Best forParents looking for a hands-free diaper pail that keeps odours to a minimum
Top BenefitsFoot pedal opens the lid (hands-free), ergonomic height, easy bag removal
ConsiderationsDoes not have a lock, requires Diaper Genie bag refills and carbon filter refills
Bottom lineThe Playtex Diaper Genie Elite is an easy-to-use diaper pail that does a good job of managing odours
Nothing really prepares you for the diapers—the smell, the mess, the volume! A hard-working diaper pail can help cut down on endless trips to the trash, and some diaper pails are much better than others when it comes to odour management, easy diaper deposits and emptying filled bags. After testing a range of diaper pails, we found that the Playtex Diaper Genie Elite is one of the best out there. This well-made, easy-to-use diaper pail, with a foot lever for hands-free diaper deposits, is a good budget-friendly choice to help you to take care of your babes’ business. Plus, it comes assembled, so all you have to do is pop in the bag refill and carbon filter, and you're all set.
The number-one job of a diaper pail is to contain smells and messes. The Playtex Diaper Genie Elite is made of a sturdy, anti-microbial plastic and it has a few key features to help control smelly soiled diapers. Diaper Genie bags feature a seven-layer design that's supposed to keep odours and germs from escaping, and double clamps inside the diaper pail are meant to help put a lid on smells. As a last line of defence, a carbon filter on the inside of the pail's lid captures escaping eau de poo.
To put the Diaper Genie Elite's odour-flighting features to the test, our editors soiled a diaper with two of the smelliest foods we could think of—canned tuna and chopped garlic—and then deposited it in the diaper pail. Another editor then did a sniff test with the diaper pail's lid closed and then open. We found the Diaper Genie Elite did a good job of trapping odours when the lid was closed, but an unmistakable garlicky fish smell wafted up when we opened the pail as parents would to deposit a diaper. Parent testers who tried out this diaper pail at home had similar results: They agreed that the Diaper Genie Elite contained smells pretty well when the lid was closed, but found it less effective when the lid was open.
One thing our editors are less than thrilled with is the housing for the carbon filter. The filter slides into a slot in the lid, but it's not secured in any way, so it would be easily accessible to curious little hands—a bit of a worry.
A big plus of the Diaper Genie Elite is its height. As one of the taller diaper pails available, you won't have to stoop down to drop a diaper in, so it's more ergonomic. Overall, disposing diapers is super easy: a foot pedal lifts the lid and all you have to do is drop the diaper in—no need to awkwardly juggle a baby and a dirty diaper while trying to open a lid (a big plus in our books). One of our parent testers did note, however, that she wished the opening was a little bit bigger because every once in a while diapers would get lodged in the opening and she'd have to push them in.
While you'll usually be able to drop in a diaper without any fuss or mess, if you happen to get some poop on the diaper pail or bag ring (it happens), the clean-up is pretty easy. There isn't a guard to fit over the bag refill ring, which is one less part to clean, but it also means there's a chance you'll have to toss the refill if the situation is really messy. The diaper pail itself wipes down easily, though we found in our lab testing that there are a few grooves that poop could get caught in. One of our testers also noted that because the pail is plastic, it seemed to attract pet hair and dust.
One important thing to note is this diaper pail doesn't have a child lock to keep curious little hands out. It is a taller diaper pail, so it'll be harder for a kid to really get in there, but coupled with the attraction of playing with a foot lever (what kid can resist that?), it's very easy to see a toddler doing anything they can to get inside this diaper pail.
You'll know the bag is full and needs changing once you have to push the diaper into the opening to deposit it. Once the bag is filled, removing it is pretty easy. Our parent testers all said it's easy to remove the diaper bag, despite the weight of dirty diapers. The tilt door also helps keep the bag of diapers contained while you're tying off the end.
Our editors and parent testers found inserting the Diaper Genie refill bags pretty simple once you get the hang of it. You just tug the end of the bag out of the refill ring, flip it through the centre of the ring and knot the end. Then you press the refill into place in the diaper pail and pull the knotted end of the bag down to the bottom of the diaper pail. The Diaper Genie comes with clear instructions on how to insert the bag refill as well as change the filter, but we found that once you've done it one or twice, it's very intuitive—no matter how sleep deprived you are.
The Playtex Diaper Genie Elite retails for $49.99 (USD$34.99), but it's important to factor in the cost of bag refills and replacing the carbon filter about every 90 days when you're thinking about total price. Costs for bag refills will depend on a lot of things: How big your baby is and how quickly they grow (bigger diapers mean more refills), how many diapers your kiddo goes through each day, and when your child potty trains. On average, you'll likely use somewhere around 30 bag refills for one baby's diapers in the first two-and-a-half to three years, which will cost about $250 if you buy the refills in packs of three. The carbon filters to help trap odour will run you about $18. So the total cost of using the Diaper Genie Elite to deal with the diapers for one baby would likely be about $318. Considering the convenience and the odour reduction, it's a pretty small price to pay, and our parent testers unanimously agreed that the Diaper Genie Elite is well worth the price. Plus, most of our parent testers told us that this diaper pail outperforms others they’ve used.
Dealing with diapers may not be the most fun part of parenting, but the Playtex Diaper Genie Elite makes the disposal of them fuss-free while keeping offensive smells to a minimum. Plus, it comes at a pretty affordable price point. In fact, all but one of our parent testers gave the Diaper Genie Elite very-good ratings for ease of use, quality and value (the outlier gave it a good rating across the board), and they all said they'd recommend this diaper pail to other parents or parents-to-be.
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