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Best Diaper Pails

Updated April 2018
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. Read more
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 12 Models Considered
  • 68 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 115 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

    We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

    Shopping Guide For Best Diaper Pails

    Last Updated April 2018

    As a new parent, figuring out where to put a soiled diaper may not sit high on your to-do list, but with babies averaging around 10 diaper changes per day, an hygienic disposal system is essential.

    The problem is, a regular household trash can doesn’t usually do the best job containing odors. Running outside to get rid of smelly deposits one by one isn’t very practical, either.

    Offering superior odor control and a dedicated spot to dump dirty diapers, a diaper pail is the go-to solution for many parents. However, with a vast selection of diaper pails on the market, choosing a good one is nothing to sniff at.

    To make things easier, we rounded up five of the very best diaper pails and compiled the guide below to help you find the most suitable option.

    Most babies need to be changed every two to three hours. Having a diaper pail close at hand will not only make things easier, it will help you keep your nursery fresh as well.

    At BestReviews, we're committed to helping consumers with all their shopping needs through various means, including independent lab testing, expert guidance, and the collection of user feedback.

    We never accept free manufacturer samples, so you can rest assured that our buying advice is sincere and unswayed.

    Read on to find out everything you need to know about diaper pails.

    And don't forget to check out our product matrix above when you're done – we're confident you'll love our top five picks as much as we do!

    A great diaper pail shouldn't just trap odors; it should also be easy to use.


    Why you need a diaper pail

    During the first few months of your baby's life, odor control may not be too much of a concern. Although using a diaper pail will still help keep things fresh, hygienic, and organized, its fundamental purpose may only truly have a chance to shine following the introduction of solids to your baby's diet.

    Once those solid foods are part of your child’s everyday fare, a diaper pail offers hassle-free convenience – a quality that any busy parent can appreciate.

    If you’re debating whether to purchase a diaper pail or make do with your regular trash can, consider the following reasons why a diaper pail makes life easier.


    To minimize the chance of your diaper pail absorbing odors, don't allow soiled diapers to sit for too long. Change the liner every couple of days.

    • Soiled diapers often emit odors capable of bringing tears to the eyes of grown men and cowboys.

    • Even if you own a good trash can with a tight-fitting lid, the bad smells will escape whenever you open it, and you'll likely be facing a full-on olfactory assault each time.

    • A diaper pail has a sealed lid that's specifically designed to trap odors inside – and keep them inside.

    • Some diaper pails take your olfactory comfort a step further with additional odor-control methods, like the use of scented disks.

    Indeed, the presence of a diaper pail in your home can definitely help make the diapering years more pleasant for everyone.


    A child lock will help keep curious kids and adventurous pets out of the diaper pail.

    Staff  | BestReviews

    Checklist: the most desireable diaper pail features

    Liner compatibility

    As mentioned above, not all liners are compatible with all diaper pails.

    Some pails require proprietary liners that are admittedly expensive – but also easier to change. Other pails can accommodate more than one style of liner. Still others can make use of ordinary trash bags.


    Using continuous liners that cut off and tie to create a new bag will allow you to empty your diaper pail more frequently without unnecessarily wasting a bag.


    If you've already invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money in creating the perfect environment for your little one, finding a diaper pail with a design that complements your nursery décor is a worthwhile endeavor.

    However, keep in mind that time spent in the nursery won't be nearly as pleasant under an oppressive cloud of funk, and functionality should always come before an attractive exterior.

    Don't forget to factor in the cost of liner refills when choosing a diaper pail. Bear in mind that some diaper pails can only be used with liners made by the pail manufacturer.


    Ease of use

    Juggling a baby and a dirty diaper is something most parents do on a daily basis. A diaper pail that opens and closes with minimal effort can be a lifesaver. Models with foot pedals or one-handed operation offer the highest levels of convenience.

    Removing and changing the liner of a diaper pail should also be as fuss-free as possible.

    • Some diaper pails have continuous liners and built-in cutters that allow you to easily snip and tie off full bags.

    • Some diaper pails have bags that can simply be snapped shut before removal. These are by far the easiest to deal with, but they generally require the purchase of special liners.


    For the sake of convenience, consider a diaper pail with a foot pedal. A foot pedal will allow you to open the diaper pail even if your hands are full.

    Staff  | BestReviews

    Odor control

    All diaper pails provide some level of odor control, but many have features beyond a tightly sealed lid to help make them even more effective.

    • Built-in fragrance disks, odor-absorbing carbon filters, and baking soda sachets can help mask or absorb unpleasant smells.

    • Double-barriers can also be extremely effective. Some diaper pails have sliding or spring-loaded trap doors under the lid to help keep odors from escaping upon opening.

    • Some diaper pails have a clamp-lock design that closes the liner opening to keep wafting fumes to a minimum, even when the lid is up.

    If the cost or availability of replacement liners is a major concern for you, consider a versatile diaper pail that doesn't impose strict liner refill requirements. For example, some diaper pails work well with regular trash bags.


    Dirty diaper capacity

    When selecting a diaper pail, don't forget to consider its capacity.

    If you have more than one child in diapers, you'll want to opt for a larger model.

    Keep in mind, too, that toddler diapers consume more space. A pail that holds 50 newborn diapers would certainly not have enough space for 50 toddler diapers.


    Opt for a diaper pail with a large capacity if you have more than one child in diapers.

    Staff  | BestReviews

    Diaper pail prices

    Diaper pails generally cost between $20 and $80, with pricier models sporting a higher number of odor-control features and other added conveniences.

    Capacity can also affect price, with larger diaper pails costing more than smaller varieties.

    Most mid-range diaper pails priced between $30 and $60 offer a good balance of affordability, efficiency, and convenience.

    You might be drawn to the idea of a “compact” diaper pail when your baby is an infant, but as she grows, you may find yourself wishing for a pail with a larger capacity. Keep this in mind as you shop.


    Q. Can I use a diaper pail for cloth diapers?

    A. A handful of diaper pails are designed for use with cloth diapers as well as disposable diapers. For the most part, however, regular diaper pails may not be suitable for the added bulk and weight of cloth diapers.

    If you use cloth diapers and are drawn to the notion of the superior odor control offered by regular diaper pails, select a pail with the following characteristics.

    • Created for use with both disposable and cloth diapers

    • Able to accommodate the added bulk of cloth diapers

    • Sturdy enough to hold the extra weight of cloth diapers

    • Easy to clean, should leaks occur

    Q. Should I wash my diaper pail?

    A. Yes. To prevent mold and bacterial growth, it's a good idea to wash your diaper pail at least once a week using warm, soapy water or an antibacterial cleaning solution. After rinsing, wipe the pail down with a dry cloth and allow it to air dry for a few hours before replacing the liner and closing it up.

    For stubborn odors, try using a vinegar/water rinse, or place a small tray of baking soda in the bottom of the pail to help absorb lingering odors.

    There is one caveat to this answer, and that applies to steel diaper pails. Steel diaper pails should not be washed, as this could cause them to rust. If you use a steel diaper pail, keep it as dry as possible, and always follow manufacturer cleaning instructions.

    Q. Will I be able to use my diaper pail for other purposes once my child is out of diapers?

    A. Absolutely. If you'd like to get the most out of your diaper pail, there's no reason not to use it as a regular trash can once the diapering years are behind you. And if you happen to have cats, an old diaper pail is perfect for used cat litter, too.

    Q. I don’t look forward to emptying the diaper pail, so I bought a fairly large one. How often will I need to change it?

    A. Although you shouldn't have to empty your diaper pail every day, one that's too large can become a barrel of brewing nastiness over time. For the most effective odor control, change your diaper liner at least every two to three days, regardless of its capacity.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Erica
    • Jennifer
    • Melissa
      Senior Editor