Munchkin Step Diaper Pail Bin Powered by Arm & Hammer
The Munchkin Step diaper Bin uses expensive specialized bags but requires to force dirty diapers through a tight slot with your hand. Don’t be put off by it though as the Munchkin is better at controlling odors than almost every other pail that we have tested.
One of the main reasons the Munchkin Step diaper Bin is so good at odor control is the plastic teeth mechanism which covers the opening almost entirely. Shutting the lid, which you have to do manually, twists the teeth to close the bag, ensuring that smells stay inside. However, to get that dirty diaper into the pail, you have to push it through with your hand, and if you’ve ever had to deal with an overloaded, messy diaper, you know that forcing that package through a too-small opening could be disastrous. We can say it is a small and irritating flaw so if you’re not scrupulous about wrapping up diapers tightly and neatly before you throw them out, this is probably not the pail/bin for you.
As you can imagine, the Munchkin has to do something to mask the odor and it does it by masking the smell with scented bags and a baking soda puck. These are genuinely effective but some people might find the “fake lavender” smell of both off-putting. You just can’t please everyone. Munchkin does make unscented ring refills but unfortunately, the Munchkin pail accepts only its own brand of refills so you are stuck with their brand. These proprietary refills are expensive enough to make the Munchkin Step diaper Bin among the costliest pails to own long term, even though the pail itself usually retails for slightly less than our pick, the Ubbi.
There are three types of bags: The unscented Nursery Fresh and the lavender-scented Arm & Hammer options are both of them ring refills that have to be cut and tied when the emptying the pail. The scented Snap, Seal & Toss bags are like trash bags but with a special plastic ring at the opening to keep the bag correctly in place in the pail. This is intended to make it easy to close the bag. The final option is the most economical, but dozens of Amazon reviewers complain about them ripping and being less effective at odor control than the ring refills. Based on our calculations, three years’ worth of Munchkin’s Snap, Seal & Toss bags will cost more than $200; the equivalent in Munchkin ring refills will run closer to $300 (we figure generic trash bags for the Ubbi will add up to about $45 over the same period).
These refills, unfortunately, mean the Munchkin Step diaper Bin loses out on many of the other advantages the Ubbi diaper bin has. One thing to bear in mind is that if you use cloth diapers, you need to bear in mind that you can’t load the Munchkin with a lined bag to collect them for the laundry. Changing the bags is not as simple as taking out the trash (as is the case with Ubbi). On the Munchkin, you have to cut the tube-like sleeve, tie it off, and generally waste a foot or so of plastic sheeting in the process. If you use the Snap, Seal & Toss bags, you end up wasting even more plastic, because the Munchkin Step allows you to fill the bag only two-thirds of the way before it needs to be emptied.
Unlike the Ubbi, the Munchkin Step diaper Bin has a foot pedal that’s used to open the pail. The Munchkin Step diaper Bin is also one of the biggest pails that we tested which is always helpful, although its capacity is no greater than other pail brands. The unit is 27 inches tall which is on the larger end but not too large and the foot pedal itself accounts for much of its height. Taller people may like this added height, combined with the foot pedal, as it means less bending over.
However, note that although the foot pedal offers hands-free convenience, opening and closing the pail can be a bit noisy. The Munchkin is about 12 inches in diameter, the Ubbi is 10¾ inches wide and 15 inches deep, and needs to be placed away from the wall to accommodate the hinged lid. In overall terms, the Munchkin Step diaper Bin is areally good diaper pail/ bin. If odor control is a top priority and you don’t mind buying special bags, this is an option worth considering.
If you’re willing to pay more over the life of your pail and put up with a few annoying quirks, the Munchkin Step offers the maximum odor control of any model we tested. Most pails we considered are effective at containing smells between deposits, but in all fairness, none other pail was as good as the Munchkin Step at controlling smells while the pail was in use. This pail fights odor with scented accessories that may bother some people though, and it also isolates smells with a physical barrier that requires you to force dirty diapers through a restricted opening, which some people might find it gross. It’s also bulkier (yet fits less) than the Ubbi. Plus, because of its proprietary refills, its long-term costs were the highest among our finalists.