Baby in diaper lying on plush blanket

The Best Diaper Pails for Storing Your Baby’s Surprises (2017 Reviews & Buyer's Guide)

Published June 7, 2017

Your baby is super adorable, but you could definitely live without the dirty diapers she produces. What are you supposed to do with them anyway? Should you throw them in your regular trash can?

Not unless you want to end up with a smell that never ends.

If you’ve found your baby’s changing table, crib and bottles, now you need to find that one item that will be just as important to you -- the best diaper pail you can get your hands on.

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Do I Really Need a Diaper Pail?

If you aren’t a mom yet, you’ll be amazed at how many diaper changes you’ll be doing per day. A good rule of thumb is that your baby will have to be changed every 2 to 3 hours for a total of approximately 10 times a day (source).

Fun Fact

At 10 times a day, you’ll be changing about 3,650 diapers during the course of the year. That’s a lot of diapers. You won’t want to carry those outside every time your baby has a diaper change.

But you also won’t want them in the kitchen garbage can, unless you’re using it as a diet aid -- you’ll feel so sick every time you smell those dirty diapers, you won’t want to grab something to eat!

I thought diaper pails were an unnecessary purchase when I was pregnant with my baby so I just put a small, ordinary garbage pail in my baby’s room. But once I had my baby, my tune changed pretty quickly. Within two months, I was searching for diaper pails online. I couldn’t wait to have one in my baby’s nursery.

I had quickly learned that even dumping those diapers once a day out of a regular garbage wasn’t enough. They still stunk up my baby’s nursery and I couldn’t even catch a whiff of that sweet newborn smell over the stench.

Although I loved her nursery, I wanted to spend as little time as possible in there because of the smell. But once my diaper pail arrived in the mail, that stench was a thing of the past. Somehow that diaper pail really managed to contain the odors.

How Does a Diaper Pail Contain Odors?

Diaper pails use one primary way in which they stop that odor from exiting the pail and entering your nostrils -- they make a tight seal.

A regular garbage can might be completely open. Other garbage cans have loose-fitting lids that do little to contain the smell. But diaper pails have tight seals designed 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 will be if she starts formula feeding.

Formula fed babies tend to have stinkier diapers than breastfed babies (source).

If your baby is breastfeeding, you can try to hold off on the diaper pail if you want to, but I preferred to keep my baby’s nursery as fresh smelling as possible. It was where I rocked her to sleep at night so I didn’t want anything distracting me from those precious moments.

What Should I Look For in a Diaper Pail?

There are a lot of factors you should look at when selecting a diaper pail. As a new mom, some of these items are things you would never even think about until you have become an experienced mom and you’ve survived your first few weeks of diaper changes.

You might want to consider these factors before buying a diaper pail.

  • How difficult the bag change is: One of the diaper pails I was looking at before making my purchase looked pretty sweet. But a friend of mine told me she had bought that kind and had returned it because the bag change was too complicated for her to figure out. My friend is a smart, capable woman and I soon learned that she wasn’t alone when it came to not being able to figure out the bag changes on these things. Some of them can be incredibly complicated.

  • How much the bags cost: You might not think the diaper pail you’re looking at costs very much, but you need to look at the total cost. The refill bags might bleed you dry, especially if you frequently change the diaper pail.

  • How easy it is to use: Ideally, you’ll have a hands-free diaper pail that you’ll be able to use even when you have your baby in your arms.

  • Does it stop the odor: This is one of the key reasons for buying a diaper pail so you want to make sure it delivers when it comes to containing the stench. A good diaper pail won’t eliminate the smell, but it will trap it.

Don’t Worry About Appearance

Normally when it comes to the appearance of the baby gear you order, you get caught up in having things look just so. But with diaper pails, that pressure is off.

Appearance really should be the last thing you concern yourself with -- although there are some attractive and flashy-looking diaper pails out there.

Your baby won’t care or even know what the pail looks like, but she may notice if something smells unpleasant. And you’ll certainly notice every time you step foot in that room. So to make sure you’re happy with your purchase, focus on whether a diaper pail will be easy on your nose, not easy on your eyes.

Don’t Forget a Child-Proof Lock

Before you make that final decision about which diaper pail best suits your needs, consider whether you want a child-proof lock on that pail. And I strongly recommend that you answer yes to that.

A child-proof lock can give you immense peace of mind. And it will stop your baby from being too curious for her own good.

Once babies can walk they’ll start getting into everything. If you take your eyes off your baby for just one minute, she might get her arm stuck in the diaper pail. She might even think that the top of the pail is the perfect place to put her favorite stuffed animal or pacifier. And once something goes into the depths of the diaper pail, you won’t ever want your baby to use it again. No pacifier is worth that retrieval effort!


The Best Diaper Pail for Cloth Diapers

When you look for a diaper pail for cloth diapers, you need to think big. Cloth diapers tend to be bulkier than disposable diapers. So you’ll need a diaper pail that is bigger.

If you don’t want to get a bigger can because you think it’s overkill, that’s fine -- just be prepared to empty your diaper pail every day or two.

Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail, White

This diaper pail gives you the choice of three different colors, but more importantly, it has triple odor control. That helps keep the odor in the pail and out of the air.

Moms who plan to use cloth diapers are usually more environmentally friendly, so they should love that this diaper pail can serve another purpose long after your baby is out diapers. It can be converted from a diaper pail into a trash can.

The harder plastic that is used to make this pail doesn’t absorb the odors the way softer plastic does. Remember when I said I used a trash can initially for my baby’s diapers? It was a softer plastic and that nasty smell would never leave -- even after I dumped all the diapers and rinsed the can. But that doesn’t happen with metal pails or harder plastics like the Dekor Classic.

Moms should also love that this can is hands-free.

PROS

  • A simple step opens this diaper pail.
  • It’s a pretty affordable pail.
  • While this pail is roomy enough for cloth diapers, it still will fit well in a small nursery.

CONS

  • When you open the can, you can catch a puff of bad-smelling air because the bag doesn’t twist to close off the smell entirely.
  • It might get expensive in the long-term since you’ll use a lot bags since disposables take up more room.

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The Best Diaper Pail for Disposable Diapers

When it comes to disposable diapers, you want a pail that is easy to use -- one that won’t trick you with complicated bag systems. It should also be inexpensive for refill bags and well-designed enough that it can control the stench that will drive you from your baby’s room.

Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe

Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe, Grey/white

This diaper pail offers you Diaper Champ refill bags which promise great odor control. Or you can use whichever 13-gallon garbage bag you want. That gives you greater control on how much money you want to sink into your diaper pail.

This diaper pail will hold 30 diapers, which gives you three days between having to change the liner. Having a pail that holds more diapers like this is a good thing because you won’t have to spend as much money on garbage bags or liners. That is often the most expensive part of having a diaper pail.

Some diaper pails are hard to figure out, but this one is easy. It’s a straightforward design that you should be able to figure out even without looking at the directions. I feel like a diaper pail shouldn’t leave you feeling like you’re the village idiot.

PROS

  • It’s affordable.
  • It holds a large number of diapers.
  • It’s easy to use.

CONS

  • You have to open the pail with your hands.
  • Toddlers will be able to throw their toys into this pail.

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The Best Diaper Pail for Twins

Twins are a blessing in almost every way -- except when it comes to diaper changes. You’ll need a big diaper pail if you don’t want to be emptying it daily. With two babies to change, you’re going to have about 20 dirty diapers every day.

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail with Odor Lock Technology, White

Diaper Genies are popular with new moms because they really are a champion when it comes to controlling odor. It has a built-in carbon filter which helps immensely with the smell. It also relies on an airtight clamp to keep the odors in too.

For twins, this pail will hold about two days worth of diapers. And you won’t have to use your hands to open this pail -- it has a foot pedal. Unlike some other foot pedal diaper pails, this one has a fairly large opening at the top. That means you won’t have to squish the diaper just to get it to go into the pail. That’s a big relief when you’re holding a baby or you’re in a hurry to warm up a bottle.

When it comes time to change this bag, you tilt the bin forward, use the built-in cutter to cut the bag and then you tie a knot.

PROS

  • There is more than one color to choose from.
  • The front tilt emptying system makes taking the dirties away a lot easier.
  • The height of this pail is nice -- you won’t have to bend and stoop.

CONS

  • Some moms have had trouble with the diapers not wanting to fully drop in past the second trapdoor so they have to reach into the diaper pail and push them through.
  • Some moms have had problems with the lid popping off.

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The Best Affordable Diaper Pail

New parents-to-be are often surprised at how quickly their purchases can drain any kind of savings they have. Babies need so much gear that you need to cut corners wherever you can.

Fortunately, there are diaper pails out there that won’t break your budget while protecting your nose.

Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

This inexpensive diaper pail won’t put much of a dent in your budget. And when it comes time to put liners in, you won’t feel like you’re lining it with dollar bills. You can use regular garbage bags in this diaper pail.

To help combat odors, this diaper pail comes with a deodorizer disc. When that outlives it usefulness, you can start using baking soda in the diaper pail to control the odor instead.

If you’re rolling up your baby’s diapers tightly, this diaper pail can fit up to 50 smaller diapers. But for holding so many diapers, this pail doesn’t take up a ton of space. My daughter’s nursery was small and some of the larger diaper pails would have taken up way too much room. You won’t have that problem with this one -- it fits in tiny spaces.

PROS

  • For as simple as it is, it does a decent job of fighting odor.
  • It’s affordable.
  • There is a spot in the lid for an air freshener.

CONS

  • Some moms have had problems with the springs from the lid breaking off.
  • The hole where you put the diapers in is pretty small.

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The Best Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Using your hands to pry open the lid of a diaper pail is a pain in the butt. Plus it gets you even closer to the odor you’re trying to dodge.

When you use a hands-free diaper pail, you can hold your baby while stepping on a pedal to open the lid of the diaper pail. It’s nice to spend less time touching your diaper pail and more time touching your baby.

Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

Munchkin Step Diaper Pail Powered by Arm & Hammer

Parents who are friends to the environment may feel good about this purchase. For every diaper pail that is bought, Munchkin plants a tree.

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. That helps keep odors out of your nursery. Even when you open the lid to put the next dirty diaper in you won’t be hit by a puff of foul-smelling air.

To help fight smells even more, it comes with a lavender-scented baking soda freshener.

When you go to refill the liners, you can choose which method works best for you -- rings or snap seal and toss bags.

You won’t have to put your baby down to use this diaper pail -- you can use the step pedal to open the lid.

PROS

  • Foot pedal gives you a hands-free option.
  • The front swings open when you need to remove the bag.
  • It has a sleek-looking design.

CONS

  • The opening is small so you have to swish diapers through.
  • Some moms say they have to push the lid closed to fully seal it.

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The Best Hanging Diaper Pail

When your living quarters are so tight, there’s no way you can shoehorn in a diaper pail, you have a great alternative to fall back on -- hanging diaper pails. You can put these on a doorknob or a hook you install on your baby’s changing table.

Charlie Banana Hanging Diaper Pail

Charlie Banana Hanging Diaper Pail, White

Parents who don’t like the idea of a traditional diaper pail may like this washable one. You’ll never have to worry about having a diaper pail that absorbs the odor of the diapers permanently because when this one becomes funky, you can just toss it in the wash after you empty it.

It’ll fit on any doorknob or hook, leaving your floor space open.

This can be used for disposable diapers, but it’s also a great 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 a laundry bag for anyone in your household.

PROS

  • More affordable than traditional diaper pails.
  • It comes in three different colors.
  • It’s waterproof to avoid leaks.

CONS

  • You might get more odor with this bag since it doesn’t seal as completely as a traditional pail.
  • Some moms have had problems with the fabric melting in the dryer.

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The Best Steel Diaper Pail

Because you’ll keep several days worth of disposable diapers in your diaper pail, it needs to have excellent odor control so you aren’t tempted to run out to your outside garbage every time you change your child’s diaper. Your best bet for odor control might be a metal pail.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

Ubbi Money Saving, No Special Bag Required, Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail, Navy

The powder coated steel used in this diaper pail won’t absorb the odors, which means when you throw the diapers out, you’ll also be tossing out the smell. It also has rubber seals to make sure the smell stays in the pail and out of the nursery.

The nice thing about this pail is that it doesn’t require any special bags, which will save you money because you can just buy any inexpensive tall kitchen bag you find.

To make sure your baby can’t start using the diaper pail as a place where he places all his toys, it has a childproof safety lock. That will save you a lot of aggravation. The slow-closing lid is a nice touch. If your baby gets the pail open, he’ll be able to move his arm out of the way before the lid lands on it.

PROS

  • You’ll be able to find a color to go with any nursery decor -- there are 17 colors to choose from.
  • You won’t spend much money on refill bags.
  • It has a slow-close lid for added protection of children.
  • It can hold 50 diapers.

CONS

  • If you rinse this pail, you’ll need to completely dry it otherwise the screws will rust.
  • The opening where you put diapers in is really small.

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And The Winner Is...

I love the Ubbi Steel diaper pail. In my experience, metal seems to absorb less of the odors you’re trying to avoid than plastic does. The rubber seals really seem to work with this pail.

The fact that this pail doesn’t require special, expensive refill bags is another reason I love it. Plus, the childproof lock will keep your baby from sticking an arm or a favorite toy down the hole amongst all those gross-smelling diapers.

It holds a lot of diapers, and while appearance isn’t the most important thing when buying a diaper pail, I have to admit I love the sleek design and variety of colors.

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Jenny Silverstone
 

Jenny is just another Mom trying to do her Best. She loves organizing things into lists and helping others find what they are looking for. When she's not using her powers to find her kids missing socks, you can find her giving actionable parenting advice & buyers guides at MomLovesBest.com

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