Reporting for Duty: 12 Best Diaper Changing Pads

When diaper duty calls, be sure you have one of these reliable changing pads on hand.
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By Emma O'Regan-Reidy, E-Commerce Editor
Updated June 6, 2023
Best Changing Pads
Image: Walmart
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Babies go through a lot of diapers, and while a changing pad may seem unnecessary to the uninitiated, seasoned parents will tell you that having a dedicated space for changing nappies makes life infinitely easier. Baby changing pads help keep your little one comfortable, safe and secured during daily diaper duty. Trust us, you really don’t want to get baby poop on your expensive duvet cover—it doesn’t come out! But with all the diaper changing pad options out there, finding the right one can be overwhelming. Cut to the chase with our list of favorites, from the best changing table pads to portable and disposable options that’ll make diaper duty just a little less messy. Below, check out our top picks and read expert-backed advice for safety tips and shopping.

Do I Need a Baby Changing Pad?

You may be wondering: Do I need a baby changing pad? Technically, it’s not a necessity, but it will make the first few years with your little one a lot easier. “Changing pads are very helpful in the constant diaper changing life of a new parent,” says Loretta Cody, MD, a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), “most U.S. parents will go through nearly 3,000 diapers during their baby’s first year alone.” With that in mind, a changing pad will most likely be a major part of your daily routine.

While the AAP notes that almost any area of your home (or even the backseat of your car) can serve as a changing spot for baby in a pinch, a changing pad “can be helpful in protecting your changing table, crib, bed, floor or wherever else you may choose to set up shop.”

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Baby Changing Pad Safety Tips

As with any type of baby gear, there are safety tips to consider when using a diaper changing pad. Cody reminds caregivers to never let children sleep in baby changing mats; likewise, they should never be left unattended. Moreover, she recommends “keeping one hand on baby at all times when changing them.” To make your job easier, ensure that your diaper essentials—like creams and wipes are within reach of the pad. Lastly, always read the product’s instructions before use to ensure your child doesn’t exceed the weight and age limit.

Types of Diaper Changing Pads

Not sure where to start when it comes to picking out a diaper changing pad? We’ve got you covered. Below, check out our guide to three types of changing pads to consider as you shop:

  • Contoured changing pads. “A contoured design is comfortable and safer,” says Cody. Thanks to the curved, raised walls of these mats, there’s less chance of baby rolling and falling. Some designs even have three or four sides for added protection.
  • Portable changing pads. A parent’s (diaper) duty is never done. For those on-the-go diaper changes outside the house, a trusty portable changing pad is a lifesaver. You never know where you’ll have to plunk baby down, but at least you’ll have a clean, soft surface ready when you need it.
  • Disposable changing pads. Things can get messy fast. Instead of hunting around for a fresh changing pad cover at 2 a.m., many parents appreciate the convenience of disposable changing pads. No more wiping pads down or tossing covers in the laundry—with disposable changing pads, you’ll always have a clean changing pad at the ready.

What To Look For In a Baby Changing Pad

On the hunt for a diaper changing pad? Keep the following aspects in mind to streamline your shopping experience:

  • Waterproof surfaces. Put simply, “diaper changing is a messy business,” says Cody. To ensure baby is always on a clean surface, opt for a changing pad that’s waterproof and wipes off easily. Cody also advises parents to steer clear of mats that can absorb urine or bowel movements, as this will make them unsanitary.
  • Safety features. Cody suggests that parents choose changing pads with safety straps. These should attach to the changing table and buckle baby in to keep them secure.
  • Non-toxic materials. Last but not least, Cody recommends picking a diaper changing pad made from non-toxic materials. After all, the surface will regularly come into contact with baby’s sensitive skin on a daily basis.

Best Baby Changing Pads to Shop

Now that you have all the facts, you’ll be ready to pick out a top-notch baby changing pad for your family. From portable and waterproof designs to contoured and ergonomic options, check out our favorites below.

Overall best baby changing pad

Summer Contoured Changing Pad
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Contoured sides and safety belt to keep baby secure
  • 100% waterproof material
  • Ultra-lightweight
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say the quilted material holds stains

The Summer Infant Contoured Changing Pad is one of the best changing pads out there. Let us explain: The raised sides and quick-release safety belt keep baby from easily rolling off—plus, the bottom security strap can be attached to a changing table to keep the pad from moving. What’s more, the vinyl coating easily wipes clean in case an epic blowout seeps through the cover, and the foam pad is comfortable and durable. For added convenience (and parents of multiples!), packs of two are also available.

Dimensions: 32” (L) x 16” (W) x 3.5” (H) | Weight: 0.032 oz. | Material: PEVA vinyl

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Best changing pad for dresser

Skip Hop Baby Changing Pad
Image: Skip Hop
What We Love
  • Contoured, cushioned mat easily wipes clean
  • Equipped with a safety belt
  • Features a toy bar that can be tucked away
Things To Consider
  • Changing pad can only face one direction
  • Supports up to 30 lbs.
  • Do not immerse in water

Baby is sure to be captivated by this top-notch changing pad for dressers. Your little one will love the cute toy bar, complete with a smiling sun and a plush cloud. (Who knew a baby changing pad could also improve your little one’s gross motor skills?) Plus, you’ll love the wipeable, contoured cushion pad, the non-skid base and the safety belt. One possible disadvantage: The changing pad can only be set up from left to right; if it’s set up in the other direction, the safety belt may be too low on baby.

Dimensions: 31.5” (L) x 18.25” (W) x 2.5” (H) | Weight: 5 lbs. | Material: Foam

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Best portable changing pad

Baby Changing Pad by Lil Fox
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon| $23.99
What We Love
  • Can be unfolded with one hand
  • Features several pockets for diaper changing essentials and storage
  • Comes in a variety of colors and designs
Things To Consider
  • Some parents say it’s bigger than they anticipated it to be

Sometimes, duty calls while you’re out and about, which is where a high-quality portable changing pad comes in clutch. Luckily with this design, you’ll be able to set up a clean, secure surface in no time and with only one hand. Features you’ll love include two storage pockets (one fits up to five diapers, and the other is perfect for wipes), a memory foam pillow for baby, a zip pocket for essentials (think keys, creams or even your phone) and the 100 percent waterproof material. Better yet, this travel changing pad also has a hook so you can tote it on your stroller.

Dimensions: 13.8” (L) x 8.4” (W) x 1.6” (H) | Weight: 7.04 oz. | Material: Polyether thane

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Best waterproof changing pad

Munchkin Secure Grip Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad
Image: Walmart
What We Love
  • Has extra grip strips to keep it in place
  • Features a safety belt and contoured sides
  • Made from waterproof materials
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say the sticky grip strips left marks on their dressers and changing tables
  • Not suitable for newborns younger than one month

The best changing pads are those that are waterproof. Take this design from Munchkin, for instance. Its surface is wipeable, so you can clean up messes in no time—plus, it’s made from foam, resulting in a mat that’s equal parts functional and comfortable. Thanks to extra grip strips, you can expect this baby changing pad to stay in place during diaper duty. The safety belt will also keep your little one secure, whether it’s 4 p.m. or 4 a.m..

Dimensions: 31.5” (L) x 16” (W) x 4.25” (H) | Weight: 1.8 lbs. | Material: Polyurethane foam and cotton

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Best contoured changing pad

LA Baby 4-Sided Waterproof Diaper Changing Pad
Image: Walmart
Buying Options
What We Love
  • Equipped with a safety strap
  • Also comes in a 32”-long size
Things To Consider
  • Not suitable for newborns younger than one month

The LA Baby Waterproof Changing Pad is a four-sided contoured—sometimes called a cocoon-style—diaper changing pad that keeps baby safe and comfortable. It features a non-skid bottom to prevent sliding, and the outer cover is waterproof, anti-microbial, phthalate-free and easy to clean with soap and water. One caveat: The sides are 4 inches high, so it’s not designed to be used for babies younger than one month old.

Dimensions: 30” (L) x 16” (W) x 4” (H) | Weight: 3 lbs. | Material: Polyester foam, PEVA, cardboard

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Best changing pad with a cover

What We Love
  • Features contoured sides and a safety belt
  • Comes with a soft, machine-washable cover
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say they wish the strap was made from a softer material
  • Not suitable for newborns younger than one month

Looking to create a cozy spot for your little love? Then you can’t go wrong with this contoured changing pad from Jool Baby. It comes with a soft, machine-washable cover (check out that sweet cloud print!), and underneath is a waterproof pad that you can count on to stay clean and dry. What’s more, this baby changing mat has a non-skid base, contoured sides and a safety belt to keep even the most squirmy infants safe and secure.

Dimensions: 31.25” (L) x 16” (W) x 4.25” (H) | Weight: 2.6 lbs. | Material: Polyester and rayon

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Best disposable changing pad

Munchkin Arm & Hammer Disposable Changing Pad
Image: Amazon
What We Love
  • Infused with baking soda to eliminate odor
  • Leak-proof to reduce messes
  • Thin yet durable
  • Can be used at home or on the go
Things To Consider
  • Not the most eco-friendly option

Munchkin Arm and Hammer Disposable Changing Pads are thick, soft paper pads that can be used once and tossed out. The generously sized pads are infused with baking soda for safe and natural odor elimination, and the leak-proof liner and absorbent paper prevents major messes. Another highlight: They come in convenient packs of 10, so you can always have some handy at your changing station.

Dimensions: 26.75” (L) x 18” (W) | Weight: 8.5 oz. | Material: Paper

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Best ergonomic changing pad

Keekaroo Peanut Changer
Image: Amazon
Buying Options
Amazon| $229.99
What We Love
  • Soft, cushioned material, yet impermeable to fluids
  • JPMA-certified
  • Free from latex, PVC, BPA, phthalates and toxins
Things To Consider
  • One of the heaviest options on our list
  • Not suitable for newborns younger than one month
  • High price point

The Keekaroo Peanut Changer is an ergonomically designed changing table pad that’s equal parts comfortable and secure for baby. The outer shell of the Keekaroo makes it impermeable to any fluid, so it’s easy to wipe clean with soap and water. The solid shell also limits bacteria growth as well as discoloration, and it’s latex-, PVC-, BPA- and phthalate-free. The best part? There’s no need for a changing pad cover, which saves both money and time (read: no extra laundry!).

Dimensions: 32” (L) x 14” (W) x 4” (H) | Weight: 7 lbs. | Material: ‎Polypropylene

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Best diaper bag changing pad

What We Love
  • Compact, foldable design easily fits into diaper bags
  • Machine-washable
  • Comes in several colors and patterns
Things To Consider
  • Some reviewers say it’s smaller than they expected it to be

Looking for a travel changing pad that you can carry in your diaper bag? Then this next pick is a must-have. The double-sided mat is waterproof, durable and is the perfect size for newborns, infants and tots alike. Unfold it with one hand—because your other will most likely be full with baby, of course—and lay your little one down on the cushioned foam pad. Better yet, this baby changing pad rings in at under $15—score!

Dimensions: 25.59” (L) x 13.78” (W) x 0.83” (H) | Weight: 4.8 oz. | Material: Polyester

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Best foam changing pad

What We Love
  • Waterproof, PVC-free cover
  • Has a three-sided contoured design and a safety belt
  • Meets ASTM standards
Things To Consider
  • Parents say they wish it had a non-skid basse
  • Not suitable for newborns younger than one month

Next up on our list of the best changing pad options is this standout foam design. Contoured, waterproof and equipped with a safety belt, it checks all of the boxes on our list when it comes to picking a high-quality changing mat. Highlights include the three raised edges and an easy-clean, waterproof cover. Another advantage: You can rest assured that baby will be comfortable when laying on this diaper changing pad, thanks to supportive foam cushioning that’s been enhanced by soybean oils.

Dimensions: 32” (L) x 16” (W) x 4” (H) | Weight: 2 lbs. | Material: Foam

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Best thin changing pad

Gathre Micro+ Changing Mat
Image: Maisonette
Buying Options
Maisonette| $34
What We Love
  • Ultra-thin and lightweight design
  • Made from premium, waterproof leather
  • Versatile design can also be used as a baby floor mat
Things To Consider
  • Clean promptly after use

If you’re looking for a truly unique design, opt for one of Gathre’s ultra-thin changing mats. Made from premium bonded leather with a suede back, this small changing pad is stain-resistant, ethically made and free of toxins. It’s also waterproof, wipeable and lightweight, making it a great addition to any diaper backpack or designer bag. The only drawback is that the mats don’t have any attached pockets for all of your gear, so you’ll still need to carry wipes and diapers separately.

Dimensions: 16” (L) x 30” (W) x 0.05” (H) | Weight: 0.85 lbs. | Material: Leather

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Best smart changing pad

What We Love
  • Smart technology tracks baby’s weight and other stats
  • Soft material easily wipes clean
  • Includes a safety belt for wriggly babies
Things To Consider
  • Requires smartphone or tablet for use
  • Heavier than other options

What if your changing table pad could do more than just cradle baby as you clean up the mess? The Hatch Baby Grow is a next-gen diaper changing pad: Not only is it a sleek-looking option that’s made of soft, wipeable foam, it also features a built-in wireless smart scale that tracks baby’s weight in between pediatrician visits. It’s so precise, it can even tell you how much baby ate after a feeding. The scale syncs with the free compatible app, where you can see charts, share results and compare growth percentiles with recent data from the World Health Organization.

Dimensions: 29” (L) x 16.5” (W) x 3.5” (H) | Weight: 7.5 lbs. | Material: Foam and plastic

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How We Chose the Best Changing Pads

We get it—parenting requires a lot of gear, and it can be hard to find the best fit for your family every time. To make diaper duty a bit less messy, we browsed changing pad options from an array of leading baby brands and retailers. When sourcing products for our roundup, we considered several aspects, like size, quality and durability, value and style. For specific categories, we also looked for extra features, like portability, contoured designs and smart technology, for instance. What’s more, we read user reviews to get the lowdown on how these products work for real families, and didn’t consider anything with less than an average four-star rating.

To make sure we’re highlighting products that are safe and effective, we chatted with a pediatrician to understand essential features and safety considerations to keep top of mind when you’re shopping. Plus, we also followed the safety recommendations of the AAP and looked for certification from the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and ASTM International (ASTM) where applicable.

Interested in learning more about our editorial process? Read about how our team develops and reviews all articles here.

Expert sources:

Loretta Cody, MD, is a board-certified pediatrician based out of Connecticut. She received her medical degree from New York Medical College and completed her residency at Yale New Haven Children’s Hospital.

Healthy Children (AAP), “Changing Diapers”, May 2021

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