The kitchen is a hub of activity for most homes, and so much of that activity inevitably leads to the creation of trash. And while a kitchen trash can may not seem like something worth giving much thought, this quiet workhorse of your home deserves some consideration. Most families require something more contained than simply an open bin for refuse. Ideally, there’s some kind of lid that’s easy to open and close and keeps unwanted odors at bay. It also should be easy to put on and remove trash bags. And while not required, it’s certainly nice if it’s not a complete eyesore, too — especially if it needs to be out in plain view, rather than tucked away under the sink or behind a cabinet door.
There’s also the question of what works best in your kitchen: some trash cans lock when not in use, making them a great option for nosy dogs. Others have separate compartments for sorting recycling. Some of the new higher-end trash cans feel worthy of the most chic open-concept kitchen; others are easy to install under the sink. And there are also some surprisingly affordable, touch-free trash cans to make tossing garbage way cleaner. While kitchen trash cans can have swing-top or hinged lids, we restricted our search to hinged lids for one reason: It’s much harder to, say, scrape a plate into a swing-top kitchen trash can. The swinging lid can also pick up debris and get dirty more easily. Instead, we found five (mostly) lidded trash cans that are less messy to use all around. Here are our favorite models.
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1. simplehuman Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can
The biggest advantage this simplehuman trash can offers is that it locks when not in use, protecting it from pets and children. When you do need to use it, a metal pedal at the base can be stepped on to release the lid. While it may look like a standard step trash can, it is also designed to open slowly with the help of shocks: no banging into the wall behind it. The semi-round shape also allows you to store it flush against a wall or counter while still offering a generous 13 gallons of storage.
2. Umbra Brim Trash Can with Lid
Another sleek, easy-to-operate option, this also features an inner ring that locks the liner into place and hides it from view. Not as pet-proof as the simplehuman lidded trash can, it still opens and closes slowly with no banging and remains securely closed when not in use. It is designed to work with all standard 13-gallon trash bags.
3. simplehuman Dual Compartment Recycler
Somehow, simplehuman managed to take a trash can and make it covetable (hello, rose gold!). Fans of this pricey trash can will say it’s one of the best purchases they ever made. It allows you to dispose of trash and recycling in one easy place. The recycling section can be easily removed from the unit. On the trash side, the liners can be hidden from view. Simplehuman also offers you some perks if you buy their own liners: it’s possible to store the refills inside the bin. Once you take out the trash, simply pull out a new one directly from the trash can and replace it.
4. iTouchless 13 Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can
If you don’t want to be bothered by pedals or touching a trash can at all, there are models with automatic lids. Simply wave your hands and let the machine do the work. Powered by either a battery or an A/C adapter, this trash can opens to a generous 12” opening, meaning you can toss and scrap without worrying too much about aim. A button can also be pushed to trigger opening the trash can, and an inner ring hides liners.
5. Rev-A-Shelf Pull Out Kitchen Cabinet Waste Bin
And finally, one non-lidded option: the under-sink trash can. Typically smaller than standalone trash cans, trash won’t linger as long and you can get away without having a lid. Plus, tucking it out of sight under a counter also helps with odors. The size and ability to hide it under sinks and in cabinets also makes it great for small apartments and kitchens. And, surprisingly, it only takes 4 screws to install.