No More Stinky Diapers With The Best Diaper Pails (2020 Guide)

No More Stinky Diapers With The Best Diaper Pails (2020 Guide)

I think you'll agree with me when I say:

Dealing with stinky diapers isn't exactly the most glamorous part of being a mom.

And when you're changing loads of diapers around the clock, you want to make the process as pleasant as possible.

Enter: the diaper pail.

A good diaper pail will help eliminate any stinky odors and give you a convenient place to toss those dirty diapers so you don't have to go running outside every time, or, heavens forbid, throw them in a regular old trash can.

But, not just any diaper pail will do. Some are definitely better than others.

So read on to learn what kind of things you should look for in a great diaper pail and discover the best pails on the market that will make changing (and storing) any kind of a diaper a snap!

Why You Really Need A Diaper Pail

Plain and simple, you need a diaper pail because your house is going to smell if you let soiled diapers hang out in a traditional garbage can or container! 

And, you also are not going to be able to run each soiled diaper to the garbage can. You may try to at first, but the diapers will win. They pile up quickly!

So, you need a specialized pail that can hold a good amount of diapers and mask their smell simultaneously.

>>Related: How to choose the best baby wipes

A diaper pail is tightly concealed. It also usually has a special chute that you slide diapers down so they fall toward the bottom of the pail, and that keeps odors locked in.

Many diaper pails are able to hold up to a whopping 15-25 diapers, so you can get away with changing your pail at the end of each day (or week in some cases).

Diaper pails also have a long, special bag that is more durable than traditional bags, and that also lock in smells.

How To Use Your Diaper Pail

Wondering how a diaper pail works?

It’s pretty straightforward.

Simply place a soiled diaper in the sealed pail and place the diaper inside. 

The pail is usually lined with a scented bag and its lid traps in odor. One diaper gets piled on the other until the load hits the top.

At this point, you trim off the ultra long bag, tie it up, and take the sack of diapers to the garbage.

Tie a new knot in your bag and start fresh again! 

You may be able to let the diapers pile up for a few days, while other times, they need to be emptied more frequently, depending on its contents.

When Should You Get Your Diaper Pail?

It’s great to have your diaper pail ready as soon as you come home from the hospital.

Those diapers will need changing, and a pail will save you lots of time and frustration from running each diaper outside to the trash. 

>>Related: How to choose the best changing table and pad

Be sure to prep the can and read the pail’s directions for installing and changing a pail liner.

You could even stock up on them to make sure you have an ample supply.

6 Important Features to Consider

So after I learned that I definitely needed to buy a diaper pail, I thought that they were all pretty standard. Nope!

Some diaper pails are much better than others.

Here are a few key characteristics to consider when shopping for a good diaper pail.

#1. Cost. Baby stuff is expensive. Yet, I’ve learned the hard way that sometimes you get what you pay for. However, you can get a great diaper pail for a bargain price. The pails I recommend are affordable and work well. I even splurged for two of them since I set up a diapering station in my bedroom and in the nursery.

#2. Odor control. In my opinion, this is the most important factor! Hardly any odor should be escaping from the pail due to a strong clamping mechanism. Popular diaper pails are ranked on a 10 point scale. So, before you make a purchase, check out the pail’s rating to avoid the stink! Some are much more effective than others.

#3. Easy disposal. A foot pedal on a diaper pail is a must-have in order to open up the top portion of the pail. You just don’t have enough hands to wrap up the diaper, hold your little one, and have to pry open a pail while stuffing a diaper inside. It should be super simple to get rid of a dirty diaper. Period.

#4. Simple bag change. Simple is a mom’s favorite word. Removing the diaper pail bag should be incredibly easy and take no more than five seconds. I also feel this way about replacing the bag once it runs out. I especially love bags that snap in and out, and some of the pails that I recommend have this fun feature.

#5. Safe. You should also consider purchasing a pail that is tall enough so that toddlers cannot get into it, and one that can only be opened with a foot pedal. Purchase nothing that can be pried open with little, curious fingers. Otherwise, you’ll have an even bigger mess to clean up on your hands!

#6. Effective. You want a pail that has a design that will allow the diaper to slide down into its basin. You don’t want to fiddle around all day trying to push it to the bottom, mainly because you’ll end up with poo and pee on your hands or you’ll smoosh the diaper into the pail’s side walls. So, the next time you stick your hang in the pail, there will be some surprises waiting for you. Think efficient and effective.

Why A Diaper Pail Is Much Better Than A Regular Garbage Can

If you’re not convinced that you need one (or two) of these pails yet, allow me to elaborate.

It's nearly impossible to keep up with the amount of bodily fluids that are going to be coming out of your baby! This means you running a diaper outside each time, will get totally ridiculous.

Using your basic trash can is also not a realistic option, for a number of reasons.

One, it’s totally unsanitary to place dirty diapers in a trash can that sits in your kitchen.

Two, your entire house will smell, badly!

Three, you need something that will prohibit your other children and pets from getting into the diapers, and a trash can’s open design wont’ do it!

It’s worth it in the end to pay for some convenience, safety, and a fresh and clean smell throughout your nursery and home.

Other Things To Keep In Mind

Diaper pails can be ugly, but who cares? They aren’t going to be a permanent fixture in your home, so don't be afraid to choose an "ugly" one.

Also, you should make sure that your pail has a child proof lock on it, to stop your curious, crawling baby from getting into it! Yikes! 

You may also want to invest in two pails: one for each level of your home, to make changing anytime and anywhere a snap!

Best Diaper Pails

1. Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail
  • Tall, strong, and affordable
  • Super strong odor eliminator
  • Has rubber seals that are specially positioned to lock in odors
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2. Diaper Genie
  • Ultra-affordable
  • Has received lots of positive praise and very minimal complaints
  • It’s made of plastic, so it’s light weight
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3. Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail
  • Interesting design features that allow for easy diaper disposal
  • Also comes with special refill bags which are disposable
  • Uses baking soda to keep odors away
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4. Dekor Diaper Plus Disposal System
  • Attractive and discreet
  • It can hold about 46 diapers before a bag change is needed
  • It has a step and drop design
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#1. Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

The Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail (click here to check the price on Amazon) is definitely my choice as the best diaper pail on the market today.

Tall, strong, and affordable, the Ubbi diaper pail is also a favorite among many moms that I know.

You may be thinking its price tag is a bit much, but trust me: it will be among the best money you’ve ever spent, mainly because your house will smell as fresh as a daisy even though your nursery contains ten poo poo diapers.

The Ubbi is a super strong odor eliminator because it’s made out of coated steel.

I also love that it has rubber seals that are specially positioned to lock in odors. It has a special, sliding lid that doesn’t let odors escape, so the only thing that will be stinky is the bottom of the pail.

Keep in mind, it is normal to smell a tiny bit of an odor when you initially open the pail, but it should not be overwhelming. If so, you don’t have a good one.

I also can’t think of anything cooler than how you can use any kind of standard trash bag with it (or even a reusable cloth liner if using cloth diapers).

This will save you oodles of money over your baby’s diaper lifetime. Specialized bags for diaper pails on average run about $10-$12 for two, so bank on saving hundreds right there!

I also love that the pail comes in 12 colors! This way you can complement your nursery scheme because it will totally enhance your décor without overpowering it.

The Ubbi also has an easy disposal system and a child proof lock so you don’t have to worry about other children getting into the pail or its contents spilling out if it gets knocked over.

It's also easy to use, empty, and even clean (which should be done weekly to freshen things up in there).

The Ubbi has received nothing but favorable ratings from parents who have used it. Parents who have had minor pail construction issues also remarked that Ubbi’s customer service is excellent and the parts and even device can be replaced with ease if there is ever a physical malfunction.

All in all, this is my favorite diaper pail that you can purchase today!

#2. Diaper Genie

The Diaper Genie (click here to check the price on Amazon) is another very popular diaper pail. I can’t tell you how many baby showers I’ve sat through and the Diaper Genie had made an appearance at all of them!

Ultra-affordable, the Genie Elite has received lots of positive praise and very minimal complaints. Similarly designed to the Ubbi diaper pail, the Genie is tall and sleek.

It’s made of plastic, so it’s light weight. But, it won’t just topple over. However, if you want to move it from room to room, you can do so with ease.

The Diaper Genie has a pedal you need to step on the open up the top of the pail. It’s in the top that you place a specialized bag (it looks like a small hoop), so you can pull a long bag downward to tie a knot and let it hang until diapers start to fill it.

The Diaper Genie is well known for containing foul odors. It even has a special holder for a carbon filter to stop the inhalation of odor when you open and close the pail.

It’s easy to change the diaper bag too. Simply push a button to open the container and use a cutter to separate the used diapers from the remainder of the bag.

Tie a new knot, and you’re good to go. You can bet on having each bag refill last for about 100 diapers.

On average, moms and dads empty the pail about every five days (I did so every three). You can also sign up for a subscription so you never run out of refill bags, and save money.

The Genie doesn’t have a child lock feature, but it is hard to get the top open and is nearly impossible to do so without stepping on the pedal. But, even so, because the diapers get pushed down deep inside, little hands won’t be able to pry them out.

The only criticism the Diaper Genie received was that when the pail gets on the fuller side, diapers don’t slide down into the base as easily. But, if you regularly remove the diapers, you shouldn’t have a problem.

Also, keep in mind, the Genie is only compatible with Diaper Genie refills, so you can’t use standard garbage bags like you can with the Ubbi diaper pail.

Also, an added bonus of the pail? You don’t have to toss it once your toddler is potty trained.

It makes a great holder if you have dogs and want a stink-free pail to contain their bags of waste!

Goodbye stinky garage!

#3. Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail

Another popular brand, Munchkin also boasts a very effective diaper pail (click here to check the price on Amazon).

Similarly priced to the Diaper Genie, this pail has some interesting design features that allow for easy diaper disposal.

Much like the Diaper Genie, the Munchkin pail is also plastic. It also comes with special refill bags which are disposable, but need to be used in order for the pail to function properly.

The special thing about this diaper pail is that it uses baking soda to keep odors away. It actually has a lid that holds a vented disk that sprinkles baking soda (which is pre-filled) so the pail is always absorbing and preventing smells, even when the pail is not in use.

I love this ingenious design!

The Munchkin also has a patent sealing system. So, when the lid is closed, the bag is always sealed off. When you open the lid, it reopens but only until you shut it, so you may be exposed to some light smells for literally a second.

Each bag can hold up to about 25 diapers, but I recommend emptying the pail after about the 15th diaper. Just from my personal experience, it’s less to lug around to the garbage can and you get less of a whiff of foul odor when you open the pail.

The Munchkin pail is different because you don’t have to do any cutting or tying, like the other pails. You just snap the bag in, and snap the bag off when you’re ready to empty it.

It has a handy little trap door that you can open to view your diaper collection. However, try to keep this pail out of reach of little hands, or they may be able to break into the pail or mistake it as a toy.

I also love that it comes ready to be used right out of the package, which is an important selling point. So, if you get or give the pail for a baby shower gift, it’s one less thing that needs to be assembled.

Also keep in mind that you do need to frequently replace the baking soda dispenser in order for it to function properly. So, it is an added expense in addition to the diaper bags, but not by much (a refill of five backing soda dispensers cost around $8).

But, overall the Munchkin is a very effective pail for a great price that many moms love.

#4. Dekor Diaper Plus Disposal System

Rounding out my list of the best diaper pails is the Dekor Diaper (click here to check the price on Amazon), another great choice when it comes to disposing of those dirty diapers.

If a diaper pail could be described as attractive and discreet, this one would be it!

Many parents rave about this pail because of its size. It can hold about 46 diapers before a bag change is needed, which is really quite impressive.

It has a step and drop design, so you also don’t have to worry about getting anything on your hands or sleeves by pushing in a diaper. It’s totally able to be used with one hand (and foot).

The Dekor is made out of scratch resistant plastic, so it’s light weight but also easy to clean.

Similar to the Munchkin, it has a door, so you can access your diapers with ease. It also mimics the Diaper Genie because it has a handy cutter to empty the diapers, and the bag needs to be pulled down and retied for a new batch.

It comes ready to use and no assembly is required, thought it does need to have a special liner inside of it, but note that many parents have remarked that they have gotten away with putting an odor absorbing garbage bag inside, and it worked fine.

One complaint the Dekor received is that there is no way of knowing when the liner is about to run out. It doesn’t give any warning, and simply pulls downward until there is nothing left in the refill ring. But, this is also a common complaint of many of the other diaper pails.

Another minor complaint is that because it has a step and drop design, you are more likely to get a nose full of an icky smell. Nothing is really sealed off from the basin to the top like the other pails.

But, the pail does a good job overall of containing smells once they are inside.

You can also get a lot of life out of it and use it as a storage container once your child has grown out of diapers, or keep it as a place to put soiled clothing until it gets washed in your laundry room.

Wrapping Up

So, have I convinced you yet that a diaper pail is a must when making your baby registry list?

You will be amazed at how many diapers can be held and how fresh and clean your house will smell.

Plus, it’s always nice to have a little help and have things come easily to you when a newborn is thrown into the mix.

Allow a diaper pail to make your life more simple, stress-free, and most importantly, odor-free.


Hi there, I'm Kate! I started Maternity Glow to be a place for new and expecting moms to come to for practical pregnancy advice, parenting tips, and baby care tricks.

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