Huh, what? If you’ve spent any time researching cloth diapers, the terminology can be so confusing! Then throw in some of the commonly used acronyms and complete utter confusion can set it. So what is what?
AIO (All-in-One): An AIO is the most similar to a disposable diaper in style. They are a one-piece diaper. The absorbent soaker material (the inside) is sewn into the diaper and the outside is a waterproof layer. With these, you either velcro or snap them on and that’s it. An example of this type is the bumGenius Elemental or the Monkey Doodlez Micro Doodlez.
AI2 (All-in-Two): Same idea as an AIO, except the soaker isn’t sewn in, it usually snaps in. This makes the drying time much shorter than the traditional AIO. Both the AIO and AI2 are very easy to use and daycare friendly. BottomBumpers is an example of this style of diaper.
Pocket Diapers: Much like an AIO or AI2, pocket diapers have an outer layer of waterproof material and an inner layer of stay dry material, such as microfleece or suede cloth. The big difference is that they have a pocket opening that allows for the absorbent material to be stuffed into the pocket during use and then removed for laundering. This style is a popular choice because you can customize the amount of absorbent material. Pocket diapers are available in one-size or sized options. One-size typically fit from 8-35lbs and sized diapers fit weight ranges, such as 8-15lbs. FuzziBunz One-Size or Perfect Size are two examples.
Fitted Diapers: This type of diaper closely resembles a disposable diaper, but it does not have a waterproof cover. A cover needs to be worn over top. Fitteds are perfect for overnight leak protection. Sustainablebabyish fitteds are an example of this type.
Prefolds: Prefolds are rectangular shaped diapers that must be folded into the shape of a diaper. They often have 2-4 layers of absorbent material on either side and 6-8 in the middle (think a tri-part looking rectangle). Prefolds are very inexpensive and require a waterproof cover. Bummis Prefolds are an example of a prefold. Not sure how to use a prefold? Check out our How to Fold a Prefold blog post.
Covers: There are many different types of covers available. PUL (Polyurethane Laminate) or wool are two types available. The cover is needed when the diaper does not come with a waterproof outer. Bummis Super Brites and Sloomb wool covers are two examples.