The Best Diaper Bags Shoot-out Review
Which diaper bag is the best? To answer this question, we spent several months rigorously testing ten of the top-rated bags available from major brands. During our hands-on testing, we compared them side-by-side with contenders until we were sure we knew what qualities make a good bag the best. Each bag was given a score based on the following criteria: capacity, ease of use, comfort, quality and style, and we looked closely at features like changing pads, strap systems, bottle holders and more. Interested in something more masculine? Take a look at The Best Diaper Bag for Dads. Read on to see which bags we picked as the very best.
Read the full review below >
Test Results and Ratings
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Analysis and Award Winners
We loved the versatile carrying options and how easy it was to switch from carrying it like a handbag to a shoulder bag and attaching it to a stroller was a breeze, although BabyGearLab does NOT recommend this as it poses a risk for strollers to tip over backwards.
The metal hardware looked crisp juxtaposed against the faux leather and other fabrics used on the bag. There are plenty of pockets, but alas, no insulated ones for keeping a bottle warm/cold. We were glad to see metal feet and a quality, washable changing pad. While we did run into a small problem with the zipper pulls (one detached!), this gave us an opportunity to investigate the warranty process at Skip Hop which proved extremely valuable. You can find more information about that experience in our full review of the Skip Hop Chelsea. Without a doubt, this bag is durable, easy to organize and stylish.
The Skip Hop Forma is a great product. With the quilted look currently on trend, this bag is right on point stylistically speaking. While the Forma lacks the hearty metal hardware and faux leather details of its sister, the Skip Hop Chelsea, it makes up for it with everything else it has to offer. Between the 11 pockets, included accessories (like two small zippered bags, one of which is insulated), easy cleaning (you can turn the Forma completely inside out), and affordability we couldn't help but adore this bag.
While it does not boast many accessories, its darling look and adjustable canvas backpack straps won us over. What appears to be a larger handbag at first blush, quickly converts to a comfortable backpack with the nicely hidden black canvas shoulder straps. This is achieved simply by removing the two shoulder straps from the outside pocket and utilizing the brass claws, attaching them to the corresponding rings on the bottom of the bag. The bag can quickly be returned to its handbag state by reversing the process.
Of all the bags we tested, the Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel looked least like a diaper bag and easily passed as a purse without the kiddo in tow, which was tremendously helpful.
Analysis and Test Results
When you have a baby join your family, one of the first things you'll most likely notice is that there are a LOT of things you have you carry with you (in addition to the baby!) when it comes time to venture out. From diapers and dollies to snacks and sippy cups, and let's not forget to mention the adult necessities like wallets, cell phones and keys, exactly what to carry it all in becomes a question every parent has to face. But it's not all bad; much like driving a mini van, carrying this type of tote can actually be seen as a right of passage into parenthood. Congrats! You made it.
So, just how do you walk with the elite who have gone before and go about selecting just one bag from the literally hundreds of options available on the market today? Well, we here at BabyGearLab have tried to eliminate much of the guess-work for you by narrowing down the field to just three Award Winning products. With a little enlightenment and guidance, who knows? Maybe you'll find one of them to be your perfect diaper bag.
Editor's Note: For this review, we spent our time testing bags that are geared with mom in mind. But dads, don't despair. We are currently testing bags specifically made for you as well. Stay tuned!
For more on this topic please read our complimentary article, How to Choose the Perfect Diaper Bag.
You may also be interested in our similar review: The Best Breast Pump Bag.
Becoming a parent brings out your inner scout. You begin to live by the mantra of "always be prepared". Every parent inevitably learns this lesson several times over the hard way, be it a screaming toddler whose tantrum could be quelled by a snack or the inevitable diaper blowout that occurs in (name your favorite place here) mid-excursion.
But don't worry, we're here to help. You will be ready.
Not just with fish crackers for the increasingly hungry toddler, but a spare diaper, ample wipes and a change of clothes to boot. To top it off, you've got a changing pad to shield your child from the germs on the changing table in the public restroom, a bag for the dirty clothes and hand sanitizer for you (thank goodness because the soap dispenser was broken. Isn't it always broken in public bathrooms?). A diaper blowout is no longer a major event in your day, just a little wrinkle, and you were ready to deal with it. Anticipating your child's needs in advance is key in keeping your cool in a potentially volatile situation. The diaper bag is your ally in this quest. It is the keeper of things that keep baby happy which in turn, keeps you happy.
Types of Diaper Bags
There are many types of diaper bags available for moms. Of the products we tested we found there were three distinct styles: the handbag with optional shoulder strap, the backpack, and the messenger bag.
Skip Hop Forma, Skip Hop Chelsea, Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel, Babymel Amanda Mini, BEABA Stockholm, LeSportsac Ryan Baby Bag, Storksak Bobby, and Timi and Leslie Marie Antoinette. In fact, all of our award winners came out of this category. Most of these bags also sported the ability to be converted to a carry-over-the-shoulder style as well.
The Messenger Bags
We only tested one official "messenger bag", the OiOi Messenger, although several of the handbags featured this carrying method as an option. We found the messenger style of
The final style we tested were "backpacks", which also feature a hands-free carrying method. The Ju-Ju-Be Be Right Back was the only true non-convertible backpack. Our other option was the Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel which featured options to make an easy switch between carrying it as a handbag or a backpack.
Criteria for Evaluation
To properly determine the best bags on the market for parents, we took many factors into account. We gave storage and ease of use the most weight in our scoring, followed by comfort, quality, and style. Read on for more details on the results of our product testing and see which bags received awards from BabyGearLab!
Storage/Ease of Use
When it came to evaluating the bags, storage and ease of use were the most important criteria we looked at. Because this item is going to be one of the keys to your success in leaving the house with baby, we think it is vital you have enough space to accommodate what you think is important, and (here's the kicker) that it is easy to do so. This is why we awarded the category a sizable 40% of the total evaluation score. When you compare the scores of bags in our ratings matrix, you will find that some of the larger bags actually scored lower in this category, and here's why: despite their ability to hold more, they quickly became less manageable and more difficult to keep organized. In our testing we found a sweet-spot definitely exists between size and organizational options. We also wanted to ensure that some of our other top-rated products could be utilized in these bags and we are proud to say both the Comotomo bottle and Thermos Foogo Phase 3 Insulated sippy cup fit nicely into both the outer pockets and inner insulated pockets.
How to Choose the Perfect Diaper Bag. In this effort we tried to include all of the following items:*
Items for baby:
Items for mom:
*Please note, not all of the bags could accommodate everything we wanted to carry. We indicate in our individual bag reviews where we had to pare down to bare-bone essentials.
We think that having a well-made bag that can withstand the rigorous daily use dished out by parents is extremely important. That is why we are awarding 15% of the total score for these bags based on their quality. This category includes what materials they are made with, the hardware, stitching, zipper pulls, and feet on the bottom of the bag. Of course, not all the bags we tested included all of these great features, and were therefore scored accordingly.
We recognize that style is inherently subjective but felt it was important to include it in our method of scoring, which is why we only awarded the category 15% of the overall score.
When we compared the bags, we took a careful look at what is currently trending in the fashion world to judge what might be able to pass as a "large handbag" as opposed to a stereotypical "diaper bag". What we discovered was that we preferred bags that easily made the transition between baby bag and purse, such as our Most Versatile Award Winner the Petunia Pickle Bottom Sashay Satchel.
Choosing the right diaper bag for you and your baby is a complicated decision. Our hope is that our review has helped you narrow down your selection to a few finalists, that will eventually lead to the perfect bag for you. If you're still stuck, consider giving our buying advice article a read, as it may help you step back and consider what really matters.
— Natalie Hale
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