Is a Diaper Pail a Necessity or a Waste of Money

There are so many childcare products on the market nowadays. However, not all products are regarded as essentials. Some promise convenience while others are just for aesthetics and entertainment. First-time parents might fall into the trap of buying unnecessary extras. If you are an expectant parent, you might come across recommendations regarding for using diaper pails. Once you already have the feeding, clothing, bedding and cleaning essentials, should you still consider buying the best diaper pail?

What is a Diaper Pail?

As its name suggests, it is a waste disposal unit specially made for cloth and disposable diapers alike. It is topped with a lid that small children and pets cannot easily open nor remove. The sides of this container are also lined with regular or product-specific trash bags. It is intended to contain the nasty smell of soiled diapers so it does not stink up the room. In a way, it also helps prevent contamination that usually happens when items come in contact with the poop from poorly disposed diapers.

Is a Diaper Pail a Necessity

Trash Bins versus Diaper Pails

Back in the day, parents and childcare workers simply throw soiled diapers in normal trash bins. You might wonder: if they were able to take care of their babies then without a specialized diaper trash bin, why is it necessary now?

The reason is more practical than some naysayers think. Having a diaper pail is actually more space saving than having two big trash bins (one for regular trash and one for diapers) around the house. Using your regular trash bin in the kitchen and having your smaller diaper bin in the nursery makes much more sense.

Then, there’s also the issue of smell. You have to consider the possibility that the smell might leak and spread quickly in particularly cramped spaces. The lids of diaper pails tend to be more secure than regular trash bins. They simply are more efficient in containing the bad odor from diapers.

The benefits of diaper pails are often overshadowed, however, by the need for “accessories.” Some diaper pails require you to buy product-specific trash bags. These trash bags are a little bit more expensive and harder to find in stores compared to liners or bags for regular trash bins. In many cases, however, you will find that the regular trash bags will work just fine with your diaper pails. You simply have to match the measurements and find the one that fits what you have.

Having a diaper pail may also be time-saving. With diapers and kitchen waste mixed in one trash bag, you have to dispose them on a daily basis. When the diapers and kitchen waste are segregated, the trash bags can hold for two or more days’ worth of waste. This saves you from the daily trip to the dumpster. This is especially useful in the winter when you want to limit the time you spend outside. This is also helpful to parents who are quite busy with work and household chores.

Diaper pails come in various shapes, sizes, and colors. Most are made from plastic but there are a few diaper pails made from metal. The designs may not be as plenty as that of regular trash bins, but you can certainly find something that looks a neat addition to your home.

Factors to Consider

Knowing the features of diaper pails can help you decide whether you need it or not. The factors you should consider include capacity, odor control, user-friendliness, ease of disposal and portability.

Diaper pails have varying capacity. Some can hold up to 25 diapers while others may only contain a handful of diapers. The small diaper pails are actually meant for outdoor trips with your baby or toddler. The sizable ones are for home use. Aside from homes, you might also see such diaper pails in childcare facilities and preschools.

The basic odor control mechanism common to most diaper pails is the double lids. Some have more sophisticated lids than the others, but they serve the same purpose. These lids help prevent your little one from touching the dirt inside and throwing his toy therein. While your newborn isn’t going to do any of those, think of when he grows and learns to walk.

Aside from the double lids, diaper pails also have deodorizing agent. Some have filters which you have to replace every once in a while. Others have disks where you put product-specific or regular deodorizers. You can also make your own deodorizing agent. In some diaper pails, putting baking soda in the disks is enough to neutralize the smell.

For better odor control, the best diaper pails out there have features that keep the liner sealed. With these features, you can comfortably stay beside the diaper pail without being bothered by the smell of its contents.

Though difficult for children and pets to open, most makers of diaper pails strive for products that you can easily open with one hand or even with no hands at all. The hands-free diaper pails are equipped with foot pedals.

When it comes to portability, diaper pails are not that heavy though some are bulkier than others. You can hold them by the sides or by the built-in holder.

Some also have features which enable you to attach them on walls. Ideally, you can attach it to the wall right next to the changing table or in the table itself. This helps save time. Plus, when your baby grows, he can’t easily reach and put his hands in it.


This is actually where the debate begins. Some argue that diaper pails are just a waste of money. Your baby is going to grow up and stop using diapers anyway. Once he stops using diapers, what are you going to do with the diaper-specific trash bin? In addition to the trash bin, you have to consider the costs of refills as well.

If you have the time to empty your trash bins every day, you might not need to worry about the smell from soiled diapers. You might not also need a trash bin exclusively for diapers. But if you are willing to invest on convenience and safety, you should get a diaper pail. When you don’t have any diapers to dispose, you can give it to another parent or simply repurpose it into a regular trash bin.

Is a Diaper Pail a Necessity or a Waste of Money