Okay, back on track, here are the different types of cloth diapers.
All-in-one (AIO): An All-in-one diaper is really just that, all parts in one diaper. They usually have three parts to them. There is the waterproof outer, the soaker (sewn in) and then an inner layer to wick moisture away from baby's skin. All the parts are sewn in to one diaper and it is usually the closest to disposable. I like AIOs, but they do take longer to dry since there are more layers involved. A lot of time I have AIOs take two Heavy Dry cycles in my dryer. There is elastic at the legs and usually the front and/or the back to help keep messes in.
All-in-twos (AI2): These diapers are just like AIOs, but the soaker is removable or only partially sewn in. This is to help cut down on drying time. I have seen AI2s that have two soaker parts and each one is sewn to either the front or back of the diaper. Soakers can also be snapped in. There is elastic at the legs and usually the front and/or the back to help keep messes in.
Pocket: A Pocket diaper has the waterproof out layer and an inner liner. Then it has a pocket in either the front or back for stuffing an insert in to the diaper. These diapers can allow for the most customization in my mind as you are fully able to choose how much absorption power you add to the diaper. The insert is then removed for cleaning and helps with a fast drying time. There is elastic at the legs and usually the front and/or the back to help keep messes in.
Fitted: Fitted diapers do not have a waterproof layer and need a cover. These diapers are all about the absorption as the layers are all basically there for soaking up wetness. They are held closed with either snaps or hook and look closures. This can make them perfect for use under wool or fleece covers. One primary way that fitteds differ from contours is that they have elastic at the legs.
Prefold: Prefold diapers are layers of absorbant material that have been folded in such a way to have more layers focused at the center of the rectangle. These need to be folded and then secured with pins, snappis, or a snug fitting cover. There is no waterproof layer so you do need to use a cover of some sort. They tend to come in a number of sizes to accommodate babies changing size from birth to potty training. This can be one of the most inexpensive ways to cloth diaper as they can be bought fairly cheap.
Flat: The flat diaper is the most like what mothers used of the past. It consists of a flat piece of cheesecloth like material that needs to be folded to provide more absorbing power. Again this is not waterproof so a cover does need to be used.
Contour: A contour diaper is alot like a fitted diaper except that it does not have elastic in it. Also many times these diapers do not come with snaps or hook n loop, so you need to use a cover, pins, or snappis.
Hybrid: Hybrid diapers are a type that is a little newer on the cloth diapering front (at least in my eyes). These diapers come with a waterproof shell that you then snap a soaker in to or lay in a disposable (usually flush-able) biosoaker. Some moms prefer these when traveling, but they can also be nice when just making the transition to using cloth.
Diaper Cover: Diaper covers do just that. They do not have soft inner layers or any soaker material. They are a waterproof layer used to cover non waterproof diapers. Covers can be made from PUL coated materials, wool, or fleece. Covers can usually be used for more than one diaper change as long as they do not become soiled.
Inserts: Inserts are made from absorbent material and mostly used in pocket diapers. There are a variety of different sizes, shapes and materials that they can be made from, like cotton, hemp, micro-terry, and bamboo.
Doublers: Again, the name implies the use of this product. These are meant to help increase the amount of wetness a diaper will soak in, but they cannot act on their own. They are usually made from fewer layers of material (1-2 layers).
I hope this was an informative post for those who are just considering cloth diapers. I know it is a lot of information, but there is a lot of different types of diapers, and each mother has her own opinion of what is best to use because each child is different. Some kids don't do well with AIOs but do well with contours because of sensitive skin issues with elastic. This is something you may have to try a few types to find what works best for you.
Until next time....Happy Diapering!