Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cloth Diapering 101: AIO vs. AI2 vs. AI3

Can't a cloth diaper just be a cloth diaper? The answer is NO! There are many different styles of cloth diapers. Just like every baby and mom is different, there are different styles for different babies and moms! In this issue of Cloth Diapering 101, I will explain the difference between All-In-One and All-In-Two Diapers!

All-In-One (AIO) - Are as they sound, nothing to add to the diaper to use it. You use the diaper as is. All of the components of the diaper are attached and included in the diaper itself.

  • Easy to use, very similar to a disposable
  • Great for daddy's, grandma's and daycares
  • All of the pieces are attached to the diaper itself (aka you won't lose anything)
  • Come in One Size, Newborn, or Sized
  • Doesn't require a diaper cover
  • Tend to be a little less bulky
  • Take longer to dry as there are more components to the diaper and because they are attached, this limits the air circulation
  • May wear out more quickly as compared to diapers with detachable parts
  • Because components detach, you may "misplace" them or spend too much time trying to figure out which inserts go with which diapers
  • Unfortunately, if the outer cover, or the inside is damaged, the whole diaper will not longer work as well, unlike a diaper that has separate components that can be replaced
  • Tend to be a little more expensive than other cloth diapers such as prefolds
  • Harder to clean because of the attachments
Popular Brands AIO's - Bumgenius, Thirsties, Rumparooz, Itti Bitti, Kissaluvs, Gro Via, Swaddlebees, One's & Two's, Tots Bots, Bumkins, Blueberry

All-In-Two (AI2) - are cloth diapers which are made up of (2) components. One component is a detachable absorbent insert which either snaps or lays into the waterproof outer shell or cover.

This is just one style of AI2 diaper
  • Usually get more than 1 use out of each cover because you can change out the soiled inserts
  • Dry much faster
  • Come in One Size, Newborn, or Sized
  • Customizable with different inserts for heavy wetters
  • Fairly simple for caregivers
  • If one component is damaged, it can be replaced without throwing out the entire diaper
  • Tend to have a longer lifespan than diapers AIO diapers

  • Parts of the diaper can get "lost" because they are not attached...especially if you have little "helpers" around
  • Tend to be on the more expensive side as compared to flats or prefolds

Popular Brands AI2's: FlSame as AI2ip, Gro Via, Best Bottom, Oeko Popo, gDiapers, Perfect Bum, Softbums, Thirsties, Applecheeks

All-In-Three (AI3)  - are almost identical to AI2, but with an additional insert that can be combined with another insert and placed or snapped into the outer cover or shell. All inserts can attach to each other and the shell. If one insert is not used, the diaper essentially becomes an AI2.


  • Same as AI2


  • Same as AI2

Popular Brand AI3's: Sweet Pea


  1. Awesome info!! Thanks so much for posting this. Since I am going to be starting cloth diapering for the first time here in a few months I need all the information I can get, lol


  2. I love how you have compared the 3 different types of all-in's. Very easy to understand and see the differences!

  3. We use our Oeko Popo's primarily as covers on our prefolds with an insert outside the prefold, so I guess we use them as AI3's?

    Where do pocket diapers fit into the AI system? Would those be AI2's? Since technically they are 2 'parts'?

  4. Thanks for sharing this info! I do not think that I have ever seen an AI3. Who makes them?

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for this! I'm a visual learner so I've been having a hard time learning cloth diapering and the differences without pictures. I'm so glad I found this :)