After 9 and a quarter years of doing nappies, I have some experience and a few preferences. In terms of disposable nappies, I have used many brands but my favourites and those I found most absorbent were Pampers and Lidls own. Lidls represent the most value as a lot cheaper and are my overall favourite for toddler upwards. My least favourite were Huggies and Asda own brand. Each child is different, so each brand fits and absorbs in a different way, and these brands are what worked or didn't for my sons (pls note I did have bigger babies, 90th centile upwards).
Real nappies, I have used Bumgenius and Tots Bots (from birth to potty). I loved these, so soft and available in lots of colours. They were easy to use but I had to stop as my childrens skins are so sensitive they reacted to having any urine against their skin. Although they were changed often, it just wasn't possible to change after every time, as I didn't know they had been. They are better for the environment and are cheaper, after the initial outlay. We also used re-useable wipes. These are like little flannels which just go straight into the nappy bucket with the nappy, so it wasn't really any extra effort at all. I did find them slightly bulky which meant my baby may wear a bigger size clothes on the bottom half. They seem like a scary amount of work but actually they're not. They are some work ie put washing on, take washing out to dry.
The bumgenius were all ready to go, went on like a normal nappy except they had a liner. The liner is like a firmer longer piece of tissue which was flushed away if soiled (if wet they could be used again after washing) and the nappy went into a dry bucket. At the end of the day the nappy wash went on and they dried. The bucket had a washable liner so that went in too and I didn't even have to touch any soiled nappies. Tots Bots I used at night as more absorbent and bulky. They had a liner too plus a water proof outer layer. They would also wash with the others. The bucket and (water proof bag when out) kept all smells at bay. Depending on how many you bought would depend on how regularly you would need to wash. I did one load of nappy washing a day, they would dry the following and be worn after that.
The nappy lady, (google or facebook her) did a great free service. You fill out a questionnaire and she will tell you the best real nappy to suit your needs. It was really detailed and gave you different choices. On her site, she also has you tube videos on how to care and look after them so you can see how easy it is for yourself. She is really honest about the pros and cons too. So if you're considering it, I would recommend that she is your first stop.
I would say that real nappies are cheaper if you stick to it, so maybe buy a few to try out rather than a whole kit to see if it really suits you. Our downfall was after buying a package that didn't suit our child i didn't really want to keep spending out more money to find the right brand of re-useable. I am sure that there would of been, as there is so much choice. Also you have to be organised to work out when you can wash/dry them. Our brand didn't need to be washed at a high temperature so it didn't cost more to the environment/purse strings in this way. They are all different.
Disposable nappies are slim, easy to buy and carry around. They just require throwing away when you're done. You can buy really cheap ones (like re-useables) but your child may need changing more often or be prepared for leaks or tabs falling off. You can buy safer to the environment nappies but at the end of the day, they fill up landfills. It all comes down to your preferences and some trial and error.