Hello Bello vs. Pampers Diapers Review with Real Life Tests
Hello Bello vs. Pampers — which is the better diaper? If you’re unsure how newcomer Hello Bello stacks up compared to standard bearer Pampers, then this in-depth review is for you.
What makes this review different is that we actually tested real diapers, both on our baby and in absorbency experiments, which surprisingly can’t be said about a lot of reviews these days.
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Below you’ll find a detailed comparison of our experience using both Pampers Swaddlers and Hello Bello diapers. The review is broken down into the following sections: size, absorption, overnight performance, cost, ingredients, comfort, fit, and look of each diaper brand.
Most importantly, you’ll find our methodical absorption tests on each diaper. We photo documented everything and made them into animations so you can see for yourself how well these diapers work. Plus, we “field tested” hundreds of diapers, including overnights, on our baby.
And don’t forget to check out some of our other diaper reviews:
Let’s check out the diapers.
[NOTE: Costs mentioned in this article refer to prices as of December 2022]
The diapers tested here were size 2, which have a weight range of 12-18 lb. I specifically tested Pampers Swaddlers and general Hello Bello’s for this analysis.
In practice, the Hello Bello diapers and the Pampers diapers felt pretty close in size. They both felt like they run “true to size.”
Pampers standard sizes go from newborn size (up to 10 lb.) to size 7 (above 41 lb.). Hello Bello only offers their diapers from newborn (up to 10 lb.) to size 6 (over 35 lb.).
Pampers also thoughtfully offers has three different sizes for preemies, whereas Hello Bello does not have a preemie offering.
WINNER: Pampers — Pampers wins by offering more size selections. This is a nice touch to help accommodate the smallest and bigger kids who may have medical needs necessitating more obscure diaper sizes.
Experimental absorption tests were performed by pouring 50 mL of dyed liquid on the diapers seven times. 50 mL roughly emulates an infant’s bladder capacity and a total of 350 mL approximates the daily urine production of an average 9-month old, at a rate of 2 mL of urine per kg body weight per hour (source, source).
After each 50 mL pour, photos were taken every 5 seconds to visualize absorption. After 25 seconds, residual wetness was checked with a paper towel.
Once the diapers were exposed to 350 mL total, they were allowed to rest before a final dryness test.
Pampers Swaddlers Absorption Test Results
On the whole, Pampers Swaddlers had top notch absorption efficiency and capacity. They performed the best of all diapers tested at higher volumes.
That said, they weirdly had some beads of liquid stay on the top of the diaper and not fully absorb. This happened even on the first pour. Touching the diaper with a paper towel felt generally very dry, save for these lingering liquid beads.
Interestingly, by 250 mL this beading actually improved compared to the earlier volume pours.
I think very likely this beading is a non-issue in practice. When the diaper is on a baby instead of laying flat for an experiment, the liquid beads would get forced into the diaper and would likely absorb quickly.
At the end of the test after a resting period, the Pampers were dry on the final paper towel test but felt slightly damp to my skin when I cut the diaper in half.
Hello Bello Absorption Test Results
Hello Bello diapers did not perform nearly as well as the Pampers during the absorption experiment. Even at the first pour, the Hello Bello diaper had slight wetness on the paper towel test. By 100 mL, the diaper was definitely wet even after the 25 second resting period.
Hello Bello’s absorption also noticeably slowed down once it hit 200 mL of liquid, as you can watch in the gif above.
The diaper felt decidedly wet after 200, 250 and 300 mL. By the final 350 mL pour, I noted that the paper towel was “very, very wet.”
After a rest period, the diaper had a dry paper towel test but still felt a little wet to the touch.
WINNER: Pampers — Pampers clearly outperformed Hello Bello’s in terms of both how quickly they absorbed liquid and how well their performance held up at higher volumes. After a rest period, Hello Bello’s also felt slightly damper than the Pampers
Overnight Testing: Hello Bello vs. Pampers
Pampers: Pampers diapers hold pee well overnight. A few times, the outer shell of the diaper felt a little damp in the morning but never enough to wet her clothes. Our baby’s skin also never seemed irritated.
That said, I regularly noticed a urine smell when I got our baby up in the morning after a night in Pampers. This seems to only be a problem with Pampers, which is surprising. I’m not sure if it related to Pampers being the only diaper with fragrance we’ve ever used. The smell was enough that I switched to using Pampers as day diapers only.
Hello Bello: I had no issues using Hello Bello’s as overnight diapers. Even before this trial, we used Hello Bello’s regular diaper for overnights and felt that we could trust them. Like the Pampers, they’d sometimes have a damp outer shell in the morning but not enough to wet clothes. We honestly felt the overnight performance of the regular Hello Bello’s were almost on par with their specific overnight version.
WINNER: Hello Bello — the diapers seem to absorb comparably overnight. However, we personally preferred using Hello Bello overnight vs. Pampers because of the Pampers’ smell.
Hello Bello vs. Pampers costs are actually very comparable. This fact is a little surprising given Hello Bello’s origin story being that everyone should have access to a premium product that is affordable.
In actuality, Hello Bello’s will run you almost exactly the same price as Pampers. As of December 2022, you’ll pay about $0.28 for Hello Bello and $0.30 for Pampers (note that prices fluctuate frequently).
If you buy Hello Bello through their bundle box option, you receive 7-packs of diapers, 4-packs of wipes and a freebie of your choice like lotion or swim diapers. The bundle works out to about $0.33/diaper, though this is a little harder to compare since it includes the extras.
If you are buying your first bundle, make sure to search for current Hello Bello promo codes — I saved 40% off my box. You are also able to buy Hello Bellos at some but not all retailers. In comparison, you’ll likely find Pampers at any store that sells diapers.
Either way, opting for Hello Bello or Pampers will roughly double your diaper cost compared to store brand diapers, depending on the retailer. Check out my review of Target Up & Up vs. Amazon Mama Bear diapers for more on how well store brands perform.
WINNER: TIE — Hello Bello and Pampers costs are essentially the same
Ingredients of Hello Bello vs. Pampers
Hello Bello brands itself as hypoallergenic and “eco-friendly.” In terms of ingredients, it differentiates itself from Pampers by being both fragrance-free and chlorine-free.
Let’s talk about chlorine free for a moment. Hello Bello is actually the only diaper I’ve reviewed so far that is totally chlorine free. Most other diapers, like Pampers, are “elemental chlorine free.”
What elemental chlorine-free means is that while they don’t use chlorine directly, other chemicals used in the wood pulp bleaching process may contain chlorine. Chlorine is a concern because of the environmental impact and possible exposure to dioxins (source).
Here are each diapers ingredients:
- Pampers: absorbent filling contains pulp, a polymer and light fragrance; lining that comes in contact with the baby’s skin contains polypropylene, polyethylene and polyester; outer cover contains polypropylene, polyethylene.
- Hello Bello: absorbent filling contains an absorbent polymer and “totally chlorine free (TCF) fluff pulp from sustainably managed forests;” shell contains polypropylene, polyethylene, polyester non-woven fibers, plant-derived PLA non-woven fiber, spandex, and an elastomeric film.
WINNER: Hello Bello — Hello Bello wins for being both fragrance-free and chlorine-free.
Are Hello Bello or Pampers Made in the USA?
Pampers diapers are made in the USA. Currently, some of Hello Bello diaper patterns have “Made in the USA” labels on them while others do not. They are transitioning to USA production, but some diapers are still made in Canada as of Dec. 2022.
Comfort of Pampers vs. Hello Bello
Softness: The Pampers’ tabs and inner lining particularly have a nice softness to them. The outside of Pampers diapers are slightly more velvety than the Hello Bello diapers. That said, Hello Bellos are still soft and are softer than store brands like Target Up & Up or Wal-Mart’s Parents’ Choice diapers.
Bulkiness: All diapers will bulk up a lot once they’ve absorbed liquid. Pampers Swaddlers, however, has a luxury feature where they bifurcate the absorbent filling to keep it evenly distributed.
The pictures of cut diapers below show the inner filling of Pampers vs. Hello Bellos. Pamper’s division helps keep the filling from bunching up as your baby moves around.
Umbilical Cord Space: Both Pampers Swaddlers and Hello Bello newborn sizes have space for the umbilical cord.
WINNER: Pampers — The sections of the inner filling is one of the nicer touches of Pampers diapers.
Fit & Secureness of Pampers vs. Hello Bello
Fit: Hello Bello and Pampers Swaddlers both gave satisfactory and comparable fits. I was able to get a secure fit with both diapers; though, diaper fit will depend some on your baby’s proportions.
Waistband: Pampers do not have elastic in the back of their waistband. I personally like elastic because it allows for more give when trying to fit the diaper.
Hello Bello waistbands have some ruching but it provides very little give.
Tabs: The tabs on the Hello Bello and Pampers diapers are fairly comparable. They have some stretch but are not overly stretchy. Hello Bello’s have a wider area in the front for the tabs to attach.
Sturdiness: We had no issues with either diaper staying on and staying in place as our baby crawled around.
WINNER: TIE — both these diapers fit our baby securely without any issues.
Look of Hello Bello vs. Pampers Diapers
Wetness Indicator: Hello Bello diapers only have wetness indicators up until size 3. Pampers diapers also have wetness indicators.
Size Up Indicator: Hello Bello diapers do not have size up indicators. Instead, their online materials say to look out for red marks and “peeking cheeks” as signs to size up.
Pampers have markings on their waistbands that they call “fit guides” but I did not easily find instructions on how to interpret them on our box.
Design: Hello Bello is known for their fun diaper designs. This seems to be the area where they are most trying to differentiate themselves from the competition. The designs are also updated frequently and include seasonal picks.
When you order a bundle directly from Hello Bello, you can pick out your designs. I’m not going to lie, this part was fun and they had a lot of cute options. The picture below shows one of the Halloween designs I chose.
In comparison, Pampers diapers have a much more simple aesthetic.
WINNER: Hello Bello — While Pampers diapers offer more indicators, it can’t beat all the fun designs Hello Bello offers.
Conclusion: Are Pampers or Hello Bello Better?
So, are Pampers diapers or Hello Bello diapers better? Here’s a summary of the category winners:
|Fit & Secureness||TIE||TIE|
|Manufacturing||USA||USA & Canada|
Overall, the diapers are fairly comparable and a lot will depend on personal preference. Since the costs are essentially the same, I’d opt for the diaper that best aligns with your priorities.
Hello Bello stands out with their cute and regularly-updated designs. They also beat Pampers on ingredients, since they are fragrance and chlorine free.
Pampers distinguishes themselves with better absorption performance. Swaddlers absorb a lot of liquid well and they do it quickly. They also divide up their filling to reduce bulkiness.
If Pampers didn’t have an overnight smell for us, I would opt for Pampers vs. Hello Bello’s based on the absorption performance. Because of the overnight issue, I personally would be equally likely to buy either diaper.
However, at the end of the day, neither diaper provided enough improvement or innovation to sway me from more affordable store-brand diapers.
I don’t think they provide twice the value to justify the higher price tag. Name brand diapers like Pampers and Hello Bello will cost you hundreds of dollars more than their store brand alternative (~$300/year).
Consider saving yourself some money and check out some of my name-brand vs. store-band comparisons: