How to Cloth Diaper on a Budget Day Three : Pockets

Did you enter the giveaway yet? Head to yesterday’s post to enter to win a one size AIO diaper from Diaper Rite. 

how to use pocket diapers.

I am a pocket girl. I love my Bum Genius 4.0’s and they are absolutely my most reliable diapers. They’ve never let me down. They always fit perfect, never leak and are such high quality, I’m pretty sure we can use them for our next 5 kids. (HA!) So what’s a pocket diaper? Pocket diapers are made with an opening for stuffing the diaper with prefolds or inserts. The standard insert is made of microfiber. It’s economical and absorbent, but not as much as bamboo or hemp. A lot of people eventually “upgrade” their inserts, but it’s not totally necessary.

The price range of a pocket diaper is all over the place. You can find really expensive ones in the $30 range, or super cheap ones with a $5-$7 price tag. And here’s where I’m going to talk about what we in the cloth world call “china cheapies”.

There has been a lot of drama recently surrounding certain diapers manufactured in China and sold here in America. A lot of people are concerned that the mass production of cheap diapers from China is going to hurt all of the small, mom owned and operated businesses here in the US. I’m not here to debate or discuss the ethical implications and consequences of the issue, but in order for you to make an informed decision, you should educate yourself on the companies you purchase products from and support. So here are a few posts to help you out, if this is a concern to you.

According to Jenny has put together a list of diapers that are made in China and diaper companies that have simply rebranded a certain Chinese diaper.

Suzi from Cloth Diaper Addicts wrote a GREAT post about why investing a little more money into a quality diaper can make a huge difference if something goes wrong with the diaper.

Autumn from All About Cloth Diapers wrote a post addressing the ethics of buying from China and the differences between a diaper that has been manufactured in China and a “china cheapie”.

PHEW. Ok. ALL that being said, I was given a “china cheapie” to review for this series. Zach and I were fortunate enough to receive our main stash of Bum Genius diapers from my brother and sister in law. If they hadn’t been so generous, there is absolutely no way we could’ve afforded to invest in high quality, long lasting cloth diapers. I know most people can’t imagine spending $20 on a diaper. A POOP CATCHER. Especially if you’re struggling to keep food on the table. A $20 diaper is laughable, right? Cheap diapers from China are absolutely a viable option for families that just can’t spend a huge wad, so I wanted to get one of these diapers to test out before you spend your money!

china cheapie review

Although I received a diaper to facilitate this review, all opinions are 100% mine. 

Shop Diaper is a Chinese company that sells cloth diapers at incredibly low prices. I mean, we’re talking $5 a diaper. They have SO. MANY. adorable prints! Good luck choosing, if you decide to go this route. If I was going to start my stash with these, I’d have such a hard time not buying all the prints! They also have a rewards program. You get 1 point for every $3 you spend, which can be later redeemed for store credit. They offer a 365 day warranty and a 90 day return policy. Not a bad deal, considering how cheap the diapers are.

This is a Bumcool one size pocket diaper. As soon as I took it out of the package, I could instantly tell the difference between this quality and BumGenius quality. This diaper is lighter and the fabric feels thinner and more “plastic-y”. Definitely not as sturdy.

china cheapie review

I really like where the opening for the insert is. On most pocket diapers, there are flaps over the pocket that cover the insert to prevent it from leaking. Obviously, non leaking diapers are fantastic, but so are diapers that are easy to stuff. And this one? Extremely easy. I’m also a huge fan of the hip snaps. In my opinion, diapers just fit better when they have hip snaps. (Those are the little snaps you see in the bottom right picture beneath the other ones.

china cheapie review

Here’s Emery rockin that diaper in the second rise setting. He’s a chunky boy, but I was surprised that the diaper didn’t fit him on the smallest setting. We’re still on the first rise with our Bum Genius pockets, so I’m guessing this diaper is just made a wee bit smaller? Either way, it fit him great and he’s got a ways to go before we move up a rise.

diaper diaper 042

Let’s talk inserts. This came with a free microfiber insert, much like the ones I use for my Bum Genius. However, the two are not created equal. My Bum Genius inserts are still holding strong after several years and multiple children. After just a handful of washes, my Shop Diaper insert started fraying and breaking at the seams. Not a big deal, as it’s still functional, but probably not for much longer.

Overall, for the price, this is a great option to start building your stash. I definitely wouldn’t make my entire stash out of these, but for starters, sure! They’re great if you’re not sure you really want to do cloth, but you’d like to try it and you don’t want to spend a bunch of money to find out you hate it.

To sum up my thoughts, I’ll just say this. You never know when life is going to throw you a fast one. One day everything could be hunky dory and the next day you don’t know how you’re going to feed and clothe your kids. I never would’ve thought that was possible, but it is and I’m there. In that position, deciding to not buy cheap china diapers out of an ethical or moral conscience is a luxury. Sometimes, you just have to do what you have to do. There ARE cheaper options like prefolds and covers, so you don’t have to buy pocket diapers at all. But if that is what is easiest for your family, and you only have $20 to spend on diapers, by all means, buy these. Don’t ever feel like you have to justify your purchasing decisions to anyone. Do what is best for your family and if that means buying a bunch of cheaply made diapers to get you through a tough time, then don’t feel bad about it. Cheaply made diapers still save you money by not having to spend those precious dollars on disposables.

*I was provided with an item to facilitate this review, however, all opinions are 100% mine. 


  1. says

    Hi Kristen,

    There are also other options out there if you’re struggling with finances and still have a baby to diaper. In Canada, there’s Cloth for a Cause, a cloth diaper lending charity with chapters across Canada. Apply and the closest chapter will do their best to help you. In the US, there are other orgs that can help, too, like Giving Diapers, Giving Hope and The Rebecca Foundation Cloth Diaper Closet. This will give a struggling family some breathing room so that they can a.) buy those $20 poop catchers one at a time as they would have normally bought disposables or b.) just not worry about buying any diapering stuffs at all until they are in better financial circumstances.

    China Cheapies ARE a viable option for starting out, but the only problem (nevermind the ethics, etc, since those ethics will not fill a child’s belly) is that if/when they fail or don’t work, the user thinks that all cloth diapers are lousy and turned off of cloth forever. If the user can remember that not all diapers are the same and not all things are created equal, then all is good.

    Great post and sorry for the novel! (And thanks for the link.)

    Suzi (Cloth Diaper Addicts)

    • says

      Totally agree 100%. The only thing with charities though is that they often don’t have enough to go around. I applied to several before my sister in law gave us her stash and every single one either turned me down or never replied. It’s hard to decide what to do when you’re facing sudden loss if income. If we didn’t have diapers when my husband lost his job 6 weeks ago, I’d probably have thrown ethics to the wind and bought $20 worth of cheap diapers. I hope cheapies don’t turn anyone off! They’re really not terrible, but you can’t beat the quality and longevity of American made brands.

  2. Kishah says

    Thanks for this post! Totally plan on mixing my stash with different kind of diapers. I’m on a very tight budget…

  3. Allison says

    I am IN LOVE with this print. I use mostly the Diaper Rite Pocket diapers now (solid colors), and I love them. I have heard mixed reviews on the “China Cheapies,” but I have thought about getting some in the past. I am tempted to buy one or a few of these because I haven’t seen so many pattern options anywhere else. Thanks for the post!

    • says

      Everyone has an opinion on them, I’m afraid. You just kinda got find what works for you and your family. These aren’t the BEST quality diapers ever, but if you just want a few cute prints to show off, then these are great! :)

  4. Lis M says

    Can’t wait to try cloth diapers on baby number three. Wish I had tried them ages ago.

    • says

      It’s never too late to start! At least you can re-sell them at a higher value cause they haven’t been through so many kids.

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