Types of Cloth Diapers: All-in-Ones (AIO)

28 May

AIO Basics

AIO – all-in-one. This means that your cloth diapers are in one piece and don’t require anything else (like inserts) to work. You just put them on the baby and – bam! – you’re cloth diapering.

Advantages: Super-easy! These diapers are probably the closest to disposables because they are only one piece and don’t require any stuffing or extra work. This means that if you are using cloth diapers with a daycare or other caregiver, they will probably be most open to using this kind of cloth diaper. It is easy to use and requires the fewest component parts.

Disadvantages: The diaper can only be used once before washing. Once it’s dirty, it’s done. With some of the other types of cloth diapers, you may be able to switch out the cloth insert and re-use the cover. This has several disadvantages. One is that in order to expand your cloth diaper stash, you have to buy an additional cloth diaper versus only additional inserts. This can make cloth diapering more expensive. Additionally, the diapers are being washed more and may wear out faster. These also tend to take longer to dry. Also, because these diapers don’t have  a pocket, you can’t add additional inserts for overnight use or heavy wetters.

Brands of All-in-One Cloth Diapers

Even if you decide that you definitely want an all-in-one, it can still be difficult to decide which brand is the best (or the best for you). Here is an overview of some of the most common brands and the general advantages and disadvantages of each, as I learned through reading LOTS of reviews.

BumGenius Freetime


  • One-size diaper (7 – 35 lbs)
  • Available in snap or aplix fasteners
  • Semi attached inserts to make drying faster
  • $19.95


  • Washes easily
  • Soft
  • Very absorbent – many reviewers reported using this diaper as their overnight diaper
  • Fewer leaks than disposables
  • Keeps baby dry by wicking away moisture


  • Bulky for small babies
  • Some parents didn’t like the suede and would have preferred fleece
  • Some reviewers reported that the semi-attached inserts moved around too much and didn’t stay in the center, where they were needed.

BumGenius Elemental


  • One-size diaper (fits 7 – 35 lbs)
  • Snap closures
  • Stretchy tabs to help get a good fit
  • $24.95


  • Many reviewers touted this as the most absorbent all-in-one they had used.
  • Easy to use
  • Fits larger babies well
  • Organic


  • The diaper can be a bit bulky for overnight, since it’s not actually absorbent enough to make it overnight without leaks unless you add doublers or hemp inserts.
  • Long dry times of up to 2-3 days outdoors or 3 cycles in a dryer (as is common with AIO cloth diapers)
  • tend to stain very easily
  • can be difficult to clean solid waste out of as there are several layers inside the diaper and if more liquidy solids make their way in, it can be difficult to clean it out from between the layers.
  • is very bulky on smaller babies (12lbs and under)
  • Some reviewers found that they still needed to use an insert to keep the wetness away from baby’s skin.

Thirsties Duo


  • Elastic around the leg and waist
  • Snap or aplix closure
  • Two sizes
  • “Sleeve” opening to add inserts for overnight or heavy wetters
  • $15.75
  • The absorbency is adjustable with the “sleeve” opening to add inserts, so it is less bulky
  • Easy to wash
  • Dry quickly for AIOs
  • Some reviewers found that the sizing didn’t work for their baby (others said that with the aplix closure, the fit was better)
  • Stain easily

GrowVia All in One


  • One size
  • Stretchy tabs for a better fit
  • Snap in insert for heavier wetters or overnight use
  • $22.95
  • Less bulky than some other AIOs
  • Fits well for skinny babies
  • Soft
  • Some reviewers reported that these diapers wore out quickly
  • Stains easily
  • Some reviewers reported leaking problems, especially with chunkier babies
  • Some reviewers found that these didn’t fit chunkier babies very well
  • Some reviewers found the side snaps hard to fasten.

Itti Bitti d’Lish All In One


  • 3 sizes: Small (8-16 lbs), Medium (14-26 lbs), and large (23-37 lbs)
  • Snap closures
  • Snap in bamboo inserts, as needed
  • $18.97


  • Trim fit (may run a bit small)
  • Absorbent
  • Soft


  • Some reviewers found that the minky fabric wicked urine, resulting in leaks and dampness
  • Long dry time
  • These don’t have an aplix closure option, so sizing can be more difficult

Swaddle Bees Simplex


  • Can be used as in all-in-one or pocket diaper
  • Stretchy snap tabs
  • Openings on both sides of the pocket for easy addition of inserts, and to allow the inserts to come out in the wash
  • Sizes small (8-16 lbs), medium (12-25 lbs), and large (22-35 lbs)
  • $17.95


  • Trim
  • Easier to clean than microfiber


  • Some reviewers found that the 100% cotton interior was not absorbent enough, resulting in leaks
  • Inserts are necessary for overnight or heavy wetters and can make the diaper bulky
  • Some reviewers felt that this wasn’t really a AIO, since it needed to be stuffed to have sufficient absorbency
  • Not as soft as some other AIOs

Ones & Twos


  • One size
  • Built in microfiber soaker, with the option to add an additional soaker for extra absorbency
  • Aplix closure
  • $16.95


  • Slim fit
  • Soft


  • Leaks were a pretty common complaint, even with additional soakers

There certainly are a lot of opinions out there about cloth diapers. Personally, the expense of the all-in-ones is a bit of a turn off for me. I would like to be able to just wash the inserts each time and wash the covers whenever I need to. But, I won’t be passing judgment on any of the diapers until I have reviewed all of my options. 🙂


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