Hands-on Gear Review

Munchkin Arm and Hammer Review

Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail.  Push down on top handle to lift lid.  Circular handle twists to unlock and open door.
Price:   $64.99 at Amazon
Pros:  Easy to empty bag, child-proofed, baking soda dispenser
Cons:  Poor odor control, hand gets caught when disposing of diaper
Bottom line:  Better off putting your money into the Diaper Genie Essentials
Editors' Rating:   
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Dimensions:  11" D x 21" H
Estimated Diaper Capacity:  Newborn: 30
Type of Refill:  Arm and Hammer Refill Bag
Manufacturer:   Munchkin

The Skinny

The Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail by Munchkin scored 5th out of the 6 diaper pails we tested. While there are some interesting features with this diaper pail, including earning the high score for ease of bag changes, overall, it scored a 5 out of 10 in odor control, our most important metric in this review. We were surprised that it didn't deliver for odor control because it keeps a seal when the lid is opened or closed and it also sprinkles baking soda every time you add a new dipaer. Overall, we feel you'd be better off with the Diaper Genie Essentials which does better in odor control, baking soda or no baking soda.


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Our Analysis and Test Results

Review by:
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

Last Updated:
Monday
May 11, 2015

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The Arm and Hammer Diaper Pail by Munchkin uses the power of baking soda to help absorb and neutralize odors associated with dirty diapers. This pail has a dual defense system that sprinkles on the soda with each new diaper addition, and the self-sealing lid locks the bag closed so you don't get the dreaded poof of foul air when you insert the next soiled nappy. Each disposable refill bag holds up to 30 diapers and the bags snap and seal shut so very little odor escapes when changing the bag for a new refill. The side door allows for quick bag changes, and there is no cut and tie procedure that might involve run off from dirty diapers getting on your hands. The list price for this pail is $30, though a newer version is available on Amazon for around $49.

Performance Comparison


The Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail by Munchkin is a pail with a narrow footprint and easy access door
The Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail by Munchkin is a pail with a narrow footprint and easy access door

Odor Control


The baking soda cartridges cost about $4 to replace for the Munchkin Arm and Hammer diaper pail
The baking soda cartridges cost about $4 to replace for the Munchkin Arm and Hammer diaper pail
With features like a self-sealing system and a built-in, baking soda sprinkling dispenser, we thought it would do great in odor control, but instead it came in fourth. Removing a bag full of dirty diapers was very easy, however, without any tying or cutting of the bag, and there is no exposure to an open, stinky bag as with other systems like the Diaper Champ Deluxe. Unfortunately, the lid seal starts to have trouble as the bag fills and the tension on the lid grows resulting in odor escaping. We really had high hopes for this model both because of the baking powder and the self-sealing, but it just didn't do well in our sniff test and the wafting odor when dirty diapers are put inside is more than any parent should have to suffer. While this pail didn't have the lowest score for odor control in our tests, that was an honor earned by the Ubbi, it still wasn't impressive enough to earn a place in our hearts.

Ease of Disposal


Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail has a one-handed operation that includes gently pushing the diaper through seal
Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail has a one-handed operation that includes gently pushing the diaper through seal
In the beginning, the disposal is relatively easy, but as the bag fills it gets harder and harder to put the diapers inside. We aren't sure if this is due to the sealing mechanism or the tension put on the bag as it fills. Additionally, we felt that the lid wasn't always so easy to open with one-hand (again maybe the tension?). So, there is a bit of child-proofing here, without intention. Once opened, you must push the diaper through much like with the Diaper Essentials, except we often got our hand caught in the self-sealing mechanism when withdrawing it. Not a deal breaker, but not really cool either. In general our main concern was it seems really flimsy, we think the
The simple bag removal process of the Munchkin
The simple bag removal process of the Munchkin
lid can break easily when you try to close it.

Ease of Bag Changes


There is a child-proof, locking door for access to the bag, and the door stays open widely with a click which makes removing the bag much easier. We liked the design of the refills both for putting in and taking out. The snap and seal design limits the amount of noxious fumes that can escape when changing the bag and that is a big plus in our book. We also like that the snap prevents stray diapers from falling out. In addition, its kind of nice not to have to deal with the cutting and the tying of some of the other bags, like the Diaper Genies and the Diaper Dekor.

Best Applications


With a 5th place rank and a relatively low score for odor control there probably isn't a best application for this pail. Some parents might very well be attracted to the Munchkin name or even the tried and true favorite of Arm and hammer Baking Soda for odor control, but this pail disappoints and failed to match the sniff test results of other models. So despite having one of the easiest proprietary bags to change and remove from a pail with an easy to use snap and seal top, it still wasn't enough to find this pail a home or a best application use.

Value/Estimated Lifetime Cost


The proprietary refill bags and baking soda cartridges increase the lifetime cost of the Munchkin Arm and Hammer diaper pail
The proprietary refill bags and baking soda cartridges increase the lifetime cost of the Munchkin Arm and Hammer diaper pail
This pail does require that you use their proprietary refills which cost about $7 each or $16.60 for a 3-pack. Each pack holds 10 bags and each bag holds 25 newborn diapers. The lifetime estimated cost of ownership for this pail is $215, that puts it in between our Editors' Choice winner with a estimate of $308 and Best Value option at $92. In addition, there is the cost of the baking soda refills, which while potentially nominal, it is still one more thing you'll need to buy and maintain. However, it isn't so much the price of the pail, or even the lifetime cost that should give you pause. In our tests it didn't do a very good job at controlling odors and that is the real lifetime cost of this product, perpetual stink.

Conclusion


We experienced some construction problems with our pail that let us questioning the quality and whether or not the lid would eventually break on the Munchkin Arm and Hammer
We experienced some construction problems with our pail that let us questioning the quality and whether or not the lid would eventually break on the Munchkin Arm and Hammer
The Munchkin Arm & Hammer Diaper Pail scored 50 of 100 total points in our tests compared to our Editors' Choice, the Diaper Genie Essentials which scored 75 of 100. Even the Best Value choice, Diaper Champ had 7 points more than the Munchkin and it scored higher for odor control. In the end, we were certainly intrigued by this pail, but it didn't bring its game face to our tests and in our opinion didn't offer the odor control parents are likely to expect. This makes the Munchkin a pail we don't recommend.

Other Versions and Accessories


Munchkin does not make any other kind of diaper disposal system. They do sell refill inserts for their bags and baking soda dispensers (for about $4 per cup).

Video




Bag Change Challenge
Juliet Spurrier, MD & BabyGearLab Team

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Most recent review: May 11, 2015
Summary of All Ratings

BabyGearLab Editors' Rating:  
  • 1
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  • 4
  • 5
 (2.0)
Average Customer Rating:  
 (0.0)
Rating Distribution
1 Total Ratings
5 star: 0%  (0)
4 star: 0%  (0)
3 star: 0%  (0)
2 star: 100%  (1)
1 star: 0%  (0)


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