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Best Trash Cans

Updated November 2018
Why trust BestReviews?
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.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
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.
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We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

  • 54 Models Considered
  • 7 Hours Researched
  • 1 Experts Interviewed
  • 143 Consumers Consulted
  • Zero products received from manufacturers.

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

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

    Shopping guide for best trash cans

    Last Updated November 2018

    Trash is a fact of life. Garbage piles up after cooking a meal, cleaning the house, and simply living day to day. A good-quality trash can seals in smells, keeps out pests, and makes taking out the trash on garbage day a breeze.

    Keeping garbage contained is essential. But with so many trash cans on the market, it can be surprisingly hard to choose the right bin for your needs. For example, which type of lid is best, and should you invest in stainless steel?

    At BestReviews, we strive to make shopping stress-free. Our detailed guides are the result of thorough research, product testing, expert advice, and user feedback. We never accept free products from manufacturers. So, you can be sure that our recommendations are free from jargon and hype.

    If you’re ready to purchase a trash can, check out the product list above for our five favorites. For everything you should know before you buy – plus our trash can cleaning tips – just keep reading.

    In the kitchen, chances are you want to avoid touching your trash can. A hands-free bin will work best for those who cook on a daily basis.

    Choosing the right trash can

    Weight

    Weight is also important. If you have kids or perpetually hungry pets in the house, a weighted trash can will prevent tip-overs, accidental or otherwise.

    Some trash cans are outfitted with wheels for easy maneuvering.

    Size

    Consider the amount of garbage you throw out on a daily basis. That should give you a starting point when selecting the size of your new trash can. For example, if you opt for a kitchen trash can that’s too small, you’ll be stuck taking out the trash every day.

    Which room of your home requires a new waste receptacle? Kitchen areas require larger bins than bathrooms. That said, available space is a crucial consideration, too. If you have a tiny kitchen, a small, under-the-sink trash can may work better than a sizeable standalone model. For the bathroom, a slim bin might fit best next to the toilet. Need a paper receptacle for your office? Opt for a model that fits under your desk or next to it.

    Some kitchens are equipped with sliding drawers where a trash bin can be placed. Often homeowners choose to put a trash bin under the sink, so it’s hidden from view. Hidden containers need not be pretty but should be well sealed to prevent pest infiltration.

    Standard trash cans are 13 gallons. If you opt for a larger or smaller bin, remember that you’ll need to find non-standard garbage bags to fit.

    Lid

    For food waste, choose a well-sealed trash can to keep in smells and keep out pests. For other rooms in the home, privacy and hygiene are key. In the bathroom, a trash can with a lid will keep feminine hygiene products and runny-nose tissues concealed.

    Trash cans come with a variety of lid types. Let’s take a look at the most popular.

    • Hands-free lid: With a hands-free lid, users step on a foot pedal to open the lid. Trash cans with hands-free lids are ideal for kitchen areas. Hands-free lids mean cooks don’t need to touch the bin and risk bacterial contamination of surfaces.

    • Swing lid: A swing lid keeps waste hidden from view but makes it easy to toss items in the trash. The lid swings open and closed on a center hige. A trash can with a swing lid is a good option for bathrooms.

    • Lift lid: Trash cans with lift lids require you to lift the lid with your hands. Lift lids keep waste out of sight, but they are a poor choice for kitchens since you have to touch the trash can.

    • Sensor lid: Some high-tech trash cans come with sensor lids that open automatically when movement is detected. However, these nifty touchless trash cans require batteries to operate.

    • No lid: Trash cans without lids are best for office spaces or other rooms where waste isn’t likely to smell or attract pests. They are not ideal for food waste.

    If you have pets, look for a trash can with a lid that closes securely, or risk coming home to a garbage-strewn kitchen. If fruit flies are a problem in the summer months, look for a trash can with an airtight lid. A tight seal will also keep smells at bay.

    
material

    Stainless steel trash cans are the easiest to clean, and they don’t absorb bad odors. Plastic is cheaper but stains more readily than metal. Plastic trash cans can pick up foul smells that are tough to get rid of, too. Reserve mesh bins for office spaces where paper is the primary waste product. If you plan on placing your trash can out in the open, a sleek, attractive design is key.

    Recycling

    Some trash cans have separate compartments for garbage and recycling. These models are usually pricier and take up more space than regular trash cans. However, a multi-chambered bin might be worth it if you are required to sort your trash by your municipality.

    DID YOU KNOW?

    Worried about odor? Stainless steel trash cans don’t retain scents. Even if a bag leaks and emits a foul smell, stainless steel models are easy to clean.

    How much should you pay for a trash can?

    Budget-friendly

    For $20 and under, you can find a multitude of trash cans made of plastic or metal with lift, swing, and hands-free lids.

    Garbage bags can leak and break inside your trash can. Choose a model that’s easy to clean to make dealing with any mess less of a headache. Also, use good-quality trash bags for kitchen waste, otherwise you might end up with a mess on your hands and your floor.

    Mid-range

    Trash cans in the $50 to $150 price range have features like sensor lids and are made of stainless steel. Some mid-range models also feature additional compartments for recycling.

    Expensive

    High-end trash cans that cost $150 or more have large capacities and are made of high-quality materials like fingerprint-resistant stainless steel. Pricier models are sometimes designed for use with special trash bags, which add to the overall cost. These trash cans may also have odor-neutralizing features, such as built-in carbon filters.

    EXPERT TIP

    Looking to cut back on the amount of trash you produce? Pair your kitchen trash can with a compost bin.


    Staff  | BestReviews

    Tips for keeping your trash can clean

    • Clean your trash can periodically, such as at the beginning of each season.

    • Kitchen trash cans get dirty quicker, even touch-free models. Dripping food containers, stubborn grease, broken trash bags, and dirty hands all contribute.

    • If the weather is fair, head outside for an easy trash can cleaning. Use your garden hose and disinfectant to rinse and scrub out your dirty bin.

    • If you’re without a hose or it’s snowing outside, wash your trash can in the bathtub or shower.

    • Once your bin is shiny and clean, make sure to wash your bathtub.

    • Before using your trash can again, thoroughly dry out the receptacle.

    Trash cans with sensor lids require batteries, and battery life varies greatly from model to model. Check user reviews for honest feedback regarding battery life and choose accordingly.

    FAQ

    Q. I constantly have to empty my trash can. How can I reduce the amount of waste I produce on a daily basis?

    A. Dumping everything in your trash can is tempting. Consider being a little more cautious when throwing things away. Ask yourself if the trash you’re throwing out can be recycled. One of the most significant sources of trash is food waste. If you want to work on producing less garbage, look into composting.

    Q. Why does my trash can smell bad?

    A. The obvious answer is: trash! But if you’re continually lighting scented candles to mask the odor emanating from your bin, there may be more going on. If garbage sits too long, it will start to rot and smell terrible. Try taking out your garbage more often. Another culprit? You’re dumping liquids into the trash. Bacteria loves moisture. It could also be that you’ve neglected to clean your bin. Wash it once in a while to prevent bad smells. If your trash can still doesn’t smell great, consider buying scented garbage bags that control odor. You can also throw odor-neutralizers like baking soda or coffee grounds in with your waste to help control bad smells.

    Q. Is there anything I should avoid throwing in the trash can?

    A. When in doubt, check your city’s website. Most towns have helpful guidelines that list what should and shouldn’t be thrown away for regular curbside pickup. Keep electronics, batteries, and sharp objects like broken glass and needles out of your regular trash can.

    The team that worked on this review
    • Bob
      Bob
      Writer
    • Devangana
      Devangana
      Web Producer
    • Eliza
      Eliza
      Production Manager
    • Katherine
      Katherine
      Editor
    • Melissa
      Melissa
      Senior Editor
    • Steph
      Steph
      Writer

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