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Sherri Richards, Published August 16 2009

Moms put diapers to the test

Like every other parent, I’ve changed literally thousands of diapers. And I probably have a couple thousand more to go.

And like most other parents, I’ve chosen to use disposable diapers for their undeniable convenience. But that convenience comes at a cost. According to Consumer Reports, parents can expect to spend $1,500 to $2,000 on disposables before a child is potty trained.

With today’s tough economic times, these throwaway pants can put a strain on our pocketbooks.

Looking to save money, some parents opt for generic diapers. These store brands are generally cheaper than brands that nationally advertise their absorbency, soft feel and stretchy sides.

But how do generic diapers fit? How do they feel? And, most importantly, how well do they work? After all, a few cents saved per diaper could easily be eaten up by extra laundry costs if they don’t hold up.

We asked members of the InForum Moms online community to test three store brands and one name brand, putting their babies’ butts on the line, so to speak, and report back.

Some were fans of generics to begin with. One mom was surprised how well she liked two of the store brands.

Family Economics Specialist Debra Pankow says parents should weigh their preferences when deciding on a diaper. She encourages them to try out several types. “The cheapest that will work for your child is going to be OK,” she says.

(The price and per-diaper costs are based on each brand’s jumbo pack.)

Up and Up

Sold at: Target

Price: $6.34 (size 3: 40 diapers; size 5: 30 diapers)

Cost per diaper: size 3: 15.85 cents, size 5: 21.13 cents

About this diaper: Target recently switched its store-brand diaper to Up and Up, easily identified by its blue and green polka dots.

What the moms said:

Parent’s Choice

Sold at: Wal-Mart

Price: $5.88 (size 3: 36 diapers; size 5: 27 diapers)

Cost per diaper: size 3: 16.33 cents, size 5: 21.78 cents

About this diaper: While this brand offers the cheapest price per pack, the Jumbo pack contains fewer diapers than other store brands.

What the moms said:

Bottom line: Split decision by our testers. Most thought it was softer and thicker than other generics.

Little Ones

Sold at: Kmart

Price: $7.99 (size 3: 40 diapers; size 5: 30 diapers)

Cost per diaper: size 3: 19.98 cents, size 5: 26.63 cents

About this diaper: Despite different packaging and prices, this diaper is the exactly the same as the Baby Basics brand sold at local Hornbacher’s stores.

What the moms said:

Pampers Baby Dry

Sold at: Most retailers

Price: $9.99 (size 3: 36 diapers; size 5: 27 diapers)

Cost per diaper: size 3: 27.75 cents, size 5: 37 cents

About this diaper: Considered a top-of-the-line brand, Pampers Baby Dry is cheaper than its Cruisers line.

What the moms said:

Cheap and dirty

Consider these suggestions for keeping your diaper costs down:

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556