With the system we use, cotton prefolds are the absorbent inside and a PUL (polyurethane laminated fabric) cover is the waterproof outside. There are plenty of other absorbent and waterproof options (fitteds, microfiber/fleece inserts, hemp, bamboo, wool). These are simply the products we chose.
We've tried a few PUL covers, and definitely have a favorite.
What makes a good PUL cover?
When reading product descriptions, they all seem to be equally great, if not special in different ways. However, after over a year of use, I now realize some key components that make us prefer certain covers over others. Here are some of my opinions on the four different brands of covers we've used: Rumparooz, Thirsties Duo Wrap, Flip and WeeHuggers.
*Affiliate links used; see full note below.
The Bad: The elastic is rather tight and leaves red marks around our baby's legs and back (even when snapped looser).
Conclusion: This cover might be a great option for a thin baby or snapped down for an infant, but just isn't the fit we love in a cover. We keep it to use when our favs are in the wash.
Where to Buy: Amazon, Nicki's Diapers
More Good: It has leg gussets and elastic at the waste and back, which contains prefolds and protects against leaks. We've never had a blowout even with newborn exclusively breastfed poop! The elastic is tight enough to be secure, but doesn't leave red marks or other signs of being uncomfortable. It looks trim over a prefold (as trim as a prefold and cover can be) with no more fabric than is needed. I love their selection of colors and patterns, and many of the colors work great if you need gender neutral.
The Bad: We received a cover with a bad snap. I contacted Thirsties and they replaced it, including providing a way to ship it back them. The white binding along the leg gussets stains easily. As long as they're clean, I don't mind a little discoloring, so this isn't an issue for us.
Conclusion: This has been our favorite and go-to brand of cover since day 1 of cloth diapering.
Where to Buy: Amazon, Nicki's Diapers, Target
The Bad: There are no leg gussets which leaves a gap at the legs and causes leaks out the leg if the diaper is full. There is also no elastic in the front waist, which leaves the front open to leaks as well. Even after snapping down, it's a little big for a small newborn (as with most one-size covers). The Flip stay-dry microfiber inserts that we bought with this easily collected build-up and stink, so we quit using them.
Conclusion: Not a great cover for us. I don't even keep it for back-up anymore.
Where to Buy: Amazon, Nicki's Diapers, Target
WeeHuggers, size 1 in groovyThe Good: It comes in two adjustable sizes that fit very similar to the Thirsties Duo Wrap (above). The front fits differently than the Thirsties because of the two rows of snaps and different material. This cover has leg gussets which keeps the prefold contained and prevents leaks around the legs. The prints are adorable. Soft and comfy bamboo on the inside.
The Bad: At $18.95, it's one of the more pricey covers. It doesn't have elastic in the front, which makes that a prime place for leaks once baby starts moving around or if you have a boy that wets heaviest in the front. The bamboo inside doesn't even matter because it's the prefold that's against baby. When this bamboo gets wet it doesn't dry out well, which makes the cover go out of rotation basically after one wet diaper. My other strictly PUL covers can be reused multiple times over a day or two until they smell or are soiled.
Conclusion: This cover is a little costly for how impractical it is.
Where to Buy: WeeHuggers are no longer in production.
More PUL Cloth Diaper Covers
There are plenty of options out there for PUL covers. We've only tried the 4 above, mainly because we have been happy with the Thirsties Duo Wraps and have not needed to seek out other options. I'm also not all about collecting covers just to have cute prints, which might be another reason to have different brands of covers.
Here are a few more covers that we haven't tried that might be a good option for someone else's needs and preferences. These are some of the more popular ones I've heard good things about elsewhere...
Bummis Diaper Cover
Best Bottom Diaper Shells
Imse Vimse Cover
Kissaluvs Marvels Cover
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*Note: Affiliate links used in this post. Purchases made through these links earn me a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!