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Which trash cans with lids are best?

If your trash can will be out in the open air of your kitchen, bathroom or office, it’s important to buy a model with a lid. The perfect trash can with lid blends into its surroundings and is built to last. The simplehuman Butterfly has a handsome stainless steel design and comes in four different sizes, making it the best pick. 

What to know before you buy a trash cash with a lid


Trash can capacity is measured in gallons or liters. A standard kitchen trash can holds 13 gallons, but it’s common to see a few more or a few less depending on the manufacturer. Other trash cans for home use range anywhere from 2-50 gallons.

A kitchen will need a bigger trash can than a bedroom or garage. Measure how much space you have for your trash can. Will it fit under the sink? Can you put it next to the counter without running into it? Take into account how much trash you generate in a single day. If you buy too small, you’ll be stuck taking out the garbage every night.


Trash cans are made from plastic or stainless steel. Plastic is more affordable, but it’s also more susceptible to odors and stains. To make things easier, consider a plastic trash can that isn’t white. A black or gray trash can will make accidents or leaks less noticeable.

Stainless steel is the de facto choice if your trash can will be displayed in the open air. The one downside, beyond the more expensive price tag, is cleaning. Stainless steel collects greasy fingerprints like crazy. Even with regular use of a specially designed cleaner, keeping your stainless steel trash can spotless can take a lot of work.


If you have pets or small children, you’ll want a trash can tall enough and heavy enough that they can’t knock it over. If you’ve got a big dog who just can’t wait until their next feeding time, you’ll also want to make sure your trash can has a secure lid.

Weight is also an issue when taking out the trash. A full 13-gallon bag of garbage can be very heavy. Users with strength or mobility issues may have difficulty disposing of oversized bags. Be sure to consider your limits when buying.

What to look for in a quality trash can with a lid

Lid type

There are four main types of trash can lids. For kitchens, the two best choices are a foot pedal lid and a touchless lid. Foot pedal lids open with a simple step. Touchless lids contain a motion sensor that opens automatically when you get near the trash can. Depending on the model, touchless lids require batteries or a power outlet to function.

For rooms where touching a trash can lid is less of a nuisance, there are swing lids and manual lids. Swing lids move on a hinge for easy opening and closing. Manual lids need to be opened and closed by hand.

Can shape

If your trash can needs to fit in a specific space, having a round or square shape may be particularly important. If you have a child, you may also prefer a can with round edges for safety reasons.

Some models will have a second interior can that is removable for easy cleaning. While this is a good idea in theory, it can also make replacing the trash bag and keeping it in place difficult.

Carbon filter

Lingering garbage odors can be difficult to remove once they start to build up. Stop the process from the beginning with a trash can that contains a carbon filter. You’ll find carbon filters offered with most high-end and some midrange models.

While carbon filters are a great way to prevent unpleasantness, they’re not a miracle cure. It’s still best to take the trash out right away when disposing of smellier items.

How much you can expect to spend on a trash can with a lid

You can find basic plastic trash cans with lids from $15-$30. Plastic models with foot pedals, odor reduction or other features are usually $30-$100. Stainless steel trash cans with lids start around $50-$100. High-end models with motion sensors or larger capacities run $100-$200.

Trash can with lid FAQ

Are there combination trash cans and recycling bins?

A. Yes! There are many combination trash cans and recycling bins on the market. Just note that while many people find these models convenient, others find them confusing and prefer two separate receptacles. It can be easy to accidentally throw away recyclables if you’re not paying attention, which could lead to a fine.

How can I prevent odors from building up in my trash can?

A. Beyond purchasing a trash can with a carbon filter, it’s a good idea not to let your trash sit for days on end — especially if it’s food. Make sure to dump out any liquids in the sink before throwing the container away. You can also place baking soda at the bottom of the can or buy special odor-resistant trash bags.

What’s the best trash can with a lid to buy?

Top trash can with lid

simplehuman 45-Liter Butterfly Lid Kitchen Step Trash Can

simplehuman 45-Liter Butterfly Lid Kitchen Step Trash Can

What you need to know: This trash can looks great in your choice of four sizes.

What you’ll love: The top of this trash can conveniently opens with a foot pedal. You’ll also love the interior design, which prevents air from building up in fresh bags.

What you should consider: While it’s a great trash can, it’s more expensive than other models with similar features.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Top trash can with lid for the money

iTouchless 13-gallon Automatic Sensor Touchless Trash Can

iTouchless 13-gallon Automatic Sensor Touchless Trash Can

What you need to know: This battery-powered, touchless trash can allows you to throw your trash away without even touching the can.

What you’ll love: This quiet, high-tech trash can has a built-in odor reduction system and comes in over a dozen sizes and shapes.

What you should consider: Unfortunately, this trash can doesn’t come in any size bigger than 13 gallons. Some users report issues with the sensor malfunctioning over time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Staples

Worth checking out

Step N’ Sort 2-Compartment Stainless Steel Trash and Recycling Bin

Step N’ Sort 2-Compartment Stainless Steel Trash and Recycling Bin

What you need to know: You can put everything in one place with this combination trash can and recycling bin.

What you’ll love: This large 16-gallon bin comes with interior bins that you can remove for simple cleaning. The tops open with foot pedals.

What you should consider: This trash can is a bit more expensive than other models. It also may be too large for those who don’t need an equal amount of trash and recycling space.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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

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