Do You Need A Diaper Genie? Is It Worth It? And Alternatives

Trying to figure out if you need a Diaper Genie? What’s all the fuss about anyways? They’re actually a lot better than most standard trash cans and we’ll go over all the reasons you might want one for your baby’s nursery and all the best alternatives.

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Do you need a Diaper Genie?

To answer the question: do you need a Diaper Genie: no, you don’t specifically need a Diaper Genie. You’ll likely want some kind of trash can in or near your diaper changing station though. If you plan on changing the majority of your baby’s diapers in the nursery, you’ll probably want a diaper pail there. 

The Diaper Genie was one of the first revolutionary diaper pails that did more than the average trash can. It has an innovative trash bag system that helps lock away smells better than a standard kitchen trash can does. 

These days, there are many other good diaper pails on the market you may want to consider alongside the Diaper Genie to see which is your preference.

Diaper Genie Options

Diaper Genie has three versions out right now, the Diaper Genie Complete, Expressions and Signature. 

The Diaper Genie Complete has a slim profile and a double clamp system so the area you deposit your dirty diaper into is shut off from the rest of the waste in the can down below. Then when you release the foot pedal, the top of the can shuts again and the dirty diaper is released to the area below. It’s great at locking in smells and is a good option for small nurseries.

The Diaper Genie Signature also has a foot pedal but no double clamp system. The single clamp it has at the top keeps the bag shut tight under the lid when it’s not in use and still helps reduce smells in the nursery. It’s a bit larger than the Complete version.

The Diaper Genie Expressions comes with the option of a fabric sleeve to help the pail blend in with your nursery decor. It has no clamp system inside and uses a press and lock mechanism on the top of the pail to keep smells in. I’ve heard it’s less effective at containing odors from my mom friends who have tested it. 

Best Diaper Genie

The Diaper Genie I like best is the Diaper Genie Complete. I’ve been using it for over two years now with very few problems. It contains smells (even once your baby starts solids) and the foot pedal design allows for hands-free opening, which is helpful when you’re carrying a dirty diaper or have messy hands. 

The Complete has a self-sealing system with two clamps. The double clamp system helps with odor control by keeping the smell of the dirty diapers below locked down quite well even when the lid is open, to dispose of a new diaper (kind of like a trap door). The body of the pail opens, making it easy to remove the spilled diapers when the bag is full. There is also a built-in cutter (safety blade) inside the pail so you can cut the liner, remove the bag, and keep going, seamlessly. 

The Playtex Diaper Genie Complete also has a spot for a carbon filter in the lid that helps trap in bad odors.

Is the Diaper Genie worth it?

There are some trash cans that are much cheaper than a Diaper Genie, the problem is that most of those trash cans do not keep in odors as well as a proper diaper pail. Especially if you live in a warm climate and your baby has started solids, a Diaper Genie is worth it. Is the Diaper Genie the best diaper pail? I would say it’s right up there.

We’ll take a look at the pros and cons in the next section but in general the Diaper Genie is a better choice than most standard trash bins.

Diaper Genie Pros & Cons

When you look at the Diaper Genie Complete, there are many pros and a couple cons to consider. 

  • Pros
    • Locks in odors
    • Bag liner ‘ring’ system means less frequent liner changes
    • Foot pedal for convenience
    • Slim profile
  • Cons
    • Must use special bags that fit the system
    • Sometimes you have to open the can and pull the liner down to create more space as it fills up. 
    • More expensive than a cheap trash can

Diaper Genie Alternatives

Ubbi Diaper Pail

Besides having a Diaper Genie Complete for the past two years, I’ve also owned this Ubbi Diaper Pail for the past 3 years and it’s been great. The Ubbi has a sliding top that has a childproof lock. It also works with any type of garbage bag (unlike the Diaper Genie). I use regular kitchen trash bags. As an additional cost saving measure, some people use a plastic grocery bag inside instead of a trash bag. In the long run, being able to use an inexpensive bulk trash bag will save you quite a bit of money when you compare the price to the trash liner rings that fit the Diaper Genie bins. 

The Ubbi is also made of metal, which helps it trap the bad smells from your baby’s dirty diapers compared to plastic diaper pails. It’s larger than the Diaper Genie Complete which means it can hold a lot of diapers.

Pure Pail

The pure pail has a touch open lid instead of a foot pedal. It’s easy to operate with one hand and also has a child lock feature. Due to the long tubular shape of the Pure Pail it is recommended to use their special trash bags that fit the bin perfectly.

Munchkin Diaper Pail

Similarly to the Diaper Genie Complete, when you open the Munchkin diaper pail with the foot pedal, the bag holding dirty diapers below is sealed off. The clamp system works well at minimizing odors in the nursery. The foot pedal is wider than the foot pedal on the Diaper Genie but this pail is more expensive than the Diaper Genie Complete.

Standard Trash Can

This is a less expensive option than buying most specialized diaper pails. However, most standard trash cans won’t work as well at trapping odors in comparison to diaper pails. If you’re going this route look for something made of metal, with a foot pedal and tight seal on the lid. 

Disposable Bags

Similar to dog poop bags, you can use individual disposable bags for your dirty diapers and then throw them out in your household waste bins. Beware… I’ve tried this method and still wouldn’t put a dirty diaper from a baby who is eating solids in my household waste bin. Smells can still get through most disposable bags to some degree. 

What if there’s no room for a diaper pail in the nursery?

Remember, it’s up to you where you decide to change your baby’s diaper. You can always choose to change your baby elsewhere if you have a small nursery with no space for a diaper pail or trash can. 

Find a space in your home where you will be comfortable changing your baby and set up a diaper caddy and either a diaper pail or trash can nearby. Check out this article for a list of what to put in your diaper caddy

Alternatively, you could find a mini diaper pail but you’ll have to take the trash out more frequently. Check out this mini diaper pail from Dekor you can read my full honest review on the Dekor Mini here.

How many diaper pails do I need?

How many diaper pails you need depends on how many places in your home you plan on changing a lot of dirty diapers. If you change most of your baby’s diapers in the nursery, you will only need one diaper pail in your baby’s room. If you change diapers on your main floor and have a larger trash can outside, you can always run them to your outside trash quickly after changes. If you do a lot of diaper changes in your basement, you may like another diaper pail down there. 

If you’re considering a second diaper pail for a space you use a little less often, a mini diaper pail might be helpful for you like this mini diaper pail from Dekor.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with smelly diapers can be an unpleasant task for new parents but it must be done! If you’re looking for a great diaper pail that locks away used diapers and unpleasant odors with a double air-tite clamp, choose the Diaper Genie Complete. The Diaper Genie Complete is my top pick of all the Diaper Genies available.

If you’d prefer to be able to use standard trash bags instead of bag refills, consider going for the Ubbi diaper pail instead. It’s done a great job at containing stinky diapers with regular trash bags

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