Which Diaper is the Most Absorbent

Researched by Vanessa W.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine what type of diaper has the best absorbency, cloth or disposable. 

I became interested in this idea when I found out I was going to have a little brother. We didn’t know what type of diaper we were going to use so I decided to test different types of diapers so we could have the best diaper for him. 

Parents and manufactures that want the best kind of diaper for their babies may use the information gained from this experiment.


My hypothesis is that Pampers Premium will have better absorbency than other leading brands of diapers in the tests. 

I base my hypothesis on a magazine called consumer Reports Issued August 1998, had an article called “Diaper Wars.” They did tests on different types of diapers, and found Pampers Premium the best of them all.


The constants in this study were:

  •  The amount of water.
  •  The time for the water to absorb.
  •  The temperature of the water or diaper.
  •  The size of diaper piece.
  •  The type of liquid.
 The manipulated variable was the different type of diapers tested.

The responding variable was how much liquid is absorbed by the diaper.

To measure the responding variable, measure water before and after diaper is soaked in a bowl. Subtract the remaining amount to calculate what was absorbed.


15  Disposable diapers (5 different types of diapers, 3 of each kind.)
Cloth diaper
Graduated cylinder
6 Medium size bowls
1 Ruler
1 Scissors
1 Pad of sticky notes
1 Pen or pencil


1. Take the first diaper, and measure the central part with a ruler drawing a square 7cm by 7cm, with the pen.

2. Cut it out so you end up with a 7cm square of that diaper.
3. Take out one of the bowls, and label it with a sticky note that has the name of the diaper that will be used in that bowl.
4. Measure 500 ml of water in a graduated cylinder.
5. Pour the 500 ml. of water into the bowl.
6. Place the diaper square in the right bowl.
7. Repeat steps 1-6 for the rest of the diapers.
8. Wait 5 minutes for water to absorb into the diaper
9. Remove diaper from water but allow it to drip back into the bowl for 15 seconds. Throw the diaper piece away. 
10. Pour the water in the first bowl into the graduated cylinder.
11. Measure the amount of water in the cylinder.
12. Subtract the amount of water that was in the graduated cylinder after the diaper was thrown away (step11) from 500 
      (The original amount.)
13. Record the amount of water that absorbed in the diaper.
14. Repeat steps 9-12 to the rest of the diapers.
15. Clean up the mess.
16. Repeat test two more times and find average.


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine what type of diaper has the best absorbency, cloth or disposable.

The result of the experiment was that the greatest absorbency of the diapers that I tested was Pampers, having almost twice of much of the other diaper pieces that I tested. Birdseye cloth was the worst absorbency, having about half as much of the other diaper pieces that I tested.  Each diaper piece from absorbed almost the same amount of water in each trail.

See the graphs below



My hypothesis was that Pampers Premium would have the best absorbency of the other leading brands that I tested.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted. Pampers Premium truly had the best absorbency of the other leading brands that I tested.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if Pampers would also be the driest. In other words how much moisture is "locked" inside the diaper so that it will not transfer to the outside of the diaper.

If I were to conduct this project again I would have tested more diapers and I would have sampled more of each type. 



 The meaning of Absorbent is "The State or Quality of Absorb." Diaper means, "A soft absorbent cloth draws up between the legs and fastened at the waist of infants too young to be toilet trained."

Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are absorbed naturally. They also have natural fibers. The materials of cloth diaper breaths letting air circulate in. There are 2 different type of cloth diapers, Birdseye and gauze. Birdseye is more expensive. It is more absorbent, dries faster, and is often used as sea towels.  Gauze is light, and most parent prefer this type. There are many different ways cloth diapers come as. Flat diapers are cheap, and are adjustable.  Prefolds are extra thick. Contour Has Velcro straps. Fitted holds a lot of weight. There are no chemicals in cloth diapers, unlike disposable diapers.

Disposable Diapers
 Some dye in disposable diapers can damage the nervous system, liver, and kidney. Disposable diapers contain the carcinogen dioxin. It contains chemicals for absorbent. F.D.A received reports saying fragrances cause headaches, and dizziness. 18,000,000,000 disposable diapers are dumped in landfills a year. Disposable diapers contain wood splitters. A disposable diaper can hold as much as 7 pounds, 5 times as much cloth can hold. Disposable diapers cause 54% of all babies to have rashes, and 16% of all babies to have severe diaper rashes. 53% of all disposable diaper is plastic. 96% of all parents use disposable diapers. 

 To hold a diaper together is glue made out of oil oresin. There are many different types of materials for diapers. Basic is thicker and bulkier, so less parents prefer it. Ultrathins are made with materials the same or better than other types of diaper materials. Supreme is more expensive and has a cloth like cover. Here are some important materials used in making the diaper: polyroplene, polyester, polyaeriate, cellulose, poyethlene, polyurethare, and lyera. 

Huggies have many different type of diapers, here they are. Ultrathim lets twice a much air in. Supreme has breath dry cover so twice as much air comes in. New born has cloth like covers. Overnight has extra absorbency. Preemies are streaky and very soft. Huggies also has little swimmers.

Pampers also has many types of diapers. Premium is very soft, is extra breathability, and very good absorbency. Baby dry helps keep babies skin dry. Rash guard releases hypoallergenic, (a protective layer) to help babies skin.
Drypers has Aloe Vera. It is tender stretch. It contains no alcohol, perfumes, and orhypoallergenic. 


Caldwell, Ginny. : Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers." [Online] Available http://ecomall.com 

 Canadian Cloth Diaper Association. "The Facts" [Online] Available http://wehome.idirect.com

"Cloth Diapers" [Online] Available http://Metro.net

"Cloth or Diaper"[Online] Available http://www.cyfr.umn.com

"Diaper Wars" Consumer Reports vol. 63 pp. 53-55 Aug. 1998

"Diapers and Wipes"[Online] Available 

"Diapers and Wipes"[Online] Available http://www.Huggies.com

"Diapers and Wipes"[Online] Available http://www.Pampers.com

"Disposable Diapers" [Online] Available http://abcnews.go.com

"Disposable Diaper and wipes" [Online] Available http://wwwdiaperec.com

"Peggie’s" Diapers Sling N’ Things. [Online] Available http://av.www.peggiesdiapers.com

Platte, Donya. " Diapers" [online] available http://www.gentleparenting.com

Ross J, Emily. "Absorption" The World Book Encyclopedia. 1997 Vol.1 pp. 7

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