6 Best Diaper Pails for a Stink-Free Room

The right baby diaper trash can can make diaper changes a whole lot more pleasant. See which ones top our list.
ByKathleen Harris
Updated
Aug 2020
mom placing plastic bag in diaper pail
Photo: iStock
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Babies go through anywhere from eight to ten diapers a day (some days more!). If you’re using disposable diapers, each change ends with you dumping the dirty one in a garbage can—and trust us, things can get smelly fast. That’s where a diaper pail comes in handy.

Benefits of a Diaper Pail

Parents are split on whether a diaper pail is considered an absolute must-have. Can you simply toss baby’s dirty diaper in the normal household trash? Sure you can. It means you don’t have to invest in a baby diaper trash can or special diaper pail bags, saving you some money. But here’s the thing: Unless you take out the garbage super frequently, it won’t save you from the awful stench that’ll slowly saturate your home.

A diaper pail is specifically designed to seal in nasty odors. The best diaper pails are also engineered to open with a foot pedal or just a flip of the lid, so you can dump the diaper in one-handed while the other stays on your wiggly baby. (It’s not safe to step away from baby when they’re on the changing table, even for a second.) Plus, the older baby gets, the smellier the diaper situations become, and the more you’re going to appreciate your diaper pail. A baby drinking only breast milk or formula may not even have stinky diapers, but a baby eating solids definitely does. If you’ve been making it through the newborn months without a diaper pail, consider getting one as the start of solids approaches.

Best Diaper Pails

Ready to start shopping? Here are seven of the best baby diaper pails around, complete with a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.

Photo: Playtex

Diaper Genie

This iconic pail is so popular that parents sometimes use the term “diaper genie” interchangeably with “diaper pail.” Playtex’s Diaper Genie is very much a brand with its own special features, most notably a seven-layer bag that traps odors and a mechanism that wraps up each diaper individually.

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The different versions of the Diaper Genie might leave you a little confused, especially as some older ones are still on the market. Currently Playtex is manufacturing three models: Diaper Genie Essentials is the basic version with a flip-top you can open with one hand; Diaper Genie Expressions has the same technology and can be decorated with a fabric sleeve to match your nursery; and Diaper Genie Complete is a little taller than the others, comes fully assembled, opens with a foot pedal, has an additional carbon filter to fight odors and comes in several color options.

Pros:

  • Each Diaper Genie is $40 or less.
  • The sealing system really works! Users report that the pail stays odor-free.

Cons:

  • The pail’s sealing technology only works with Diaper Genie bags, and you’ll be buying those refills a lot. That’s partly why the pail is initially inexpensive; they get you later with the refills.

What moms say:
“Used it until she quit wearing diapers and never had an odor problem!”—Snooks

Buy it: Playtex Diaper Genie Complete, $38, Amazon.com

Photo: Ubbi

Ubbi

A decorator’s dream, the steel Ubbi comes in an array of trendy colors to match any modern nursery. Picking one out feels as fun as choosing the crib bedding! To insert a diaper into this pail you simply open a sliding door at the top; it can be done one-handed and has a child lock so your toddler can’t get in there.

Pros:

  • Those colors! There are even metallics (like rose gold) and patterns (like marble and chevron).
  • No special bags needed; you can use any plastic bag you want, which can be a huge money-saver, though Ubbi does sell right-size bags if you prefer.
  • Because it’s made of metal, the pail can be put in the recycling when your baby graduates from diapers.

Cons:

  • The sturdy steel design makes it a more expensive diaper pail than others on the market.
  • Reviews are mixed on the smell factor. Metal doesn’t hold odors like plastic does, so the pail itself stays clean-smelling. Some users rave about its odor-blocking functionality, but others complain that the sealing mechanism isn’t as tight as some of its competitors. One hack: Some parents use scented kitchen garbage bags with their Ubbi.

What moms say:
“I like that you can use regular bags. It’s also a bit narrower than others, which was an important consideration for our small space."—Shawlls

Buy it: $56, Amazon.com

Photo: Munchkin

Munchkin STEP, Powered By Arm & Hammer

The magic odor-absorbing power of baking soda helps keep this Munchkin diaper pail smelling fresh. The baking powder is stored in a puck that hangs inside the lid, leading some parents to just call it the Arm & Hammer diaper pail. You open the lid with a foot pedal. When you step off, the diaper drops and gets sealed off automatically as the lid closes. Couldn’t be easier, earning it a spot on our list of best diaper pails.

Pros:

  • Total smell protection. Parents rave that this pail does its number-one job—keeping odors away—to perfection.
  • For every diaper pail sold, Munchkin promises to plant a tree.

Cons:

  • You need to buy the special Munchkin refill bags for the sealing mechanism to work.

What moms say:
“The baking soda seems to last a long time. And I love the refill bags—one box probably lasts three weeks for us.—AimeeL85

Buy it: $65, Amazon.com

Photo: Dekor

Diaper Dekor Plus

This diaper pail’s wide design allows for a large foot pedal that’s easy to operate, so you can get it open fast. Users are smart to buy the brand’s scented liners; they’re one long, continuous garbage bag that you cut and tie off the minute you’re ready to dump the pail’s contents—up to 45 newborn diapers. (The cutting mechanism is built right into the door.) You can’t do that with regular 13-gallon bags.

Pros:

  • Many parents like the look of this can, which doesn’t scream “diaper pail.” It makes a nice bathroom garbage can when your diaper days are done.
  • The lid opens and closes quietly, which is great during nighttime changes.
  • Some parents say this is the best diaper pail for cloth diapers. Put a reusable wet bag in to hold them until it’s time to do laundry.

Cons:

  • If you don’t use the brand’s refill bags you might have frustrations. You’ll miss the scent protection and the ease of dumping out the dirty diapers that comes with the brand’s unique bags.

What moms say:
“Definitely like the foot pedal—that’s helpful for hands-free disposal.”—Pocky873

Buy it: $40, Amazon.com

Photo: Bubula

Bubula

Emptying out any diaper pail isn’t much fun. If you get a large one, though, like this Bubula diaper pail, you can keep your clean-outs to a minimum because it holds plenty of diapers. Plus, because of its size, this is one the best diaper pails for converting into a regular garbage can once baby is potty trained.

Pros:

  • It’s tall, so it holds lots of diapers and you don’t have to stoop to open the lid.
  • No special diaper pail bags required; it works with any 13-gallon bag.
  • Comes in eight cute color choices.

Cons:

  • The large, steel construction makes this the priciest diaper pail.
  • There are complaints that, though the body is steel, parts of the lid and hinge are plastic, which can wear down and break over time. The pail does come with a one-year warranty, however, and parents say that customer service is super-responsive.

What moms say:
“I like the Bubula. It contains the stink and uses regular trash bags. Also, it looks nicer than the plastic pails.” —CharminglySouthern

Buy it: $120, Amazon.com

Tommee Tippee Simplee

Tommee Tippee’s Simplee is a germaphobe’s best diaper pail, sold with antibacterial liners that kill 99 percent of germs and trap smell too. The design is simple: Just lift the lid and put the diaper in.

Pros:

  • Price matters, and this is the least-expensive diaper pail.
  • Fans say it does an excellent job of hiding smells.

Cons:

  • You’ll need to buy the Tommee Tippee refill liners for this pail to work best.
  • It’s small in size, so it doesn’t hold as much as some competitors—only about 18 size 1 diapers. The advantage is it can tuck in tight spaces, like under a bathroom sink.

What moms say:
“Seals each diaper for scent control.”—xtina1224

Buy it: $20, Amazon.com

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