The ABU Space Diaper is ABU's first new diaper since the change in management earlier this year. It is designed as a very high-end diaper, with a very high stated capacity and double tapes which is a first for an ABU diaper. With a well-publicized Twitter event and a number of samples sent out to various members of the community, this diaper is being released with one of the most extensive marketing campaigns in memory.
I am reviewing the medium size ABU Space diaper, as provided in a sample for review by ABUniverse in September 2015. This diaper's official release is slated for the middle of October 2015. At the time of this writing, exact sizing information has not been released, but the diaper will be available in medium, large, and extra large sizes.
Appearance, Size, and Features
The ABU Space has an all-over space-themed print, with a blue background, orange and red space-related icons on the sides, and fade-when-wet green aliens filling most of the space in the middle. The design is colorful but the blue base color predominates. There is a glossy, transparent tape zone on the front.
It's an interesting and unique idea for a diaper print, where one "fights" the aliens as one uses the diaper and causes them to fade. This might be the first "diaper as game" concept that's been attempted, which I expect some ABDLs to find very appealing. That said, I also wouldn't call it a particularly realistic baby diaper print, with a theme that might be more expected on boy's underwear and icons like toothy aliens and aliens holding ray guns which I'd associate with an older age range.
Front and Back of Folded Diaper, Respectively
To test their dry thickness, I stacked three diapers on top of each other and placed a heavy book on top of them, and measured their height. Together, the 3 diapers had a height of approximately 11.3 cm (4.5 in). Thus, the dry thickness of a single folded diaper is 3.8 cm (1.5 in).
This lines up with other very thick diapers while dry, with similar thickness to the Bambino Bellissimo and Rearz products.
3 Diapers Stacked
The ABU Space uses the conventional double tape design seen on most adult diapers. The tapes have a blue tip without adhesive to pull on. They are a bit wider than average for tapes, and they the stick very well to the landing zone.
The plastic backing feels thick and smooth, with a landing zone that has greater friction and the feel of packing tape. The material seems very similar if not identical to that of Rearz products, and feels much more substantial than that of previous ABU products. The diaper has a fairly typical crinkle.
The inside of the diaper is all white, arranged in an hourglass shape, and soft. The material has a cotton feel that is neither particularly packed nor diffuse. The diaper has standing leak guards and an elastic waistband in the front and back.
Front and Back of Unfolded Diaper
With the diaper outstretched, it measures 76.0 cm (30.0 in) in length, 66.0 cm (26.0 in) in width at the wings, 32.3 cm (12.8 in) in width at the center, and 21.5 cm (8.5 in) in width between the leak guards.
Performance and Fit
To test the capacity of this diaper quantitatively, I ran a test to simulate use. I put a diaper on and then repeatedly poured water into the front of it in 100 mL increments and then sat down in a chair for 30 seconds each time to give the diaper a chance to absorb the liquid, pace the process, and see if it would leak when sitting. After 900 mL of water, I first noticed liquid running near the legs. At 1200 mL, it felt generally moist to sit in. At 1800 mL, I felt like I was sitting in a puddle. At 2200 mL, I felt like I was sitting in a pond. At 2400 mL, I felt wetness at the cuffs and the diaper started to leak out of the leg cuffs onto my chair, so I ended the test.
After the test, I measured it and it had expanded to roughly 11.6 cm (4.5 in), roughly 3.1x its original size.
This is the highest that I've ever reached in testing a diaper, and by a several hundred milliliter margin. Perhaps more impressively the tapes were still holding steady at the conclusion of the test, something that few "premium" diapers manage. This leads me to believe that not only is the capacity in this diaper a cut above the rest, but that the raw capacity advantage really matters because other aspects of the diaper won't fail before you reach it.
Dry Diaper Next to Full Diaper After Quantitative Test
To gather qualitative data for this review, I put on a fresh diaper and wore it while going about ordinary activities. The diaper lasted a total of 7 hours, at which point the diaper leaked on a wetting. I had several moderate wettings and many minor wettings, but did not flood the diaper.
I have a 36" waist which typically puts me within the size range for medium diapers, and this diaper seemed to fit well. The fit was similar to other mediums, and this diaper fit thickly but comfortably. It is very similar to the Bambino Bellissimo in size and bulk, but comes up a bit higher on the waist, similar to Rearz.
The tapes were still holding strong when I finished this test. I am very impressed with this diaper's ability to go the distance structurally, as this is something with which high-capacity diapers almost always struggle. I commonly have to caveat claims about capacity with the fact that diapers tend to fail in other ways first, but I didn't observe that problem with this diaper. It has exceptional raw capacity and it actually reaches exceptional raw capacity without other incident.
The diaper seemed moderately crinkly, with a bulky and fluffy build that allows the plastic to move around a fair bit. The alien icons faded away relatively early in the test, with most of the front faded by the first wetting.
Price and Final Thoughts
I received a sample for the purpose of writing a review from ABUniverse. The ABU Space Diaper will be priced at $34.99 for a 10 pack, $84.99 for a 40 pack, and $155.99 for a full case of 80, with shipping included. This works out to $1.95 per diaper when bought by the case.
This is the best diaper that I have ever tried, bar none. This diaper tested to a higher capacity than any other diaper I have ever tried, and by a several hundred milliliter margin. It did this without other parts of the diaper, notably the tapes, failing before it reached capacity. It is comfortable to wear, it is thick, it swells substantially, the plastic backsheet feels substantial and resistant to damage, and it has a print.
On top of all that, it's price-competitive given its capacity. It is priced nearly identically to Bambino Bellissimo, which it substantially outperformed in my testing. Per unit capacity by my testing, it's similar in price to the Waddler Overnight. You have to go to non-ABDL diapers such as Abena M4 and Dry 24/7 to get a better value on effective capacity.
If there's any complaint or minor quibble I can list at all, it's that the print is not the most authentic of baby diaper prints, so ABDLs for whom that's a key appeal of printed diapers may not find this print ideal.
Up to this point I've generally referred to diapers as "premium" or "non-premium", where "premium" has referred to top-end non-ABDL diapers and the ABDL diapers that are of similar capacity. With the ABU Space, I think that for the first time, I've experienced a "super-premium" diaper – something that is clearly on a tier above all non-ABDL diapers on the market today.
That's worth repeating and that's worth celebrating: with the ABU Space, ABDLs have produced a custom printed diaper that outperforms all non-ABDL diapers. I offer my congratulations to the ABU team.