I have gone through quite a few diaper bags in my life as a mom. I always chose diaper bags under $50 because I didn’t want to overspend on a fancy bag, however I have probably spent well over $100 with as many as I’ve gone through. With my first child I didn’t factor in practical and chose one I thought was cute for a little girl. It was a decent bag with plenty of compartments and a good price but it was bulky and I would often hit, knock over, or rub against things when carrying it on my shoulder (and of course, as a new mom I thought I had to bring everything but the kitchen sink with me wherever I went.) I went with a different diaper bag that was a little smaller but the material was like a canvas fabric which I quickly realized picks up dirt very easily. Within a month the thing was so dirty looking and just wiping it down wouldn’t work so I tossed it in the wash – apparently it was not machine washable!
Through my experiences with previous diaper bags I have wised up with my second child. The one I currently have is finally on its last leg and it’s time again to look for a new bag. This time I know what to look for and rely on reviews from other moms to find a durable diaper bag that is functional, so here are my specifications:
Durable - I know not to fall for another bag made of cheap material that doesn’t last or falls apart easily. I need a quality bag made of durable material that will hold up through everything I put it through.
Easy to Clean – After the mishap I had with one of my previous diaper bags I know to look for one that is made of a material that is easy to wipe clean, such as nylon or laminated canvas. You’re constantly putting your bag down on various surfaces (which also makes it pick up a LOT of germs as well as purses) so it’s easy for them to get dirty. One that can be washed in the washer would be great so I can give it a good washing from time to time.
Functional - I need a bag with many compartments without being too bulky when it’s at my side. It should have at least one large compartment for diapers, wipes, snacks, etc, a pocket on each side for my son and my daughter’s sippy cups, and a compartment just for me. I don’t tote around my purse in addition to the diaper bag so I always look for one that has a small (yet large enough) compartment for my wallet and other essentials. An additional pocket for my cell phone would also be really handy. I’d also like to find one like a previous bag I had with individual pockets within the large compartment to hold smaller things like diaper cream or pacifiers so I don’t have to dig around the bottom of the bag looking for it.
Neutral – After having my little girl I picked out a very girly pink bag with polka dots and little bows on it because it was cute. My husband, on the other hand was not about to carry it around so he picked out a blue one just for him. I would like a bag that is stylish and fashionable but will work for either me or my husband so we don’t have to switch out the contents as well as a neutral color that coordinates well with what I’m wearing.
Comfortable – When I take long shopping trips or going somewhere with the kids for the day, I need a bag that has a comfortable shoulder strap. Some of the bags I’ve had were very uncomfortable and the strap would irritate my shoulder as it rubbed harshly against it. It should be wide and possibly padded.
Affordable – I spent more money on past diaper bags that it would have been far better just to splurge on a really good quality bag from the start. I know not to skimp out on a cheap bag, but I don’t need a fancy bag with a designer price tag. I’d like to stick to looking for diaper bags under $50 but without compromising quality.
Diaper Bags Under $50
These were some of the best top rated diaper bags I found that were within my budget and among some of the top sellers on Amazon.
Soho Sage Diaper Bag
Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars
This six-piece diaper bag set comes with a regular diaper bag and a smaller food bag with a changing pad and a few other accessories including an insulated bottle holder and zippered wipes case. The regular diaper bag has several compartments and it comes with a zippered accessory case to hold my personal items such as makeup, gum, etc.
What I love about it - I like the idea of the insulated bottle holder which is perfect for carrying refrigerated milk (I breastfeed so often times I’ll take along a bottle of expressed milk that was kept in the refrigerator, hence I would bring a separate insulated bag with ice packs. The bottle holder, however has a strap that it can be attached anywhere – either on the bag or on the stroller. I really like the color of this bag as well. It’s a pretty neutral color that would coordinate well with most of my outfits and I don’t think my husband would mind carrying it too much.
What’s not to love - I could see the food diaper bag being nice to have when I’m going to visit someone or staying overnight somewhere, but inconvenient to tote around an extra bag. To get an idea of any other flaws I looked into some reviews from other moms who have owned and used this bag:
The price of this bag is very reasonable coming in under $30 though I don’t know if it’s really worth the additional accessories that come with this bag. I know I would get some use out of it, but is something to factor when comparing other bags.
Skip Hop Duo Deluxe
Rated 4.0 out of 5 stars
This is a newer, improved version of the original Duo Deluxe Diaper Bag which is 30% bigger. It features 11 pockets to organize all of baby’s essentials so you aren’t digging around searching for a pacifier. The poly-canvas material is easy to clean and water-resistant. It also features a magnetic closure and special fasteners to attach it to any type of stroller.
What I love about it - One feature I found that I really liked about this bag is the padded shoulder strap. That’s a plus right there for me. Also it features a nice sized zippered personal compartment for me and a spacious main compartment with pockets inside to organize baby’s essentials. It also appears to have a nice slim design even for as roomy as it is so it doesn’t stick out too much. Yet another desirable feature is the fasteners that attach to stroller handlebars. I would think judging by the construction that it would probably serve well to clip onto a shopping cart the same way.
What’s not to love – One thing I noticed is that it only has one side pocket for a cup or bottle; although the other side has a pocket specifically for your cell phone. I could overlook this because the two front pockets could serve to hold a cup or bottle. Here’s what I found some other users had to say about the Skip Hop Duo:
According to some of the reviews I’ve read it sounds like this bag may have an issue with its construction. The reason it appears slender even when full is because the pockets go inward instead of out thus reducing the bulkiness factor with other bags. However, this makes it difficult when it comes to taking things out of the bag. You can read more of these reviews here.
JJ Cole Mode Diaper Tote Bag
Rated 4.4 out of 5 stars
This bag features 12 interior and exterior pockets to make organizing baby’s essentials easier. The laminated canvas is easy to wipe clean and is PVC and phthalate free. It features 3 different carrying options with two tote straps, a padded shoulder strap that can be removed or attachments for your stroller handlebars.
What I love about it - Everything! I really like the versatility of the carrying options especially with a removable padded strap for long shopping trips or I could just attach it to the stroller. It has many compartments with a front zippered pocket I could easily use for myself. I also find this bag really cute and it comes in 5 different fashionable designs to choose from.
What’s not to love - While I really like the design options, my husband may find it a little too dainty and feminine for him to use. Other people who have owned this bag said:
These reviews were paraphrased for your convenience. Check out the full reviews along with what others had to say about this bag.
I don’t have a definite winner for this one because I really would need to hold the bag in my hands and examine it myself; however these reviews and ratings did help me to determine the quality of these bags based on others’ experiences. With that being said, if I went solely on the features and from what others said I think my choice would be . . . the JJ Cole Mode Diaper Tote!
I really like the look of it and from what others have said it seems to be made of a decent quality and durable which is really what I need. I do like the many compartments and the slender design. As an experienced mom I’ve learned what I really need to take along with me without having to pack everything because no matter how durable or good the bag is, even with a padded shoulder strap, if you over pack it it’s going to get heavy after awhile.
I do plan on buying a new diaper bag and will use these resources for my buying decision. Once I find one I like I will follow up with my own product review. If you have a diaper bag you really like and has served you well, I’d love to hear what it is!