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Kitchen trash cans have come a long way from the potent-smelling eyesores of the past. In addition to your basic plastic bins, there are now plenty of sleek and stylish designs on the market—many of which have convenient features you're sure to appreciate.
When buying a kitchen trash can, it’s important to consider the material, capacity, and overall design. You’ll want to choose a model that fits nicely in your kitchen and adequately serves the number of people in your home, while also offering benefits that'll come in handy.
From automatic trash cans that open with a wave of your hand to discreet under-counter options, we’ve rounded up the best bins in a variety of categories. Here, the best kitchen trash cans.
Best Overall: Simplehuman 50-Liter Rectangular Step Trash Can
Dimensions: 12.8 x 19.8 x 25.7 inches | Capacity: 13.2 gallons | Weight: 16.53 pounds | Material: Stainless steel | Available Colors: Silver
Rolls around on wheels
Steel foot pedal
Offered in multiple sizes
This stainless steel trash can earns accolades for its high-quality construction and convenient features. Patented technology allows the lid to close slowly and quietly, and the extra-strong pedal can endure more than 20 steps a day for 20 years.
This trash can measures 12.8 x 19.8 x 25.7 inches and has a 13.2-gallon capacity. It’s compatible with any large kitchen trash bags, but you can purchase customized liners that won’t slip and stay neatly hidden. The removable inner bucket can be lifted out for easy cleaning. The trash can itself has built-in wheels, so you can transport it effortlessly from your kitchen to the curb.
Thanks to an internal hinge, you can place the trash can flush against the wall, saving precious floor space. The fingerprint-proof finish resists smudges and stays looking shiny. Plus, Simplehuman backs this trash can with a 10-year warranty, ensuring years of reliable use.
Best Budget: Rubbermaid Commercial 10 Gallon Wastebasket
Dimensions: 16 x 11 x 20 inches | Capacity: 10 gallons | Weight: 0.1 pounds | Material: Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) | Available Colors: Black, beige, gray, and blue
Sturdy plastic design
Offered in multiple colors
Doesn't include a lid
If you’re looking for a basic kitchen trash can with an affordable price tag, you can’t go wrong with the Rubbermaid Commercial 10 Gallon Wastebasket. It's made of super-resilient plastic that won’t chip, rust, or dent. And although it’s intended for commercial use, it’s perfectly suitable for homes too.
The wastebasket is offered in blue with a recycling symbol, as well as three neutral colors—black, beige, and gray. At less than a pound, this trash can is easy to lift and empty out. Plus, at 16 x 11 x 20 inches, it’s small enough to fit under most sinks and desks. It's worth noting, however, that it doesn't include a lid, so it won’t conceal the contents of your trash or fully contain odors.
Best Splurge: Simplehuman Rectangular Voice and Motion Sensor Automatic Kitchen Trash Can
Dimensions: 18.5 x 13 x 24.8 inches | Capacity: 15.3 gallons | Weight: Not listed | Material: Brushed Stainless Steel | Available Colors: Stainless steel
Replacement liners can be stored onboard
Offered in two styles
Offered in one size
If you're looking for an investment piece, this Simplehuman design is a great place to start. The high-tech design features both voice and motion control, a welcomed feature you'll appreciate having in your home.
The lid can be opened by waving your hand or saying "open can", though it can also be operated manually as well. The motor, which runs at a whisper-quiet 25 decibels, is powered by an included plug-in adapter or batteries. The invisible silver-ion coating is resistant to fingerprints, so it'll stay in great shape. And, like most Simplehuman products, this high-tech trash can is backed by a five-year warranty.
Best for Pet Owners: Simplehuman Semi-Round Step Trash Can
Dimensions: 14.4 x 18.7 x 26.2 inches | Capacity: 13 gallons | Weight: 7 pounds | Material: Plastic | Available Colors: Grey, black, mocha, stone
Lid can be locked
Bumper protects wall surfaces
Offered in one size
If you need to keep curious pets out of the garbage, this step trash can from Simplehuman is your best bet. It has a locking lid that prevents cats and dogs from rifling through the trash and making a mess. Plus, patented technology ensures that the lid closes silently every time.
No matter what mess you're cleaning up, the lid will stay open as long as you need it to. Plus, it features a bumper that prevents it from hitting the wall, so you won't have to worry about any scratches or dents occurring.
With a semi-round design, this Simplehuman trash can will fit almost anywhere in your kitchen. It’s available in five neutral colors that will match most decor. Backed by a five-year warranty, it will stand up to a busy household with pets.
Best Touchless: iTouchless 13-Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can
Dimensions: 12.75 x 10.75 x 27.88 inches | Capacity: 13 gallons | Weight: 8 pounds | Material: Stainless steel | Available Colors: Black/stainless steel
Carbon filter minimizes odors
Extra-long battery life
Offered in a variety of shapes
Filters and AC adapter are an additional cost
The 13-gallon iTouchless Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can is equipped with a motion sensor that allows for convenient, touch-free operation. The lid opens automatically if you're within six inches, and closes when you walk away. However, you can also set it to remain open when needed.
One of the best parts about the trash can is the replaceable activated carbon filter, which will effectively eliminate odors. This trash can includes one filter, but it's worth noting it should be changed every three months for optimal performance.
Unlike other trash cans, this style runs on four D batteries. According to the manufacturer, it has three times the battery life of other sensor cans, so you will likely have to replace the battery every one to two years. If you prefer to charge it in a wall outlet, however, you can purchase an AC adapter seperately.
Best Swing-Top: Umbra Grand Swing Top 10 Gallon Kitchen Trash Can
Dimensions: 13.39 x 13.39 x 25.2 inches | Capacity: 10 gallons | Weight: 3.5 pounds | Material: Polypropylene | Available Colors: Black
Easy to clean
Gently swings open and closed
Offered in one color
If you're looking for a classic swing-top design, the Umbra Grand is a great pick. This 10-gallon trash can features a lid that swings open and closes smoothly, making it easy to dispose of and conceal any trash around your home.
Measuring 26 inches tall with a 13-inch diameter, the Umbra Grand has a sleek, unobtrusive design that should blend nicely in a kitchen, office, or any other space you place it in. Plus, the lightweight design is made of polypropylene, a durable material that's easy to clean—all you have to do is wipe it with a damp cloth.
Best Large: GLAD Extra Capacity Stainless Steel Step Trash Can
Dimensions: 16 x 16 x 29 inches | Capacity: 20 gallons | Weight: 17.76 pounds | Material: Stainless steel | Available Colors: Pewter, stainless
Built-in odor protection
Rear bag compartment
Interior rings to secure trash bag
Offered in three sizes
If you need a large receptacle, the Glad Stainless Steel Step Trash Can is a solid option. The 20-gallon trash can has built-in Clorox protection that inhibits odor-causing bacteria, a must-have feature for large households.
The trash can is offered in either pewter or stainless finish. Despite its large size, it has a sleek look that'll look great in any kitchen. And, unlike other options out there, the bin features a rear compartment where you can store conveniently store extra trash bags as well.
The appearance of the trash can is protected thanks to a fingerprint-resistant finish that'll keep it in great shape. Interior rings will secure the bag in place as well, so you won't have to worry about it falling off the sides. Plus, a soft close lid ensures it has a controlled, quiet closure with each use—a welcomed addition in any home.
Best Undercounter: Simplehuman 8 Gallon Under Counter Kitchen Cabinet Pull-Out Trash Can
Dimensions: 20 x 19 x 10 inches | Capacity: 8 gallons | Weight: 9.9 pounds | Material: Plastic | Available Colors: Black
Simple to install
Durable steel frame
Steel handle for easy lifting
Track is pre-assembled
If you want to free up space in a tight kitchen, consider this under-counter version from Simplehuman. The beauty of this in-cabinet model is that it stays tucked out of the way, so you won't have to sacrifice any floor space.
The one-piece track is pre-assembled, making it easy to install. Once it's set up, this bin glides smoothly on full-extension ball-bearing tracks, allowing easy access to the trash compartment. It's worth noting, however, the 8-gallon canister is smaller than a standard kitchen trash can, so it’s best suited for smaller households.
Encased in an all-steel frame, this high-quality trash can stand up to plenty of wear and tear. Thanks to a strong, integrated steel handle, you can easily lift and empty the bin. Like most Simplehuman products, it’s also backed with a five-year warranty that'll protect your purchase.
Best Dual: Step N' Sort 16-Gallon 2-Compartment Trash and Recycling Bin
Dimensions: 24 x 15 x 28 inches | Capacity: 16 gallons | Weight: 16.96 pounds | Material: Plastic, metal | Available Colors: Silver
Separates trash and recycling
Removable inner bins for easy cleaning
Includes sticker pad for labeling
For a design that makes it easy to separate garbage and recyclables, consider Step N' Sort 2-Compartment Trash and Recycling Bin. This 16-gallon waste-management system features a durable steel frame and two removable inner bins that are easy to empty.
Each bin is equipped with its own heavy-duty step pedal for hands-free opening. The rectangle design features a convenient carry handle that makes it easy to transport the bin. Plus, it even comes with a colored sticker pad so you can label the bins however you see fit.
Best Butterfly: HomeLabs 13 Gallon Automatic Trash Can
Dimensions: 16.2 x 10.3 x 22.5 inches | Capacity: 13 gallons | Weight: 9.26 pounds | Material: Brushed stainless steel | Available Colors: Silver
Easy to clean
Retainer ring for easy garbage disposal
Includes AC power adapter
Batteries not included
For a butterfly-style trash can, consider HomeLabs' Automatic Trash Can. The 13-gallon design automatically opens when motion is detected within six inches, making it easy to throw trash out without getting your hands dirty.
Constructed of stainless steel, the trash can is durable, hygienic, and easy to clean. Equipped with split doors rather than a rising lid, this bin provides better clearance under countertops. The 90-degree sensor ball can be adjusted, however, allowing you to open the lids from the top or side. Plus, it features an interior retainer ring that keeps trash bags securely in place and allows for easy removal.
The top lid features a battery holder, power jack, and power switch. The high-tech trash can be powered by an included plug-in adapter but you can also use batteries—those will have to be purchased separetly.
Best for Composting: Bamboozle Food Compost Bin
Dimensions: 8 x 6.25 x 9 inches | Capacity: Not listed | Weight: 2.5 pounds | Material: Bamboo fiber, melamine | Available Colors: Natural, graphite, terracotta
Carbon filter eliminates odors
Replacement filter are an additional cost
For a discreet yet stylish solution for storing compostable food scraps, you can't go wrong with the Bamboozle Kitchen Compost Bin. The budget-friendly bin is offered in a range of colors and is sure to sit pretty on any countertop.
The slim bamboo handle allows you to easily carry it to your yard or garden. Once it's full, you'll appreciate the carbon filter in the lid that'll keep odors at bay. The composter is dishwasher safe as well, making it easy to clean.
It's recommended that the filter be replaced every 60-90 days. The composter includes one filter, but keep in mind you'll have to purchase individual replacements separately.
The Simplehuman 50 Liter Rectangular Step Trash Can (view at Amazon) earns the top spot thanks to its sleek, durable design and handy features. If affordability is your top priority, you can’t go wrong with the Rubbermaid Commercial 10 Gallon Wastebasket (view at Amazon). This basic plastic bin is lightweight, sturdy, and easy to empty.
What to Look for in a Kitchen Trash Can
Trash cans are available in many different sizes to suit your space. Generally, a kitchen bin is somewhere between 12 and 16 gallons. 13-gallon trash bins are the most popular option on the market, and they’re compatible with most standard size trash bags.
When it comes to dimensions, however, all receptacles are not the same. Some have a wide, rectangular shape while others are tall and round. Before buying a kitchen trash can, take measurements of your space to make sure it’s a good fit.
Though trash cans come in a variety of materials, plastic and stainless steel are the most common. Plastic styles tend to be less expensive, easy to clean, and lightweight—important factors to consider when choosing one for your home.
Stainless steel designs may have a more stylish look and can have more high-tech qualities, like motion-activation. Although they're more prone to showing fingerprints and smudges, many will have a special finish that prevents them from showing much or at all.
Butterfly lids, motion sensors, step cans, and swing tops are just a few of the many styles of kitchen trash cans on the market. Before you choose, it's worth considering each of their benefits, your lifestyle, and the size of your space.
Dual bins make it easy to dispose of trash and recyclables while a voice-activated option is great for a busy household. A step-pedal is a game-changer for cleaning up after meals while a simple plastic pick is perfect for an at-home office. Regardless, there are tons of options out there to suit your space.
What size trash can is suitable for a kitchen?
A 7 to 10 gallon-sized trash can should be sufficient for a single or two-person household. A family of three or four will likely need something larger–in the 12 to 16 gallon range–depending on how often you intend to take the trash out. If you have more than four people in your home, it’s probably best to use a 20 to 30 gallon-sized bin as your main receptacle.
Where should you put a trash can in your kitchen?
The right trash should be appropriately sized for your room. You don’t want a bulky bin that gets in the way, especially if you have a snug kitchen. A trash can that goes under the sink is a great way to save space.
How do you clean a kitchen trash can?
Most trash cans can be cleaned using warm, soapy water. The easiest way to thoroughly clean a bin is to rinse it with a garden hose. Or, you could give it a scrub in the bathtub or shower instead. To eliminate grime and germs, spray down the inside and outside of the bin with a disinfectant spray or all-purpose cleaner. To help eliminate odors, you can sprinkle a little baking soda at the bottom of the bin before putting the bag in.
How do you hide a trash can in a kitchen?
If you have extra cabinet space in your kitchen, consider a pull-out trash can that remains hidden when it’s not in use. “Instead of a metal bin, opt for a decorative option – like a woven basket – that seamlessly blends into the existing room decor," says Dayna Isom Johnson, Etsy trend expert.
A trash can cover is another great option because it “instantly turns a traditional bin into a functional and beautiful piece of decor,” says Johnson.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Sage McHugh, a home and lifestyle writer who has been contributing to The Spruce since 2019. To select the best kitchen trash cans, she considered dozens of products, carefully evaluating their cleaning abilities. Sage consulted hundreds of customer reviews, as well as write-ups from third-party websites. For expert insight on incorporating trash cans into kitchen design schemes, she consulted with Danya Isom Johnson, Etsy's trend expert.