How much should you pay for diapers?

by Angela Davis on January 23, 2014

How much should you pay for disposable diapers?

I received this question from Jane, a reader looking for advice on diapers:

Hello! I was wondering if you could help me figure out a good stock up price for diapers. My husband and I are planning on having kids pretty soon and I’d like to start stocking up. I realize diapers come in many different sized packages, so I’m not positive how you determine stock up price. I’d assume you cost per diaper. I found some diapers on the clearance rack the other day that worked out to be $.07 each, but this was for the store brand.  Help!!

Here’s the short answer:

You start buying diapers when you can get the name brand for less than the generic equivalent at Walmart, Walgreens, Albertsons, or Target.

I personally like the Target store brand (up&up) a bit better than the others, so we’ll use the up&up prices as our comparison.

Target sells the large box of up&up diapers for $19.99 in the store, regardless of size. The smaller the size diaper, the more diapers are included in the box. This goes for all diapers out there — a Jumbo pack of diapers is the same price, it’s the quantity that is different.

To make your life easier, it’s best to choose one size diaper as your price reference point and stick to it until the end of time. This way you only have to memorize one number. Since it’s my blog, I declare that the size 4 diaper price will be our reference point. Even if your baby is currently in size 2, just compare the prices for size 4 diapers and you will automatically know if you’re getting a good deal on size 2′s.

A “Club Pack” of up&up diapers at Target breaks down to 16.1 cents per size 4 diaper. I suggest you start purchasing diapers when you can get Huggies or Pampers for significantly less than 16.1 cents per size 4 diaper. Otherwise, it’s a better use of your time to just go to Target and purchase the big box of up&up’s, right?

Most diaper deals that involve coupons are on Jumbo packs of Huggies or Pampers (the smallest size packages).

The Huggies Snug & Dry Jumbo Packs (the cheapest Huggies line) have 31 size 4 diapers per pack. 31 diapers at 16.1 cents each = $4.96. This means a jumbo pack of Huggies Snug & Dry needs to be priced below $5 for me to start purchasing them. I suggest you don’t even consider deals that are more than $4 per jumbo pack. I start buying like a madwoman at $3 per pack.

Here are the two numbers to memorize:

Stock-up when size 4 diapers are 13¢ each or less

Stock-up when jumbo packs are $3.50 or less

Note that the more premium diapers in the Huggies and Pampers lines have less diapers per jumbo pack, so make sure you do your “price per size 4″ calculations on the Little Snugglers & Little Movers (Huggies), Pure & Natural (Huggies), Swaddlers (Pampers) and Cruisers (Pampers) and don’t just assume that $3.50 per pack will be a good deal.

Sometimes you will find a store brand diaper on a great sale, like Walgreens, Walmart, or Albertsons diapers, or on clearance. I personally lump all diapers in the same group, so I would buy store brand diapers at $3.50 per jumbo pack. If you’re leery, set your stock-up price for store brand diapers at $1 per jumbo pack less, or $2.50 per pack.

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{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda January 25, 2014 at 10:58 pm

I have sold diapers at consignment sales. If you got diapers for really cheap but can’t use them you can most likely get your money back, or at least the majority of it.

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Renee January 23, 2014 at 2:26 pm

We do mostly cloth – simple flats or prefolds and covers – which saves a lot of money but I use disposables as well. I like to keep a small stockpile of all sizes, three jumbos or a box, so that I’ll always have them when I need them or to give to friends at baby showers etc. Luvs are a personal favorite because they are usually cheaper than other brand name. I often get them at Safeway when a jumbo pack goes on sale for $5 and I have a $1 off coupon (usually an internet coupon). It comes out to 13c per diaper for size 4. Also, Amazon runs good diaper sales especially if you or someone in your family has amazon prime/mom. My stock up price point for diapers is 10c per diaper and for wipes is less than 2c per wipe.

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Gina January 23, 2014 at 11:14 am

Personally I love the Target store brand. I recently stocked up on the next size up for our little when they offered a $15 gift card when you bought 2 jumbo packs; that’s almost a 30% savings on the already low price; love it!

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maja January 23, 2014 at 8:48 am

I was fan of pampers diapers but when Walgreen’s had B1G1F deal I got 2 packs and tried them, and they are great , so I stocked up like crazy. I paid all diapers with BR so paid only tax. For me stock up price for size 5 and 6 his $ 3.50 for jumbo pack

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lauren January 23, 2014 at 8:47 am

I have found that every child is different. I tried stocking up before my 2 younger kids were born, but one had a reaction to one brand and the other had a reaction to the one her brother had no problem with.
I do love the target brand diapers for my daughter, we have no problem with them. Although the Costco brand worked great for my son when he was in diapers. I would always stock up when Costco had a coupon for their diapers, now with her I usually stick up when I can get a gift card when I buy them and use cartwheel with it also.
When going to a baby shower, or throwing one, and having the diaper raffle, ask people to attach a gift receipt, just incase the baby has a reaction to the diapers.

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Samantha January 23, 2014 at 8:37 am

If you need/want chlorine free disposables at a decent price (and don’t want to cloth), Fred Meyer carries the Comforts touch of nature chlorine free diapers at a “decent” price per pack (around $7.49/pack and sometimes go on sale)…about half the regular price of Seventh Generation. I usually cloth, but I use disposables on occasion and use that brand as my comparison for other big brands like Seventh Generation. Target also carries the BabyGanics brand at around $9.99/pack. My girls are allergic to the chlorine…open sores rash.

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Dy January 23, 2014 at 8:00 am

Very informative!! Even though we use BumGenius 4.0′s during the day, at night, we tuck our baby boy into a disposable for the longevity of his sleep, and I’m about right there with the costs; I always wondered, though, what others were paying or what others considered a “good deal” to be.

Thanks!!

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Angela Davis January 23, 2014 at 8:09 am

Yeah, I’d do just about anything to keep a baby asleep :) .

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Samantha January 23, 2014 at 8:28 am

My girls are now potty trained, but we still use diapers for sleep. We were using disposables some, but discovered that inserting a hemp insert into our 4.0s, along with a regular insert (could also just use two hemp) did the trick for night time. They are nearly 3 and it holds them all night. It is cheaper than disposables…especially since we had to use chlorine free due to allergy. We still keep a few disposables on hand though. Just a suggestion…

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Dy January 24, 2014 at 5:34 am

Yep, we tried the hemp inserts, but apparently boys pee a LOT… A lot a lot :P Lol. He wet through those too :(

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Insomniac Mom January 18, 2012 at 2:23 pm

A few months before I had my son, I started stocking up on diapers. I would buy any brand that I could get for an amazing deal. I also held a diaper raffle at our shower and got plenty there.
I do have a few things to offer about diapers: different brands fit my son differently at different ages. For some reason when he was a newborn, Huggies leaked on him all the time but Pampers fit great. Also, make sure you get plenty of sizes – they don’t stay in one for too long.
My one complaint with couponing websites is that they encourage shopping at various places to maximize your couponing/money spent. However, I live in a very rural area of Vermont where we only have a small local grocery store that is almost 30 minutes away. So, its great that Target diapers are priced cheaper than other diapers, but how do you calculate in gas and time spent driving all over creation?

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Kate February 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

That’s a really great question. I think you definitely need to factor in driving time. I live within 1 mile of Rite Aid and Walgreens and a Target is just beyond that so it’s not too tough for me to travel. But…I now have 3 kids I don’t want to load in the car anymore.

I believe that picking one place to buy diapers that has a reasonable price makes economic sense. Chances are that the one place you do buy them will have a sale at some point.

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Kellyn Westra October 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm

I too stocked up before she was born and found out pampers didn’t work after she was a newborn (rashes), so I just traded them in for Huggies at Walmart. If she runs out of a size too soon I just trade it up … yes, once again… at Walmart. Best tip a cashier from Babes R Us ever gave me :)

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faith June 28, 2011 at 8:22 am

i would suggest having someone throw you a diaper shower.. you can have a prize and they can get one ticket per diaper pack brought or you can do it diapers or wipes.. i have thrown several of these for friends and had one thrown for me.. and we went almost 6mo with only buying one box of diapers.. now thats cheap! hehe by then you will have an idea of what kind they are ok with and the such..

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Mary Jane June 28, 2011 at 7:41 am

Just got some huggies for a big baby boy, they love them for him, used a huge coupon $3.00 and out shot a catalina for a free tub of Huggies Wipes whoooo hooooow…huggies seem to fit the babies and absorb just my opinion, a little spendy if you don’t get huge coupons and one can get a onesie for free with two rewards numbers etc. right now..love them huggies, but I never buy ahead of time, one never knows the size of the baby and I like to get the mommy something tooo..

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Julie June 27, 2011 at 10:21 pm

you are getting lots of comments about stocking up before the baby is born… but I did it and was SO happy that I did! I had 30-40 packs of diapers (the smaller sizes only) stocked up before my son was born and it was a budget lifesaver. Since I hadn’t spent a fortune on diapers, I would have gladly given them away or tried to exchange them if sizes hadn’t worked out. Going to walmart is a great suggestion because they could exchange the size without hassle.

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Heather June 28, 2011 at 8:49 am

I agree with you Julie. I live in a rural area and have to travel to coupon. I’m pregnant with my second and know from my first that newborns can be VERY challenging as my first was colicky and I got little sleep for months. I plan on couponing not happening for the first few months at least, so that would mean paying full price for diapers. If the kind I stocked up on caused rash than that is what I would have to do but I’d rather take the chance. :)

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Jenny June 27, 2011 at 5:08 pm

Fisher Price Happy Days are good diapers too…and cheap. They aren’t my first choice (swaddlers are for the comfort and ability to tell when they are wet – gelly feeling), but they don’t leak and they do the job. Never a rash.

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Jenny June 27, 2011 at 5:06 pm

I loved Pampers Swaddlers, but agree not to stock up on them until you have the baby. Soooo many things can happen, and to avoid the heartache of having a closet full of diapers with no baby to wear them. Plus, you don’t know how big your baby will be, or how long they will need a particular size.

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Kristine June 27, 2011 at 4:45 pm

For newborns, Pampers Swaddlers work great. I only bought this type when my babies (twins and then one more!) were itty bitties. If you can get these for cheap, awesome. Store brand Fred Meyer diapers are awful. Gave those away after only using 2. Up and Ups are ok. I prefer pull ups to easy ups or target pull ups becasuse of the pull away sides that re-attach. these are always on sale and have coupons. Great advice everyone! My standard go to’s for diapers are huggies or kirkland. These usually have the best prices.

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Jessica June 27, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I too would caution you about stocking up before a baby comes. Like Aubrey, I had a skinny baby and could only use certain brands. I try so hard not to be a snob about brands, but personally feel that no price is to great to avoid diaper malfunctions. Therefore I stick to Huggies or Kirkland. I know other moms who swear by other brands, so you will probably end up with your own preference. Like Tanya I never had any problem exchanging diapers at Wal-Mart but if they are too old and a sku has been discontinued you may have a problem.

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Aubrey June 27, 2011 at 3:52 pm

Costco diapers are less then the Target Brand (and work better in my opinion). The Kirkland Brand is comprable to Huggies. I am not picky for smaller diapers, HOWEVER, I do like the diapers from Costco when babies turn into toddlers. I have had issues with my daughter, who is a bean pole, fitting into diapers that were not Huggies or Kirkland Brand. I always check the sticky straps that hold the diaper on to the child to make sure they will go tight enough without tearing. I found that the sticky straps would tear off of the larger sized Pampers when I tried to stretch them out so the diaper would stay on her waist.

I also agree about waiting. There are plenty of good diaper deals out there. My husband and I have no issues with getting pregnant, but I have had a miscarriage (I am now pregnant again, due in September) that was emotionally dificult to get through. If I had stuff stockpiled for a baby, it would have probably made the situation worse.

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Heather June 27, 2011 at 3:10 pm

I too agree on the pricing and have been able to work many deals for under $2 for Huggies at Rite Aid combined with money makers and other promotions. I do not like store brand diapers, that’s my personal preference. I will use them for a brief period during the day but they’ve never fit my very petite little girl at all, tended to gap in weird places since I’ve found them to be stiff. I am pregnant and have a good supply of about 20 jumbo packs that I got for very little and near free. :) I think it’s worth stocking up while pregnant if you get for near free or free! I had not gotten too much into couponing my last pregnancy and the thought of paying full price for diapers gave me a lot of anxiety… and yes, diapers is what kicked me into couponing. :)

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DWC June 27, 2011 at 2:26 pm

One more thing – you may find that the generic diapers tend to be more “stiff” so you may want to only use these on the older children who don’t have skin quite as sensitive as a newborn.

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DWC June 27, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Another thing to note – not all diapers are sized the same. For example, after several children, I have found that Luvs diapers tend to be “cut” a little more generously so you are able to buy the smaller size longer. In other words, you can keep your kids in size 3 diapers (thus getting more diapers per package) before moving up to the size 4 diapers. And although they are not as common, you can find Luvs coupons out there (they have some on their website).

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Tanya June 27, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Something to keep in mind: Walmart will exchange any unopened brand/size for other brands/sizes with equal or lesser value (or you pay the difference). You don’t even have to have a receipt! When my dad found out we were having twins, he bought a package of diapers every time he went to the store up until they were born. We had a mountain of diapers, bless his heart! I went back several times to exchange brands and sizes with no problems.

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Jennife June 27, 2011 at 1:04 pm

Or go with cloth. Flats and one size covers will last through 2 or 3 babies from newborn to potty training.

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Melody June 27, 2011 at 12:05 pm

I agree with the waiting, unless you want to try to get them for free with the amazon coupon deals when (if??) they come around again (from the baby/parenting magazines). that might be a good place to start. or use your swagbucks to get them early. you can always feel good about donating free diapers if you end up having an issue with one particular brand, or giving them as gifts to other moms-to-be, even if they were $2/pack, they make great gifts!

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Jennifer June 27, 2011 at 11:52 am

I personally, after having 3 children, wouldn’t stock up on diapers before a child is born, due to the fact that you may run into a problem of the baby getting rashes/irritated from that brand of diaper. You’ve wasted money on diapers you can’t use.

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Nicole B June 27, 2011 at 11:51 am

I agree with your pricing…….
But, (yes the big But word) do your self a favor and do not purchase any diapers until you know you are pregnant and you and your husband do not have nay complications save yourself some possible heart breaks…….
Just trying to give friendly advise

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