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Best Diaper Pails of 2021

Updated
Contain that outrageous stink.

A good diaper pail can be hard to find. Too many options don’t fully contain that nasty stench.

After hearing many complaints, we made it our mission to seek out only the best diaper pails. We spent hours researching all the current options, listening to reviews from parents and caregivers alike.

We’ve rounded up the top seven diaper pails to rid your nursery of diaper odors. It will soon smell as sweet as your baby does — when their diaper is clean.

Our Top Picks

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Image
Model
Product Comparison Table
Features

Product Image of the Ubbi Steel Odor Locking, No Special Bag Required Money Saving, Awards-Winning,...
Best Steel Pail
Ubbi Steel Pail
  • Slow-close lid prevents pinched fingers
  • Holds 55 diapers
  • Environment friendly
Product Image of the Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail | White | Easiest to Use | Just Step –...
Best for Odor Control
Dekor Classic
  • Simple to open
  • Award winning product
  • Fits well in small nurseries
Product Image of the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail Powered by Arm & Hammer, Includes (1) Bonus Toss...
Best Hands-Free
Munchkin Step
  • Foot pedal makes it hands-free
  • Self-sealing system
  • Sleek-looking design
Product Image of the Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Pail with Built-In Odor Controlling Antimicrobial,...
Best for Twins
Playtex Diaper Genie
  • Several colors to choose from
  • Front tilt emptying system
  • Built-in carbon filter
Product Image of the Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail (7 gallon: 1-2 days) by Busch Systems
Most Stylish Diaper Pail
Busch Systems Odorless
  • Stylish and cute
  • Works with cloth diapers
  • Locked handles prevent spills
Product Image of the Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail
Best Budget Pick
Safety 1st Easy Saver
  • One-hand operation
  • Affordable
  • Fits up to 50 smaller diapers
Product Image of the Charlie Banana Baby Waterproof Reusable and Washable Hanging Diaper Pail and...
Best Hanging Pail
Charlie Banana Hanging
  • Eco-friendly
  • 3 color options
  • Waterproof

Are Diaper Pails Necessary?

If you aren’t a mom yet, you may be surprised by how many diapers you’ll change in a day. A good rule of thumb is that your baby will have to be changed every 2 to 3 hours, or up to 10 times per day.

Fun Fact

At 10 diaper changes per day, your baby will burn through about 3,650 diapers in the first year alone. You’re going to want a good system for storing and disposing of all those stinky diapers and wipes.

Taking each diaper outside is a hassle. But you also don’t want dirty diapers in the kitchen garbage can — unless you’re using it as a diet aid. Continually walking by those dirty diapers could make you permanently lose your appetite!

I learned quickly after my first baby was born that using a regular garbage can and disposing of diapers once a day wasn’t enough. They still stunk up my baby’s nursery, and I couldn’t catch a whiff of that sweet newborn smell over the stench.

But once my diaper pail arrived in the mail, that stench was a thing of the past. Somehow that single item really managed to contain all those evil odors.

How Does a Diaper Pail Work?

Diaper pails have one primary way of stopping that odor from exiting the pail and entering your nostrils — they make a super tight seal.

A regular garbage can might be completely open. Other garbage cans have loose-fitting lids that do little to contain the odor. But disposal units designed for babies have tight seals meant to keep the nasty air in.

When Should I Start Using a Diaper Pail?

You can start using a diaper pail as soon as you bring your baby home from the hospital, but your baby’s first diapers won’t be as foul-smelling as the ones they’ll make after starting formula or solids. Formula-fed babies tend to have stinkier diapers than breastfed babies.

If your baby is breastfeeding, you can try to hold off on purchasing a diaper pail, but if you prefer to keep your baby’s nursery as fresh-smelling as possible, it’s best to have one right from the start. You don’t want anything distracting you from those precious moments with your sweet baby.

How to Choose a Diaper Pail

These are the factors we considered when searching for the best diaper pails.

  • How difficult the bag change is: Some diaper pails have complicated sealing systems, making it difficult to change the liners. We prefer a system that’s easy to drop a liner into and doesn’t require ten minutes and both hands to refill.
  • Bag cost: Don’t just search for the cheapest diaper pail; you need to look at the total cost. The refill bags might bleed you dry, especially if you’re making frequent changes. If money is a top priority, look for a brand that works with regular trash bags.
  • Ease of use: The best diaper pails can be operated hands free, which allows you to dump diapers with one hand while you hold your baby in your other.
  • Odor prevention: This is one of the main reasons for buying a diaper pail in the first place, so you want to make sure it actually contains the stench. A good diaper pail won’t eliminate the odor, but it will trap it.

Don’t Forget a Child-Proof Lock

Before you make the final decision about which model to buy, consider getting one with a child-proof lock. A child-proof lock can prevent babies from getting hurt or from being too curious for their own good.

Once babies can walk, they get into everything. If you take your eyes off them for just one minute, they might get an arm stuck in the diaper pail, or worse, think it’s the perfect place to stash a favorite stuffed animal or pacifier.

Trust me: once something enters those diaper-y depths, you won’t ever want your baby to use it again. No pacifier is worth that retrieval effort!


The Best Diaper Pails of 2021

Here are the best diaper pails on the market.

1. Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Best Steel Diaper Pail

The powder-coated steel used by the Ubbi Diaper Pail won’t absorb any odors, which means when you throw the diapers out, you’re also tossing out the smell. Rubber seals ensure any diaper smell stays in the pail.

The nice thing about this pail is that it doesn’t require any special bags, which will save you money because you can just use any inexpensive trash bags you have on hand.

To make sure your baby doesn’t use the pail as an impromptu toy box, it has a childproof safety lock, which will save you a lot of aggravation. The slow-closing lid is also a nice touch as it prevents little fingers from getting pinched as the lid closes.

Pros

  • There are 21 lovely colors to choose from.
  • Works with regular trash bags.
  • Slow-closing lid prevents pinched fingers.
  • Made with environmentally friendly steel.

Cons

  • Hardware rusts if pail isn’t completely dried after cleaning.
  • Small opening for diapers.

2. Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Best Diaper Pail for Odor Control

This pail comes in three different colors. But more importantly, it has triple odor control, which keeps the smell in the pail and out of the air.

The Dekor Classic is more than just a diaper pail. It converts to a regular trash can, so it lasts longer than the diaper years. And the hard plastic doesn’t absorb odors like the softer plastics on other models.

But our favorite feature of this diaper pail is that the foot pedal allows it to be used hands free. This makes it easy to dispose of dirty diapers while still holding your baby — a consideration that’s lacking in some other diaper pail designs.

Pros

  • Simple to open.
  • It’s a pretty affordable pail.
  • Roomy enough for cloth diapers but still fits in a small nursery.

Cons

  • The bag doesn’t seal off completely, allowing for some minor odor leakage upon opening the lid.
  • Refill bags are costly.

3. Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

Best Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Environmentally conscious parents will feel good about this purchase. For every diaper pail purchased, Munchkin plants a tree. And one of the best features is that you don’t have to set your baby down to use this diaper pail as it includes a step pedal.

This diaper pail uses a self-sealing system so the bag closes when the lid does. That means that your refill bag will be twisted tightly whenever you close the lid, which keeps odors out of your nursery. Even when you open the lid to add the next dirty diaper, you won’t be hit by a puff of diaper smell. When you refill the liners, you can choose which method works best for you: rings or seal-and-toss bags.

To help fight stench even more, this diaper pail comes with a lavender-scented baking soda freshener.

Pros

  • Foot pedal allows for hands-free operation.
  • The front swings open when you need to remove the bag.
  • Sleek-looking design.

Cons

  • The opening is small, so you have to squash diapers through.
  • Lid can be tricky to seal fully.

4. Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

Best Diaper Pail for Twins

Diaper Genies are popular with new moms because they’re champions when it comes to controlling odors. This unit has a built-in carbon filter which is great for eliminating smells, and it contains an airtight clamp to trap odors in the bag.

This hands-free diaper pail can hold up to two days’ worth of diapers, making this a great option for families with twins or more than one child in diapers.

Unlike some other diaper pails, this one has a fairly large opening at the top, which means you don’t have to squish the diaper to get it to go inside. That’s a big relief when the diaper is especially messy or if you’re holding a baby in one arm.

Diaper Genies require the use of special bags, which can get costly. When the diaper pail is full, simply tilt the bin forward, use the built-in cutter to cut the bag, and tie a knot to seal the bag at the bottom to continue using it.

Pros

  • Taller pail holds more diapers and requires less bending!
  • Comes in multiple color options.
  • The front-tilt emptying system makes it easy to dispose of dirty diapers.

Cons

  • Diapers sometimes stick between seals, requiring some extra effort to push them down.
  • Sometimes has issues with lid popping off.

5. Busch Systems Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail

Most Stylish Diaper Pail

Busch Systems’ odorless cloth diaper pail is the best option for any style of nursery. It comes in a soft white color with gray handles. The little bear on the top of the lid is a cute accessory your kids will love!

This pail has a carbon filter that lets air in but keeps odors out. The plastic handles lock the lid on so no sneaky smells can escape and little ones can’t get into the contents.

We also love this pail for its small size. It’s 17.4 x 13.3 x 13.3 inches, so it fits in small nurseries. Tuck it away in a corner to be more discreet.

Whether you use disposable or cloth diapers, this diaper pail is an awesome solution. It holds about two days’ worth of cloth diapers, depending on your baby. Just be sure to clean the pail out once a week or so to keep it super fresh and clean.

Pros

  • Stylish design fits most interior styles.
  • Carbon filter keeps odors out.
  • Locked handles prevent spills.
  • Holds two days’ worth of diapers.

Cons

  • Lid is hard to open, especially with one hand.
  • Smaller design requires more frequent emptying.

6. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

Best Budget Diaper Pail

This inexpensive pail won’t put much of a dent in your budget. And you won’t feel like you’re lining it with dollar bills since regular trash bags work great.

To help combat odors, this diaper pail comes with a deodorizer disc. When that outlives its usefulness, you can use baking soda to control the odor.

If you roll your baby’s diapers tightly, this unit can fit up to 50 smaller diapers, but it doesn’t take up a ton of space.

Pros

  • Basic design does a decent job of fighting odor.
  • Very affordable option.
  • Lid includes space for an air freshener.

Cons

  • Springs from the lid tend to break off.
  • The hole where you insert the diapers in is pretty small.

7. Charlie Banana Hanging Diaper Pail

Best Hanging Diaper Pail

Parents who don’t like the idea of a traditional diaper pail may like this washable alternative. A hanging bag won’t absorb diaper odors because you can toss it in the wash after you empty it.

This hanging diaper pail by Charlie Banana saves space as it fits on any doorknob or hook, leaving your valuable floor space free.

This hanging pail works great for disposable diapers, but it’s also a good choice for cloth diapers. If you’re using cloth diapers, which tend to be bigger and bulkier, it can hold about 25. When you’re ready to wash your cloth diapers, there is a big zipper on the side of the bag that gives you more room to dump them out.

After your baby grows out of diapers, you can use it as an ordinary laundry bag.

Pros

  • More affordable than traditional diaper pails.
  • Comes in three different colors.
  • Waterproof fabric prevents leaks.

Cons

  • Odors may escape the opening as it doesn’t seal tightly.
  • Fabric might melt in the dryer.

Headshot of Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Reviewed by

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC

Katelyn Holt RN, BSN, BC is a cardiology nurse and freelance medical writer. Katelyn has 8 years of nursing experience inpatient and outpatient, primarily medical-surgical and cardiac. After having two children she has a passion for Women’s Health and Lactation teaching and support.

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