The Best Diaper Pails of 2021

The diaper pail is one of the most important investments for new parents, allowing them to temporarily block the inevitably foul odor of dirty diapers for several days at a time!

To find the best diaper pails of the year, our reviews summarize results from our hands-on testing with over 20 different diaper pails. Some were great, some just OK, and some downright stinky! Here are the top 5 diaper pails, followed by full reviews of about a dozen different options.

Poopy diapers stink, especially if you leave them around overnight or during a warm day. As your baby gets older their diets vary more and their bowel movements get bigger, the smell only gets worse! By the time they are about a year old, their poop starts to smell really heinous. Enter the (partial) solution to this problem: the diaper pail. 

A good diaper pail will effectively seal in the odors and prolong the time between taking the diapers out to the garbage. A great diaper pail will also have one-handed operation, and be durable, reliable, stylish, and reasonably priced!

Before we start our reviews, let's get something straight. Nothing other than a hermetically sealed chamber or being upwind is going to stop the stink of soiled diapers. Diaper pails are not miracle workers, they just give you a couple more days before you need to do the inevitable bag change. Every time you open it up to put in a new diaper, you'll see (or smell) what I mean! Also, these diaper pails can be used for disposable diapers or cloth diapers, though we suggest using one with great odor containment for cloth diapers given that they cannot be tightly rolled up like a disposable diaper.


Here are the Best Diaper Pails of 2021!

1. Munchkin Step Diaper Pail.

best diaper pail munchkin

We got our hands on the Muchkin Step last year for testing and we're happy we did, landing it right at the top of our list! It has a sleek profile, matte white with silver trim, so it doesn't look like a typical industrious diaper pail (like the Genie or Champ). It is just over 2 feet tall and uses a great step mechanism to open the top flap. When the flap opens, it also opens the internal bag, which uses a ring-style refill system. When the flap is closed, it uses a unique twist technique to seal the bag shut. Definitely better than the squeeze-shut mechanism. In addition to the Munchkin refill rings, it's also compatible with the snap, seal and toss bags, which is a nice touch. The secret to this diaper pail is that it uses an Arm & Hammer baking soda puck that helps absorb odors, and a mild lavender scent that helps mask any remaining odors.

In our testing, we thought this was one of the best diaper pails for concealing odors, thanks to the powerful mechanical seal and the added odor management. Along with its high capacity, convenient step-open mechanism, and subtle design, this puts the Munchkin Step squarely at the top of our list. The biggest selling point is the odor control, which we believe is the most important aspect of a good diaper pail. There are just a few minor downfalls with this pail: first, you need to physically push the diaper down into the pail (you can't just drop it in), and second, the lid doesn't close automatically (you push it down to lock). Overall, we think this is an excellent diaper pail and very deserving of this spot on our list! For about $55, it's also a great deal! Who else loves the Munchkin Step diaper pail? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump also call it a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Munchkin Diaper Pail here.

2. Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail.

best diaper pail ubbi steel

This is an awesome diaper pail, one of the best-rated and best-selling units on the market. And for good reason! Ubbi used steel instead of plastic when they designed this diaper pail. Steel is much less porous than plastic and reduces the chances that odors will be absorbed and permeate through the material. This, in conjunction with rubber seals on the top door, helps keep odors inside the pail. In our testing, we were very impressed with the Ubbi's ability to contain the stink, even when fully loaded with dirty diapers. Another bonus is that this diaper pail allows you to use any bags you'd like in it.

We used tall kichen trash bags, and thought the Glad OdorShield Febreeze trash bags were especially great for this task. Rather than a flip-top lid, the Ubbi uses a lid that slides open. While not quite as easy as a diaper pail with a foot pedal, it does a slightly better job at sealing in odors. To toss in a diaper, you slide the lid back, throw in the diaper, then slide it closed; we had no issues doing this one-handed. There is also a baby-proof knob on the top to prevent a curious toddler from sliding it open entirely. Emptying the bag was easy: lift the lid and the ring, and then simply tie the bag and pull it out. The only minor downfall is that it doesn't have a foot pedal. Overall, we think this is a great diaper pail; it looks great, works well, and is under a hundred bucks! Who else loves the Ubbi Steel diaper pail? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump also consider it a top pick! Interested? You can check out this Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail here.

3. Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Pail.

best diaper pail playtex genie

This is one of very few foot-pedal controlled diaper pails that provide a true hands-free operation, letting you hold your baby with one hand and dirty diaper with the other, and toss it right in! The Diaper Genie Complete is a great products, has a nice smooth operation, and does a surprisingly good job containing odors. When you press the foot pedal, it opens up not only the lid but also two layers of air tight clamps that help seal in the odors. To help out, the inside of the diaper pail is coated with an odor-controlling anti-microbial, the bags are an odor-blocking multi-layer plastic film, and there is a carbon filter hiding under the lid. Together these do a pretty good job of stopping odors, though the effectiveness of the carbon filter does fade after about a month of use; we suggest replacing the carbon filter about once a month to keep up. Changing the bag was easy enough, and the Genie uses refill cartridges that claim to hold about 270 diapers per cartridge.

In our experience, they work for about 10 bag refills per cartridge, cartridges cost about $6 each, which amounts to a cost of about 2 cents per diaper. Pro-tip: instead of changing the entire bag each time it's full, use scissors to snip the knot off the bottom and dump the diapers into a cheaper kitchen bag or an old grocery bag, and throw them in your outside garbage. If you use that trick, you'll get about 100 uses out of each cartridge. Another simpler option is to simply use the Genie for dirty diapers, and throw wet diapers into your kitchen trash can. Of course, if you're fine with the cost of the Diaper Genie refill cartridges you can ignore these thoughts! If you would like to dress up your diaper pail with some cool designs, check out the Diaper Genie Expressions version, which comes with decorative sleeves. Overall, we think the Genie Complete is a great diaper pail with some awesome capability, ease of use, and odor-blocking skills. And the price is right, coming in at about $40! Who else loves the new Diaper Genie? Our friends at Babylist, Babygearlab, WhatToExpect, and The Bump also call it a top pick! Interested? You can check out this Playtex Diaper Genie here.

4. Diaper Dekor Plus Diaper Pail.

best diaper pail diaper dekor

This is a stylish and sleek alternative to the typical (and frankly somewhat ugly!) Champ and Genie pails. The Diaper Dekor Plus functions much like the Genie but is a bit more durable. You press the foot lever for hands-free operation, which opens up the top and exposes a square flap hiding the hole where you'll toss the dirty diaper. The flap is a nice touch: unlike the Genie, when you push the foot lever, it doesn't immediately give you a giant waft of odor. That's because the stink is hiding behind yet another layer of plastic. Slick. When you fill it up, you open the front of the pail and pull the bag down, cut it with a little kid-safe blade, and knot it. Then pull down a fresh bag and knot it. Very similar to the Genie in this regard, but a bit more durable than the Genie, and less stink escaping when you use the foot lever. Our testing moms loved that it was completely hands-free, so you can hold your baby and put in the diaper (the Genie is also hands-free, but the Champ requires a hand). Two moms noted that they bought the Diaper Dekor system after their Diaper Genie broke - usually the flap hinges are the first to go. This system overall is highly recommended, and as a bonus it looks quite a bit better than the others and comes in multiple colors. It's usually only about $45 online. We did the calculations for you, and the cost of bag refills is about 1 cent per diaper. Downfalls? Well, after several months of use, the plastic began to absorb odors pretty badly; because there is no extra deodorizing insert, the long-term stink factor is definitely there. We suggest cleaning it out with a hose and vinegar every 4-6 months! Who else recommends the Diaper Dekor Plus? Our friends at The Bump consider it a top pick! Interested? You can check out the Diaper Dekor Plus Diaper Pail here.

5. Safety 1st Easy Saver Diaper Pail.

best diaper pail safety first

We finally got our hands on one of these Easy Saver diaper pails, and put it to the test. We actually hadn't seen it around on the market, and it wasn't until one of our Facebook fans told us to test it out. Overall, it's good enough to make it onto our "best diaper pail" list, but it's definitely not up to par with some the others. Let's get into the positives first. The Easy Saver lets you use your own tall kitchen garbage bags (the 13-gallon ones), which is really convenient so you don't need to buy separate refills. It also includes a baking soda deodorizer disk that fits into the underside of the top flap, a bit like the Diaper Genie. That disk does help with the stink quite a bit, until it runs out and you need to replace it (about once a month). The design is sleek and simple, and the top flap mechanism seems to be decently high build quality and reliability. Given the relatively low price of this diaper pail (about 20 bucks!), this makes an excellent option for parents looking for an inexpensive diaper pail without any of the perks and features of a more expensive model. In our testing, we used odor-absorbing kitchen trash bags, which in conjuction with the deodorizer disk worked like a champ at stopping the stink. We also found some negatives. First, to open it you need to use a small button on the top, which pops open a flap that you stick a diaper into. It works just fine, but we really prefer the foot pedal style, it's just so much easier to use when you're already carrying a baby in one hand and a dirty diaper in the other! Second, the odor control wasn't quite as good as some of the better ones on this list, especially when the deodorizer ring needs to be replaced. Third, we thought the hole on the top was way too small and awkward to stuff a diaper into. It's mostly because the bulge on the bottom of the lid flap is so big, that it simply gets in the way. Of course, you then need to push it shut after opening it. So definitely some cons relative to other diaper pails on this list. But if you're looking for a well-built diaper pail on a budget, this is definitely a great option!

6. Munchkin Toss Portable Diaper Pail Disposal System.

best diaper pail munchkin toss diaper disposal

Here is a completely new concept for diaper disposal. Rather than having a permanent diaper pail sitting in your house and accumulating odor, this is a completely disposable system that functions more like a collapsible laundry basket. But in this case, once it's filled up you simply throw the entire thing in the trash. Each pail fits about 30 newborn or 20 toddler diapers before it's full, and each pail costs about $2. In the end, it's definitely a more expensive and wasteful option than a typical diaper pail, but there are definitely circumstances where this is ideal. These include travel, camping, and vacations where you don't have access to your normal diaper pail but want something to contain odors and not take up too much space. Speaking of odors, this does a surprisingly decent job at stopping the stink! It's not as good as the Ubbi steel or other more permanent disposal systems, but it's really pretty good given its portability, convenience, and low cost. While the photo makes it look rigid, it's not very rigid at all - it collapses down into a very small package the size of a frisbee so you can fit it into your diaper bag or stroller basket pretty easily. As you add diapers, it expands and stands on its own. The entire thing is made of plastic and feels sort of flimsy (it's 2 bucks, after all), and don't expect it to withstand extended or repeated use. It's simply not designed for that. As the only truly portable diaper disposal system on our list, it has a clear purpose, and it's not extended and repeated use. Our only major gripe with this system is the waste that's generated - not only are you filling landfills with the diapers but also with a plastic disposal system. We're not going to judge you for using this, you need to do what's best for your situation, but just wanted to point that out. Interested? You can check out this Munchkin Toss here.

7. Tommee Tippee Simplee Nappy Diaper Pail.

best diaper pail tommee tippee

Tommee Tippee's first venture into the diaper pail market, the Simplee Nappy diaper pail offered great bang for the buck! Tommee Tippee is known for making high quality, reliable, safe, and inexpensive products (like their amazing baby bottles); their products make it onto many of our round-up lists, such as with their awesome baby bottles, bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers, and baby food makers! The Tommee Tippee pail is most comparable to the Diaper Dekor product, using the ring-shape refill cartridge and having a nicer style than the Genie or Champ. Also, like the Dekor, it uses a two-layer odor protection: the top lid that pops up, and a small flap that you push the diaper through in order to get it into the bag, which helps you avoid the waft of diaper odor whenever you open the top lid. Unlike the Dekor, however, this unit requires you to pop open the top with your hand (there is no foot lever); that is why this is relatively low on our list, since several other diaper pails are more convenient in that regard. And the odor management is not quite up to par with the more substantial pails. Coming in at about $40, this diaper pail is in the middle of pack in terms of price. We did the bag refill cartridge calculations for you, with the cost of about 2.5 cents per diaper. Also recommended by The Bump, you can check out the Tommee Tippee diaper pail here!

8. The Diaper One N Done.

best diaper pail one and done

Don't let the picture fool you, this thing is really compact! Here's a new entry into the diaper pail market, with a very different strategy. Instead of having a separate large container to store diapers, this system lets you use your existing garbage can. It reminds us a bit of having a puppy: you individually wrap each offensive item into a small plastic bag, then throw in the garbage. The Diaper One N Done is substantially smaller than any other diaper pail on our list. Because it's not really a diaper pail. It combines a perforated roll of bags, much like those little doggie clean-up bag rolls. You open a new bag and put it over the pail edges (similar to what you probably do already with the bathroom garbage can!). Then you put a dirty diaper in, tie it, rip the bag off the roll, and put a fresh new bag over the edge. Then you throw the bagged diaper into your regular garbage can. It seems like a bit more work, but here's how our testing moms saw it: first, the system is about half the price of the others. Second, since you're using your regular garbage, you don't have to worry about taking out yet another pail full of garbage. Third, since it's bagged and tied, the stink actually does an OK job staying in the bag. Fourth, it is a really small pail that can sit on top of your changing table, or use the hook so you can hang it on the side. That's a lot of positives! The negatives? Well, if the Champ is unfortunate because it requires 1 hand to operate, the One N Done really loses out because it requires both hands to tie the bag and reinstall a new bag. If you can foresee yourself being able to put down your baby while you tie the bag, then this is the system for you. It's about $40 typically online, and comes with several different fun designs. We did the math for you, and the cost of refills is about 7 cents per diaper, which is pretty steep! You'd be better off purchasing a few rolls of dog poop bags, which are less than 2 cents each when purchased in bulk.

Discontinued: Baby Trend Diaper Champ Deluxe.best diaper pail baby trend champ

Where did the Diaper Champ go!? One of the original diaper pails, the Diaper champ was super popular for over a decade. Baby Trend discontinued it as of last year, and with all the new options to choose from, we haven't looked back!

Conclusions

After our testing was said and done, we realized that some diaper pails really stank (literally), and some were fantastic! There were dozens of options - some are convenient, some not. Some are great at masking odors, some not. Some are durable and reliable, some not. And some require proprietary bags whereas some let you use whatever bag you want. So many options, and lots of differences between them.

How do you take care of the poopy diaper problem? The obvious solution is to take your dirty diaper out to the garage, dumpster, or outside garbage can every time you change a diaper. That strategy will work for about a day. Then reality will set in - nobody has the time or energy to take out every single diaper, especially when you're changing your baby every hour or two. You also don't want to be filling up your kitchen or bathroom garbage can with diapers, because that will get really smelly really quickly! Instead, we suggest investing about $80-100 in a good quality diaper pail. Remember, you can always wash and sell it on Facebook Marketplace when you're done using it!

For more in-depth details on how to pick the perfect diaper pail, check out our full diaper pail buying guide. Also check out our reviews of the best diaper changing pads!

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