Pocket diapers have a water proof outer and a soft, moisture-wicking interior. There is an opening in the back so that you can stuff an absorbent insert in between the waterproof layer and the moisture wicking layer.
Here you can see the waterproof material.
Here you can see the pocket: the opening in the back of the diaper where you stuff absorbent material.
Here you see the soft micro fleece lining that pulls moisture away from the baby’s skin.
Keep baby feeling dry
The moisture wicking lining keeps your baby feeling dry through multiple pees. You don’t have to feel guilty for letting them sit in a wet diaper and you also don’t have to go berzerk changing them every 20 minutes.
Easy to find second hand
These are the most popular type of cloth diaper so they’re easiest to find used.
Easy to find in specialty patterns and prints
This is along the same lines as the previous point. Since they’re the most popular, it’s easiest to find say Harry Potter or Star Trek diapers or whatever suits your fancy.
One piece to spray poop off of
Once your baby has solid food poop that can’t go in the washing machine, you might want to use a sprayer that attaches to your toilet to spray the diaper off before you put it in the wash. Pocket diapers only have one surface for poop to get on and are easier to spray off than other types of diapers.
Fishing out inserts before washing
Depending on what brand you get, the inserts won’t come out in the wash on their own and you’ll have to pull the pee soaked inserts out before putting them in the pail.
Single use per wash
These can’t be wiped down and reused after a change. The attached cloth lining gets dirty and has to be thrown in the wash.
Look worn faster
The soft lining can pill (forming those little balls you see develop on your sweaters over time) and so the whole diaper might look worn faster than with a different type of diaper.
Things to look for
Softbums makes pockets with drawstrings instead of elastics. This sounds awesome because they’re likely to last longer as elastics wear out eventually.
Some brands are constructed such that the inserts come out automatically in the wash. I list those here.
Things to look for in any kind of cloth diaper:
Tabs that are stretchy. These are easier to put on. Bumgenius has these. I’m not sure if any other brands do.
Where the diaper is designed and where it is made. This will affect quality.
How many snaps the tabs have and how they are arranged.
Whether the diaper is one size fits all or sized.
My biggest suggestion for cloth diaper shopping is to buy small amounts of diapers and to buy them second hand until you know what you want. This will save your bacon! I always want to rush out and get a bunch of a certain type, only to find out that it’s not the perfect kind of diaper for me.