Grovia VS bumGenius Cloth Diaper Comparison and Review
To keep things simple, I chose only one brand of cloth diaper to use for my first daughter: the Grovia Hybrid. I used them starting when she was 1 month old to
the present 2 ½ years old. For my second daughter I used hand-me-down bumGenius Stay-Dry, which were used from when she was 2 months old to the present 9 months old (and occasionally by the 2 year old) 2 1/2 year old. *See updates at the end of this post*
My experience, comparison, and opinion of Grovia vs bumGenius
Newborn-First let me say that we skipped any cloth diapers for the first 1-2 months and did disposables. I’m still SO glad we did. Why? I had enough to stress about-why is she crying?! Breastfeeding is so hard?! How do I get this outfit on her?! Why is she still crying?! I didn’t also need the added stress of figuring out the snaps, elastics, sizing, leaking, and washing of being cloth diaper newbie.
At a glance: Grovia VS bumGenius
|Grovia Hybrid||bumGenius Stay-Dry|
|A diaper shell with snap-in inserts||A pocket diaper with stuff-in inserts|
|One-size adjustable||One-size adjustable|
|Easier to assemble||Takes a little more time to assemble|
|Inserts easier to handle and unsnap when dirty||Inserts more difficult/messy to handle and remove|
|Shells can sometimes be reused||Shells must be washed after every use|
|One row of larger snaps||Two rows of smaller snaps|
|Shells get damp with excess liquid||Shells completely waterproof and never get damp|
|Liners showed more wear over time||Liners showed less wear over time|
|Leaks more (my experience)||Leaks less (my experience)|
Ease of use
The main reason that I picked Grovia Hybrid, is still my favorite thing about them-the inserts snap in. Just 2 snaps. Done. “So easy even Dad can do it.” Or either parent when half asleep, fumbling in the dark, and multi-tasking with a screaming baby. Less guilt when asking babysitter and daycare providers to do them too. 2 snaps. Done.
The inserts have several fabric layers, the last one being TPU. I’ve no idea what that stands for, but what it means is it’s waterproof. Which means two great things for the parent: 1) When you’re removing the insert you can just
touch the waterproof side and not touch the pee soaked fabric. 2) If the insert absorbed everything then the shell is still totally dry then you can snap a clean insert in and use it again right away. Oh and microfiber vs organic cotton? I got both and love the microfiber, dislike the cotton. Why? Microfiber lasted longer and doesn’t stain. Simple as that.
The insert: At 6 months my daughter began soaking the diapers and the one insert provided wasn’t enough to keep her dry/leak-free. So I got some of Grovia’s “boosters” (single layer extra insert). My honest opinion of these is that they aren’t worth the money and frankly don’t provide much extra absorbancy. I ended up taking “old fashioned” prefolds and cutting them in half to use as boosters. Even more effective was using a bumGenius insert on top of the Grovia snap-in insert. Also, when my daughter got bigger (around 18 months) the inserts would narrow/bunch in the middle (where the snaps aren’t) and then pee was more likely to go under the liner and soak the shell (so I had to wash the shell everytime). The best way I can think of to describe this is like the difference of maxi-pads “with wings” versus those without. The ones without don’t always stay in place and provide the best “leak protection”.
The shell: The shell dampens quickly if the diaper gets soaked. This is especailly prominent in the seams around the leg holes (and was more common with age). Overall I got more leaks (around the legholes) on Grovia than bumGenius. Now I did check to make sure the elastic hadn’t gotten worn out and stretched. On two it had so I replaced it. On another I replaced the elastic just to make it even shorter than specified to see if that helped. Still get leaks.
I originally got all Velcro (“hook and look closure”) diapers. The velcro wore out at 6 months. This annoyed me, but thankfully Grovia had just come out with an option to pay $5/diaper and they would convert it to snaps. Now all of mine are snaps, and any additional ones I bought are snaps. One row of large snaps hold the diaper on. My only complaint about this single row of big snaps is that as my child grew, the snap row seemed to stay right in line with her hip bones. In some cases they would rub and leave a red mark. Occasionally my daughter complained of discomfort. I think a row of padding behind the snaps would be a good idea for their future design.
Initally I started with 9 shells which was perfect for me. I had about 25 inserts and was washing every 2-3 days. Once my daughter got older and wet the shells more often so I couldn’t reuse them, (and therefore was doing laundry daily) I bought 3-4 more shells. I read that their bare minimum was 12 shells and any less would result in premature wear. Here is my thought on that: If you fill up your car with gas, you know after say 300 miles that it’s going to be out of gas and you’ll have to fill it again. Driving you husband’s car doesn’t magically add miles to your tank, it only procrastinates when you have to fill your car up again. (I do this alllll the time, hubby hates it). Buying more diapers doesn’t improve an individual diaper’s quality. Buying more just distributes the
wear, making it seem like they’re lasting longer.
How long do they last?
At 2 ½ years the shell’s dampen quickly BUT there is not a single rip or tear and the elastic stayed great on all but 2 (which I replaced the elastic myself). The liners, show much heavier wear with holes on the edges but I still use them. However, I couldn’t confidently pass these on to another mom to use when I’m done because of the holes in the inserts, and the weakening of the water-resistant shell.
Ease of Use
It takes a little longer to prepare these diapers for use. Instead of snaps there is a pocket and you stuff the pocket with inserts. I’s an extra minute to make sure you have the insert properly placed all the way to the front of the diaper and laying flat. I stuff all the diapers before placing them in the drawers for use. That way “anyone” can use them without confusion or the need to be fully awake.
One fairly thick insert and one thin “newborn” insert. The inserts have a few snaps on them so you can make them short or long depending on how you have the shell sized for your kid. I’m not sure on the material, but it seems to be all the same. So the negative here is that when you remove the liner, you’re touching a pee soaked cloth-no waterproof layer like Grovia.
Inserts: When my daughter was 2-5 months old, I used 1 regular insert in each diaper. The from 6-9 months old I used one regular insert and one newborn insert (or a prefold cut in half) in each diaper . If I need even more (like at night) then I use two of their regular inserts in one pocket. The pocket is GREAT at keeping the liners where you put them. No moving, no bunching, MUCH less leaking than Grovia. In fact, I use a bumGenius with 2 regular liners on my 2 ½ yr old at night and about 80% of the time she is dry in the morning. My Grovia night-time dry success rate at for the 2 1/2 yr old is about 20%-no matter how much extra padding I add. With my 9 month old I seem to have more issues with her leaking through the leg-holes, but only at night when she has worn them longer. I haven’t figured out yet why this is an issue with her and not my older kid.
Shells: They’re impressive. They do not leak at all. Seriously. Not even damp. If I get leaks it’s through the leg-holes. The outside shell material is totally waterproof. I haven’t had any issues with this causing overheating or anything. I think it’s also why these diapers work well as a night-time diaper for my 2 1/2 year old.
Two rows of smaller snaps hold these diapers on. This design is more successful at distributing the pressure evenly and hasn’t left any red marks across the hips on either kid.
I got 10 shells from relative and another 15 from Cloth Diaper Trader, so 25 total. Then about 30 regular inserts and 10 newborn inserts. I have to wash them every 2-3 days. Click HERE to read how they get cleaned in a front-loading HE machine.
How long do they last?
The Velcro AND elastic absolutely had to be replaced on every pair. If they had been snaps, then just the elastic would have needed
replacing. The first 10 were 2 years old and had been through one kid. The age of the other 15 was unknown but judging by the fact they were 3.0 and not the new 4.0 version, they had to be at least 2 years old. EVERY pair is still perfectly waterproof, zero rips or tears. Even the liners while not as fluffy as they once were, have no rips and are still absorbent. So considering that these are in their 3rd, possibly 4th year of use…that’s pretty awesome quality. I would confidently pass these on to another mom for a third use.
If I could do it all over again…
Knowing what I know now, I’m not sure I would do anything differently. Why? The ease of Grovia is great for the first time parent. (Plus how can anyone resist their adorable prints?!) Even the fact that the Velcro wore out quickly doesn’t deter me. Having simple Velcro in the beginning when you’re overwhelmed with a new baby is nice. All those snaps can be intimidating at first! If you’re looking to save money, then my method of buying used bumGenius and replacing the elastic and snaps yourself is a good way to go. There a lots of tutorials on how to do this online. bumGenius is a popular diaper so I found GREAT deals on Cloth Diaper Trader (paying $2-5 per diaper some even came with inserts). I got other inserts at kids consignment shops for $1/each because they weren’t very “fluffy” but they still work great. OK so when considering hand-me-down cost and longevity maybe I would have done a little less Grovia and a little more bumGenius, but definitely still both.
Update July 2015
Lily is now a year old and I’m still really happy with the bumGenius. I’ve had to replace a few snaps that I put in (they just fell back out) and on some the fabric around the two fastening snaps that I put in is tearing but it’s still usable. Everything else about the shells and inserts is still in perfect condition. With my 33 month old being nearly potty trained (YAY!!!), the Grovia are all retired. (We switched to Honest Company disposable training pants for potty training/night-time wear).**However** I saved a few Grovia shells and they make GREAT swim diapers for both kids. Plus I wasn’t willing to let go of the really cute ones, and figured down the road my girls could use them for their dolls. What did I do with the rest of my Grovia stash? I listed them for cheap on Cloth Diaper Trader clearly stating they were in “heavily used/needs repair” condition and they still sold immediately. So some people do have enough faith in them to buy really used ones. If you wanted to try them, you can buy with the confidence of knowing the re-sale value stays high if needed.
Update January 2017
With my youngest having very little interest in potty training, she’s still rocking bumGenius diapers all day and night long. I’m into new territory with her, as I don’t recall my oldest still using diapers this much at this age. Who knew such a pretty little lady could put out some whopping diapers?! These diapers have really been put to the test. So how are they holding up? Well keeping in mind I bought my whole stash of 25 bumGenius heavily used, their life seems to finally be coming to an end. By my best guess this means they survived about 4-5 years of heavy use. If my daughter was younger with smaller pee and poop I don’t think I would even notice, but at 2 1/2 when she really soaks a diaper there is usually exterior dampness and leaking. If I change her often during the day sometimes I can avoid leaks, but at nights and naps they are now un-wearable. Their color has also become a bit grungy/dull and the lining just not as white as it once was. Stitching is all still in tact with no rips or tears except on a few tabs where I replaced velco with snaps.
So this month I went back to ClothDiaperTrader and found a dozen bumGenius that had only been used for about 6 months. These are 4.0 diapers and look new. I did have to repair elastics on about 3/4 of them (while used for 6mo, I do not know how long the person actually had them before selling). These ‘new-to-me’ bumGenius do NOT leak a drop! They’ve failed at some awful toddler size blowouts, but I still find them significantly more reliable at containing blowouts than disposables. Initially I tried to use both the old and the ‘new’ ones but finally have to admit that it’s time to put my old stash to rest. I can however, still use the inserts. I few I retired simply because they would not lay as flat as before, but the rest are still absorbent despite being less fluffy than the newer inserts. So while my youngest is on the verge of potty training (I hope!) I’m still glad I bought more cloth diapers…especially since baby #3 is on the way!
In our recent move, I switched from a top-loading to a front-loading washing machine. It was a challenge to develop a new, effective wash routine but I finally did it. Click HERE to read my Cloth Diaper Front-Load HE Wash Routine!