Indian Prefolds vs Chinese Prefolds Which to Choose?

August 12, 2011

Fitteds/ Prefolds/ Flats

This can be a huge question.  Silly that something so minor can bug the heck outta ya.

Do I go with the Indian or the Chinese?

Sounds like I’m choosing dinner options.

Hands down, prefolds are the most popular way of cloth diapering babies around the world.  In 2009 and 2010, Heather of Banana Peels Diapers listed them in her top 10 sellers (#1 in 2009).  Diaper Junction has a widget in the sidebar listing top sellers- Diaper Rite prefolds are #1.

I’d venture to say that most of you have prefolds in your stash…whether you use them or not is another question.

So, you’re staring at the screen wondering which to choose.  (I’m right there with ya)

Cottonbabies has a nice little chart of pros and cons to each.

I have expensive prefolds and I have cheap.

Today, Camden has been wearing Sbish flats, Orange Diaper Company flats, Megaroos prefolds and Diaper Rite indian prefolds (from Diaper Junction).

All were about equally absorbent; one pee and you can feel it slightly on the outside.

Here are some facts I have learned about the two types while scouring the web for information:

  • Indian = made in Pakistan, Chinese = made in China. Wow. That was much simpler than I thought.
  • Materials are the same. The main difference in quality, performance and feel is how the material is weaved and sewn. This differs from factory to factory more so than country to country. (Nicki’s Diapers)
  • GMD Prefolds (Cloth-eez) are Indian cotton made in Pakistan.
  • DSQ doesn’t necessarily mean anything.  Make sure you get 4x8x4 prefolds if you want the most absorbency.

In conclusion, paying more doesn’t mean “better”, Indian prefolds appear to be the choice of most retailers and consumers and if you want a cloth diaper you can’t mess up go with a prefold.

Another perk of prefolds is the ease of embellishing and dyeing!  I’ve dyed some before with Dylon dyes and it was a lot of fun!



About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at

View all posts by Autumn Beck

27 Responses to “Indian Prefolds vs Chinese Prefolds Which to Choose?”

  1. Rebecca Says:

    I got a few dozen prefolds for my now 9yo dd years ago, and they lasted through the next two girls. I thought we were done and here I am 10 weeks from my due date with another one! I have a few of the prefolds left and just TWO wraps, and frankly there is no budget (one dd has a random and rare neurological condition, moola is sparse) So I was thinking of finding the cotton and sewing the diapers themselves on my own-but finding this quality of cotton is proving difficult. I feel bad paying $35 a dozen for them online, that’s absurd! I didn’t pay that much for them before and its cotton, not gold~ I like the Indian cotton better, but not so much that I am all that picky. Any suggestions on where to find the best quality AND the best price?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      Craigslist, diaperswappers, swapmamas, and facebook. You can find prefolds EASY!


    • Josie Says:

      I found factory seconds on amazon for just $11 a dozen. And they have dine well the last 8 months. Also picked up some supplies on crigslist. Glad I did as it let me experiment with different kinds without buying a bunch at full price. It’s hard to spend the money I know! We have lots of medical bills too and husband is out of work. But I figure I’ll spend at least that in disposables in just a month. Good luck to you and good health to your babies!


    • Aj Says:

      I posted a request on my local Freecycle page and found about 4 dozen prefold diapers for free!


  2. Molly Says:

    I think I have both Indian and Chinese prefolds. I never noticed the differences until you listed them. I love them both, but I think I like my GMD Indian prefolds a little better. My Chinese prefolds are unbleached cotton and they never really quilted up like the others I have. Do you think that is just the batch of fabric or do Chinese prefolds just quilt less?


  3. Kim @ Dirty Diaper Laundry Says:

    I didn’t see it listed (may have missed it completely with the craziness behind me) but DSQ= Diaper Service Quality just in case anyone wants to know. Which would presumably mean that they should last a long time and through a LOT of washes (like if they were being used in a diaper service rotation.) Not a prefolds are DSQ but usually the Chinese/Indian brands say they are in my experience.

    WAHM made prefolds like Megaroo’s are great but they wouldn’t be considered DSQ.

    I’ve never really had a preference for either type, they all worked fine for me. I have used a diaper service while traveling and have had to use pilled up prefolds which I didn’t LOVE but I did it. Usually once they get rough/pilly they are taken out of rotation and used for rags. Or should be.

    Great, easy reference!



  4. Lonnie Says:

    I really like my prefolds to protect my changing pad while we air out DD’s bum. Sadly, my prefolds won’t come out of the wash soft…I use Charlie’s and have rinsed until there are no suds and even stripped with RLR and still they come out stiff…I worry about putting them on DD in case they rub her sensitive skin…any thoughts?


    • Autumn Beck Says:

      That’s normal. You can use some natural fabric softener to soften them up. Some people have success with wool dryer balls.


  5. Wendy Says:

    We have been using the GMD Indian prefolds, paired with bummies and thirsties diaper covers since our four month old was born. We LOVE them, and can’t imagine going any other way!!! We did prep them before use, and are careful what detergent we use (we use Rockin Green), but our prefolds have been super absorbent, never a stink issue and a few hours in the sun gets rid of any stains. We’ve also never had a blow-out come out of the diaper cover. A very economic diapering method and one we recommend to all of our friends.


  6. Julie Says:

    Thanks for sharing the Cotton Babies chart giving the pros and cons of Chinese vs. Indian prefolds. It can be so confusing to figure out which to buy! I’m not sure which I currently have in my stash, but they’ve been passed down through a few babies and are still working great!


  7. Stephanie Says:

    Thank you for the wonderful information, as always! Has anyone ever tried the 100% cotton flannel prefolds? Thanks again:)


    • Beth Says:

      I have tried flannel prefolds and didn’t really like them, I’m now using them as burpcloths (and for that, they’re great!). I didn’t have any issues with absorbency, and they are nice and soft, but they get sort of “felty” and don’t work with snappies–they won’t grip. I tried diaper pins but just ended up stabbing myself. :)


      • Stephanie Says:

        Thanks that is good to know. I saw that they can be purchased at a great price, 60 for $19.99, so I was wondering if it was a you get what you pay for type thing:) I definately don’t want to have to use pins either, I am dangerous with those too :) Thanks again.


  8. tarin Says:

    I live in cape town south africa, and the most common cloth diapers here are terry flats. They are not the wonderful birdseye flats you guys have. The only prefolds available are bambino mio, and they are pricey, in fact they are the most expensive cloth diaper option available. I have the birth to potty pack which comes with 24 infant sized prefolds and 24 premium sized, 4 newborn wraps, 3 small, 3 medium, 3 large and 3 extra large. They cost me R5500 for the set which is about 500 dollars! Their wraps aren’t great, so I purchased some bummis and thirsties covers and 2 wool soakers. I also made some fleece soakers and supplement with homemade fitteds with snaps. I can only dream of having those prefolds and flats that all of u have so readily available. Yes I can order them online, but shipping is about 100 dollars.


  9. Nat hutchins Says:

    I ONLY us per folds. I wish I had the luxury of trying all of cool diapers out there, but now on our 4th kid. I’m just restocking the prefolds!!!!! My coolest diaper is by far bum or hiney liney!


  10. Jennifer Says:

    Oh Geez! I haven’t used prefolds very often on DS#3 as i’ve been mainly using rumparooz, but after seeing this post i have to pull out my beautiful GMD prefolds. I have some of the old rainbow edge ones that I think he might be big enough for. Thanks for posting this. I need to use more of the wonderful diapers that i have!


  11. angela Says:

    I was given some prefolds about 12 years ago. I have no idea what brand they were. They gave out this year when I started using them on my fourth child. (I didn’t actually use them with my first. I just tried them out for about 2 hrs. LOL)

    This year I replaced them with the unbleached Diaper Rite prefolds. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE, my new prefolds.

    I have some pockets too – I usually save them for outings and for my oldest to use when she changes the baby :)

    I need to order the next size up soon! Don’t know what kind of prefolds to order? I really like the Diaper Rite prefolds!


  12. Jenny Baston Says:

    You posted this blog just in time. I dont have any prefolds yet and was really wanting to get some but I was so confused on the differences and which ones are better. I think I’m going to order some this week, just have to check around and see whose cheaper.
    Thanks for the info! :)


  13. Elizabeth Says:

    I love my Indian prefolds. I have pocket diapers too, but I really prefer the prefolds and he wears them all day, and I just save the pocket diapers for night time usually.


  14. One Lucky Mama Cloth Diapers Says:

    I have tried over a hundred cloth diapers on my daughter – and we still use prefolds fairly often. We have both Indian and Chinese prefolds and they are both in excellent condition and working great after almost 2 years in rotation. I carry the Osocozy prefolds in my store (both Chinese and Indian) and they have been a bestseller for almost 6 years.

    Judi, chances are the prefolds with quilt batting in the middle are Gerber prefolds. Many of the Gerber prefolds are birdseye cotton with a thin layer of polyester quilt batting in the middle. While Gerber does make a 100% cotton prefold, the majority of moms who come to me with leaky prefolds are using the Gerber prefolds with polyester inside. While some polyester blends are absorbent (such as microfiber) polyester is generally not absorbent. Some moms still manage to use them, but they work best with a doubler.


  15. Andria Says:

    Thanks for this simple update Autumn!

    My diaper service offers Chinese cloth diaper prefolds which hold up fantastic for those who buy them for wash at home too. They are so soft and white which often means clean to many people. I understand you can get these prefolds both in unbleached versions, but they will whiten when you bleach them with commercial DS washing or in attempts to get those pesky stains out!

    Prefolds just have so many extra uses and I hope to hear people don’t get too picky about which country they come from but in the reputation of who supplies them here. Retailers can do the research and put their best offer out there! Local feedback is our best judge!

    Looking so fluffy and white just gives warm fuzzy feelings! I have learned we start to get darn emotional about how much we love our diaper stash – or our diaper service dipes! Enjoy!


  16. Lynn Wilson Says:

    I have chinese prefolds in the infant size that I have been using on heavy rotation for almost 2 years (first as just a diaper, now as an insert into pockets) they still hold up perfectly, not a single stitch out of place. Love them. I also have Indian prefolds (regular size) that are used in heavy rotation for the passed year and they look identical (other than size obviously) The same amount of pilling, same softness, and both in great condition.


  17. judi Says:

    I have no idea what mine are. I have several different kinds. One is the really thin ones they sell at Target. The second kind are just like the first kind except they have a layer of what looks like quilt batting sewn in the middle. I have some other misc. ones but the first two are the main portion of my stash. I use the first kind to stuff my pocket diapers and the second ones I use as back up when I run out of pocket diapers.


  18. Britt Says:

    I LOVE my Cloth-eez prefolds. I had the Bummis ones when my daughter was wearing the little 8-15lb covers and liked them … but I really LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her brown-edged prefolds from Green Mtn. She’s almost three (still not 100% potty-trained) and has been using them for a good 2 years and they are holding up great. We use primarily Bummis covers (both superbrites, super-whisper wraps, and polar fleece) along with the prefolds and just love ’em :)


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