The Best Kitchen Trash Cans You Can Shop Now
Buying a kitchen trash can may seem like one of the easiest purchases there is. After all, how much thought do you really need to put into getting a receptacle for garbage? Well, if you don’t want your house to smell to the high heavens, and if you don’t want to have to continually empty it, there are a few things you’ll want to consider before clicking ‘Add to Cart’ all willy-nilly. Additionally, it may hide your garbage, but that doesn’t mean your kitchen trash can has to be as unsightly as what’s inside. While the most important thing to look for when shopping for a kitchen trash can is functionality, you don’t have to sacrifice style.
To save you from overthinking the process, we set out to uncover the best kitchen trash cans of 2023. In doing so, we paid close attention to functionality and style, as well as capacity and special features. Ahead, find the best trash can for you and your home’s needs.
The Best Kitchen Trash Cans
- Best Overall: Yamazaki Tower Airtight Rolling Trash Can
- Best Budget-Friendly: Hefty Plastic Touch-Top Trash Can
- Best Splurge: Joseph Joseph Totem Trash and Recycle Bin
- Best Step: simplehuman 55L Rectangular Step Can
- Best Touch-Top: Brabantia Steel Touch-Top Trash Can
- Best Touchless: Mainstays 13.2-Gallon Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can
- Best Hanging: VIGIND Hanging Trash Can
- Best Dual: Organize It All 15.8-Gallon Steel Touchless Kitchen Trash Can
- Best Composter: Vitamix Food Cycler FC-50
What to Consider When Buying a Kitchen Trash Can
At first pass, you might think that buying a kitchen trash can doesn’t require a whole lot of forethought. While it’s true you don’t need to undertake as much research as you do for, say, a mattress, you still shouldn’t just grab the first one you see. Here’s what you should consider when buying a trash can.
Step cans: One of the more common types of trash cans, step cans open by stepping on a foot pedal. Not only are step cans super easy to use (especially when your hands are full or covered in food), but they’re also more hygienic since you don’t actually have to touch anything.
Touch-top cans: Rather than opening with a foot pedal, touch-top cans open by touching the lid or a nearby button. They’re easy to use, but less hygienic.
Touchless cans: When it comes to touchless trash cans, many options open either by waving your hand near a motion sensor or by using voice activation. They’re much less reliable, though, and it’s likely you’ll end up just opening it using another method.
In-cabinet cans: These trash cans go under your sink or slide out of a cabinet, making them invisible most of the time. They’re typically left open, so won’t do much for odor or pest control, but are a great option for smaller spaces.
Rectangular: Rectangular-shaped trash cans benefit from having a wider opening, so they make it easier to throw things away (especially when you’re scraping food off a plate). They fit nicely in most places but can look particularly bulky in smaller kitchens.
Round: Round trash cans have smaller openings and probably aren’t the best for larger households. On the other hand, they fit nicely in corners and are less bulky than rectangular options, so you might prefer them if you live in a small space.
Easy to Clean
Spills and leaks are par for the course when it comes to kitchen trash cans, so you’ll want to search for options that are fairly easy to clean. Many models have removable bins for easy access — and of course, trash cans with darker interiors are best for hiding stains.
What We Look For in a Kitchen Trash Can
We tested a wide range of kitchen trash cans for our list, judging them on the following criteria:
- Opening mechanism: How accessible is the trash can? Is it easy to open?
- Size: How big is the trash can? Can it fit regular liners? Is it an unusual shape?
- Style: How stylish is the trash can? Will it look good in the kitchen? Does the style decrease functionality in any way?
Best Overall: Yamazaki Tower Airtight Rolling Trash Can
At first glance, the Yamazaki Tower Airtight Rolling Trash Can looks like your typical rectangular trash can, but it’s actually a rolling receptacle. Designed with hidden casters, this receptacle can sit off in the corner or be rolled over to wherever you are, all while maintaining its minimalist allure. “This trash can is beyond impressive,” says AT’s executive lifestyle director, Charli. “It’s super sleek and blends in seamlessly with any decor, and it’s compact and small enough to fit under a kitchen sink but also holds a good amount of trash before you need to change the bag.”
Best of all, the airtight lid ensures the can will keep odors in and critters out. “The airtight lid helps me sleep well at night knowing that pests won’t stand a chance getting inside,” Charli admits.
Read our full review of the Yamazaki Tower Airtight Rolling Trash Can.
- 9.45” x 16.14” x 16.73”
- 6.6-gallon capacity
- Available in 2 colors
- Features hidden wheels and an interior metal ring to hold bags
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for a sleek, minimalist trash can that can be tucked away and rolled out when necessary.
Good to Know: This trash can doesn’t come with a hands-free lid mechanism.
Best Budget-Friendly: Hefty Plastic Touch-Top Trash Can
If your main concern is price, look no further than the Hefty Plastic Touch-Top Trash Can. “If you need a cheap and straightforward trash can, this is a great one to use,” says Best List editor Britt. “It’s not the most stylish, but it’s great to use for cookouts, a dorm, or a first apartment. It has a touch-top opening and it traps odors surprisingly well, which earned it a lot of points with me.”
The touch-top lid has a locking mechanism that, when unlatched, pops the lid up. This mechanism ensures that the lid stays closed, which helps trap odors inside and keep bugs out — two very important characteristics of any trash can.
- 15.8” x 12.8” x 23.1”
- 13.3-gallon capacity
- Available in 3 colors
- Features spring-loaded top
Who It’s Best For: Anyone looking for an affordable, spacious trash can.
Good to Know: This can is quite lightweight, which some shoppers find makes it feel flimsy. It will hold up to your trash, though.
Best Splurge: Joseph Joseph Totem Trash and Recycle Bin
Spending over $200 for a trash can may feel superfluous, but this unique stacked stainless steel receptacle is well worth the splurge. We’re longtime fans of Joseph Joseph products, and the brand’s Totem Trash & Recycling Bin might just be their most noteworthy product ever (our sister site The Kitchn even published a comprehensive review of it).
What makes this can so special is its dual design that lets you easily throw out trash and recycle in one streamlined silhouette. It even comes with a removable compost bin that can be stored within the general waste compartment or out on your countertop!
“I love that the trash compartment is at the top because I don’t have to bend to pull the trash out or replace the bag, and the recycling compartment at the bottom rolls so I can remove and empty it easily, too,” Britt says. “The trash can has removable bins so I can leave it in place and only remove the bins to empty them, which I like a lot, too.”
- 15.35” x 14.41” x 32.05”
- 16-gallon capacity
- Stainless steel and plastic
- Available in 3 colors
- Features easy-to-remove buckets, bag hooks, and ventilated carbon filter
- 10-year limited warranty
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for a trash can that doubles as a recycling bin while making the most of vertical space.
Good to Know: It comes with three food waste liners, three custom-fit liners, and one odor filter — though, we found the odor filter to be rather ineffective.
Best Step: simplehuman 55L Rectangular Step Can
I’ve personally had simplehuman trash cans in my home for the past 10 years — they’re simply the best. In addition to being made of sleek stainless steel, they have a hidden compartment to hold trash bags and are designed to not show excessive fingerprints. The stainless steel simplehuman 55L Rectangular Step Can, in particular, is a great choice for larger households, as the wide mouth of the bin is easy to toss any type of trash into.
“It’s hard to go wrong with simplehuman,” Britt adds. “I wouldn’t call this a small trash can, but it is wide, which isn’t a bad thing! It can hold a lot of trash, and I love the slow close feature of the lid that prevents it from slamming. It’s really stylish, durable, spacious, and a really good fit if you’re looking for a high-quality trash can that doesn’t get knocked around easily and won’t fall apart or break down after a few months use.”
- 18.5” x 14.1” x 25.8”
- 14.5-gallon capacity
- Stainless steel
- Available in 3 sizes and 3 colors
- Features hidden bag compartment, under-lid odor pod, and ion-coated stainless steel to reduce the appearance of fingerprints
- 10-year warranty
Who It’s Best For: Large households and those with kids, as the stainless is fingerprint-friendly.
Good to Know: Though any trash bags of the right size will do, simplehuman’s custom-fit liners will give you the best fit with their trash cans.
Best Touch-Top: Brabantia Steel Touch-Top Trash Can
The Brabantia Steel Touch-Top Trash Can has a more compact design despite being a taller trash can. It has a unique tilted touch top that makes it pop open and close softly for convenient and quiet use.
“My trash can has to be visible, so I love this one’s sleek design,” says AT associate social media director Rachel. “It’s a bit wider in diameter than my previous one, but worth it because it fits so much more. I also am a big fan of the grips that hold the bag in place so it doesn’t slip.”
- 15.75” x 15.75” x 27.95”
- 16-gallon capacity
- Available in 3 colors
- Features soft touch open and closing mechanism, protective floor ring
- 10-year warranty
Who It’s Best For: Those looking for a round, touch-top can that fits seamlessly in corners and with just about any decor.
Good to Know: This trash can requires specially sized trash bags, which tend to be more expensive than your typical bag.
Best Touchless: Mainstays 13.2-Gallon Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can
You don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars to add a sleek stainless steel trash can to your home. The Mainstays 13.2-Gallon Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can from Walmart is a great-looking receptacle for a fraction of the price. Best of all, you can lift it open by hand or simply swipe your hand in front of it for a motion-activated open. According to Assistant News & Culture Editor Noella, who had a chance to try it out first-hand, “This trash can looks pretty simple, but the motion sensor works wonders and prevents any smells from escaping into the kitchen.” Low maintenance and keeps your home free of trash odor? Sounds like a win-win.
- 16.40” x 11.30” x 26.40”
- 13-gallon capacity
- Stainless steel
- Available in 4 colors
- Features motion-activated, soft-close lid
Who It’s Best For: Those craving a sleek stainless design for less.
Good to Know: This touch trash can is a tad difficult to open and empty if you have long nails.
Best Hanging: VIGIND Hanging Trash Can
If you need a trash can that stays out of sight, consider an in-cabinet option, such as the VIGIND Hanging Trash Can. “I like this tiny waste bin for two main reasons: its size and its construction,” says Commerce SEO Writer Nic. “The fact that it fits seamlessly beneath my kitchen sink and still leaves room for all my cleaning supplies and canned cat food is a big plus. It never gets in the way or knocks things over, and when I’m not actively using it, it’s easy to forget it’s there — which is exactly what I want out of a food scraps bin.” It’s great for small apartments and small rooms, and best of all, you’re not limited to the kitchen. This handy little trash bin can also be used in the bathroom, home office, bedroom, and more. It’s also free-standing, so you can take it anywhere!
Read our full review of the VIGIND Hanging Trash Can.
- 6.3″ x 10.2″ x 11.6″
- 2.4-gallon capacity
- Features semi-automatic sliding lid, two-way open lid, and scraper
Who It’s Best For: Those who want a small trash can for food scraps; those who want a trash can that can be hidden; those who want a trash can that’s sealed to keep pets out.
Good to Know: You have two hanging options with this trash can. It comes with a cabinet door hanger as well as an adhesive strip to stick it to the wall or the inside of a door.
Looking for an easier way to recycle? Opt for the Organize It All 15.8-Gallon Steel Touchless Trash Can. The side-by-side trash and recycling bin makes it easy to organize your waste, and unlike many other dual bins, this one features individual pedals for each, so you won’t get a whiff of trash when you open it for recycling.
“You won’t win any style points with this trash can, but the practicality and functionality more than make up for it,” says AT shopping director Jada. “I kept this trash can out on my deck since it took up a lot of space in my kitchen, and it’s great as an outdoor trash can. Two months in the sun, rain, and a hail storm, and it looks and operates just fine. The capacity is generous and the sturdy lid stays closed to keep rodents and odor at bay.”
- 23” x 13.5” x 25.5”
- 15.8-gallon capacity
- Stainless steel and plastic
- Features step opening mechanism and removable bins for easy emptying
Who It’s Best For: Those looking to streamline their trash and recycling system.
Good to Know: This is a large trash can and may not be suitable for smaller kitchens.
Best Composter: Vitamix Food Cycler FC-50
Looking to cut back on your trash? Instead of tossing food waste into the garbage, place it in the Vitamix Food Cycler FC-50. While Vitamix is best known for its blenders, this composter bin has earned accolades for its sleek and effective design.
“As a huge fan of my Vitamix blender, I didn’t understand why a brand so well-known for their iconic blenders would get into the composting business, but when I saw the design, it began to make sense,” says AT contributor Kristina. “The countertop appliance dries, then grinds food waste into a powdery substance that you mix into your compost pile or soil. So instead of simply dumping our food scraps outside into the large compost bin, this appliance significantly reduces the volume of the scraps and begins the process of breaking it down into usable compost.”
Jada is a fan of the Vitamix composter, too. “I’m not a recipe developer, but I somehow seem to create just as many food scraps to run the machine every night,” she says.
- 12.6” x 11” x 14.2”
- Approximately 10.5-cup capacity
- Plastic and aluminum
- Features carbon filter lid to reduce odors
- 3-year warranty
Who It’s Best For: Anyone looking to get into composting, especially larger households with more food scraps.
Good to Know: You should wash the removal waste bucket in the dishwasher after each use.
*Honorable Mention: If you love the idea of a composter in your kitchen but aren’t ready to go all in, start with the simplehuman Compost Caddy. “It is very sleek and compact on my counter,” says associate lifestyle editor Sofia, who notes that she’s impressed with how well it traps odor. You can place it on your counter or hook it to the side of your simplehuman trash can for easy food scrap disposal.