Hands-on Gear Review

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Review

Top Pick Award
Price:   $0.30 List | $0.32 each (in 155-pack) at Amazon
Pros:  Great health, good absorption, eco-friendly
Cons:  Possible leaks, not so cozy
Bottom line:  Budget-friendly green option with great health and eco scores
Editors' Rating:   
  • 1
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  • 5
Type of Diaper:  Green
Chlorine-Free:  Totally Chlorine-free
Perfume-Free:  Yes
Manufacturer:   Seventh Generation

The Skinny

Seventh Generation Free & Clear is an eco-friendly diaper with a high baby health score and a cost-effective price. This diaper scored well in our tests for absorption and is durable compared to the competition including green diapers. Seventh Generation has a below average result for leaks with more runoff than we would expect with some online leaking reports. However, given the price and results for ecology and health, we think it is a trade-off worth making when choosing a great disposable diaper. We think Seventh Generation brings a lot to the table and is a good choice for parents looking for a diaper with significant health benefits which is why it won a Top Pick award for health.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

Last Updated:
Thursday
May 24, 2018

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Seventh Generation earned a Top Pick award for health in our review.
Seventh Generation earned a Top Pick award for health in our review.

Seventh Generation is a 25-year-old company focusing on creating better safer products for families and the environment. The company concentrates on designing plant-based products that are safe and effective. Seventh Generation makes everything from baby products to household cleaners. They are a certified B Corporation and according to their website, "We are always evaluating how to reduce their environmental impact, increase performance and safety, and create a more sustainable supply chain."

It is not the lack of chlorine that makes this diaper look slightly brown compared to those that use chlorine and look bright white  instead it is an added pigment to give the illusion that it is not "bleached".
It is not the lack of chlorine that makes this diaper look slightly brown compared to those that use chlorine and look bright white, instead it is an added pigment to give the illusion that it is not "bleached".

Performance Comparison


The comparison chart below includes the overall scores for the diapers we tested in this review. Seventh Generation earned a good score with a reasonable price for a green diaper.


The subsections below provide information on how this diaper performed compared to the competition.

Seventh Generation diapers had only a small amount of moisture transfer to the test paper.
Seventh Generation diapers had only a small amount of moisture transfer to the test paper.

Absorption


This diaper earned an 8 of 10 for absorption which is an impressive 3 points over the average.


During testing, there was a small amount of moisture transfer to the paper consistent across tests. However, it is minimal compared to the competition and indicates that your baby will stay drier in this diaper than most of the competition. This means that Seventh Generation locks moisture away in the core better than most. Staying drier means less chance of skin irritation and diaper rash that can occur when baby's skin is wetter. Even our little tester with a tendency for sensitive skin and rashes did well in this diaper with no signs of skin irritation.

Seventh Generation earned a lower score for leakage thanks to run off and higher than average online complaints of leaks.
Seventh Generation earned a lower score for leakage thanks to run off and higher than average online complaints of leaks.

Leakage


Seventh Generation earned a 5 of 10 for leakage which is a point below the average.


In our tests, this diaper had more run-off in the leakage pan than the competition indicating that the "urine" isn't absorbing as quickly as it needs to prevent leaks. This runoff means liquids could spill out as it slowly absorbs. In addition, online reviewers also indicate a problem with leaks with 46% of reviewers reporting some leakage. Our testers didn't have too many leaks but felt it was better as a daytime diaper than a nighttime option.

We did experience some leaking in our tests of the Seventh Generation diaper including loose stools and urine.
We did experience some leaking in our tests of the Seventh Generation diaper including loose stools and urine.

What parents should consider is whether or not the chance of leaks is worth the tradeoff for impressive health and ecology features. If being green and using a disposable diaper are important to you, then the trade-off could mean occasional leaking.

Seventh Generation is not a comfortable diaper and earned a lower score with rougher fabric and inner liner.
Seventh Generation is not a comfortable diaper and earned a lower score with rougher fabric and inner liner.

Comfort


This diaper did not stand out when it comes to comfort, earning a 5 of 10, which is OK but slightly below average.


The Seventh Generation diaper isn't the coziest in the group with several diapers earning a higher score. The fabric on this diaper struggled compared to the competition and just isn't as soft, though they are softer than the older brown colored version.

The Seventh Generation diaper is relatively comfortable  but the liner could be softer as well as the elastic cuffs.
The Seventh Generation diaper is relatively comfortable, but the liner could be softer as well as the elastic cuffs.

However, the elastic is nicer than most of the competition and very skin-friendly. The motion points and closure tabs also weren't as soft, but some of the competition is rougher on skin than this one.

The Seventh Generation earned an impressive score for overall health compared to the competition.
The Seventh Generation earned an impressive score for overall health compared to the competition.

Health


This product earned an 8 of 10 for health, which is the high score for the metric and helped it earn a Top Pick for health award.


Health is really where this diaper shines making it a pull for any parent concerned about what's in the diaper and what is touching baby's skin on a daily basis. Only Bambo Nature offers the same level of attention to health. This diaper is totally chlorine free (TCF) and free of lotions and perfumes. They don't mention anything about dyes, but there are pigments you can see including a brown base to make it look natural and the cute pictures. Seventh Generation provides a full disclosure list of ingredients which we think should be the norm so parents can make informed choices.

Each diaper change is important because what the Seventh Generation is made of will impact the environment. This is true when using any disposable diaper.
Each diaper change is important because what the Seventh Generation is made of will impact the environment. This is true when using any disposable diaper.

Ecological


This diaper earned a 6 of 10 for ecology. This score is two points over the average and impressive for a disposable product.


These diapers are totally chlorine free (TCF), it is part of FSC and Rainforest Alliance and a certified B Company. The diapers are not biodegradable, and the packaging isn't recyclable, but they do not use plant-based plastics. Seventh Generation provides a partial disclosure of the manufacturing process and materials, and they elude to some best practices but don't come out and say exactly what they mean which is a bummer. While their transparency is better than most of the competition, we think they could still do more.

The Seventh Generation diaper is more durable than the average but there were some reports of faulty tabs and leaking SAP.
The Seventh Generation diaper is more durable than the average but there were some reports of faulty tabs and leaking SAP.

Durability


Seventh Generation earned a 7 of 10 for durability. This result is the top score for the group shared by several diapers.


During testing, we didn't see a lot of problems with durability, but some testers remark that the closure tabs didn't work as well as others and had trouble staying on. The faulty closure tabs will result in unusable diapers. Some online reviewers also had complaints about faulty tabs and leaking SAP. Some of the competition had similar complaints, so it isn't abnormal to experience these kinds of issues with disposable diapers in general and isn't a reason to discount the brand if you are considering as your diaper of choice. At the end of the day, compared to the competition, this diaper is more durable than the majority of options we tested.

Manufacturer Video


Juliet Spurrier, MD & Wendy Schmitz

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Most recent review: May 24, 2018
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:  
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 (5.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
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Rating Distribution
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5 star: 100%  (1)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 0%  (0)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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