Monday, May 20, 2013

Cloth Diapers: Hook and Loop vs. Snaps

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It's been a while since I've posted about cloth diapering.  It's still going great in our home and I'm starting to look at cloth potty training pants, since Lucia has started using the potty once in a while.  Now that we have been cloth diapering for nearly a year and a half, I want to address one of the biggest debates in cloth diapering: hook-and-loop closures* or snaps.  Because our cloth diaper stash has been cobbled together from various diaper sales, ebay and Craig's List purchases, we have some of each.  We've gone back and forth between preferring one, then the other since before Lucia was born: 

Initially (before Lucia was born), I was drawn to SNAPS because they would last longer Most of what I learned about cloth diapers was from reading the experiences of other bloggers (and look at me now, contributing to this!). My main concern with cloth diapering was cost, so I downplayed any cons of snaps that I read about in relation to the longevity factor.  We knew then that we wanted a large family and were looking for diapers that would last for several babies each.                              

With a newborn, David showed an immediate preference for HOOK-AND-LOOP because he couldn't snap the snaps with his large hands without pinching her. Hook and loop also seems better for smaller babies, especially when using one-size diapers because it's more "customizable"; sometimes one snap is too loose and the next a bit too tight.  We also were not only new to cloth diapering, we were new parents, so anything that made diapering even just a tiny bit quicker or easier was appreciated. 

Once we got the hang of cloth diapering (and parenting) and Lucia grew a bit, we started to notice some of the drawbacks of HOOK-AND LOOP closures.  Even if we remembered to stick the hook-and-loop tabs down before putting them in the laundry, they often still stuck to other diapers and cloth wipes, which resulted in a huge tangled mess and diaper pilling (the "fuzzy" look that makes clothes look worn).  Still, we continued to prefer hook-and-loop closures for the time-saving aspect and lack of accidental pinching involved.  (During this time I once accidentally pinched Lucia with my nails while snapping her diaper during the middle of the night and left a scratch that bled.  I felt like the world's worst mother.) However, the preference wasn't strong and if there was a great sale price on snaps, I didn't think twice about getting them.  (If there was the option, I would still choose hook-and-loop.)

When Lucia was about nine months, we noticed that some of the HOOK-AND-LOOP closures were starting to wear and weren't quite as "sticky".  At this point, we've ultimately decided to stick with them because Lucia is so darn wiggly during diaper changes that we don't have an extra 20 seconds to snap all the snaps. (This has only become more pronounced not that she can walk away from a diaper change.)  I've also heard of many moms replacing the hook-and-loop closures themselves to get extra wear out of their diapers and I imagine that the cost for more hook-and-loop material at the craft store is negligible.  I got a sewing machine for Christmas and  assume that sewing on some little aplix squares would be a good beginner's project.

Lucia is now able to take off the hook-and-loop closures, but we almost always have pants or bloomers over her diaper so it hasn't been much of an issue.  I really prefer sized diapers, although we do have many "one sized" ones, so aplix on the smaller sizes and snaps on the larger ones seem like the best option for us.  She's started using the potty sporadically, which I hope means she'll be potty trained early (she's 17 months) so we won't have much longer in diapers.  In fact, at this point, I'm really looking into training pants that can be pulled up and down, which would be much easier for getting her on and off the potty quickly.

UPDATE: Lucia started undoing snap diapers right after I wrote this post (at about 18 months - only a month or so after she started taking off aplix), so the "baby can't take off snaps" argument is now moot.  They aren't even any more difficult for her, she pulls them off just as easily.

I took a quick survey of some of my readers to ask which they preferred, and it seems that I'm in the minority as a hook-and-loop fan (although a few other agreed with me that they preferred them for newborns).  To give you more perspectives, here's what some other cloth diapering mamas have to say:

I much prefer snaps to velcro because I never remember to secure the velcro before putting it in the wash (who wants to handle a soiled diaper that much?) and things always come out ratty and tattered from being snagged by the velcro. 
Aplix (hook-and-loop) diapers are easier to get a better fit with, and they also are easier to "sell" other people (daycare providers, dads, grandmas, babysitters, etc.) to use them. "See? They're just like a disposable!" Snap diapers are better because they last longer (aplix eventually wears), so if you're planning on using them for more than one child, they make more sense. Plus, no diaper chains coming out of the laundry! 

I love snaps. They are easy to use and keep everything locked in.

In the early months, aplix covers give much better fit and leak protection. They are also a good choice when cloth diapering multiples, because they can be very different sizes and you need those in between waist measurements not allowed for with snaps. When they become toddlers, aplix is an open invite to remove the diaper, so we always use snaps. I've never had a toddler remove a snapped diaper, but I've had one get off a disposable that was duck-taped on!

I prefer snaps because they usually last longer. Hook-and-loop closures (at least the ones I've used) start showing their wear after a month or so of washing. I have never had a fit problem (one of the reasons I've heard for hook and loop over snaps), but I also stagger snaps if there are two rows. Snaps are also harder for babies to firstborn figured out how to undo her hook and loop diapers at five months old! 

After 15 months hook-and-loop has worn and are now very easy for my [daughter] to remove. The worn hook-and-loop sometimes will get caught and come loose on clothing, risking major leaks. I now prefer snaps for their durability and longevity. Especially when your baby is old enough to pull off their diaper (which happens quicker than you think).

I prefer snaps to hook-and-loop for the above mentioned reasons. I hate taking my covers out and having a line of diapers chained together. Highly annoying. Also, now that my twins are 19 months, taking off their diaper has been Oh Such Fun for them; they have yet to remove a snap diaper.

I prefer snaps because my son learned how to undo the hook-and-loop closure at about 6 months old.

I prefer snaps for the longevity of them, but I also have a couple Velcro because diapering a 14 month old has become a wiggle fest!


I've never tried hook-and-loop to be honest. When I was researching what type of diapers to use, I saw a lot I moms talk about the hook and loop wearing out. Snaps seemed sturdier to me so I went with that. Also? Replacing snaps seemed easier than replacing hook and loop if need be.
I like snaps for the durability and also because we use flushable liners. We have one hook and loop cover--which I do like--but the liner gets caught on the velcro sometimes when I'm trying to put it on the wiggly baby. 
*If you aren't familiar with cloth diapering lingo, hook-and-loop closures is the generic term for the more commonly known brand names Velcro and Aplix.   

If you cloth diaper, I'd love to hear how you weigh in on this issue.  What are the advantages and drawbacks that you've seen of each closure?  Do you have a clear cut preference?  If one is a little cheaper than the other, would you pay the higher price for your preference?

1 comment:

  1. I prefer both at different stages, and I've noticed a big difference in different brands of hook & loop through the years. We've been cloth diapering for almost 4 years, and our H&L Thirsties covers from the early early stages are still totally fine (a little pilling and one laundry tab is about to come off, but we didn't air-dry the first year so that's probably our fault!) our H&L BumGenius, though, barely fastens at all anymore! I like velcro in the early days and when they're squirmy enough to necessitate standing diaper changes. Once they start rolling & crawling, I prefer snaps because then there's no need for pants or bloomers (esp. in the summer) and the velcro tends to rub on their tummies when they're learning to sit.

    I like our flip trainers, we've used them with 2 kids so far and Cecilia potty trained before she was even 18 months old!


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