Pampers vs Target Up & Up: Which Diaper Brand is Better?

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If you’re a new parent, you’re probably overwhelmed by the sheer number of diaper brands available on the market. Two of the most popular brands are Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up. But how do you choose between them? In this article, we’ll give you an in-depth comparison of Pampers vs. Up & Up diapers, including detailed absorbency and overnight testing, as well as an analysis of size, comfort, fit, and ingredients.

We’ve tested hundreds of diapers on a real-life baby to give you an honest and thorough review. We’ll also provide cost comparisons between Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up, as well as comparisons with other popular diaper brands. So, whether you’re a new parent or just looking to switch to a different brand, keep reading to find out which diaper is the best fit for you and your baby.

Key Takeaways

  • This article provides an in-depth comparison of Pampers Swaddlers vs. Target Up & Up diapers, including detailed absorbency and overnight testing, as well as an analysis of size, comfort, fit, and ingredients.
  • We’ve tested hundreds of diapers on a real-life baby to give you an honest and thorough review.
  • Cost comparisons between Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up, as well as comparisons with other popular diaper brands, are also provided.

Size of Pampers and Up & Up

When it comes to size, both Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up diapers are nearly comparable, with Pampers running slightly bigger. The diapers tested here were size 2, which has a weight range of 12-18 lb. in both Up & Up’s and Pampers. The testing specifically used the Swaddler model from the Pampers line. The Target Up & Up diaper is a bit shorter than the Pampers, which may be a consideration for tall babies.

To give you an idea of the size differences, here’s a table comparing the measurements of Target Up & Up and Pampers Swaddlers:

Target Up & Up Pampers Swaddlers
Height 7″ 7.25″ front, 8″ back
Width 4″ 5″
Between Legs 3″ 3.5″
Front waistband 9.5″ 10.5″
Velcro Strip 5.4″ 4.5″
Back waistband 10.5″ 11.5″
Back waistband stretched 12.25″ 13.5″

Both Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up diapers go from newborn size (up to 10 lb.) to size 7 (above 41 lb.). Pampers also offers preemie sizes -3, -2, and -1, which is inclusive for parents with preemies. However, Target Up & Up does not offer preemie sizes, which is understandable since they are not sold to NICUs.

Overall, the size of Pampers and Up & Up diapers is comparable, with slight differences in measurements and options for preemie sizes.

Absorbency Testing

To test the absorbency of diapers, a total of 350 mL of liquid was poured in approximately 50 mL increments onto each diaper. Photos were taken at 5-second intervals after each pour, and after 25 seconds, the efficiency of the absorption was tested with a paper towel to test for remaining wetness. Diapers were then allowed to rest for about 10 minutes before a final dryness test. These volumes were selected to test the outer limits of the diapers absorption.

Pampers Swaddlers’ Absorbency Test Results

Pampers Swaddlers had interesting absorbency results. It absorbed most of the liquid very quickly and very well, but it had beads of liquid stay on top of the diaper, even on the very first pour of only 50 mL. However, what was felt on the paper towel test was obviously those top beads of liquid only, the other parts of the diaper felt dry and well-absorbed.

Pampers Swaddlers’ performance also improved at higher volumes. Once the test reached about 250 mL, there was actually less liquid beading up than the first few pours. At the end of the test after a resting period, the Pampers were dry on the final paper towel test but felt slightly damp to the skin when the diaper was cut in half.

Cutting the diaper in half revealed that Pampers divides their inner filling into thirds to keep an even distribution of absorbent materials, a nice touch not present in other diapers tested.

Target Up & Up’s Absorbency Test Results

Target Up & Up visually performed better than the Pampers by not leaving any beads of lingering liquid. It had a bit of wetness to the touch during the paper towel test but overall it was pretty good at absorbing most of the liquid quickly for the first four pours.

Its performance held strong until the 300 mL pour, when it became wetter on the paper towel test and definitely underperformed compared to the Pampers. After the ~10-minute resting period, Target performed well on the paper towel test and actually felt the driest to the touch of the tested diapers.

WINNER: Pampers — this one was a close call though. Both diapers had pluses and minuses, and both absorbed a lot of liquid efficiently. Even though it left some beads of liquid, Pampers absorbent filling seemed to be higher quality and definitely outperformed at the highest volumes, giving it the edge. After a rest though, Target’s diapers felt marginally drier to the touch, which is impressive and perhaps more closely emulates true diaper wear.

Overnight Testing: Pampers vs. Up & Up’s

When it comes to overnight diapers, both Pampers and Target Up & Up diapers have their pros and cons. According to your testing, Pampers holds overnight pee well enough, but you may notice a noticeable urine smell. On the other hand, Target Up & Up diapers seem to work well and overnight leakage has been sporadic. However, as your baby grows bigger and starts walking, Up & Up’s no longer hold up overnight, causing your baby to wake up soaking wet.

In terms of odor control, Pampers falls short of Target Up & Up diapers. Pampers is the only diaper tested that includes fragrance and you may notice a noticeable urine smell after an overnight use. In contrast, Target Up & Up diapers do not have any fragrance and are old faithfuls for overnight use.

When it comes to absorbency, both Pampers and Target Up & Up diapers can perform well when met with a lot of pee. Occasionally, the diaper shell may be slightly damp, but not enough to wet your baby’s clothes.

Overall, Pampers is the winner for overnight use, but only if odor control is not a concern for you. However, as your baby grows bigger and starts walking, Target Up & Up diapers may no longer be suitable for overnight use.

Cost Comparison: Pampers Swaddlers vs. Up & Up

When it comes to purchasing diapers for your baby, the cost is a significant factor to consider. Pampers Swaddlers are a well-known name brand, while Up & Up is Target’s store brand. As of July 2023, the largest box of size 2 Pampers Swaddlers cost about double the price of Up & Up’s diapers.

Up & Up’s diapers are budget-friendly and cost about half the price of Pampers. This cost difference translates to significant savings over the course of infancy. In fact, store brands like Up & Up offer savings that name brand diapers can’t match, even when they are on sale.

The only downside to Up & Up’s diapers is that you can only purchase them at Target, whereas Pampers are available at most retailers. However, the cost savings of Up & Up’s diapers is still worth the minor inconvenience, especially since a big box of diapers is just shy of the $35 free shipping mark.

In conclusion, Up & Up’s diapers are the winner when it comes to cost comparison. The store brand prices simply cannot be beaten.

Pampers vs. Up & Up Ingredients

When it comes to ingredients, Pampers and Up & Up diapers are fairly similar. The most noticeable ingredient difference is that Pampers Swaddlers include a “light fragrance” while Up & Up diapers are fragrance-free. If you smell the inside of a Pampers diaper, there is a mild powdery scent. In contrast, smelling the inside of an Up & Up diaper has a slight synthetic smell to it.

Both Pampers and Up & Up diapers are elemental chlorine-free. This means that no direct chlorine was used in the diaper production process. However, other chemicals used in wood bleaching the diaper pulp may contain chlorine.

Pampers Swaddlers absorbent inners contain elemental chlorine-free pulp, a polymer, and light fragrance. The lining that comes in contact with the baby’s skin is made of polypropylene, polyethylene, and polyester. The outer cover is also made of polypropylene and polyethylene.

On the other hand, Target Up & Up diapers are made of polyester, polypropylene, and polyethylene. Target does not provide a breakdown of the materials by layer, but they do claim that their diapers are lotion-free and hypoallergenic.

In terms of being environmentally friendly, neither Pampers nor Up & Up diapers are biodegradable or made from plant-based materials. Additionally, both brands are free from latex, phthalates, parabens, and petroleum.

Overall, Target Up & Up wins in the ingredients category for being fragrance-free. However, both brands are comparable in terms of their use of elemental chlorine-free pulp and lack of harmful chemicals.

Pampers Up & Up
Fragrance Free? NO YES
Chlorine Free? Elemental free Elemental free
Latex Free? YES YES

Are Pampers or Up & Up Diapers More Comfortable?

When it comes to comfort, Pampers and Target Up & Up diapers both have their own advantages. The outer shell of Pampers Swaddlers is softer compared to Target Up & Up’s, feeling almost velvety to the touch. Pampers also win for the inner lining that comes in contact with the skin, which is much softer than the Up & Up’s. However, Up & Up’s inside feels smooth, and Pampers again have a velveteen touch.

In terms of bulkiness, Target Up & Up diapers are leaner than Pampers Swaddlers when holding the diapers dry. However, during absorbency testing, both diapers bulked up considerably. Pampers have a more thoughtful design by partitioning the filling into three sections, which helps keep the bulkiness of the full diaper evenly distributed when the baby moves. Target diapers are more likely to have all the filling bunch or shift with movement.

Both Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up newborn diapers have space for the umbilical stump. However, Pampers was the clear winner on softness due to the unique and thoughtful division of the inner filling.

It’s important to note that comfort is a crucial factor in preventing diaper rash. A comfortable diaper will help prevent irritation and chafing, which can lead to diaper rash. So, while both Pampers and Up & Up diapers have their own advantages, Pampers may be the better choice for parents looking for a softer, more comfortable diaper for their baby.

Fit & Secureness of Pampers and Up & Up’s

The fit of a diaper depends on the proportions of your baby. Target Up & Up’s fits on the smaller side, but both Pampers and Up & Up’s offer snug and secure fits. When it comes to the waistband, Target Up & Up diapers have a section of elastic cinching on the back of the waistband, while Pampers do not have any elastic in the waistband. The elastic in the Target diapers provides more give and flexibility of fit than the Pampers.

Both Pampers and Up & Up’s have elastic in the tabs, and the tabs and tab flaps are similar in size and stretch. Pulling on the fastened tabs feels equally secure. Pampers’ tabs have the same soft velvety feel of the rest of the diaper, which is a nice detail.

In terms of sturdiness, both Pampers and Up & Up’s seem mostly comparable when the baby wears them. Even very full overnight diapers manage to stay on the baby as she crawls and toddles around. However, according to an update, Up & Up’s worked okay when the baby was smaller but are not sturdy now that she’s walking. They don’t stay on well and sag on her.

Overall, both Pampers and Up & Up’s feel sturdy and stay on a baby well. The preferred fit will depend on the individual baby.

Category Pampers Up & Up
Fit Snug and secure fits Snug and secure fits
Waistband No elastic Section of elastic cinching on the back
Tabs Elastic in the tabs, soft velvety feel Elastic in the tabs
Sturdiness Mostly comparable Mostly comparable, but not sturdy for walking babies

Note: The information provided in this section is for information purposes only and may vary depending on the proportions of your baby.

Look of Pampers and Up & Up’s

When it comes to the look of diapers, both Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up are generally simple looking. However, Pampers has a subtle print on the front and back, while Target diapers have two designs. One is white with some blue design elements on the waistband, and the other has the design all over the outer shell.

Neither diaper included an obvious indicator for when you should move to the next size up diaper. Pampers includes what they call “fit guide” markings where the diaper fastens, but it does not make super explicit how to interpret these lines. Both Pampers Swaddlers and Target Up & Up’s include wetness indicators, and both work equally well.

Overall, Pampers is the winner in this category since it makes an attempt at sizing marks, while Target Up & Up does not.

Where are Pampers & Target Diapers Manufactured?

Both Pampers and Target Up & Up diapers are manufactured in the United States.

Conclusion: Are Pampers or Up & Up’s Better?

When it comes to choosing between Pampers and Up & Up’s diapers, it really depends on what you value most. If you prioritize cost savings, then Up & Up’s is the way to go. On the other hand, if you prioritize quality and design, then Pampers is the better choice.

In terms of size, both Pampers and Up & Up’s are tied. However, Pampers outperformed Up & Up’s in absorbency and overnight testing, making it the winner in those categories. Pampers also scored higher in comfort and look.

While Up & Up’s did well in absorbency testing and even better in overnight testing, it still falls short in comparison to Pampers. However, the cost savings of Up & Up’s cannot be ignored, especially if you are on a tight budget.

It is important to note that as babies grow and become more active, their diaper needs may change. For example, as mentioned in the background information, Up & Up’s may not be as effective for bigger and more active babies. In this case, Amazon Plush Protection diapers may be a good alternative.

Overall, both Pampers and Up & Up’s are solid diaper choices, but the decision ultimately comes down to what you value most. If you are looking for a high-quality diaper with thoughtful design elements, then Pampers is the way to go. If you are on a budget and looking for a cost-effective option, then Up & Up’s is a great choice.

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