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Which metal trash cans are best?

Trash is not the best conversation topic, but we all need a place to put our waste and litter. Metal trash cans, especially those made from stainless steel, tend to be long-lasting and sturdy, and they can look more aesthetically pleasing than typical waste bins.

There are hundreds of models of metal trash cans out there, so it’s important to consider a few things before making your purchase.

What to know before you buy a metal trash can

Why should you choose a metal trash can?

There are a few reasons why you should choose a metal trash can over another material, such as plastic. Metal trash cans tend to be more hygienic than plastic trash cans. They are much easier to clean and aren’t quite as porous as plastic trash cans, so they are less of a breeding ground for bacteria, as long as you clean them regularly. Metal trash cans also look sleek and attractive, and they tend to be more durable and hard wearing than other materials.

Types of metal trash cans

There are a few different kinds of metal trash cans out there, including step metal trash cans, metal bins with two compartments for trash and recycling, automatic or touchless metal trash cans and push top metal trash cans.


You need to find a metal trash can with the right capacity for you and your household. It needs to be big enough that you don’t need to empty it every single day, because that could become inconvenient very quickly. 

On the other hand, the trash can shouldn’t be so big that you could go for several weeks without emptying it. The average metal trash can is about 13 gallons, which works for most households, but you should choose a slightly smaller metal trash can if you live alone and choose a bigger trash can if you have a large household.

What to look for in a quality metal trash can


Most metal trash cans are either rectangular or circular, but you can also find some half-round, oval and square options.

Removable buckets

With many metal trash cans, the trash bag liner fits right into the main body of the metal trash can. You can find metal trash cans out there with removable buckets that you can fit your trash bag into or use without a trash bag.

Fingerprint coating

Some high-end metal trash cans come with special coating that resists smudging and keeps fingerprints from accumulating.

How much you can expect to spend on a metal trash can

Metal trash cans vary in price, depending on the overall quality, the capacity and the kind of can. The most basic metal trash cans range in price from about $30-$60, while the mid-range metal trash cans go for $60-$100 and the high-end metal trash cans cost about $100-$200.

Metal trash can FAQ

Are metal trash cans suitable for outdoor use?

A. No, metal trash cans, especially stainless steel trash cans, are typically designed for indoor use, usually in the kitchen. There are some smaller models of metal trash cans that are meant for bedrooms, offices and bathrooms.

What’s the difference between standard stainless steel and brushed stainless steel?

A. Brushed stainless steel usually has a matte finish, while standard stainless steel is typically shiny.

How can you prevent your metal trash can from smelling bad?

A. If you are struggling with a metal trash can that smells bad, the best option is to regularly empty your metal trash can and clean the inside at least once every 2 weeks. You should also think about what you are putting into your metal trash can. Highly perishable items, like meat wrappers and scraps, will start to smell more quickly than the rest of your trash items. If it’s convenient, you should place your meat scraps and wrappers directly into your curbside trash cans or dumpster. 

You can also buy metal trash cans with special filters in the lid that help neutralize any odors and help your trash can smell better. Lids that fit more tightly can also help stop any smells from escaping the metal trash can.

What’s the best metal trash can to buy?

Top metal trash can

Simplehuman 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can

Simplehuman 12-Gallon Stainless Steel Semi-Round Kitchen Step Trash Can

What you need to know: This popular metal trash can from Simplehuman offers an intuitive design and a sleek look.

What you’ll love: This Simplehuman metal trash can customer favorite stays clean-looking after years of use and doesn’t leave fingerprints or smudge easily. It also comes with a flat back that lines up perfectly against the wall and takes up less space.

What you should consider: Some customers struggle with locking the liner rim into place after putting in a new bag.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top metal trash can for the money

Ninestars Automatic Touchless Motion Sensor Semi-Round Trash Can/Recycler

Ninestars Automatic Touchless Motion Sensor Semi-Round Trash Can/Recycler

What you need to know: This touchless two-compartment metal trash can from Ninestars will give you lots of bang for your buck.

What you’ll love: This affordable Ninestars metal trash can features batteries that last about 5 to 6 months with normal use, as well as two containers for large amounts of trash and recyclables. The trash can is hands-free, and it opens and closes with nearby motion.

What you should consider: There are some customer complaints that the lid on this metal trash can stops working occasionally.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Step N’ Sort 16-Gallon, 3-Compartment Stainless Steel Trash and Recycling Bin

Step N’ Sort 16-Gallon, 3-Compartment Stainless Steel Trash and Recycling Bin

What you need to know: This stainless steel trash and recycling bin from Step N’ Sort is the perfect option for those who like to stay organized.

What you’ll love: This Step N’ Sort metal trash can comes with three interior compartments, including one for trash, one for recycling and one for anything else. Many customers use the third compartment for dog food or compost materials.

What you should consider: Some customers say that they wish this metal trash and recycling bin were larger, especially for recyclables.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Alex Kilpatrick writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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