Believe it or not, there are going to be baby products out there that you will question whether or not they are necessary. For me, this was diaper pails. It took us quite some time to bite the bullet and purchase one. Let me be the first to tell you that it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made as a parent. No more wasting time running dirty diapers out to the trash can. That’s the purpose of a diaper pail, to make life easier and less smelly.
In this guide, you will be introduced to several different diaper pails. Each of these made it onto our list because they are truly the best of the best. At the end of the day, you will be the one making the purchase, and we thought it was important to help parents figure out which best fits their needs. After all, no one likes the smell of used diapers.
Carry on reading or you can jump to our #1 pick here.
Table of Contents
- Is It Worth Getting a Diaper Pail?
- What Should I Look For in a Diaper Pail?
- Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Diaper Pail
- Our Top Picks for the Best Diaper Pails of 2021
- #1: Playtex Diaper Genie Complete (Best Value)
- #2: Ubbi Diaper Pail (Best Overall)
- #3: Munchkin Step Diaper Pail (Best Scented)
- #4: Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail (Best Low Cost)
- #5: Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail (Best for Anywhere in Your Home)
- #6: Dekor Plus Diaper Pail (Best for Cloth Diapers)
- #7: Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions (Best Customizable)
- #8: Dekor Classic Diaper Pail (Best to Use as Normal Trash Can)
Is It Worth Getting a Diaper Pail?
It is absolutely worth every penny! I noticed a huge difference when we started using a diaper pail. It trapped the odors, and we didn’t have to run diapers outside every time the baby pooped. The average parent changes between 6,000 and 9,000 diapers during their baby’s first year. That’s crazy, but looking back at both of my kids, it actually sounds accurate. Let that sink in if you’re contemplating getting pregnant. The diaper pail a lifesaver, and it is one of the top baby products that I recommend to other parents to add to their baby registry.
What Should I Look For in a Diaper Pail?
There are bare minimum features that should be included in the diaper pail that you choose to purchase. These are the most important and must be taken into consideration. Let’s dive in and go over what you need to protect your nose from the odors of dirty diapers.
The main function of any diaper pail is to eliminate the smell of dirty diapers in your home. This is the whole reason why you want one, right?
Ease of Use
No one wants to wrestle with a trash bag, especially during the middle-of-the-night diaper changes. You will want something easy to use, meaning the lid opens and closes with minimal effort. This is also where hands-free comes in, which you will notice a lot of these pails are.
A diaper pail is meant to be small and discreet, all while keeping the stink at bay. Chances are that you won’t want something as big as your kitchen garbage can next to the changing table in your baby nursery.
Diaper pails come in either plastic or steel. Either of these will work great, and it comes down to preference and whether aesthetics matter to you or not. The other thing to keep in mind is that steel naturally resists odors. Certain plastics are meant to block odors, and others will need a special bag.
Kids get curious, so does a baby who is learning to move around on their own. If this sounds like your household, then you probably want the best diaper pail with a child safety lock. The last thing you will want is your child getting their hands on a dirty diaper.
Here’s How We’ve Determined the Best Diaper Pail
We took what matters most to parents and combined it with personal experience to find the best of the best. You will see that there is something for every household in our top picks. You won’t ever have to worry about your dirty diapers again. Besides, the goal is to prevent unwanted odor while also making life even easier for you. You will notice a lot of differences in design when comparing each of your options for the best diaper pails.
Our Top Picks for the Best Diaper Pails of 2021
#1: Playtex Diaper Genie Complete (Best Value)
You have probably heard some parents use the term “diaper genie” interchangeably with “diaper pail”. This is because of how popular the Playtex Diaper Genie Complete has become. They have trademarked this term, so you don’t see any other brand use this name. It has the most to offer at an affordable price, under $40. In my opinion, it is well worth it. We have used this diaper pail for years and always highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a way to combat dirty diaper odors with the best diaper pail around. Read on and see why this one takes our #1 spot.
It Has an Odor-Fighting Carbon Filter
This is unique; no other diaper pail on our list uses these. They are inexpensive and couldn’t be easier to install. The best part is that it only has to be changed every 30 days. The carbon filter prevents any smells from escaping the diaper pail while it remains closed.
It Also Has a Built-In Antimicrobial
The Playtex Complete is one of the most hygienic diaper pails on our list. The pail itself is made with an antimicrobial to prevent any bacteria growth on the inside of the pail. Most parents are probably concerned with the buildup of bacteria and the need to constantly wipe out the inside of their diaper pail. That isn’t necessary with this one. It is designed to make life as easy as possible for you and to give you peace of mind. It’s very safe and clean to use every single day.
What else puts this at the top of our list?
- Foot pedal for hands-free opening
- Holds up to 270 newborn diapers
- Has its own refills bags that you cut and tie
- Double airtight clamp
The refill bag is made with 7 layer protection from odors, keeping your nursery fresh. It’s one of the only diaper pails on our list that has a built-in cutter to make emptying it super easy. It’s the ultimate diaper disposal system, and it’s the #1 selling diaper pail among parents.
Even though you have to purchase separate accessories, it is well worth it because of how this product works. The difference between this and our #2 is the price and the design. (The Ubbi is stainless steel and takes regular kitchen trash bags, lacking the same odor-blocking technology as the Diaper Genie Complete.) You will also notice that a lot of parents will compare this diaper pail to the Munchkin Step diaper pail (#3 below). They are both great baby products, but I feel that the Playtex slightly edges out the Munchkin Step on odor control.
#2: Ubbi Diaper Pail (Best Overall)
When you first look at the price of this diaper pail, you are probably wondering why it’s much more expensive compared to the rest of the picks on our list. First off, it’s stainless steel, which you very seldom see. It doesn’t hold nearly as many diapers as the Diaper Genie at only 55, but it is still a great option for odor protection if you want to splurge for a more modern look. Let’s talk about why this diaper pail is worth the extra money.
The Lid Is Designed to Lock in Odors
Ubbi designed the lid of this diaper pail with the sole purpose of keeping the stench inside of it. It has rubber seals made to prevent odors from escaping. Also, the lid slides to minimize airflow, even further keeping the stink inside the pail. After all, the whole reason to purchase a diaper pail is to keep your changing area smelling fresh and clean.
You Can Use Standard Trash Bags
Instead of purchasing special bags for this Ubbi steel pail, you can use regular garbage bags that you find under your kitchen sink. In the long run, this can save you a lot of time and hassle. Just remember, you won’t get any further odor protection like you would from the refill bags needed in the Playtex Diaper Genie, so make sure that you are using a high-quality trash bag.
Here are some more important features that put this Ubbi steel pail at our #2 spot.
- Child-proof safety lock
- Ease of use
- Comes in 12 different colors
The bottom line is that, if you need a diaper pail and you like the look of the steel, the lid design with the rubber seals, and not having to purchase extra bags, the Ubbi is right for you. The initial purchase is fairly expensive but the quality more than makes up for it. This steel pail is very easy to use, making life so much easier for you. You will change a lot of diapers during your baby’s first year of life, so make sure that you choose a product that you will want to use long term.
#3: Munchkin Step Diaper Pail (Best Scented)
Powered by Arm & Hammer, this diaper disposal system is great if you want your diaper pail to be fresh-scented or even lavender scented. Like the Diaper Genie, this diaper pail requires diaper pail bags. These bags are odor-blocking, so you won’t smell the stench of dirty diapers every time you open the lid. Here are the main reasons why this diaper pail takes the cake for the best scented.
Baking Soda Puck for Extra Odor Control
Now if you’re like me, you already know how well baking soda works in neutralizing odors. Don’t believe me? Have you ever purchased a box of Arm & Hammer baking soda just because there was a stench coming from your refrigerator? The idea here is the same. Plus, it adds another refreshing note by being lavender scented. It’s like lighting a candle without actually lighting a candle.
It Works with Two Different Kinds of Liners
You will see that this diaper pail is the only one that is dual refill compatible. it uses the rings much like the Diaper Genie but also uses the snap, seal, and toss bags. This diaper pail is the only one on our list that uses this type of refill bags. They make life super easy because emptying the pail takes almost no effort.
What else is great about this diaper pail?
- Munchkin will plant a tree for every pail sold
- Self-sealing system to keep odors from escaping
- Step pedal to open so you only need one hand free
- Child lock system
You are probably wondering why you would choose the Munchkin Step diaper pail over the others. The answer is actually pretty simple. If you prefer your diaper pail to be scented and you like the idea of the snap, seal, and toss bags, then this could be a great option for you. The diaper pail comes with the traditional ring bags as well, so you could also use those. At the end of the day, it’s whatever works best for what you’re looking for.
#4: Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail (Best Low Cost)
This is the cheapest of all the other diaper pails on our list, but it is also a great choice. It’s only about $20 and can be used with regular trash bags. So this is really the best budget diaper pail, if you don’t have very much to spend. It’s simple, very easy to use, and gets the job done. Why else should you choose this if your budget is tight?
It Has a Deodorizer Disc
They are easy to place and inexpensive to repurchase. When you first buy the Safety 1st diaper pail, it comes with one of the discs to get you started. It does help with the smell that comes from all those dirty diapers. No more running the diapers out to the garbage can, especially in the middle of the night.
You’ll notice that this diaper pail is the smallest on our list. It is even smaller than the Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions or the Skip Hop diaper pails, which are also made to be space savers. This makes it ideal for small spaces. Let’s face it, not everyone has a large area for their changing table. Some parents don’t even have a separate nursery. The size of this diaper pail allows it to fit virtually anywhere, taking some of the stress off of you.
What else puts the Safety 1st Easy Saver diaper pail at our #4 spot?
- Easy, one-handed use
- Easy to clean
So, you would choose this product as the ultimate money and space saver. Since it is the most lightweight, it is easy to pick up and move when needed. Along with using regular trash bags instead of refill liners, you will only have to spend extra money to replace the deodorizer disc. It’s simplicity at its finest, while also keeping the stink out of the nursery. However, it doesn’t have a foot pedal, so it isn’t the best choice if you want a hands-free diaper pail.
#5: Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail (Best for Anywhere in Your Home)
This diaper pail is very different from the rest of the diaper pails on our list. You will notice first off that it can hold diaper essentials and other supplies at the top. If you don’t have a lot of space in your nursery, this can be a real lifesaver. The best part is that you aren’t limited where it can be used. Let’s say that your little one gets changed out in the living space, since that is where they spend their time most of the day. You can have the diaper pail for the dirty diapers to keep the room smelling clean while also having access to whatever you need for your baby. Let’s talk about why else this made our list.
It Has a Dual Air-Lock System
Rather than having a deodorizer for this diaper pail, it is simply designed to keep the stench inside of it. When you open it to drop in a diaper, you will notice that it has a trap door. With the click of a button, the diaper drops down into the pail and immediately closes, keeping a barrier between you and the smell.
It Saves You Space
With all of the baby products your child needs, you may often feel like there’s never enough space to put it all. Luckily the Skip Hop diaper pail helps a lot with that. As mentioned above, not every parent wants to bring their baby to the nursery to change diapers. (I was one of those parents.) It is way more convenient to have more than one changing station when your baby is that young, because you expect to go through a lot of diapers. This diaper pail has the extra storage space built-in, giving you even more room for wipes and diaper rash ointment.
Let’s go over the other important features.
- Made of steel, so it resists odors
- Easy to wipe clean
- Uses regular trash bags
- Child-proof locking system
You will see that this doesn’t have a step pedal like some of the other diaper pails included in our top picks. Despite that, it is the second-best option for a steel pail next to the Ubbi diaper pail. Not only does it do its job with natural odor-blocking, but it also has a unique caddy built-in to help with extra supply storage. This is probably the biggest selling point of this diaper pail. With the dual airlock system, the stench won’t escape whenever you open and close the lid.
#6: Dekor Plus Diaper Pail (Best for Cloth Diapers)
Obviously, not every parent chooses to use disposable diapers. Of course, if using cloth diapers is how you want to diaper your baby, kudos to you for being environmentally conscious. Also, lots of moms swear by the use of a cloth diaper as also being the best for the baby.
Cloth diapers can be a lot of work to keep clean, and when they start to pile up, it can cause an odor. This diaper pail can be used for disposable diapers, but it is also a great choice for cloth diapers. It will give you a place to leave the soiled diapers until you are ready to wash them. Read on to see why else you should choose this diaper pail.
You Can Purchase a Cloth Liner
This is extremely helpful if you are using cloth diapers. When the pail is full, all you have to do is put the entire bag into the washing machine, diapers and all. The cloth bag is machine washable as well, saving you an extra step of emptying a trash bag.
It Is Completely Hands-Free
The Dekor brand is the only true 100% hands-free diaper pail. There’s no bending over to open the lid and no need to squish down diapers through the opening. All you have to do is step on the foot pedal and drop the dirty diaper in. So simple and easy!
What other notable features does this diaper pail have to make it one of the best?
- Made of closed-cell ABS plastic
- Comes assembled
- Only uses Dekor brand refill bags
- Child-safe cutter inside the pail
The Dekor Plus is the only diaper pail on our list that works well with cloth diapers. You could use one of the other diaper pails like the Munchkin Step or even the Ubbi Diaper Pail, but the Dekor Plus is ideal, especially since the cloth fabric liner is a giveaway. No one wants to touch dirty diapers, even a cloth diaper. It is middle of the road when it comes to cost, so it’s not the cheapest but also won’t break the bank.
#7: Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions (Best Customizable)
At first glance, you are probably wondering why being customizable is important. The truth is that it is significant to some parents. You will find some people out there who like to color coordinate and match all the furniture and accessories in the nursery. You could be one of those people. If you are, look no further. This provides the same odor protection you expect from Playtex, but you can make it cute. So what else makes this diaper pail worth it?
You Can Purchase Different Patterned Sleeves
This is great if you have multiple children with a bit of an age difference. You don’t need to buy another diaper pail for the new baby, just buy a new sleeve, and it can be personalized to fit the sibling’s nursery once your older child is out of diapers. Coordinating colors is why a lot of parents love these pails for their babies.
It Has a Push-N-Lock Clamp to Trap Odor
This diaper pail doesn’t have a foot pedal and instead has a one-handed design to dispose of dirty diapers. The Push-N-Lock keeps the stink from coming out of the pail when you open the lid to throw another diaper away. Let’s face it, sometimes you will feel like you don’t do anything but change diapers while your little one is still a tiny baby.
What other features put this diaper pail on our list?
- 7 layer odor-blocking refill bags
- Double secure lock system
- Holds up to 50 newborn diapers
- Many different sleeve options
The first thing you will notice is that this diaper pail doesn’t hold as many diapers as some of the others. If you are looking for a pail to hold more for less changing, then this wouldn’t be the best choice for you. If that isn’t a deal-breaker and you enjoy the adorable designs with the ability to customize, then definitely give this one a go.
#8: Dekor Classic Diaper Pail (Best to Use as Normal Trash Can)
Like Playtex, you will see that Dekor has two different pails that made our list. The biggest difference between the Dekor Classic Diaper Pail and the Dekor Plus is the size. The Dekor Classic holds on average 15 fewer diapers. You also can’t use a cloth liner in it, so it isn’t the best choice for cloth diapers. However, if you want this container to have a purpose once your baby is potty trained, then this diaper pail could be right for you.
It Is Also Completely Hands-Free
Being a Dekor brand diaper pail, the Dekor Classic is also a 100% hands-free diaper pail, like the Dekor Plus. Similarly, you just tap the foot pedal, drop the dirty diaper in, and go. This is so great if your hands are full with a baby. You will never have to touch the lid!
You Can Remove the Trap Door
One day your baby will be through with diaper changes. You are probably wondering what you will do with the pail once that happens. The answer to that is a very simple one: Use it as a regular garbage can! Though it is smaller than your average kitchen garbage can, it would be great to use in a smaller room like an office or a bedroom. All you have to do is remove the trap door insert, and you’re ready to go.
Here are some more features of this diaper pail.
- Comes assembled
- Uses only Dekor brand refills
- Lightweight, at only 5 lbs.
If you know that you will want to use the diaper pail once your baby is potty trained, then this would be a great choice. It is small and lightweight compared to a lot of other pails. You can use it anywhere in your home as a spare trash can. Plus, you won’t ever have to open the lid with your hands. Hooray for a hands-free diaper pail!
If you want the best value, pick the Playtex Diaper Genie Complete. It is the best diaper disposal system for ultimate odor control.
If you want to splurge on a stylish steel diaper pail, pick the Ubbi Diaper Pail. It is more expensive but uses a standard garbage bag and is made of steel.
If you need the best-scented diaper pail, pick the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail. You can enjoy the scent of lavender and baking soda whenever you throw out a dirty diaper.
For the best under $20, pick the Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail. For a low price, you get simplicity but you also avoid bad smells in your nursery.
If you need a more versatile diaper pail, pick the Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail. It’s the only one with a built-in caddy for extra storage that can be used anywhere in your home.
If you use cloth diapers, pick the Dekor Plus Diaper Pail. You can use a cloth liner that can be machine washed right with the dirty diapers. What a lifesaver!
If your goal is the ability to customize your nursery whenever you want, pick the Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions. It is the only diaper pail where you can purchase cute sleeves, matching it to your décor. However, this doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide the odor control you would expect from the Playtex Diaper Genie brand.
For a dual-purpose diaper pail and the trash can, pick the Dekor Classic Diaper Pail. It is hands-free like the Dekor Plus. Just remember that it doesn’t use a kitchen trash bag.
The takeaway from this is that any of these diaper pails will save you time and save your nose. Each has their own unique way to contain the odor from the dirty diapers without your having to run out to the trash can. Of course, this is especially helpful for those in the middle-of-the-night emergencies. Many of them are hands-free, which can be great if you have a baby in your arms – which most of us always do when they’re newborns.
Plastic or steel? Trash bags or special refills? Carbon filter or deodorizer disc? These are questions you will need to ask yourself before you buy a diaper pail. Think of it as one of the most useful products to put on your baby registry if you are thinking of getting pregnant. Each of these is one of the best diaper pails in their own way.