Purchasing a trash can today is nothing like in years past. Modern trash cans offer a host of features that can appeal to just about any homeowner’s needs. From premium build quality to automatic lids, smell deduction techniques, and more, this kitchen necessity can be much more complicated to buy than you may have previously considered.

That’s why in this article, we break down our top ten best garbage can picks to make waste disposal efficient and sleek.

Quick Navigation

Top 10 Best Garbage Cans

  • Comes with a built-in liner dispenser to make switching liners a breeze
  • Simple, stainless steel design looks great in almost any home
  • Custom liners make sure there’s no extra plastic in sight
  • Comes with a 10-year warranty

  • Extra-thin design is a great space-saver in small kitchens
  • Durable foot pedal ensures a long-lasting can
  • Wheels make it easy to maneuver around to empty
  • Includes a 5-year warranty

  • Touchless design works great and keeps hands and cans clean
  • Long-lasting battery life means no plugs or hassle
  • Fits common trash bags and comes with an odor filter
  • Comes with a 1-year limited warranty

  • Features two dedicated compartments for trash and recyclables
  • Custom fit liners make for a cleaner overall experience
  • Lots of space reduces times spent emptying the can
  • Includes a 10-year warranty

  • Simple mesh design is perfect for offices and workspaces
  • Highly affordable and can easily be purchased in bulk
  • Perfect for paper or majority-paper waste homes
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty

  • Durable motion sensor ensures hands-free use even in the messiest of situations
  • Non-skid base works great in tile kitchens
  • Easy operation even when the batteries run out
  • Includes a 2-year warranty

  • Smaller recyclable bin makes it easy to keep track of waste disposal
  • Sleek, lofted design fits right in with most kitchens
  • Adjustable non-slip legs can stabilize on almost any flooring
  • Comes with a 10-year warranty

  • Features two compartments for waste and recycling
  • Advanced sensor prevents undesired lid openings and saves on battery life
  • Lid seals in smells to prevent odor contamination
  • Includes a 2-year warranty

  • Colored plastic bins clearly indicate recycling from regular waste
  • Durable bracket system fully extends to prevent stooping over
  • Varied bin sizes better reflect most recycling needs
  • Comes with a 5-year warranty

  • Dedicated basket for extra liners or other storage needs
  • Large, easy-grip handle
  • Can handle waste up to 100 pounds
  • Includes a Limited Lifetime warranty

Simplehuman makes products that work almost effortlessly in any home, and their 12-gallon rectangular trash can seems to be no different. This receptacle is a monolithic, stainless steel can that uses a simple step lid mechanism. The product feels as high-quality as it looks, which is a comforting thought alongside the lengthy 10-year warranty.

While we would have appreciated more options for recyclables, the built-in custom liner dispenser makes it easy to empty. Purchasing the custom liners will cost you slightly more than the standard stuff, but for many, the aesthetic difference alone is worth it. We highly recommend this step trash can for an all-around great option with an unmatched build quality and simplicity in mind. The price might be high, but the quality is certainly there to back it up.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Dispenses new liners when you need them
  • Clean design and long warranty
  • Lid closes silently

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Needs custom liners for some features

If you’re a fan of simplehuman but don’t have the cash or space for their larger models, than this affordable Simplehuman 10.6-gallon slim kitchen trash can option might be right up your alley. This trash can balances a modest capacity with a small footprint that will easily fit into most spaces with room to spare.

Truthfully, we are a little disappointed that this unique and helpful shape doesn’t come in stainless steel. The slide lock and silent lid closure, though, are great features for a can as affordable as this one. Apartment living seems to be included with the design as well, since the included wheels would make it much easier to travel from the front door to the garbage chute. You usually get what you pay for, and while this Simplehuman can isn’t going to win any awards, it certainly meets that metric and even surpasses it.

Pros

  • Unique shape and design for small kitchens
  • Extra-sturdy step pedal
  • Locking lid great for kids and pets
  • Optional custom liners

Cons

  • Build quality is a little low
  • Can be top-heavy when full

Automatic trash cans are often said to be far more expensive than they are worth. This iTouchless Automatic trash can with Odor Control seems to be the exception to the rule.

This model is an affordable can that offers hands-free operation. Using a carbon filter, you can deodorize your trash as it sits, meaning less embarrassment when guests arrive. Plus, the battery life for this product is well over a year, so you won’t need to worry about it dying soon.

 

The all-inclusive can shape and stainless steel is both appealing, although it is worth noting that opening the can manually – and keeping it open – can be a bit of a hassle. Despite a weak warranty and somewhat spotty performance, this automatic trash can provides the hands and feet free experience you’ve been looking for without wreaking havoc on your bank account.

Pros

  • Hands-free operation
  • Universal design
  • Deodorizing capability
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Difficult to operate manually
  • Somewhat weak warranty
  • Occasionally difficult to activate the sensor

Having a dedicated recycling bin is handy, but including your recycling bin alongside your regular trash can is exactly the kind of space-saving design Simplehuman is known for. The Simplehuman dual compartment rectangular trash can is a step can that utilizes two equal-sized compartments to hold your paper, plastic, and other recyclables with the regular waste.

Putting both together and offering a great warranty and extra large container are handy features from Simplehuman, but it seems that all of the extra space required will cost you extra. This is one of the most expensive trash cans on our list by a considerable margin. Overall, we think this trash can works best in modern kitchens and certainly for those who recycle. With a warranty as long as this one, you’ll be sure to appreciate this investment for years to come.

Pros

  • Large recycling compartment
  • Liner dispenser
  • Extra-wide foot pedal
  • Excellent warranty
  • Sleek design

Cons

  • Quite expensive
  • Dispenser requires custom liners

Not everyone is looking for the same, high-cost kitchen trash can. If you just need something small to place in an office or bathroom, then the AmazonBasics mesh wastebasket is perfect. A simple, black mesh can that offers 4.5 gallons of capacity, this receptacle is covered by clear warranty and has to be the best on our list when it comes to cost.

Of course, with no liners intended for use and a horrid design for kitchens, this product has a niche audience. In short, we recommend the AmazonBasics Mesh Wastebasket for your cubicle or home office.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Semi-transparent design blends into almost any room
  • Tapered at the top for more space
  • Perfect for offices and bathrooms

Cons

  • Too small for most kitchen use
  • Design can be distracting when paired with a bag
  • Can’t take much more than paper

The NINESTARS motion sensor trash can DZT-80-4 seems to rival the iTouchless product but offers a bigger focus on sensor efficiency and ease of use. Totalling a large 21 gallons in capacity, this model uses a primarily stainless steel build to blend into your kitchen. The removable bin ring and bucket made for easy waste disposal, and we’re big fans of the sealing lid that makes it easy to throw even the smelliest of foods away without stinking up the rest of your home.

The sensor on this can is also a force to be reckoned with, as you won’t be struggling to open this can even with full or wet hands. We would have appreciated a smaller recyclables bin when the capacity is this large, but otherwise, there is not much to complain about. We recommend the NINESTARS motion sensor trash can for large families who need a similarly-large, hands-free option.

Pros

  • High capacity
  • Efficient hands-free sensor
  • Simple manual operation
  • Complete trash seal

Cons

  • No place for recyclables
  • No carbon filters
  • Batteries need replacing consistently

Single people living in studio apartments or other tight spaces need a trash can that focuses on efficiency and design rather than capacity. When it comes to both metrics, the Brabantia Bo trash can really succeeds. This receptacle is lofted, so fitting a litter box or second bin beneath the main container is a cinch. Underneath the simple touch lid is also a dedicated recycling bin. The smaller size of this bin also makes it better for those who tend to have more waste than recycling.

We found that the capacity is perfect for one or two people, but for families, this can might not be big enough. Likewise, the stylish and unique design comes at a cost that’s a little harder to justify when looking to the size. Still, a great warranty and stable design make it easy for us to recommend this can for singles and apartment dwellers who need every last square inch.

Pros

  • Dedicated recycling bin
  • Excellent warranty
  • Great design
  • Stable build

Cons

  • Need to be touched to open
  • Expensive
  • Small capacity

If you enjoy having a motion-activated trash can but need to keep recyclables separate, then this larger NINESTARS Motion Sensor trash can and recycler may be right for you. This model mirrors the Simplehuman dual compartment can but provides a dedicated motion sensor at half of the cost. The soft closing lid and odor sealing technology really pay off, but much like with their other products, opening the lid manually can be exceedingly difficult.

We have to hand it to the company for offering a version of their hands-free can with recycling, but the low battery life of this unit can be frustrating over time. Still, this capacity and convenience make us recommend this product for larger families that recycle or those who want to keep their recyclables out of sight and out of mind.

Pros

  • Dedicated recycling compartment
  • Smart delay sensor
  • High capacity
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Difficult to operate manually
  • Batteries need replacing consistently

The Simplehuman 9.3-gallon under counter trash can fits underneath your counters to save on space and visual pollution. It uses a solid bracket system and single track to keep a black plastic waste bin and smaller blue plastic recycling bin hidden away. The dedicated handle also keeps you from having to grab the edge of the trash when pulling out the track for access to the bins.

While we understand the plastic, lidless design for under-the-counter waste solutions, we would have appreciated a lower cost to match. Likewise, if you’re not careful in installation, you’ll most likely end up struggling to access the inner bin. Provided you’re aware of the limitations and need a recycling under-counter solution, we can think of few better than this.

Pros

  • Dedicated recycling bin
  • Durable build quality
  • Preassembled track
  • Silent operation

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Tricky installation

Our final garbage can pick is one that’s big on affordability and capacity. The Rev-A-Shelf pull-out trash can offers one modest 8.75-gallon bin that’s held together with a simple steel frame and can be accessed via a removable easy-grip handle. To fully utilize the space, Rev-A-Shelf also includes a basket that can be mounted behind the can. This can be used for extra liners and anything else you could feasibly fit into the available space.

We appreciate the wallet-friendly design that makes it a good option for those who want to save on cost and space. Installing the brackets and tracks can be a bit of a hassle, so be sure to put aside adequate time to make sure everything is perfect. With a 100-pound weight limit and easy operation, we’re comfortable recommending this product to those who just need their trash can out of sight but ready when needed.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Good capacity
  • Excellent handle
  • Durable
  • Great warranty

Cons

  • Difficult installation
  • Somewhat shaky design

Garbage Cans Buyer’s Guide


There are many different cans on our list that range widely in design, category, and cost. If you haven’t thought seriously about your trash can options, we recommend keeping in mind the following considerations before committing to a can.

Recycling Capacity

You’ll have noticed that many of our trash can options include recycling. This isn’t the case for every can on our list, though, and some of the options aren’t large enough for more than a few options. Depending on where you live, recycling may or may not be mandatory. Regardless, recycling is definitely worth considering if there’s a recycling plant near you.

That’s why having a trash can that comes with a dedicated recycling bin can be incredibly helpful. Not only will the recycling bin help motivate you to recycle more of your waste, but if you already recycle, a 2-in-1 trash can will reduce the number of bins and cans in your home.

Size & Build Quality

The optimal size of the garbage can in your home is not always going to be the largest can on the list. Those who live alone aren’t going to generate nearly enough waste to justify keeping larger cans in the home. Likewise, smaller cans will need to be replaced far too often when it comes to larger families.

Generally speaking, smaller cans like the Brabantia Bo or Rev-A-Shelf are going to work better for those who need a dedicated kitchen garbage can that won’t take up too much room. And in the case of the Rev-A-Shelf, you may not be losing square footage at all. You also need to consider the build quality of the can you’ve chosen. Under-counter trash cans can afford to utilize plastic designs because they’re rarely kicked, bumped, or knocked over. This is definitely not the case when it comes to freestanding units.

Stainless steel garbage cans are preferable for their ease of maintenance in cleaning as well as their durability over time. This is especially true with step trash cans, which can take a severe beating on their moving parts over the course of a few years. Finding a trash can that is not only the right size but the right quality for the type of use you plan to put it through will help make sure your can lasts for years to come.

Touchless Options

Touchless trash cans are a bit of a controversial topic to some. While many appreciate touchless trash cans for their ease of use and hands-free design, other feel as if a step trash can accomplishes the same task without resorting to batteries and wires. While it used to be true that touchless trash cans cost a considerable amount more, the reality is that touchless trash cans are relatively affordable, and the decision to pick one or the other often comes down to personal preference.

If you tend to cook with raw materials or have your hands full more often than not, relying on the sensor can be very helpful and far more sanitary. For others, waiting the extra second for the can to open or having to replace the batteries seasonally can offset the novel benefit and force them back to step can options. So long as you don’t mind the maintenance and prefer the design choice, there’s no reason not to go touchless. Regardless of whether you choose step or touchless, you’ll probably not even think about operation a few months down the line. Therefore, we recommend making this only a minor consideration at best.

FAQ

Will my trash can contain odors? Do I need to purchase odor-trapping trash bags?

Some trash cans, like the iTouchless Automatic, come with slots to place odor trapping carbon filters. Using activated carbon, these filters draw odorous particles towards them and reduce the rough smell of overcooked or raw foods.

Others have sealing lids, which close tight enough to prevent the vast majority of smells from escaping the bin. With these cans or with cans that come with places for a filter, you don’t necessarily need to purchase an odor trapping trash bag. However, some prefer odor trapping trash bags to ensure that the smell of their kitchen or can is no different than the rest of the house. And while it’s certainly not a requirement for any of our garbage can picks, it may be worth considering if you can’t stand the stench of your current can.  

Do I need custom fit liners?

Depending upon the trash can, purchasing custom fit liners may be a preferable option. When it comes to cans like the Simplehuman 12-gallon or Simplehuman dual compartment options, custom liners can be easily dispensed and save on time when replacing liners.

For some trash cans, like the Brabantia Bo, bins are a unique size or shape and will need custom liners to truly realize their potential. No garbage can, requires a custom liner. Your local supermarket will often have liners in various sizes to match the majority of trash cans. Experimenting around and finding a commonly-sold liner may be more affordable in the long run than sticking with mail-order liners from the garbage can manufacturer.

How can I keep my trash can lid from slamming shut?

Many cans on our list come with lids that slowly close to prevent that jarring, slamming sound that’s common with older step can options. If you want to convert a current trash can into a silent shutter, then you may need to get creative. Using felt or similar fabrics, you can place pieces alongside the lid and the ring of the bin to ensure that friction and fabric stop the fall of the lid. If you have an older step can model, fiddling with the step pedal itself or simply lifting your foot off of the pedal at a slower pace can do wonders for this minor yet irritating commonality.

Final Thoughts

While we think there’s more than one great garbage can on our list, we think there are a few clear standouts that need to be mentioned. The Simplehuman 12-gallon rectangular trash can uses a simple step pedal design, comes with a custom liner dispenser and is built to last. The size and price balance out to make this the best all-around product on our list, and if you recycle, the Simplehuman dual compartment feature will likewise serve you well.

If you need a more affordable trash can and only need something simple to keep your office clean, then the AmazonBasics mesh wastebasket is your best bet. If you need an affordable can that’s a little larger, then we recommend giving special attention to the Rev-A-Shelf can instead. Finally, for those who prefer a touchless design, the NINESTARS Motion Sensor trash can and recycler is going to give your home an environmentally-friendly bin with the most space and in a design that requires little more than the wave of your hand to operate.

Regardless of which variation you choose, we hope our picks here give you the option to toss out that old unit and start using a trash can that’s capable, sizable, and ready to help your family take charge of waste disposal.