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Expert Shopper Kitchen

10 types of trash cans to consider for your kitchen

While a trash can is a simple household item, it's one you can't live without. Food waste and garbage need a place to go. A quality kitchen trash can contains smells, keeps out pests and makes taking out the trash less of a chore.

And considering how many trash cans are on the market — with different lids, sizes and materials — choosing the best one isn't simple. 

In this article: Simplehuman 12-Gallon Butterfly Lid Kitchen Step Trash Can, iTouchless 13-Gallon Kitchen Automatic Touchless Trash Bin and Rubbermaid 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Metal Step-On Trash Can.

How big is a kitchen trash can? 

A standard-size kitchen trash can holds 13 gallons, but you can find bins with 12- to 16-gallon capacities. If you buy a nonstandard-size can, be sure you have trash bags that'll fit.

Some kitchens come with sliding drawers for a trash can. If this is the case, check the bin's dimensions before buying.

If your space is cramped, consider a small trash can that’ll fit under the sink. 

Kitchen trash can lid choices 

Consider a trash bin with a lid to minimize odors from food waste. If you're going the lidded route, here are your options:

  • Hands-free lids come on step trash cans, which have a foot pedal that opens the lid. You can toss garbage without touching the bin to reduce surface contamination. 
  • Swing-top lids are domed or flat and offer a swinging door. It keeps waste hidden from view while also requiring minimal touching of the can's surface to toss your trash. You may be able to drop heavier waste in without touching the can at all.  
  • Lift lids require that you lift the lid with your hand. The lid may be attached with a hinge or entirely removable. This design is not appropriate for under the sink unless you have ample space above the bin to manually lift the lid.
  • Sensor lids open automatically using a motion sensor. They're completely touchless, making them the most hygienic choice, as well as highly convenient. But they're pricey and require batteries to operate.  

It's worth noting that the least expensive cans are typically lidless and may be better suited for stashing a standard-size bin under the sink or in a cabinet.

What are kitchen trash cans made of?  

Besides lid technology, a trash can's material largely determines its price. Plastic is the cheapest, but can absorb odors that are difficult to remove. Stainless steel kitchen trash cans are popular, easy to clean and don't hold onto odors, but they can be pricey. Some mid-priced trash bins combine metal and plastic, featuring a plastic body and metal lid or vice versa. 

Can I use my trash can for recycling? 

You can use a kitchen trash can for recycling, though in some parts of the country you may need to use a different liner designated for recycling (typically clear or translucent blue). There are also models that feature two chambers in one so you can separate your landfill waste from your recycling. These tend to be pricier and take up more space. 

Best high-end kitchen trash cans

Simplehuman 12-Gallon Butterfly Lid Kitchen Step Trash Can  

This stainless steel bin is not one you'll want to hide away. The attractive and high-performance design operates by a strong foot pedal and a patented butterfly lid. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

iTouchless 13-Gallon Kitchen Automatic Touchless Trash Bin

This high-tech kitchen trash can uses a motion sensor to automatically open and close its lid. It features a filter to remove odors, and its battery lasts 18 months. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Rubbermaid 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Metal Step-On Trash Can 

This step-on style comes in different sizes, including nice-looking designs that can also hold your recycling. The soft-close lid comes with a lock for keeping it open when in use. 

Sold by Amazon 

Best swing-top kitchen trash cans

Simplehuman 14.5-Gallon Swing-Top Garbage Can 

This swing top style can also be used as an open top for large gatherings. The high-quality wastebasket comes with a flat, swinging lid and a 10-year warranty. 

Sold by Amazon

Umbra Venti 16.5-Gallon Swing-Top Kitchen Trash Can

With a 16.5-gallon capacity, this larger trash can is heavy-duty without being an eyesore. The can features a classic dome top and attractive two-tone color options. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Rubbermaid 23-Gallon Untouchable Square Trash Container with Lid

For large households, this heavy-duty garbage bin boasts a 23-gallon capacity. The commercial-grade plastic is utilitarian in design and resistant to cracks. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Best touchless kitchen trash cans

Glad 13-Gallon Stainless Steel Trash Can

For odor protection and motion-sensor operation, this smart can provides all the bells and whistles. It features Clorox odor protection to inhibit the growth of smelly bacteria, and it has a rear bag compartment to store extra liners. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Simplehuman 12-Gallon Semi-Round Automatic Sensor Trash Can 

The semicircular shape of this can is unique and attractive. Its motion sensor technology is a time-saver. It comes with a liner pocket for easy changes. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Best smaller-capacity kitchen trash cans

Umbra Grand 10-Gallon Swing-Top Trash Can

The price is right with this 10-gallon garbage can. The plastic is made from recycled materials, and the can is simple and reliable. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot 

Simplehuman 10.6-Gallon Slim Kitchen Step Trash Can

This space-saving trash can fits into tight spaces. The plastic bin features locking technology to keep contents from spilling out. The lid is pedal-operated and closes silently. 

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot  

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Ana Sanchez writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.

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