Best Can Crushers

Updated December 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

25 Models Considered
6 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
127 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best can crushers

Last Updated December 2019

Recycling is gradually becoming a habit for many in our country. Recent studies have shown that we recycle about 34% of our total waste, up from a mere 6% half a century ago. Still, there’s a 15% difference between the amount of waste we could recycle and the amount of waste we do recycle. Aluminum drink cans make up much of that gap – only half of the 2.7 million tons we discard each year gets recycled.

Many people cite inconvenience as the main reason they don’t recycle. Once the bin fills up, no one wants to stop and make the trip to empty it when the garbage can is just a few feet away. A can crusher can help make recycling more convenient. These tools feature a lever or handle that you press to crush your bulky drink can down to a fraction of its former size. This lets you fit more cans in your bin and reduces the number of trips needed to empty it.

Which can crusher best fits your needs? Keep reading to learn more about your options. When you’re done, look at our recommendations for the best can crushers on the market.

Almost 75% of the aluminum produced before 1900 remains in use today.

Key considerations

Can crushers are supposed to make recycling more convenient, so it’s important to buy a tool you’ll actually use. Consider your habits and your living space before you buy a can crusher.

Manual vs. electric

While most can crushers are manual, a few are electric. Most electric can crushers are cost prohibitive for home use. The good news is that most manual models are designed to be easy to use, even for people with joint, grip, or strength issues.

Capacity

Some devices crush a single can at a time while others can quickly crush multiple cans. If you enjoy a soda or energy drink or two throughout the day, you can get away with a single-can model. If you entertain frequently or have a serious soda habit, you might need something more streamlined.

Location

All can crushers need to be stable to do their job. This can either be achieved by mounting it to the wall or by the weight of the machine itself. Heavy floor models don’t require you to drill into your wall, but they do have a larger footprint and take up more room. Check your space, including floors, counters, and walls, when deciding which style to buy.

Construction

As you might guess, most of the best can crushers are made of metal, preferably steel. Many of these rugged crushers can handle several cans at once. However, they might require more force and strength to operate.

A number of can crushers are made of heavy-duty plastic. Most models made of plastic crush one can at a time, so they’re not the best choice for high-volume users. They have their place, though, particularly among customers with arthritis or other joint problems that can make it challenging to push a metal lever.

Can size

Most can crushers are designed for 12-ounce soda cans. But many energy drinks, beers, and teas come in cans that are 16 ounces or larger. If these drinks are staples in your home, check to make sure the can crusher you want to purchase can handle the larger size.

DID YOU KNOW?

Crushing a can reduces its volume by up to 90%.

DID YOU KNOW?

Aluminum doesn’t rust or break down, and its corrosion process only makes it stronger, so it can be reused many, many times.

Can crusher features

The size and construction of your crusher can affect which features are available, so keep this in mind when weighing your priorities.

Can storage

Some can crushers come with built-in storage bins. This keeps stacks of cans from filling up your recycling bin and keeps things looking tidier. It’s a great option if you live in a region where you can redeem recyclables for cash. These bins do take up a lot of space, however.

Other can crushers don’t include a bin, and must be placed over a separate container. Other, smaller units require the can to be removed manually. This is a hassle if you go through a lot of cans, but it might save space if you don’t need room for dozens of crushed cans at a time.

Weatherproof

All can crushers need to offer some water resistance, given that many cans contain drops of beverages or water from rinsing. But some are specifically made for outdoor use. Look for one of these if you plan to keep your can crusher poolside or use it on the patio for a cookout.

Drip guard

Most party guests don’t check their cans for drips before tossing them. Some manufacturers include a drip guard on the can crusher, so that liquids pressed from cans collect in a channel. When your event is over, you simply wipe out the channel. This feature can save you from sticky floors and messy hands.

Handle

While can crushers are designed to minimize the effort needed to crush a can, users still must exert some force to move the lever. An ergonomic handle can reduce any pain and tension in the hand while gripping. Foam-padded handles can also help if you’re particularly prone to hand or joint pain.

Other features

  • Safety stop: If you have young children, look for a can crusher with a safety stop to help prevent pinched fingers.

  • Mount position: Make sure you know whether your crusher mounts vertically or horizontally before buying. A few mount either way for maximum flexibility.

  • Finish: A powder-coated finish improves a can crusher’s looks and makes it more durable outdoors.
EXPERT TIP

A can crusher can pay for itself over time if you live in a region that pays for each can you turn in for recycling.


Staff  | BestReviews

Can crusher prices

Inexpensive: If you want something basic, you can find inexpensive can crushers for less than $20. Tools in this price range usually crush only one can at a time, mount to the wall, and are likely made of plastic.

Mid-range:  Can crushers that cost between $20 and $40 have steel construction, although some pieces might be made of plastic. Most in this bracket are able to crush one can at a time, but they’re sturdier than the cheaper devices. Most of these are wall mounted, too.

Expensive: The highest-quality can crushers cost $50 or more. These crushers are made of steel, and some are able to crush multiple cans at once. The price often depends on the tool’s storage capacity. Some require wall mounting, but many are large and heavy enough to stand on the floor.

Tips

  • Attach a wall-mounted can crusher to the studs. This gives it extra stability.

  • Never use a can crusher on steel food cans. Most are designed exclusively for thin aluminum cans, so trying to crush steel cans might damage your device and void any warranty.

  • Check to see if your can crusher can crush plastic bottles. A number of can crushers are able to handle plastic water bottles – another space hog in the recycling bin. However, plastic shards could get stuck in your machine, so check the manufacturer’s instructions first.

  • Take care of your can crusher. Some crushers might need some minor maintenance from time to time, such as lubrication and bolt tightening.

Other products we considered

If you’re looking for a simple, single-can crusher, this all-steel Basic Industries International Easy Crush Can Crusher really gets the job done. It’s not fancy, but it reliably presses cans down to about one inch. On the other hand, anyone who needs to crush a lot of cans should check out the manual Dial Industries M92 Can Crusher. It comes with everything you need to mount it, and the sturdy plastic cage can hold ten beverage cans ranging from 12 to 16 ounces each.

Everyone loves smashing cans! Can crushers are a fun way to teach kids about recycling.

FAQ

Q. How much bin space do can crushers really save?
A.
A lot. Most 12-ounce aluminum cans measure roughly 5 inches tall and 2.5 inches in diameter. Can crushers reduce their height to about one inch. During an evening of entertaining, a can crusher could save you trips to empty the recycling bin as well as a messy cleanup afterward.

Q. Should I clean out cans before crushing them?
A.
Yes, if possible. Cans that have been rinsed out are less likely to develop nasty odors or attract insects over time. If you’re crushing cans to save space, you’ll be emptying your bin less often, so there’s more time for smells and bugs to show up. A quick rinse is enough, though. Unlike steel food cans, drink cans don’t harbor chunks of vegetables or meat. And don’t stress if one of your guests crushes without rinsing. Cans are often cleaned again at the recycling facility, and any leftover debris burns off when cans are melted down for recycling. Aluminum melts at around 1,220°F, a temperature sticky soda drips can’t survive.

Q. What happens to recycled aluminum cans?
A.
Most recycled cans are used to make new drink cans; in fact, many beverage cans are used, recycled, melted down, and appear back on the shelf as new beverage cans within three months. So when you recycle, you’re helping to keep costs down on your favorite drinks. Additionally, recycled aluminum is used to make bicycles, airplane parts, and facades for buildings.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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