Friday, August 28, 2009

snaps vs. velcro

One of the great things about our shop: the selection! One of the worst things about our shop: the selection! We kid... sort of. When parents make the decision to use cloth diapers, they are faced with a big decision, namely, what type of cloth diaper they would like to use. When considering what type of diapers you want to purchase, sometimes you'll have a choice in terms of the type of closure used to fasten the diaper on the baby, snaps or velcro. Which one is better? Well, that depends (you knew it wasn't going to be a simple 'yes' or 'no'!).

Ease of use....
Velcro (also known as aplix, or hook& loop) is definitely the easiest of the two: just touch the hook side to the loop side, and voila, you're good to go. This is nice if you're dealing with a squirmy baby who likes to make diaper changes a challenge! With snaps, you will have to fasten two (or four, or more!) snaps closed, as simple as that may sound, if you're dealing with a baby who doesn't lie still during diaper changes, it may be a bit of a pain.

With respect to noise, velcro can be the louder choice of the two, not usually an issue unless you have to change junior's diaper in the middle of the night (and you likely will for those first 4-6 weeks). The ripping sound of the velcro opening could disturb junior. The snaps 'pop' when they're opened, but it's not as disruptive. Yes, this may sound totally trivial to you newbies still rubbing your bellies, but once junior is here, you'll realize that sound at 2am can be an issue... you want the baby to stay asleep during his diaper change!

In terms of adjustability, velcro is the hands-down winner since you can close the cover wherever you want -- most velcro covers also have overlapping tabs so you can get the cover *that much* snugger on your baby. With snaps, you're limited to pre-defined settings -- you may find one setting too tight, but the next setting too loose. To remedy this, you can always close the cover tighter on one side to find an 'in-between' setting. Side-snapping covers can offer a nice fit because they allow you to adjust the waist of a cover independently of the legs.

Kidproofability (yes, I made up a word!)....
A lot of people make the switch from velcro covers to snap covers under the misguided belief that junior will not be able to open his snap covers. Not true. Junior will figure those babies out within 5 seconds of putting them on, trust me. If you're considering making the switch for this reason alone, save yourself the money and don't bother. Snap covers are just as easy to open as velcro covers, junior will figure it out, do it for a while, then figure out something equally (if not more) annoying, and he will move onto that. If the diaper-opening really bothers you, keep junior in a onesie or switch to a pull-on cover like Bummis Whisper Pants -- it's just a phase though, and it won't last long.

Lastly, when it comes to durability, snaps closures will always come out ahead. You can certainly extend the life of velcro by closing it on itself, however, over time, velcro will eventually wear out, this is especially true with respect to velcro on a diaper (as opposed to a cover) which is washed every single time it is used (like bumGenius one-size diapers, for example). If the velcro on your diapers (or covers) wears out, it's not a hard thing to fix if you have access to a sewing machine (I've done it, and I'm no Martha Stewart), with respect to more expensive diapers like bumGenius one-size pockets, for example, it's certainly worth the investment of paying someone to repair the velcro if need be. Most manufacturers will warranty the velcro for a limited period, so keep this in mind when you call me three years and two children later to report that the velcro on your diapers is starting to lose grip (yes, it happens). Snaps, on the other hand, typically have a longer warranty, in some cases (Kissaluvs, for example), they are warrantied for the life of the diaper.

The verdict?
Do you want my opinion? Do you just want me to give you some direction? OK then. If you're buying a diaper cover (or an AI2 system), I would personally pick velcro over snaps. The ease of use and adjustability is worth more to me that the durability of snaps (covers aren't washed every single time they're used, so the velcro isn't subjected to as much wear & tear). If you're buying a pocket diaper, an AIO, or a fitted diaper (something that's washed every time it's used), then I'd pick snaps over velcro, simply for the durability.


  1. good to know! i have some used diapers that my mom got from a church, with velcro that is pretty much worn out but,they still do the trick and hey he'll outgrow it before they are ready for the sewing machine anyways, even if it comes loose its got another velcro cover over it holding it on. i do agree velcro is ALOT easier on a squirmy baby! at least i use my FB one size at bedtime, when he's pretty much pooped! so that helps alot!

  2. Durability wins out in the end especially if you are planning to use the diapers for more than one kid. I just converted all my bumgenius diapers to snaps since the velcro has totally worn out after a few years. I would definitely pick snaps if I had to do it all over again.

  3. My two cents:
    Velcro if you're new, snaps if you're seasoned.

  4. I prefer the snaps. He figured out the velcro, but he has no interest in figuring out the snaps, which is good on hot days when it's diaper only at nighttime! For me, I also noticed that my daycare provider was putting the velcro covers on my son too tight for my liking, even after me mentioning it (red marks around the elastics), but with the snaps it's never tight since she can't go too tight.

  5. As a daycare provider, I don't care really, either is fine. DH prefers the velcro, won't use the snap ones if I leave them out. I'm not fussy either way, I have only snaps now except for a couple of wraps and I like them!

  6. I prefer snaps, but they can fail over time too.

  7. Great post. I hope you can write more good stuff like this article.

    velcro one wrap