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Review: Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers [Giveaway #24]

2012 March 7
by MieVee @ MummysReviews.com

Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers

Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers have reached Asian shores! Here are my reviews on the One Size and Sized versions, with samples provided by Mummy Knows Best Shop.

After 2 months of testing, I prefer the Charlie Banana One Size over the Sized (Small). The One Size looks neat and fits well because of its adjustable leg elastics.

Read till the end for a Giveaway and Discount Code too!

About Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers

This is a summary of the 2 diapers:
Charlie Banana One Size Charlie Banana Sized
Type Pocket diaper, front flap opening Pocket diaper, front flap opening
Sizes: XS, S, M, L
Materials - Outside: 100% polyester
- Waterproof layer: PUL (Polyurethane laminate)
- Inner stay-dry layer: 100% polyester (fleece)
Same as One Size
Inserts - Included: Microfibre: 66% biconstituent fibre (80% polyester, 20% nylon), 34% polyester
(1 regular, 1 small, 4 layers each)
- Optional: Biodegradable disposable insert (tucked into front flap)
- Included: Microfibre: 66% biconstituent fibre (80% polyester, 20% nylon), 34% polyester
(2 small, 4 layers each, wider than those in the One Size)
- Optional: Biodegradable disposable insert (tucked into front flap)
Closures Front diagonal snaps, 4 settings (if snapped evenly) Front diagonal snaps, 3 settings (if snapped evenly)
Rise Adjustable leg elastics (buttons) n.a.
Country of origin - Company based in Hong Kong
- Made in China
Same as One Size

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Charlie Banana brands its system as “2 in 1″ (or hybrid) because it produces biodegradable disposable inserts that can be tucked into the diaper’s front flap. As mentioned in the GroVia AI2 review, you may use a disposable insert / soaker with most one-size diaper covers and pocket diapers anyway.

The diapers are available in a range of colours and prints.

Warranty: The packaging states 90 days on snap defects, and 60 days on elastic / sewing / workmanship.

This seems to have been extended because the website mentions that a one year warranty covers snaps, sewing or manufacturing defects, lamination or metal sizing technology. Elastic is covered for 180 days. But this is void if the diaper has been washed or dried in hot (above 40°C or 104F). Read more at Charlie Banana’s warranty page here.

As for being manufactured in China, Charlie Banana’s website mentions, “We manufacture and distribute our own items so we can control everything from start to finish. Our base in Hong Kong places us next door to our manufacturers, allowing us to reduce our carbon footprint and shipping costs for our customers around the world.” 

First Impressions

Vee chose the prints and he loves them!

I was surprised that the Small and One Size diaper (in the largest thigh setting) looks as big as each other. Ironically, the Small diaper has a wider crotch than the One Size. Then I realised that the Size Charts at Charlie Banana’s website has mistakes for the One Size diaper.

The label is behind the diaper, so it’s easy to differentiate between the One Size and Sized.

Here’s a close-up look of the snap closures, elastic and insert:

Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper close-up

The inserts from the Small diaper are also wider, more in line with current industry standards. This means they’re more exchangeable with other brand diapers. Other brand inserts may not fit into the One Size diaper well.

Most pocket diapers and inserts in my stash have a width of about 5″ (12.7cm). Charlie Banana One Size has a width of about 4.5″ (11.4cm).

I like the good quality label on the inserts. This helps to identify the brand of insert in deciding future purchases, and retaining information on fabric content and laundry instructions. Nowadays, many inserts (even from big brands) have no label or labels with print that fades after washes.

The pocket opening is in front, away from the norm. This reduces the chances of explosive breastfed-baby poo getting into the pocket opening.

The One Size has adjustable leg elastics, similar to those in maternity or toddler pants. This makes the diaper looks neat, with minimal number of snaps in front.

Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper adjustable leg elastic

Our Detailed Review

Rating Guide: Oh no!     ★★ Poor     ★★★ Fair     ★★★★ Good     ★★★★★ Excellent!

1. Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper

(a) Prewash & Laundry: ★★★ I prewashed the One Size diaper 3 times in warm water, and the inserts started absorbing.

Washing the diaper in hot water voids the warranty. I don’t like this because when the boys get fungal outbreaks (our family is prone to this), I have to wash their diapers in hot. For a premium brand diaper, I expect it to withstand hot washes.

Anyway, Jae has super-sensitive skin and got 3 episodes of fungal outbreak within 2 months. Mega headache for me! I took the risk, washed the Charlie Banana diapers in hot a few times and the PUL remained sturdy. But please don’t this to void your warranty.

(b) Ease of Use: ★★★ The adjustable leg elastics have tiny buttons, so they’re more challenging than adjusting snaps. Yet once the setting is chosen, I can forget about it. Very unlike other One Size diapers with front snaps, where I’ve to remember and re-do the setting during each diapering time.

I’d only have to adjust the elastics when Baby Jae outgrows the current Small setting.

Downside of this design — Not suitable if you plan to share One Size diapers between a baby and toddler. Give you an example: I set it on Small for Baby Jae. Can’t grab it when diapering 3-year old Vee. On the other hand, they easily share other One Size diapers with adjustable rise  snaps.

Since the crotch width is relatively narrow, I can slip the inserts in, but probably not for bigger hands (especially Daddies who help out). Inserts from many other brands also can’t fit into this narrow One Size diaper.

(c) Fit / Trimness: ★★★★ At the Smallest setting for the leg elastics, it fits Baby Jae quite well from about 5kg. The fit at the thighs is snug. There’s 5 settings to choose from, so it’s possible to get the best fit.

It’s a little puffy at the rise (from the lack of a rise snap).

At the waist, it’s tough to choose the setting when Jae’s in between snap sizes. For newborns (especially screamy / squirmy ones), I prefer to use diapers with Velcro tabs.

Now that Jae is almost 4 months old and 7kg, the diaper fits much better. He has become very settled during diaper changes, so snaps are easier to handle.

I like the thick and flat elastic band at the back. It looks very comfortable and leaves no red marks.

Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper (on baby)

Vee tested it on the Large setting with both inserts, and ended up with some red marks on his chubby thighs and waist. The cutting is relatively small, so it’s not for huge toddlers.

Very trim fit though.

Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper (on toddler)

(d) Performance: ★★★ Baby Jae uses 1 insert, which can last 2 to 3 hours when I’d change him. I like that the microfibre insert has 4 layers, which makes it theoretically 33% more absorbent than the common 3-layer insert. The diaper has held in his pee and explosive poo very well. No leak yet.

Vee has tried it out with 2 inserts, which lasted through his 3-hour nap and overnight too. No leak though the inserts are soaked. Well, recently he pee-ed less during naps and overnight. These should be fine for medium wetters, not super-heavy wetters.

The fleece layer feels quite dry.

(e) Quality: ★★★★ The sewing and workmanship is excellent. After many washings (including hot ones that void the warranty!) over 2 months, the diaper still looks and performs as good as new. I’m very pleased with the quality of the inserts.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★★ At Mummy Knows Best Shop, each Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper retails at SGD35.

A 6-set package retails at SGD179 — average SGD29.83 per set. In the U.S., the retail price is USD20.88 for colours and USD21.88 for prints.

The good quality, performance, and range of fashionable prints justifies the slight price premium.

This is a good choice for mums diapering 1 average-build baby, don’t intend to mix-and-match inserts, and like One Size cloth diapers with fashionable prints.

What we like about it:

  • Adjustable leg elastics give the One Size diaper a neat look
  • Thick and flat back elastics leave no red marks on baby
  • High quality and absorbent 4-layer microfibre inserts
  • Good selection of fashionable prints

What can be improved:

  • Allow hot washes without voiding warranty
  • Slightly wider inserts and crotch
  • The Size Chart at Charlie Banana’s website has mistakes, so it needs to be amended.
The latest Charlie Banana Fashion Collection (One Size) features leg elastics that are adjusted by a no-slip, bra-strap design, instead of buttons. I hope to be able to try this out. These aren’t in the local stores yet.

2. Charlie Banana Sized Cloth Diaper (Small)

(a) Prewash & Laundry: ★★★ Same as the One Size, I prewashed this diaper 3 times in warm water, and the inserts started absorbing.

Washing the diaper shell in hot water voids the warranty. It has withstood a few inevitable hot washes when Jae had fungal infection.

(b) Ease of Use: ★★★★ Easier than the One Size because of no leg elastics.

Crotch and inserts are of standard width, so it’s easy to stuff and mix-and-match inserts.

(c) Fit / Trimness: ★★★ The thick and flat elastic band at the back is also comfy and leaves no red marks.

Jae has a lean build — the diaper fits fine at the waist but the rise is too long for a Small diaper. Not suitable for a 3+kg newborn as stated in the size chart. At 3+ months old and about 7kg, the diaper finally fits him much better.

In general, I prefer Sized over One Size diapers. But for Charlie Banana, it’s the other way round because the One Size fits much better.

Charlie Banana Small Cloth Diaper

(d) Performance: ★★★ Same as the One Size, Baby Jae uses 1 insert, which can last 2 to 3 hours when I’d change him. I like that the microfibre insert has 4 layers. The diaper has held in his pee and explosive poo very well. No leak yet.

The fleece layer feels quite dry.

(e) Quality: ★★ The sewing and workmanship is excellent. After many washings (including hot ones that void the warranty!) over 2 months, the diaper still looks and performs as good as new. I’m very pleased with the quality of the inserts.

(f) Overall Value: ★★★ At Mummy Knows Best Shop, the Sized diapers have to be pre-ordered, no price available online. In the U.S., the retail price is USD18.88.

If the rise were shorter, this would be a more ideal Sized diaper.

What we like about it:

  • Thick and flat back elastics leave no red marks on baby
  • High quality and absorbent 4-layer microfibre inserts
  • Good selection of fashionable prints

What can be improved:

  • Allow hot washes without voiding warranty
  • Shorten rise for a better fit

Win Your Own — CLOSED

To thank supporters of Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club, this Giveaway is EXCLUSIVE to Parents Club members. THREE (3) lucky members will win one Charlie Banana One Size Cloth Diaper worth SGD35 each!

How to Participate

1. Join Mummy’s Reviews™ Parents Club here or below (existing members counted)

2. Fill in the online form HERE

Other Information

  • This Giveaway is open to members with a mailing address in Singapore.
  • If you’re a winner, the colour / design of your prize depends on the stock available.
  • It will run until 16 March 2012 (Friday) 2359hr (GMT +8).
  • The usual Giveaway Terms apply.

Submit your entry now and good luck!

Winners Announcement

Thank you to all Mummies and Daddies who have participated in this Giveaway. The winners are …

ANNA RACHEL TANG who chose “Goodbye Disposables, Hello Cloth”

Wendy Pang who chose “Under Construction”

zatil aqmar who chose “Goodbye Disposables, Hello Cloth”

Congratulations to you! You’d receive an email on how to claim your prize.

Get Your Own (with Discount!)

To get your own Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers and other Mummy and baby products, visit Mummy Knows Best Shop.

  • Special Treat: 10% discount on all Charlie Banana regular-priced items
  • Discount Code: CB0312
  • Validity Period: 1 to 31 March 2012

Live outside Asia? You may also check the prices at Amazon here:

Charlie Banana® One Size Cloth Diapers – Package of 6*
Charlie Banana® Sized Cloth Diapers – Package of 6*

P.S. Read more on cloth diapering here.

Disclosure: I received 2 Charlie Banana Cloth Diapers (One Size and Small) from Mummy Knows Best Shop for review. At the time of publication, Mummy Knows Best Shop has also agreed to be a banner ad sponsor.

Mummy’s Reviews™ is a review site that receives compensation if readers make purchases from affiliate links (these are marked with an *). If we receive compensation from the companies whose products we review, this would be disclosed. These compensation help to maintain and grow Mummy’s Reviews™. We test each product thoroughly and give ratings according to our experience with it. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed here are our own.

2 Responses leave one →
  1. joanne permalink
    August 24, 2012

    I’m currently deciding between Moo Moo Kow and the new Charlie Banana one size. How would you rate the two or would you recommend another brand instead?

    • August 24, 2012

      For new users, I usually suggest trying Moo Moo Kow (among the various brands), get a mixture of Aplix and Snap to see preference.

      As mentioned in the review, Charlie Banana One Size crotch width and inserts are narrower than the norm. Also, the One-Size thigh elastic could be more challenging for new user.

      Hope this helps! :)

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