AIO or AI2: What’s the difference?

Cloth Diaper HelpOne thing I’ve learned with cloth diapers is that there are quite a few acronyms, it’s a language all of its own. It took me a while to sort it all out. For those of you just starting out, check out our Cloth Diaper Terminology post for a list of the most common terms you’ll come across.

For those of you who have been looking into cloth diapers for a bit or are cloth diapering with pockets, sometimes it can be hard to see what the differences are between an all-in-one (AIO) or an all-in-two (AI2) or even what does it mean.

The similarity between the AIO and the AI2 is that you don’t stuff them. There are no pockets to stuff in these diapers, they are the most similar to a disposable diaper. Between the two diapers, the AIO is exactly like a disposable diaper. As the name implies, it is all sewn together as one piece and you either have velcro or snap closures. A popular brand of an all-in-one is Monkey Doodlez AIO.

An AI2 is a little different. There are no pockets to stuff, but the liner (think insert for absorbency type of liner) can either be BG Elementalssnapped in or is sewn in at either end. A popular brand of this type of diaper is the bumGenius Elemental (sewn in at either end) or the BottomBumpers (snaps in).

Now that we know what the difference is between the two, what are the pros and cons of each? Well, the AIO is super super easy: no snapping in an insert, no insert to stuff, it is a true wash and wear diaper. Very daycare friendly. AIO’s are typically sized diapers, so you get a very trim fit with them as you buy the size you need. If I’m putting my son’s skinny jeans on, I grab a sized AIO. So what’s the con to these diapers? Wash-ability and how quickly they dry. Because everything is sewn into one piece, they can be a bit more challenging to wash. If you have a top loader, you won’t have a problem. With a front loader, it can be extremely challenging in my experience to wash them properly. Drying also takes quite a bit longer than a pocket diaper. What I do, is dry them normally for a cycle with all my pocket inserts and then just hang them to dry to finish off.

The AI2’s on the other hand do need to be snapped in or are sewn in. The liners can be a bit more finicky as you have some extra fabric to deal with if you have an one-size AI2. It’s important to make sure you don’t have any extra sticking out the front or back of an AI2. What the huge pro to the AI2 is that they wash up much easier and dry quicker than an AIO. If you have a front loader, this is the one for you. You get the easy usability of an AIO, but much quicker to dry. Just remember, whomever is changing the diaper, make sure they tuck in any extra insert fabric so you don’t get wet a wet tummy on your little one.

Have you tried both styles? Which do you prefer?


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