The Disadvantage of Buying Cheap Cloth Diapers

I like a fair and balanced approach.  Previously, I’d looked at the pros of cheap cloth diapers.  There are also plenty of cons.

I have no objection to using China Cheapies when buying cloth diapers.  You use what you can afford and do the best that you can.  AlvaBaby and Sunbaby diapers are great for what they cost, but you really are getting what you pay for.  It’s that whole “getting what you pay for” thing that really, really irritates me when I see AlvaBaby diapers rebranded with other labels.  (I’m not going to name names; Heather at the Parenting Patch already did that, and did it well.)

It seems like at least once a week, I find a rebranded Alva diaper marked up on a “deal” site for the low, low price of $12 USD, on sale from the usual price of $22.  That’s more than a 400% mark up.  That’s just a little excessive.  Yes, there are benefits to buying rebranded China Cheapies from an American or Canadian store.  You don’t have to deal with China directly and try to make your way through Google Translator emails and web sites.  You don’t have to deal with customs (unless you’re Canadian ordering from an American discount site, of course).  You don’t have to wait so long to get your package that your time for filing a PayPal dispute for non-receipt of product has expired.

I liken it to buying pop at the gas station on the corner versus buying it at the grocery store.  You’re paying a hefty premium for convenience.  It’s just a matter of deciding how much you’re willing to pay for that convenience.  Me, I’m cheap.  I hate to pay for that convenience, myself, and if I have to make a quick stop at the gas station to pick up a pop to take to the in-laws’ for dinner (I drink Coke Zero and carry it everywhere) instead of having one cold and ready in the refrigerator, I get annoyed with myself for poor planning.

There’s another reason why I get annoyed with that 400% mark up.  You’re not getting the quality of a $22 diaper.  I’ve been called a cloth diaper snob for the belief that you get what you pay for when purchasing cloth diapers, and premium brands are premium for a reason.  You know what I can get for $22 or less at Cozy Bums, my local cloth diaper store?  I can get any of the following: Fuzzi Bunz Elite with two inserts, BumGenius 4.0 with two inserts, a Baby Kanga and a separate insert, a Flip cover with one stay dry insert, a Happy Heinys pocket diaper with two inserts, a Charlie Banana pocket diaper with two inserts, and probably some others that I hadn’t looked at.  In two minutes, I found half a dozen premium options for the price of one outrageously marked up China Cheapie.  And since I’m buying them at a local store, I really am supporting my local economy.

Keep in mind that these are Canadian prices.  In the States, I can get a Rumparooz for $23 USD.  I’d cheerfully pay a dollar more for a Rumparooz or a Blueberry diaper instead of getting a $22 China Cheapie.

This just irritates me so much because I see it as taking advantage of moms who want to start using cloth diapers, but don’t know better.  I love supporting WAHM businesses, but I don’t love supporting ones that would rip another mom off.  I also don’t love that some moms get so frustrated with the quality of their cheap cloth diapers that they just give up.


About Suzi

Suzi is an American ex-pat living in British Columbia. She's a cloth diaper addict, wife, mom of three, and President of the Prince George chapter of Cloth for a Cause.


  1. “I love supporting WAHM businesses, but I don’t love supporting ones that would rip another mom off.’

    ^^ this.

  2. Regina Sober says:

    I would agree about finding the best deal for diapers is smart. Are there sites you would recommend that might help diapering moms out?

    • If you’re looking for the original “China Cheapies” then SunBaby and AlvaBaby are good bets. If you’re willing to go used, then your local Facebook is a great place to find premium diapers reduced. And, of course, there’s entering giveaways like mine. 🙂

  3. I have to admit that I didn’t do all my homework before starting my stash and bought what I’m sure are rebranded Alvas at $9-$13 each from an American WAHM – 36 diapers to be exact. When I found out about Alvas later, I really kicked myself. Now I’m stuck with a stash of diapers that really don’t work all that well for my baby and which I can’t sell for any decent amount because they’re worth far less than what I paid for them!

    • Oh, that’s so awful. 🙁 This is why I hate rebranding. Hopefully you can at least sell them for 25% of what you paid, or at least try different inserts to make them work better. I hope you’ve found better diapers for your stash!

  4. I highly recommend Sunbabies. They are fabulous and well worth the price!

  5. Lindsay says:

    I recently found and her cartoon diapers are pretty amazing. I bought them without the inserts because I hate microfiber, so I just used my flats to stuff. I have been CDing for over ten years and am seriously amazed at these diapers! I have used Fuzzibunz and BumGenius and I like these cheap ones better. Of course, I haven’t done the test of time on them yet, but so far, very impressed at just $6 per pocket!

    • At $6 per diaper, you’re overpaying for those. Through a co-op I paid $4 with a charcoal bamboo insert. They’re the very definition of China Cheapies. (They’re JC Trade, if you’re interested.)

  6. I have often found that Ebay has a good price on china cheapies, If you are willing to be patient enough to wait until the auction is close to ending…

  7. Nicholle Holycross says:

    Before I knew what a “china cheapie” was, I ordered 2 from ebay, and only one came in- so it definitely wasn’t a good deal for us. Although the one I got is a cute holiday print and I haven’t had any problems with the quality (yet), I much prefer to buy the premium brands or even store brands like Nicki’s, which are about $10 for a pocket diaper. The diapers from Nicki’s have colored liners that I love, and are much higher quality than my Alva. From now on I will buy my fluff from reputable stores only. It does save you a lot of trouble!

  8. Jozi Child says:

    Where did yoi order yours for 4$? So glad I saw this post…. I almost ordered these prints for 10-12$ each… gah I have already been burned once. I think this post helped me open up my eyes so t doesn’t happen again!

    • You can generally order the AlvaBaby prints directly from the AlvaBaby website without paying the markup. But it ships from China and the website is pretty awful.


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