Among the many brands of cloth diapers on the market, there are two closure systems that dominate the cloth diaper arena: snaps and hook & Loop (Aplix, Velcro, Etc.).
Each has its fans. Each has its benefits.
Hook and loop is also referred to as Aplix and Velcro. Because it is simple and similar to disposable diaper closures, many parents are drawn to Aplix when they are first starting out with cloth diapers. Aplix is quick and provides a great fit. If the diaper has extended Aplix tabs, then the overlapping ability gives a greater range of sizing. The Velcro-like tabs make an easy transition from disposables and allow for a more precise fit around the baby’s waist.
Of course, Aplix/Hook&Loop also has its down sides. Most diaper brands have laundry tabs located on the inner sides of the waist of the cloth diaper. These tabs exist to hold the aplix closures in place while keeping the diaper open during laundering. The laundry tabs often come undone in the wash, which allows the aplix tabs to stick to each other and anything else in the washing load. Several diapers can become stuck together forming a diaper chain, which is inconvenient to undo before drying and also causes more wear and tear on your cloth diapers. Aplix also gets other particles stuck in the hook side, such as hair, lint, fuzz and other random grime which affects its stickiness. When foreign particles are stuck in the Aplix, it no longer stays adhered together as well and diapers can be easily removed by the child or even fall off the baby. The extended tab style of Aplix tabs can also start curling eventually and become ratty looking. This is not only unattractive, but also a sign the hook & loop has become worn out and will likely no longer function well.
The other main option for cloth diapers is a snapping closure. Snaps are a multi-part resin snap applied to the diaper with a snap press. Snap closures are more durable than hook & loop. They rarely fall apart and usually last the entire life of the cloth diaper. Unlike Aplix, snaps generally do not wear out. They also do not stick together or cause damage to other diapers while laundering. However, snaps are not infinite in their adjustability like Aplix. They only offer as many fits are there are snapping pairs and therefore offer a less precise fit. The snaps must be pressed together correctly in order for the diaper to work properly. Snapping diapers can be a little more difficult to put on a baby and have a slightly higher learning curve than hook & loop diapers.
Many people prefer Aplix for newborns because of the better fit. An extended Aplix tab with crossover ability helps in getting the newborn diaper snug enough to prevent leaking. Older infants can often undo hook & loop closures, so then snaps become preferable.
Choosing a cloth diapering closure system is mostly personal preference.
I like the durability of snaps. I never have great luck with Aplix sticking to the laundry tabs and my Aplix diapers look worn very quickly. I don’t like picking and combing the Velcro to keep it sticky. But, I definitely see the allure. I have several all-in-one cloth diapers in newborn sizes with Aplix and can see them being convenient for quick changes. I still have my my duo wraps from my son and they are snaps and still look brand new. I know not all Aplix is created equal. Some holds up better than others, but I am not familiar with which brands use the longer lasting hook & loop.
What are your experiences? Do you like Aplix or snaps? Which brands of cloth diapers do you find have the most durable Aplix?