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How we test nappies

We find out which nappies absorb quickly, avoid leakages, stay dry on the surface and stay secure on your bundle of joy.

baby crawling with nappy on

Our starting point for testing nappies is simply this: what do parents want from a nappy for their child? So our specialist CHOICE Consumer Insights research team designed a survey which went out to 500 parents of children aged under two.

Here's what you told us is very important in a nappy:

  • 75% of you are looking for a nappy that doesn't leak
  • 72% find it very important that a nappy is absorbent
This has helped to shape our nappy testing.  

Expert testers

For our test, we bought brands within the newborn, infant, crawler, toddler, walker and junior sized nappies and sent them to a laboratory for testing. In-house, we work out the value for money of each product by determining the cost per nappy (based on the largest pack size available). We also take a look at the labelling claims.

How we choose what we test

With most of our product testing, our aim is to test the most popular models on the market and what you're most likely to see in the retailers. In the case of nappies, our buyers purchased all the products they could find on the supermarket shelves in the newborn, infant, crawler, toddler, walker and junior categories.

How we test


Using synthetic urine, gushes of the liquid are dosed into the centre of the nappy using a pump. 

  • For newborn nappies each gush is 30mL
  • For infant nappies each gush is 40mL
  • For crawler nappies each gush is 50mL
  • For toddler nappies each gush is 55mL
  • For walker nappies each gush is 60mL
  • For junior nappies each gush is 65mL

This simulates a child wearing the nappy overnight. We measure the amount of time it takes for the liquid to disappear. This is repeated four times with a five-minute gap between each gush. The total time taken for all four gushes to be absorbed is the absorption speed.


This is a visual assessment. We check if any leaks come out the side of the nappy.


Five minutes after the last gush from the absorption test, six pre-weighed dry filter papers are placed on the wet nappy and held down for 30 seconds. The filter paper is then removed and weighed. Ideally, the filter paper should remain relatively dry.

Velcro strength

We attach one side of the velcro to the nappy, then we place a pin through the tip of the velcro with an empty container hanging off the pin. The container is slowly filled with water at a constant rate until the velcro breaks free. The total weight required to make the velcro break free is converted to force in Newtons. We test both the left and right side and then create an average across both sides, then we repeat the test five times and our final velcro strength score is calculated. 

Test criteria explained

The overall score is made up of:

  • Absorption (40%)
  • Leakage (30%)
  • Rewet (20%)
  • Velcro strength (10%)
We care about accuracy. See something that's not quite right in this article? Let us know or read more about fact-checking at CHOICE.