Cloth Nappies: Hiring vs Buying - A Complete Guide

Cloth Nappies: Hiring vs Buying - A Complete Guide

New to cloth nappies? Trying to decide whether you should hire or buy your first few? Well, this post is for you!

So, you've decided you want to ditch the disposables, but you're just not sure how. It can be hard to know where to start, but one thing's for sure - before investing in a whole kit you should definitely take them for a test run. Whilst a lucky few may have a friend or family member who can lend them a whole bunch to try, most parents have two main options - buy a handful of various nappies, or hire a trial kit. So lets delve into the pro's and con's of each, some even fall into both categories...


This is the most straightforward one, and perfect if you know what you're looking for - just choose 3-5 different nappies to buy and give them a whirl! If you've done our research and are confident on the types that you want then I would definitely recommend this option - chances are that you will get on with more than one type/brand, which is totally normal. Almost all cloth bum parents have two or more brands in their regular stash, which means more cute prints to choose from!


  • Cost - If you know what you're looking for, buying 2-4 brands can often set you back less than £40, and any that you don't like can be sold on again afterwards.

  • Quality - You know that brand new nappies are performing at their best (provided you have prewashed them for maximum absorbency), so can be sure that the results you get are a true reflection of a well looked after nappy.

  • Ease - Buying nappies has no waiting list, you can order one day and have them in your hands within a day or two. If you have a local store this can be instant!

  • Choice - You can choose whichever nappies you fancy trialling, you aren't confined to a particular collection and can trial different nappies from different retailers.


  • Cost - If you're looking at trialling 8-10 brands, this isn't a very cost-effective solution at £10-£20 per nappy.

  • Quality - Any cloth-bum parent can tell you that the second-hand market can be iffy, which can be hard to navigate as a newbie. We've all made a second-hand mistake or two in the early days, including myself! Whether it's stretched elastics or failed PUL, it can take a well-trained eye to spot mistakes before purchasing.

  • Knowledge - Being new to cloth nappies means you may not be aware of all of the options or how to use them - it can be hard to make an informed decision when you're not entirely sure what you are looking at. You will have to find a lot more information for yourself at an early stage.


If you're totally new to nappies, have no clue what you're looking for or want to trial a huge variety, then a hire kit is probably best for you. Usually containing at least 10 brands and types of nappies, including ones you wouldn't have tried if purchasing from new. Hire kits typically have a standard fee plus refundable deposit when the kit is returned in good condition, and many even come with a voucher to make your own purchase later on! Kits can be an ideal way to trial everything at once - All In One's, Wipes, Pocket Nappies, Terry Towels, the lot!


  • Cost - I know this has fallen into every category so far, but it totally depends on your circumstances. If you want to try many brands and know that you will be making a purchase afterwards, then hire kits are super inexpensive. For example a month long hire kit may cost £60, with a £80 refundable deposit, and when it is returned you get a £30 voucher towards your own kit. This makes the hire just £30 for a whole month to trial 10+ brands, wipes, wet bags etc.

  • Knowledge - Kits typically include detailed instructions from washing to fitting, with an expert you can chat to via email or phone if needed.

  • Selection - Hire kits will contain nappies you may have never even considered when buying, which could turn out to be your favourites!


  • Second Hand - Whilst the nappies will be thoroughly checked before use to ensure quality, they will of course have been used on multiple other children. Most are okay with this, but if you don't like the idea of sharing nappies when hire kits aren't for you.

  • Cost - Again, I know! If you aren't sold on cloth nappies and you don't think you will make much use of the kit then it could work out costly to hire a kit and only use one or two nappies a handful of times, and not use the voucher towards your own afterwards!

  • Time - You are on a 4 week time constraint, meaning if life gets in the way you may not make much use of the kit.


Overall, there is no one clear-cut answer, it's really about what sits best with you and what additional help you think that you might need.

At The Friendly Eco, we offer both options - with one size and newborn kits available to hire, as well as a huge selection of nappies to purchase for yourself in kits, singles and and even custom trial packs! Click in the images below to explore your options today...


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