Ah, diaper pails. Not the most fun pre-baby purchase you’ll ever make, but one you’ll find yourself using with inevitable regularity for months (and months). When changing a baby becomes an hourly task (there are days!), clean, sanitary, and, most of all, odourless storage may be worth investing in. While the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Step Diaper Pail is on the high end of the price scale, the fact that you can drop in a diaper sans smells is a pretty big plus.
Of the six diaper pails we tested (both in the lab and with the help of parent testers), the Munchkin was the only one to effectively mask all odours—even when the lid was open. Made of sturdy plastic, it uses special refill bags and baking soda pucks to eliminate odours, and after each diaper is dropped in the pail, the bag is twisted to seal in smells—handy for parents and kids who are particularly sensitive to foul smells. (Our only wish was that there was an unscented puck for scent-sensitive people, as well as a lock to keep curious hands from opening the lid.) One of our testers noted that the twisting bag makes a crunching sound that’s a bit noisy, which could be a concern if you have very light sleepers.
The Munchkin Arm and Hammer Step Diaper Pail is ready to go right from the box, no assembly required. All you need to do is pop in the bag. The step pedal is another standout feature, allowing for easy, one-handed diaper disposal, which our parent testers appreciated, as they could keep one hand on baby the entire time. Removing the bags for disposal is also a breeze.
If there’s a particularly soiled diaper, poop could, in theory, get stuck in a lip on the outside, but overall the pail is simple to clean, inside and out. Some of our parent testers thought it was slightly too big, taking up more space in the room than they would have liked, and that the opening could have been a little wider to accommodate loosely folded, super-soiled diapers. Still, they appreciated the attractive and durable design, as well as its capacity for holding a long day’s worth of diapers.
I was skeptical about having a diaper pail in the house because of stinky odours, but this one does a fantastic job of staying fresh. It’s easy to use and I like the look of it as well. It was also easy to dispose of those super-full, gross diapers.”—Maria, mom of three
Changing the bag
Once you have a full bag of dirty diapers, removing it is pretty easy—even with a bag loaded down with soiled diapers. Our testers all found this varying degrees of easy, and our editors thought it was a breeze. The built-in bag cutter in the Munchkin diaper pail is one of the better ones in the diaper pails we tested—and let’s face it: who wants to struggle to remove a smelly bag of diapers?
Value for money
At the high end of the price scale of all the diaper pails we tested, the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Step Diaper Pail is a bit of an investment—but worth every penny if you have a strong sense of smell. The diaper pail retails for $134.99, but it’s important to factor in the cost of bag refills and replacing the Arm & Hammer baking soda puck. Three one-year-supply boxes of the diaper pail refills is going to cost you about $180, and the Arm & Hammer baking soda pucks will run about $150 over three years. So the total cost of using the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Step Diaper Pail to deal with the diapers for one baby would likely be about $365. Considering the convenience and the odour reduction, it’s a pretty small price to pay.
Value is key when you’re considering splurging on a diaper pail, especially when there are so many other essential items you need to buy. While this diaper pail tops the charts in cost, it’s also at the top when it comes to odour elimination, convenience and sleek design. The 80 percent of our parent testers felt the Munchkin Arm and Hammer Step Diaper Pail was better than other pails they’ve used in the past, and all found it to be of good quality. More than half said they’d recommend the pail to other parents for all their diaper-disposal needs.