deal on Luvs ($0.16). I'm not sure what the intricacies of the subscribe and save deal is, but you have to set up a periodic payment/delivery. If you don't have the Amazon mom discount, or the subscriber discount, the prices are still cheaper than diapers.com, but only by $0.02. 
  • Wal-mart: If you buy the box of 72 of the Parent's choice diapers, they end up being $0.20 each. Not a bad deal 

So, in summary, the BEST deal is Amazon.com's Luvs diapers for $0.16, with the Amazon Mom discount and the Subscribe and Save discount. 

The Experiment:

The research assumes that all diaper are equal quality. I put this theory to the test with my experiment. I tried four different brands, Pampers, Huggies, Mom's choice (found at Safeway), and Parent's Choice (Walmart). I was going to get Luvs, but couldn't find them at Safeway, and was a little too anxious to do the experiment. Then, I used 1/4 c increments of water to determine at what point the diapers leaked. So, this experiment doesn't look at the ability of the diapers to retain the 'real stuff', the odor control, or the ability to keep the baby's bum dry. However, after using all 4 brands on my son, I haven't found there to be a significant difference in the 4 brands. I do think that Huggies and Pampers were constructed with more care, but not enough to warrant spending $200 a year more on diapers.

Overall, there wasn't compelling evidence that the name brands are better. While they have a cool picture on the front, and they aren't quite as bulky, they still didn't do the job they were intended to do (retain fluid without leaking). The winner was the Safeway brand: It retained 4 cups of water! Huggies came in second with 3.5 cups, and Pampers and Parent's Choice were tied at 2.5 cups.

Here is the breakdown:

  1. Mom's Choice ($0.25, $16.99 for a box of 70): 4 cups
  2. Huggies ($0.29, $19.99 for a box of 70): 3.5 cups 
  3. Tie at 2.5 cups for the following: Pampers ($0.29, $19.99 for box of 70) and Parent's Choice ($0.20, $13.97 for a box of 70)

The Verdict:

Just buy the cheapest diaper. 

Even though I wasn't able to do the experiment on Luvs brand, the fact that Pampers was tied for last place AND that a store brand came in first place is compelling evidence that name brand doesn't really make a big difference. Amazon's deal on Luvs is the best, but Wal-mart brand is not bad either.





Karen K said:

30 yrs ago when my kids were infants, I used cloth diapers.  I couldn't afford disposable and now I just wouldn't want to spend the money for them.    I believe that cloth is a better cost than disposable.  Is there anyone out there that uses cloth?

August 14, 2011 2:05 PM

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About Spendwise Mom

I enjoy finding ways to save money we can life comfortably on one income. We have 5 kids. I enjoy reading, cooking and spending time with my family. I have a BS degree in Elementary Education and do freelance writing from time to time.

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