Diaper Genie Pail Fail

Diaper Genie Elite disposable diaper pail by Playtex

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Why I Switched from Diaper Genie to Munchkin

Diaper Genie Elite disposable diaper pail by Playtex

  • What: Diaper Genie Diaper Pail
  • When: Birth to potty training
  • Why: Doesn’t hold enough diapers, tricky to extract full bags
  • Where: Amazon

Everyone used the Diaper Genie Diaper Pail when we had our first child seven years ago, so much so that all six households I worked with over the past eight years had the same diaper pail. I wasn’t about to buck that much parental experience, and we got the same one.

Because we used cloth diapers more than disposables, I didn’t learn my lesson until my second child came along. We needed another diaper pail, because the first one stayed in the room with my first child, who slept through the night. Meantime, my second child woke up with those nasty meconium diapers and they needed to go somewhere convenient but not smelly. On a whim, we brought home the Munchkin Diaper Pail.

Now that I’ve seen the light, I can tell you what I love and hate about Diaper Genie. The capacity tops my list of cons. We bought refills in boxes of three, and they held what felt like five of my toddler’s big bulky diapers. Luckily, he didn’t need changing that often by then, but the Diaper Genie filled up every two to three days and we’d argue about whose turn it was to take it out – to the point we started stacking dirty diapers on top because we both hated the task and the arguments.

Playtex Diaper Genie Pail on Amazon

Even once we used only one disposable diaper each night, the thing filled up in less than two weeks. The expensive refills didn’t make me happy either. They cost more, even in a generic brand, and the giant rings took up lots of space without giving me lots of capacity. The Diaper Genie refills hold up to 270 diapers, which sounds fine. But the pail itself only holds 38 newborn diapers, so you empty it every 38 of those tiny diapers. It only gets worse as you use bigger diapers. The bag hangs down in a way that the pail ends up with lots of wasted space on the inside that could be holding poopy diapers.

Playtex Diaper Genie Refills on Amazon

I also found extracting a full bag painful. You had to move the entire pail to flip the top half of it back without banging into the wall and to access the bag cutter hidden inside. Then you tied a knot in the liner, and hoped you cut enough liner off that you could tie a knot in the giant unwieldy worm of poopy diapers. But you didn’t want to tug extra liner out for either knot because then you ran out sooner, and needed more expensive refills. Several times I ended up with only enough liner to tie a knot and not actually hold any diapers at all, which defeated the point and made me  mad. In comparison, I’ve bought refills for the Munchkin brand twice in five years. (Granted, it’s a huge box of refills and we spent the last year and a half with only one child wearing mostly cloth diapers.)

A diaper being put into the Diaper Genie disposable diaper pail
The Diaper Genie opens on top and you push the dirty diaper through the throat of the pail, which seals again after the diaper drops in.

Inserting a refill for the Diaper Genie took some figuring out, so if you have extra helping hands (grandparents, nannies), they might have a learning curve. Or more likely, they won’t do it and you’ll have your hands full of poopy diapers emptying it when you get home.

The Diaper Genie does have a nice one-handed opening thanks to the foot pedal. I suspect that’s why so many people go for it. But I’ve had no trouble opening my Munchkin pail with one hand either, as long as my hand isn’t already holding the soiled diaper. (And the new Munchkin pail features as step pedal as well.)

Munchkin Step Diaper Pail on Amazon

The new Diaper Genie has an improved design with a front panel hinge at the bottom, so you don’t have to take the top half off to remove a bag of diapers. It also comes in other colors, like blue and pink. The oval-shaped Diaper Genie also has a narrower footprint than the round Munchkin pail. If you’re tight on space, that could make the difference, and even a Diaper Genie Diaper Pail beats no pail at all.

Emptying a full bag of diapers from the newest Diaper Genie disposable diaper pail
The newest Diaper Genie features a folding panel instead of the top half of the pail flipping open to remove a full bag of diapers.

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