M2M's Cloth Diaper Evaluation System

Thanks for stopping by to learn all about the evaluation system I have developed for cloth diaper-related reviews here at Manager to Mom! This system was first implemented in December, 2011.

My main goals with this system is to make it quicker and easier for my readers to size up key details and strengths/weaknesses of the diaper under review, and to present an overall recommendation for the diaper. I'm also hoping it will improve the general organization and flow of my reviews.

My evaluation system is broken into two parts. The first is a "Diaper Awesomeness" Score which indicates the extent to which I recommend the diaper in general (irrespective of cost), and the second is an Estimated Stash Cost which suggests how much you'd need to pony up to build a full stash from birth to potty training based on this diaper. (Note that I originally had the two combined together, but then decided it wasn't fair to penalize a really awesome diaper's score because it's on the pricier side, or, conversely, inflate a diaper's score just because it's cheap. Pricing info is certainly important to know, but I think better as a separate evaluation factor.)


The Awesomeness Score is based on the following five categories:

Category 1: Appearance/Style
  • How attractive is the design?
  • Does the diaper look good on baby? Does it fit well, aesthetically? (e.g. any wing droop, sagging, etc.)
  • Is the diaper trim or bulky?
  • How many colour/pattern options are available?

Category 2: Performance
  • How absorbent is the diaper?
  • How well does the diaper do its job - namely, protect against leaks and contain messes?
  • Is diaper a viable choice for night diapering?

Category 3: Comfort & Health
  • Does the diaper leave marks on baby's skin?
  • Does the diaper fit snugly without pinching? (Around both the waist and the legs.)
  • Are the surfaces which touch baby's skin soft & pleasant? Do they wick moisture away from baby?
  • Is the diaper stretchy or firm/stiff? 
  • How breathable is the diaper?
  • Does the diaper appear to either cause/exacerbate or lessen diaper rash?

Category 4: Ease of Use
  • How easy is the diaper to put on and take off baby?
  • What is involved in "prepping" the diaper?
  • Is there any "assembly" required for diaper? (e.g. liners to snap in, pockets to stuff, etc.) If so, how quick & straightforward is it?
  • How easy is the laundering & care routine?

Category 5: Quality & Durability
  • Is the diaper made from high-quality materials?
  • Does the diaper appear to be well-made? No loose seams, flawed stitching, etc.
  • Is the diaper durable? How well does it hold up over time? (Note - my comments here will obviously be much more helpful if I have used the diaper for an extended period of time vs. only days or weeks, in the case of trying a diaper for the first time for review purposes. I'll note the situation here accordingly within each review.)

Each category contributes up to five points for a total score out of 25. Based on this, I recommend the diaper as follows:

23 - 25: Pretty much a perfect diaper. Go out there and buy some NOW! :)
20 - 22.5: Great diaper. Highly recommended.
17 - 19.5: Good diaper. Recommended.
14 - 16.5: Decent diaper. Somewhat recommended.
< 14: Not a recommended diaper. (Note - you probably won't see a review with this rating on my blog. In the event that I encounter an unsatisfactory product, I would settle things privately with the sponsor.)

Note that if any particular category is not that important to you, it can be taken out of the equation. So say that you don't really care about appearance/style. Then subtract the Category 1 score from the diaper's total, subtract 5 from each recommendation range at the top and re-compare to see where the diaper fits following the adjustment.


The second part of my system is an Estimated Stash Cost. This is calculated based on the assumption that a baby needs 24 wearable diapers at time (with any/all liners, inserts, etc.) from birth until potty training.

For one-size (OS) systems, a premium may be added to the lifetime stash cost to account for the fact that, in some cases, these diapers can be too large to fit newborns and/or too small to fit toddlers (in which case additional diapers are needed.) I've tentatively set the premium to +$100 for a 7-35 lb range, and I will add $25 for each lb lost on either side of the range and/or subtract $25 for each lb gained on either side of the range. So, for example, an OS system advertised to fit from 8-32 lbs would have a premium of +$200 ($100 base + $100 for 4 pounds lost).

I may also add a premium if I have strong reason to suspect that the diaper does not truly cover the advertised size range.             


    You may have noticed that I do not incorporate factors such as environmental footprint, where the diapers are made, etc. While I do appreciate that these are relevant considerations for many parents, I have decided to keep these aspects out of the evaluation system as they are somewhat peripheral to the awesomeness of the diaper itself and a little too subjective (in some cases). That said, it is likely that I will still comment on these factors within another section of my review.

    I need to make some adjustments to this system to score individual components of a 2+ part diapering system (e.g. covers, prefolds, inserts, etc.). Also, I may come up with separate scoring systems for accessories such as wetbags, cloth wipes, etc. This'll take a bit more thought.

    I fully expect that this system will evolve moving forward. If so, I plan to adjust the scores of completed reviews to ensure that (for fairness & consistency) all of them reflect the most up-to-date system.

    I'd love to hear feedback on my cloth diaper scoring system! Feel free to send me an email if you have any thoughts. And if you think the system is great, I encourage you to share / +1 using the buttons below. Thanks so much!