The 5 Best Diaper Pails To Contain Odors & Messes
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Discarding diapers is one of those less-than-pleasant parenting tasks you might not think about until you get that whiff of dirty diapers in your trash bin. But the best diaper pails boast designs that allow them to contain unwanted smells better than any regular old trash can. Whether you choose a pail made with plastic or metal, look for a model that has odor-locking features and can accommodate the type of liners you prefer.
Most diaper pails come in plastic or steel, and these materials have different considerations. A plastic pail might be more susceptible to surface scratches and absorbing odors over time, but a steel pail will be more prone to rust. Ultimately, the material you choose is primarily a matter of personal preference.
When it comes to odor control, a pail can feature a variety of mechanisms to help with smelly diapers. Many pail lids are designed with seals, odor-absorbing filters, or separate chambers to better keep odors contained, and it’s always a good idea to peruse Amazon user feedback from shoppers who’ve used them.
Finally, you’ll want to consider the types of liners a diaper pail can accommodate. Some pails are designed to work with special liners, while others can work with a wider range such as a regular trash bag or a reusable wet bag for cloth diapers. For diaper pails that do require special liners, check the user reviews to see if you can replace them with a more generic substitution, as these can sometimes be cheaper.
Scroll down to learn more about some of the best pails on Amazon for easy diaper disposal, including a disposable one that’s great for travel. And if you’re on the fence about what to add to your baby registry, I’m here to say a diaper pail is worth inclusion.
1. Writer’s Choice: This Fan-Favorite Diaper Pail With 23,000+ Ratings
The Playtex Diaper Genie is a popular option with a 4.6-star overall rating after more than 23,000 Amazon shoppers have chimed in. It’s an option I decided to go with when my first child was born, and I still use it today, nearly three years later, with my second child. We did eventually have to purchase a second one for the amount of diapers we go through, but it was totally worth it considering how well it has controlled the smell. It also has airtight clamps that help seal in odors, as well as an odor-absorbing carbon filter on the inside of the lid. I’m a big fan of the Diaper Genie scented liners, not only because they help mask the smell, but also because they hold a large amount of disposable diapers throughout the week — we tend to only empty out both of our pails every trash day.
The design also fits well in our nursery without being an eyesore. We went with the solid white option for both our pails, but other colors to choose from include gray, pink, or blue. The pail itself is tall and slim with a built-in step pedal that allows you to dispose of diapers without having to open the lid with your hands. It doesn’t have a child lock, but the way that the diapers get trapped into the bottom compartment after tossing them in helps prevent my toddler from trying to explore the inner contents.
The diaper pail comes with one refill pack of scented bags with your purchase. The only major trade-off is how pricey replacement bags can be, but you can try switching from using the name-brand liners to generic ones to save on costs. This diaper pail also won’t be a good fit for cloth diapers, since the liners (even the generic ones) are specifically made for smaller disposable diapers, and the pail isn’t designed to accommodate a reusable wet bag.
- Bin material: plastic
- Dimensions: 9.4 x 12.1 x 27 inches (width x depth x height)
- Available styles: 4
One shopper wrote: “I could not be happier with the purchase! It doesn’t take up too much space, the design is nice, it’s easy to use, and best of all it doesn’t smell at all! We probably have to empty it every 2-3 days at this point with the amount of diapers [our child] goes through, but changing out the bag is very simple. Highly recommend it.”
2. A Compact Steel Diaper Pail With A Sliding Door
If you’re low on space or looking for something that’s a little more discrete, try this compact Ubbi diaper pail that’s primarily made of steel with a protective powder coating. Many reviewers have reported that the pail contains smells well and can even work for cloth diapers when paired with washable wet bag liners. (Just keep in mind that no steel is completely rust-proof, and some reviewers have noticed rusting over time.) Other shoppers have appreciated that they can also use regular 13-gallon trash bags for disposable diapers.
Despite its size, it has a large capacity of up to 55 diapers. The lid features rubber seals to keep odors in and a sliding door at the top. Although this pail is not a hands-free option, one reviewer wrote, “It’s easy to use with one hand as you either hold a baby in the other or are just keeping a hand on them on the changing table.” There’s also a child lock on top to keep tiny hands away, if you have any curious toddlers you’re concerned might want to open it up and explore. It comes in more than a dozen hues that’ll fit any household aesthetic (including a value set with liners, plastic bags, odor-absorbing gel, and a changing mat and bag).
- Bin material: powder-coated steel
- Dimensions: 8.75 x 12.5 x 21.6 inches (width x depth x height)
- Available colors and styles: 14
Promising Amazon review: “I really love the Ubbi! We got ours in gray to match my son’s nursery and we love not only the look, but also how compact it is. Does a great job of keeping odors in and is not an eyesore in the room, like many other diaper pails can be. The customer service is phenomenal and you can truly tell they care about keeping their customers satisfied. Highly recommend!”
3. The Best Pail For Cloth Diapers
This diaper pail has one of the widest openings on the list, making it a more convenient option for larger cloth diapers, and it has the ability to fit a reusable wet bag or liner of your choice. One reviewer noted that it holds “about 20 cloth diapers,” and another wrote that it “does a great job with odors.” It features rubber seals on the inner lid and a trap door that quickly closes shut when you take your foot off the step pedal (similar to the Diaper Genie). This diaper pail is designed to work with Dekor’s cloth diaper liners or scented plastic liners (sold separately), but reviewers have noted that it also can accommodate regular 13-gallon trash bags, too. “The biggest selling point for me was that it can be used with regular 13 gallon trash bags so you don’t have to continue buying refills,” one reviewer wrote. Plus, it comes with a wide front door for easy emptying and includes a child lock to keep curious toddlers out. Choose from five different colors or a bonus gift set option.
- Bin material: plastic
- Dimensions: 11 x 15 x 25 inches (width x depth x height)
- Available colors and styles: 6
Promising Amazon review: “I LOVE THIS PAIL. I got it for my cloth diapers along with the cloth diaper bags that they make and it's been fantastic. Fits about 2 days of diapers and it completely eliminates the minimal smells that we had. I'm so happy.”
4. This Diaper Pail With A Removable Storage Caddy
This diaper pail from Skip Hop has a removable storage caddy on top for your changing essentials such as wipes. It features a narrow, space-saving design yet has enough room to even hold diapers for households with multiple children. One reviewer wrote, “With two kids I am changing it only every three days.” The plastic lid features a dual chamber system to keep smells from wafting out from the steel bin below, and it serves as an extra layer of protection against toddlers looking to explore the inner contents (especially since it doesn’t have a designated child lock). While the dual airlock system is meant to contain odors, some reviewers have noted that it sometimes requires extra effort to push the diapers through the second chamber. With this in mind, this option likely won’t be as useful for larger cloth diapers as it is for disposable ones. The manufacturer specifies that trash bags can be used instead of special liners, and reviewers have reported that standard 13-gallon bags work well.
- Bin material: steel
- Dimensions: 8.7 x 14 x 28 inches (width x depth x height)
- Available colors and styles: 1
Promising Amazon review: “I have twin girls and this thing is amazing!!! Holds a normal size trash bag and I don’t go through switching out things as much and it holds double the amount!”
5. These Disposable Diaper Pails For Traveling
If you’ve ever experienced a blowout in public, you might have rushed to your car for a quick diaper change only to find no trash can in sight. Instead of letting the dirty diaper stink up your entire car, try opting for these disposable diaper pails you can tuck away in your diaper bag or car. They come in a compact size that unfolds open, plus since they’re fully disposable, you don’t need any extra liners. Their lids form a tight seal to keep odors in, and each pail can contain up to 30 newborn disposable diapers at a time. One reviewer described: “They work so well at containing odor and hold about 4 days worth of my toddler’s diapers.”
A pack of five disposable diaper pails comes in for less than $15 each, but you can also choose a pack of one or three for a few bucks less. Because of their compact size and single-use functionality, these diaper pails are probably best suited for disposable diapers rather than cloth ones. However, they also don’t have child locks, so you’ll need to keep it out of reach around toddlers.
- Bin material: plastic
- Dimensions: 7.25 x 5.6 x 8.25 inches (width x depth x height)
- Available colors and styles: 1
Promising Amazon review: “I love these!! We took them when visiting my parents because they didn’t have a diaper pail. They are easy to use and have a hanger attached that hung perfectly on a closet doorknob. They really keep all the smell in and held a weekends worth of dirty diapers. I would recommend to anyone traveling or just needing a diaper can in another room! Throw the whole thing away when full.”