One thing that every new parent quickly becomes familiar with is changing diapers. Which of course leads naturally to the question, “where do I put this poopy-diaper?”
Pleasantly, until your little newborn pooper starts eating solid foods (typically at 4-6 months age), the stink-factor remains relatively mild. But, a new dawn arrives when junior starts eating solids and suddenly what was a mild smell issue at the diaper changing table becomes a full-on stink-a-torium.
This is where a specially designed diaper pail comes into play.
How Many Diapers Will My Baby Use in the First Year?
In the first year, your newborn baby is going to go through 2,500 to 3,000 diapers, which will rise to a total of nearly 5,000 diapers over four years. To see a breakdown of this number, check out my other post.
That’s a mind-bogglingly large number, yet a fact. The question, “where do I put this dirty diaper” takes on a lot more meaning when you consider how many dirty diapers you’re going to need to deal with. A lot of parents just carry poopy diapers to the trash can outside one dirty diaper at a time. Those thousands of trips, baby in one hand, dirty diaper in the other, are a lot less convenient than putting them in a diaper pail, but completely practical as an odor containment solution. A diaper pail can save you all those trips by giving you a place to store dirty diaper near your changing pad. But, you may wonder, “why not use a regular trash can?” The answer is that you can use a regular trash pail to dispose diapers, with only mild odor issues, until your baby starts eating solid foods. However, once baby starts eating solids the stink from dirty diapers becomes a major issue.
Why Use a Specially Designed Diaper Pail?
A specially designed diaper pail is going to offer significant odor containment advantages over a normal kitchen trash container. Most importantly, a diaper pail is designed to more tightly seal in the odors than a normal kitchen trash can. However, sealing the pail tight isn’t enough. You need to consider that you’ll be opening and closing the pail every few hours to insert another dirty diaper. The best diaper pails provide a specially designed mechanism for inserting a dirty diaper in the pail that minimizes the amount of stinky smell that escapes. Lastly, the best diaper pails have a design that makes it easy to empty the pail without releasing odors. The best diaper pails do a great job at minimizing the stink you’ll endure as you remove a bag full of dirty diapers and insert a fresh bag.
Key Considerations in Buying a Diaper Pail
We think the most important factors to consider when buying a diaper pail are these four:
- Odor Control — how well does the diaper pail contain the odor of stinky diapers?
- Total Cost of Ownership — what is the estimated total cost of owning and using the diaper pail, including replacement diaper bag refills, over the estimated life of the product?
- Ease of Diaper Disposal — how easy is it to dispose of a dirty diaper with one hand, since baby may be in the other hand?
- Ease of Bag Change — how easy is it to change a full bag of dirty diapers, and does the process subject you to nasty odors?
In our tests and ratings, we attempted to get at each of these four factors, provide weighted metrics for each, and score each product in relative comparison to the competition.
We placed the highest weight in our overall score calculation on Odor Control (60% of total score) since we consider that to be the essential purpose of a diaper pail.
Challenges in Evaluating Diaper Pails
As a general rule, it is very hard for a new parent to fairly evaluate competing diaper pails by visiting stores and carefully researching user-reviews. While in some categories you can touch and feel the products yourself in a retail environment, and get a real feeling for quality and differentiation, that doesn’t work with diaper pails. Diaper pail performance really comes down to how things go with real stinky diapers: comparing each pail to the competitors. You just can’t get that information in a retail store, and very few user reviews shed light on how competing products compare side-by-side. We hope what we’ve done will help.
As you can read in our “How We Test” section, we attempted to create a series of controlled tests that would allow us to rate each diaper pail versus the competition on the key metrics. It was, frankly, a nasty testing process, but one we hope you’ll appreciate and find informative.
Our goal is that between our ratings on key functional metrics, and our estimates of total cost of ownership, we will have provided you a useful set of information to help you make your own decision.
To see how these 6 brands compare against each other, follow this link:
Diaper Pail Review by Baby Gear Lab