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Cotton Babies (maker of bumGenius and Flip) has just unveiled a brand new and highly affordable pocket diaper. At less than $9 apiece, Elemental Joy diapers rival budget imports that often lack a warranty and reliable customer service. Many families who are eager to get started with cloth are lured in by the super low prices of cheap knock-offs, but may come up seriously short on help when something goes wrong with their diapers.
The US-made Elemental Joy pocket diaper is backed by a reputable name in the industry and comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. It’s a microsuede-lined waterproof shell paired with a cotton flat diaper. It melds America’s favorite style (pocket) with a cheap and easy-to-clean insert (cotton flat instead of microfiber pads). The flat cotton insert is made in Pakistan. You simply pad fold the insert, stuff it in the pocket and then put the diaper on your child.
One question you might have is “how does this pocket diaper compare to the bumGenius 5.0?” – since they are made by the same company.
Both have a back pocket, but Elemental Joy does not have a back flap which covers the opening. Both have back elastics, but Elemental Joy’s is a bit tighter. Elemental Joy is sized bigger overall, especially across the crotch (width). Elemental Joy does not have the waterproof PUL strip on the front waistband that bumGenius 5.0 does.
Both have double snaps on the waistband, but bumGenius 5.0 features the signature “stretchy tabs.” The new Elemental Joy includes one flat cotton insert, which must be folded for use; bumGenius 5.0 comes with two microfiber inserts.
The edges are also different: bumGenius elastics are encased in white microsuede, and Elemental Joy is polyester. I actually prefer the latter because microsuede is more likely to wick moisture out of the diaper.
Here are a few more photo comparisons, including Elemental Joy in a line-up with other Cotton Babies diapers.
Performance: Absorbency for the Elemental Joy was about what I expected, since I’ve used pocket diapers stuffed with a cotton flat before. We usually get about 2 hours on average with this combo. Because the Elemental Joy pocket is wide and easy to stuff, I had no problem doubling up with 2 inserts.
For Katie’s toddler, Roderick, the experience was similar. After an hour, it wasn’t saturated, so she feels like he could get two hours out of it, and then at nap time stuff an additional insert into the pocket.
Fit: Since it was billed as a budget diaper, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I really like the way this diaper looks on Mary Kate. With just the one insert pad folded inside the pocket, it’s very sleek and trim. I definitely prefer the double snaps on the wings to the one-snap configuration of bumGenius’ budget cover (the Econobum).
I find that Elemental Joy runs big, especially compared to my other Cotton Babies diapers (see infographic above). It has both a higher rise and a wider crotch. Mary Kate wears most of her “one size” diapers snapped up once, but Elemental Joy fits her best snapped up all the way (on small). She’s 9 months and about 15 pounds.
Although the back elastics are quite snug, they don’t leave red marks on her back. The soft elastic trim around the gussets also fits her chubby legs comfortably. Mary Kate is wearing the Clementine color:
Roderick is wearing the Stop print (cars with red trim) with the rise snapped up once. He’s 24 months and 28 pounds. There is lot of room for him to grow in this diaper; Katie uses the largest setting on many of her other one-size diapers.
Care: When it comes to care, nothing really beats a cotton flat diaper. Being just one layer, they wash and rinse thoroughly, and dry in a snap. Cotton flats can certainly take a beating and have many practical uses beyond the diaper years. Even better, cotton doesn’t come with the headaches associated with a typical microfiber insert; many new pocket diaper users battle odor and build-up and give up cloth altogether.
The absorbent flat insert can be folded in different ways to customize absorbency for your baby. I’ve found over the years that most flat diapers aren’t really square; the Elemental Joy insert is no exception. After prepping, it’s more of a rectangle that measures about 26.5×24 inches.
We both found that the microsuede doesn’t hold onto stains, and that both insert and shell dry very quickly.
Value: Separately, the pocket shells costs $7.99 and the flat cotton inserts are $1.95; both can be purchased individually from select retailers (some of my favorites are listed below). You can save even more money by getting a 6-pack (inserts are included), and that’s just $35.94.
WHERE TO BUY
- Nickis’ Diapers (free shipping over $10 and free gifts with your order)
- The Green Nursery (free shipping over $35)
Improvements? Initially, I found the name of this diaper (Elemental Joy) confusing, since there’s already a bumGenius Elemental AIO diaper. But the two are completely different. Also, the first prints and colors being offered are more boy-oriented, but I’m hopeful that Elemental Joy will add some additional options in the future that would appeal to mothers of girls.
I imagine that for some families who are completely new to cloth, folding a big flat insert might seem daunting compared to traditional pockets with soaker pads. But this small hurdle could easily be addressed with a quick picture or video tutorial on the website.
The other drawback is that if you want to cloth diaper very cheaply, pocket diapers are single use only, so you have to buy more of them. If using 100% PUL covers, you can usually get a few uses out of each cover and swap out whatever insert you happen to be using.
Giveaway: Two lucky readers will win an Elemental Joy pocket diaper with insert. Winners may indicate preference for print/color shown above (Pepper, Ribbit, Faster or Go), but choices are not guaranteed. This giveaway is open to both US and Canadian residents. Good luck!