Modern trash cans offer a host of features, from premium build quality to automatic lids, odor reduction techniques, and more, this household necessity can be much more complicated to buy than you may have previously considered.

That’s why we break down our top seven best garbage cans to make waste disposal efficient and sleek, and crown the Ninestars DZT-50-9 Trash Can as our HowToHome pick because it has motion sensing technology which means you never have to touch the can to operate it.

  • 13-gallon capacity
  • Motion sensor for automatic opening
  • Soft-close lid
  • Fingerprint resistant

  • 4.5-gallon capacity
  • Simple mesh design
  • Highly affordable
  • Perfect for paper or majority-paper waste homes
  • Lightweight

  • 30-gallon capacity
  • Extra-large opening
  • Hinged lid to keep trash secure
  • All-weather polypropylene resin material

  • 12-gallon capacity
  • With built-in liner dispenser
  • Simple, stainless steel design
  • Custom liners make sure there’s no extra plastic in sight
  • Silent lid close

  • 13.2-gallon capacity
  • Touchless design keeps hands and cans clean
  • Long-lasting battery
  • Fits common trash bags
  • Comes with an odor filter

  • 50-gallon capacity
  • Durable wheels for better maneuverability
  • Auto lifter ready
  • Large handles
  • Full range lid keeps critters out

  • 9.3-gallon capacity
  • Two bins: recycling and regular waste
  • Durable bracket system fully extends
  • Under counter pull-out


If you want a bit of technology incorporated in your trash can, then the Ninestars model satisfies that desire. It comes with a motion sensor that means the lid opens when your hand gets near. It even works when your hands are wet, and the beauty of having a trash can like this is you never have to touch the surface to operate it. If you value high levels of hygiene, then this is the trash can for you!

And you needn’t worry about the trash can opening every time the family pet passes by because the sensor is equipped with a delay feature to avoid false opening.

It has a 13-gallon capacity, as well as a soft close lid, and the removable ring liner that holds the trash bags in place, neatly hidies the edges for a better seal on the top.

The stainless steel body of the trash can is fingerprint resistant to keep it looking its best no matter what you throw at it.

On the downside, the battery compartment door is made of cheap plastic, and many complain that the door falls off and the batteries end up in the trash can. Also, the on/off button triggers when the trash is filled to the top.

That said, we love the technology and the fact that you never need to touch the trash can to operate it.

Pros

  • Motion sensor works with wet hands
  • On/off button
  • Trash bags are sealed inside the bin
  • Stainless steel construction

Cons

  • Battery compartment door breaks easily
  • When full, the on/off button triggers


Not everyone is looking for the same, high-cost trash can. If you just need something small to place in an office or bathroom that caters for mostly paper related waste, then the AmazonBasics mesh wastebasket is perfect. A simple, black mesh can that offers 4.5 gallons of capacity, best on our list when it comes to cost.

Of course, with no liners intended for use, this product has a niche audience. In short, we recommend the AmazonBasics Mesh Wastebasket for your cubicle or home office.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Semi-transparent mesh design
  • Tapered for a wider opening
  • Perfect for office, lounge, or bathroom

Cons

  • Not suitable for food waste
  • Small capacity
  • Ideal for paper waste mainly

Don’t just think about indoor garbage cans, because this Keter patio trash can is ideal for depositing waste when you are enjoying a day in the garden. Position it next to the barbecue, and all that food waste can be collected safely and sealed away from critters and flies.

Constructed from polypropylene resin, this garbage can is resistant to UV, cracks, water damage, rot, and mold, and with a durable metal handle and hinges, it should last the distance.

It has a removable rim so that you can attach a trash bag and keep it in place, and the wood-effect design makes it pretty to look at.

On the downside, when it rains hard, water finds its way inside, filling the can, and it is a little pricey considering it’s constructed from plastic.

That said, the overall look and finish are good, making it a winner if you are seeking a patio trash can for the yard.

Pros

  • Looks good
  • Huge capacity
  • Lightweight
  • Great for placing near a barbecue

Cons

  • When it rains, water gets in
  • Costs quite a lot for what it is

Simplehuman makes products that work almost effortlessly in any home, and their 12-gallon rectangular trash can is no different. This receptacle is a stainless steel can that uses a simple step lid mechanism. This product feels as high-quality as it looks.

While we would have appreciated more options for recyclables, the built-in custom liner dispenser makes it easy to empty. Purchasing the custom liners will cost you slightly more than the standard stuff, but for many, the aesthetic difference alone is worth it, especially as you never see the liner as it’s concealed within the trash can.

We highly recommend this step trash can as a great all-round option, with an unmatched build quality and simplicity in mind. The price might be high, but the quality is certainly there to back it up.

Pros

  • Highly durable
  • Dispenses new liners when you need them
  • Clean design
  • Lid closes silently

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Needs custom liners for some features

Automatic trash cans are often said to be far more expensive than they are worth. This iTouchless Automatic trash can with Odor Control is far from being over priced.

This model is an affordable can that offers hands-free operation.

Using a carbon filter, you can deodorize your trash as it sits. Plus, the battery life for this product is well over a year, so you won’t need to worry about it dying any time soon.

The all-inclusive can shape, and stainless steel is both appealing, although it is worth noting that opening the can manually – and keeping it open – can be a bit of a hassle.

This automatic trash can provides the odor control and touch-free experience you’ve been looking for without wreaking havoc on your bank account.

Pros

  • Deodorizing capability
  • Hands-free operation
  • Universal design
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Difficult to operate manually
  • Occasionally difficult to activate the sensor

This Rubbermaid garbage can is the first curbside variety to feature in the list, but we felt it was essential to be as diverse as possible. It has a massive 50-gallon capacity, although there is a 65-gallon option. That’s the equivalent of five full 13-gallon trash cans!

This product comes with large, durable wheels, making maneuvering the trash can a breeze. It has a full-range lid to keep all that waste in check and away from unwanted attention from the local wildlife.

It is the perfect curbside garbage can, durable, UV resistant, easy to clean and it even comes with an auto lifter feature to make emptying simple.

On the downside, the lid hinges are a little fragile, and some have complained that the wheels are too close together, making it unsteady when moving it.

However, with such a massive capacity and being auto lift ready, this curbside garbage can is ideal.

Pros

  • Huge capacity
  • UV resistant
  • Durable
  • Maneuverable

Cons

  • Lid hinges are fragile
  • Wheels are too close together

The Simplehuman 9.3-gallon under counter trash can fits underneath your counters to save on space. It uses a solid bracket system and single track to keep a black plastic waste bin and smaller blue plastic recycling bin hidden away.

The dedicated handle also prevents you from having to grab the edge of the trash when pulling out the track for access to the containers.

While we understand the plastic, lidless design for under-the-counter waste solutions, we would have appreciated a lower cost to match. Provided you’re aware of the limitations and need a recycling under-counter solution, we can think of few better than this.

Pros

  • Tucks neatly under the counter
  • Simple to use
  • Larger receptacles
  • Makes recycling a breeze
  • Silent operation

Cons

  • Somewhat expensive
  • Tricky installation

Comparison Chart

Ninestars DZT-50-9 Trash CanAmazon Basics Mesh Trash CanKeter Copenhagen Patio Trash CanSimplehuman 12-Gallon Trash CaniTouchless 13.2-gallon Trash CanRubbermaid Heavy-Duty Wheeled Garbage CanSimplehuman Under Counter Trash Can
PedalXXXXXX
Capacity 13-gallon4.5-gallon30-gallon12-gallon13-gallon50-gallon9.3-gallon
Odor controlXXXXXX
Motion sensorXXXXX
Soft-close lidXXXX
Dimensions11.4 x 16.2 x 28.411.7 x 11.7 x 1415 x 15 x 33.313.3 x 15.9 x 25.814.5 x 10.5 x 2728.5 x 23.4 x 36.518.2 x 9.8 x 19.1
Weight 8.38 lbs1.36 lbs13.35 lbs12.8 lbs7 lbs19.4 lbs9.92 lbs
Price$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Buyer’s Guide:

Garbage Cans

Size & Build Quality

The optimal size of the garbage can in your home is not always going to be the most significant can on the list. Those who live alone aren’t going to generate nearly enough waste to justify keeping larger cans in the home. Likewise, smaller cans will need to be replaced far too often when it comes to larger families.

You also need to consider the build quality of the can you’ve chosen. Under-counter trash cans can afford to utilize plastic designs because they’re rarely kicked, bumped, or knocked, but this is definitely not the case when it comes to freestanding units.

Stainless steel garbage cans are preferable for their ease of maintenance in cleaning as well as their durability over time. This is especially true with step trash cans, which can take a severe beating on their moving parts over the course of a few years. Finding a trash can that is not only the right size but the right quality for the type of use you plan to put it through will help make sure your can lasts for years to come.

Touchless Options

While many appreciate touchless trash cans for their hands-free design, others feel as if a step trash can accomplishes the same task without resorting to batteries and wires.

Touchless trash cans used to cost a considerable amount more, but they are now relatively affordable, and the decision to pick one often comes down to personal preference.

If you tend to cook with raw materials or have your hands full more often than not, relying on the sensor can be very helpful and far more sanitary. For others, waiting the extra second for the can to open or replacing the batteries seasonally can offset the novelty and force them back to a step can option.

So long as you don’t mind the maintenance and prefer the design choice, there’s no reason not to go touchless. Regardless of whether you choose step or touchless, you’ll probably not even think about operation a few months down the line.

Recycling Capacity

You’ll have noticed that one of our trash can options includes recycling because depending on where you live, recycling may or may not be mandatory. Regardless, recycling is worth considering for environmental reasons, especially if there’s a recycling plant near you.

That’s why having a trash can that comes with a dedicated recycling bin can be incredibly helpful. Not only will it help to motivate you to recycle more of your waste, but if you already recycle, a 2-in-1 trash can will reduce the number of bins and cans in your home.

  • Will my garbage can contain odors? Do I need to purchase odor-trapping trash bags?
  • Some trash cans, like the iTouchless Automatic, come with slots to place odor trapping carbon filters. Using activated carbon, these filters draw odorous particles towards them and reduce the rough smell of overcooked or raw foods.

    Others have sealing lids, which close tight enough to prevent the vast majority of smells from escaping the bin. With these cans or with cans that come with places for a filter, you don’t necessarily need to purchase an odor trapping trash bag.

    However, some prefer odor trapping trash bags to ensure that the smell of their kitchen or can is no different than the rest of the house. And while it’s certainly not a requirement for any of our garbage can picks, it may be worth considering if you can’t stand the stench of your current can.

  • Do I need custom fit liners for my garbage can?
  • Depending upon the trash can, purchasing custom fit liners may be a preferable option. When it comes to cans like the Simplehuman 12-gallon custom liners can be easily dispensed and save on time when replacing liners.

    No garbage can requires a custom liner. Your local supermarket will often have different varieties in various sizes to match the majority of trash cans. Experimenting around and finding a commonly-sold liner may be more affordable in the long run than sticking with mail-order ones from the garbage can manufacturer.

  • How can I keep my garbage can lid from slamming shut?
  • Many cans on our list come with lids that slowly close to prevent that jarring, slamming sound that’s common with older step can options. If you want to convert a current trash can into a silent shutter, then you may need to get creative.

    Using felt or similar fabrics, you can place pieces alongside the lid and the ring of the bin to ensure that friction and fabric stop the fall of the lid.

Final Thoughts

While we think there’s more than one excellent garbage can on our list, we believe there are a few clear standouts that need a mention. The Ninestars DZT-50-9 Trash Can is our HowToHome pick because it is affordable, uses smart technology, and is hygienic to use.

For affordability, the Amazon Basics Mesh Trash Can is hard to beat. Sure, it’s basic and not suitable for every room in the home, but as a trash can, it does the job.

For keen recyclers, the Simplehuman Under Counter Trash Can is perfect because it allows you to separate the food waste from recyclable waste, and the massive capacity of our curbside pick, the Rubbermaid Heavy-Duty Wheeled Garbage Can is pretty hard to beat.

Regardless of which variation you choose, we hope our picks here give you the option to toss out that old unit and start using a trash can that’s capable, sizable, and ready to help your family take charge of waste disposal.

Further Reading

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