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Snap vs Hook and Loop Closures

There are number of cloth diaper options out there. For new cloth diapering parents, one of the major choice options is whether to go with snaps or hook and loop closures. Both of these have their own pros and cons and I’ll break it down here to help you choose what will work best for you and your baby.

Snap closure

What is a snap closure?
These are the type of cloth diapers with several metal (or plastic) snaps pinned around the front closure of the diaper. The snaps are then locked to secure the cloth diaper.

Snap Closure Cloth Diaper

Advantages

•    Durability
Cloth diapers with snap closures can go a long way. There are many parts of a diaper (elastics or PUL) that can wear out sooner than the metal snap.  Metal snaps lasts years.  You can’t go wrong with metal snaps when it comes to durability.

•    Secure fit
Cloth diaper with snaps cannot be easily removed by babies. When your baby becomes older, stronger and smarter, she will try to take off the diaper for fun.  It’s super easy to unhook the hook/loop closure.  But with snap, it takes a little more strength and cleverness to take it off. However, this won’t be much of an issue if your child is wearing clothes on top of the diaper.  It’s more of an issue if you just want your baby to run around the house with wearing just diaper.

Disadvantages

•    Effortful
While disposable diapers are almost effortless to use, it takes a little bit of effort to use cloth diapers with snap closures. Despite such great durability, snaps are my husband’s least favorite option, as he is often confused as to which snap goes where.  It takes few more seconds to snap-snap than to just stick the hook and loop closure.

•    Not ideal for changing diapers in the middle of the night
Snap closure is not the ideal diaper to use when you wake up in the middle of the night for a diaper change.  It’s hard to see where the snaps should go in darkness.  You need some of light to be able to change the cloth diapers with snaps.

The bottom line
My friend, a seasoned cloth diapering mom, prefers snap closure.  She doesn’t find them to be that much more hassle than hook and loop closure.  She loves the fact that they last a long time.  Having cloth diapered for almost two years, she definitely prefers snaps over hook and loop closure.  Her snap diapers are still working strong, as oppose to hook and loop diapers that have tabs that just wore out.


Hook and Loop Closure


What is a hook and loop closure?
Hook and Loop closure (aka Aplix or Velcro) has gripping texture to fasten two tabs together.  Aplix and Velcro are both trademark names that are not used unless Aplix and Velcro products are used in manufacturing the cloth diaper.  In general, the term “hook and loop” closure is preferred choice of description for most cloth diapers.

Hook and Loop Closure Open  Hook and Loop Closure Closed


Advantages
 

•    Easy to Use
Hook and snap closure is as convenient as using disposable diapers. It is preferred by new moms, grandparents, daycare providers, babysitters, and husbands like mine.   All you do is to stick the tabs onto the diaper and that’s it!  My husband had no problems changing diapers with Hook and Loop closure.

•    Quick diaper change
This is the best type to use for quick diaper changes.  Though it’s only few seconds of difference compare to snap closure - those few seconds is precious when you have a crying baby struggling with diaper change.  All of my babies despised diaper changes.  As soon as I would lay them down, they would wiggle, whimper, cry, and turn.  Sometimes, I had to change the diaper with my baby standing up.  So, whatever I can do to make this miserable diaper changing fast as possible, I’m all for it.  

Disadvantages

Old Hook and Loop Closure•    Less durable
One major issue of hook and loop closures is durability.  After many wash and dry, the hook and loop will lose its gripping strength.  The tiny loops will fade after a few months of washing, gripping will not be so easy anymore. That means that your cloth diapers may stay loose and can easily be out of place, especially if worn by active babies.

Every year, manufacturers are doing their best to come up with better, longer lasting, gripping hook and loop closure.  My old version of bumGenius cloth diaper lasted at least a year (considering that I washed it almost every other day).  Even after two years, it was still usable as long as I place pants on top of it to prevent the tab from moving.  For some crafty mothers, when the hook/loop wears out, they would place metal snaps on the diapers to extend its life.

•    Not laundry-friendly
Hook and loop closure seems to sticks to everything during laundry.  Even the brand new diapers with the laundry tabs have some issues. Somehow the tab will undo itself from the laundry tab and stick to something else.   You will end up with chains of diapers with tabs sticking to another diaper.


Hook and Loop Closure with Lint•    Prone to lint
Whether you laundry your cloth diapers or you simply use them on your baby, it somehow catches lint and small debris along the way. Foreign things stuck on it can reduce its gripping strength.  Thought not often, I would find myself taking out the lint from the tabs after laundry.  Hook and loop closure takes a bit of maintenance.

•    Easy to remove
If hook and snap closures are easy to put on, they are easy to remove too, which can be a disadvantage. Babies can remove them without effort.  When my baby figured out that taking of the hook/loop closure is fun thing to do, I found a solution to this.  I always put pants on her!  If she’s wearing clothes on top of her diaper, she simply didn’t have desire to undo her hook and loop closure.

The Bottom Line

Hook and snap closures are very easy to use. It is the preferred choice for new moms and husbands too. They are fast and effortless to put on your child that makes them great for quick diaper changes and for night diaper changing. Although hook and closures do have some minor issue on durability and maintenance, they are over-all great cloth diapers for moms who want to try cloth diapering for the first time or for those who want an effortless diaper change every time.

Conclusion
My recommendation? Try both!  Whichever cloth diaper closure type you choose, you will sometimes love them or hate them, depending on the situation you are in. Even if you found that you love snaps better, you will find yourself using hook and loop cloth diaper at times.  You may find that snaps are hassle and love the convenience of hook and loop.  You may not like it today, but you may like it tomorrow. Buy both and use whatever is the most appropriate and convenient for every situation.  For example, you can use snap closures during the day and hook and closure during the night for quick diaper changes.   

What do I like better? This is a hard question. I liked the hook and loop closure for convenience in the beginning. But I did get disappointed on how it wore out eventually whereas the snap never wore out (how can it?). I liked the snap towards the end of cloth diapering season.

Which diapers are sold more? Snap closure.  This is because most cloth diapering parents are seasoned users who care more about how long they can use the cloth diaper rather than convenience.

I hope my run down or pros and cons of snaps and hook and loop closures can help you choose the best cloth diaper for you and your baby. Happy cloth diapering!

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