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The best newborn nappies – and the ones to avoid

Not sure what to buy for your newborn? We've done the hard work of figuring out the top and, um, bottom performers.

the best and worst nappies pile of nappies
Last updated: 20 June 2023

Need to know

  • CHOICE lab-tested 13 newborn nappy brands for absorbency, leakage, velcro strength and wet feeling
  • Two of the top-performing newborn nappies are supermarket own-brand products
  • We share money-saving tips for new parents buying nappies for the first time

If you're a bleary-eyed brand-new parent, the nappy aisle of the supermarket can be overwhelming. It's hard enough just keeping a baby fed and clean on two hours' broken sleep; how are you supposed to decode all the info on the nappy packs and make the right choice for your bundle of joy?

Never fear – we've done all the hard work for you. Here are the three top-scoring newborn nappies from our tests, plus the newborn nappies that took the wooden spoon.

Advice from one parent to another

While you might be a die-hard Huggies fan or a life-long Aldi lover, our experts suggest that you keep an open mind when it comes to choosing which nappy will grace your cherub's bottom. Our tests often reveal some lesser-known superstars that outperform the big brands (and are sometimes cheaper to boot). 

Remember that every baby is different. Just because Karen next door swears by Huggies doesn't mean that they'll be right for your baby. Babies come in all shapes and sizes – and so do their, erm, bodily functions. 

You might need something with excellent absorbency to deal with Junior's over-enthusiastic bladder emptying. Or maybe a nappy with a high back and close-fitting legs will save you if you have a kid whose signature move is the poo-nami. (Like a tsunami but with, well, poo.)

And of course you never know how your baby's delicate skin will react to a particular nappy. Unfortunately this is simply trial and error.

You could be faced with a nappy failure – something you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy

Size matters, too: a nappy will fit a baby with gorgeous chubby thighs very differently to one with sweet, skinny little newborn legs. So before you rush out and stock up on enough nappies to last you the entire first six weeks, maybe try a few different brands to find out which one works best for you. 

Our experts have tested 84 nappy products on the market, from newborn right through to junior sizes. Check out our disposable nappy reviews before you hit the shops. 

Tips for saving money on nappies

There's no two ways about it: children can be expensive. And new babies go through nappies at an alarming pace, so you're likely to see your grocery bills grow as your baby does. 

To help minimise your nappy spend, here are a few tips for new parents:

  • Check unit pricing whenever you're buying nappies – it's a much better indicator of cost than the overall pack price. And it's much easier to understand when you're sleep deprived!
  • Buying in bulk can save you money – while a large pack will cost you more than a smaller one, you'll pay less per nappy. 
  • Reusable nappies are far cheaper in the long run than disposables. They might cost more up front, but over time they'll significantly reduce the impact on your wallet, and the planet. If you don't want to commit to cloth nappies full-time, you can always alternate with disposables. 
  • Check prices from online retailers as well as at your local supermarket. You might be able to find a good price on special, and as a bonus they'll be delivered to your doorstep so you won't have to lug them home from the shops. 

The best newborn nappies from our tests

coles cub newborn size 1

Coles CUB Newborn Size 1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 89% (Recommended)
  • Absorbency score: 84%
  • Leakage score: 100%
  • Price: 18c per nappy

The top-scoring newborn nappy is also one of the cheapest, just beating well-known brand Huggies for the top spot. 

If you're worried about the cost of a new baby, these will help ease the stress – plus if you're a nervous first-time parent you can be confident that they'll do a great job. 

They received a perfect leakage score, which means that nothing escaped them during our lab testing, and a rewet score of 96% means that your baby should feel dry even with a wet nappy. (They actually performed better than the more expensive Huggies nappy on this test.)

huggies newborn size 1

Huggies Newborn Size 1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 88% (Recommended)
  • Absorbency score: 90%
  • Leakage score: 100%
  • Price: 36c per nappy

The second-top-scoring newborn nappy in our tests is also one of the more expensive. But if you're prepared to pay a little extra for peace of mind, then these are a great option. 

They received excellent scores for leakage and absorbency, and their adhesive closures are moderately strong. They have a wetness indicator, which can be a boon to brand-new parents who are still learning when to change their newborn's wet nappy. 

Plus, if you want to stock up ahead of Junior's arrival, some online retailers sell a bulk pack of 216 which should last you a solid few weeks of regular nappy-changing. 

aldi mamia ultra dry size 1 newborn

Aldi Mamia Ultra Dry Size 1 Newborn

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 84% (Recommended)
  • Absorbency score: 74%
  • Leakage score: 100%
  • Price: 17c per nappy

The cheapest newborn nappies in our test, these were also one of the top performers. They outperformed nappies that cost more than twice the price, and they're suitable for sensitive skin.

There's a risk that if you shop at Aldi while severely sleep-deprived, you could end up coming home with a reciprocating saw or night-vision goggles, but you can probably afford the extra purchases since you'll be saving so much money on nappies! 

The newborn nappies that performed worst in our tests

kit kin hypoallergenic eco nappies size 1

Kit & Kin Hypoallergenic Eco Nappies Size 1

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
  • Absorbency score: 38%
  • Leakage score: 60%
  • Price: 62c per nappy

They might claim to be better for the planet, but these nappies certainly won't be good for your laundry. They're leaky, not especially absorbent, and they have weak velcro – a bad combination when you're dealing with a full nappy!

They're also one of the more expensive nappies in our newborn nappies test, proving again that price isn't always a good indicator of quality. Unfortunately there's not much to commend these nappies on, regardless of their enviro credentials. 

beyond by babylove size 1 newborn nappies

Beyond by Babylove

  • CHOICE Expert Rating: 57%
  • Absorbency score: 64%
  • Leakage score: 40%
  • Price: 50c per nappy

These newborn nappies experienced heavy leakage in our testing and weren't especially absorbent, despite the pack claiming "up to 12 hours absorption". 

They also didn't score well on the rewet test, which means that your baby could feel uncomfortable if their nappy is wet. Since absorption, leakage and wet feeling are the three most important things we look for in a nappy, this product was scored down on all fronts, hence its low CHOICE Expert Rating. 

How we test nappies

We send nappies to be tested in a state-of-the-art laboratory where we test for:

  • Absorption: We measure the amount of time it takes for synthetic urine to disappear into the nappy
  • Leakage: A visual assessment of whether any leaks come out the side of the nappy
  • Rewet: We assess how wet the nappy is five minutes after the absorption test
  • Velcro strength: We measure how strong the nappy's adhesive closure is

Want to know more? Learn about how we test nappies.

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.

Stock images: Getty, unless otherwise stated.