best diaper pails

You’ll be changing a lot of diapers once your little one arrives, which is why it’s a great idea to have a diaper pail next to your baby’s changing table. A convenient diaper pail trash can works for both disposable and cloth diapers, so you can toss your little one’s used diapers with ease and contain smells as much as possible. We asked more than 4,000 Pampers Parents to vote on the best diaper pails, so keep reading to browse their reviews and find one that works for you.

Why You Might Need a Diaper Pail

Although it’s not the most glamorous part of being a parent, changing your baby’s diaper is a regular part of the job. In fact, you’ll be changing your baby’s diaper about five to six times a day, or even more! What will you do with all those wet and dirty diapers? Having a diaper pail right next to the changing table is a great idea, as you can easily dispose of the used diapers. A diaper pail is usually a better choice than a regular trash can because it can help control odors more effectively. For example, a diaper pail often has more than one lid to contain smells, as well as other odor-minimizing features like a puck deodorizer or scented refill bags.

Things to Consider When Buying a Diaper Pail

There are many features to consider when choosing the best diaper pail. From functionality to design, ask yourself the following questions before buying a diaper pail trash can.

Functionality

To start, consider the functionality of the diaper pail. The best diaper pail is one that works for you and your unique situation.

  • Is it safe? Before all else, check that the diaper pail meets safety standards set by the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA) and hasn’t been recalled. You should also ensure the diaper pail doesn’t have any broken or loose parts before using it. Not all diaper pails come with child-proof locks, but it may be safer to choose one with this safety feature. Liners can be a choking hazard, so make sure your little one can’t reach the pail and that any spare liners are safely stored in a separate place.

  • How well does it contain smells? Some diaper pails have double doors, air-tight bag clasps, or barrier compartments to help contain the smell of dirty diapers. Some models even have odor filters to trap icky smells, or scents to mask bad smells. Consider which of these features, if any, you’d like to have in your diaper pail. A diaper pail deodorizer is an accessory that can also help.

  • How easy it is to open? Many Pampers Parents preferred a hands-free opening mechanism, often operated by a foot pedal. Other diaper pails require you to slide the lid open or lift it by hand. These are relatively “easy” to open, but they can become trickier to manage if you have your hands full!

  • How easy it is to use? Some diaper pails are very easy to use and work just like regular trash cans and with regular trash bags. Other diaper pails require special liners and refills. These liners are “sausage-shaped” and tie securely at both ends. Although you’ll eventually get the hang of this, too, you might prefer a diaper pail that uses regular trash bags instead.

  • How much does it hold? A diaper pail with a bigger capacity could come in handy, but this may be unnecessary as you might wish to empty the pail fairly regularly to minimize bad smells. Additionally, diaper pail manufacturers calculate capacity based on newborn sizes, and as your baby grows in diaper size increases, the pail will hold fewer diapers.

  • How easy is it to clean? Every so often, it’s a good idea to give your diaper pail a wipe. The best diaper pails will be somewhat easy to clean, meaning you can take them apart and properly clean the inside areas, too. You might find it’s easier to clean plastic models, as steel models might rust if they get wet. Some diaper pails are even machine washable.

Overall Design

Next, consider the overall design of the diaper pail and decide if it fits your needs. Whether that be fitting into your budget or your space, the design is important.

  • Does it fit your style? The diaper pail will be nearby as you change your baby’s diaper, and you’ll be looking at it often. Go for a style that you like and that suits your baby’s nursery. There are lots of colors and styles available, so you’re sure to find a version that you like.

  • Does the price fit your budget? Consider how much you’re willing to spend. Most of the diaper pails on our list are around $30 or $40, but some cost more. If the model you’re looking at requires special refills, don’t forget to factor that into the cost of the diaper pail.

  • Does it take regular trash bags or need special refills? Some diaper pails only work with specific refill liners. Although these special bags cost more (how much depends on the brand), they are often designed to contain smells more effectively than regular liners. Some diaper pails work with regular trash bags, too. If you have a particularly sensitive nose, you might find the extra cost of the special bags is well worth it.

  • How tall is it? A taller diaper pail may mean you don’t have to bend down as much to put diapers in. You might be surprised at how many diapers your baby needs and uses, so having one less movement when changing diapers can be a real lifesaver.

  • Can it be used for cloth diapers? Some diaper pails work for cloth diapers, too, so keep that in mind that in mind if you plan to use reusable diapers.

What Is the Best Diaper Pail to Buy? Top 9 Diaper Pails

These are the best diaper pails Pampers Parents recommend, along with the potential pros and cons.

1. Diaper Genie Playtex Complete Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? A whopping 45 percent of Pampers Parents voted for this diaper pail as the very best. Its odor-fighting features could be why so many parents love it. The diaper pail has two chambers—one for holding all the dirty diapers, and one smaller one for placing the newest dirty diaper. A “clamshell-style” door helps clamp the bag holding all the diapers shut and contain smells to prevent any bad odors from leaking out when you open the main lid. Under the lid there is also a carbon filter as an additional defense against smells. According to the manufacturer, the capacity of this diaper pail’s refill bag ring is about 270 diapers in total. Keep in mind that this is the number for the entire ring, and the capacity is much less for just the portion of the bag ring you will pull down into the main chamber at a time. If you haven’t seen one of these before, a refill bag ring is a ring-shaped roll of plastic liner that you can pull down into the diaper pail and tear off at any point. To secure the diapers in the bag you will have to tie the lower end in a tight knot. When you’re ready to throw out that section of the bag, you’ll simply have to tie another knot at the top end. Another major pro of this diaper pail is that it’s operated via a foot pedal so you don’t have to bend down to throw a diaper out, and you can keep your hands free the whole time. This diaper pail comes with one scented refill, so you’ll have to order more when you run out.

Highlights: This diaper pail comes in colors such as light gray, dark gray, pale pink, mint green, baby blue, and white. Select the one that best suits the design of your baby’s nursery.

Price*: about $47.26 on Amazon.com

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2. Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? Coming in at second best according to Pampers Parents is this Ubbi diaper pail. One of the benefits of this diaper pail is that you don’t need to buy special refill bags—regular trash bags will do, saving you some extra cash over time. The pail is made of steel, and the manufacturer claims it will hold in odors better than a plastic version, as plastic can be porous. No matter the style of your home or nursery, you’ll find an Ubbi pail that suits your taste. It comes in several block colors like gray, dark blue, and mint green, as well as metallic colors like gold or bronze, and patterns like marble effect and zigzag. The manufacturer claims this diaper pail holds up to 55 newborn diapers, which is pretty good compared to some of the other products on this list. Just keep in mind that as your baby’s diapers get bigger, this diaper pail will be able to hold fewer of them.

Highlights: This diaper pail comes with a child safety lock.

Price*: about $79.99 on Amazon.com

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3. Munchkin Step Diaper Pail Powered by Arm & Hammer

Why pick this one? Coming in at third place, this diaper pail by Munchkin seals the bag shut as you close the lid so that odors can’t blast out as you open the lid next time. It does this by twisting the top of the bag after you close the lid. You can buy either the Munchkin refill bag rings or the Munchkin “snap, seal, and throw” bags. With the ring bags you’ll need to remember to tie both ends securely, and you have to cut the bag when you want to dispose of a stack of diapers, so it might be more of a hassle than the “snap, seal, and throw” bags. Either way, the refills are an additional cost associated with this diaper pail, but the good news is they come with a pleasant scent. Although there’s a foot pedal for hands-free opening, you’ll need to close the lid by hand, so it’s not an entirely hands-free operation. A big plus is that there is an extra button (for opening the pail) on the inside of the lid, out of your little one's reach. This helps prevent your little one getting into the diaper pail itself. This white, sleek Munchkin diaper pail, which looks like a regular trash can, won’t be an eyesore in your baby’s nursery.

Highlights: There’s a lavender-scented Arm & Hammer baking soda cartridge in the lid of this diaper pail to help mask bad smells. However, you may need to buy additional Arm & Hammer cartridges over time.

Price*: about $67.95 on Amazon.com

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4. Dekor Classic Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? As the name suggests, this Dekor Classic diaper pail is hands-free. It comes with a foot pedal to open the lid, and the lid softly closes on its own afterwards. Another benefit is that you don’t have to push the diaper right into the bag as you occasionally do with some other diaper pails on this list. With this pail, you’ll have to buy special liners separately. With these liners, you just cut the bag whenever it’s full using the built-in cutter and tie the end of the bag. This way, you decide when to dispose of the bag, as there are no pre-set perforations. Some Pampers Parents said they used the diaper pail with regular trash bags, which is a money-saver over time. This diaper pail holds up to 45 newborn diapers at a time. Keep in mind that this same diaper pail comes in three sizes. The next size up, the Dekor Plus, suits cloth diapers, too, and holds up to 60 newborn diapers. There’s also a mini size, in case space is at a premium in your home. The white or gray design makes this diaper pail look pretty much like a regular trash can, and some Pampers Parents said they even used it for household trash as well.

Highlights: There is a child-proof lock on both the lid and the front access door. The refill cutter is also child proof for added safety.

Price*: about $29.95 on Amazon.com

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5. Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? This product is essentially a larger version of the Dekor Classic, which came in at number 4; however, it fits up to 60 disposable diapers and can even be used for cloth diapers. For this diaper pail, you’ll need to buy special Dekor refill liners. You’ll love the peace of mind of having a child-proof lock on the lid and service door, as well as a child-safe cutter, which you will need to use to cut the liner roll once a bag is full and you’d like to dispose of it. This diaper pail is hands-free; simply tap the foot pedal and the lid will open.

Highlights: Given that this pail just a little more expensive than the Dekor Classic, you might prefer the extra capacity of this model.

Price*: about $49.95 on Amazon.com

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6. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? A great thing about this diaper pail from Safety 1st is that you can use regular trash bags with it, and you won’t need to spend extra on special refills. You’ll have to open and close the lid by hand, so keep this in mind if you’re selecting this product. Overall, if you’re looking for a no-bells-and-whistles diaper pail that gets the job done, consider this one.

Highlights: This diaper pail comes with a deodorizer disc, which you’ll need to replace every so often.

Price*: about $23.98 on Amazon.com

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7. Munchkin Toss Portable Disposable Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? If you’d like a portable diaper pail for when you’re out and about with your little one, this Munchkin model is a great option. Keep in mind that this diaper pail can only be filled and used once. It holds up to 30 newborn diapers, but once it’s full you’ll have to throw away the entire pail. This means you might only get a few days’ use out of this product, but considering it’s a disposable product this is to be expected. On the plus side, this product comes in a pack of 5, so altogether you’ll be able to throw away up to 150 diapers when buying this product. It travels flat, but when you pull it open it pops open like an umbrella. Then, simply place the dirty diapers in and close the plastic lid. There’s a viewing window on the side so you can see how much room is left inside.

Highlights: You could keep one of these portable and disposable diaper pails in your car, in the basket of the stroller, and in your diaper bag, so that you’ll never be caught without somewhere to store a dirty diaper.

Price*: about $12.99 on Amazon.com

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8. Bubula Steel Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? At over $100, this diaper pail is one of the more expensive models on this Pampers Parents list. Still, it offers some benefits that might make it worth the bigger price tag. For example, the lid features a compartment where you place the diaper. Only when the lid is closed does the dirty diaper drop into the bag below, meaning you won’t be hit by bad smells when you open the lid as the two compartments are separated. This diaper pail also works with regular trash bags, so you won’t have to spend extra on special refill bags. The air-tight lid features a child safety lock. Keep in mind that one big downside of this product is that you’ll need to use your hands to open and close the lid. This could be a hassle if you have your baby and a dirty diaper already in your hands.

Highlights: This diaper pail is made of steel and aluminum.

Price*: about $110.93 on Amazon.com

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9. Creative Baby Tidy Diaper Pail

Why pick this one? This diaper pail looks and works a little differently than the others on this list. It has a handle on top, which you pull to open a compartment; then you place the diaper in; and finally, when you close this compartment, the dirty diaper drops down into the bag below. As some Pampers Parents noted, this design means you can’t really smell or even see older dirty diapers when you dispose of a diaper. The diaper pail works with regular trash bags, so you’re spared the expense of buying special refills. Keep in mind that this diaper pail isn’t hands-free. This may become a nuisance when you have your baby in one arm and a dirty diaper in the other. Highlights: The diaper pail is dishwasher safe, so it's easy to sanitize when needed.

Price*: about $49.99 on Amazon.com

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The Bottom Line

Although having diapers that throw themselves out would be the dream, the next best thing is a diaper pail that makes disposing of dirty diapers just that much easier. Having a diaper pail right within arm’s reach of the changing table is convenient and will help ensure that smells are kept to a minimum. That way, you and your freshly diapered baby can get back to enjoying your day in an odor-free space.