The Best Kitchen Trash Cans (2020 Reviews)

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Trash cans are a necessary part of the kitchen. These bins are in use multiple times during the day, so they need to be practical. Ultimately, throwing away garbage in a kitchen trash can should be painless.

The stuff you throw away in the kitchen trash can be more problematic than what goes in a general trash can too. Kitchen bins can contain half-eaten, out of date food, and smelly packaging. You do need to give some thought to which trash can is best for your home.

The best kitchen trash cans will make replacing bags easy, and some even feature automatic lids so that you won’t get your hands dirty. Everyone has their preferences with trash cans too.

Read on for our guide on the best kitchen trash cans this year. We’ve included what to look for in a trash can, and our top picks of the best ones you can currently buy.

Our Top Picks: Summary

Best Overall: Simple Human 45 Liter Trash Can

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Simple Human

A 12-gallon, aesthetically pleasing bin that gets everything right.

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Why we Picked It

The Simplehuman is our top pick for the best overall trash can. It’s a 12-gallon, aesthetically pleasing bin that gets everything right. The stainless steel finish is infused with particles that prevent microbes from growing on it. The bonus is that the coat protects it from fingerprints and germs, too, keeping it shiny and sharp.

There’s also a durable steel pedal that allows you to open up its lid with ease. The pedal is intended to last at least 150,000 steps or more than 20 steps a day for 20 years. Impressive!

We were particularly impressed with the liner pocket inside the trash can. This pocket in question stores bags and then dispenses them from inside, ensuring you don’t waste any more time than necessary when changing to a new one.

That’s without mentioning the lid that closes as silently as possible, and the liner rim that flips up for on-the-fly use and then down to secure the new bag in place — both excellent additions. It also comes with a 10-Year warranty.

Keep in Mind

The Simplehuman works best with custom bags, so be prepared to spend a little more, and have them on hand.

In a Nutshell

  • Very attractive design
  • 12-gallon capacity
  • Inside liner pocket

Best Budget: Rubbermaid Step-On

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Rubbermaid

A 13-gallon trash can with a dedicated mechanism that allows the lid to stay open.

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Why we Picked It

Are you looking for a budget trash can that still excels where it needs to? Then the Rubbermaid has you covered.

It’s a 13-gallon trash can with a dedicated mechanism that allows the lid to stay open without having to hold the pedal down. What’s more, it offers “LinerLock” technology that holds the bag securely in place to the rim of the trash can. Perhaps the most frustrating thing of all with trash cans in when the bag slips down and into the depths of the can—the LinerLock technology prevents such an event!

Of course, a significant plus of the Rubbermaid is its capacity. At 13 gallons, you won’t need to empty the can continuously, and over time, this will result in the use of fewer bags too. Great for large families.

There’s a design feature that allows the lid to swing in or out of the can, depending on your needs, too.

The Rubbermaid comes with a 1-year limited warranty.

Keep in Mind

Some customers have noted how the lid comes off too quickly at times.

In a Nutshell

  • 13-gallon capacity
  • Excellent value for money
  • LinerLock technology

Best Motion Sensor: hOmeLabs Automatic Trash Can

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hOmeLabs

By using infrared technology, this trash can will open automatically.

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Why we Picked It

If you prefer a techy trash can that you don’t even need to use your hands to open, then look no further than the 13-gallon offering from hOmeLabs.

By using infrared technology, this trash can will open automatically as long as you’re within 6 inches of it, and motion is detected. No hands, no germs. Who wouldn’t want to show off a kitchen trash can that does that?

It’s not only motion-sensing prowess on offer—the hOmeLabs features a stylish and slim stainless steel finish that is almost too elegant for a bin.

On top of that is a butterfly lid with split doors for better clearance under low countertops and a 90° swiveling sensor ball that is adjustable for top or side activation. If you prefer manual operation, there’s an open and close button too. You can power the trash can with an AC adapter (sold separately) or four C batteries.

Keep in Mind

The trash can doesn’t come with a power adapter – you’ll need to purchase one separately.

In a Nutshell

  • 13-gallon capacity
  • Handsome design
  • Motion-sensing capabilities

Best for Trash & Recycling: iTouchless 16 Gallon Trash Can

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iTouchless

We love innovation and novel ideas, and the iTouchless fits the bill.

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Why we Picked It

We love innovation and novel ideas, and the iTouchless fits the bill. It’s an ample 16-gallon trash can with two sides: one for trash and the other for recycling (that’s 8 gallons each).

Forget carefully separating your general waste from your recyclables; the iTouchless makes it more natural than ever. Each side features color-coded and removable inner buckets—with handles—that provide excellent ease of use and a high level of practicality.

The trash can achieves this while looking both sophisticated and smart. It even features a fingerprint-proof and smudge-resistant stainless steel finish that’s effortless to clean and maintain.

An ergonomic pedal that requires little effort to open is part of the package, and we liked the silent close lid that minimizes distractions too.

The iTouchless comes with a full-service manufacturer’s promise including parts.

Keep in Mind

It’s not the cheapest trash can, but it does double duty.

In a Nutshell

  • Dual color-coded buckets
  • Smart design
  • 16-gallon capacity

How We Chose the Best Trash Cans

To help determine our top picks of the best trash cans, we looked at five key areas. We considered everything from the ease of use to the price.

Ease of Use

How easy a product is to use is important—after all, customers want to improve their quality of life, not detract from it. When it comes to kitchen trash cans, we look at both how easy it is to change the bags and the experience of lifting the bags in and out. The best trash cans should make the process as straightforward as possible.

Specifically, we like to see trash cans that have wide openings so the bag can be taken in and out without clashing with the bin. Stay-open lids are essential, so consumers don’t have to contend with a consistently closing lid. The grip of the trash is also crucial, as it needs to be able to hold the bag in place firmly.

Lid Closure

The closure of the trash can’s lid is another area we look at during our decision-making process. A lid should close securely enough to keep flies away, and it shouldn’t be easy for wandering pets to get into either. The trash can should provide a smooth open and close function overall.

The best trash cans will also ensure the closing of the lid is slow and quiet, without a clang. Ideally, users shouldn’t even realize when the lid is closing.

Cleaning 

With cleaning and maintenance, we look for trash cans that can be wiped clean and hosed out with ease. Everyday substances, such as olive oil and coffee, shouldn’t prove to be challenging to clean off a trash can with a simple sponge and water. Customers will need to clean their trash can regularly to keep the smells under control, so the process to do so shouldn’t be more complicated than it needs to be.

Some trash cans come with a fingerprint-proof finish, which helps to prevent smudges from building up—we like to see this.

Price

A kitchen trash can shouldn’t break the bank for a consumer. The best trash cans offer a fine line between features, performance, and price. The ideal trash can will perform strongly in the key areas, but the price should not rise significantly because of this.

Customers are paying for a trash can that will last for a long time. They don’t want to buy a new one every year, so durability factors into the value on offer as well. We like to see trash cans meet their lifespan commitment.

Customer Reviews

Customer reviews allow us to sense if a product is performing how it should. A trash can that advertises a specific feature, like a motion sensor that opens the lid up automatically, should work as intended. Kitchen trash cans should also stand the test of time, and we look to see if customers have mentioned this.

Rest assured, we look at a number of customer reviews before we make our final decisions. From there, we take note of recurring trends, both positive and negative, and conclude.

What to Consider When Choosing a Trash Can

There are many things you need to keep in mind when choosing a trash can. What’s the ideal capacity for you? What about the lid design or the types of bags it uses? Fret not; we’ve covered it all:

Capacity

When it comes to the capacity of the trash can, it’s usually somewhere between 10 to 13 gallons. In fact, 13 gallons is the most common size of bag available to buy. You’ll need to think carefully about how much space you need in the trash can. Do you have a large family? Or can you get by with just 10 gallons of capacity? Generally speaking, 10 gallons would be suitable for two people living together. If there are more people than that in your home, then 13 gallons would be a better bet.

Type of Bags 

The types of bags your trash can uses? Yes, you need to consider that too. Some, for example, take generic bags in standard sizes with little to no fuss. Other trash cans, like the Simplehuman, will work best with that brand’s unique bag. Think about the trash can you want to buy, and be sure you know which bags work best for it before purchasing it.

Another important point to note: it’s better to have bigger bags, rather than those that are too small. For instance, a 13-gallon bag will work quite well within a 10-gallon kitchen trash can. Keep that in mind, and you can’t go far wrong.

Exterior Dimensions 

It’s essential to think about where you’ll keep the trash can. The average trash can is in use every day, so you want to place it in an open position—one that doesn’t get in the way of other things in your kitchen.

You’ll also need to think about how tall the trash can will be, especially with the lid itself being open. It’s easy to place down a trash can and not take the lid into account, meaning it could pop up and hit the nearby wall. What is the overall height of the trash can you desire and have you got space for it? It’s worth thinking about all of these points before buying it.

Lid Design 

Some trash cans don’t come with a lid, but we recommend buying one that does, first and foremost. How the lid opens and shuts is something you need to consider. For example, a foot pedal that opens up the lid will make life much easier, certainly when you realize how much use the trash can will get daily. We think food pedals do the job just fine.

There are other options, though, from one-touch lids to motion-sensing variants that will automatically lift open when you get near to them. At the end of the day, it comes down to preference, so consider what the right lid for you is.

Related Resources

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