If you want to control the stench of the diaper years, the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail should be a top contender. Its capsule of baking soda and self-sealing bags do an admirable job of keeping odors to a minimum, even with the lid open, reviewers say. Keeping smells under wraps comes at a cost, though: You'll have to firmly squish each diaper down into the pail, an unappealing prospect for some parents.
Bags are easy, but diapers require "squishing." Reviewers give the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail mixed reviews for ease of use. On one hand, they like how easy it is to remove old bags -- simply open the pail door, push the bag down through the opening and clamp it shut. There is no need to cut or tie bags. However, experts and parents dislike "squishing" each diaper down into the opening, and some say it is hard to close the lid, which can be noisy. At 21 inches tall, the Munchkin is relatively short, so parents will have to bend down to use it. Reviewers say the pail is easy to keep clean.
Cheaper refills. The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail uses a proprietary plastic refill bag. Owners can buy single refills of 10 bags (*Est. $6) or three packs with 30 bags (*Est. $18). As some reviewers note, they are a bit less expensive than refills for other diaper pails. Most reviewers say the unit is durable, though there are a few reports of broken parts, particularly after a couple years of use.
Locks down odors. The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail earns across-the-board praise for odor control. The pail comes with a refillable baking soda dispenser that sprinkles diapers each time the lid is closed, and the self-sealing bags remain closed even when the lid is open. A pair of reviewers could barely smell any odor during an open-pail test, even after filling the pail with smelly catfish bait. The pail holds up to 25 diapers at a time, a capacity some parents find insufficient. Some reviewers say the access door, while supposedly childproof, is easy for a curious toddler to open. The pail is most widely available in white, though there are some units with pink or blue accents.
Review Credibility: Excellent Babble.com's editors tested several diaper pails for at least two weeks using diapers from a baby and a toddler. They pick the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail as "Best Odor Control for Disposables," saying the unit's baking soda cartridge does exactly what it's supposed to do -- neutralize odors. They also praise the unit's ease of use and say the refills are among the most affordable. However, they say pushing the diaper in can be messy, especially after a bad blowout.
Review: Babble Best Picks: Diaper Disposal Units, Editors of Babble.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail places fourth in BabyGearLab.com's test of six diaper pails -- the Diaper Genie Essentials places first; the Diaper Genie Elite, Diaper Champ Deluxe, Diaper Dekor Plus and Safety 1st Simple Step are also reviewed. Spurrier says the unit didn't fare as well as expected on odor control, and the lid wasn't easily opened with one hand. She also says testers got their hands caught when pushing diapers into the unit. The bags were easy to remove and did not require cutting or tying, she notes.
Review: Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail Review, Juliet Spurrier, Jan. 6, 2012
Review Credibility: Excellent BabyCenter.com's editors partner with a baby-product expert and also take into consideration their own experience and 2,000 parent surveys to pick the best baby products of 2012. The Munchkin Arm & Hammer is named best diaper pail for its superior odor control and ease of use. The review does not note any cons.
Review: Top 15 Baby Products of the Year: Editors' Picks, Editors of BabyCenter.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Excellent BabyCenter names "mom's picks" for 2012 based exclusively on 2,000 parent surveys. The Munchkin Arm & Hammer is named best diaper pail for its odor control, durability and value -- parents say it's best for keeping smells at bay, and they like that liners are cheaper than those of some competing diaper pails. The review does not note any cons.
Review: Top 15 Baby Products of the Year: Moms' Picks, Editors of BabyCenter Not dated
5. Baby Bargains
Review Credibility: Excellent Baby Bargains, a comprehensive book by Denise and Alan Fields, reviews baby gear and common baby brands. The authors review six popular diaper pails, including the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. They list pros and cons, considering cost, ease of use and odor control, and give each pail a letter grade.
Review: Around the House: Monitors, Diaper Pails, Safety & More, Denise and Alan Fields, Ninth edition, 2011
Review Credibility: Very Good BabyCenter.com praises the Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail in a non-comparative roundup of the six best diaper pails that did not earn top pick status from moms or editors in the 2012 Baby Center Product Awards. Editors say it has quickly become a best-selling pail for good reason: superior odor control. They also like the one-hand operation and easy bag replacement. The review does not note any cons.
Review: The Best Diaper Pails, Editors of BabyCenter.com, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good In a roundup of four top diaper pail picks, Robin Elise Weiss praises the Munchkin Arm & Hammer's superior odor control and easy-to-remove bags. She says you only need one hand to deposit diapers, but have to forcefully push them into the unit.
Review: Top 4 Diaper Pails, Robin Elise Weiss, Not dated
Review Credibility: Very Good The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail earns an overall rating of 3.9 out of 5 stars in more than 260 user reviews on Amazon.com. The majority say the unit does a good job of controlling odors. They also like how easy it is to replace bags and see how full they are. Some reviewers dislike the lack of a foot pedal, and a few say the door is too easy for small children to open. They dislike squishing diapers into the unit and say the lid is noisy and hard to close. Others wish they could fit more diapers in each bag.
Review: Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail, White, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail earns an overall rating of 4 out of 5 stars in more than 370 user reviews on Buzzillions.com. Reviewers love the pail's odor control and ease of use, including bag removal and disposal. They also say it is easy to clean. However, they dislike the "squish" factor and loud, hard-to-shut lid. Some reviewers say their toddlers can easily open the unit's door.
Review: Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail, Contributors to Buzzillions.com, As of January 2013
Review Credibility: Very Good In a humorous but informative video test, DadLabs.com's Nichols and Powell load up the Munchkin Arm & Hammer, Diaper Genie Elite and Diaper Dekor with chicken blood catfish bait. They put the pails in separate rooms and evaluate them on the strength of the odor when walking into the room, quickly opening and shutting the pail and leaving the pail open. The Munchkin scores much better than the other pails, with barely detectable odors even in the open-pail test.
Review: Diaper Pail Sniff Test 2012, Clay Nichols and Brad Powell, Not dated
11. Yahoo! Voices
Review Credibility: Very Good A mother of twins reviews the Diaper Genie Elite, Diaper Champ Deluxe and Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail after using each model extensively with her sons. She says the Munchkin Arm & Hammer does the best of the three at keeping odor under control, and she likes the easy-to-change, economical bags. She also says the pail is easy to operate with one hand, but wishes the pail held more diapers.
Review: Diaper Pail Reviews from a Mother of Twins, "McMillen", Sept. 27, 2012
Review Credibility: Good In a video review, Candace Whitman of HappyTimeBaby.com compares the Diaper Genie Elite, Diaper Genie Essentials and Munchkin Arm & Hammer pails. She likes the Munchkin's unique odor-control system, which uses baking soda, and demonstrates how to lift the lid and insert a diaper. The short review does not note any cons.
Review: Best Diaper Pails Review by Happy Time Baby, Candace Whitman, Sept. 2, 2012