Comparison: old Bum Genius Elemental vs. New Redesigned BG Elemental

With the release of the newly redesigned Bum Genius Elemental, there’s been quite a stir in the cloth diapering world.  A long time favorite for many, the Elemental has been know as an excellent cloth diaper choice due to its natural fibers, ease of use, absorbency and trimness.  So, when Cotton Babies announced it had been redesigned, the news was met with excitement from some moms, and apprehension by others.  You can find the review of the NEW Elemental here.

According to Cotton Babies, the new Elemental has been revamped with the following improvements:

  • 6 layers of super absorbent organic cotton (new & improved from the original Elemental)
  • A new design that is expected to reduce leaks
  • A better fit
  • The option to easily tuck in additional inserts for increased absorbency
  • Generous sizing to accommodate more babies
  • Exclusively made in the United States

It also still boasts some of the beloved old features:

  •  Durable snap closures
  • Bum Genius’ signature 3×3 snap down design* adjusts the sizing to small, medium and large sizes (approximately 8-35 lbs.)
  • Stretchy, thin, comfortable snap tabs that are gentle and perfectly accomodate your baby’s size.
  • Trim fit
  • The same price, $24.95

I am fortunate enough to live just 30 minutes away from a Cotton Babies store, so I had the opportunity to go pick on up last night.  PLEASE NOTE:  The NEW Bum Genius Elemental (BGE ) in this comparison is just that….BRAND NEW.  This means that it has not yet been prepped, so please keep that in mind as I compare it to my 2 year old Elemental.  The inner cotton fabrics in the new Elemental will shrink down after they are prepped.  

Please click on an image if you would like to see it full size.
The Old Elemental is the black and white “Eiffel” from the Artist Series.  The new Elemental is the aqua color, “Mirror.”







You will notice in the pictures below that the rise (length) of the diaper has remained relatively the same, while the overall width of the diaper has increased. 

Largest Rise

Smallest Rise

Waist Panel:

Crotch/Stride:  The additional width of the new BGE is most evident through the crotch.

Back/Wing Tabs

In the pictures above, the design might seem relatively similar between the old and new BGE versions, with the exception of the increased width.  However, as we look inside, you’ll see there is as much the same, as there are differences.  Significant changes have definitely  been made.

Front & Rise Snaps:

  Back/Wing Tabs  I want to point out here that the back and tabs are virtually the same, as is the elastic casing that goes across the back.

Side/Leg Casing

In the image below, you can see the difference in the leg casing.  In the old BGE (black and white diaper) it is a rolled casing, similar in style to the Swaddlebees Simplex and Bottombumpers.  In the new BGE, it is no longer rolled, rather it is in an enclosed casing, similar to Flip covers and Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket diapers.  

As we look at the insided, I need to reiterate that The NEW Bum Genius Elemental (BGE ) in this comparison is just that….BRAND NEW.  This means that it has not yet been prepped, so please keep that in mind as I compare it to my 2 year old Elemental.  The inner cotton fabrics in the new Elemental will shrink down after they are prepped.

Probably the first thing you’ll notice in the photo below is the absence of the cotton lining underneath the two soaker layers.  Removing this lining should drastically reduce holes in the new BGE.

 Back/Wing Tabs

 Side/Leg Casing

One of the major differences the redesigned BGE brings is the Elastic Casing.  It has several implications.  The first is that now instead of ONLY cotton and the soft polyester side of the PUL touching baby’s skin, now it will be all three–soft cotton insert, exposed PUL (the laminated side of the fabric) and the soft polyester side of the PUL.
It also means that there may be less leaking/wicking because the absorbent cotton won’t be attached to the soft side of the PUL, which is unlaminated and not as waterproof as the laminated side. It will be harder for moisture to travel from the cotton, across the exposed PUL to the soft side of the PUL that is more prone to wick.  

Again, in the image below, you can see the difference in the leg casing.  The old BGE (black has a rolled casing, while the new BGE is in an enclosed casing.  For some this is a welcome change as they didn’t like occasionally having to tuck things in.  For others, this is a concern because rolled casings are gentler on little legs.  Encased elastic sometimes leaves red marks on some babies.

Absorbent Material
As we saw earlier, one of the biggest design changes is that there is no longer a layer of cotton sewn directly to the cover, beneath the “Inserts.”  Now, in the new BGE, there is only the “inserts” sewn on either end.  There are two layers, each 3 layers of cotton thick, for a total of 6 absorbent layers.

This is the underside of the soaker.  As you can see, it is serged to the PUL.

In addition to what we already discussed, removing the layer under the inserts brings a few practical changes, shorter drying time, slightly less absorbency, and the improved ability to add additional layers yourself.  You can use a padfolded flat, a trifolded prefold, hemp, cotton, the options are numerous.  A great option is one of the new Flip Day Time inserts.

I went ahead a purchased a pack of the new Flip Day Time inserts so you could see what they are and how well they work with the new BGE.  They retail for $18.95 for 3 inserts.

The new Flip Day Time inserts are essentially retangle shaped flats made from soft, ultra-absorbent, Oeko-Tex certified organic cotton.

They are incredibly thin!  I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a thin “flat” before.  (Note, this is unprepped; I don’t know how much it will quilt up once it’s been washed)

Pad folded to go into the diaper.

Even folded these are very thin.  Here it is next to my wedding ring for reference.

Another way it improves the diaper is the ease with which you can now adjust the length of the “insert” layers.  Before, I always found it to be a little cumbersome to get the sewn on layers to lay flat when I needed to fold them over.  Now, you can can simply tuck them over either in the front, or the back, wherever you prefer the additional absorbency:
 Finally, removing the sewn in cotton lining should reduce or at the very least, delay the appearance of holes.  Previously, the old BGE had a reputation for getting holes.  You may have noticed them in some of the pictures above.  Now that the insert layers are not attached to the lining or the leg casing, which were the most common places to see holes, the places where there is a lot of stress & friction on the cotton are almost completely eliminated.

The old BGE has a reputation for trimness…and the new one is even more trim!
Here it is next to the old BGE.

Here it is with the Flip Day Time Insert added:
It’s still pretty trim if you ask me!  And imagine how much more absorbent it will be!!


DSC_5084-1 DSC_5085-1 DSC_5086-1 DSC_5087-1 DSC_5091-1 I hope this photo overview has been helpful!  Although much as remained the same, there are still a lot of differences in the redesigned Bum Genius Elemental.  One of the big pros is reduced dry time.  It’s really easy to flip the inserts inside out and separate them:

  • Trimmer
  • Faster Drying Time
  • Hopefully reduced chances of holes
  • Easier to Adjust soaker length
  • Easier to add absorbency
  • Generous sizing to accommodate more babies (Note: In my opinion, this will NOT be a benefit for all babies, especially those who tend toward the petite side; but it will be for babies who are bigger).
  • Easier to clean up #2 messes.


  • Slightly less absorbency
  • Exposed PUL (note:  This isn’t a problem or “con” for all families)
  • Wider crotch will be bulkier on smaller babies (note:  this may be a “pro” for some families).
  • Encased elastic is not always as gentle as rolled elastic.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Be sure to like Haute Clothed Buns on Facebook to find out when I post new BGE comparisons (to Flip, to BG 4.0 Pocket diapers) as well as a comprehensive New Bum Genius Elemental Photo review.

You might also be interested in seeing how the new Elemental compares in appearance and design to the Flip.  You can find that post here:

The new Bum Genius Elementals are available now at Cotton Babies, Mom’s Milk Boutique, and Diaper Junction.

They are currently on their way to Kissed by the Moon.  Click the image below to visit KBTM :)

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15 Responses to Comparison: old Bum Genius Elemental vs. New Redesigned BG Elemental

  1. Lynn says:

    Thank you for posting this! As an Elemental lover, I’m apprehensive of the changes and not too keen on the price tag. We buy used so I’ve yet to pay full price for the BGE I know I love. I do hope to try one out eventually, though. Will you get OTB pictures when it’s prepped? That’d be great!

  2. As a devote user of BGE, I too am skeptical of this new creation….
    It seems like you’re being asked to pay the same price as the old PLUS more money for inserts just to make it absorbent as the old style.

    The major problem the new design WILL solve is now the leg casings will not be able to disintegrate with holes, as the older styles are so bad about over time. Once you get a few holes exposing PUL, you run the risk for solid matter to get trapped forever under the cotton inner. YUCK!

    I found a way to recycle those older styles full of holes by completely replacing the inner and all its absorbent layers with bamboo. In all the 20-30 i’ve done this to, not one of them had bad PUL. YAY, for Bum Genius PUL!!!
    I cringe at the thought of actually ever throwing a diaper away. :)

    I’m curious if the older, well loved style is headed for extinction????

  3. Emily says:

    Thank you! I tried the elemental and never really liked it. just seemed like a massive ball of cotton in there. I really like the changes and (thanks to your review) will give them another try!

  4. Ruth V. says:

    Holy amazing review! Thanks for posting!!

  5. Pingback: Mini Experiment: Original BGE vs. New BGE–Which weighs more? | Haute Clothed Buns

  6. rahime says:

    Great review!! I think for me, I’ll stick with hoarding my old BGEs.

  7. Have never tried a BGE, but looking at these pics I think I would definitely prefer the old style due to the narrower crotch, no exposed PUL and rolled elastic around the legs.

  8. Pingback: Review of the New, Redesigned Bum Genius Elemental | Haute Clothed Buns

  9. Sara says:

    I have to say this makes me curious to try the new ones. I’m a devoted AIO user and have been trying to get some good or new OBGEs for future LOs, but perhaps these are as good. I do think they’re pricey considering the lack of extra cotton in the new ones though.

I'd love to hear your questions, comments and suggestions!