Special Delivery diapers are at the top-end of the Huggies line. What do they offer with this distinction (besides a higher pricer point)? Strong leakage protection as a result of literal decades of designing diapers and also- pretty comfy dipes.
Special Delivery diapers are also much more transparent about the ingredients used and where they are sourced than other Huggies products. Also, and let’s not diminish this, they feature some lovely prints for your little one to sport.
- Comfort – Huggies have dialed up the comfort level for their premium diaper.
- Leakage protection – Huggies knows how to prevent blowouts, and they pull out all the stops here.
- Sensitivity – Despite the brand claims to the contrary, these are well below average with no certifications and minimal transparency.
- Value – Even with a higher price point, Special Delivery diapers earned only a Style badge from Snug.
- Company Background
Huggies is one of the best known diaper brands in the country, if not the world. The brand is owned and marketed by American paper product giant Kimberly-Clark. They have impressive longevity, as Huggies products have been on the market since 1978. Huggies has a number of different diaper styles in their line, each serving a different niche of the market. The Huggies line has below average transparency into the ingredients of their products and very little verifiable emphasis on eco-friendliness.
Huggies Special Delivery diapers earned an average score for performance, with below average absorption and above average leakage scores from Baby Gear Lab.
This is the “performance” measurement that matters most to babies. Bad absorption is what causes diaper rash and other uncomfortable situations for babies. Absorption should be quick and complete, in order to pull moisture away from a baby’s skin and lock it away. The diaper’s topsheet is the material that sits directly against the baby’s skin and (ideally) acts as a one-way barrier by allowing liquid to pass through into the diaper but NOT back out to the baby. The diaper’s Super Absorbent Polymer (SAP) core is the material responsible for absorbing and holding moisture. It expands considerably as it absorbs moisture, which is why a wet diaper feels so bulky and full. These two layers are responsible for the “quick and complete” absorption — quick transfer through the topsheet and complete absorption by the SAP core. If one or the other is not up to the task, the diaper’s overall absorption score will suffer.
In our testing and analysis of customer reviews, we found that Huggies Special Delivery diapers performed below average with absorption. As the high-end diaper from Huggies, it seems that what you get with a little additional transparency and quality in materials, you lose with below average absorption.
This is the “performance” measurement that matters most to parents. Leakage problems mean parents are cleaning up wet cribs and the dreaded car seat blow-out. Diapers should form a comfortable seal around the baby’s legs and torso to keep the urine and poop in place between changes. There are a number of factors in the design, construction, and material choice of the diaper that will impact leakage. This is also an area where user error plays an important role. Proper sizing and fit are critical before assessing the pros/cons of one diaper vs. another when it comes to leakage. Oftentimes, there is a parental learning curve with a new diaper brand and leaks will become less frequent as you become more familiar with the brand.
High leakage scores are a highlight for Huggies Special Delivery diaper performance. These diapers benefit from many decades of experience in diaper design and manufacturing, which lead to a construction that controls leaks (and potential blow-outs) better than the average diaper.
Every baby is unique, but one thing they all share is that their skin needs a lot of extra TLC. A baby’s skin is significantly more sensitive and permeable than an adult’s, which means that the chemicals and materials that you put on your baby’s skin need to be vetted and understood. We assess each diaper for potential allergens and known toxic chemicals. We also do our best to help you understand the relative risk of each factor and will not scare you into buying only the most expensive diaper.
The Huggies Special Delivery diapers were slightly below average when it comes to designing a baby-healthy diaper. The Huggies brand is trusted by millions of parents and the Special Delivery line is their eco/health conscious diaper, but with no third-party certifications and their lack of transparency into ingredients used (and not used) means it won’t score as high as other diapers.
While transparency is key to a diaper brand’s reputation and understanding what goes into making their product, independent third-party certifications are absolutely necessary is holding the industry accountable. A good diaper brand tells you what is/isn’t in their diapers and a great diaper brand proves it.
The Huggies Special Delivery diapers has the following third-party certifications related to baby health and sensitivity.
- Dermatologically Tested – Independent institutes consistently conduct dermatological tests on all our products. By testing subjects who are predisposed to atopic skin diseases such as eczema, we can ensure that even people with sensitive skin can use our products.
Transparency of ingredients, unfortunately, is severely lacking in the diaper industry. The lack of regulations in the US means that manufacturers are able to hide hazardous materials and obfuscate ingredient lists behind words like “fragrance” or “ink”.
The Huggies Special Delivery diapers had below average transparency, as is the case with all Huggies brand product lines. While we have a basic ingredient list, the only transparency we had for our critical ingredients was with fragrances, inks, and chlorine.
Huggies Special Delivery diapers were significantly below average when it comes to the quality of their ingredients that go into their diapers and the manufacturing process.
Unfortunately, we can’t ask a newborn how one diaper fits over another. We can, however, ask parents to gauge the comfort of their child and get a good sense for which diapers are the most comfortable for different babies. Our scores for comfort are subjective measures based on real-world testing and analysis of thousands of product reviews (i.e. asking and listening to parents). Diapers are meant to be universal, but in reality there are differences between diapers that will make the fit and comfort better for one body type over another. Honest diapers, for example, are significantly more narrow than Naty’s line of Eco diapers. This means that a longer, thinner body type might work better in Honest diapers — or it might simply mean that you’ll need to size-up on Honest earlier. We try to provide all the context you need in making the right decision for your child, as well as the right decisions on when/if to size up.
Huggies Special Delivery earned an above average comfort score.
We assess the eco-friendliness of the various diaper brands with a complete lifecycle philosophy (cradle-to-cradle). As best we can, we look at the manufacturing, supply chain, materials, and disposal of each diaper brand to give a full picture of their impact on our environment. Some of this relates to climate change (e.g. energy intensive production, long-distance supply chains, etc.), while others relate to the health of our environments and ecosystems (e.g. chlorine used in manufacturing, landfill compostability, etc.).
Huggies Special Delivery has no strong third-party certifications to prove its commitment to being a sustainable, eco-friendly brand and company.
Many of the ingredients using in diaper production find their way back into our ecosystems — whether through industrial by-products, off-gassing, or landfill disposal. For example, all diapers will claim to be “cholorine free”, while the details vary significantly between an “elementally” cholorine free (ECF) process and a “totally” chlorine free (TCF) process. ECF pulp production results in the release of dangerous chemicals into the environment such as halogenated organic pollutants and chlorinated compounds, which TCF pulp production is (as you’d expect) totally free of these risks.
Huggies Special Delivery diapers use the ECF pulp production processes and do pose a risk to local environments. That said, the use of some plant-based raw materials in the diapers show a company that is making an effort to minimize these risks and potential impacts (at least for this product line).
Manufactured in the US, the Huggies Special Delivery diapers have a minimal carbon footprint, as diapers are manufactured close to where they are consumed.
A baby can use more than 2,500 diapers in their first year, with 10+ diapers used each day as a newborn. The costs can add up quickly and every family’s budget is a personal consideration in picking diapers.
The Huggies Special Delivery is a high-end diaper with high-end pricing.
- Size Newborn costs: $0.37 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 1 costs: $0.35 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 2 costs: $0.37 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 3 costs: $0.43 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 4 costs: $0.50 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 5 costs: $0.75 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
- Size 6 costs: $0.69 per diaper for Huggies Special Delivery
Breaking away from the usual Huggies practice of sporting well-known Disney characters, Special Delivery features storks and clouds that look hand illustrated and are lightly colored.