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The Ultimate Kitchen Trash Can Buying Guide

Product Reviews, Blog

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Even though it hides your garbage, your kitchen trash can doesn’t have to be as unsightly as what’s inside. The most important thing to look for when purchasing a kitchen trash can is functionality, but you don’t have to sacrifice style. We rounded up our favorite trash cans that are as stylish as they are useful. They are available at all price points, so you can ditch the bin under the sink and make it a part of your decor.

What to Consider Before Buying a Kitchen Trash Can

You might think that buying a kitchen trash can doesn’t take a lot of thought at first. Even though you don’t need to do as much research as you would for, say, a mattress, you shouldn’t just buy the first one you see. When buying a trash can, you should consider the following factors:

Opening Mechanism

  • Step cans: Among the most common types of trash cans, step cans are opened by stepping on a pedal. In addition to being easy to use (especially when your hands are full or covered in food), step cans are also more hygienic since you don’t have to touch anything.
  • Rather than opening with a foot pedal, touch-top cans are opened by touching the lid or pressing a nearby button. They’re easy to use, but not as hygienic.
  • A new type of trash can, automatic options open by waving your hand near a sensor or by speaking. Though they’re much less reliable, you may end up just opening it in another way.
  • In-cabinet trash cans: These cans slide under the sink or out of the cabinet, making them mostly invisible. They’re typically left open, so won’t do much for odors or pests, but are a good option for smaller spaces.


Rectangular-shaped trash cans offer a wide opening, making it easier to throw things away (especially when you’re scraping food off a plate). Although they fit well in most kitchens, they can look particularly bulky in smaller ones.

Round trash cans have smaller openings and aren’t recommended for bigger households. In addition, they fit neatly in corners and are less bulky than rectangular options, so you might prefer them if you live in a small space.

Easy to Clean

Kitchen trash cans are prone to spills and leaks, so you’ll want to look for options that are easy to clean. Some models come with removable bins for easy access, and trash cans with darker interiors hide stains better.

What We Look For in a Kitchen Trash Can

We evaluated a wide range of kitchen trash cans and judged them based on the following criteria:

  • Accessibility to the trash can: How accessible is it? How easy is it to open?
  • Can you tell me how big the trash can is? Are regular liners compatible with it? Is the shape unusual?
  • What is the style of the trash can? Does it look good in a kitchen? Is the style hindering functionality in any way?

Types of Kitchen Trash Cans

How you access your kitchen trash can is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a trash can. The majority of cans have lids, except for some in-cabinet models. But you’ll find a variety of lid styles with various opening mechanisms, the worst of which will soon drive you crazy when you’re scrambling to prepare dinner. If you don’t know which one to get, here are five basic styles and who they’re best suited for:

The step can, which you open by pressing a foot pedal, is the best choice for most households because they tend to have well-sealed lids to keep odors contained and are easy to open hands-free (which is more hygienic). Foot pedals come in handy when your fingers are dripping with raw chicken juice or you’re grasping a cutting board that’s piled high with potato peels.

The in-cabinet trash cans, which are usually located under your sink, are a great option for small kitchens. Under the sink, you can use any trash can that fits, but dedicated in-cabinet cans are designed for easy access. Most of them sit on a metal track mounted to the base of a cupboard, so they are easy to remove. Some can be mounted on a cupboard door.

Touch-top trash cans, which you open by pressing a button on the lid, are a good alternative to step cans for people who can’t operate a foot pedal. However, as you have to touch them, they aren’t as sanitary. The touch-top can we suggested as an honorable mention in our competition section has been discontinued. For people who may not be able to use a step-can or regular lidded can, we are researching new options.

Swing-top, butterfly, or fold-in lids do not seal as tightly as other styles, so we do not recommend them. Inquisitive pets or pests will not be discouraged from entering. The lids also tend to get splattered with food as you scrape dishes into the trash. Swing-top and fold-in lids frequently get caught on trash as the receptacle fills up, which prevents them from opening properly. In case you need more recommendation, we have small trash can on amazon you can check.


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