Best Diaper Pail for Your Baby’s Nursery

Last Updated: February 1, 2024
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

By Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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Diaper pails – a riveting topic indeed! Alright, so I get it, maybe diaper pails aren’t the most thrilling discussion in the world but it’s an important one nonetheless. If you find yourself at a loss, or just don’t feel like doing the research on the best diaper pail out there, we’ve done the dirty (ha-ha) work for you.

I hope this article helps you find the best one for your baby’s nursery!

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Why do I need a diaper pail?

Here’s the deal, babies poop all the time, especially when they are newborns. I can assure you that you don’t want to be tossing poop diapers in your kitchen or bathroom trash can a dozen (or more) times a day!

This is where a diaper pail comes into play!

Believe me, there are going to be times when diaper changes get pretty dang messy. To avoid the urge to run to another room to dispose of a dirty diaper, you can make your life easier by sticking a diaper pail right next to the changing table.

Choosing the best diaper pail for your nursery

What features to look for in a diaper pail

Who knew that diaper pails could offer so many different features? Things sure have come a long way in the last 2+ decades. 

Odor shield

You can pretty much guarantee that any diaper pail on the market will have some kind of lid. After all, without a lid, things would get mighty fragrant! Speaking of fragrance, many pails offer built-in odor protection too.

Type of bag required

Some diaper pails require you to use specific trash bags while standard trash bags can be used with others. Many prefer the pails that are compatible with regular trash bags just from a convenience and cost perspective. 

Foot pedal

Just like a lot of kitchen trash cans, many diaper pails have a foot pedal that opens the lid for disposal. Personally, I think this is a big perk. Nobody wants to touch or lift a lid when they have a poopy diaper in their hands. 


Finally, you will want to consider size when choosing a diaper pail. Maybe you are carrying multiples or just don’t want to have to take the trash out often. If this is you then you might want to opt for a larger one. 

Most pails come in a pretty standard size so I wouldn’t spend too much time stressing about this feature. Unless you just know that you need a particularly large or small pail then you can probably put this at the bottom of your priority list.

Best diaper pail categories

There are several things to keep in mind when shopping for the perfect diaper pail. I will go over my favorites below, based on 6 different categories.

If you are eager to jump ahead and see all the diaper pails in one spot, you can shop them using the button below!

1. Best overall diaper pail

Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

About the Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

This 13 gallon diaper pail is made of stainless steel and comes in 15 different colors/patterns. I mean, not that it has to look “fancy” but it can’t hurt, right?

Unlike plastic, steel is non-porous, meaning this pail contains odors even better than others. It has a childproof lock to keep your little one(s) from getting messy as well. 

Ubbi does make their own bags but one thing I love about this diaper pail is that you can use any standard size trash bag. And it holds up to 55 newborn size diapers so pretty large compared to some of the others. 

Pros of the Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

I love so many things about this one, including it’s simple and sleek look. The stainless steel gives off a clean vibe, which is sort of ironic considering it’s used to store dirty diapers. Hey, it’s the little things in life, right?

Another aesthetic perk – it comes in so many different colors. I feel like the majority of people are probably still after the basic white or grey, but it’s great that there are other options for those that want to spice up the nursery a little bit. 

I also love that you can use any standard size trash bag with it. If you are anything like me and tend to wait until the last minute to reorder things then you could definitely benefit from this feature.

Finally, I like that this pail was designed by an actual parent!

Potential cons of the Ubbi Steel Odor Locking Diaper Pail

One thing I’m a little surprised by, considering it was designed by a parent, is the fact that it doesn’t have a foot pedal. I mean, it’s not a make or break in my book, rarely did I ever have my hands so full that I couldn’t open the pail. But still, I get that being completely hands-free is a perk!

Who is this for?

Anyone wanting a little more stylish looking pail, who doesn’t want to sacrifice space or odor control! It’s also pretty “middle of the road” when it comes to price, so you don’t need to be concerned with totally splurging! 

2. Best diaper pail for small spaces

Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

About the Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

This is a great option if you are looking for something on the smaller side. Yes it’s mini, as the name suggests, but don’t let that fool you. It can hold up to 25 newborn size diapers.

With triple odor control you can be sure this pail will keep all that stink on the inside. It offers an easy to operate foot pedal to make disposal completely hands-free and a self-closing whisper lid to make sure your sleeping baby isn’t disturbed. 

A hidden childproof lock keeps curious older siblings and/or your little one away once they become mobile. And even though they recommend using their special bags, it’s definitely not a requirement.

Pros of the Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

The smaller size makes it the perfect diaper pail if you are looking for something to stick in the bathroom or a second bedroom. And if you want to use it as your main one in baby’s nursery that would work great too!

The triple odor control keeps the smell inside the pail instead of letting it escape into the room. It also has a foot pedal, making it completely hands-free. 

The pail is made of ABS plastic, making it easy to clean and sanitize, but not easy to scratch, dent, or rust. Finally, this pail offers a unique refill system that allows for quick and easy emptying when the pail gets full.

Potential cons of the Dekor Mini Hands-Free Diaper Pail

It’s a pro but it can also be a con, the size. Some are looking for a bigger diaper pail that they don’t have to empty as frequently. If this sounds like you then you might want to look elsewhere. 

Who is this for?

This is a good option for a primary diaper pail for baby’s nursery if you want something smaller and more discreet. It is also great for those looking for one to keep in a second bedroom, the bathroom, or maybe even to leave at a grandparent or caretaker’s house!

3. Best foot pedal diaper pail

Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

About the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

The step pedal is no stranger to the diaper pail world. This particular one, however, offers an even larger and wider pedal, making diaper disposal even easier. In addition to the self-sealing system that keeps odors contained, this pail also comes with a lavender scented puck that continuously works to absorb odors.

You can use Arm & Hammer snap, seal, and toss bags or Arm & Hammer refill bags with this one! And one of my favorite things about this diaper pail is that they plant a tree for every diaper pail sold! 

Pros of the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

First off, I love the fact that it has the odor eliminator sealing system and the lavender puck. Nobody wants their nursery, room, or house smelling like poop, ammirite? 

Another thing I like is the large pedal. Even if you find your hands full of stuff (which will frequently happen as a parent!), you can be sure you won’t miss the opportunity to get that diaper in the trash!

Lastly, I love that they plant a tree for each pail sold. 

Potential cons of the Munchkin Step Diaper Pail

One potential downside I have heard about this pail is that some people find it difficult to get the diapers down into the pail. To be honest though, this is something I personally struggled with and hear a lot when it comes to diaper pails in general.

Who is this for?

Really and truly this one would be a good option for any parent looking for a standard, odor eliminating, easy to operate pail. If you are (or plan on being!) a busy, on-the-go parent, consider this wide pedal diaper pail to help make your life easier.

Baby Registry Guide

4. Best budget diaper pail (that actually works!)

Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

About the Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

This diaper pail is easy to use, works hard to eliminate odor, and won’t break the bank! Instead of a step pedal this pail utilizes a push button to open the lid, making it easy to operate even if your hands are full. 

Their refill bags feature a built-in antimicrobial feature to help prevent spreading germs and it can hold up to 50 newborn diapers. The best part? It’s only going to run you around $30ish bucks!

Pros of the Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

A big pro of this diaper pail is that it’s budget friendly! Also, the push-n-lock clamp helps keep odors in, even when the lid opens, to help keep the surrounding area smelling fresh. When full, the bag can be emptied in 3 easy steps: cut, lift, and dispose! 

And you can choose from unscented or clean laundry round refills! Lots of things to love about this budget diaper pail!

Potential cons of the Diaper Genie Expressions Pail

The lack of a foot pedal is the biggest con for this one. They did their best to try and keep it easy to access, but a push button doesn’t compare to a foot pedal.

Aside from that, this pail offers almost everything else that any other pail does!

Who is this for?

This is a great option for someone that’s not looking to splurge on a fancy diaper pail. And also for someone that’s not wanting to sacrifice too many features either. This would be great as a primary diaper pail but also a really great back-up or second diaper pail option too. 

5. Best smell-blocking diaper pail

Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

About the Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

This diaper pail really seals in odors with double air-tite clamps AND a deodorizing carbon filter that adds another layer of odor protection. 

In addition to the smell-blocking features, the bags also feature built-in, antimicrobial components to lock-in smelly odors, prevent germ transmission, and inhibit bacterial growth on the film.

Plus, it can hold up to 36 newborn size diapers! 

Pros of the Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

I’ve already covered how effective this pail is at concealing unpleasant odors, the big perk! Other pros include ease of cleaning, a foot pedal that allows disposal to be completely hands-free, plus multiple color options.

This particular pail is available in white, blue, grey, and pink. I know it’s a little thing but hey, it’s a perk! Like the Diaper Genie Expressions pail, the refills for this one are also available in unscented and clean-laundry scent.

Potential cons of the Diaper Genie Complete Diaper Pail

One potential con is that it doesn’t hold quite as many diapers as comparable pails. This particular one can hold up to 36 newborn diapers whereas the Diaper Genie Expressions and Signature pails can each hold around 50 newborn diapers. 

Who is this for?

This particular diaper pail is for any parent looking to really conceal the diaper stank, which I would think is just about anyone. But truly, as far as diaper pails go, this is a great option and one you should definitely consider!

6. Best diaper pail alternative

There are a few different options when it comes to diaper pail alternatives:

A small trash can with a lid, like what you might find in a bathroom or bedroom could be an option. A lot of them have little foot pedals too so that’s a bonus! 

Another option is to simply bag each dirty diaper individually and then deposit it directly into a main trash can, whether it’s the kitchen or outside trash.

Lastly, cloth diapers. Personally, I never could get on board with them. In theory, they sounded so good, and I love, love, love what it does for the environment, but I just couldn’t do it. Cloth diapers can save you money, but they do require some planning and logistics.

Potential pros

Each of these 3 options has pros and cons. The pros to the small trash can is that you can likely find one for pretty cheap, at or around $15. 

Bagging individual diapers and taking it out with each diaper change has some perks too. The biggest being that you won’t have dirty diapers lying around your house or piling up in a pail or trash can. Hey, if the diapers aren’t in the house then there’s no way they can create an odor! 

Cloth diapers are great for the environment and can save you from having to spend hundreds on disposable diapers. Because they are less absorbent, cloth diapers typically get changed more frequently, so your baby is less likely to develop a rash as well.

Potential cons

A pretty big con of the small trash can is that it won’t hold a lot of diapers. You are going to end up emptying it pretty frequently, which could be more trouble than it’s worth. Also, it might be harder to find one that has strong odor protection because it’s not specifically for diapers. 

Bagging each diaper after each change can be pretty tedious. Sure, it only takes an extra 60ish seconds to run it to the outside trash can but time is valuable when you have a little one to tend to. It can also be a little wasteful if you are using a plastic grocery bag (or something similar) for each one. 

I think it’s safe to say that the biggest con of cloth diapers is the mess factor. How do you dispose of the poo, where do you dispose of the poo, what is the best way to clean them…the list goes on. I am not knocking cloth diapers at all. The parents that can tackle cloth diapers get a big gold star in my book. But it does require you to do some extra thinking!

Who are these for?

These 3 options are ideal for the parent looking for something different than the traditional diaper pail.

Whether you are wanting to make every effort to avoid any kind of diaper odor, not wanting to deal with the headache of a diaper pail in general, or just want to be more environmentally friendly and save some money, one of these options might be a good fit for you!

Want help with the rest of your baby gear?

Does the thought of putting together a baby registry overwhelm you? Have you asked yourself the questions, “Where do I even start?” and “What do I put on a registry?” If any of this sounds familiar then I have just the thing for you!

Say goodbye to registry overwhelm and say hello to MLN’s FREE Baby Registry Guide! My team and I will walk you through the process of creating a registry and help you make informed decisions about the items you’ll actually need!

Broken down into nine essential sections, this guide offers shoppable links to items from various different price points. So no matter if you are on a tight budget or looking for the crème de la crème, we’ve got you covered!

Baby Registry Guide
Liesel Teen, RN-BSN

Liesel Teen

BSN, RN, Practicing Labor and Delivery Nurse

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