Buyer’s Guide: Kitchen Trash Cans

Read on for top tips on choosing a kitchen trash can, as well for details on our favorites among some of the best options available today!

Best Kitchen Trash Can


Management of kitchen trash is a daily chore. To make it easier on yourself, equip your kitchen with its own trash can. Whether you’ve just moved in or are looking to replace an existing bin that no longer gets the job done, continue reading for our top tips on navigating the options—and don’t miss our roundup of favorites, below!

  1. BEST OVERALL: simplehuman 45 Liter Rectangular Hands-Free Kitchen Step Trash Can
  2. RUNNER-UP: Ninestars Automatic Touchless Infrared Motion Sensor Trash Can
  3. BEST VALUE: Rubbermaid Step On Lid Slim Trash Can for Home
Found! The Best Kitchen Trash Can for Every Home

Key Considerations

Select Your Size

Many households rely on 13-gallon kitchen trash cans. These tend to be large enough to accommodate such large items as gallon-size milk containers, but not so large that they hog floor space. If you live alone and generate relatively little trash, consider a smaller can that holds 8 gallons.

Make Sense of Materials

Kitchen trash cans are typically made of heavy plastic, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), or some type of metal, often stainless steel. Plastic and PVC tend to be the most affordable. Metal trash cans usually cost a bit more, particularly with designer models in custom colors.

Look Into the Lid

A lid holds trash bags in place, keeps smells at bay, and deters curious pets. Some models feature domed lids with a swinging door attached by hinges. Users simply push the door to deposit trash. There’s no need to remove the lid unless you’re tossing in a large item that won’t fit through the door. Still other models feature a touch-free lid opened either by stepping on a pedal at the base of the can or by activating a sensor that responds to hand motion.

Our Top Picks

Found! The Best Kitchen Trash Can - simplehuman 45L Rectangular Step Trash Can


1. BEST OVERALL: simplehuman 45 Liter Rectangular Hands-Free Kitchen Step Trash Can

For sleek design and hands-free operation, look no further. Boasting a shallow profile that tucks unobtrusively against the wall, this top option from simplehuman boasts an exterior surface that’s easy to wipe clean, as well as a convenient step pedal designed to endure repeated use.

The Best Motion-Activated Kitchen Trash Can: NINESTARS


2. RUNNER-UP: Ninestars Automatic Touchless Infrared Motion Sensor Trash Can

Looking for a larger kitchen trash can? Check out this touchless option from NINESTARS. With a 21-gallon (80-liter) capacity, this brushed stainless-steel can holds quite a bit more than the standard 13-gallon bin. A quick-open motion sensor cues the lid to pop at a mere wave of the hand. The attractive stainless steel surface resists fingerprints and the can’s non-skid base keeps it from shifting. A removable ring liner holds trash bags securely in place, while also concealing the top of bag for a clean look.

The Best Budget Kitchen Trash Can: Rubbermaid


3. BEST VALUE: Rubbermaid Step On Lid Slim Trash Can

For a budget-friendly model that holds up to daily use, consider the Rubbermaid Step On Lid Slim Trash Can for Home. It’s durable, and it comes with a stainless steel step-on pedal, so you don’t need to use your hands when disposing of garbage. The heavy plastic bin accommodates standard 13-gallon bags and wipes clean. The lid features an attached ring that secures the top of the bag to prevent slippage, and the lid fits snugly over the bin to help prevent odors from escaping.