What is the difference between liners, inserts and boosters?

What is the difference between liners, inserts and boosters?

What is the difference between liners, inserts and boosters?

What is the difference between liners, inserts and boosters? 

It’s common to be unsure about what liners, inserts and boosters are, how and when they should be used and what to buy.  The terms liners, inserts and boosters are used, or appear to be used, interchangeably so what is the difference and which do I need? 


Liners are used to provide a stay-dry layer between the baby and the nappy.  Liners can be fleece or disposable and do not provide any absorbency to the nappy. We have talked in depth about whether or not to use liners in this YouTube video if you aren’t sure whether to buy any.  


Inserts are the absorbent part of a nappy.  Examples of when inserts are required are pocket nappies and All-in-2 nappies.  Without inserts they are simply waterproof shells and they won’t absorb any wee.  


A booster is an absorbent part of a nappy but it is used ‘in addition to’ the existing absorbency.  For example, an All-in-one nappy might need some additional absorbency adding.  The nappy might need a boost.  In this case, a booster is added to boost the amount absorbency in the nappy and thus the amount of wee it can absorb.  

Are Inserts and Boosters the same thing? 

The reason the terms insert and booster appear to be used interchangeably or at least for very similar items is that they are the same thing.  An insert can function as the main absorbency or as additional absorbency depending on the nappy and the circumstance.  An insert is used to boost a nappy.  Most inserts and nappies are interchangeable between brands meaning that a collection of inserts can be used in various brands of pocket nappy, to boost All-in-one nappies, or to boost a flat nappy.  

What inserts do I need to buy? 

Although this is not as straightforward as we would be ideal, we would suggest the following; 

If using flat nappies you might find boosting is required as baby begins to wee larger volumes, in which case a bamboo insert/booster will help. 

If using pocket nappies, you will need inserts.  A microfibre insert plus a bamboo insert underneath is usually a good combination and is sufficient for many babies.  If this is not enough absorbency to last a couple of hours then swapping the bamboo for hemp would be a good next option.   An alternative option is a single bamboo and hemp insert.  The different inserts can be mixed and matched to find a suitable combination.   

If using All-in-2 nappies we advise you buy the inserts made to fit the outer shell in the first instance.  If you need more specific advice about a certain brand of All-in-2 nappy please contact us to discuss. 

If using All-in-One nappies you shouldn’t need to boost to start with but they are no longer absorbent enough then a slim bamboo insert/booster or a bamboo and hemp insert/booster is advisable.   

In conclusion, liners are a thin, non-absorbent, stay-dry layer between the nappy and the baby.  Inserts and boosters are different names for the same absorbent materials that are added to nappies to provide, or increase, the absorbency of the nappy.  

If you require further advice please use the Contact Us form and let us know your query.