The Best Trash Cans for Every Room

Our top pick is the simplehuman Round Step Trash Can

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Whether you're looking for a trash can for your kitchen, bathroom, office, or garage, there is one that's tailor-made for the job. We spent hours researching and testing the top trash cans on the market, evaluating capacity, ease of care and cleaning, and value. 

Our favorite, the simplehuman Round Step Trash Can, has a strong foot petal and a silent close lid and uses plastic liners to prevent sticky spills and smelly messes. 

Here are the best trash cans for every room in your home.

Our Top Picks

Best Kitchen Trash Can: simplehuman Round Step Trash Can

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simplehuman Round Step Trash Can, Stainless Steel, Plastic Lid, 30 L / 8 Gal
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

This sleek, round, stainless steel trash can wins the top prize for kitchen trash cans thanks to its durability and design. The dent-proof plastic lid both keeps bugs out and keeps smells in, plus it won’t show fingerprint smudges if you open the can by hand. But you don’t have to lift it by hand at all—there’s a step pedal that is supposed to last up to 150,000 steps (that’s 20 steps a day for 20 years). When the lid closes, it does so quietly thanks to the shocks that cause it to close gently. Bags stay in place thanks to the oversized rim on the edge that grips them tight. It holds eight gallons but the can itself is lightweight at less than six pounds, which makes it easy to move and clean.

Customers who have this trash can in their homes have been very satisfied with it. Many praise the design, saying it looks great in their kitchens, while others have said that most importantly, they never smell the trash while it’s in there. And thanks to its narrow footprint, one customer said it’s great for even a small kitchen. In terms of negative things, some customers have pointed out that because there’s no inner liner in the can, it’s not ideal for when bags leak. But the majority of those who have bought it say that they would recommend it.

Runner-Up, Best Kitchen Trash Can: Simplehuman Semi-Round Step Trash Can

simplehuman Semi-Round Step Trash Can, Black Plastic, 50 L / 13 Gal
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

If you’d prefer a plastic trash can over stainless steel in your kitchen, this one is a great option. It comes in a variety of colors including black, fuchsia, and blue. It’s also slightly larger than our top pick, holding the traditional 13 gallons. The strong steel pedal means it won’t wear out as easily as other plastic cans with all plastic components. It also has a side lock that can keep kids and pets from getting into the trash.

Customers have been mostly happy with the purchase of this can, with many praising the slow-motion lid that shuts quietly. A few have complained about parts breaking on the trash can such as the pedal, but overall, the majority of people have reported being highly satisfied. 

Best Bathroom Trash Can: simplehuman Mini Round Step Trash Can

simplehuman Mini Round Step Trash Can, Stainless Steel, 4.5 L / 1.2 Gal
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

Need a small trash can for your bathroom? This one from simplehuman is great because of its pleasing appearance and functionality. Made of brushed stainless steel, it features a strong steel pedal and a fingerprint-proof surface. There’s also a removable inner liner that catches leaks and lets you take out the trash easily. Custom-fit plastic bags are available if you’d like to use them.

As a top-selling trash can in its category, the product has received praise from customers who have purchased it. Many have praised its sleek look and the fact that it contains odors when the lid is closed. Some have mentioned that there are issues with the step pedal—one mentioned that it can tip if it’s used while the trash can is on carpet. But overall, users have been satisfied with their purchase. It is also available in a polished stainless steel, white, or bronze finish.

Runner-Up, Best Bathroom Trash Can: Umbra Skinny Trash Can

Umbra Skinny Polypropylene Waste Can, 2 Gallon (7.5L), Silver
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

If you’d rather have a bathroom trash can without a lid, this sleek design is a great option. The oval can is made from durable polypropylene and available in nine different colors including red, mist blue, silver, bronze, and white. It can hold two gallons of trash and has handles for easy carrying.

Those who have purchased this product have been very satisfied with its value and design. In terms of critical feedback, some have said that they’ve had issues with the plastic breaking. But most would agree that it’s a great product and would recommend it to others.

Best Budget Trash Can: Rubbermaid Touch-Top Lid Trash Can

Rubbermaid Touch-Top Lid Trash Can

Courtesy of Amazon

Don’t want to spend a lot on a trash can? There are definitely budget options out there. This one, in particular, is a great deal. Still sturdy and durable, it’s a fraction of the cost of most cans that hold the same amount of refuse (13-gallons, to be exact.) You'll be able to open this with the touch of the hand while the trash bag is hidden with its unique seal making it easier on the eyes.  

The majority of customers were very pleased with their purchase for the price and love how it keeps odors in and pets, children and household pests out. 

Best Office Trash Can: Rolodex Mesh Round Wastebasket

Rolodex Mesh Round Wastebasket, 11-1/2 Diameter x 14-1/4 H, Black (22351)
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

When it comes to an office, you don’t need a trash can that will contain smells or deal with garbage that might leak. This wire mesh trash can looks great in an office environment and can hold up to 4 ½ gallons of waste. As part of the Rolodex mesh line, you can also get matching office accessories such as pencil holders, paper organizers, and laptop holders.

Many who have purchased it have praised its design and efficiency. One even mentioned that it is so nice looking, they didn’t want to line it with a plastic bag. While most people say that it’s durable and sturdy, a few experienced some dents in the product when it arrived. But overall, the majority of users would recommend it to others.

Best High-End Trash Can: NINESTARS Stainless Steel Touchless Trash Can

Nine Stars DZT-80-4 Infrared Touchless Stainless Steel Trash Can, 21.1-Gallon
Courtesy of Amazon.com.

If you’re into smart home gadgets and want even your trash can to be high-tech, this 21-gallon bin might just be for you. The lid of the can is operated by three D batteries and has a motion sensor that opens the lid when you wave your hand in front of it. The lid will then remain open for three seconds after you’ve tossed your trash and moved your hand away. Add to the high-tech factor that this can is made of sleek, brushed stainless steel, and you have a winner for modern homes.

Customers love the size of the bin and the fact the bag doesn’t show when the lid is closed. One customer does warn, however, that the trash can went a little berserk about seven months into its life by just opening and closing the lid automatically at random times. Another said that the lid will sometimes open when someone walks past it and triggers the sensor. Those technical difficulties certainly aren’t standard, but important to be aware of.

Runner Up, Best High End: simplehuman Rectangular Step Can with Liner Pocket

simplehuman 45 Liter/12 Gallon Stainless Steel Rectangular Kitchen Step Trash Can with Liner Pocket

Courtesy of Amazon

Can a trash can be beautiful? Judging by this simplehuman model, the answer is a resounding yes. This rectangular model has gently rounded edges and comes in four luxurious, smudge-resistant finishes: dark bronze, stainless steel, white steel and even rose gold.

While there are no fancy automatic sensors on this trash can, customers say it’s still worth the premium because the design works so well. An integrated pocket keeps bags where you need them, and the can’s stainless steel liner keeps bags secure and out of sight. Other features include an integrated drip guard and a wide, sturdy steel pedal that owners love, saying it opens the lid easily and quietly. Though most feedback is quite positive, some buyers dislike the room that the bag pocket takes up, especially if they decide not to use simplehuman’s special trash-can liners; a few also say the steel dents too easily during shipping.

This trash can comes in three capacities: 30, 45 or 55 liters, making it a great choice for households of any size. The 55-liter model is roughly 14 by 18.5 by 26 inches.

What to Look for in a Trash Can

Lid

If you opt for a trash can with a lid, there are a number of different opening mechanisms. The simplest hinged lids require you to lift them by hand, but these can get messy quickly. Pedal-operated lids are more popular—just step on the pedal at the base of the can and the lid opens. A newer alternative is a motion-activated lid: wave your hand in front of the sensor (powered by batteries or plugged into an outlet) and the lid will open to accept your trash.

Can Construction

Trash cans are typically made from plastic or metals like stainless steel and aluminum. While plastic versions are usually less expensive, they’re more prone to falling over and can look cheap. Metal trash cans give your space a clean, modern look—though they can become dented or look streaky if not regularly cleaned. Natural materials, like seagrasses, are also sometimes used for trash cans. These cans have a soft, natural aesthetic but may not be the best choice for stinky or soggy trash. 

Liner

If you’re looking at a trash can for the kitchen, you'll likely be using a garbage can liner to make clean-up quick and easy. Some trash cans feature a liner rim that holds the bag in place so it isn’t visible from the outside, adding to a clean look in your kitchen. Replacing trash can liners is easy as long as you know what size trash can you have, though a few high-end brands have specific liners that are designed to match the shape of the can.

FAQ
  • How do you clean a trash can?

    First, remove any stray food particles or debris from the empty can. Next, add some liquid dish soap dissolved in water, and leave to soak for a few minutes. Then scrub the inside of the can wearing gloves to protect your hands, pour out the dirty, soapy water, and check to make sure you didn’t miss anything before wiping down the outside of the trash can to remove any spills. Finally, rinse with water and allow to air dry or wipe entirely dry before adding a fresh bag and closing it up. To clean an outside trash can, regular upkeep with a power hose should do the trick.

  • How do you keep maggots out of a trash can?

    The best way to keep maggots (fly larvae) out of a trash can is to reduce food waste. Rotting food produces methane gas that attracts flies, who proceed to lay their larvae on the rotting food which in turn becomes an all-you-can-eat buffet for the maggots. If you must throw raw food into a trash can, and your trash pickup isn’t on a daily schedule, be sure to seal the bag tightly before dropping it in the bin. Keep in mind that maggots thrive in hot weather, so be particularly mindful of letting food waste languish in a trash can in the dog days of summer. And don’t forget to regularly clean your trash can and remove any stray food debris as soon as you spot it.

  • What size trash can should you get for your kitchen?

    That depends on the size of your kitchen. In a studio apartment with limited floor space, your best bet might be a compact under-sink trash can that fits snugly to maximize storage capacity. If you want to keep the trash can out of sight in a larger kitchen with more under-sink space to work with, choose a larger model that fits in your cabinet. If you don’t mind having a visible trash can, a freestanding model can work in a large family kitchen with enough space to keep it in a designated area that is convenient but won’t impede foot traffic.

  • How do you throw out a trash can?

    There are a few ways you can throw out a trash can. First, you can put it on your curb upside down and place a sign on it that says it's "for disposal" and your collectors will take it. You can also take it to your local dump or local recycling center. Alternatively, you can repurpose it for another room in your house or outdoor storage if you want.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article was written and researched by The Spruce's editors. We’re a team of experienced writers and editors who obsessively scour the retail landscape (both online and off) to find the best products for your life. Besides being experts in our fields, having worked for brands like Real Simple, This Old House, Food & Wine, and Amazon—we’re consumers too—and we personally have a passion for products and services that make your life easier.