Before our son was born, we had a baby shower in which we asked everyone to bring a small package of a different kind of diaper in newborn and stage one sizes. We actually made a list of them, giving the harder to find ones to closer relatives and the easier ones to more distant friends. After the shower, we found ourselves with a huge assortment of diapers.
After using them for a while, we quickly found ourselves gravitating towards a small number of brands. Most of the other diapers leaked, broke with only minimal force applied to them, or (worst of all) had explosions up the back of them. This caused all sorts of problems, including having to toss out largely unused diapers, tons of extra costs for laundry and wipes, and extra time spent dealing with them as well.
In the end, it became clear that most of the “generic” brands (and a few of the “name” brands, too) were repeatedly failing us, causing great additional cost per diaper and time spent dealing with the poor diaper quality.
The problem is that most diaper buyers don’t consider total cost of ownership when purchasing diapers. They see the store brand on sale, think “a diaper is a diaper,” and toss it in their cart. It’s true that in many cases generics work just as well as name brands, but this is not true of diapers.
We eventually wound up exclusively using Pampers Swaddlers (and their “older baby” version, Pampers Cruisers), simply because we have never had a failure with them and coupons are extremely easy to obtain. Even with coupons, we paid (and still pay) a decent premium per diaper over the generics, but our total cost of ownership per diaper (adding in extra wipe costs and extra laundry costs) is only slightly more than generics, plus we have much more time to play with our child instead of cleaning up his disasters.
This philosophy holds true for most purchases: don’t just buy the cheapest version without thinking; step back and consider the total cost of ownership for a moment or two.