Baby changing pads have come a long way in the last couple of years, which is great news for parents, caregivers, and tiny humans.
Changing pads with an antibacterial, wipe-down rubber surface are some of the most popular choices on the market today, and no wonder: they make life easier!
You no longer have to wrestle with an inflatable changing pad that keeps deflating, or tying to keep a bunched up changing pad cover in place (not to mention, laundering, folding and storing changing pad covers).
Just as good? Liquids stay on the surface of the pad, not soaking in. This makes clean up really easy.
These new style diaper changing pads come in a range of colors and, frankly, look modern and gorgeous as far as baby gear goes.
While these next generation changing pads seem awesome, they’re also more expensive than a typical changing pad.
This led me to wonder: are these new, rubber style changing pads worth it? And what’s the difference between the most popular brands?
Is a Keekaroo Peanut, Bumbo, Hatch Pad or Leander Changing Pad Worth It?
In this article I compare some of the most popular next generation rubber changing pads on the market, as well as offering tips on what to look for in a diaper changing pad.
In addition, I list another alternative in the wipeable changing pad or “Keekaroo Dupes” market: the Skip Hop Nursery Style.
At the time of writing, some of these changing pads (including the Keekaroo Peanut and the Bumbo) can be tricky to find and are out of stock at many retailers.
You can check Amazon for the Peanut here. The Leander Matty Changing Pad and the Hatch Grow seem to be widely available. The Skip Hop changer is also fairly available, but at the time of writing I am struggling to find the Bumbo.
I also cover some of the common complaints with this new style of changing pad, so you can decide whether it’s right for your family, or whether you’d prefer to go with a more traditional changing pad.
My Personal Experience Using These Changing Pads
Of the change mats I’ve included on this list, I’ve personally owned 4 of them: a Leander Matty, a Keekaroo Peanut, Bumbo Change Pad, and the Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad and Scale. That means I can offer my personal experience with these mats, and you can read my full Bumbo Changing Pad review here.
Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to use a Skip Hop Nursery Style Change Pad. If I do have the chance to try it out in the future, I’ll be sure to update this post.
Note, I originally wrote this post by personally testing the Keekaroo Peanut, Bumbo Change Pad, and the Hatch Baby Grow Smart Changing Pad and Scale, but not the Leander Matty. Now that I’ve also bought and have personal experience with the Leander Changing Pad, I’ve updated the post to reflect this!
Previously, the Hatch was my top pick. But now that I own and have tried all 4 (except the Skip Hop), I’ve updated my post to reflect the fact that all 4 are quite good, and have different features that may appeal to different families.
Best Wipe Clean Changing Pad: Keekaroo Peanut vs Bumbo vs Hatch Baby Grow vs Leander Matty
I think the Keekaroo Peanut and the Leander Changing Matt are both excellent choices, and work really well for the job. Both are super soft and great for wiping clean, although the Keekaroo has a better angle for letting “wet accidents” slope away from baby’s body, and the Peanut shape might make baby feel more secure. The Leander, on the other hand, is roomier for wiggly babies, and has a better non-slip bottom for safety.
I also really like the Hatch Baby Grow, and think it’s a super choice for families who want the added functionality of a baby weigh scale.
Finally, the Bumbo changer is a great “more affordable” choice for a wipe-clean baby change mat. It’s not my top choice, as I do like the other three better, but it absolutely gets the job done and is a solid option if you don’t want to shell out for one of the other three brands.
Our Keekaroo Peanut Changer in Aqua
Durable, super soft, and oh-so-easy to clean up, the Keekaroo Peanut changer launched the wipe-clean changing pad revolution, and is still one of the most coveted items on plenty of baby registries. Once you’ve used one, you’ll probably understand what all the fuss is about.
Check Price and Availability on Amazon
Manufacturing: Made in the USA I Materials: Dura-Soft, which is a polyurethane polymer elastomer – aka, synthetic rubber. I Dimensions: 32″ long x 17″ wide x 4″ high I Weight Capacity: 30 pounds (13.6 kg) I Safety Features and Certifications: Slip resistant design that is JPMA certified and includes a safety strap. Non toxic including being BPA-, PVC-, latex-, formamide-, PBDE flame retardant, and phthalate-free I Warranty: 5 years I Color Choices: Current color availability is Grey or Vanilla
Keekaroo Peanut Overview, Pros and Cons
The Keekaroo Peanut Changer is one of the original rubber, wipe clean changing pad choices.
It’s made of a synthetic rubber material (polyurethane polymer elastomer) – the same material Keekaroo uses in their infant inserts, boosters, and cushions.
It’s also free from a number of chemicals you likely don’t want near your child’s nether regions, including BPA, PVC, formamide, PBDE flame retardant, and phthalates.
The material is durable, and does a pretty good job at resisting tears, peeling and full-on punctures in the surface.
In addition to being strong, the material is also waterproof and antimicrobial. Liquids don’t soak into the surface of the changing pad, so you don’t have to worry about bacteria soaking deep into the surface and growing. If (or rather, when, not if) some liquid hits the changing pad, you can simply wipe it up, and clean it with warm water and gentle soap.
Add to that, the Peanut changer is slightly sloped, meaning a pee while you’re changing baby won’t travel up near their head, but rather will pool towards the bottom of the changing pad near their feet.
This is actually a super handy feature, as your freshly wiped baby won’t get their back soaked with a fresh pee if (when) they have an accident.
The pee will just run down towards their feet.
That all sounds great, but changing pads always have a related wild card, and that’s whether your baby will actually tolerate it.
When it comes to the Peanut changer, it’s actually really soft to the touch, a bit spongy, and the edges are gently contoured for comfort. The edges are very pliable, so if you accidentally bump baby’s arms or legs against the side of the changer, you’re unlikely to hurt them as you might with a hard or rigid material.
The peanut shape is another great comfort feature, perfect for babies that like to lie on their backs with knees pointing out to the sides (speaking from personal experience here that this is a thing that some babies like!).
The wide area at the top and bottom of the “peanut” accommodates babies’ arms and legs, and gives them more space to get into a position they’re comfortable with.
While there’s a lot to like about the Peanut changing pad, not all reviews are glowing. For one, a small minority of reviewers indicate it has stained their changing table surface an ugly yellow color.
That’s in addition to the fact that poop tends to stain this type of changing pad – discoloration from diaper blowouts is a common complaint among these wipeable changing pad reviews (the same thing happens to the Bumbo and apparently also the Skip Hop, so this isn’t a unique Peanut changer problem).
Additionally, some customers have mentioned their Peanut baby changer smelled like chemicals when they first opened the package, which suggests off gassing and VOCs.
Overall, I think the Peanut is a great choice among the wipe clean changing pads. If you’re concerned about off-gassing, buy it early, well before you need it, and let it off-gas in a well ventilated place.
Likewise, carefully consider where you’re going to place it, lest you be one of the unlucky ones who gets a stained piece of furniture from their Peanut changing pad.
Overall, I like the Peanut and would say my experience with the Keekaroo Changer is 9.8/10. I can definitely see why this is the market leader and it’s a great choice.
Check Stock and Availability on Amazon
Boasting sleek Scandinavian lines, muted Boho colors, and a super soft waterproof surface that makes cleanup a breeze, the Leander Matty Changing pad is my personal fav among the wipe clean changing pads, although it’s a bit trickier to find as it’s available at fewer retailers (Albee Baby seems to have pretty reliable stock).
Check Price and Availability: Albee Baby
To me, the main selling point of the Leander changing mat vs Keekaroo is how wonderfully non-slip the Leander is.
Overall, the Peanut actually performs reasonably well in terms of being non-slip (it’s much better than the Bumbo changer in particular).
However, the Leander Matty change mat actually knocks it out of the park in this regard, with 4 rubber feet on the bottom of the pad that work so well at keeping it in place.
Whereas the Peanut is pretty solid when on a smooth surface like a changing table, the Leander Change mat won’t budge when I try to push or pull it.
Additionally, I find the Leander changing pad equally squishy and supple compared to the Peanut (and definitely way squishier than the Hatch Smart Changing Pad and the Bumbo changer).
However, the Leander Changing Mat is actually softer to the touch than the Keekaroo in my experience. Whereas my Keekaroo’s surface is slightly textured to the touch, my Leander Matty changer is smooth like butter when I run my hand over it. It seems like it would be far more comfortable for naked and delicate baby skin vs the slight texture of the Keekaroo. (worth noting, the Bumbo is also super smooth).
Additionally, I really like the simplified shape of the Matty changing pad. Don’t get me wrong – the peanut-shape on the Keekaroo is cute, but the simple rectangle actually gives baby more space to stretch and flop out, however their limbs want!
It’s also a simpler shape, which in my opinion might stand up to use and abuse better over time, than all the curves of the Peanut. While the Peanut is “crack resistant,” I’ve seen several (two to be exact) Peanuts crack, and they have always cracked on the curved part of the raised edge. This is an uncommon problem AFAIK, probably won’t effect you , and I would imagine will be covered by Keekaroo’s fab 5 year warranty, so I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but I do think Leander might have solved for it with straighter edges.
When comparing the Leander Matty vs Keekaroo Peanut, I’d personally choose the Leander changer but recognize the Peanut may be a better fit for others. Worth noting, you can often get them for the same price, or at least very close to the same price.
While I like the Leander Matty, it’s not perfect.
It’s not as well angled as the Peanut, meaning if your baby pees during a diaper change, the pee will pool around their body using the Leander Matty (and the Bumbo, and the Hatch). This is in contrast to the Keekaroo, where the pee runs down towards their feet due to the slightly steeper angle of the surface.
At the end of the day, there’s no doubt this is an expensive changing pad, too. And ultimately, I do think both the Keekaroo Peanut and Leander are both great choices.
Check Price and Availability: Albee Baby
A wipeable diaper changing pad and a baby scale in one, this innovative Hatch device tends to fall within a similar price range to the Leander and the Keekaroo, but with the added benefit of a smart baby scale and growth tracking app.
Manufacturing: Unknown I Materials: ABS Plastic I Dimensions: 29″ x 16″ x 3.5″ I Weight Capacity: 44 pounds I Safety Features and Certifications: Unavailable I Warranty: 1 year I Color Choices: Gray or White
Hatch Pad Overview, Pros and Cons
Before buying this changer, I was familiar with Hatch because we have the Hatch Rest light, and really like that it’s app enabled in order to control it and work on sleep schedules.
The Hatch Baby Grow is just as cool and innovative as the Rest light, and offers some “bang for buck” by serving as both a changing pad and baby weigh scale. This is good in terms of saving money and the environment (buying one thing, instead of two) but also for people who live in small spaces, but still want to do weighted feedings and don’t have room for a separate scale.
The weight limit on the Hatch Grow is a bit higher than the Keekaroo and the Bumbo: 44 pounds vs 30 pounds. I expect your kiddo will outgrow the changing pad use of this well before they’re 44 pounds, so I honestly don’t really consider this to be a huge benefit for most families.
Comparing the Hatch Grow vs Keekaroo or the Leander, the Hatch Baby is also about a half-pound heavier at 7.5 pounds, and has an additional piece of molded plastic that forms the base, with rubber feet which rest on your changing table (similar to a home bathroom scale). The rubber feet helps it stay in place, and not slip around, which is important for safety.
The safety belt on the Hatch is like the Bumbo – attached to the changing pad, rather than meant to do the attaching, as with the Keekaroo. However, the straps are also removable as they just hook onto the side of the pad.
With the rubber tipped feet and heavier weight, the Hatch Grow Smart Pad sits quite solidly on a flat surface, with minimal movement and sliding. If you feel it’s not secure enough, you can drill the plastic “stoppers” that come with the changing pad into your changing table, which effectively wedges the pad into between the blocks and prevents it from moving.
In terms of the scale function, you need a smart device to use it, and you need to download the Hatch App. Once you pair the scale with your app and phone, weight readings will be sent to your app (rather than appearing on the device itself).
I found it fairly easy to get the Hatch Grow up and running, including putting batteries in the base, signing up for a Hatch account (I already had one because we use a Hatch light), getting the app (the app for the scale and the app for the lights are different) and pairing it all. It took less than 5 minutes to get started.
To test accuracy, I weighed the same thing three different times, and the weight came out the same each time. I crossed checked the same item on my bathroom scale, and got the same results. This makes me reasonably confident the Hatch Grow is fairly accurate!
One thing I don’t love about the Hatch, which feels light a fairly significant oversight, is it’s not really soft and squishy to the touch for naked diaper changes. Whereas the Keekaroo Peanut and Bumbo feel nice against my hands when I push down on them (the Keekaroo is the softest of the 3, by far), the Hatch is a lot harder and more rigid. I expect this is necessary for the weigh scale to maintain accuracy, so it’s a trade-off parents will have to consider for themselves.
The parents who breastfeed that I know personally have never known ahead of time whether they would struggle with breastfeeding and worry about their baby’s weight gain ahead of time, or not. I think the Hatch is a great choice to hedge against this. If you’re lucky and you don’t need to do weighted feedings, you still have a great changing pad. However, if you struggle with feeding and want the added comfort of tracking your baby’s weight gain, this is an awesome, super easy solution.
Overall, I give the Hatch Pad 10/10, and think it’s an awesome innovation in the baby care space.
At the time of writing, the Hatch Grow is also widely available, and doesn’t seem to be suffering from the same “out of stock” issues as some of the other choices on this list.
Hatch changing pad vs Keekaroo: the Hatch has a built-in baby weigh scale and rubber feet to prevent slipping (pro!) and ensure it doesn’t sit directly on your furniture (all pros!). However, it’s not as soft and squishy as the Keekaroo, so likely a little less comfy for baby (con). When trying to decide between Keekaroo vs Hatch, it comes down to whether you actually need the scale function or not. Look for the Hatch Pad and the Keekaroo Peanut on Amazon.
Manufacturing: South Africa I Materials: Unspecified (The company indicates it is made of foam, but doesn’t specify beyond that)I Dimensions: 17″ wide x 27″ long x 4″ tall (mine measured slightly larger, see below) I Weight Capacity: 30 pounds I Safety Features and Certifications: All Bumbo® Products comply with European (EN) and USA (ASTM) safety requirements. I Warranty: Color Choices: 1 year I Color Choices: Mimosa, Coral, Powder Blue, Cradle Pink, Hemlock, and Cool Grey
Bumbo Changer Overview, Pros and Cons
They’re both a more structured, wipe clean alternative to a traditional changing pad, soft to the touch, with contoured edges that can help babies feel secure while they’re getting changed. The material is spongy and soft (not at all like a hard rigid plastic).
It indents when you press on it like a mattress, which gives baby lots of cushion when you lie them down for diaper changes, and the edges are pliable too, so they won’t hurt your baby if you accidentally bump their body against an edge when placing them down or picking them up.
Some great reasons to love the Bumbo!
And plenty of people do LOVE the Bumbo, and have used it happily in their homes as a Keekaroo Peanut changer alternative.
Like the Keekaroo, the Bumbo slopes slightly downwards from the neck to the feet. There’s more of a slope near the top of where your baby’s back would lie, and then it tapers off gradually towards their feet, as you can see in the image below.
The idea behind the slope is that any pee that happens while your baby is diaperless on the changer will run away from their head and body, perhaps even pooling down near their feet.
Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s angled enough. When I tested it out with apple juice to see if the “pee” would stay in place (and get baby’s back wet) or run down and pool near the foot of the changer, it stayed in place. (At least it stayed away from where baby’s head would be).
Unlike the Keekaroo, this change pad is super lightweight, making it easy to move from change table to floor to bed as needed. I tried to weigh it on my home scale (which apparently isn’t very good). I had to weigh it a few different times, and it came out between 2.5 pounds to 3 pounds each time.
It’s also worth noting some key differences between the Keekaroo vs. Bumbo.
My big issue with the Bumbo pad is that the company makes it hard to know what the changing pad is made of, and what it’s free from. The company indicates the changing pad (along with the Bumbo seat) is made of “high-quality foam,” but that’s as far as they get.
This is unlike Keekaroo, which specifies the Keekaroo Peanut is free from a range of harmful chemicals. Bumbo is just way more vague.
Bumbo does indicate in the sustainable development goals section of their website that they’re transitioning to recyclable EVA foam by 2023. But to be honest, I don’t love EVA. While there’s a decent amount of research that suggests it’s okay, I don’t really like the risk of formamide that comes with EVA, and personally try to avoid it. This goes for baby play mats, but also for diaper changes – after all, whatever material you use on your changing table will come into contact with a rather – erm – sensitive area of baby’s body.
Materials aside, there are some common complaints that come up in customer reviews of this product, and some of them match my personal experience, too.
Firstly, it’s really not slip resistant at all. The bottom of the Bumbo changer has the same, super smooth texture as the top of the change pad, and it’s hollowed out, rather than a solid slab as with the Keekaroo. That makes it both lightweight and slippery, which seems not great for safety. When I put mine on a dresser top or the floor, it’s fairly easy to slide it around.
Add to that, the safety straps are attached to the Bumbo change pad, which is different from the Keekaroo, where the detached safety strap is meant to secure the changer onto the change table, as well as the baby onto the changer.
Another common complaint is the size. The Bumbo change pad is wider than the Keekaroo one, and it doesn’t fit on top of some standard changing table surfaces.
The company says the changer needs a minimum surface of 19″ x 29.” While it should fit on top of some dresser style changers (i.e. the Babyletto Gelato surface is 33.5″ x 19.25″), it won’t work with changing tables that have a built-in tray top (the Million Dollar Baby Nantucket change tray is too narrow, measuring 17.6″W).
In terms of the changer’s dimensions, the Bumbo is typically listed as measuring 4″ high by 17″ wide by 27″ long.
When I measured my own, it looks more like 17.5″ wide by 27.5″ long, so take that into consideration when you’re planning where you’ll put it.
The other big problem with the Bumbo is a lot of people seem to have had problems with it staining or otherwise ruining the furniture they placed it on. Specifically, a number of customers have indicated their Bumbo caused yellow staining on their furniture. As mentioned above, I’ve also seen reviews mentioning this happened some Keekaroo Peanut, so this issue doesn’t seem to be isolated to the Bumbo.
I haven’t experienced this staining issue personally, although I have noticed discoloration on my own Bumbo, which seems to be an “across the board” problem with this style of changing pad. Poop stains, unfortunately, seem to lead to some discoloration.
The real strengths of the Bumbo, in my opinion, are that it’s light enough to move around for diaper changes in different spots around the house, you can often find it with a more affordable price tag than some competitors.
My experience with the Bumbo change pad is 8/10, and I can definitely see why this is the top Keekaroo Dupe on the market.
Bumbo vs Keekaroo Changing Pad vs Hatch Grow vs Leander Changing Mat: Which is Better for Your Family?
In a head-to-head comparison of the Leander Matty vs Keekaroo Peanut vs Bumbo vs Hatch, the Leander Matty and Peanut Changer are pretty much tied as “overall best.” Frankly, I can see why both are so popular, and both seem like an awesome choice.
The Hatch is another top choice because of its dual functionality: change mat and weigh scale, and the Bumbo is a solid budget pick in my experience and opinion.
However, the best option for one family might not be the best for another family. While all of these options are great for ditching changing pad covers, there are some key differences, strengths and weaknesses of each when comparing Leander vs Keekaroo vs Hatch vs Bumbo.
I’ve tried to summarize these differences below.
Best Bang for Buck
If you think you’ll want or need to do weighted feeds, or will want to track your baby’s weight gain closely at home, Hatch is the winner here, as you get a baby scale to keep track of baby’s weight, and a change pad in one!
Best for Small Spaces and Minimalists
In addition to offering bang for buck, the Hatch wins for families who want to minimize the amount of baby gear they have in their house. Rather than getting a change pad and a baby weigh scale, the Hatch Grow lets you buy one item for two functions, which is always a win in my book.
Best for Softness, Sponginess and Comfort
The Keekaroo and Leander Matty tie in terms of sponginess, but the Matty is softer to the touch, and more comfortable for my own skin when I touch it. Both are way softer and spongier than the Bumbo, which I already think is pretty good!
The Hatch isn’t spongy at all, except around the edges (which is good if you accidentally bump baby’s leg against the side, so there’s that).
Check Stock and Availability on Leander: Albee Baby
Best for Keeping Baby Dry After an Accidental Pee
The gold medal here goes to the Keekaroo changing mat.
When I tested all 4 on a head-to-head performance using the “apple juice test,” the Peanut changer is the only one that wouldn’t have gotten baby’s back soaking wet.
If they pee on the Keekaroo, the pee runs down to the foot area, keeping their back and butt as dry as possible.
Best for Moving Around the House
However, if you need baby gear that’s a bit more portable and mobile, I think the Bumbo is a better choice as a portable changing pad, as it’s pretty much half the weight at around 3.5 pounds. The Leander is in the middle, and is actually pretty easy to carry around and weighs 6.6 pounds.
That said, the Bumbo is still big – you can’t exactly throw it in the diaper bag. As such, it’s portable for changing diapers at home, but isn’t a good solution for on the go.
Best on a Budget
Of the three, Bumbo is consistently the best option for parents on a budget, and really is quite good in my opinion. While I do really love the Leander and like the Hatch and the Keekaroo, I’m also the first to admit they are on the more expensive end of changing pads, and may be overkill for some families.
What to Look for in A Changing Pad?
Below, I’ve come up with a list of the factors I think are important when searching for a perfect baby change mat:
- Water resistant, ideally by itself even without a waterproof cover, or with a very easy to wash cover.
- Non Toxic, meaning no flame retardants, no phthalates, no vinyl cover (vinyl typically contains PVC), and ideally no formamide. The Naturepedic Changing Pad is one of the best options for non-toxic diaper change pads.
- Easy cleaning. When you have a baby, anything that makes life a bit easier is welcome. Constant washing of a changing pad cover is a pain in the butt.
- Non Slip or Attachable. To keep baby safe, it’s critical the pad is slip resistant if you’ll be using it up high on changing tables to keep baby safe. If it’s not anti-slip, ensure it’s secured in place according to manufacturer instructions. In fact, always follow the instructions from the maker!
- It Helps Keep Baby Comfortable. Will it feel cold to your baby and their butt? Lots of babies don’t love diaper changes, so it’s nice to make things as comfy and fun as possible for them, which means choosing a pad that doesn’t have a hard surface.
- Longevity. Will it survive for a second baby (or a third, or a fourth…)? I’ve found this new style of matt to be very high quality and puncture resistant, so you should be able to use them for multiple children.
- Ergonomic design. This comes down to comfort as well, but pads that give baby room to move their limbs and use gravity to keep liquids from pooling near baby’s body is ideal. While this won’t actually deal with the dirty diapers for you, it’s like the next best thing!
- Safety buckle, restraint belt and straps. Again, safety is critical for changers, as you want to ensure your baby can’t fall off the change table.
- Weight restrictions. While theoretically you’ll want to keep an eye on baby’s weight to ensure you don’t go past the limit on these (usually around 30 pounds), realistically your kid will probably be long out of diapers and changing pads (at the very least doing standing changes) by the time they surpass the weight restriction.
Alternative Choices and Dupes
While the change pads I’ve covered above are the ones I have personal experience with, there are some great Keekaroo dupes you can also check out. These include:
- Skip Hop Changing Pad (Nursery Style Changer)
I hope my experiences help you decide on the best solution for your own family.