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Cloth Diapers | Hook & Loop Velcro or Snaps?

The eternal question.  Okay, so maybe not eternal, but I see this one a lot when it comes to cloth diapers. There is no simple answer, so let’s explore the differences, pros, cons and then you can make the right decision for you.

Hook & Loop Pros
1) Infinitely adjustable.  It has the ability to be adjusted to just about any size and every one in between.  Most diapers even offer them to be able to be crossed over for further tightness when needed for smaller or skinnier babies.  These simply offer a better, more customizable fit.
2) Easy – It is extremely easy and fast to use and put on.  Touch and go.
3) Easy to replace – Even though velcro can eventually wear out, it’s easy to replace in comparison to snaps – which require a snap press or other special snapping device.
4) Familiar – It is much more like what people are use to in disposables.

Hook & Loop Cons
1) Can get pilly and worn out, eventually so much so that it needs to be replaced.
2) Sticks to things.  You may experience ‘diaper chains’ when pulling them from the washer and dryer.  I’ve also had them stick to my clothes when picking up my baby, thus taking her diaper partial (even all of the way) off.
3) Not baby proof!  Many children figure out early on how to remove these diapers.  For some it is a passing phase, but many will take any chance they get to remove their diaper.
4) Rubbing baby – From time to time the diaper may roll in on baby at the top and the hook and loop can rub baby’s skin.  I’ve had this happen on occasion.  I notice it more with my active crawler.
5) A bit noisy.  The sound of removing the hook and loop can wake a sleeping baby.  I like to change our daughter before we got to bed at night and she’s generally already sleeping.

Snap Pros
1) Durable.  They will last and last.  If you plan on using your diapers for more than one child, snaps might be the better choice.
2) No diaper chains.  They do not stick to anything.
3) They don’t rub and cause pilling on the diapers like hook and loop.
4) Harder for baby to take off.  Some babies have a harder time removing these diapers (especially those with two rows of snaps).
5) No laundry tabs.  Hook and loop diapers have what are known as laundry tabs.  They are there to help keep the hook and loop from sticking to everything in the wash.  You must remember to put these together before washing and half of them will come undone anyways in the wash.
6) Cleaner.  Since they stay looking new they don’t pill and collect lint and strings like hook and loop will.

Snap Cons
1) They are a bit harder to fasten – mostly they just take a little more time.  Some people (daycare, sitters, Daddy, grandparents, etc) might feel a bit more comfortable with the more familiar hook and loop closures.  This can be a slight inconvenience with a wiggly baby.
2) They don’t offer as many size options.  The snaps are usually placed about an inch apart, so you can’t get the exact sizing that velcro offers.  This can lead to gaps if not set tight enough.
3) They typically do not cross over. Though similar to the above, I wanted to set this apart.  I think it could be a real issue for smaller/skinnier babies.  I can recall many times where I needed to cross over my tabs on my little girl when she was younger.
4) Startle sleeping baby.  Unlike hook and loop, these aren’t really loud when removed, but they do tend to startle my baby more than the hook and loop.

So what’s the bottom line?
Well, it’s whatever works for you.  Personally, I’m a big fan of both.  I like the look and quickness of hook and loop.  I also love the durability of snaps and the ease of washing them (no need to worry about tabs, diaper chains, etc.).  I especially like that because they don’t catch on things the diapers stay looking new.  I have a mixed stash of snaps and velcro and I love them both.

Which do you prefer?

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