We've been using these diaper pails for a month now, alternating primary use every week. So it's been a good amount of time to really use and test the diaper pails and figure out all the pros and cons of each.
The Diaper Genie II Elite was easy to assemble, just a few things to snap into place and it was ready to go. I thought that this diaper pail did a fabulous job of controlling odors. I also loved that it was truly hands-free, just open with the foot pedal and drop the diaper in the top of the pail. The diaper automatically drops down into the bag when you release the foot pedal. And, since it has a double-lock odor control system, you're never smelling old diapers. Never once did we feel like we needed to empty the pail before it was full.
The diapers are held in a giant bag that comes out of the cartridge/refill as needed. Each cartridge/refill holds up to 270 newborn-sized diapers. You will have to empty the pail more often than that (of course), since the pail itself holds more like 25-30 diapers. But I really like that I'm not totally reloading the system all the time, just cutting off the used portion, tying a knot in the new bottom of the bag and that's all. I also like that this system allows you to either wait until the pail is full to empty it and dispose of the used part of the bag, or empty it before it's full, cutting off only the part of the bag you've used. No wasted bag!
Emptying the diaper pail does expose you briefly to smells, but you still don't have to touch anything that a diaper or wipe touched. I thought the process was simple- just open the pail, use the cutter on the inside to cut off the part of the bag that you're finished with, tie it off and dispose. I have two kids in diapers, so we probably go through about 5-6 diapers per day total. I had to empty the Diaper Genie about every six or seven days.
Just for price comparison- the Diaper Genie II Elite sells at Amazon for $37.08, and refills are $20.06 for a pack of 3 ($6.69 per refill- each refill will hold up to 270 newborn-sized diapers).
The other diaper pail that I tested was the Munchkin: Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail. It came to my house fully assembled, with the first bag in place. I just had to take the sticker off the baking soda dispenser, screw it in place and we were ready to go.
This pail also did a nice job of controlling smell. The diaper pail in our bedroom is right next to my husband's head, and he never complained about diaper odor or had to empty it before it was full. I was not crazy about the design of this pail though. In order to open the lid, you have to use your hands to push a button and pull up. I never remembered to do this before I had my hands full of messy diaper. Then the diaper is pushed through an opening, into the bag. The design of the top of the bag does a great job of keeping you away from old stinky diapers, but it also means that you have to push the diaper and dirty wipes through the same opening every time. I really didn't like this feature, and felt like I was constantly being exposed to whatever had been thrown out before.
I also thought that the lid was hard to close if I didn't get the diaper pushed down completely. The front of the pail has a easy-open door that you can use to check and see how full your bag is getting, and that you use for taking out the full bag. I actually liked to be able to glance and see if I was getting close to needing to empty the bag through this door and didn't have any issues with it. Emptying the pail was a breeze- just take out the bag, snap the top closed and throw out. Limited exposure to smells from the dirty diapers, and no cutting or tying.
Again, my kids go through about 5-6 diapers per day, and I had to empty this about every 5 days or so. The bag is designed to hold 25 diapers, and I found that to be fairly accurate.
For price comparison- the Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper pail sells for $29.00 at Amazon, with a box of 10 refill bags selling for $6.99 (each bag holds 25 diapers, so a box of 10 would hold ~250 diapers).
My overall opinion on these two diaper pails:
Both did a great job of controlling odor, which is a big deal for me. The diaper pails and refills are pretty comparable in price at the sites that I checked out. But the Diaper Genie II Elite won my heart, thanks to its totally hands-free design. I felt like the dirty diapers were quickly whisked away, and there was nothing left behind that I or my kids could accidentally touch and dirty our hands with. I thought emptying the pail was quick and easy. This is the diaper pail that we will be using most often from now on!
"I am a member of the Mom Central community and I wrote this review while participating in a Test Drive campaign by Mom Central, sponsored by Diaper Genie, and received a free Diaper Genie diaper pail and a free Munchkin Arm & Hammer diaper pail to facilitate my review."