Best nappies 2022: Keep your baby comfortable and dry, from just 3p per nappy

Victoria Woollaston Thomas McMullan
26 May 2022

We've picked the best nappies, from disposable and reusable options to swimming and overnight wear

If you’re starting a family, you’ve probably given plenty of thought to the larger items, making sure you're getting the best cot, the best pram, the best car seat and the best travel cot. But often it’s the small, everyday things, such as finding the best nappies, that make the biggest difference to your baby’s comfort.

Different sized and shaped babies will tend to get on better with some nappy brands than others, so try a few to see which fits most comfortably around your baby’s tush.

Other things you might want to consider when choosing the best nappies are ease of use, impact on the environment and handy features such as moisture-locking and wetness indicators to help you know when your young charge needs a change. To get you started, we’ve picked some of our favourites below.

Best nappies: At a glance

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How to choose the best nappies for your baby

Disposable or reusable?

The biggest decision when deciding on the best nappies for your baby's bottom is between single-use disposable nappies and washable reusable nappies. Reusables have come a long way since our own terry-towelled childhoods and can now be purchased in a range of colourful, machine-washable and easy-to-fit styles. While reusable nappies are not completely lacking in environmental impact – the energy involved in washing itself needs to be taken into consideration – washable nappies certainly avoid the problem of non-biodegradable materials sitting in landfill for centuries.

The debate is a fierce one in some circles and can cause anxiety and guilt among the more eco-leaning parents. In 2005, there was uproar when the UK government published research claiming it was no more environmentally friendly to use reusable nappies than disposables. A similar report three years later reversed these claims. Then a report found that, yes, biodegradable nappies do degrade, it can take up to 50 years and such products have been found to produce more methane, which is bad for the environment.

Fit to prevent leaks

A correctly fitting nappy should allow no fluid leaks either through the leg holes or up around the waist. If you find that leaks are a recurring problem, try a different size in your current brand, or check out another brand as one manufacturer’s sizing can differ significantly from another’s. For example, Tesco nappies come up larger than most, while Pampers are a little on the snug side.

Some nappies are designed to withstand more moisture than others and are good for use overnight or on long journeys. As a rule, anything labelled extra or ultra-dry has been designed to absorb more moisture. You can also look out for the plus symbol next to the nappy number to give an indication of absorbency and fit. The plus symbol does not represent a half size.

Absorbency and moisture-locking

Most disposable nappies contain superabsorbent polymer beads embedded into the nappy material. These beads can absorb many hundreds of times their weight in moisture, allowing babies to wander around with a “wet nappy” without the skin being in contact with the moisture. It's not impossible for a baby to get nappy rash from a wet nappy, but as most of the moisture is locked away it's less likely and you won't be doing your baby any harm if you accidentally leave a wet nappy on for longer than intended. It's just not a good idea to make a habit of it, though.

If eco-friendliness is important to you, note that the natural materials used in biodegradable nappies are less moisture-wicking than these superabsorbent polymers (which take hundreds of years to break down in landfill), so you will need to change the nappies more often to keep baby’s skin dry.

Wetness indicators

Many of the best nappies for newborns have a yellow line down the front of the nappy that will turn blue when the baby wees. It doesn't always change colour for poos, however, unless the baby has urinated at the same time. As some nappies are bulky to begin with, this wetness indicator can let you know when the baby has peed without having to strip him or her off.

Newborn babies, on average, pee every 20 minutes so bear that in mind in both how many nappies you'll be using as well as when to check for changes.

Rashes and skin reactions

The leading cause of nappy rash is delicate baby skin left in contact with a soiled nappy, so if you’re using reusables (or plastic-free nappies made of natural materials) you will need to keep on top of changes in order to prevent stools irritating the skin. Sometimes the nappy itself can cause a mild allergic reaction, so if you’re changing regularly but baby is still getting rashes, try switching to another brand to see if the condition improves. Leaving baby out of a nappy for while (on a towel or other absorbent surface) and avoiding perfumed wipes and soaps can help. Your health visitor can recommend a course of action if rashes are frequent or severe.

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The best nappies to buy

1. Pampers New Baby: The best nappies for beginners

Price: From £4 for 24 nappies / 17p per nappy | Buy now from Boots

Recommended for newborns by the British Skin Foundation, Pampers New Baby nappies are made with delicate skin in mind and contain soothing aloe extract to keep the tiniest bottoms happy.

As well as being soft, these nappies are also extra-absorbent, designed to keep wetness from pee and soft poo away from skin, and have a handy blue-stripe wetness indicator so you can see when baby needs changing before distress sets in. Easy to fit (and to remove in a hurry), Pampers New Baby are an ideal first nappy for new users – both infant and adult.

They can be expensive, though, so while you get what you pay for, you may want a cheaper option. If you have an older child, we highly recommend Pampers Nappy Pants, which come with many of the same benefits as these newborn nappies without quite such a high price.

Buy now from Boots

2. Aldi Mamia New-Born: The best nappies on a budget 

Price: £0.79 for 24 nappies / 3.2p per nappy | Buy now from Aldi

There’s just no beating the price on Aldi’s Mamia range. These fantastic-value nappies cost less than a quarter of the price of the Pampers New Baby range, but with very little difference in performance. The nappies fit very well, hold moisture away from the skin effectively, are resealable and super-soft, and feature a wetness indicator line just like the Pampers versions.

For most babies, the shape fits snugly and proved very effective at preventing leaks either above the waist or between the legs. Check out the wipes, nappy sacks and disposable changing mats in the same range for more great-value changing options.

Buy now from Aldi

3. Eco by Naty: The best eco-friendly disposable nappies

Price: £4 for 25 nappies / 16p per nappy | Buy now from Boots

Want to do your bit to help the environment but not sure you can fit reusables into your lifestyle? Swedish brand Naty is one of the leading makers of eco-friendly disposable nappies and often the only one you’ll find in supermarkets. These nappies fit well, keep baby dry, contain no plastics or chlorine and are biodegradable.

In fact, if you cut off the fixing tabs and the leg elastics, you can put them on your compost heap or in your council compost bin. The cost is higher than that of other disposables, but if you want your baby to grow up in a greener world it’s arguably a price worth paying.

Buy now from Boots

4. Sainsbury’s Little Ones DryFit Newborn: The best nappies from a supermarket

Price: £3 for 48 / 6p per nappy | Buy now from Sainsbury's

Supermarket brands are where you’re likely to find the biggest variation in nappy fit, so you may need to shop around to find which supermarket nappy works for you and your little one. Sainsbury’s own-brand nappies seem to work well with smaller babies, combining a snug fit and soft inner material that’s comfortable on the skin.

Like other leading brands, Little Ones DryFit come with a wetness indicator and are decorated with cute cartoon characters (mostly for parents to enjoy during the eighth change of the day as it’s unlikely your newborn will pay much attention). These nappies also have a very slight stiffness that you may find makes changing a touch easier.

Buy now from Sainsbury's

5. Tesco Fred & Flo Newborn: Another brilliant supermarket nappy

Price: £1.05 for 24 / 4p per nappy | Buy now from Tesco

We got on well with Little Ones above, but your baby may prefer the fit of Tesco’s own-brand nappies. The brand used to be called Tesco Loves Baby, but it's recently rebranded as Fred and Flo. Other than a slight design tweak, we noticed no discernible differences in terms of fit or absorbency. Whereas the likes of Pampers tend to come up small – and are typically designed to be less bulky – we found the Tesco range perfectly fitted our little one's tush as he moved through the sizes.

The Tesco newborn nappies feature a gap for your baby’s umbilical cord and large frills around the leg, so you can easily check the fit. The fixing tabs are coloured, making them easy to spot when putting a new pair on at night, and as with other newborn brands there’s a wetness indicator stripe so you’ll know right away when baby is wet.

Buy now from Tesco

6. Pampers Baby Dry: The best nappies for overnight use

Price: £10 for 50 / 20p per nappy | Buy now from Boots

All nappies aim to keep your baby dry, but Pampers Baby Drys are designed for extra absorbency and moisture-locking, keeping baby drier for longer. This means they’re ideal for overnight use: a dry bottom means one less reason for baby (and you) to wake in the night. We can’t promise these nappies will instantly guarantee a 12-hour sleep-through, but they will give you one less job to do at 2am – and we know that to the parents of a newborn, that alone is worth the weight of these nappies in gold.

Buy now from Boots

7. Pampers Baby Dry Nappy Pants: The best nappy pants 

Price: £10 for 44 / 23p per nappy | Buy now from Boots

Don't be fooled into thinking that nappy pants are only for toddlers or when it comes to potty training your little one. They have benefits long before this.

For instance, when your baby starts to wriggle and roll when you're changing their nappy, you don't have to worry about aligning the Velcro properly. Simply pull them up to put them on, and tear the sides when you want to take them off. You can then roll them into a ball and secure with the sticky tape.

We've tried a number of nappy pants on our baby, who is now a toddler, but Pampers Baby Dry nappies are the best. This is because they're both lightweight and not too bulky. They also fit snugly and help prevent leaks, especially during the night. This is thanks to their 360° Fit, which consists of the flexible all-around waistband that adapts to your baby’s tummy, an absorbent core that takes wetness away instantly, and double leg cuffs that help prevent leaks around the legs.

Buy now from Boots

8. Bambino Mio Reusable Nappy Set: The best reusable nappies

Price: £84 (for six nappy shells, 50 liners and a sachet of nappy cleanser) | Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

Bambino Mio’s adjustable one-size nappy set is designed to make using reusable nappies almost as convenient as disposables with its comfort and ease of fit. The set contains six attractive and hard-wearing outer shells with soft fabric lining. Pee is absorbed by the removable core, which you insert into a pocket inside the outer shell. When soiled, both the shell and the core can be machine washed. This set also comes with a pack of 50 nappy liners that keep solids away from the main body of the nappy; these can be replaced separately once the first 50 are used up.

Buy now from JoJo Maman Bébé

9. Bright Bots Terry Towelling Nappy Squares: The best nappies for retro parents

Price: £20 (for six towelling squares) | Buy now from Amazon

If you fancy going down the truly retro reusable nappy route, there’s no brighter way to do so than with this set of six colourful terry squares. Made from 100% cotton in a range of eye-catching colours, these towelling squares are machine-washable and will make your baby’s bottom pop with style.

Even if you don’t want to pin your baby into a terry nappy, the squares have plenty of additional uses – pop one on your changing mat to catch accidents, lay baby on top of a couple if you’re keeping the nappy off for a while to treat nappy rash, or simply keep one to hand to mop up feeding spills. One brightly-coloured size fits all from birth to potty-trained toddler.

10. Huggies Little Swimmers: The best nappies for swimming

Price: £16 for 24 / 64p per nappy | Buy now from Amazon

Taking your little one swimming for the first time can be a moment of pure joy for both of you, but you can't put them in regular nappies. Instead, you need thinner, specially designed nappies that stop leaks but don't become heavy and waterlogged. This can restrict the babies movement and change their experience of the water buoyancy.

The best nappies for swimming are Huggies Little Swimmers. They come in different sizes based on your baby's weight, and ideally need to fit as snugly as possible. The smaller versions come with similar velcro seals as regular nappies. The larger models have longer, slightly more fiddly seals. We also recommend a neoprene Happy Nappy – swimmers that fit over the top of the nappies.  

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