Pampers vs Huggies: A New Parent’s Guide

Before you had a baby you may have thought “a diaper is a diaper, there really is not much difference.” Now that you have your own little bundle of joy and you want only the best for them and realize there is much more to a diaper. Its more than just an absorbent piece of cloth. The right diaper can make your life easier. The right diaper can also make your baby healthier and happier.

Diaper brands all have specific details and features in how they are manufactured and produced. As a new parent you may feel overwhelmed with all the options on the diaper aisle at your local retail store. How do you know which choice is right for your new baby? Honestly it will take a lot of trial-and-error. You will have to try multiple different brands, sizes and features to match your babies changing needs.

When parents are making the decision on which diaper is best for their baby they often go with the same brand as their family and friends. Huggies and Pampers are the two industry leaders. You may think that if a particular brand worked for your friends and family that it will work for you. Ask them for input, yes, but know that there are many options to weigh in this important decision.

In this article we will lay out the facts and features that distinguish Huggies and Pampers. We will also include opinions from parents on the products. With this knowledge under your belt you can take on the diaper aisle and make the right choice for your family.

Historical Background of the two brands

Procter & Gamble established the disposable diapers category in the early 1960s. Its Pampers brand dominated until 1968. They also launched Luvs, which was a premium product line.

Kimberly Clark launched Huggies in 1968. At first they took part of  the market share from Pampers. However over the past 10 years the global market has been 35% to Pampers products and 25% to Kimbery Clark.

Huggies are available in over 50 countries worldwide. In the United States, you can find them at most major retail stores including Target, Walmart, Walgreens and CVS chains. Pampers are also sold in over 50 countries worldwide and the same stores motioned above. While both brands can be found for sale on the internet (Amazon, eBay and others), in most cases you will not find them at Costco. Both Pampers and Huggies have six variations of diapers that have been on the market for quite some time. More recently, Pampers introduced the Pampers Pure line, a more natural diaper alternative.

Head to head features comparison

Both Huggies and Pampers handle the same business for toddlers and newborn babies. However, there is a widespread perception that Pampers are better with newborns while Huggies are better when the child is older. Both have features that serve their purpose for different periods of development. Here are the different types of diapers available from both Pampers and Huggies.

Huggies product line

Huggies has the following varieties for your little one: Little Snugglers Diapers, Little Movers, Snug & Dry Diapers, Overnites Diapers, Pure and Natural Diapers and Pull-Ups. They also sell baby wipes. Their Little Snugglers are designed for newborn infants, and Little Movers are designed for infants that have outgrown the first range. Snug & Dry Diapers have a “LeakLock” feature that captures moisture, and Overnites are designed to absorb nighttime leaks. Pure & Natural are environmentally friendly, and Pull-Ups are for toilet training.

Pampers product line

Pampers has the following varieties for your baby: Swaddlers, Baby Dry, Cruisers, Underjams, Easy Ups, Splashers. They also sell baby wipes and disposable bibs called Bibsters.

The Swaddlers and Baby Dry are for newborns and infants, Cruisers and Baby Dry for toddlers, and training pants called Easy Ups. Underjams are a for children up to 85 pounds,

Sizing

As a parent just be ready to change a lot of diapers over the years. There are no predicting factors for when your child will stop needing diapers.  

Each child is different and takes their time in becoming diaper free. Some children potty train young, some children need a little longer time to develop. Some may just need diapers at night for a little extra protection. Be careful in reading the packaging for sizing guidelines by weight of child.

Huggies sell diapers that go up to size 6. For infants and toddlers, Huggies are available in Preemie size, Newborn (up to 10lb), Size 1 (8-14 lb), Size 1-2 (15 lb), Size 2 (12-18lb), Size 3 (16-28lb) and Size 4 (22-37lb). For preschoolers, Huggies are available in Size 5 (28+ pounds) and Size 6 (35+ lbs).

Pampers are available in same sizes and weight range as Huggies but they also have the next size up in a 7. Size 7 is only available in Underjams and Cruisers.

Quality

Huggies and Pampers feel very different to the touch due to the materials they are made of and how they are cut. Parents report that Huggies feel plasticky and artificial in nature. Huggies are fastened using sticky strips. Other parents report that Pampers feel more like soft fabric. They are fastened using strips similar to Velcro.

Ultimately, that softer feel leads many parents to choose Pampers. This makes sense. If it feels good in your hands you can conclude it would feel good on your babies skin as well.

Cost

One of the issues facing new families is how expensive it is to take care of all the little ones needs. Some parents are choosing to go with cloth diapers because it is eco-friendly and cheaper. You may spend a bit of money in the beginning, but you won’t be to run to the store every month to stock up on more diapers for their little one. Most families do choose disposal diapers though.  Less mess when you are on the go and so many families are constantly on the go.

So, how do the two compare when it comes to cost? It turns out, they are about the same when it comes to the cost.

Here is a pricing breakdown on Huggies at Walmart.

Little Snugglers diapers cost $19.77 for a pack of 76 diapers or $0.26 per diaper.

Snug and Dry diapers cost $19.47 for 80 diapers or $0.24 per diaper.

Little Movers cost $24.94 for 70 diapers or $0.35 per diaper.

Their Goodnites cost $18.94 for 24 or $0.78 per diaper.

Here is a pricing breakdown based on the official Pampers store.

Pampers cruisers costs $10.99 for 31 diapers or $0.35 per diaper.

Swaddlers diapers cost $10.99 for a pack of 36 or $0.30 per diaper.

sensitive diapers cost $11.69 for a pack of 33 or $0.35 per diaper.

Underjams cost $17.99 for 27 or $0.66 per diaper.

Pricing on Amazon

In this age of being able to shop online, Amazon may be a good choice to have diapers delivered to your doorstep once you know the brand and size you like. In a few quick cross checks of the prices listed above, Amazon met or slightly beat the cost per diaper. Its also very convient to order the larger packs through Amazon and have them delivered versus carting a huge diaper pack from the store ot the car to the door. Remove extra steps anywhere you can.

Overall…

Pampers tend to be slightly more expensive than Huggies in the two store comparisons above. It’s always smart to try and stock-up on diapers when you see them on sale. Also look for coupons in your local papers.

Pros of each

Pampers brand diapers have special closure tabs that are better and more user-friendly. They are an attached part of the diaper. The tabs stay where they are supposed to be. They also attach more firmly with the Velcro-like tabs that stay in place. When the Pampers diapers are closed with these tabs, they provide a better seal around the child’s hips.

Huggies tend to be thought to be much cuter in looks. Their classic design is Mickey Mouse and various Disney characters. They also have a line with Winnie the Pooh.

Diapers for newborns are specifically designed to leave room for the umbilical cord stump to heal. Diapers that are made for preemies or newborns will have a dip in the front, allowing room for the cord.

Parents report that the Huggies cord cut out design allows more room for the cord to heal properly and avoid tears or infection.

Pampers seem to be great when it comes to soaking up the mess and making sure there are no leaks. But one major downside is that when a Pampers diaper is full, it can omit a chemical-like smell.  There will always be diaper leaks with every baby and every diaper. It seems in general like Pampers is more reliable though.

Pampers Swaddlers claim to hold to your baby comfortably. According to a lot of moms out there, Pampers are a much nicer fit for their babies. There was still a slight bulge between the legs, but not nearly as big as Huggies. It may take some trial-and-error to find the right diaper that will fit you baby perfectly. However, it looks like Pampers has a slight advantage over Huggies when it comes to how comfortable they fit.

These companies make a lot more than just diapers, they also have an array of baby wipes. When we compare the two of them, we found Huggies wipes are a lot tougher than Pampers. It is also noted that Huggies can feel a little rough which may be good for cleaning a changing table, but not the delicate skin of your babies.

Pampers has their own line of wipes. They don’t appear as thick as Huggies. People have not found they tear though. They also appear to be wetter than Huggies, making you feel more secure that you have given your baby a good wipe clean. Both brands of wipes stand up pretty well.

Cons of each

In March 2010, many parents reported rashes and chemical burns as a result of using Pampers diapers with new Dry-Max technology. However, in September 2010, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission found that there was no evidence the diapers caused diaper rash.

The tabs on the Huggies diapers are not part of the diaper itself. They are attached to them by another piece of fabric. This can create problems. Parents notice that the tabs keep folding back in. It may not seem like a big deal, but we aim to make mom’s life easier, not harder.

While we understand that a diaper is meant to do one thing, it doesn’t hurt if they are cute. It’s good for all those cute photos of baby in their diaper only. Pampers has been called out for not having the most esthetically pleasing diapers. They came out with their Pampers Pure line, which have cute little otters and hearts all over them. They are much more expensive than their regular line. For now, most parents stick with the Sesame Street characters.

Pampers did not make out so good in the umbilical cord clearance section. They don’t have as big a space as Huggies does for the umbilical cord. It is always good to make sure the diapers you are using have enough space for the cord, because we don’t want the cord getting caught on anything that could cause it to rip. This could lead to a painful infection.

When choosing diapers, the thing that concerns parents the most is how well they hold everything in. Nobody wants any leaks. Parents spend enough of the day cleaning up messes to not add any more. While Huggies claims to have a leak-proof liner in their diaper, ensuring that nothing is getting through that diaper, many parents report that Huggies diapers do in fact leak.

In addition, Huggies diapers have a separate layer full of silicone beads. This layer is supposed to grab the moisture and pull it away from your  baby. Many parents have reported finding these little beads on their baby when changing them. Nobody wants to find foreign objects on the child.

Which is best for you?

Both Pampers and Huggies have cute names, different cuts, special features, but with so many options it can still be confusing. Below is a breakdown of which diaper is suggested to be used at different stages of development of your baby.

For new born infants: Pampers –Swaddlers, Baby Dry; Huggies– Little Snugglers

For older infants or toddlers: Pampers – Cruisers, Baby Dry; Huggies– Little Movers

Nighttime: Pampers – Baby Dry; Huggies – Overnites

Environmentally friendly: no Pampers type; Huggies – Pure and Natural

Toilet training: Pampers – Easy Ups Trainers for Girls and Boys; Huggies– Pull-Ups Learning Designs, Pull-Ups Cool Alert, Pull-ups Night Time

Bedwetting: Pampers – Underjams Night Wear for Girls and boys; Huggies – Goodnites

Swimming: Pampers – Splashers; Huggies– Little Swimmers

At the end of the day the choice is yours.  It seems like both brands have their pros and cons. Pampers seems to have edged out Huggies by the smallest of margins with features, feel and market share. Each brand can provide different options for your child through their growth and development. Touch them, try them and use what works best for your baby.

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