Taking care of your newborn baby can be an absolute joy. That is, of course, besides the chronic lack of sleep and dealing with the endless amount of dirty diapers. (How can something so small produce this much…well, poop?)
Buying good and highly functional baby equipment can’t solve every issue a new parent faces (by the way, you’re not alone—you’re doing great), but you can solve at least one of the problems: stinky nurseries. The last thing you want when you’re already exhausted and feeling a bit crazy is to be confronted with the smell of what comes out of a baby.
Did you know that babies can go through almost 10,000 diapers in 3 years? To cope with that amount of waste, to quote Spielberg’s “Jaws” saying, ‘We’re going to need a bigger boat,” or in this case, a bigger pail.
Your baby’s nursery should be a calm, clean, and hygienic space, so a good diaper disposal unit is an essential part of your basic baby equipment. Each comes with their own features which can help keep it hands free and minimize any bad odors throughout your home. And of course, who says the diaper bin can’t be a cute feature which fits in nicely with your theme? The best diaper pails will completely lock in odors and conveniently pack away the mess.
- Best hands-free diaper pail: Dekor Classic Hands-Free
- Best scented diaper pail: Muchkin Step Diaper Powered by Arm and Hammer
- Best anti-microbial diaper pail: Playtex Diaper Genie
- Best diaper pail for cloth diapers: Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail
- Best budget diaper pail: Safety First Easy Saver
What features to look for when finding the best diaper pail
Getting the nursery ready is one of the most important parts of the nesting process for parents. Once you’ve chosen a theme or color scheme (Jungle? Space? Flowers? Dinosaurs?), the next step is to procure all the baby items you need to feed, change, and help your little one go to sleep. Every nursery has a core set of baby items that are a must for the arrival of a newborn, including a bassinet or crib, a dresser for clothes, toys, equipment, and somewhere comfortable to nurse or bottle-feed. And, of course, you need a designated space to change a diaper. For this you need a changing table complete with the two essentials: a wipe-clean mat and a diaper pail.
Having a diaper pail may not be the first thing you consider buying when setting up a nursery, but it’s on the list for a reason. After changing the baby, it’s not ideal to carry the wet (or worse) diaper and dispose of it in other rooms of the house—it’ll bring unpleasant odors throughout your home. You definitely don’t want guests to say, “What’s that smell?” So, when looking for the best diaper pail for your nursery, there are a few factors to consider depending on the changing choices you’ve made for your baby.
Firstly, it’s important to think about what kind of diapers you use for your baby. Do you use cloth or disposable diapers? Would you ideally like the bin to match the decor or theme of your nursery, or is the form and functionality more important to you? Have you already blown your budget getting the nursery ready, or are you looking to get the best?
All these different factors will help decide on the best choice for your diaper pail. We break it down for you to make sure you don’t end up with one that’s inadequate.
How to find the best diaper pail for your nursery
Best hands-free diaper pail: Dekor Classic Hands-Free
Easy to Use
A completely hands-free way of disposing diapers. DEKOR
This Dekor diaper pail pretty much has everything you’d want from a diaper disposal system (and features you never even knew you needed). This includes a softly closing lid so it doesn’t disturb a sleeping baby, odor locks to keep the nasty smells at bay, and a convenient and safe child lock. It opens widely so you can replace the bag easily, and its foot pedal opening system keeps it completely hands-free. It’s designed to maximize on space, so this is a great option if you have twins, triplets (!), or baby siblings—it provides a high dirty diaper capacity with the least amount of constant emptying.
Best scented diaper pail: Muchkin Step Diaper Powered by Arm and Hammer
A great option for those with delicate noses. Munchkin
One of the great features about this award-winning pail is its sleek and elegant pedal bin design, which would fit well with any nursery decor. But the best feature is its lavender scented universal refill system, which makes the whole process acceptable to even the most sensitive sniffers. Added to this is its self-sealing system, meaning those nasty odors can’t escape into the room between bag changes. It’s compatible with both refill rings and snap, seal, and toss bags. The full set also comes with a snap and seal bag, starter ring refill, and a lavender scented baking soda puck. And if you want your baby diaper pail to give back (who doesn’t?), Munchkin will plant a tree for every diaper sold.
Best anti-microbial diaper pail: Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Pail
Comes with built-in odor control. Diaper Genie
The award-winning Playtex Diaper Genie has all the features of the best diaper pails, but is arguably one of the most hygienic on the market. This all-in-one diaper pail will completely seal out diaper smell with its unique carbon filter and air-tight clamps. Pails can harbor a lot of nasty of bacteria, but this model’s design actively prevents bacteria from multiplying on the pail, making diaper disposal easy. Another added bonus is its large capacity, holding up to 270 dirty diapers at a time. It’s positioned to be at a convenient waist level so you’re not juggling your baby whilst bending over to throw out a diaper. It is one of the largest in our list however, so if you are lacking in space this might not be the best model for your nursery.
Best diaper pail for cloth diapers: Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail
One of the only diaper pails specifically designed for cloth diapers. Busch Systems
Even when it comes to our baby equipment buying choices, it’s possible to help make a difference in the fight against climate change. Opting for reusable cloth diapers instead of disposable is a popular choice for eco-conscious—and wallet-conscious—parents. However, the cloth diaper option is a little more complicated than just removing and dumping, since you need to be able to conveniently retrieve the used diaper for washing and reusing. This cloth diaper pail’s carbon filter lets air in but stops bad smells from coming out, and you can replace it regularly to keep it fresh. Another plus for eco-friendly parents: the pail itself is also made from recyclable plastic, which not many diaper pails can claim.
Best budget diaper pail: Safety First Easy Saver Diaper Pail
Small and Sturdy
For those tight on space, this diaper pail fits anywhere. Safety 1st
The company behind the infamous (and life-saving) yellow “Baby on Board” car signs have created an affordable diaper pail that does the job. Their offering is perfect for those who need their pail to be a compact size so it can be tucked away into a cupboard or closet. Disposable, replaceable deodorizers will keep the nursery smelling fresh. This product is definitely the best one for parents on a budget—you know, the ones who say, “I am not spending more than $20 on a special bin for poop.”
Can you use any type of bag for any type of diaper pail?
Not all diaper pail refills are universal, especially those with particular sealing features or pails which are a compact or larger size. All of our recommended units come with refillable units though. Depending on the design, though, you may have to stick with their recommended brand that conveniently fits in their constructed slot.
How do I stop my diaper pail from smelling?
The best way to eliminate all odors in the nursery is to get a diaper pail that is designed with an airtight seal (bonus for added scented carbon filters, like the Munchkin product. Choosing that kind of product will seal bad smells in and emit nicer odors to mask any smell that may emerge. However as a general rule, diaper pails should be sprayed with antibacterial cleaner and wiped down on a once weekly basis to prevent bacteria spread.
Can you use regular garbage bags in a Diaper Genie?
Yes. Diaper Genie comes with a certain number of accompanying custom bags to get you started, but once it comes time to replace you can of course opt for regular garbage bags which will fit. They won’t have as perfect a fit and may not have optimal sealing function but it is certainly doable.
Get the best diaper pail for your nursery needs
It’s not the first item we think of when it comes to building a nursery, but any parent will tell you that a diaper pail is an essential baby item for your home. Don’t forget, they’re not just for babies—if you’re a pet owner and need a place for pet waste like cat litter, hamster shavings, or bird box droppings, diaper pails are a good way to clean the mess and minimize the lingering smell.