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Diaper Genie vs Ubbi Pail: We Tested Both (2024)

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I’m on baby number 3, and I dare say I’ve changed and tossed just under 15,000 diapers. I’m horrified for the environment at this moment, but alas, I’m ready to spill the tea on the best diaper pail.

Also, as much as I’d like to be, I’m not really on board with cloth diapers.

We’ve tried the classic Playtex Diaper Genie Complete and the rising star Ubbi Diaper Pail. In this post, I’m butting these two against each other to reveal the best diaper pail award.

We’ve tested both for years – it’s time for the showdown!

aerial view of Ubbi vs Diaper Genie

TL;DR: The Winner

Let me tell you, I wrestled with this one – there is not a clear winner. But I’ve pushed myself to take a side so you don’t have to deal with the dreaded it depends.

I’ve always preferred the Diaper Genie’s usability, but they’re flimsy and break easily. I ever so slightly have to side with the Ubbi as the best diaper pail, thanks to its stainless steel design. But it’s not perfect, either.

What I’m saying is they both suck, and I’d rather buy one diaper pail instead of four to get me through the diaper-changing years. Keep on reading to get the full story.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi front of packaging comparison

Diaper Genie Pros and Cons

Pros

Hands-free: the foot pedal is a game-changer to 🎵 do it with no hands 🎵

Great diaper capacity: fits a deceivingly large amount of diapers inside

Seals the stink: the trap door mechanism inside seals the stench of stinky diapers off when you push down on the foot pedal to open it

Antimicrobial bags: refill bags feature a built-in antimicrobial on the film to stop bacteria growth

Cons

Very breakable: we’ve had 4 Diaper Genies total, and the one I bought for this review broke within 3 weeks

Plastic: made of plastic, so it’s pretty flimsy and allows odors to seep out more than Ubbi’s steel

Special bags: requires specific refill bags, unlike the Ubbi

Learning curve: loading and emptying the refill bag system isn’t intuitive

Bigger diapers are problematic: you have to push larger-sized diapers and pull-ups through the trap, canceling out the hands-free perk

Poop hands freak out: when you have to push in a poopy diaper, it’s really gross 🤢

Not great value: seems overly flimsy for the price – it’s the same price as Ubbi, but you get plastic instead of solid steel

Diaper Genie and packaging

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail Pros and Cons

Pros

No special bags: can use any type of trash bag, like kitchen garbage bags

Stainless steel: made of stainless steel, making it more durable and better at locking in odors

Intuitive design: a bit easier and more intuitive to load and empty out bags than the Diaper Genie

Child lock: has a child lock for the slot to keep little hands out (but there’s also a con to this)

Design variety: lots of different designs to choose from and coordinate with your nursery theme or colors

Cons

Not hands-free: you need a hand to slide open the top

Odors beware: horrendous odors escape when you open the sliding lid

Rusting concerns: our first Ubbi rusted and peeled; several Amazon reviews confirm I’m not the only one

Dents: dents easily if it falls

Difficult bag removal: a full bag of diapers is hard to get out – it kind of suctions to the inside

Problematic child lock: the child lock is only for the slider – your child can still open the entire top

Inside stench: it seems the steel actually absorbs the smell of feces and urine

Bad customer service: many reviews report poor customer service

Ubbi steel diaper pail with packaging

Related: 10 Most Forgotten Baby Shower Gifts – Unique & Practical Gift Ideas

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi Odor Containment

One of the most essential features of a diaper pail is holding in the diaper odors. If it can’t keep odors down, there’s no point – we’d all just drop our dirty diapers in the kitchen trash can. 

The Diaper Genie and the Ubbi do a decent job at odor control, but neither is perfect.

Ubbi vs Diaper Genie opening comparison

The Diaper Genie excels when you hold down the foot pedal to drop a diaper in. The mechanism inside closes off the rest of the dirty diapers, so you aren’t hit over the head with the stank.

It isn’t invisible by any means, especially if it’s really full. But it’s better than the Ubbi, in my opinion.

Note: Fresh Wave’s odor-eliminating packets can really help – just toss them in the bottom of the pail to absorb some of the smell.

The Ubbi fails at keeping the stench in when you slide open the top to drop a diaper in. There’s nothing stopping the odor from smacking you over the head. And it smacks.

But the material of the diaper pails here does make a difference – the plastic diaper genie doesn’t lock in odors quite as intensely as the steel Ubbi.

Diaper Genie opened

In my personal opinion, the stink factor is kind of a wash when you consider the variety of situations at play. I consider this one a tie.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi Ease of Use

Besides the stink factor, the ease of use has been the most important factor for me. That’s why the Diaper Genie has stood out to me as a favorite, despite how terrible it is at holding up over time.

Being able to toss a diaper in without touching the actual diaper pail is a bigger deal than you might think.

What the Diaper Genie lacks is the ease of use of loading the refill pouches. It does have a learning curve – you’ll have to teach other people how to do it if you want help loading and emptying the trash bags of diapers.

tieing the knot on diaper genie bag

The Ubbi is fairly intuitive. You just open the lid and put regular trash bags inside. That said, the ease of use when tossing in diapers isn’t ideal.

You need a hand to slide open the lid before dropping a diaper inside, so your baby will need to be off the changing table in most cases. You won’t be able to keep one hand on the baby’s chest when it comes to the Ubbi—one hand is for the dirty diaper, and the other will be to open the diaper pail.

When it comes to ease of use, I have to side with the Diaper Genie. It’s the biggest reason I typically favor the Diaper Genie over the Ubbi.

foot pedal on Diaper Genie

Price on the Diaper Genie vs Ubbi

Price is almost a mute point because these two popular diaper pails cost the same – $59.99. 

The Ubbi seems like a better value for what you get since it’s stainless steel instead of plastic.

baby in front of ubbi

But ultimately, they do cost the same amount. So if you’re concerned about paying a higher price for a similarly-performing diaper pail, there’s really nothing to worry about here. 

Where price may be more of a factor is the refill bags. With the Diaper Genie, you have to buy proprietary refill bags, though there are some generic options out there. We’ll cover the bags in a future section.

diaper genie during refill

Diaper Capacity of the Diaper Genie vs Ubbi

Just how many disposable diapers can you fit into the Diaper Genie vs the Ubbi? In practical life, I’ve never noticed a significant difference between the two.

The Diaper Genie can fit more diapers than you think, as you can continue pulling the refill bag down inside the diaper pail as it fills up.

opening comparison of Ubbi and Diaper Genie

And Ubbi’s pail seems a little larger than the Diaper Genie, but you can’t let it get too full, or it’s impossible to get out.

Either way, you can fit a lot of diapers in either the Diaper Genie or the Ubbi.

Technically, here are the diaper capacity limits:

Diaper Genie
Ubbi
Newborn diaper capacity
36
55
Refill pouch total capacity
270
N/A
The Diaper Genie’s refill pouch is clutch. It makes setting it up for another use pretty painless.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi’s Durability

The Ubbi’s steel construction is definitely a standout feature. In the diaper pail world, it’s honestly an innovative design, as most diaper pails are plastic.

Because of the stainless steel material, the Ubbi is more durable for long-term use.

Ubbi Steel Diaper Pail front of packaging

The Diaper Genie’s biggest fault is how flimsy it is, and thus, how often it breaks. We have gone through 4 Diaper Genies in the last 5 years. It’s honestly ridiculous.

The mechanism inside that keeps the stink in is prone to breaking, and the newest one we got had an issue with the handle flinging off while trying to open it.

If you want a durable diaper pail, the clear winner here is the Ubbi. Though don’t expect perfection – it still has issues with rusting.

ubbi diaper pail fail
Our first Ubbi diaper pail had major issues with rusting.

Our first Ubbi rusted and peeled really badly, and we’re not the only ones. Several Amazon reviews mention issues with rusting.

Cost Savings With Plastic Bags vs Special Refills

The Ubbi has another leg up when it comes to the plastic bag situation. You can use any standard trash bag inside of the Ubbi – no specialty bags are needed.

With the Diaper Genie, you need to purchase special refill containers that fit inside the Diaper Genie. You can’t use regular garbage bags under any circumstance.

Diaper Genie diaper pail dupe

That said, I like the Diaper Genie refill pouches and find them easier to use than regular trash bags.

When you need to empty the diaper pail, you simply rip off the part you’ve filled up and tie a new knot. It’s way less intensive as getting a whole new trash bag each time you need to empty.

But if you’re on a tight budget, the Ubbi might be a better long-term investment, as you can use a standard kitchen trash bag. It’s also one less thing to purchase.

Childproof Features

The Ubbi makes a pretty big deal about its childproof lock, but it’s kind of a joke. Sorry, not sorry.

There is a child safety lock, but it only locks the sliding lid on top of the pail.

Inside the Ubbi

It doesn’t actually lock the top of the diaper pail. So if your toddler has any sense of ingenuity, which all of them do, they’ll quickly learn they can pull on the entire lid, open the thing up, and get inside.

Ubbi steel pail opening

Diaper Genie doesn’t have any childproof features, so I guess Ubbi has somewhat of a leg up. But this has never come into play when I think about which diaper pail I prefer.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi Aesthetics

Aesthetics aren’t everything, but they do count.

Diaper pails aren’t exactly gorgeous, but the Ubbi does have more sleek steel designs than the Diaper Genie. You can choose different patterns to match your nursery design, which is pretty unique.

The Diaper Genie comes in 4 colors, so you’re not limited to just white.

But the Ubbi is definitely cooler when it comes to aesthetics. 

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi Jamming Issues

If you get lazy and try to fit more diapers in your diaper pail than will reasonably fit, you might run into a problem.

​With the Ubbi, you’re not going to break anything – you’ll just have a hard time pulling the entire bag of diapers out. It kind of suctions to the inside of the diaper pail, and you have to pull like your life depends on it to get that sucker out.

It’s annoying but not the biggest deal in the world.

packaging comparison

With the Diaper Genie, though, it can break if you try to fill it with too many diapers.

It’s easy to get busy with kids running all over your house, and you might not have time to empty the diaper pail at this moment. But if you try to push just one too many diapers into it, you can break the trapping mechanism inside that helps keep out odors.

First, it starts to jam, but if you push it too hard, it will break, and there are no features in place to stop that from happening. 

Overall Thoughts on the Diaper Genie

Before I started writing this article, I was pretty sure that the original diaper genie was my favorite. Its ease of use is honestly the ticket—it’s an easy, one-handed operation!

close up of Diaper Genie

The food pedal is clutch when you have one hand on your baby’s stomach (so they don’t roll off the changing table) and the diaper in your other hand. You can just step on the foot pedal, toss the diaper in, and continue your day.

stepping on diaper genie pedal

But it’s not without its flaws. The most obvious flaw is how flimsy these are – we’ve quite literally had 4 diaper genies in the last 5 years. They break so easily! 

I bought a brand new one for this article and the handle on the bottom portion already broke off.

There are other pros and cons, as I mentioned, but these, to me, are the biggest factors. 

Overall Thoughts on the Ubbi

The Ubbi is great in different ways, including the more durable steel design. 

I talked to our nannies and babysitters, and they all think the Ubbi is better for larger-sized diapers and pull-ups. There’s simply more room to drop in a soiled diaper without having to push it or maneuver it into the pail.

how the Ubbi opens

Not having to buy specialty liners or bags is also really nice.

That said, the Ubbi smells like death when you slide the top lid open to drop a diaper inside. There’s just no getting around that.

The diaper genie has a mechanism inside that seals the dirty diapers in so the smell doesn’t waft out when you step on the foot pedal. The Ubbi has no such feature.

inside the Diaper Genie

It’s also just not as easy to use. You need your hand to slide it open, so you really need both hands—one hand with the dirty diaper and another to open it.

It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but you have to get the baby off the changing table before you’re done with the job. It’s just another few seconds that add up and make the whole process seem like a bigger ordeal.

Also, getting the actual full bag of diapers out of the Ubbi is nearly impossible. It suctions inside, and you have to fight for your life to get it out.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi: The Winner Is…

I absolutely hate to be that person, but when it comes to choosing the Diaper Genie vs Ubbi, the truth is…. it depends. They’re the two most popular diaper pail brands, but neither is something to write home about.

I personally prefer the Diaper Genie due to its ease of use, but it really bothers me that it doesn’t hold up well over time. We shouldn’t have to buy a new one yearly for its current price point.

The Ubbi seems to hold up better, but it’s not perfect, either. The fact that you have to use a hand to open the lid is really annoying, especially when your baby is really little. And it stinks so bad when you open it to toss in a diaper.

close up of Diaper Genie and Ubbi

Ultimately, while I wish the Diaper Genie could be the winner, I just can’t stand recommending a product that breaks so often.

The Ubbi will hold up, and while it isn’t perfect, at least you only had to buy one to get you through the baby and toddler years.

Diaper Genie vs Ubbi height comparison

I hope the rest of my pros and cons list helps you decide which of these diaper disposal systems is best for you. As for me, I’m still on the hunt for a diaper pail that checks a few more boxes.

At the end of the day, you’re probably not going to love any diaper pail. It holds stinky diapers, and there’s no getting around that.

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