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Updated Sep 24, 2021 11:27 AM

Its role is far from glamorous, but the humble trash can is an integral part of your home. Waste is an unavoidable part of daily life, so it’s important to have a trash can you can rely on to keep messes contained. While it may be tempting to choose the cheapest trash can you can find, choosing a quality bin can make a dirty job more pleasant. 

A good trash can is simple to use and reliably keeps waste and smells contained. It makes tossing garbage and changing bags a breeze, so you can go on with your day. The best trash cans ahead are attractive, convenient to use, and easy to clean to keep your home tidy and fresh.

How We Picked the Best Trash Cans

Methodology 

Dealing with trash is an unpleasant but necessary chore. Our aim was to recommend trash cans that make this task as hassle-free as possible. We narrowed down our list from more than 30 trash cans, focusing on a few key features. 

Easy to use: Through product research, experience, and buyer reviews, we chose trash cans that were practical to use and reliable for keeping messes and odors contained.

Easy to clean: Our picks included simple-to-clean interiors, some with removable bins that are easier to scrub. We also included picks with sealed lids, since we think they’re important for containing odors and keeping your home smelling clean. 

Stylish: An attractive look was also top of mind, since many households keep their trash cans in the open. Even if the trash can is tucked away, it doesn’t hurt to have a stylish exterior. 

The most-important features vary from shopper to shopper, such as ideal size, capacity, material, and extra convenience features. To account for these different wants and needs, we chose a variety of trash can sizes and several options with extra features so you can find a suitable choice for your home. 

The Best Trash Cans: Reviews and Recommendations

Best Overall: simplehuman 45 Liter Rectangular Trash Can 

Best Overall

Tossing garbage and keeping the trash can clean is simple with this hands-free bin, which features an easy-to-maintain, antimicrobial design.

Why It Made The Cut: With a modern, high-sheen stainless steel build, antimicrobial coating, and convenient maintenance features, this trash can is a premium choice. 

Specs: 

  • Dimensions: 13.3 x 15.9 x 25.8 inches
  • Capacity: 11.9 gallons
  • Materials: Stainless steel

Pros:

  • Made of sleek and durable stainless steel
  • Wide, sturdy foot pedal
  • Liner rim makes it easy to replace bags and keep them in place 

Cons:

  • No removable inner bucket

For sleek, long-lasting waste management, consider this sturdy steel can from simplehuman. simplehuman’s trash cans combine fashion and function to create beautiful bins you won’t mind displaying in the kitchen. This mid-size 45-liter trash can is one of our top picks. 

Made of dent-resistant, thick stainless steel, this trash can is a hardy choice. To keep it clean, a silver-ion coating resists fingerprints and inhibits the spread of germs, while maintaining the steel’s sheen. This trash can’s design features a modern look, with curved corners and a wide foot pedal. Beyond the elegant style, the large foot pedal is also durable and easy to operate. 

To make this trash can easy to maintain, it features a specially designed liner rim that flips up when you’re ready for a bag change, then slides over the new garbage bag to keep it locked in place. There’s no inner bucket, which allows for a larger capacity, although this feature may make it tougher to clean spills inside. When it’s time for a new bag, reach into the built-in liner pocket for a clean trash bag. The silent-close lid shuts softly when you’re done. 

Best Value: Rubbermaid Classic 13 Gallon Premium Step On Trash Can

Keep your home clean with this economical trash can, which features hands-free operation and a bag lock feature, without breaking the bank.

Why It Made The Cut: With a hands-free design, durable foot pedal, and LinerLock feature to keep bags in place, this trash can provides several perks for an affordable price. 

  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 18 x 25 inches
  • Capacity: 13 gallons
  • Materials: Plastic and stainless steel

Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 18 x 25 inches
  • Capacity: 13 gallons
  • Materials: Plastic and stainless steel

Pros: 

  • Budget-friendly but feature-rich choice
  • Hands-free foot pedal operation
  • LinerLock secures garbage bag in place

Cons: 

  • Plastic build is less durable than metal options 

This trash can from Rubbermaid is a step up from basic plastic trash bins, while still coming in at an affordable price. With a 13-gallon capacity, this hefty pick is large enough for many kitchens, laundry rooms, nurseries, or bathrooms. It features a hands-free foot pedal to open the lid, providing sanitary operation and excellent odor control. 

A common frustration with cheaper trash cans is the garbage bag slipping off the rim. To prevent bags from sliding down, this trash can features Rubbermaid’s LinerLock bag arms, which secure the bag to the rim of the can. 

Although this trash can is made of plastic resin, it features a stainless steel pedal, which elevates the look and adds durability. The seamless design and dark grey color is easy to keep clean, while also giving this trash can a contemporary look. This garbage can does not include a removable inner bin, but since it’s very lightweight, it’s no hassle to tip it over and clean in case of a spill. 

 Best Small: Amazon Basics 20 Liter Trash Can

Best Small

Small spaces can benefit from this compact, lidded trash can, which can squeeze under a desk, beside a counter, or into a cupboard to hold 5 gallons of trash.

Why It Made The Cut: This stainless steel trash can is compact but still includes many of the features of larger bins, including hands-free operation and a soft-close, odor-controlling lid.  

Specs:  

  • Product Dimensions: 11.81 x 11.42 x 20.67 inches
  • Capacity: 5.3 gallons
  • Materials: Stainless steel

Pros: 

  • Hands-free foot pedal operation
  • Soft-close lid
  • Removable plastic inner bin for easy cleaning

Cons: 

  • May be too large for extra-tight spaces

Outfit your small kitchen, bathroom, office, or bedroom with this trash can from AmazonBasics. At just over 5 gallons in capacity, it strikes a balance between compactness and utility. While it’s not the smallest option out there, It’s slim enough to fit in tight spaces, while still holding a decent amount of trash. The larger size also means this bin can include some of the features less common in tiny bins, like an odor-reducing lid and hands-free operation. 

This trash can measures 11.81 by 11.42 by 20.67 inches and is a suitable size to slide beside a counter, beneath a desk, or into the kitchen cupboard. It’s made of stylish and fingerprint-resistant brushed stainless steel and features a sturdy steel foot pedal. 

Changing the garbage bag and cleaning any spills is simple since this trash can features a removable plastic bucket. The lid can also prop open, so it will stay in place during a bag change.

Best Large: Glad 20-Gallon Stainless Steel Step Trash Can

Best Large

Hold more trash and nix nasty smells with this large-capacity trash can with an odor-protecting lid.

Why It Made The Cut: With a 20-gallon capacity and extra odor protection, this trash can is made to hold more trash while controlling smells. 

Specs: 

  • Product Dimensions: 16 x 16.25 x 29 inches
  • Capacity: 20 gallons
  • Materials: Stainless steel

Pros: 

  • Large 20-gallon capacity 
  • Heavy-duty stainless steel construction 
  • Odor-trapping lid

Cons: 

  • May be too large for some kitchens 

Large families need an extra-large trash can, and this 20-gallon bin from Glad fits the bill. This large-capacity trash can is made from durable and fingerprint-resistant stainless steel, designed to withstand the heavy-duty use of busy households. To keep the garbage can and hands sanitary, it features a soft-close lid controlled by a foot pedal. 

More garbage often means more smells, but this nifty trash can has a trick up its sleeve. The lid is formulated with Clorox Antimicrobial Protection, which creates an airtight seal to stop odors from escaping the trash can. This design means you can go longer between taking out the trash, with less worries about funky odors. 

When it’s time to replace the bag, pull a new one from the built-in trash bag holder and dispenser, which keeps bags conveniently within reach. Built-in metal bag rings secure the trash bag in place, so the bag can fill completely without spilling. 

Best Touchless: iTouchless 13 Gallon Pet-Proof Sensor Trash Can 

Best Touchless

With a motion-sensor lid and activated carbon filter, this trash can is completely touchless to create an extra-clean home waste system.

Why It Made The Cut: This electronic trash can features a motion sensor to open the lid, as well as a lock feature to prevent pesky pets or curious children from making a mess. 

Specs: 

  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 11 x 28 inches
  • Capacity: 13 gallons
  • Materials: Stainless steel

Pros: 

  • Completely touchless opening system
  • Replaceable activated carbon filter for odors
  • Locking system prevents pets from opening the top

Cons: 

  • Requires power to operate 

With this touchless trash can from iTouchless, you can open the trash can with the wave of a hand. There’s no manual lid to open or even a foot pedal to step on, which makes this trash can more sanitary than other options. Instead, the lid features a motion-activated sensor to open the trash can. Beyond keeping your hands and feet clean, this trash can also features an activated carbon filter to absorb and neutralize lingering odors. 

The trash can can be powered by four D batteries (not included) or an AC adapter (sold separately). It has a sleek stainless steel construction, keeping up with the modern theme. 

There’s one catch with motion-sensing lids; they can activate when you don’t want them too. Hungry pets or snooping toddlers can get into the garbage and make a mess. To prevent this from happening, this trash can features a Pet Guard locking feature. When this feature is on, the trash can triggers only when you want it to so Fido can’t fish food out of the garbage. 

Best Dual-Compartment: KOHLER Dual Compartment Kitchen Step Can

Best Dual-Compartment

Keep waste sorted and organized with this 11-gallon, dual-compartment trash can.

Why It Made The Cut: With a dual-compartment design and individual removable plastic bins, this trash can makes it simple to separate trash and recyclables, while keeping waste tucked out of sight. 

Specs: 

  • Product Dimensions: 16.82 x 13 x 26.44 inches
  • Capacity: 11 gallons
  • Materials: Stainless steel 

Pros: 

  • Dual-compartment design
  • Two individually removable plastic liners makes it easy to empty each compartment
  • Contemporary and tough stainless steel construction 

Cons: 

  • Heavy to move at 25 pounds 

Organize garbage and recycling with this dual-compartment trash can from Kohler. This handy trash bin keeps trash and recyclables separate but hidden, making it simple to keep items sorted for garbage day. 

The trash can has an 11-gallon capacity—5.5 gallons for each compartment. Each side has its own removable plastic liner, which is simple to remove and clean. The liners sit raised inside the trash can, so there’s no need to remove them when it’s time to change the bag. If one side fills up faster than the other, the liners are individually removable for hassle-free cleaning. 

To suit modern kitchens or garages, this trash can is made of brushed stainless steel, which gives it a sleek look. The space-saving design allows it to sit flush against the wall, even when the lid is open. A foot pedal and quiet-close lid allow for hands-free use, keeping the trash can and your hands cleaner.

Things to Consider Before Buying a Trash Can 

The trash can is one of the most frequently used items in your home, so finding a quality bin is worth the time and money. When shopping for the best trash can for your home, consider the trash can size, capacity, maintenance, material, style, and any convenient features like odor management and non-touch pedals or sensors. 

Capacity and Size

Taking out the trash several times a day is a pain. When looking for a new trash can, look for an option with a large enough capacity that requires changing once every few days. While capacity is important, also consider the trash can size to ensure it will fit in the kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom space. 

Easy to Maintain

A good trash can is simple to maintain; it should be easy to change the bag and easy to clean when needed. Most trash cans feature a removable, plastic inner bin that is naturally waterproof, rust-proof, and easy to clean. A sleek plastic or metal exterior is a good choice, since these surfaces are straightforward to wipe down and disinfect. 

Material and Style

A trash can has a grimy job, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be an eyesore. Most trash cans come in plastic or metal, both of which are easy to clean and can be found in several designs and colors. Most trash cans have a simple design that fits with most decor, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to find one that suits your style. 

Odor Management

A full trash can can put up quite the stink. For optimal odor control, look for a bin with a tight sealing lid that will keep odors contained. 

Touchless Options

Spills and accidents can leave a trash can soiled and smelly, and even a clean trash bin can be teeming with germs. To reduce contact as much as possible, consider a hands-free trash can that uses a foot pedal or motion sensor to open the lid. 

FAQs

Q: What is the best size trash can?

There’s no one-size-fits-all trash can for every home—the right size for you depends on your intended use. Small trash cans, usually under 10 gallons in capacity, are appropriate for the bathroom, bedroom, or office. Most homes keep their largest trash can in the kitchen, where the most waste is created. For the kitchen, a trash can under 10 gallons is likely enough for a single person or couple. For a family of four, 10 to 16 gallons is more appropriate. For a larger family or shared household, a 20-gallon or larger capacity may be needed.

Q: How do you make a trash can look nicer?

Look for an attractive trash can from the get-go—it’s worth the investment. Stainless steel bins tend to look sleeker and more substantial than plastic versions. Keeping the trash can clean and stain-free also goes far in keeping it looking fresh. If all else fails, consider buying a trash can that you can tuck away to keep it out of sight

Q: Where should I keep my kitchen trash can?

Depending on the size, the kitchen trash can could be tucked into a cupboard (usually under the sink) or left out in the open. Keep the trash can out of the way, but within close distance from where food prepping or cleaning tasks are done. 

Final Thoughts

Picking a trash can probably doesn’t rank high on most people’s shopping list, but having a subpar model of this underappreciated household essential can lead to unpleasant odors and raids by hungry pets.  For most homes, the simplehuman 45 Liter Rectangular Trash Can is an outstanding mid-size trash can. It’s easy to maintain and features a durable stainless steel construction and antimicrobial coating for long-lasting use.

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