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Best Diaper Pails of 2024
January 27, 2024

Best Diaper Pails of 2024

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Best Diaper Pails of 2024.
Best Diaper Pails of 2024

Nobody likes a smelly diaper, least of all 30 of them sitting in a trash bag and stinking up a perfectly lovely nursery. And trust us: you will go through a lot of diapers that first year.

That’s where a diaper pail comes in handy. These specialized trash cans employ mechanisms to seal off scent and absorb odors to keep your baby’s room from smelling like a porta-potty.

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Diaper Pails

Babylist’s Picks for the Best Diaper Pails

Best Diaper Pail with Standard Trash Bags

Why We Love It

A diaper pail that uses standard garbage bags instead of custom liners is both more cost effective and more convenient. With the Ubbi, you can use trash bags or reusable cloth liners, saving you money and time. It’s also loved for its ability to contain odors and its good looks. The steel construction not only gives it a sleek, modern look; some parents say it also prevents the stink from seeping into the container itself. The Ubbi is easy to load, use, empty and clean and has a child lock on the lid to keep your toddler from “exploring.”

The matte white and terrazzo colorways are exclusive to Babylist, but you can also choose other colors and patterns.

Keep in Mind

The Ubbi is a hugely popular diaper pail among Babylist parents. They love it for its simplicity, style and odor control the first few months. But some parents find that over time, the pail can really start to smell, so keep that in mind if you’re considering adding it to your registry or purchasing it. Be sure to read and follow the instructions around how to clean the Ubbi. And unlike other options that feature a foot lever for hands-free opening, the Ubbi requires one free hand to open the slider on top.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Love it! It’s stylish and keeps odors locked up. Plus it’s big so we change the bag about one time a week.” -Pamela S.

Best Diaper Pail for Odor

Why We Love It

The Diaper Genie has been corralling dirty diapers for a long time, and for good reason. This classic pail uses a clamping system and its own special bags to seal off each diaper you stuff into the trash. Since each diaper is contained, you won’t get a rush of smelly air coming up when you open the diaper pail or when you change the bag, which can happen with other models. Other pros include the pail’s height—it’s one of the tallest around—as well as a built-in antimicrobial that inhibits bacteria growth.

Keep in Mind

You do have to stuff the diaper through a squeezing mechanism, so be sure to seal used diapers up tightly so they don’t leak as you handle them. And since this pail requires special refill bags, it will cost you more over time (and live in your mind as one more thing to remember to order every few months).

What Babylist Parents Say

“I never notice a smell with the Diaper Genie, and it’s easy to refill.” -Dana W.

Best Diaper Pail for Cloth Diapers

Why We Love It

If squeezing dirty diapers through a tiny opening doesn’t sound like fun to you, the Dekor Plus should be your diaper pail of choice. Simply press down on the foot pedal to activate the “trap door” opening at the top of the pail, drop your diaper in and be on your way. It’s quick and easy, and it’s also what makes the Dekor a favorite for cloth-diapering families, since cloth diapers are bigger and bulkier than disposables.

Keep in Mind

Though the Dekor has its own liner refills, know that regular trash bags will also work with it. And if you’re cloth diapering, they make special bags for that.

What Babylist Parents Say

“We are using cloth diapers, so I use this with the reusable Dekor liners. Since the pail comes with the nifty plastic bags attached, we used those until they ran out–such a genius way to refill the pail! This pail is so easy to use–I love that you can open it with your foot!” -Melissa

Best Affordable Diaper Pail

Why We Love It

The Expressions is a more compact version of the bestselling Diaper Genie Complete diaper pail—with a smaller price tag to go along with it. It features many of the same things parents love in the more expensive model, including an odor control system. It’s also easy to clean and rust-resistant. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a diaper pail for a smaller space or simply prefer a lower-profile option.

Keep in Mind

There’s no foot pedal on the Expressions, so you’ll need one hand to pop open the lid (unlike the Diaper Genie Complete that operates hands-free).

Best Diaper Pail With Foot Pedal

Why We Love It

Lots of diaper pails advertise an easy one-handed operation—but the Munchkin Step really delivers. The step-lever at the bottom of the pail is wide and really simple to operate with a quick push of your foot even with your little one slung over your hip. Each time the lid opens, the bag holding your batch of dirty diapers seals shut, minimizing odors. (The built-in baking soda insert on the inside of the top lid helps with this, too.) It’s also really easy to change out the bag thanks to the wide side door opening at the front of the pail.

Keep in Mind

While we like how the Munchkin seals the top of the bag after a diaper has been pushed through, some parents have reported getting their hand stuck in the self-sealing mechanism as they release the diaper down into it. Also, you’ll need to purchase the special pail liners and baking soda refill cartridges, making this a pricier option in the long run.

What Babylist Parents Say

“Easy to use and holds in the stink! The pedal makes it easy to use with a wiggly baby on the changing table. The seal inside (along with Arm & Hammer) help the stinky diaper smell stay inside the pail.” -Lindsay

Best UV Diaper Pail

Why We Love It

Dirty diapers may have finally met their match thanks to this tech-forward diaper pail. Using the power of hospital-grade UV light, this pail eliminates the bacteria and germs that cause odors and viruses. (The light shuts off automatically when not in use.) There’s also a self-sealing system to keep the bag sealed when the lid of the diaper pail is open or closed.

Keep in Mind

You’ll need to plug in this diaper pail in order for the UV light to work, so keep that in mind if you’re mapping out your nursery. It’s also the most expensive diaper pail on our list by far.

What Babylist Parents Say

“This is amazing!! I’ve owned it for 8+ mo. and let me tell you this needs to be in your baby registry, its truly an essential. Its so simple to use and bag replacement is so easy, no odor has been ever noticeable (I have it next to my bed).” -Adilene

How We Chose Our Best Diaper Pails

  • We analyzed results from Babylist’s Best Baby Products survey, which polled 6,000 Babylist users and asked them to share the baby products they love the most and why.
  • We utilized insight from the Babylist editorial team, including Gear Editor Jen LaBracio, an expert in the baby space for over six years and a mom of two who has written hundreds of baby gear guides and personally researched and tested hundreds of baby products, including many diaper pails.
  • We reviewed customer reviews from hundreds of real Babylist parents.

Do You Need a Diaper Pail?

A diaper pail isn’t an absolute necessity. It’s true that you can use a regular trash can in your nursery; you might find yourself breathing through your mouth rather than your nose.

If you want to truly minimize the smell of dirty diapers, you have a few options. You can run every used diaper to an outside trash can, but that gets old fast—especially in the middle of the night. Or, you can use a diaper pail. Because they’re designed to lock in the formidable smell of soiled diapers, these containers help reduce unpleasant odors.

Are diaper pails perfect? Far from it. Even with the best of the best, you’re still going to have some stink (it is holding poop-filled diapers, after all), especially once your baby starts solids and as the diaper pail ages over time. But a good diaper pail is your best attempt to try to manage the smell.

You’ll be using your diaper pail from day one well into toddlerhood, so it’s an investment that lasts years. Plus, some diaper pails can be used as regular trash cans after the diaper days have passed.

What to Look for in a Diaper Pail

While all diaper pails try to conquer the smell issue, different models offer various benefits. Here are some things to think about when making your decision:

  • Odor control. Other than a place to stash dirty diapers so you’re not always running to the trash can, the main purpose of a diaper pail is to contain the bad smells—so you need one that will accomplish just that. There are claims that some materials squash odors better than others (steel versus plastic, for instance), but we haven’t found that to be the case in our experience. Instead, look for a diaper pail with a tight-fitting lid and tight seals throughout. Some diaper pails come with extra stink-minimizing accessories, like a carbon filter or a scented baking soda puck, which can also help. (Although some parents say all that does is mask one odor with another, so it’s likely a matter of personal preference.) You can also look for a diaper pail that seals the interior liner or bags as well as the pail’s top.
  • Capacity and Footprint. How often do you want to be emptying your diaper pail? A pail with a large capacity means you can go longer without changing the bag, but it also may mean a stronger odor since your diapers will be sitting around for a few extra days. You’ll also want to be conscious of the diaper pail’s footprint. If you have a smaller nursery or need to fit the pail into a tight spot, consider a pail with a smaller footprint.
  • Cost and Maintenance. Cost-wise, there are two things to consider when selecting a diaper pail: the overall cost of the pail itself and the liners. A diaper pail is an item of baby gear that many families use for years (and on the daily), so splurging on a more expensive one may be worthwhile if it’s within your budget. But don’t forget about the added cost of bags or liners. Some brands require special refills, which can add up. If you don’t want to increase your costs, look for a diaper pail that uses regular garbage bags or washable liners. Also, consider how easy (or not) the diaper pail you’re considering is to clean. Some pails can be wiped down with a disinfectant, while it’s not recommended for others.
  • Ease of Use. How easy is it to get diapers into your pail—and out of them? Some pails have a small opening to push dirty diapers through, while others have a trap door or just a simple hole. Some have a foot pedal, which can be helpful if (when) you have your hands full. When it’s time to empty the pail, will you need to lift the bag of diapers out of the container? Or is there a side door for easy access? One more thing to note: If you’re cloth diapering, be sure to look for a diaper pail with a large enough opening to easily accept cloth diapers, which are bigger than disposable diapers.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many diapers do you go through a day?

How many diapers you’ll use depends on your baby’s age. In the first month of life, newborns average up to 8 to 10 diaper changes per day. And over the first three months (the newborn stage), babies go through about 700 diapers. As your baby gets bigger, however, so does their bladder—which means fewer diaper changes. After about six months of age most babies use about five to six diapers each day. 

How often should you clean a diaper pail?

Most parents clean their diaper pail about once a week, or whenever it starts to smell or look dirty. However, if you use disposable liners or bags in your diaper pail, you may need to clean it less frequently. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfecting the diaper pail to ensure proper hygiene and to prevent odors.

How long does a diaper pail last?

The lifespan of a diaper pail varies depending on how much you use it and how durable it is. Most diaper pails last about two to three years with proper care and maintenance. 

How do I keep my diaper pail from smelling?

The unfortunate (and stinky) reality of most diaper pails is that at some point, they’ll start smelling at least a little bit. To keep the stink in check, you can try using odor-controlling products like baking soda or activated charcoal. You can also try using scented trash bags or liners specifically designed for diaper pails. Additionally, make sure to empty the pail frequently and clean it regularly to prevent any buildup of bacteria or odor-causing agents.

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