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When you’re creating your baby registry or revamping your nursery, diaper pails may not be high on the list of things you can’t wait to unbox. But as your little one grows and the diapers pile up, you’ll quickly realize that this may be one of your most used — and most appreciated — nursery items.

While perhaps not the cutest of nursery accessories, having the right diaper pail can make a big difference in your quality of life — and the air quality of your house! It’s important to invest in the right one, which is why we’re here to help you compare the best diaper pails on the market in 2022.

While a diaper pail may not be necessary by technical definitions, your gorgeous new nursery will certainly start to smell less inviting without one.

Because the stench from dirty diapers can spread through a space if not contained, most people want something specifically designed to trap it.

Plus, a diaper pail can also mean that you’re not constantly having to take stinky diapers outside to a larger trash can — an important time and energy saver for any parent!

When hunting for the diaper pail of your dreams (bet you never thought you’d dream of a diaper pail, huh?), there are several things you’ll want to think through:

Size

With some smaller pails, you’ll need to clear the dirty diapers out every 1-2 days before they begin to overflow. Alternatively, very large pails might hold a week or more of diapers, but develop a stench as the diapers are collected.

The amount of space you have for a diaper pail will also likely impact your decision, so it’s important to consider where you’ll keep it.

Pail liners

Some diaper pails can use regular trash bags or washable cloth bag liners, while others require special liners or carbon filters bought from the diaper pail manufacturer. Over time, the cost of special liners can add up, so you’ll want to think about the types of bags required and their costs.

Accessibility

Diaper pails can open in a variety of different ways — a handle, flip lids, or a foot pedal to name a few. You’ll want a diaper pail that you can easily open without releasing odors, and has a big enough opening to easily plop diapers inside. Nobody wants to wipe poop off their hand from finagling a dirty diaper into the pail!

Changing ease

Getting a bag full of dirty diapers out of the container is never going to be your favorite chore, so the easier the task (not to mention the less stinky!) the more bonus points it will earn.

While there aren’t a ton of safety risks associated with diaper pails, you’ll want to make sure that if you keep yours on an elevated surface it can’t fall on your baby.

You’ll also want to make sure that little hands don’t get trapped in it as it opens and closes. It’s also important to watch out for suffocation risks with any trash bags used in your nursery.

If you choose a wet diaper pail for cloth diapers, it’s very important to make sure that it’s locked when not in use so little ones don’t have access, since it’s possible to drown in as little of an inch of water.

With all of the specs mentioned above taken into consideration, we picked this list based on parent recommendations, best-seller lists, and rave reviews.

Pricing guide

  • $ = $20–$40
  • $$ = $41–$60
  • $$$ = over $60

Best overall diaper pail

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 15 inches x 10.75 inches x 22.48 inches (38.1 centimeters x 27.3 centimeters x 57.1 centimeters)

If there’s such a thing as an attractive diaper pail, the Ubbi definitely qualifies (you can even get it in a marble print!).

Additionally, because it’s made from steel, it’s less likely you would have to worry about odors absorbing into the material like with plastic pails.

The Ubbi also has a child lock on the lid to prevent your little one from opening it up while your back is turned.

The manufacturer does sell diaper bags for the pail, but they are not required — kitchen trash bags and cloth liners will both work just fine. The only downside to this pail is that it doesn’t have a foot pedal, so it requires a free hand to open the sliding lid.

Pros

  • includes a child lock on the lid
  • can use regular trash bags or a cloth liner in it
  • made of steel, which should retain less smell than other materials
  • lots of color and print options

Cons

  • does not include a foot pedal
  • not the most budget-friendly option

Best diaper pail for cloth diapers

Busch Systems Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 11.38 in. x 11.38 in. x 14.25 in. (28.9 cm. x 28.9 cm. x 36.2 cm.)

Made specifically for cloth diapers, this pail has a double handle clamp lid designed for the extra width of dirty cloth diapers.

Reviewers say it holds up to 2 days’ worth of diapers — without the smell to show for it — thanks to a carbon filter in the lid.

Understanding the environmental consciousness that drives many to consider using cloth diapers, this diaper pail is made from recycled plastic and is recyclable.

Although it’s worth noting that while the carbon filter reportedly works wonderfully, reviewers say the materials themselves may retain the poop smell after being used for a while.

Another consideration: If you’re using cloth diapers and cloth liners, you might need to wash the inside of your pail more often as cloth liners are more prone to leakage.

Pros

  • clamp lid has extra-wide opening for the extra width of dirty cloth diapers
  • can be used as a wet or dry diaper pail
  • the diaper pail is made from recycled plastics and can be recycled when done being used

Cons

  • the materials of the pail can retain more of the diaper smell than some other materials
  • the entire lid must be removed every time releasing more of the smell inside into the room
  • not the most budget friendly diaper pail option on our list

Best diaper pail for containing odor

Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 9.38 in. x 12.06 in. x 27 in. (23.8 cm. x 30.6 cm. x 68.6 cm.)

The Playtex Diaper Genie is designed to mean business when it comes to containing odors.

It makes use of a clamping system when diapers are inserted, so while it does require you to squeeze the diapers through a tight opening, you won’t have to deal with a strong waft of poop every time you open it.

For double doody (see what we did there?), the walls of the Genie are antimicrobial to prevent bacteria from nesting in the pail. It also uses a foot pedal for hands-free opening.

On the negative side, this pail makes use of a carbon filter and requires its own specific bags, which can both definitely add up price-wise over time. But for the faint of nose, this may be the answer you’ve been seeking.

Pros

  • includes a foot pedal for hands-free opening
  • pail walls are antimicrobial to reduce long-term smell and germs
  • clamping system helps keeps smell in when new diapers are added

Cons

  • requires own specific bags
  • smaller lid opening

Best durable diaper pail

Bubula Steel Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 11.3 in. x 11.3 in. x 25 in. (28.7 cm. x 28.7 cm. x 63.5 cm.)

Looking for something that will stand the test of time? The Bubula is made of steel and aluminum, materials which typically hold up well over time and won’t retain as much of the odor as some other materials.

Users also commented that in situations where hinges or a lid needed to be replaced, customer service was super responsive.

Additionally, the Bubula can be used with normal trash bags and is easily transformed into a trash can for continued usage after the diaper days have ended.

For a little extra money, it’s possible to get a version of the Bubula with a foot pedal.

Pros

  • made of steel and aluminum
  • works with a normal trash liner
  • users rave about the company’s customer service
  • can be used as a trash can once the diaper days are done

Cons

  • comes with an expensive price tag
  • model with a foot pedal costs extra

Best diaper pail with storage

Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 8.25 in. x 27.25 in. x 14.5 in. (21 cm. x 69.2 cm. x 36.8 cm.)

If you’re trying to maximize space in your nursery, how about a diaper pail with a special compartment for storing diaper supplies?

Not only does the Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail have space to store items, but it’s designed to stand flat against a wall or changing station, so unlike a traditional diaper pail, you won’t have wasted floor space due to a rounded design.

An additional bonus? Standard garbage bags will work inside this pail.

Pros

  • built-in storage compartment holds diapering essentials
  • works with regular garbage bags
  • design fits flat against a wall or changing station

Cons

  • lid has a smaller opening than some other diaper pail options
  • some users complained they had a hard time getting the lid to latch

Best budget diaper pail

Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$
  • Size: 24 in. x 15 in. x 11 in. (61 cm. x 38.1 cm. x 27.9 cm.)

If you’re looking for maximum features at a manageable price, the Dekor Plus is worth considering.

It has a larger entrance that can fit diapers (both cloth and disposable) inside, and a foot pedal for easy one-handed dumping.

Additional features include a child lock, odor-blocking trap door, and a quiet lid closure. It also converts to a trash can when your little one is done with diapers.

One thing to consider: While this pail is a great price for the quality, it does require you to purchase Dekor brand bags. One refill box claims to hold 2,320 diapers, though, so you shouldn’t have to purchase them very often.

Pros

  • includes a foot pedal and child lock
  • wide entrance for dirty diapers
  • several color options are available
  • can be converted to a trash can when the diaper days are done

Cons

  • requires Dekor brand bags
  • while it can be used to hold dirty cloth diapers, users said it didn’t hold quite as many as they hoped

Best splurge diaper pail

Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

  • Price: $$$
  • Size: 12.44 in. x 11.5 in. x 27.5 in. (31.6 cm. x 29.2 cm. x 69.9 cm.)

Designed to sport a sleek look, this diaper pail comes with a foot pedal to make diaper disposal hands-free, and an award-winning odor lock system.

It also includes a childproofing button to keep little hands away from dirty diapers, and a lavender-scented baking soda puck is meant to help neutralize odors.

On top of its higher price point, the need to use the manufacturer’s specific diaper bags and the baking soda pucks earn this pail the ranking of “best splurge.”

But if you’re looking to make a purchase you can feel good about, Munchkin will plant a tree for every one sold — so your money is going toward more than just a diaper pail.

Pros

  • includes a foot pedal and childproof lock
  • sleek, modern design
  • a tree is planted for every one sold

Cons

  • need to use the manufacturer’s specific bags
  • Arm & Hammer lavender-scented baking soda pucks will need to be replaced fairly frequently

Best customizable diaper pail

Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions

  • Price: $
  • Size: 11 in. x 22.5 in. x 11 in. (27.9 cm. x 57.2 cm. x 27.9 cm.)

If you have a fear of your diaper pail sticking out like a sore thumb in your nursery, the Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions might be the pail of your dreams. It has designer fashion sleeves available that can fit around it.

And, because the pail itself has a more affordable price point, the extra money to pay for the sleeve should hopefully still be within your budget!

Additionally, this pail features a push button lid that allows for one-handed dirty diaper drops. While you will need to use the manufacturer’s specific diaper bags, which can cost extra money, they claim to offer seven layers of odor-blocking protection.

Pros

  • push button lid allows for one-handed dirty diaper drops
  • one of the more budget-friendly diaper pail options on our list
  • option to change the pail’s appearance to match spaces using different designer sleeves

Cons

  • no foot pedal option
  • requires using the manufacturer’s specific diaper bags

PriceSizeProduct calloutsBest for
Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail$$$15 in. x 10.75 in. x 22.48 in. (38.1 cm. x 27.3 cm. x 57.1 cm.)• includes a child lock
• can use regular trash bags or cloth liners in it
anyone who likes a sleek look to their diaper pail
Busch Systems Odorless Cloth Diaper Pail$$$11.38 in. x 11.38 in. x 14.25 in. (28.9 cm. x 28.9 cm. x 36.2 cm.)• extra-wide opening for the extra width of dirty cloth diapers

• can be used as a wet or dry diaper pail
those planning to use cloth diapers
Playtex Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail $$9.38 in. x 12.06 in. x 27 in. (23.8 cm. x 30.6 cm. x 68.6 cm.)• includes a foot pedal

• clamping helps to keep smells inside the pail when new dirty diapers are added
those who don’t want to smell anything when they open the diaper pail lid
Bubula Steel Diaper Pail$$$11.3 in. x 11.3 in. x 25 in. (28.7 cm. x 28.7 cm. x 63.5 cm.)• made of aluminum and steel

• works with a traditional trash bag liner
those who want to make long-term use of their diaper pail
Skip Hop Nursery Style Diaper Pail $$$8.25 in. x 27.25 in. x 14.5 in. (21 cm. x 69.2 cm. x 36.8 cm.)• built-in storage area for holding diapering supplies

• uses regular garbage bags
those who need storage space for diapering accessories
Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail$$24 in. x 15 in. x 11 in. (61 cm. x 38.1 cm. x 27.9 cm.)• includes a child lock and foot pedal

• can be converted to a trash can after children are done with diapers
those who want a lot of features without the highest price tag
Munchkin Step Diaper Pail$$$12.44 in. x 11.5 in. x 27.5 in. (31.6 cm. x 29.2 cm. x 69.9 cm.)• includes a child lock and foot pedal

• sleek, modern appearance
those willing to buy replacement parts to keep odors down
Playtex Diaper Genie Expressions $11 in. x 22.5 in. x 11 in. (27.9 cm. x 57.2 cm. x 27.9 cm.)• push button lid

• designer sleeves can be used to change the appearance to match different room styles
those who want a stylish nursery

How do I stop my diaper pail from smelling?

Removing the dirty diapers frequently will help to reduce any smells. Spraying the pail with a disinfectant like Lysol on a frequent basis can help kill bacteria that contribute to a smelly diaper pail.

You may also wish to place baking soda, whole cloves, a coffee filter, or a dryer sheet in the bottom of the diaper pail, as these can help neutralize the scent. You’ll just need to remember to take them out and replace them frequently.

As a reminder, keep any cleaners safely stored away from your child’s reach for safety.

How do you air out a diaper pail?

After removing the diaper bag, you’ll want to disinfect the diaper pail. You can use a product like Lysol or create your own vinegar based spray.

You’ll want to provide the diaper pail with some time to air dry after this. Products with baking soda can help to neutralize the smell, so you may wish to scrub the diaper pail with a baking soda mixture, too.

How often should you replace a diaper pail?

Many diaper pails can last for a lifetime and will never need to be replaced!

You’ll want to follow the manufacturer’s directions to ensure that your diaper pail lasts as long as possible. You should replace your diaper pail if it breaks or has cracks that allow odors to escape.

While a lot of the items on your baby registry may have you swooning with baby-related excitement, the words “diaper pail” probably leave you far from giddy.

But whether you’re committed to cloth or are a Pampers pro, you’ll be going through a ton of diapers with your new little one.

We understand it may not be the flashiest item in your baby’s nursery, but the diaper pail you pick can play a major role in keeping your home smelling poop-free. And that — any experienced parent will tell you — is an underrated gift.