Pampers Swaddlers are one of the most popular diapers for babies, with a strong name brand to stand on and a price point that doesn’t trigger anxiety. They are also quite soft to the touch and quite comfy for baby.
Swaddlers are a solidly reliable choice, though not outstanding in any one category. These diapers have a strong fragrance which some parents will like, but may cause issues for a baby with sensitive skin.
- Popularity – These diapers are used by a lot of people, so they have to be doing something right.
- Price – These diapers are easy on the wallet.
- Fragrance – A strong lavender scent. Can also be a negative for some people.
- Ingredients – These are made with lower-quality ingredients that can irritate sensitive babies.
- Eco-friendliness – Very few certifications demonstrating a green commitment.
- Fragrance – Some people like the strong masking scent, some do not.
- Company Background
Pampers is one of the best known and most popular diaper brands in the world. Pampers is owned by American company Procter & Gamble, owner of other well known consumer products such as Downy, Tide, Charmin, Gillette and Luvs diapers. Pampers were first introduced in 1961 and, along with Huggies, were responsible for many of the innovations in diapers that are considered standard today.
Pampers Swaddlers diapers fell to slightly below average for performance, with slightly below average scores for both absorption and leakage 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.
During Baby Gear Lab’s testing, the Pampers Swaddlers diapers showed significant wetness transfer to the test paper. This means that a baby will spend significant time with a wet diaper pressed against her skin, which can lead to skin irritation and diaper rash.
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.
Similar to the absorption scores, the Pampers Swaddlers diapers scored slightly below average for leakage prevention. These results came through both in Baby Gear Lab’s testing and an analysis of online customer reviews. As we’ve noted with other diapers, a lot of this might be explained by incorrect sizing and/or fit.
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 Pampers Cruisers diapers were below average when it comes to designing a baby-healthy diaper. The Pampers brand is trusted by millions of parents, but with no third-party certifications, their lack of transparency into ingredients used (and not used), and the addition of lotions and fragrances 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.
Pampers Swaddlers have no third-party certifications related to baby health and sensitivity.
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 Pampers Swaddlers diapers had slightly above average transparency, including details on fragrances, inks, dyes, lotions, organotins, chlorine, and parabens. They have ingredient lists on their website, as well as a short list of what is NOT in the diaper and its manufacturing processes.
Pampers Swaddlers 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.
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.).
Pampers Swaddlers have no independent third-party certifications that 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.
Pampers Swaddlers diapers use the ECF pulp production processes and do pose a risk to local environments. Their use of minimal plant-based materials does not help the raw material scoring.
Manufactured in the US, the Pampers Swaddlers 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.
Pampers Swaddlers are relatively inexpensive diapers.
- Size Newborn costs: $0.26 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 1 costs: $0.22 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 2 costs: $0.25 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 3 costs: $0.28 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 4 costs: $0.31 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 5 costs: $0.36 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers
- Size 6 costs: $0.37 per diaper for the Pampers Swaddlers