I did it! I did a cloth diaper absorbency test of the diapers we have and let me just say that I was surprised by the results.
Here are the inserts we have right now:
Zorb inserts from Etsy
Thirsties Hemp doubler
Flip Stay Dry inserts
Cloth eez intermediate size prefolds
Flour Sack Towels from Target (FST)
Receiving Blankets from Walmart (Parent’s Choice brand)
The results really surprised me. Especially considering what I payed for some of the thin inserts that were supposed to be extra absorbent for their thinness. Grr.
So this isn’t super scientific and for super accurate results I would want to repeat this more. But this gives a basic idea of what is going on. I did the whole thing on a cookie sheet. The first round I soaked the diaper and wrote down how much I had poured onto it. Then I sort of let it drip dry/put weights on it and poured whatever had come out back into a measuring cup, and subtracted that amount from what I’d written down, getting my final answer. The second round I did the same thing but instead of weights and drip dry, I folded the diaper in half and squeezed it between my flat hands in what could be called a “praying hands method.” This seemed good enough to imitate what a baby rolling around would squish out of a diaper. The results from round 1 and round 2 were pretty similar so I’m pretty satisfied with them for now.
Here is my spreadsheet of results. I sorted it by round 2 because that round I was a little more consistent in my methods.
(These measurements are in cups)
I was really surprised by the Gerber prefolds as they always seemed really flimsy compared to the Cloth Eez and are also significantly smaller.
And yeah I am super confused by the result from the Zorb and Hemp. Maybe I’m testing them wrong. If you have more info about this please tell me! I guess they are thin but it seems like If you just cut one of the thicker options in half you’d have about the same thickness for the same absorbency. So why are we paying so much for hemp and Zorb? My Zorbs do have a fleece layer on top that seems a little thick. Maybe if they didn’t have that I could do two zorbs and it would be 1.25 cups and still be really thin. That would make some sense as to why Zorb is supposed to be so cool.
Also the Flip stay dry insert is bigger than the Zorb and hemp and it is slightly thicker. Hopefully I’ll add pictures to this post. But overall the Flip stay dry seems like the best option out of the ones I have! Maybe it is just an example of smart construction: because it is wider, but not wide enough to fold in half, it provides extra absorbency without adding bulk (just a different sort of bulk between the legs).
Though I also kind of feel like the FST’s are almost as thin as the Flips…
It kind of seems like it’s all the same ratio of size and thickness of fabric to absorbency ratio is the same across everything. Except for the Gerber prefolds, which are the thinnest and cheapest of the chunky options but hold the most! Who knew! This result does not seem to match my experience though. Maybe I will do a real life, on the bum experiment. Maybe I will also do some other test of thickness.
I also found how much the nighttime combination we’ve been using holds! So now I can design a thinner one. This is our current nighttime combo:
So I am going to try 3 Flips and a MF towel for nighttime and see how it goes. This should be 3.5 cups.