The Best Diaper Pails

By Kimberly Bruce

February 4, 2021

When you have dirty diapers hanging around, no matter where you put them, they have a way of making their presence known. The stench can sometimes waft throughout the house and it can be upsetting to realize that it originated in your baby’s nursery. It’s a battle all parents face: how to contain the smell of tossed out dirty diapers?

Simply throwing them in the garbage isn’t enough. You need to trap and contain those stinky little diapers until the garbage collector arrives on your block. But how? Even storing them outside the house in the garage isn’t always effective, because it can get hot in there during summer months, which only amplifies the smell. Solution: a diaper pail. Diaper pails come with a range of features to help you win the war with stinky diapers.

We’ve gathered a list of popular diaper pails recommended by parents who have been in your shoes. Read on to learn more about the features of each diaper pail to see which one covers your diaper disposal needs.

1. Editor's Pick: Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail

ProsCons
  • Child-proof door lock
  • Closed-cell ABS plastic
  • Door-mounted child-proof refill cutter
  • Some users found odour escaped

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 31.12 x 53.34 x 22.23 cm; 3.04 kg

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Made with ABS plastic, this step diaper pail will not absorb odours and it resists stains and scratches. The spring-loaded trap door and rubber seal prevent odours from seeping out.

It uses a minimalist design but packs some great features to make diaper changes easier. Manufactured with durable ASB plastic, the Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail prevents scratches, colour changes and odour leakage. The trap door adds an extra layer of protection and further prevents odour from escaping. It features multiple child-proof mechanisms such as locks on the access and trap doors, and a refill bag cutter located inside the door. Just step on the foot pedal and the lid pops open, allowing you to operate your new diaper pail hands-free.

2. Best Overall Runner Up Diaper Pail: Playtex Diaper Genie Complete

ProsCons
  • Opaque refill bags
  • Double Air-Tite clamps
  • Built-in odour controlling antimicrobial
  • Small compartment

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 23.81 x 30.63 x 68.58 cm; 453.59 g

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This diaper pail is great for hands-free use. The foot pedal and tall profile means you won’t need to bend to operate it. Plus, it features built-in antimicrobials to inhibit bacteria growth.

The Playtex Diaper Genie Complete helps keep your nursery fragrantly fresh by using 7-layer Max Fresh refill bags featuring antimicrobial technology. Along with the double Air-Tite clamps and carbon filter to neutralize unpleasant odours, you will hardly even know that dirty diapers are in the room. The refill bags are scented to add an extra dose of freshness to your diaper pail and makes changing the bags less nauseating.

3. Best Budget Pick Diaper Pail: Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

ProsCons
  • Affordable
  • No special bags needed
  • No seal so odour can escape

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 38.1 x 46.69 x 27.64 cm; 1.32 kg

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The best bang for your buck. This diaper pail holds a large capacity and you can use your own plastic bags instead of pricey refills.

A popular name in the baby industry, Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail is a budget-friendly choice. The sturdy construction keeps it functional for a long time and it uses conventional plastic bags instead of proprietary refills. The flip-top lid makes operating your diaper pail a breeze; just pop the top open and drop in your baby’s dirty diapers. To prevent odour seepage, you can enhance this diaper pail with a carbon or baking soda filter that fits neatly in a compartment under the lid.

4. Best Luxury Diaper Pail: Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

ProsCons
  • No special bags needed
  • Steel construction so won’t absorb odours
  • Does not contain 100% of odour
  • Sliding door makes opening inconvenient

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 38.1 x 27.3 x 57.1 cm; 3.18 kg

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This luxury diaper pail is made with powder-coated steel and features a sleek, space saving design. No special bags are required so you’ll save on expensive refills.

The Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail comes highly recommended from real parents who value functionality in a slender silhouette. The powder-coated steel construction keeps odours from getting trapped in the pail and lingering long after the dirty diapers have been emptied. The sliding door enables you to easily drop in your soiled diapers and slides closed to keep odours in. And you’ll appreciate the child lock. You can rest assured knowing that your curious little one won’t be able to get into the diaper pail and contaminate themselves and the nursery.

5. Honorable Mention: Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

ProsCons
  • Self-sealing
  • Dual refill bagging system
  • Loud lid closure
  • Need to push diapers down instead of dropping in pail

Key Specs

Specs/Dimensions: 31.12 x 70.18 x 33.02 cm; 5.48 kg

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This diaper pail features a foot pedal for easy access and a self-sealing system which seals the bag once you close the lid. It works with both refill rings and snap, seal and toss refill bags.

With some impressive features, the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail can be used with a variety of refill bags from various brands. It is compatible with both the refill rings and snap, seal and toss refill bags so you can find the most affordable and effective bags for your budget. With a built-in bag cutter, you can empty your diaper pail without ‘wasting’ any bags, because you customize the bag size whenever you feel it's time to clear out your diaper pail — even if it’s not full. There’s even a compartment for an odour neutralizing cartridge. Another great feature is the out-of-reach child lock to prevent baby from getting in.

FAQs for Diaper Pails

Pee-ew! is not what you want to be thinking when you walk into your nursery. An effective diaper pail can contain unpleasant diaper odours and prevent the spread of airborne bacteria. Check out some of the factors and questions you should consider for your nursery or bedroom.

Custom refill bags versus regular plastic bags?

When you choose your next diaper pail, you’ll notice that most come with branded refill bags which you’ll need to buy more of when your initial supply runs out. Those bags often come in fragranced options to help mask the diaper odours. Some diaper pails use single bags while others use a bagging system which is like a long tube of plastic that you cut and tie up when you feel it’s time to empty the pail.

These types of bags require you to tie the bottom of the tube/bag so it is ready to catch the new diapers. The costs associated with replacing custom bags can add up quickly so, something to think about. Some diaper pails are designed to accommodate any type of plastic bag, like a typical household garbage pail. This is budget-friendly but may not effectively trap and neutralize odours.

Does the diaper pail have a rubber seal?

A rubber seal around the lid of a diaper pail adds a layer of odour protection by creating an air-tight seal when the lid is closed. The rubber seal can be effective in preventing smells from escaping the bin.

Does it have a filter compartment?

Many diaper pails have a little nook on the lid where you can attach an odour neutralizer like baking soda cartridges or activated charcoal to minimize the smell. These cartridges work while the pail is closed so hopefully, you won’t be greeted with an offensive diaper stench when you pop the lid open.

Can the diaper pail lock?

A locking feature is a great addition — as long as your little one hasn’t learned the trick to unlocking it. Most diaper pails have a ‘child-proof’ lock to prevent curious little hands from getting in and playing with the mess they’ve found.

How big does a diaper pail need to be?

You’ll want a diaper pail that can hold a fair amount of dirty diapers, because it could be the only thing keeping your home diaper-odour-free until garbage day. However, when you have a large diaper pail you may not empty it as frequently, which could cause the contents to be even grosser when opened. That’s where the cut and tie bags could prove to be useful, seeing as you customize the size of each bag and can empty your pail every day or less without wasting a bag — which could be costly if you’re using the special refill bags.

Pro Tip: If possible, check the sound your prospective diaper pail makes before buying! During nighttime diaper duty, a loud clank when it opens and shuts could wake your baby, robbing you of a few more hours of shut-eye.

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