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Best stainless-steel trash can

Which stainless-steel trash cans are best?

One of the biggest byproducts of living in a consumer-based society is the rapid accumulation of waste that we have no need for. The best way to make sure our waste doesn’t get out of hand is to dispose of it in a trash can. Stainless-steel options are more hygienic and longer-lasting than plastic versions.

The best stainless-steel trash can is the simplehuman 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can. This stainless-steel trash can is highly resistant to smudges and fingerprints, and the flat backing allows it to be placed flush against a wall to conserve space.

What to know before you buy a stainless-steel trash can

Types of stainless-steel trash cans

There are a large variety of stainless-steel trash cans available but the core four options are step, push top, automatic and recycling.

  • Step: The most basic lidded stainless-steel trash can. Step options use a small foot pedal at the base of the trash can which is pushed to lift the lid hands-free. The step mechanism does weaken over time, though.
  • Push top: Push tops use lids that lock into place. When a specific area of the lid is pushed, the locking mechanism is released and the lid springs open and stays open until it is pushed back into place. Push tops tend to be more affordable, though they aren’t as hygienic as other options.
  • Automatic: Also known as touchless, automatic stainless-steel trash cans use a motion sensor to trigger their release mechanism. They are just as hygienic as step stainless-steel trash cans though they tend to cost the most of any available type.
  • Recycling: Recycling stainless-steel trash cans utilize separate bins contained within the same large body. They’re best for smaller households as the smaller individual sizes can fill rapidly in larger homes.

What to look for in a quality stainless-steel trash can


Most stainless-steel trash cans will be available in at least two different size options to best fit your waste habits. It’s important to know what size works best for you. Too little capacity and you’ll constantly need to empty your stainless-steel trash can, while too large a can will lead to your trash sitting inside for long amounts of time and causing nasty smells before it’s full and ready to be emptied. 

Removable bucket

Some stainless-steel trash cans use internal buckets instead of the usual hollow tube. One perk of a removable bucket is the chance to avoid using trash bags entirely, which is beneficial both to your bank account and the environment. Keep in mind that most people tend to love or hate the removable bucket so purchase cautiously if you’ve never experienced this option.


Most stainless-steel trash cans, or any other type of trash can, are usually either rectangular or round, though a few options are also oval, half-round or square. Flat-sided stainless-steel trash cans like the half-round and square/rectangle options take up the least amount of space as they can be placed flush against a wall or corner.

How much you can expect to spend on a stainless-steel trash can

Because of the various benefits that stainless-steel has to offer over other trash can types, you’re going to have to pay a little more. The most inexpensive stainless-steel trash typically costs between $30-$60 with larger quantity and more feature-rich stainless-steel trash cans reaching up to $100. The biggest and best options with the most features can easily reach $200.

Stainless-steel trash can FAQ

Is there a way I can stop my stainless-steel trash can from smelling?

A. While there isn’t a way to prevent nasty smells entirely, there are a few ways you can limit them. The easiest is simply to regularly empty out the cab and give it a thorough cleaning. Other than that, you can also place perishable trash directly into your exterior trash bin or dumpster, use tightly-fitting lids and select a stainless-steel trash can with special odor-neutralizing filters.

Are stainless-steel trash cans safe to place outside?

A. Technically yes, they’re safe to place outside but it isn’t recommended. Stainless-steel isn’t rustproof, just rust-resistant, so excess exposure to the elements will eventually mar your beautiful stainless-steel trash can.

What are the best stainless-steel trash cans to buy?

Top stainless-steel trash can

Simplehuman 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can

What you need to know: An easy-to-use and intuitive, stainless-steel kitchen trash can with an elegant and sleek design.

What you’ll love: The flat back of the Simplehuman trash can allows this stainless-steel trash can to fit against a wall to minimize the space it takes up.

What you should consider: There can be an occasional struggle to lock-in the liner rim around a new trash bag.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

Top stainless-steel trash can for the money

Ninestars Automatic Touchless Motion Sensor Semi-Round Trash Can/Recycler, 18.5 Gallon

What you need to know: Two individual compartments let this stainless-steel trash can pull double duty as a recycling collector.

What you’ll love: Each compartment in the Ninestars trash can is spacious enough to hold plenty of trash/recycling and the batteries can last up to 6 months.

What you should consider: Some rare reports of malfunctioning to  lids that have been solved by removing the batteries and replacing them 24 hours later.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Worth checking out

Step N’ Sort 16-Gallon 3-Compartment Stainless Steel Trash and Recycling Bin

What you need to know: If you need to organize your refuse then this triple compartment stainless-steel trash can is what you’ll want.

What you’ll love: Each compartment holds up to 5.33 gallons and included labels make sure you never toss something into the wrong bin.

What you should consider: Some users may be frustrated with the smaller individual compartment sizes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Jordan C. Woika writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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