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The 5 Best Trash Cans (2022 Review)

Owning a high-quality trash can help you keep your home clean and fresh. In this review, the This Old House Reviews team outlines the five best trash cans on Amazon and reveals our experience using each product during our in-depth testing process. The products listed in this article are available at various home improvement stores and online retailers like Amazon.

Trash can Adobe

Trash cans help you dispose of garbage in your home while masking the smell of spoiled food and other trash. To help you find the right trash can for your home and keep your home clean, the This Old House Reviews team tested five of the best trash cans on Amazon and scored their performance based on a series of tests. Here are our top picks and findings on how each trash can performed during testing.

Best Overall: Simplehuman Kitchen Trash Can

This 13-gallon trash can has a semi-round shape and flat rear for easy placement in your room. This model also comes with a strong steel pedal and a silent-close lid for easy operation. Additionally, this trash can features a slide lock to help you keep pets and children from accessing its contents.

Key Features

  • Has a 13-gallon capacity
  • Protected by a five-year limited warranty
  • Weighs seven pounds
  • Built with heavy-duty plastic

What Customers Are Saying

This trash can received an average customer rating of 4.7 stars out of 5 from over 18,000 customer reviews, which is above the average customer rating of 4.5 stars across all products in this review. Along with its above-average rating, 94% of customers rated this product 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers giving the product 3 stars or less.

Many customers praised the trash can’s sturdy lid, which some reviewers stated was inaccessible to their curious and stubborn dogs. Other satisfied customers said that the trash can was an affordable alternative to more expensive stainless-steel models. Negative reviews centered around the trash can’s lid, which many said was difficult to install.

Our Experience

This Simplehuman trash can excelled in every one of our testing categories. The product comes with a pedal-activated lid that quickly opened during the testing process. This trash can also cushioned the fall of its lid, minimizing the amount of noise heard during use. One of the most unique aspects of this trash can is its pet-lock lid, which secured the lid to its body during each of our lid security tests.

During use, there was some difficulty opening and closing the pet-lock switch, which was built into the lid. Additionally, the plastic exterior of the trash can was less decorative than other top-rated models we tested.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Lid opening—effort 4.5/5
Lid opening—speed 5/5
Trash bag fit 4.5/5
Lid security 5/5
Durability 5/5
Overall score 4.8/5

Most Compact: AmazonBasics Soft-Close Trash Can

This compact 10.5-gallon trash can comes in a narrow and wide model to fit the layout of your room. This model features a soft-close lid and has a stainless-steel construction that resists smudges and fingerprints. Additionally, it comes with a removable plastic liner for easy trash bag disposal.

Key Features

  • Has a 10.5-gallon capacity
  • Weighs 11.7 pounds
  • Built with smudge-resistant stainless steel
  • Available in a narrow and wide model

What Customers Are Saying

This trash can received an average customer rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 10,000 customer reviews, which falls in line with the average customer rating of 4.5 stars across all reviewed trash cans. Despite its average customer rating, 88% of customers rated this product 4 stars or more, with just 4% of customers giving it 1 star.

Satisfied customers praised the stainless-steel trash can for being easy to clean and fitting in with other stainless-steel appliances. Dissatisfied customers complained about the durability of the trash can, with some customers expressing frustration over their model denting after limited use.

Our Experience

This compact trash can scored well during our testing process, demonstrating its ability to provide homeowners with a durable and decorative wastebasket. The model’s lid flew open with ease once the push-activated pedal was pressed. Additionally, this trash can’s small frame easily gripped a 13-gallon trash bag. However, the liner didn’t completely surround the trash bag, so some of its plastic material was exposed underneath the lid.

Like most trash cans in this review, this model was unable to secure its lid during our lid security test, losing it after every tip-over. Additionally, this model arrived with an overbearing and pungent smell.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Lid opening—effort 4.5/5
Lid opening—speed 5/5
Trash bag fit 4.5/5
Lid security 4.5/5
Durability 5/5
Overall score 4.7/5

Best Value: Rubbermaid Step-On Lid Trash Can

This trash can comes with a thick, durable rim and an easy-to-use step pedal for simple hands-free waste disposal. The trash can weighs just 4.8 pounds and has a round, plastic design that’s easy to clean. Additionally, this model comes with trash bag retainer arms that secure the bag to its frame to prevent slipping.

Key Features

  • Has a 13-gallon capacity
  • Protected by a one-year limited warranty
  • Weighs 4.8 pounds
  • Built with heavy-duty plastic

What Customers Are Saying

This Rubbermaid trash can received an average rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 from over 19,000 customer reviews, which is slightly below the average customer rating of 4.5 across all tested trash cans. Despite this product’s lower-than-average rating, 86% of customers rated it 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers giving it 1 star.

Satisfied customers praised the product’s lift-up rim that locked the trash bag in place. Other satisfied customers mentioned that the trash can was easy to use and clean. Negative reviews mentioned an unstable lid, with many customers claiming it fell off easily.

Our Experience

This trash can was average compared to the other trash cans we tested but still proved to be a durable and lightweight model. This trash can’s unique LinerLock arms tightly gripped its trash bag and led it to place first for trash bag fit. Along with its tight-gripping liner, this trash can proved to be as durable as other high-quality models, showing no signs of scarring or scratching during testing.

Although the trash can came with a fast-opening lid, the included pedal was difficult to push and made opening the lid more strenuous than the other tested models. Additionally, the trash can’s lightweight frame moved with each pedal push, making it hard for it to stay in one place.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Lid opening—effort 4/5
Lid opening—speed 5/5
Trash bag fit 5/5
Lid security 4.5/5
Durability 5/5
Overall score 4.7/5

Best Design: iTouchless SoftStep Trash Can

This hands-free trash can comes with a pedal-open lid and is built with durable and stylish stainless steel. To soften the impact of its easy-to-open lid, this trash can has a built-in air damper that slows the lid down for a gentle close. Additionally, this model comes with a filter that prevents odors and absorbs and neutralizes the smell of your garbage.

Key Features

  • Has a 13-gallon capacity
  • Protected by a two-year manufacturer’s promise
  • Weighs 13.2 pounds
  • Built with fingerprint-proof stainless steel

What Customers Are Saying

This product received an average customer rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 18,000 customer reviews, which is in line with the average customer rating of 4.5 stars across all tested trash cans. At the time of this review, 88% of customers rated this product 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers giving the product 1 star.

Many positive reviews mentioned the trash can’s stainless-steel exterior, with many customers explaining that it matched or complemented their kitchen decor. Other satisfied customers praised the product’s sturdy and easy-to-use foot pedal. Negative reviews mentioned that the plastic part that keeps the trash can’s lid from slamming shut broke after limited use.

Our Experience

This high-quality trash can had the most decorative exterior compared to the other trash cans we tested and tied for second in every category except durability. It has an easy-to-open lid that quickly opens to its high-capacity interior. Additionally, this model secured its installed trash bag throughout the testing process.

While this trash can performed well in each category, it fell short in keeping its lid closed during the lid security test. Additionally, the trash can’s heavy design made it difficult to move.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Lid opening—effort 4.5/5
Lid opening—speed 5/5
Trash bag fit 4.5/5
Lid security 4.5/5
Durability 4.5/5
Overall score 4.6/5

Best No-Touch: NINESTARS Automatic Touchless Trash Can

This unique trash can has a built-in motion sensor that allows users to access its contents without touching the frame. This model is designed with durable stainless steel and has a non-skid base for added stability. Additionally, the trash can has a quiet open-and-close lid for near noiseless operation.

Key Features

  • Has a 21.1-gallon capacity
  • Protected by a one-year limited warranty
  • Weighs 10.3 pounds
  • Built with brushed stainless steel

What Customers Are Saying

This trash can received an average rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 from over 3,500 customer reviews, which is in line with the average customer rating of 4.5 across all products in this review. Eighty-seven percent of customers rated this product 4 stars or more, with just 5% of customers giving it 1 star.

Many customers praised the trash can’s motion-sensor design, which some reviewers said was convenient and more sanitary than other models. Dissatisfied customers expressed frustration over the battery life of the motion-sensing lid.

Our Experience

This high-tech trash can was easy to use and came with a unique wave-to-open lid. While the lid opened with a simple wave, it didn’t open as fast as other top-rated models. Additionally, the required hand wave took about the same amount of effort as pushing the foot pedal on other models.

This model has a stylish and durable stainless-steel exterior, and it secured trash bags with its included ring liner. However, it scored last in the lid security test because of its unstable top lid that fell after each tip-over.

Our Score

Metric Score
Metric Score
Lid opening—effort 4.5/5
Lid opening—speed 4.5/5
Trash bag fit 4.5/5
Lid security 4/5
Durability 5/5
Overall score 4.5/5

Buyer’s Guide

Before purchasing a trash can, it’s important to understand how each model’s design and specifications impact its user experience. Here are five factors to consider before buying a trash can.

Capacity

A trash can’s capacity is typically measured in gallons and indicates the amount of garbage it can hold. Trash can capacities vary by model, though most general-purpose trash cans have a capacity of around 13 gallons. Larger models like the NINESTARS Automatic Touchless Trash Can have over 20-gallon capacities.

While higher-capacity trash cans don’t need to be emptied as frequently as their low-capacity counterparts, these models are larger and require more floor space. Additionally, high-capacity garbage cans typically cost more than low-capacity models.

Material

Trash cans are built with a variety of materials, with the most popular being stainless steel and plastic. Stainless-steel trash cans like the iTouchless SoftStep Trash Can are durable and attractive models that can complement your home’s decor.

While stainless-steel trash cans are long-lasting, they’re typically more expensive than plastic models, which come in a variety of colors. For example, the Simplehuman 13-Gallon Kitchen Trash Can is offered in unique colors, such as black, mocha, and stone. In addition to their affordability, plastic trash cans are better at resisting cosmetic damage caused by water and other liquids.

Opening Mechanism

Most high-quality trash cans have a sealed lid that prevents pets and other unwanted hands from accessing their contents. While most trash cans come with lids, each model’s opening mechanism can differ. For example, the NINESTARS Automatic Touchless Trash Can uses a motion sensor to automatically open its lid for touch-free waste disposal.

Although convenient, automatic trash cans can be more expensive than models that manually open. For example, the affordable Rubbermaid Step-On Lid Trash Can includes a foot pedal for hands-free lid opening.

Sanitation Features

To help combat the smell of their contents, many trash cans have features that protect against invasive smells. For example, the iTouchless SoftStep Trash Can comes with an odor control system that helps absorb and neutralize lingering smells. Other models, including the AmazonBasics Soft-Close Trash Can, come with removable liners for easy washing.

Additional Features

Some trash cans have additional features that help you dispose of your garbage or secure a trash bag. For example, the iTouchless SoftStep Trash Can comes with a stay-open lid that allows you to throw away a large amount of trash at once. Other models like the Rubbermaid Step-On Lid Trash Can feature arms that secure a trash bag to the trash can rim.

Testing Metrics

We tested the trash cans on ease of use, trash bag fit, lid security, and durability.

Ease of Use

When using a trash can, a variety of factors impact how easy it is to use. For example, the effort needed to open the lid and the speed at which the lid opens all factor into a model’s ease of use.

Trash Bag Fit

A trash can’s ability to secure its trash bag is important and prevents constant adjustments and potential spills. Effective trash cans will secure a trash bag even when large food scraps or heavy items are thrown into the container.

Lid Security

A trash can’s lid must stay on to prevent pets and small children from reaching its contents. Quality trash cans will have lids that stay intact through minor bumps and falls.

Durability

Since most trash cans are within eyesight, it’s important that your trash can keeps its appearance through minor wear and tear. Long-lasting trash cans will show minimal structural and cosmetic damage when tipped or dropped.

Testing Process

Ease of Use

To test ease of use, we performed a two-part test that measured the effort needed to open a model’s lid and the lid opening speed. We measured both the lid opening effort and speed by opening each model by its designed method 10 times and measured the lid speed during each open.

Trash Bag Fit

We tested trash bag fit by outfitting each model with its recommended trash bag size. Once each trash bag was inserted, we dumped three scoops of cat litter into each container to see if the bag stayed secure. We repeated this test five times with each trash can.

Lid Security and Durability

To test lid security and durability, we tipped each empty trash can five times, testing each model’s ability to secure its lid and resist scuffs and dents. We conducted the same test while each trash can was filled with three scoops of cat litter.

Scoring

Each metric was scored out of five points, and the final score for each product was an average of the metric scores.

Lid Opening

Each trash can was tested on the amount of effort needed to open its lid and the speed at which the lid opened. Scores for the effort and speed metrics were calculated by comparing each trash can to its competition.

For example, the trash can that was the easiest to open received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two trash cans performed the same, they received the same number of points. This process was repeated for the opening speed of each trash can’s lid, and the trash can with the most controlled opening received full points.

Trash Bag Fit

The trash can that kept a trash bag secured the most during each cat litter dump received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two trash cans performed the same, they received the same number of points.

Lid Security

The trash can that kept its lid on the most during the five empty tip-overs and five full tip-overs received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two trash cans performed the same, they received the same number of points.

Durability

The trash can with the fewest scuffs, dents, and scratches after our lid security test received all 5 possible points, while the second-best received a 0.5-point deduction, the third-best received a 1-point deduction, and so on. If two trash cans performed the same, they received the same number of points.

Frequently Asked Questions

What size should my trash can be?

It depends on the amount of waste you produce and the size of your kitchen. If you have a large kitchen that can accommodate a regular 13-gallon trash can, that may be the best option for optimizing space and managing waste. However, if you don’t produce as much waste, look for a lower-capacity model like the Simplehuman 10-Gallon Step Trash Can.

How often should I clean my trash can?

In general, trash cans should be scrubbed with soap, rinsed down with a hose, and disinfected once every few months to keep the container smelling fresh.

Where should I keep my trash can?

The placement of your trash can will vary depending on several factors, such as its size, model, and design. However, most homeowners place their trash cans in the corner of a room, in a closet, or the space under a countertop.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

Why Trust The This Old House Reviews Team

This Old House has empowered homeowners for more than four decades with top-notch home improvement content in the form of television programs, print media, and digital content on its website and social media platforms. The This Old House Reviews Team focuses on creating in-depth product and service review content to help inform your purchasing decision for just about any item or resource that you might need for your home. The This Old House Reviews Team has written over 1,000 reviews on products in the home space, from cordless drills to kitchen trash cans, lawn mowers, and dining room decorations.

We recommend products in each review using an intensive research process, spending hours combing through the best available models on Amazon. For a product to make our list of top picks, it must hold a solid sales record on Amazon, have consistently positive customer reviews, and offer unique features, among other factors. After narrowing down our list of recommendations, we conduct additional research and sometimes in-person testing to ensure that the products meet our standards. Once we conclude the research phase, we craft a well-rounded, user-friendly article that includes our recommended products and additional information to help homeowners like you make the right purchase.

To share feedback or ask a question about this article, send a note to our Reviews team at reviews@thisoldhousereviews.com.