This post is a long time coming. Not only because I haven't posted in months, but also because some of these were sold to me as "testers" from a good friend who asked for my feedback on them! All of these diapers were purchased from re•diaper in Hamilton, Ontario. Fabulous store, lots of selection, will special-order from their existing suppliers, and they are more than happy to educate you and answer all your CD questions!
I have been cloth diapering for 4 years now, and I've tried (and re-sold) a huge range of different types and brands. The two styles I like best are fitted with covers, and pocket diapers (as opposed to hybrids, prefolds, and all-in-ones that I have tried*). For those of you that are new to cloth diapering, this isn't a diapering 101 lesson. I'll be using terminology that might confuse you, so I apologize in advance! There are some great sources out there where you can learn the basics. This post is aimed at those who know the ins and outs of cloth, and are looking for a great system. And here they are!
Bum Genius 4.0 One-Size with Snap Closure
(tested against Bum Genius 2.0 and 3.0 with velcro closure, Baby Kanga One Size, Happy Heineys, and Fuzzi Bunz Perfect Size)
This company has worked hard to perfect their diapers. You will still get some leg elastic weakening after a couple years of use, but they now have an easy-access opening so that you can replace it. The velcro damage and failure was the main problem I had with my 2.0 and 3.0 versions, so this snap option is the perfect solution. It's one size (three size options, with 2 inserts: newborn size and a bigger one that folds/snaps to adjust). The outer shell is PUL, the fabric that touches baby's skin is micro-fleece to help keep skin dry, and the insert is micro-terry for decent absorbency. You could stuff with bamboo or hemp for better protection. They come in a small range of colours and just introduced the Artist Series (pictured).
BEST FITTED (Newborns and Overall)
Newborn - Kissaluv Cotton Fleece, size 0
(tested against Bamboozle, Bumboo, Dream Eze, Kushies, Jamtots Eezi-fold Quick-Dry Organic Hemp Fitted)
I have used these diapers on both of my kids, and I could not ask for a better fitted diaper in those early months. They feature a snap-down front for the healing stump, and are made of soft terry cotton. Because the layers are all sewn in, they do take a bit of time to dry, but I like not having to fold up a loose insert attachment while diapering a squirming baby. The waist and leg gathers are very stretchy and soft, protect very well from blowouts, and the snap closures do up easily. It's a sized diaper, but I was able to use them from a week or two old until almost 6 months. And at that point, he actually could still fit into them but was out-peeing them (could have added a booster at that point). Comes in a range of soft colours. These do not win for Best Overall Fitted because the Size 1 didn't impress me as much; they are a wide diaper that doesn't easily fit under a cover of corresponding size (generally Large).
Overall - Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted with Snap Closure
I have only been using these diapers for about a month, but they have already become my favourite fitteds. The outer fabric is soft velour, and the inside that touches baby's skin is micro-fleece. The second photo shows how the absorbent layers function like a micro-terry insert sewn into the diaper, but with a tunnel design to allow for faster drying and for easy stuffing. This diaper is adjustable for size, but comes in two sizes because Thirsties believes that the range of child sizes supposedly accommodated by most one-size diapers is too great (and I'm inclined to agree). Comes in a range of lovely saturated colours.
BEST PUL COVER
Thirsties Duo Wrap with Snap Closure
(tested against Bummis Super Whisper Wrap, Bummis Super Brites, Mother-ease Rikki Wrap Covers)
You may have noticed by now that I have steered away from velcro (also called Aplix or Hook and Loop). My first covers were the Bummis velcro, and while they are a decent cover, the snaps are a much better option. Even with laundry tabs, velcro can come loose and damage your diapers in the wash. It also loses holding power over time, and the stiffer velcros can chaff baby's thighs when secured certain ways. The Thirsties cover is adjustable size and, just like the fitted diaper, comes in two sizes. The double leg gusset adds that much-needed protection from leaks, and helps you tuck in those edges of a thicker fitted diaper. Comes in a range of colours and some cute patterns.
BEST WOOL COVER - Little Beetle Organic Wool Diaper Cover with Snap Closure
(tested against Sugar Peas Double-Knit Wool Cover, Stacinator stretchy Wool Cover, Aristocrats Pull-On Cover)
Wool, though it requires some extra care, has many advantages to a synthetic PUL cover. First of all, it breathes. Second of all, it can contain even the most saturated diaper and not leak (often it will feel humid because it's evaporating the moisture out). This cover has everything I would want. It has a good amount of stretch, snap closure, and adjustable sizing (though it works best with a lower-rise diaper). This was the first cover I had tried with a double wool layer for the best possible leak protection. Absolutely no complaints. Comes in a handful of muted colours.
BONUS: BEST SOAKER/BOOSTER/DOUBLER
Jamtots Fleece-Topped Hemp Doubler
(tested against Kissaluvs Boosters, Jamtots One-size Hemp Stuffers, Bumboo bamboo boosters)
I don't often use boosters because I tend to use disposables at night or on long car trips, and I do frequent daytime diaper changes, but these are good to have on hand. The tapered bone shape of the doubler is comfortable for baby, especially because any booster or double is adding extra bulk between the legs. Also, the fleece top keeps baby dry, unless you are heading towards potty training; at this point you simply flip it over so the child feels the dampness on the hemp side. These doublers are also nice and long, which is great for boys!
*Additional diapers I have tried include gDiapers with gRefills and gCloth, GroBaby (GroVia) Shells, Soaker Pads and BioSoakers, Unbleached Chinese Prefolds in a variety of folds, Rumpsters all-in-one, and several home-made diapers. I'm probably forgetting a couple others, but these are the main contenders!