A top-quality trash compactor makes it easier to dispose of garbage and recyclables and reduces the number of trips you need to take to your waste bins or the dump.
We researched trash compactors from the most popular appliance brands, evaluating ease of installation and use, efficiency, and overall value. Our top pick, the Whirlpool 15-Inch Built-In Trash Compactor, has fully-integrated controls, a touch-toe opener, and quiet pack sound.
Here are the best trash compactors.
Best Overall: Whirlpool 15-Inch Undercounter Trash Compactor
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila and Best Products both picked the Whirlpool 15-Inch Undercounter Trash Compactor.
What do buyers say? 100+ Home Depot reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
Our top pick is Whirlpool's 15-Inch Undercounter Trash Compactor because it has a powerful 4-to-1 compression ratio that reduces household waste by 75 percent and turns garbage night from a weekly chore to a simple once-a-month affair. With this pick, you no longer have to worry about pricy trash bags and hectic early-morning trips to beat the garbage truck to the end of your driveway.
This compactor also has a storage capacity of 10.5 gallons, a convenient touch-toe pedal for when your hands are full, and a 1/3 HP motor. Thanks to its sleek stainless steel design, this trash compactor blends in with any home décor and fits discreetly beneath your kitchen counter.
Whirlpool is one of the most trusted names in home appliances, and this is their most trusted trash compactor. Its price is slightly higher than many other undercounter trash compactors, circling the $1,000 mark, but it still provides one of the best combinations of price and quality on the market.
Runner-Up, Best Overall: KitchenAid 15-Inch Built-In Trash Compactor
Top-quality comes at top cost. While the price of this trash compactor from KitchenAid does vary, you should expect to pay at least $1,000 for the unit.
All that being said, however, trash compactors are typically a pricey endeavor, so paying a few hundred bucks more for one as outstanding as KitchenAid’s 15-Inch Built-In Trash Compactor might be worth it in the long run.
With outstanding customer reviews, a powerful 5-to-1 compression ratio, and an array of high-end features, this is one of the best trash compactors you can buy. It will save you time, putting fewer garbage days on the chore wheel; it will save you money, cutting down on the cost of garbage bags; and it will shrink your environmental footprint by reducing your household waste by 80 percent.
The item also comes with noise-reduction technology, an odor management system, and a long-lasting 1/3 HP motor. So, it’s no wonder the product has received glowing praise from customers across various retailers, with the majority of people awarding it five stars.
Best Portable: Gladiator 15-Inch Freestanding Trash Compactor
No trash compactor is easier to move and maneuver than Gladiator’s 15-Inch Freestanding Trash Compactor. Its four heavy-duty rubber wheels allow you to take the item from the kitchen to the pantry and then to the garage without breaking a sweat.
While some customers note that it isn’t the strongest trash compactor on the market, it still has a 4-to-1 compression ratio, which will certainly put a big dent in your household waste.
Other specifications include a convenient foot pedal to help open the bin, an anti-jam feature that ensures reliable compaction even with a heavy load, and a hammered granite finish that makes the trash compactor both durable and modern looking.
Aside from scattered critiques regarding the item’s strength, the vast majority of users give the product positive reviews. Praise ranges from its slightly below average price to its ease-of-use to, of course, its portability.
Best Manual: Household Essentials Trash Krusher Manual Trash Compactor
From cars to screwdrivers to coffee makers, going manual saves loads of money. And trash compactors are no different.
Household Essentials’ Trash Krusher is a bargain, clocking in around $100 at most retailers. Compare that to automatic trash compactors, many of which run over four figures, and a little elbow grease doesn’t sound so bad.
The Trash Krusher isn’t going to be the most powerful trash compactor on the market, but it will still reduce your household waste while saving you plenty of garbage bags and trips to the curb. The item has a 10-gallon capacity, which is comparable to many high-end trash compactors, and it also comes equipped with a soft-touch foot pedal and a slow-close lid.
Plus, manual compaction is much easier than it seems. All you have to do is press down on a handle placed at the top of the lid to crush your garbage to a fraction of its original size.
Best Freestanding: Whirlpool 15-Inch Undercounter Trash Compactor
We chose this Whirlpool option as the best freestanding trash compactor precisely because it offers more than that. The item’s convertible design allows it to stand freely or be installed under the counter, making it the best of both worlds.
The Whirlpool 15-Inch Convertible Trash Compactor is also a great aesthetic choice because of its multiple color options. Whether you leave the trash compactor out in the open for everyone to see or tucked discreetly under your counter, you can choose the perfect color to complement your kitchen décor.
The product is slightly more expensive than the average trash compactor, but it comes with a solid 4-to-1 compression ratio, a capacity of 10.5 gallons, and a toe-touch pedal that’s extra useful when your hands are full.
Best Undercounter: GE 15-Inch Built-In Trash Compactor
One major concern when purchasing an undercounter trash compactor is how it will look in your kitchen. They can often be bulky, gaudy, or a flat-out disaster with the décor.
That’s why GE’s 15-Inch Built-In Trash Compactor, with its sleek and stylish design, separates itself as the best undercounter appliances you can buy. The item is available in three color options—white, black, and stainless steel—and it can also be ordered panel-ready, perfect for blending in with your cabinets and cupboards. Even the control panel is hidden away to enhance the seamless design.
But this trash compactor isn’t all beauty and no brawn. It compresses waste by 75 percent, holds up to 10.5 gallons of garbage, and it comes with a variety of handy features, including a toe-touch pedal, rear wheels, and a removable drawer for quick and easy cleaning. The product varies in price depending on which color option you choose, but most lean toward the more expensive end of the trash compactor spectrum.
What to Look for When Buying a Trash Compactor
Trash compactors come in hand-operated and automatic models, and both free-standing and under-counter models depending on your kitchen layout and preferences. They can be bulky and unsightly, but luckily there are plenty of sleeker options to choose from in finishes like stainless steel, black, and white to match your existing decor.
The point of a trash compactor is to reduce household waste by compressing waste into a smaller package. Trash compactors come in both hand-operated and automatic formats. The former requires a little bit of elbow grease, usually requiring you to press down on a top handle to compress the contents of the trash compactor. The latter is automatic, and therefore is usually able to compact a higher volume of waste. Choose the model that works for you and your needs.
Some household trash compactors have built-in noise or odor reduction technology. If you are looking for a flexible machine that can move around the kitchen, look for a machine with sturdy rubber wheels. If you don’t like to fuss with lids while you have your hands full of trash, consider a foot pedal-operated model.
What is a trash compactor?
A trash compactor is a household appliance that compresses household waste. This makes it easier to dispose of and reduces the number of trips that you have to take to the garbage or recycling bins or the dump. It also bundles trash, helping you save money on garbage bags.
How does a trash compactor work?
A household trash compactor works like a smaller version of a garbage truck. It is essentially an appliance with a bin for garbage that is outfitted with a hydraulic metal ram that smashes up your trash into a compact bundle. Hand-operated versions include a button or lever on top that you push down to compress trash, while automatic models turn on and do their business at the flip of a switch.
How do you use a trash compactor?
Simply fill up the bin component of the trash compactor with waste. Once it’s full, push down or press a button to compress trash. Then remove and dispose of the garbage or recycling and start all over again.
How do you remove a trash compactor?
A trash compactor that is installed, like a dishwasher, between lower kitchen cabinets and under the counter have to be unscrewed. You can also find freestanding trash compactors with solid tops, or hybrid models on wheels that can fit under the countertop but be easily rolled out.