Do you have dogs and/or kids rummaging through your kitchen trash can? Want to stop this while still having a nice, presentable trash can? I had the same problem.
Garbage Can Requirements
Here’s my criteria for picking a top garbage can for my kitchen…
- The right size – It can’t be too big because the bag will be to heavy or too small, because I don’t like taking the garbage out. I find that 13 gallons (or so) is a nice size.
- Looks nice – I keep my trash can out for easy access, not under the counter, so it has to look reasonably nice
- Lid – A lid keeps the small contained and keeps dogs, cats, and kids out. This is a must-have.
- Foot peddle – I find this is the best way to open a trash can, especially when I have dirty hands
- Safe – I know safety isn’t a big concern with garbage cans, but I’ve had lidded models where the top for slam shut and the foot peddle would pinch paws and toes alike.
- Quiet – Similar to my safety concern, the top lid needs to close quietly and smoothly, not snap closed in a slam
Safety Lid vs. Exterior Lid
This might seem like picking nits but bear with me. Most garbage can incidents I’ve encountered with pets and kids have to do with lids slamming on them. The second incident, which is more common but less severe, is when a pet or child opens the can themselves and gets into the trash. Both these can be avoided with a hidden lid.
Note the lid above – it wraps around the outside of the garbage can. This looks great when the can is closed, but it creates pinch points. You can offset this problem with a slow-close lid, but pinches can still happen.
With a hidden lid there is no exterior point where a little hand or nose can push up the lid. The lid is hidden inside the outer rim and while it can be pried up, that requires lots of dexterity and finger strength.
Top Trash Can Options
Here are the kitchen garbage can you should consider. The first is the one I bought and use.
Simplehuman Rectangular Step Can
If you want a modern, well designed trash can than my go-to recommendation is Simplehuman. We’ve owned a few of these over the years, but lately I’m using the Simplehuman Rectangular Step Can in the 55 liter size. It’s big enough for a family, it’s well made, and it’s presentable enough that I don’t mind it being out in the kitchen.
Here’s why I’m OK purchasing a $150 trash can (yes, I made myself a list)…
- Slow-close lid protects little fingers
- Liner rim design means garbage bag doesn’t fall into the can
- Tight seal lid keeps smell in the can, including diapers
- Interior liner pocket keeps garbage bags close by
- The step doesn’t break in a year, like most pedal trash cans
- 10-year warranty
- Looks great
Yes, you can get a trash can for less, but with a 10-year warranty you are spending about $15 a year or 4 cents a day on the can. I can live with that.
Pro tip: One perk that’s hard to see online is that the lid is tucked away so that kids’ fingers and dogs’ noses can’t open the lid without learning how to use the foot pedal. Most other trash cans had a lid that is exposed to the outside so it can be pushed open.
Simplehuman Classic Rectangular Step Can
If you want most of the features of the high-end Step Can but can live without a slightly less fancy design, without the liner rim, and with a smaller foot pedal than Simplehuman offers the Classic Rectangular trash can. It’ll save you about $50 off the flagship design.
AmazonBasics Rectanglular, Stainless Steel, Soft-Close, Step Trash Can
The popularity and price of Simplehuman’s waste bins mean that there are many competitors that have sprung up. One of the that has gained much popularity is the AmazonBasics 50L Step trash can. As is typical with AmazonBasics products, it has some the features of the category leader, but a much lower price.
This can has the following highlights…
- Soft-close lid
- Stainless steel exterior
- Stainless steel manual foot lever
..and it’s half the price of the Simplehuman.
What this can is missing is the 10-year warranty, the interior pocket for bags, and the liner rim design that keeps trash bags in place.
From an aesthetic standpoint, it actually looks really clean and simple, so despite missing some features, it’s not bad looking at all. It does have more exposed plastic than the simplehuman and the plastic is black so it stands out from the steel, but those are the sort of cost-saving measures that get this can into the $80 price range.
My experience with this trash can is limited, but it does have very good review online. With one of these that I saw the slow-close action had stopped working and the lid shut quickly in exactly the sort of action I’m trying to avoid.
Glad Extra Capacity Stainless Steel Step Trash Can
Glad might be known for their plastic bags, but it turns out that trash cans was a logic next step. The Glad Stainless Steel trash can (model GLD-74507) is a similar offering to the AmazonBasics, but from a brand you already buy from. Plus it has AmazonBasics’ aggressive price point and it easy to find online.
This is not one I’ve tested yet but online reviews are looking great and it’s on our wishlist.
How big is a kitchen trash can?
A typical under-the-sink trash can found in home kitchens is 11 gallons (42 liters) while freestanding trash can will be 13 gallons (49 liters).