Diapers are an unavoidable expense for parents so they might wonder how much diapers cost each month and might even want to check out the weekly or yearly cost to plan their budget.
Babies will use between 6 and 10 diapers per day or about 2,800 diapers during their first year which will have a cost between $500 and $1300 depending on the brand used and whether or not they are bought in bulk. This cost breaks down to $42 -$108 per month and $10-$25 per week.
When choosing which diapers to purchase, you should keep in mind your budget, your expectations for the diaper, and any specific considerations you (environmental impact) or your child (especially sensitive skin) may have. Keep reading to find all the details on a variety of diapers of all price points and some tips on how to save money when shopping for them.
What is the average cost of diapers in 2020?
Babies are expensive. There’s no way around it, and there’s really no way to sugarcoat it. They are brilliant, wonderful, delightful, thrilling, life-affirming tiny people, but they will also burn through your checking account faster than just about anything else. Along with furniture, toys, clothes, and food, diapers are going to take a big chunk out of your bottom line at the end of the year.
Case in point, have you ever noticed that there is an entire aisle in the grocery store dedicated to baby stuff, and about half of it is just diapers?
There is a wide variety of diaper types available, from basic cover-the-butt-and-catch-the-poop ones to biodegradable bamboo versions. Depending on your family’s priorities and your baby’s personal needs, you can expect to spend between $500 and $1300 on diapers by your baby’s first birthday.
For our purposes, I did a deep dive on 19 types of diapers across 17 brands including national brand names, members’ only warehouses, and online-only sales and then broke them down to cost per diaper based on multiple package sizes where possible. At the end of this post, I’ve included several tips that I picked up along the way for how to save some money.
How many diapers in a year
Although it would be easy to say that your baby will go through an average of 3,000 diapers in his first year and move on, I’m afraid that’s simplifying things a little too much. During his first year, your little one will probably grow six inches and triple his birth weight, which means it will feel like his diaper size will be changing almost as quickly as you’re changing his diapers.
Every child is different, but for clarity’s sake, I will be using some baseline information for all diaper costs:
Newborn – Worn for 3 weeks at 8-12 diapers per day for an average of 210 diapers
Size 1 – Worn for 14 weeks (3 weeks old until 4 months) at 8-10 diapers per day for an average of 882 diapers
Size 2 – Worn for 5 months (4 months through 8 months) at 8-9 diapers per day for an average of 1250 diapers
Size 3 – Worn for 4 months (8 months through 1 year) at 6-7 diapers per day for an average of 592 diapers
The averages shown below are based on the cost per diaper and not the cost to buy a complete pack.
For example, Pampers Swaddlers in Newborn sizes will probably cost 25, 34, or 43 cents per diaper, depending on the size package you purchase, but the cost for 210 diapers will be based on an average per diaper cost of 34 cents and considered to be $71.40.
Budget and store brand diaper costs
Seven of the brands I looked at qualify as budget or store brands, but that is hardly an exhaustive list. Chances are your local grocery store has its own comparable diaper brand that is worth checking out. Fun fact, most of these store brands are produced by the big diaper companies and many of them might even be the exact same product!
Across the board, Wal-Mart’s house brand Parent’s Choice came in as the most budget-friendly option, with Amazon’s Mama Bear line coming in toward the top of the range. These days, even most of the less expensive brands come with a wetness indicator and a dip below the umbilical cord in the newborn size, but the Mama Bear diapers are also fragrance- and chlorine-free – a feature you typically only see in higher priced diapers.
Compared to other diapers, budget diaper brands typically have thinner padding, a skinnier overall design, and a lack of design options. If you diaper exclusively with budget brands, over the course of the year, you will average about $.17 per diaper.
While budget diapers may not work for every child, it is worth shopping around and trying out different house brands as the overall savings could be significant.
Standard diaper costs
Standard diapers include the classic Huggies and Pampers, but I’ve included Cloud Island (Target) and All Good (Walmart) in this category because they break down into similar pricing.
Compared to budget diapers, standard diapers tend to be more comfortable for your baby and more flexible overall which helps to prevent major blowouts and excessive leakage. All Good, in particular, is focused on the design and the cuteness factor – plus for each box you buy, they donate a day’s worth of diapers to Feeding America.
These diapers tend to work for most babies and may give you improved leak control and a better fit compared to budget diapers. Using a standard diaper brand, you will average about $.27 per diaper during the first year.
Standard diapers are the ones that most people are familiar with even before having a baby, and are the ones most likely to be given at the hospital, but that does not mean they are right for every child.
Premium and natural diaper costs
Of each of these categories, this one has the most range and variation.
Huggies and Pampers both have premium lines (Special Delivery and Pure, respectively) that cost a bit more than the standard options but are non-chlorinated and designed to be gentle on very sensitive skin.
Overall, premium diapers prioritize eco-friendliness and use natural and plant-based materials which, in turn, make them better for your baby. Many premium brands also have a focus on appearances that can help turn a boring diaper into a fashion statement all by itself; on the other hand, other brands avoid the use of dyes altogether. For your baby’s first year, you should expect to pay an average of $.43 per premium diaper.
I realize that not everyone can afford to buy diapers that are so expensive, but I will say that the difference between a premium diaper and a budget diaper is night and day. I can speak to this from experience because we’ve used everything from generic dollar store diapers to the most expensive brands on the market (for testing purposes).
How much do diapers cost per year?
Before his first birthday, your baby will go through many changes: he will start to crawl, begin communicating, and start expressing his unique personality. As a parent, you will go through many changes during this time as well, including roughly 3,000 diapers.
For your baby’s first year, you should expect to spend between $500 and $1,300 on diapers.
When purchasing diapers, it is typically most economical to buy the largest size box possible, but it is important to be aware of how quickly your child is growing or you may end up with dozens of diapers that he has outgrown. When it is close, you may be able to go ahead and size up; if that diaper is too loose, going with the smaller package may be smarter in the long run (even with the greater cost per diaper).
How much do diapers cost per month?
Your monthly diaper cost will vary a bit based on what size diaper your child is wearing, but the cost of the individual diaper is partially offset since your child will go through fewer of the larger diapers each day.
For your baby’s first year, you should expect to spend between $42 and $108 per month on diapers.
If you are buying diapers through a monthly subscription, your cost should be fairly stable, but make sure that you are keeping the size updated. If your baby is ready to size up, buy the largest box of diapers available and that you can afford as that is the safest time to buy in bulk for the most economical deal.
How much do diapers cost per week?
If possible, avoid buying diapers on a weekly basis as they will actually be more expensive in the long run.
For your baby’s first year, your weekly diaper cost will be between $10 and $25 per week.
If, like me, you do your shopping budget by the week, it might be helpful to save up the expected amount from week to week and set it aside until it is time to purchase diapers again. Alternatively, I like to stock up on pantry foods that I know we will need so I have a shorter list the week I need to buy diapers.
Cost per diaper by brand, size, and quantity
|Diaper Brand||Diaper Name||Size||Box Size||Quantity||Cost||Cost Per Diaper|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||1||Bulk||196||$29.99||$0.15|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||1||Regular||49||$8.99||$0.18|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||2||Bulk||184||$30.99||$0.17|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||2||Regular||46||$9.99||$0.22|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||3||Bulk||168||$31.99||$0.19|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||3||Regular||42||$9.99||$0.24|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||4||Bulk||148||$30.99||$0.21|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||4||Regular||37||$9.99||$0.27|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||5||Bulk||132||$32.99||$0.25|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||5||Regular||33||$9.99||$0.30|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||6||Regular||27||$9.99||$0.37|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||7||Bulk||80||$29.99||$0.37|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||7||Regular||20||$8.99||$0.45|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||NB||Bulk||120||$22.99||$0.19|
|Mama Bear||Gentle Touch||NB||Regular||30||$6.99||$0.23|
|Rascal + Friends||1||Super||236||$39.97||$0.17|
|Rascal + Friends||1||Large||108||$19.97||$0.18|
|Rascal + Friends||2||Super||200||$39.97||$0.20|
|Rascal + Friends||2||Large||96||$19.97||$0.21|
|Rascal + Friends||3||Super||182||$39.97||$0.22|
|Rascal + Friends||3||Large||88||$19.97||$0.23|
|Rascal + Friends||4||Super||150||$39.97||$0.27|
|Rascal + Friends||4||Large||72||$19.97||$0.28|
|Rascal + Friends||5||Super||134||$39.97||$0.30|
|Rascal + Friends||5||Large||64||$19.97||$0.31|
|Rascal + Friends||6||Super||112||$39.97||$0.36|
|Rascal + Friends||6||Large||54||$19.97||$0.37|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||1||Super||80||$24.99||$0.31|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||2||Super||80||$24.99||$0.31|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||3||Giant||120||$39.99||$0.33|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||3||Super||72||$24.99||$0.35|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||4||Super||64||$24.99||$0.39|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||4||Giant||102||$39.99||$0.39|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||5||Giant||84||$39.99||$0.48|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||5||Super||52||$24.99||$0.48|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||6||Super||46||$24.99||$0.54|
|Seventh Generation||Free & Clear||NB||Regular||36||$10.99||$0.31|
|Seventh Generation||Sensitive Protection||NB||Regular||31||$9.99||$0.32|
|The Honest Co.||1||Regular||80||$25.99||$0.32|
|The Honest Co.||2||Regular||76||$25.99||$0.34|
|The Honest Co.||3||Super Club||136||$49.99||$0.37|
|The Honest Co.||3||Regular||68||$25.99||$0.38|
|The Honest Co.||4||Super Club||120||$49.99||$0.42|
|The Honest Co.||4||Regular||60||$25.99||$0.43|
|The Honest Co.||5||Super Club||100||$49.99||$0.50|
|The Honest Co.||5||Regular||50||$25.99||$0.52|
|The Honest Co.||6||Regular||44||$25.99||$0.59|
|The Honest Co.||NB||Regular||32||$10.99||$0.34|
Ways to save money on diapers
Although diapers can be a large expense, there are lots of ways to make them more affordable or to bring the cost of a nicer diaper down into a budget-friendly range.
Use paper and digital coupons
There’s a reason your mom had a purse accordion file full of coupons in her hand every time she went to the store: they work. While you may still get them in the mail, you don’t have to spend your Sunday afternoon clipping like she did.
Sign up for your grocery store’s app and check to see if they have a coupon section. If so, you should be able to “clip” the digital coupon then apply it in-store using your app account information.
Visit your favorite brand’s website – or all of them! – and sign up for their email or mailing list. You’ll almost certainly get a coupon in your email every month or two, and you might even get a free sample in the mail.
Diaper subscriptions offer discounted prices
Several premium brands like The Honest Co. and Hello Bello offer their own recurring diaper subscription services, often as part of a convenient package where you receive all the wipes you should need for that month as well, or an additional discount on other purchases in the shipment. These shipments can help save money on both the diapers as well as any other baby products you may want to pick up with the discount.
If you are looking for something with more diaper options, both Amazon and Target offer up to a 15% discount on recurring orders for many major diaper brands, most of which allow you to change your baby’s diaper size without losing your existing discount. Our family has subscribed to Amazon Family in the past to take advantage of their 20% off diaper subscriptions. You can sign up here for a free trial and if you are an Amazon Prime member then you already have this option as one of your perks!
Purchase the brands currently on sale
Unless you are completely devoted to your preferred diaper brand, shop around and buy the one that is the best deal that day. This may mean choosing Huggies over Pampers because your store is having a sale, or it may mean Cloud Island Newborn diapers (.25/ea) then switching to Rascal + Friends (.17/ea) for Size 1.
For me, this means having a couple of diaper brands that I know work well for us and choosing the one that is the best deal wherever I am when we need them.
Always calculate the price of diapers you buy
There’s is a reason that I have focused so much on cost per diaper today, and that’s because diaper packs vary so much that it is difficult to compare them on a one-to-one basis otherwise. For many stores and brands it is easier (and, I imagine, good business) to make comparably sized packages the same price, no matter how many are included. Your duty here is to make sure that you are still getting the best deal.
Wal-Mart’s website actually goes so far as to not only break down the choices clearly by size, cost, and cost per diaper but also to include a “Best Value” tag.
Consider Cloth Diapers to save money
While it is possible to spend just as much on cloth diapers as you would on premium disposable diapers, they can also be a great way to save a lot of money overall if you have the cash to get started. Admittedly, cloth diapering is not for everyone, but a solid stash of 24 good quality diapers can be purchased for less than $200. Even after the various accessories you’ll need for successful cloth diapering, you are unlikely to exceed the cost of budget diapers while getting a higher quality and more environmentally friendly diaper.