Best Kitchen Garbage Cans: Top 6 Reviews & Buying Guide
homedude is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, We may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more
Most likely a trash can is the last thing you are thinking about when it comes to designing your kitchen. But, for something that is used so much, it’s probably worth taking a closer look at what the options are on the market.
Two of the most important questions that you’ll want to consider are:
- Do you have a large, open kitchen or smaller space such as an apartment?
- What kind of finish will compliment the rest of your kitchen design?
Once you have answered the two questions above, you’re now better prepared to find the perfect kitchen trash can! Let’s dive right in below and check out our favorite options available on the market today. Enjoy!
Top 6 Kitchen Garbage Cans We Love In 2023
1. Best Overall – simplehuman 50 Liter/13.2 Gallon Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can
- Fingerprint-proof – no more smudges
- Built-in wheels for easy movement
- Lid closes slowly and quietly
- Trash can pedal is extra durable
Let’s start the list with one of the all-around best options on the market and a perfect fit for the average kitchen.
Simplehuman is one of the most popular brands on the market that has a huge market share in the trash cans industry for all the good reasons!
The extremely high-rated 13.2 gallons (50 liters) rectangular kitchen trash can is the perfect size for the average family. The rectangular kitchen garbage can is also available in 45 and 18 liters varieties.
The garbage can features a brushed stainless steel finish that withstands corrosion along with a step-on lid mechanism that should last for decades without having to replace the can.
The base of the can is lined with skid-proof rubber to stabilize the can and built-in wheels to allow you to move them around comfortably.
Another impressive feature of this model is lid engineering. In addition to a smooth opening, it has a stay-open feature for convenience during long chores and supports a soft closure.
- Perfect size for most households with sleek and hygienic design
- The no-skid base features built-in wheels for easy portability
- Support soft closure
- A bit pricey
2. Best Touchless Kitchen Garbage Can – iTouchless 13 Gallon Automatic Trash Can
- Battery life lasts extra long (optional AC adapter)
- Advanced odor filter technology
- 25% more capacity compared to similar trash cans
iTouchless is a solid newcomer that is giving the big players in the industry a run for their money! As the name suggests, the company’s business model is to focus on designing touchless trash cans without being too expensive.
Similar to the previous garbage can, this one is also 13 gallons in capacity, which is a perfect size for average-sized kitchens and houses. However, the model is also available in a variety of size options depending on your needs.
The garbage can feature an impressive design with a brushed metallic exterior that resists fingerprints and germs.
The garbage is equipped with advanced sensors that prevent the lid from closing on your hands. It also has indicator lights that will let you know when the garbage can is in stay-on mode or about to close the lid.
Moreover, the can also comes with iTouchless’ Absorb X odor filters compartment and a free filter that you can replace later on for added odor control.
You can power the can by using 4 size D batteries that last quite long or opt for an AC adapter, so you don’t have to worry about replacing the battery.
- Promotes a completely touch-free contact with the can during disposal
- Long battery life and also has the option to be powered by AC adapters
- Features a compartment for odor filters
- Although the lid is pretty responsive, it’s not as wide as the full size of the can
3. Best Budget-Friendly Option – simplehuman Rectangular Slim Plastic Step Can
- Extra-slim design for smaller spaces
- Made from durable plastic (dent-proof!)
- Features a secure slide lock
Advanced options like touchless and step-on garbage cans are excellent options if you’re willing to invest in an upgrade of a garbage can.
However, if you’re looking for a simple and affordable option, a plastic garbage can would help you save money while getting the job done.
One of the best products in such a case is the simplehuman Slim Plastic Step Can. This garbage can is good enough for apartment kitchens, as it’s available in both 10 and 40 liter options.
It features a well-designed swing-top design, which would reduce your physical contact with the garbage can as little as possible.
The can feature a slim rectangular design with a sleek matte black plastic construction. However, you can find it in various colors to match your kitchen.
The only drawback about this garbage can is that it may still leak some odor if the lid isn’t properly shut, especially if you live in a relatively hot and humid area.
- Ideal for buyers on a budget
- Durable construction for a plastic can
- Available in different colors and capacity options
- Slim design, perfect for small spaces like apartments
- Plastic closures may leak odor in hot weather
4. Best Super-size Kitchen Garbage Can – Glad Stainless Steel Step Trash Can
- Extra-large 20 gallon size
- Has a rear compartment for additional bag storage
- Bag rings keep trash bag tucked inside and out of sight
There are plenty of large-sized garbage cans out there. However, a few kitchen garbage cans would balance between the quality and the capacity of the trash can like Glad did in this model.
This one is about 20 gallons large, which minimizes the number of trips outside to put the trash bag in the dumpster.
The super-sized model also comes with a rear compartment to store trash bags conveniently. The trash can is also available in both black and stainless steel finishes to suit the layout of your kitchen.
One of the unique features of this garbage can is that Glad partnered with Clorox to provide the lid with a protective antimicrobial surface that inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria which you won’t have to replace frequently.
- Pretty large capacity
- Comes with Clorox odor protection to keep the kitchen fresh
- Features a rear trash bag compartment
- May require special trash bags for the step-on mechanism to fully shut properly
5. Best Recycling Garbage Can – simplehuman 58 Liter Rectangular Hands-Free Dual Compartment
- Total capacity is 15 gallons between both compartments
- Store up to 20 extra bag liners in the back
- Extra-wide stainless steel pedal
A lot of people nowadays are shifting towards a more environmentally conscious approach when it comes to waste disposal.
In that case, you’ll need a dual compartment garbage can that allows you to separate recyclable wastes from the rest of the trash.
This model from simplehuman is about 15.3 gallons or 58 liters large, allowing you to store enough trash without having to dump them several times per day.
The bin has an elegant design that is also quite durable and available in 5 different options to fit the style of your kitchen.
It even has an option to add a separate compost bin, which is a great way for home growers to improve the quality of their soil naturally.
- Excellent for recycling with an option for a separate compost bin
- Available in various finishes
- Elegant design with durable construction
- The built-in trash bag compartment is bulging from the back
6. Most Compact Garbage Can – mDesign 1.3 Gallon Rectangular Slim Profile Metal Step Trash Can
- Available in many different color and finish options
- Interior liner bucket has handles for easy removal
- Made from stainless steel with strong plastic liner bucket
Lastly, if you live alone or you don’t produce so much waste, you may get away with a relatively small trash can.
The mDesign is a brilliant option for someone with limited space in their kitchen and need a handy option with a slim profile.
I like that the trash can is available in a huge variety of colors and designs, so you can pick the one that matches your kitchen the most.
It features an interior lined bucket that features a handle, allowing you to easily remove the contents of the can and empty it in the dumpster directly.
- Available in a huge variety of colors
- Ideal for small kitchens
- Comes with a liner bucket that is easy to clean and use
- May require you to empty the contents more frequently
What To Look For When Buying A Kitchen Garbage Can
There are tons of kitchen garbage cans out there that work in a variety of ways. To help you pick the best kitchen trash can for your needs, here are some of the most important aspects to consider while buying one:
Material & Durability
Garbage cans are either made of various types of plastic, aluminum, or stainless steel. Each one of these materials has its own set of pros and cons.
For example, plastic is usually the cheapest cans on the market. However, it’s not the most appealing or stylish-looking type. Moreover, plastic is quite flimsy and holds on odor more than others.
On the other hand, metal garbage cans are much sturdier and will better withstand any shocks or accidental kicks. Additionally, they don’t retain bad odor and are much easier to wash and clean.
However, They must be made of corrosion-resistant materials, such as stainless steel or aluminum, and they typically cost more, especially when they’re built with advanced lid mechanisms.
Size & Capacity
There’s a very agreed-upon reason why there should be a huge variety in garbage can sizes: we all have different kitchens with a vast range of layouts and leg space to occupy.
Not only that, but even our littering and waste disposal habits are different and would depend on many aspects, including the number of people in the house.
For that reason, the size of the garbage can must correlate to all these aspects to become an efficient one.
Ideally, the size of the garbage can is measured in terms of volume units, especially gallons and liters.
The average or standard size for a kitchen trash can is about 13 gallons or 50 liters. This size is suitable for households of an average-sized family, which is suitable for most people and will hold up to large soda bottles and milk jugs.
For smaller households and those who live alone with minimal wastes to dispose of per day, you might need a smaller can of about 8 gallons or 30 liters.
Remember to keep the size and leg space of the kitchen in mind while choosing the can’s capacity, especially if you don’t have a specific spot for the garbage can.
Kitchen garbage cans are relatively small and you typically don’t have to move them around much.
However, if you opt for a large can, you’ll have to mind the portability of the can, especially if you prefer to take it outside when it’s time to dump its contents.
Lid Design & Mechanics
Although some garbage cans may come without one, the lid is one of the most important parts of a trash can, especially when we’re speaking about kitchen garbage.
Trash cans have gone through years of design, which has led to a lot of innovations and new creations. Today, we have a huge variety of opening and closure mechanisms with tons of lid designs. Let’s have a quick look at some of the most popular ones of them:
- Lidless: Also known as open-top garbage cans. As the name suggests, these are the ones that don’t come with a lid. They’re by far the most affordable ones. Yet, they’re not the ideal option for a household kitchen.
- Manual Lid: Manual lids are one of the oldest types of lids in garbage cans. They’re quite affordable and get the job done. However, they require you to lift the lid by hand, which is quite unsanitary, especially while running kitchen errands (cooking, washing dishes, etc.)
- Hinge Lids: Also known as swing lids. These were the first modern innovations in the garbage can industry in the last century, in which you rely on the way of the garbage to open the lids or they simply open the door with a single tap instead of full-on handling the lid. Since you do touch the lid, they’re still partially hygienic and partially handsfree. They also have the downside of having a limited efficacy in various other aspects
- Step On: Today, they’re the most common and possibly the best combination between efficiency, hygiene, hands free operation, and price. They work by a pulley mechanism that lifts the lid open as you step on the bottom paddle with your feet, hence the name.
- Touchless: These are the most advanced garbage can options to date, although they’re also the most expensive ones. Touchless garbage cans can be opened through various specific mechanisms, such as motion sensors, voice activated, button activated, and more.
Lid Opening Capacity
Another lid-related aspect that you should keep in mind while choosing a garbage can is the lid opening capacity.
In other words, how wide the lid can open when compared to how wide the garbage can is from the inside.
Hinge lids are the most problematic ones in this aspect while almost all other lid types will take the full width of the can.
Of course, this depends on the typical wastes that you throw into the trash. However, at a certain point, you’ll need to remove the lid in order to dispose of a large waste item, so you should keep that in mind.
Kitchen garbage cans are built to help you get rid of wastes on spot without having to worry about them. However, depending on what you were tossing into the trash, garbage cans can be quite smelly.
A great quality of a premium garbage can is to fully suppress and contain the smell inside the can and prevent it from tainting the kitchen’s air.
Of course, advanced garbage cans with rubber-padded lids will do an excellent job at containing the smell while lidless and hinge garbage cans might leak some odor.
However, some trash cans might solve the leaking odor problem by using odor filters or lining the lid with activated charcoal that absorbs the smell.
The choice here depends on the frequency of taking the trash out, your tolerance to odors, budget, and personal preferences.
Hygiene & Ease of Cleaning
The majority of people line the garbage cans with trash bags to avoid staining them and having to clean them up daily.
However, It’s recommended that you clean and disinfect the garbage can every time you’re doing a deep clean because studies show that there are loads of bacteria that hang on to the can no matter how careful you’re while removing the trash.
These include bacteria like Salmonella, Listeria, E. Coli, and other nasty stuff that you don’t want near your food and beverages.
Make sure that the can is easily cleaned both from the inside and the outside and won’t be corroded by disinfectants.
Lastly, it goes without saying that the more advanced and hands-free the garbage can, the more likely it’s going to cost you.
However, that doesn’t mean that a simple garbage container with a proper lid won’t get the job done.
Whether you’re upgrading the garbage can or getting a new one for a kitchen renovation project, you shouldn’t splurge on a garbage can unless you’ve got all other essentials within your proposed budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
This depends on the material used to manufacture the trash can and its lid mechanism. Ideally, a quality product with a step-on design is built so that it withstands up to 150,000 steps in its life.
This means that it can withstand up to 20 steps a day for over 20 years, according to simplehuman, a leading garbage can manufacturer.
Some people take out the trash only when the can is filled up to its advised level while others would simply dispose of the trash every night after using the kitchen for dinner.
The climate can also affect the spread of odor and germs, as a colder climate suppresses the odor better.
So, on average, you should take out the trash about 5 times a week in warmer months and about 3 to 4 times a week in winter.
You should clean the garbage can at least twice a year to avoid accumulating germs and bacteria. But ideally, I’d recommend that you do it once a month for optimum hygiene preservation.
There are three main types of trash bags that you can use in garbage cans, which are standard trash bags (usually black), recyclable bags (usually blue), and compost ones (usually green).
All of them are efficient at holding on to the contents of the bag with various puncture resistance scores.
Standard trash bags are non-recyclable but they’re of high puncture resistance while others are recyclable or even biodegradable.
The choice here depends on your personal preferences as well as the kind of waste you dispose of.
As previously mentioned, cleaning the trash can is extremely essential to keep things healthy around your kitchen.
Ideally, this should include a lot of running water and hosing, so make sure that you transfer your kitchen garbage can to the bathroom or outside for easier cleaning.
1) Start by removing all the contents of the can as well as the trash bags
2) Fill a sprayer with some mild dish soap and warm water (1:10), then spray the entire can inside and out until it’s completely soaked
3) Using a mild brush, make sure that you scrub away any stubborn stains in the corners inside the can
4) When all gunk and stains are removed, rinse with clean water or use a garden hose to wash it off, then let it air dry
5) Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda into the inside and let it sit for 10 minutes to fully deodorize the can, then wipe it down with a clean cloth
6) Apply a diluted disinfectant using a sprayer and let it sit for another 5 more minutes
7) Repeat any step of the previous if necessary, then leave the can to dry one more time before putting it back together
That concludes the end of today’s guide about the best kitchen garbage cans that you can find on the market and how to pick the ideal one for your needs.
As you can see, there are plenty of great options out there. However, the simplehuman Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can is my overall top recommendation for a kitchen garbage can.
In addition to the sleek design and the suitable size, it’s built to last for a very long time without corrosion or dents.
However, if you’re looking for a touchless alternative that maximizes hygiene, you should go for the iTouchless 13 Gallon Automatic Trash Can. This motion-activated garbage can also come with an odor-absorbing filter for unmatched odor suppression.