Ugh – it’s diaper change time again … I’m sure you’re looking forward to this as much as I do! If you’re anything like me, the idea of having a whole lot of stinky diapers in your home isn’t exactly appealing – to put it lightly.
The thing is, though, unless you don’t mind running outside the house after each and every change to throw away your baby’s dirty diaper straight into the trash, then you’ll need somewhere indoors where you can store these until further notice.
You might be thinking about using a regular trash can if you empty it on a daily basis, and if you can bag up the diapers to contain as much of the smell as possible, but that really isn’t the best way to go about dealing with this.
Instead, many parents prefer to use a dedicated diaper pail. These are essentially specialized trash cans that are specifically designed to hold plenty of diapers – some will take as many as 270 at a time! – and keep any odors locked and contained as possible.
Best Diaper Pails – A Quick Look At Our Top 7 Recommendations
*Note: Upon clicking on any of the links in this section, you will be redirected to the respective product listings on Amazon.com where you can learn about the product’s price, customer rating & customer reviews.
- Ubbi Diaper Pail
- Playtex Genie Complete Diaper Pail
- Munchkin Step Diaper Pail
- Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail
- Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe
- Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail
- Tommee Tippee Simplee Diaper Pail Starter Set
Best Diaper Pails – A More Detailed Look At Our Top 7 Recommendations
Let’s take a more detailed look at some of the best diaper pails you could add to your household today, the advantages that each has to offer, as well as potential drawbacks you should know about.
Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail
Designer colors? Check! Steel pail sides? Check! Perfect for cloth or disposables? Check!
The Ubbi diaper pail is a game-changer if matching colors is a top personal requirement of yours. You can choose from bright and cheery colors to muted patterns. With around 16 colors to choose from, there’s something for even the pickiest decorator out there!
Steel sides do a great job at keeping odors at bay, unlike plastics which tend to absorb the yucky smells from your baby’s diapers.
Plus, when the inevitable mess occurs inside (or outside!) the pail – and trust me, these things happen to the best of us – it’s super easy to wipe clean.
It also has rubber seals that absorbs odors and prevents them from seeping out between changes. And, even better, you can use any kind of liner (cloth or plastic) on the inside!
This sturdy, easy to use design can help keep your nursery smelling fresh and clean while still adding a little pizzazz.
- The most color options—around 16 colors to choose from, all in all
- You’re free to use recycle plastic shopping bags, standard kitchen bags, or cloth storage bags
- A childproof lock is included to ensure your little one cannot open (and potentially empty) the container, and cause a whole new mess you’ll have to deal with all over again. So, you won’t have to buy and install child locks on your own.
- This pail is ready to use right out of the box, no assembly required
- The lid might prove to be a bit difficult to properly clean at times
- There’s no foot pedal option for you to use, so you’ll have to use one hand to open it
Playtex Genie Complete Diaper Pail
Perhaps one of the most (if not the most) well-known of all modern diaper pails today, we think the Genie is a great gift for any new parent—or a good present for yourself!
This model, which has long been a favorite of parents and has firmly stood the test of time, comes pre-assembled with a full-sized refill ready to hold up to an impressive 270 diapers at once.
A built-in carbon filter naturally locks in strong odors when you open the bin, helping prevent wafting smells from hitting you in the face after every diaper change. You’ll appreciate this option when you actually use this pail on a daily basis, especially for those in the middle of the night tasks.
Unfortunately, poop happens. It happens all over the changing table, your baby’s clothes, your clothes, and it’s definitely going to happen on your hands at one point. The Diaper Genie features a foot pedal to open the lid, so even when your hands are gross, you can still put that smelly diaper away without causing an even bigger mess!
- Comes with a full-sized refill ready to hold up to an impressive 270 diapers in a single go
- Built-in carbon filter naturally traps odors
- Refills feature seven layers to keep smells at bay
- Foot pedal means you won’t have to juggle a baby and dirty diapers
- No more “diaper sausages” characteristic of older models
- Refill system can be expensive, and some off-brands may not fit
- Not an ideal option for cloth
Munchkin Step Diaper Pail
The Munchkin Step diaper pail with an optional baking soda cartridge is ready to handle some of the toughest smells you could throw its way.
For starters, this is a great option to consider if you’re specifically looking for something that can use ring refills or snap, seal and toss bags.
We also love how this pail offers a modern aesthetic that still keeps the nursery smelling good, which is something many pails on the market struggle to achieve. It’s not easy finding something that looks great and performs even better at the same time, but this option from Munchkin excels at both.
You can also use refill rings or bags that feature seven layers to prevent odors from invading your home.
Overall, this pail is an excellent option if you use disposable diapers and you don’t care much about having lots of color options to choose from. It controls odors pretty effectively, and the pedal means you don’t have to touch the bin when disposing of soiled diapers.
- A self-sealing system – which means that each time you close the lid, the bag is sealed
- Hands-free when opening
- Dual-refill compatibility, which means that you can use ring refills or refills bags
- Munchkin plants a tree each time a diaper pail is sold, so you’ll be doing your fair share for the environment
- No color options to choose from – this one only comes in white
- A narrow opening, which means that larger diapers (including cloth) may be a bit hard to squeeze into the pail
- Baking soda pucks costs extra
Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail
Does “step, drop, and done” sound good to you, especially for those early morning diaper changes? No bending involved, no having to squish any dirty diapers, and definitely no fumbling for a handle in the dark and waking your baby up!
There’s nothing worse than dropping a diaper bomb on the floor in the middle of the night, I know. Been there, done that, don’t want to experience that again! Not my definition of fun.
This model features an easy-access service door to use when it’s time to empty the pail, which means no heavy lifting is required on your part. It’s amazing how heavy a full bag can be, so this pail can really help save your back.
There’s also a child-safe cutter in there that allows you to cut the liner of the continuous refill. All you need to do is – as per the manufacturer’s directions – tie a knot on the full bag, and another one at the bottom of the refill to form the new bag.
Available in five color options, the Dékor also comes in three sizes, Mini, Classic, and Plus – so there’s a suitable option for everyone’s needs. The Plus size features a large 27 square inch opening that is great to use with cloth, and the Classic and Plus models will hold Dékor cloth diaper liners just fine.
- Access door means you won’t have to do heavy lifting
- Self-closing lid that barely makes any noise when shutting on its own – very useful for when you’re trying to get in and out of there in the middle of the night without waking everyone up
- Larger size could be used to store soiled adult diapers or even as a normal trash can, so this can easily serve as a multi-purpose model
- Some users complain that this model isn’t the best at preventing poop smells from invading nearby rooms, but this is usually the case when it’s not emptied regularly and is left to stack up
Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe
With so many options on the market, it can be challenging to decide what kind of diaper pail you want to use – but we’re here to simplify all of this, because it doesn’t have to be that difficult.
This Baby Trend option may be just the right choice for your nursery if you don’t want to be limited to expensive refills, and you’re looking for something that has large capacity.
Currently available in pink and taupe colors, the Baby Trend diaper pail can hold up to 30 dirty diapers at once, meaning you can spend less time taking out the trash and more time playing with your baby.
It’s not the most spacious option out there, with other options being able to hold 120+ at once, but it’s also not the smallest either. If you’re looking for something in the middle of two extremities, this could be just the right option for you.
You can use the same brand’s refills or your own plastic garbage bags to store disposables, the choice is entirely up to you. You can also use your cloth diaper bag if you prefer to have your little one in cloth instead of disposables.
Overall, we think this cute, user-friendly design is a very nice addition to ensure the nursery stays fresh-smelling. Once your baby’s diapering days are done, you can also use this nifty little bin for other tasks – such as storing pet wastes without the smells!
- You can use nearly any kind of bag
- Good option for storing cloth
- Can hold a decent number at once. Not the most, but not the least, either – a very good “somewhere in the middle” option
- This pail is somewhat on the short side, so taller parents may find themselves having to bend over
- Because it’s not the most spacious option on this list, you might find yourself having to push the diapers down to fit more of them in, which isn’t exactly a pleasant thought. If you know that having a pail that holds 30 diapers at once won’t be enough for you, then opt for something more spacious
Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail
The Safety 1st diaper pail is a great economical solution for parents looking to contain smells in a compact size. If you’re trying to steer away from some of the more expensive options out there, then this is a great budget-friendly option to consider.
Great things often come in small packages (your baby is the best example for that!), and this diaper pail is small enough to be tucked away nicely while keeping you from running the trash out with every diaper change.
This option is also easy to use with cloth, locking away smelly diapers and inserts until it’s time to wash.
Babies are expensive! All the baby gear means money out of your wallet, and it takes up considerable space in your home if you don’t plan things out properly. This model allows you to store whatever kind of diapers you prefer without costing a fortune, and without adding yet another large item to the nursery.
If you want something compact and simple without the need for expensive refills, the Safety 1st diaper pail might be just the right option for you.
- Features a comfortable, one-handed design
- Can use any bag of your choice
- Includes a deodorizer disk to combat harsh smells
- Is small and budget-friendly, with no expensive refills needed
- Good for cloth diapers
- It’s small, so it won’t hold as many in as some of the other options out there
- No foot pedal
- You may have to bend over to insert soiled diapers into the bin, so anyone with back problems might have a difficult time using this model
- Large cloth diapers or very large disposable ones will probably give you a hard time fitting through the opening
Tommee Tippee Simplee Diaper Pail Starter Set
For anyone wanting a smaller pail that can still do a good job at holding in smells, we think you should consider giving this option from Tommee Tippee a thought.
Compact enough to hide in cabinets or furniture, no one has to see (or smell!) the results of diaper changes.
This brand comes with four refill cartridges, which are a good value in two or four packs. The film used in the cartridges contains antibacterial ingredients to kill germs and bacteria, helping keep odors contained.
The Tommee Tippee is easy to use right out of the box, and you can choose from three color options–pink and white, grey and white, or blue and white.
Even though it’s small in stature, it can hold up to 18 diapers, and it’s quite simple to empty using the inbuilt cutter.
Overall, this model is a great option to consider, particularly if you use disposables and you’re looking for a discreet bin.
- Small and discreet, which means you can easily hide it under cabinets or inside furniture
- Cost-efficient refills
- Sleek design
- It’s quite small, so it will need to be emptied more frequently than some of the other larger options on the market
- No foot pedal
- Limited color options
- Not recommended for cloth
What Exactly is a Diaper Pail?
A diaper pail is a special trash container designed to hold used diapers. If you have a baby (or babies) at home but don’t have diaper pails, you don’t really have effective diaper disposal systems set in place.
It usually has a lid that seals and it’s usually lined with a kitchen trash bag. While some diaper pails require their own special bags, this isn’t the case with all diapers pails on the market, as others simply take standard ones. you might already have at home.
Not all diaper pails you can buy work the same way. On the contrary, they have various methods for containing the smell, including brands that twist the used diapers into the bag inside. This normally requires purchasing proprietary refill bags to line the pail, though.
If you use cloth rather than disposables, a diaper pail is particularly essential, as you’ll need somewhere to store the used diapers until it’s time to wash them. The longer you usually go before doing the next batch of laundry, the more important getting an effective diaper pail becomes.
In this case, you won’t be sealing up the diapers, but you will want some kind of pail liner to contain them so you can easily remove them to wash. After all, you don’t want to go fishing around in there trying to get the diapers out!
Do I Really Need a Diaper Pail?
I know what you’re thinking: Diaper pails can be quite pricey … and the truth is, you’re right. This is especially true when you also factor in the cost of buying the manufacturer’s bags needed to go inside them as well, which many pails require.
You might be tempted to save money while diapering and simply use a regular trash can with a lid that you empty on a daily basis. If that works for you, then that’s a reasonable alternative, and diaper pails definitely aren’t an essential piece of equipment to have at home for parents to survive.
Many parents wouldn’t be parted from their diaper pails, though, simply because of how easier it makes their lives. As parents and caregivers to little ones, I think I speak for everyone here when I say we could use every last bit of help we can get, whenever and wherever. At the end of the day, every last bit adds up!
If you find that your trash can is stinking up the nursery, or if you’re fed up from having to constantly put diapers into individual little bags that you then have to carry all the way to the trash, then a diaper pail could be a time-saving (and sanity-saving) solution that you’ll be way better off using to your advantage.
When Should I Buy a Diaper Pail?
Diaper pails prove to be most useful when you’re doing frequent changes – which basically means when your baby is still a newborn. So, you’ll want to have one ready at home well before your baby makes it home for the first time ever from the hospital after birth.
Even if you’re past that stage and didn’t invest in one at that time, you might very well still want to consider getting one once your little one starts on solids.
Considering that this is a phase in which you can usually expect dirty diapers to be a whole lot more smelly than they were before (especially if you were exclusively breastfeeding up till now), you might actually need a diaper pail now more than you did when baby was still in their newborn phase.
What Are the Benefits of Using a Diaper Pail?
Using a diaper pail has several clear benefits for you, most important of which are:
Contain and Mask Odor
There’s probably no parent out there who hasn’t, at least occasionally, recoiled in horror from the stench of a used diaper.
Let’s be real here, no matter how much we love our kids (and we all do – a lot), sometimes the smell is just too much to handle!
While you might not be able to escape the smell completely and all the time, a diaper pail should take care of containing as much of it as possible. And trust me, in these cases, any contained smell is better than no contained smell!
Many diaper pails even have systems to deodorize or filter the air, or have heavily fragranced liners to mask the considerably less pleasant smell of dirty diapers.
Keeps Diapers Separate from Other Household Waste
You probably don’t want to be faced with that used diaper smell every single time you open your trash can to throw something away.
By keeping used diapers stored on their own somewhere they don’t come in contact with anything else, you’ll preserve your trash can for slightly less stinky waste.
Stores Wet and Dirty Cloth Diapers Safely
If your little one wears cloth instead of disposables, you definitely need somewhere to store them in until you’re ready to wash them.
This is probably going to happen every day or every other day, depending on how large your stash of diapers is and what your laundry schedule looks like.
A pail stores these safely until you’re ready to give them a wash. You don’t want to just chuck them all in a bucket on the floor or leave them in a bag that could tip and spill – that’s a terrible idea and, trust me, you don’t want to learn that lesson the hard way!
Just make sure you know how to keep those cloth diapers smelling (fairly) fresh.
What Should I Look For When Choosing a Diaper Pail?
There are lots of different diaper pails out there for you to choose from, and for something that’s solely designed to hold used diapers, you might feel there’s an excessive amount of options!
There’s no reason to feel overwhelmed or confused, though, as all of these different options work in essentially the same way. They have a deep pail plus a lid, and normally require some kind of liner. Some pails have scented liners or air filters of some sort to help further reduce smells as well.
Anyways, regardless of whatever type of diaper pail you opt for, you’ll want to find something that has:
Good Odor Control
The whole point of a diaper pail is to keep the stink contained, so if the pail you’re considering buying doesn’t do that effectively, it’s not going to be of much use to you.
There are lots of different systems that manufacturers use to try to eliminate the odors associated with used diapers. All of these different options aim to achieve the same end result (containing smells as much as possible), but different ones do so in different ways.
To figure out whether the diaper pail you’re considering is effective, ask any parents you know who’ve used it before to share their experiences with you, or take a look at online reviews and see what other parents have to say about this point specifically.
Reasonably Low Ongoing Costs
Many diaper pails come with proprietary liners that you need to use in order for the pail to work correctly, particularly if it seals or twists the liner in some way as each diaper is placed into it.
The cost of these can really add up over time, as they tend to be quite a bit pricier than standard trash bags made for everyday use.
To be sure about what you’re getting yourself into, you’ll want to check how much the refill liners cost, and whether you can substitute regular trash bags instead (either on a regular basis, or as an occasional “oh no, we’re out of liners!” one-off kind of thing).
With cloth diaper pails, you might even consider going the DIY route and making your own liner.
Easy to Use
Obviously, you don’t want to get something with a lid that sticks at a critical moment, or one where you find that the diapers don’t fall neatly inside but instead have to be shoved down by hand (yuck!).
Most diaper pails have a foot pedal, making them easy to open hands-free – but others have different opening methods, like a button on top that you press to open a hole in the lid.
There’s different mechanisms to working different diaper pails, so make sure you choose something you know you’re going to be comfortable using on a daily basis.
Suitable for the Type of Diapers You Use
Many diaper pails can be used with both disposables and cloth – but always check the manufacturer’s guidelines first to be sure, as some won’t really work with cloth diapers. (You probably don’t want your cloth diapers individually sealed in plastic!).
If you’re using cloth, you may well want to opt for something specifically designed for them, as many of these will come with a washable cloth liner rather than a disposable liner.
With cloth diapers, you can opt for a wet pail rather than a dry pail to pre-soak them before washing. This isn’t something very commonly done these days, though, as modern cloth diapers are generally best stored “dry” rather than soaked.
The Right Size for Your Needs
Some diaper pails are huge, being capable of holding as many as 270 diapers at once! On the other hand, others are much more compact, being capable of holding just 18 at once. And then you have the regular ones capable of holding a number in between these two extremities.
The perfect option for you depends on how much space you have available in your nursery (or wherever your go-to changing table is situated), and on how often you’re willing to empty the diaper pail.
If you don’t mind emptying it once every couple of days, then a relatively small pail should be fine.
How Many Diaper Pails Should I Buy?
If you pretty much always change your baby’s diaper at their changing station, then one diaper pail should be all you need. You can just add it as an addition to your changing area, and pop the used diapers straight into it.
If you’re likely to carry out changes all over the house and use a portable diaper changing table and portable diaper caddy, though, it might well make sense to purchase a second additional one for use downstairs.
Keep in mind that if you’ve bought a fairly small diaper pail, you should be able to move it around relatively easily if you need to, but make sure it’s portable first so that you avoid any unpleasant surprises after it’s too late.
Having a portable diaper pail is a great idea, as you probably won’t want to have too many different pails to empty and reline!
If you use a mix of both cloth and disposables (you might use cloth during the day and disposables at night or when going out of the house), then it might well make sense to have two different pails for each. You’ll need one for cloth diapers and another for disposable ones.
If you only use one or two disposable diapers a day, though, then you might be happy to simply wrap those in diaper bags and pop them outside in the trash.
Wrapping it Up
Diaper pails aren’t necessarily something you absolute need to have, but many parents find that they make their lives a whole lot easier (and more pleasantly fragranced).
By shopping around for the right diaper pail for you and your needs, and knowing what it is exactly you should be looking for – regardless of whatever type of diapers you use, you can ensure that you’ll have somewhere safe to throw them in and keep everything as hygienic as possible.
If one of the main reasons you hate dealing with your little one’s diapers is because of the smell, then this is a great first step in the right direction!
Unfortunately, we don’t have a way to get your baby to stop dirtying their diapers to begin with just yet (how cool would that be?!), but we do have an awesome an effective solution to recommend until a scientific breakthrough happens one day: diaper pails!