Finding the perfect kitchen garbage can often feels like an impossible task. You want something durable and sturdy, but also sleek enough to suit your space. However, many of the top-rated cans carry premium price tags, leaving budget-focused shoppers frustrated.
The good news is there are quality options available at lower price points, without sacrificing features and performance.
What to Look for in an Affordable Trash Can
While you may have to compromise on materials or certain conveniences, an affordable kitchen trash can should still check off the essential boxes.
- Size/capacity: Make sure to choose an adequate size – too small and you’ll be emptying it constantly. Look for 12-15 gallons for 1-2 people.
- Durability: Even budget materials like plastic and steel can be durable if made properly. Look for thicker plastics.
- Lid type: Step pedals provide hands-free opening. Swinging lids offer easy access. Consider your needs.
- Removable inner bucket: Makes cleaning and trash removal much easier.
- Odor control: Plastic is more porous than steel. Look for odor blocking technologies if going plastic.
While metal cans are ideal, quality plastic and steel options exist in lower price ranges.
- Thicker plastic models – More durable and resist cracks better than thin versions.
- Powder-coated steel – Affordable and hides fingerprints. More prone to dents than stainless.
- Stainless steel – Lower gauge steel keeps costs down but maintains durability.
Extra Features to Prioritize
With a limited budget, focus on the features that matter most for your needs:
- Foot pedal operation – Hands-free opening makes trash disposal much easier.
- Fingerprint-proof finish – Keeps cans looking cleaner for longer.
- Bag tuck feature – Holds bags in place for no slippage.
- Quiet operation – Look for rubber stoppers to reduce noisy banging.
Top Affordable Can Options Under $50
You can find high-performing kitchen garbage cans for under $50 if you know where to look. Here are some of our top recommendations.
Simplehuman Round Plastic Step Can
Pros: Sturdy plastic, fingerprint-proof coating, silent close lid, 10-year warranty, removable inner bucket.
Cons: Prone to scuffs over time, no liner bag tuck feature.
For a plastic can, this Simplehuman model is built to last and resists fingerprints and smudges. The strong step pedal allows hands-free opening. Just be careful not to drop heavy items inside, as plastic can scratch and dent.
Sterilite Slim Step Can
Pros: Roomy 20-gallon capacity, durable plastic, pediatric step pedal, bag cinching system, removable liner.
Cons: Bulky size, front ridges can collect dirt.
This spacious plastic Sterilite can is a great budget option for larger households. The unique step pedal is easy to depress from any angle, and the cinch system keeps bags locked in. The textured plastic helps mask scuffs and smudges.
Rubbermaid Commercial Linefx Classic
Pros: Sturdy steel construction, heavy-duty side handles, secure liner bag cinch straps, fingerprint resistant.
Cons: Liners sold separately, no foot pedal operation.
Rubbermaid’s commercial line feels anything but cheap. The durable steel body withstands heavy daily use and is coated to resist smudges. Easy-mount side handles make lifting and emptying simple. Just add your own standard trash bags.
Glad Stainless Steel Step Can
Pros: Real stainless steel body, bottom bag tuck tabs, strong step pedal.
Cons: Thinner steel prone to dents, no inner bucket.
This Glad can uses real 201-grade stainless steel to deliver maximum odor control at an affordable price. The material is thinner than premium brands, but still offers excellent durability for daily use, plus it’s fingerprint-proof.
Factors for Choosing the Right Size
Your household’s unique needs should determine the ideal trash can size:
- Household size/waste volume – More people and trash need bigger cans.
- Available space – Measure the area where you’ll place the can.
- Frequency of taking out trash – Smaller cans need more frequent emptying.
- Recycling needs – Some cans accommodate recycling bins.
In general, 12-15 gallon capacity suits 1-2 people if trash is taken out regularly. Go bigger for households of 3+ or infrequent emptying. Measure your space first to ensure a proper fit.
Top Tips for Getting a Great Deal
Use these savvy shopping tips to save even more on your kitchen garbage can:
- Check for sales at big box stores like Target and Walmart.
- Consider open-box or refurbished models from eBay or Amazon.
- Opt for lesser-known brands on Amazon for extreme budget options.
- Compare prices across online retailers like Home Depot and Wayfair.
With the right research, you can find stylish cans discounted up to 60% off retail prices. Set up price alerts and check back often for new deals.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the most affordable kitchen trash cans?
Some top affordable options are the Rubbermaid Step-On (under $20), simplehuman Plastic Step Can ($40), and Sterilite Slim Step Can ($35). Prices under $50 let you get a solid can on a budget.
Should I avoid plastic trash cans?
Not necessarily. Thicker plastic cans with removable liners can work great. Just avoid the thinnest, flimsiest models. Place plastic cans in cabinets or under sinks to contain odors.
How small of a trash can can I get away with?
For 1-2 people, a 12-15 gallon can is sufficient if you empty it frequently. Any smaller and you may find yourself taking out trash daily. Gauge your household waste volume.
Are off-brand trash cans risky to buy?
They can be hit or miss. Always check reviews thoroughly before purchasing. Lesser known brands with positive feedback can still offer great performance for the money.
Is it worth paying more for pedal-operated lids?
For hands-free operation, yes. If you do a lot of cooking or messy tasks, a step pedal makes disposal much easier. If not, a manual lid could suffice.
Finding an affordable kitchen trash can with quality construction doesn’t require extreme compromise. Focus on key features like liner compatibility, thicker plastics or metals, and pedal operation if needed. With smart shopping, you can get excellent durability and performance on a budget.