Our top pick is the Simplehuman Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can.
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No matter how much you try to reduce waste, kitchen garbage piles up. If you need a new kitchen trash can, you’ll want to make sure it’s large enough that you don’t have to replace the bag every day yet small enough to suit your space comfortably. In addition to a quality trash can, we recommend having a compost bin to collect food scraps that will eventually turn into rich soil for plants and vegetables.
We found the best kitchen trash cans for every home based on size, lid design, odor control, and style. With a brushed stainless steel finish, a large capacity, and additional thoughtful features, our top pick is the Simplehuman Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can. Read on to find the one that perfectly fits your space and needs.
Pros: This thoughtfully-designed can is large, durable, stylish, and a cinch to clean.
Cons: One of the priciest on this list, it may be more than you want to spend on a trash can.
Simplehuman brings innovation to everyday products, and its trash cans are no exception. This rectangular model earns our top spot for a number of reasons, all relating back to the thoughtfulness of its design. The steel foot pedal is durable, and the lid will stay open for easy access when you’re cleaning out the refrigerator or sweeping the floor. The lid’s hinge is inside the can, so you can push it flush against a wall, and there’s a removable inner bucket that you can take out when it needs a deep clean. And finally, the smudge-proof stainless steel finish makes it the perfect stylish addition to any kitchen.
Price at time of publish: $160
Pros: The motion sensor top makes it easy to use and extra sanitary, while the built-in odor filter eliminates nasty smells.
Cons: If it falls or gets knocked over, the plastic lid will likely come off.
If you want your trash can to open with a wave of your hand, this automatic trash can by iTouchless is the best on the market (you can also set the lid to stay open, if needed). It runs on batteries or an adapter that you can plug in, depending on the placement in your kitchen, and it’s large enough that you won’t need to take out the trash too frequently. There’s even a filter on the inside that absorbs odors to prevent them from taking over your kitchen, while the black and stainless steel design will blend in anywhere.
Price at time of publish: $90
Pros: Features like the soft-close lid and steel foot pedal make this can seem more expensive than it is.
Cons: This is a value pick, but the custom-fit trash bags are not.
Many less-expensive plastic trash cans either don’t have lids or have ones that close as soon as you take your foot off the pedal, but that’s not the case with this value pick from Simplehuman. The steel foot pedal acts as a gentle lever, the lid features silent-close technology, and the slide lock prevents pets or children from getting in. Just be aware that despite being moderately priced, the trash bags designed to fit perfectly in this semi-round can run for $18 for 20 bags (or $61 for 200, which is a good deal but still pricier than the bags you’ll find at the grocery store).
Price at time of publish: $80
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Pros: A combo trash can makes recycling a breeze, and the charcoal finish matches every style kitchen.
Cons: The dual can is super handy, but it does mean you have two smaller cans as opposed to one large one.
If recycling is a priority in your home, a dual trash can will make things much easier — and we love this one from Rubbermaid. First, the two compartments are color-coded and of equal size, so you don’t have to worry about squeezing large bottles or boxes into a small recycling bin. Secondly, the stainless steel foot pedal and slow-close locking lid ensure it opens and closes as you please. What’s more, the charcoal stainless steel finish looks sharp without being as flashy as a shining silver stainless.
Price at time of publish: $190
Pros: This trash and recycling system lets you hide your garbage and is very easy to install.
Cons: It may not fit in every cabinet; plus, you need an empty cabinet to put it in.
Pull-out kitchen trash cans are the best way to keep waste hidden while having a big enough bin for daily scraps. Not only is this pull-out system from Simplehuman perfect for cabinets, but it also features dual compartments for trash and recycling. Plus, it’s easy to install yourself. Simply drill the pre-assembled steel tracks into the bottom of your cabinet, add the bins, and you’re good to go. The frame keeps the compartments neatly in place and has a handle on the front for ease of use.
Price at time of publish: $100
Pros: The tall, timeless design is stylish, and the ring holds your trash bag in place.
Cons: The opening at the top is smaller than others.
If you’re looking for a traditional swing-top trash can, look no further than this one from Umbra. As one of the tallest cans on this list, it’s easy to push the top away and drop your garbage without bending over awkwardly. The ring holds the lid and trash bag in place while also giving the trash can a sleek look. Swing-top models are attractive and great for odor reduction, but it’s important to note that the opening is smaller than other options, which makes it difficult to toss large items.
Price at time of publish: $50
Pros: The ultra-narrow width means it fits almost anywhere, while the large capacity is very functional.
Cons: Since it is so slim, it may be tricky to fit larger items.
Despite being just 10.2 inches wide, making it half the width of our top choice, the capacity of this slim trash can still holds nearly 12 gallons. That means it’s perfect for narrow spaces, like next to the refrigerator or at the end of the island, while also being big enough to function adequately as a kitchen trash can. What’s more, you can remove the inner bin for easy cleaning, plus the stainless steel finish is timeless.
Price at time of publish: $55
Pros: Large, inexpensive, and featuring odor protection, this is the perfect option for big families.
Cons: The lid design is more basic than others, which means it doesn’t always close on its own and can’t sit flush against a wall.
For folks with large families and kitchens, consider this 20-gallon trash can from Glad. Inner rings for hanging a bag mean you won’t have to look at it on the outside. And if you’re worried that a large can means trash will sit for longer and produce more smells, they’ve thought of everything by including Clorox odor protection in the lid. Finally, while the foot pedal does open the lid, it doesn’t have a soft-close feature or lid lock, which could be attributed to the low price point.
Price at time of publish: $56
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We honestly couldn’t find a single fault in the Simplehuman Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can. It’s the perfect size and design for the kitchen while also boasting functional and thoughtful features like an inner lid hinge, a removable bucket, and a smudge-proof stainless steel finish.
When deciding what size of trash can to buy, there are two main points to consider: How much space you have and how much trash you collect on a regular basis. You want a trash can that will fit unobtrusively next to your fridge, in the corner of your kitchen, or in a cabinet without drawing attention or crowding your space. Plus, no one likes taking out the garbage — if your family generates a lot of waste, a larger bin will reduce the number of times you need to do this chore.
All the trash cans on our list are either stainless steel or plastic. Stainless steel is more durable and sleek but heavier and more expensive, while plastic is cheaper and lighter. The factors that are most important to you will help determine the right material for your trash can.
There are many different styles of kitchen trash cans, ranging from simple bins to dual-compartment designs to automatic models. Those with limited space might go for something slim and straightforward, while others with cabinet space might choose one that can separate their trash from recyclable products. If you worry about dirty hands touching the lid, go for a trash can with a foot pedal or automatic lid. A locking lid is a great feature for households with pets or little kids.
Most of the trash cans on this list are between nine and 13 gallons, which are ideal sizes for collecting kitchen garbage on a daily basis. However, the size of trash can that works best for your needs depends entirely on your space and where exactly you plan to put it.
When deciding where to put your kitchen trash, consider a spot that’s both convenient and functional. If you are an avid home cook, you’ll want the trash can within reach so you can keep your workspace tidy as you cook — in these cases, placing the trash can in a lower cabinet or hidden beneath an island overhang is best. If you’re looking to keep the trash can as out-of-the-way as possible, you can tuck it alongside the fridge, in a corner, or at the end of a length of cabinets.
The first step to keeping your kitchen trash can clean is using trash bags that fit the can. This will limit the amount of food and debris that sneaks past the bag and falls to the bottom of the can.
For a deep clean, hose down the inside of the can and spray it with disinfectant. Then use a toilet brush or other long brush to give the can a good scrub followed by a second rinse. You can towel- or air-dry it before returning it to your kitchen.
Kitchen Trash Bag Alyssa Sybertz is an experienced food and cooking writer and recipe developer who covers anything and everything you may find in your kitchen for Food & Wine. For this article, she researched the most stylish and functional kitchen trash cans to fit any and all your needs.