All Prefolds Are Not Created Equal

Whenever I hear someone say, “I’m not really sure if I’m going to like cloth diapers, so I’ll just start out with some inexpensive Gerber prefolds…” I cringe and think “…then you’re not going to like cloth diapers.” For some reason, Gerber prefolds are on the shelves in Targets and Walmarts galore; I’m sure it’s mainly because people use them as burp cloths.

So what’s the Diaper Wrecker to do? Waste $17 at Target on these “premium” Gerber prefolds to prove my point, that’s what!

Prefold Cover Image

Contents: cotton and polyester. Meh.

Gerber Prefold Packaging

After washing them up a few times with my regular diaper laundry they became pilly and not even a tiny bit softer than the way they felt straight out of the package. Plus, the fibers seemed pretty loosely woven, which seems contrary to their claim that these are “premium”. Premium compared to what? Leaves?

Gerber Prefold Close Up

I have, use, and love two different kinds of (real) prefolds – GroVia’s bamboo/organic cotton prefolds and the BabyKicks hemp/organic cotton prefolds. The GroVia prefolds are thick and super-soft and a little bulky. The BabyKicks are less bulky and they don’t look as pretty, but they have this awesome stretchiness that makes them so much easier to fasten on a baby. So I was curious how the three brands compare.

I present our contestants:

Prefold Absorbency Test

I did some quick absorbency testing to see how Gerber stacked up. Each prefold weighed dry, submerged in water until fully saturated, hung to drip off for 20 minutes, and then weighed wet. The difference between the dry weight and wet weight was calculated as the diaper’s absorbency. Now, this is only what I’d call “theoretical absorbency”. In reality, when worn by a baby, the diapers would leak at that capacity, due to the shifting pressure of baby’s weight. However, this theoretical absorbency is fine to use for comparison purposes since they’re all being tested the same way.

However, it’s not fair to compare the results of the straight-up absorbency of each prefold, because they’re all different sizes – and the Gerber was the smallest. Instead, you get a better understanding by looking at the ratio of absorbency (in grams) to area (in square inches). Gerber’s absorbency by area was almost half of BabyKicks’ and GroVia’s!

Comparison of Prefold Absorbency

And it’s not as if Gerber prefolds are so dirt cheap that the price justifies the limited absorbency. At $1.79 each, they’re only slightly cheaper than Cloth-Eez (a brand I used on my son as a newborn). GroVia prefolds range from $2.67 each to $5.33 each depending on size; BabyKicks start at $6.59 up to $8.79. However, those are just what I had on hand and use for my child. There are plenty of other quality prefolds available – what’s your favorite brand?


  1. Tamara Sz says:

    Bummis are what I’ve used and loved. Funny thing is, I love the gerber training undies. Why can’t they make good prefolds?

  2. Shannon C says:

    I bought prefold seconds from Green Mountain (the firsts must be super awesome because I love these :). The Gerber pf I had previously can’t hold a candle to the GM ones. The Gerber ones felt cheap and flimsy. A pack of PF costs less than a case of disposable diapers and lasts much longer too.

  3. I’d love to hear if the same holds true for Gerber vs other brands of flats.

  4. Emily K says:

    I was gifted some Gerber Birdseye Prefolds and I used them for myself instead of the plastic peri-pads afterbirth– they worked great!! And were why more comfortable than the giant pads. Also it helped with healing since the cotton is breathable 🙂

  5. Heather C. says:

    I agree with the above. Osocozy are my favorite cotton prefolds and Grovia is the main bamboo I prefer (haven’t tried many, though). I also was recently chosen to test and review Gerber cloth diapers as both a diaper and a burp cloth. I haven’t received the test products yet, so I’m not sure if they are just sending the same ol’ stuff or if they are trying something new to be competitive. I guess I’ll find out soon.

  6. I started with and still use the Organic Gerber prefolds. They will ‘puff up’ if you run them through a air dryer cycle. I do have to double or triple them though. And then they are just as thick as the Grovia prefold.

  7. I’ve received several packages of these gerber prefolds as shower presents, yes they are terrible in my opinion, I’ve resorted to using htem for reusable swiffer wipes. What confuses me is when I first decided to go cloth, two babies back, my grandmother bought 20 prefolds at a huge once yearly flea market. They looked more like Green Mountain’s Clotheeze (they may be available else where) but were marked Gerber. They worked great and on their third child, I’m still convinced they were better diapers but an idiot thought with the Gerber name they would sale better.

    • Judith Martinez says:

      They may have been older Gerber pre-folds. Back in the day they made them better.

  8. Ashley W says:

    We use Diaper Rite (size M) prefolds and LOVE them. SOO soft and absorbent!

  9. Nicole Bear says:

    Got some of these Gerber ones for a gift. I use them as an extra pad on top of my changing pad cover. If poop gets on them I just throw them in with my cloth diapers, instead of having to remove and wash the changing pad cover!

  10. I had over 30 of these Gerber prefolds when my first was a big spitter. When I got curious about cloth diapers my husband wasn’t willing to make the investment. I doubled up the gerber’s and bought the cheapest cover I could find. After a week of changing these less than stellar prefolds I showed my husband how much money we saved not using disposables just in that one week. He agreed to fund some nicer Diapers and thus the obsession began. In a way I’m thankful for those gerbers now they are back to being burp cloths.

  11. Ashley Jorissen says:

    I work at a daycare in an infant room. My boss bought us Gerber prefolds to use as burp cloths. Not only are they horrible for putting on a baby’s bottom…they are horrible as burp cloths as well!

  12. Heather says:

    I bought Osocozy bleached preemie (2x6x2) and newborn (4x6x4) prefolds at first. Then I bought GMDs cloth-eez and Nicki’s Diapers’ imagine prefolds (both unbleached, 4x8x4, sized for babies up to 15 lbs). I think the extra 2 layers in the middle makes a big difference in absorbency, and both of the second kind I bought, maybe because they’re unbleached, are sooo soft. I don’t trifold in a cover – I use a snappi – and I’ve found the shorter fit of the GMD diapers aren’t enough to justify, to me, $10 more per dozen. I’ll get Nicki’s imagine prefolds from now on.

  13. I love imagine bamboo prefolds from nickis diapers and sustainablebabyish bamboo terry flats.

  14. Rachael A says:

    I have Gerber prefolds and Grovia (size 2) prefolds. I honestly prefer the Gerber. I’ve been using them each for ten months, mind you I’ve been favouring pocket diapers since my little miss has started crawling away during diaper changes. The Grovia is simply too bulky. I have used them in Flip, Thirsties and AppleCheeks covers, I have used them with a Snappi and just as an insert. I initially bought both after my supposed “Nine pounder” came out a slim 6 pounds and didn’t fit my collection of pockets. At ten months, Gerber still fits the best and absorbs well for daytime use.

  15. I like econobum prefolds very well made and very absorbent only thing I do not like is at a certain point baby gets too big and you can’t get the prefold around them anymore so you have to trifold it in a cover. I just ordered some green mountain prefolds hope I’m not disappointed.

  16. I was gifted 2 packs of Gerber prefolds, one 10 pack says the 100% cotton/100% polyester pad, the 5 pack says 100% cotton and feels so much thicker, I’m wondering if the 5 pack 100% cotton are any good?! I can’t decide if I want to return them or try them!

  17. I use Gerber prefolds and I honestly love them. I fold them and put them inside waterproof snap covers, and they work perfectly in my opinion. I do have to double up at night since my son is starting to sleep through the night. Mine aren’t pilly or loose at all. Only one prefold out of 50 has a small tear in it which can easily be stitched up. I haven’t tried anything else but I wouldn’t need to since Gerber does the job.

    • courtney says:

      I think they probably make several different varieties all under the same brand name, kind of like how outlet stores manufacture different quality stuff under the same label. You must have gotten the good ones! 😉

  18. This really is a question about Nappy Liners.

    I’ve heard good things about Ever Dry Nappy Liners. But I’m unable to search online or source them. What am I doing wrong? Does the product no longer exist or am I searching for the incorrect term?

  19. Christina says:

    Gerbers are GREAT for dusting 🙂

  20. The 5 pack of gerber prefolds are WAAAAAY different than the 10 pack. The 10 pack ones are so thin a paper towel is better than them. And they never get soft. The 5 pack are traditional prefolds afterva wash or 2 and dryer they get soft and very absorbant. I wrap a gerber prefold around a bamboo insert for night time and my little one is a heavy wetter. And that is good for about 12 hours. During the day i use a prefold only as an insert.


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