Ask any parent and they’ll tell you how essential a good diaper bag is. A quality diaper bag simultaneously needs to house everything that’ll keep your baby clean and happy, while also being small and light enough to carry on an everyday basis. “Almost every parent has a horror story that involves a diaper blowout or food spillage while out and about,” says Dr. Krupa Playforth, a board-certified pediatrician and mom of three. “Having lots of space for extra diapers, wipes and clothing is a must.”
Today, you can find diaper bags with tons of added extras like insulated pockets (to keep bottles cold), USB charging ports and accompanying changing mats, (which I found especially helpful once I learned how few restrooms have a dedicated changing table).
To help you find the best diaper bag for you and your baby, we spoke with moms and experts about what to keep in mind while shopping.
How we picked the best diaper bag
We spoke with moms and doctors (who are also parents) about what to consider when shopping for a functional diaper bag that is durable and easy to organize. Here’s what they recommended looking for:
- Material: Ideally, you want a sturdy material that will hold up to wear and tear — as well as something that is easy to wipe clean. Neoprene and water- and stain-resistant fabrics are good options.
- Weight: Considering you’re also carrying a baby or pushing a stroller, look for models that are lightweight to help ease shoulder or back strain.
- Bonus features: Depending on your needs, consider extras like ample pockets, USB charging ports, changing mats and insulated bottle pockets.
- Bag structure: Diaper bags typically come as backpacks or totes, with some converting between the two. While it may be a matter of preference, there are some key differences which we explain in further detail below.
The best diaper bags in 2023
While every diaper bag we recommend will hold diapers and wipes, they do vary in terms of additional features, like the number of pockets, insulated linings, laptop pockets and more. Below, we compiled recommendations from parents, as well as their advice of what to look for. All of the products listed are made from easy-to-clean materials and offer varying levels of features to accommodate every type of parent.
Dr. Andrea Braden, a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist in Atlanta, GA and mom of five recommends Dagne Dover’s diaper backpacks since they’re made of easy-to-clean neoprene that lasts “forever” and has an included pouch and a key hook. “[It has] all the things that I like for a purse, but also all the accoutrements that one might want for a diaper bag as well,” she says. Senior commerce photo editor Becca Delman is also a fan, saying that it’s lightweight and easy to clean (making it a great gift for new parents). It also has stroller clips and a mini changing mat, and comes in three sizes and various colors.
Material: Neoprene | Dimensions: 12.25 x 7 x 13.75 in. | Weight: 4 pounds
A friend recommended this diaper backpack to me, and while it won’t win a beauty contest, I appreciate how functional it is. The straps are cushioned and supportive, and the gender-neutral design suits both me and my husband. The foldable changing mat has been a lifesaver too, plusthe pockets — including three insulated slots for bottles and slimmer ones for wipes, keys and other essentials — help it stay organized. There’s also an external pouch that’s great for storing pacifiers that you need to always keep in easy reach.
Material: Water-resistant polyester | Dimensions: 17 x 12.5 x 8.5 in. | Weight: 2.49 pounds
Playforth has had a Skip Hop diaper bag, like this one, for eight years and has been impressed by how well it has withstood time. This model has a large interior space with a wide opening that makes it easy to locate items, as well as a changing pad pocket (large enough to hold a 15-inch laptop) and insulated side pockets for bottles.
Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 16 x 8 x 14 in. | Weight: 1.4 pounds
Lauren Nemeth, a fourth-grade teacher and mom of two, likes this diaper bag since she can wear it as a tote or a backpack. “It has a lot of room inside to keep everything I need organized,” she says. “It’s also lightweight so it doesn’t hurt my back. I like that I can fit my wallet, keys and phone in there, too.” It has four insulated pockets designed to fit large bottles (up to 25 ounces), a back pocket that converts into a luggage sleeve and a waterproof changing pad.
Material: Vegan leather exterior, nylon interior | Dimensions: 15.5 x 5.5 x 14 in. | Weight: 3.15 pounds
This reimagined fanny pack, which has a 4.8-star average rating from 160 reviews at Béis, is the lightest bag on our list. Designed with short outings in mind, it has just enough space for a few diapers, a pack of wipes and the included changing pad. You can wear the adjustable belt around your waist or in a cross-body style, plus it’s made with a stain-resistant finish, according to Béis.
Material: Nylon | Dimensions: 11 x 7 x 3.5 in. | Weight: 1 pound
This vegan leather bag, which has a 4.6-star average rating from 779 reviews on Amazon, has wipeable surfaces and 10 pockets (including two that have insulated lining) in addition to a large compartment. It comes with a changing pad, a top handle that you can hang from a stroller and shoulder straps, which can convert it from a backpack into a crossbody or tote bag.
Material: Vegan leather exterior, nylon interior | Dimensions: 15 x 13 x 7 in. | Weight: 2.3 pounds
While it’s one of the more lightweight options on this list, this diaper backpack, which has a 4.8-star average rating from 1,422 reviews on Amazon, comes with various bells and whistles, including a USB charging port, changing mat and dedicated wipe dispenser on the side. It has 14 total pockets, including a hidden anti-theft slot and another slot that’s large enough for 15-inch laptops.
Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 7.9 x 12.9 x 15.75 in. | Weight: 1.9 pounds
With a luggage sleeve and studded feet that keep the bottom of the bag from touching the ground, this tote bag was designed with travel in mind. The bag, which has a 4.8-star average rating from more than 3,500 Amazon reviews, includes a dedicated case for pacifiers, a changing pad and insulated pockets, plus adjustable shoulder straps. It also has side pockets with a magnetic closure, which makes it easy to grab items quickly, according to the brand.
Material: Polyester | Dimensions: 12 x 8 x 16 in. | Weight: 2 pounds
How to shop for diaper bags
When it comes to diaper bags, function is usually more important than form; after all, it doesn’t matter if it looks good if you can’t find the wipes when you’re mid-diaper change. That’s why a durable material that’s waterproof, water-resistant or stain-resistant is essential. “It is worth investing in a high-quality option, because [there’s a] likelihood that you will use the same one for several years — and potentially for longer if you have more than one child,” says Playforth.
Next, consider the initial weight , since that can add unnecessary heft to your back or shoulders. Braden recommends looking for bags that have padding on the shoulder straps for extra comfort since she’s often holding a baby and a bag at the same time.
Finally, the type of bag you choose comes down to a matter of personal preference. While some may prefer carrying a crossbody bag, other parents appreciate the convenience of a backpack. “I think the importance of a diaper bag that can be carried without the use of your hands is often under-appreciated,” says Playforth. “If you can put it on your back, it frees up your hands for all the other things parents end up carrying.”
Meet our experts
At Select, we work with experts who have specialized knowledge and authority based on relevant training and/or experience. We also take steps to ensure all expert advice and recommendations are made independently and without undisclosed financial conflicts of interest.
- Dr. Andrea Braden, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist based in Atlanta, GA and a mom to five children.
- Dr. Krupa Playforth, MD is a board-certified pediatrician, mom of three and founder of The Pediatrician Mom. She practices in Northern Virginia at Warm Heart Pediatrics.
- Lauren Nemeth is a fourth-grade teacher in Pine Bush, NY and mom of two.
Why trust Select?
Deanna Pai is a freelance beauty and wellness writer and editor who has been covering beauty and health for more than a decade, including topics like postpartum hair loss and pregnancy pillows, and is herself a mom to a three-month-old daughter. For this article, Pai spoke to a pediatrician, an OB-GYN and a teacher — all of whom are moms — to narrow down the best diaper bags to shop this year, and highlighted their recommendations to consider.