All-in-one (AIO) diapers are the closest modern cloth diaper alternative to a disposable diaper. Many parents loves them for their ease of use for when other people have to cloth diaper their child. They are often referred to as Daddy or Daycare friendly diapers!
So, what is an all-in-one diaper?
All-in-one diapers have a waterproof outer shell, usually made from polyurethane laminate (PUL) sewn to an inner fabric layer. The absorbent soaker is also sewn into the inner portion of the diaper. All of the pieces of the diaper are sewn together so that they aren't separated ever. There are many types of AIO diapers and you'll have to check with individual brands to see what styles they offer.
Flaps - Some diapers, like the bumGenius Freetime have flaps that are sewn on one end of the diaper and lay inside the PUL.
Tunnel - The absorbent soaker is sewn around the edges, but open at the front and back of the diaper. An example of this would be the Thirsties Duo AIO.
Pocket - Some diapers, like the Swaddlebees Simplex 2.0 or the Kissaluvs Marvels, have a pocket opening. It is still considered an AIO because the soaker is attached to the diaper, but you will still have to stuff the soaker back into the pocket opening before using. Note: If the soaker isn't made with microfiber, you could just lie it on top instead of stuffing inside the opening.
Many AIOs don't have anything special about the insides. The soaker will be sewn in and the diaper is ready to use straight from the wash.
The reason the diapers are sewn together like described above is for a couple reasons. One is dry time. Because all of the pieces are sewn together, it can take a long time for an AIO to dry. The openings and pockets allow for more air to circulate during dry time. Another reason is to adjust absorbency. You can boost the absorbency by adding an extra soaker if needed underneath the sewn in soakers either in the pocket or under the flaps.
Absorbency- if your diaper isn't absorbent enough, you can add a second insert or doubler.
Easy to use - Most are very similar to a disposable diaper. Just wash and put on your baby.
No need to stuff - Unless the soaker is made with microfiber without a stay dry layer (ex: Kissaluvs Marvels), you don't need to stuff the insert into the diaper. You can just lay it on top.
Less to keep up with - all of the pieces of the diaper are sewn together. No need for matching out of the wash!
Dry time - Can take a long time to dry.
Cost - All-in-ones tend to be more expensive.
I have quite a few AIOs in my stash. Here's a list of some of my favorites: