Best Trash Compactors of 2020

Updated
Categories Garbage Disposal
No more taking out the trash daily? Music to our ears!

Choosing one of the best trash compactors can cut down the number of trips you take to the dumpster. A trash compactor reduces the volume of trash so you can minimize this nasty chore.

Are you looking for something to go under the counter, or something manual? Perhaps you’d prefer a budget-friendly option? Either way, we’ve got you. With our seven best trash compactor recommendations, you’ll find something perfect for your home.


What Does a Trash Compactor Do?

A trash compactor is a garbage can with a twist. They look similar to regular trash cans, but do much more.

Trash compactors use hydraulic pressure from your household’s water connection to crush the garbage. Some use a metal ram to compress the trash.

The waste then becomes a more compact size. That way, you can fit more in there before needing to take out the trash. When it’s full, you can easily bag and dispose of it as normal. They’re handy devices, albeit not very common.

Caution

Keep your children away from trash compactors. They’re very powerful and should be handled by adults only.

What Can You Put in a Trash Compactor?

Here are some things you can compact:

  • Paper.
  • Cans.
  • Plastic containers.
  • Wrappers.
  • Debris you’ve swept up.
  • Most food waste.

What Can You Not Put in a Trash Compactor?

Here are some things that should never go in a trash compactor:

  • Raw meat and fish.
  • Tough fruit peel.
  • Personal hygiene items.
  • Diapers.
  • Shotgun shells or explosive items.
  • Flammable materials.
  • Containers of toxic materials, such as bleach.
  • Aerosol cans.
  • Lit cigarettes, or other burning items.
  • Batteries.
  • Liquids.
  • Wood.
  • Glass jars or bottles.
  • Electronic items.
  • Dirt of gardening waste.
  • Pet waste.

Types of Trash Compactors

Let’s review the main types of trash compactors.

Built-In

The Step N Sort 959586 Compacting Trash Can, 40 Liter
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If you’re on a mission to save space in the kitchen, then a built-in trash compactor is for you! These simply slot into your kitchen cabinet area for a seamless and practical solution to compacting trash. While these are more on the expensive side, they are subtle and help contain odors.


Convertible

Whirlpool GC900QPPQ Convertible 15W in. Trash Compactor - White
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Get the best of both worlds with a convertible trash compactor. They can either be built-in or you can leave them freestanding. You can switch it up when you want to redo your kitchen or when you’re moving house.


Free-Standing

If you don’t have free cabinet space in your kitchen, you can also choose a free-standing option. These replicate traditional trash cans.

Instead of built-in trash compactors, free-standing ones have a manual compacting function. So you’ll have to use a lever, button or handle to initiate the compacting process rather than an automatic option.


Industrial or Outdoor Compactors

Industrial and outdoor compactors are best for commercial waste. Many businesses use these to make their waste more compact. We won’t be recommending any of these today as they’re probably a bit too big for your home! But they still exist and they can handle tough and high-volume waste.


How to Choose the Best Trash Compactor

Here are the top criteria you should consider when shopping for a trash compactor.

Size

Always check the dimensions of the trash compactor to ensure it will fit in your given kitchen space.

Also consider the capacity to know how much waste the compactor can consume.

Weight

Weight is important, too, especially if you’re going for a portable or free-standing option. Lighter options are easier to move from place to place if you’re planning on redecorating.

Operation Mode

Check to see if the trash compactor works automatically or manually. Usually, a built-in or convertible trash compactor will be automatic. Manual compactors are more budget-friendly but take more effort.

Reduction Ratio

Arguably one of the most important elements, the reduction ratio is something to consider. This tells you how small the trash compactor can make your waste. For example, some compactors can reduce the waste to ⅕ of its original size, while others can cut the waste size in half.

Odor

Lastly, consider if the trash compactor has any odor-eliminating technology. Because you will be taking the trash out less often, it’s important to think about the odor. The bad smells can start to radiate through your kitchen very quickly. But with odor-eliminating technology, this doesn’t need to be a problem.


The Best Trash Compactors of 2020

Hours of research into customer reviews, expert advice and product descriptions have gone into creating this list of the best seven trash compactors.

1. KitchenAid - 1.4 Cu. Ft. Built-In Trash Compactor

Best Under the Counter Trash Compactor

Product Image of the KitchenAid - 1.4 Cu. Ft. Built-In Trash Compactor
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For something that easily slots into your cabinet space, the KitchenAid 1.4 Trash Compactor is a great choice. It’s sleek, classy, and comes in two color options.

Save space in your kitchen by installing this compactor under the counter. It’s designed to provide amazing trash compacting and minimizing of odors.

The new model even has a panel-ready design so you can attach your own custom panel to the front. This way, it seamlessly matches the rest of your kitchen decor.

Why We Love It

Super Compact Trash

The KitchenAid trash compactor can reduce trash volume by 80 percent, which is astounding! So you’ll save space, trips to the dumpster and also, trash bags. Not only does this save you time, it saves you money and plastic waste.

Anti-Jam

This trash compactor has a handy anti-jam feature. It prevents the compactor from jamming. The machine uses sensors to find potential or existing jams. It then automatically adjusts the operator and power to avoid the system jamming.

Quiet

If you want something that’s both seamless and quiet, then this is the trash compactor for you. It has a sound-reduction system to minimize noise. So you can utilize this when the rest of the family is sleeping, or if you have neighbours.

Also, with this compactor you can put glass inside. You will hear a noise when the glass breaks, but that’s probably the noisiest this machine will ever get.

Keep In Mind

Awkward Foot Pedal

Customers don’t love the foot pedal control option. You need to step on it to open the drawer and remove items. Customers find it awkward and hard to get used to. It’s small and hard to press down because it’s inconspicuously placed at the bottom of the unit.

Short Warranty

Keep in mind that the warranty for this product is only one year. For something so expensive, that warranty doesn’t give customers much reassurance that the product will last long. It also means if there is damage after the one year mark, repair costs need to come out of your own pocket.

Additional Specs

TypeBuilt-in
Size34.1 x 15 x 24 inches
Reduction RatioFive
Capacity1.4 cubic feet
OdorYes, fan with charcoal filter

2. The Step N Sort Compacting Trash Can

Best Budget Trash Compactor

The Step N Sort 959586 Compacting Trash Can, 40 Liter
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While most trash compactors are expensive, reaching up to four digits, the Step N Sort Compacting Trash Can is a good option if you’re on a budget.

It has an 11-gallon capacity which is great for most families. The compacting function is easy to use, but note that is manual. So it’s not ideal if you experience wrist pain or arthritis.

Why We Love It

Three Times More Trash

At a budget-friendly price point, you can save up to three times more trash space. This means three times fewer trips to the dumpster, three times fewer trash bags and three times more space in your bin!

Easy to Use

Although this is a manual compacting trash can, it’s not difficult to use. Simply push down the middle circle on the lid a couple of times to compress the trash to its smallest size. We don’t recommend children use this in case their fingers get caught. But it’s definitely safe for teenagers and adults!

Extra Features

The compacting mechanism isn’t the only cool feature about this trash can. It also has a heavy-duty foot pedal to open the lid and it’s fingerprint-proof, so fewer smudges.

We also love that it has a slow close lid. Lastly, the inner bucket and stainless steel finish means the entire trash can is easy to clean.

Keep In Mind

The Trash Bags

The manufacturer notes you can use any 10 to 13 gallon trash bags. However, we recommend getting something heavy-duty.

With the compacting mechanism, you want something that can withstand extra pressure and force. On that note, it can be kind of hard to get the bags to stay in place with this trash can.

On Repeat

The best way to save up to three times as much space in this trash can is to repeat the pressing motion. It can take a few good pushes to get the trash to a small enough size to save space. Keep in mind that you need to have a little patience with this compactor.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding manual
Size18.5 x 15.5 x 26.7 inches
Reduction RatioThree
Capacity11 gallons
OdorNo odor-fighting technology

3. Gladiator Freestanding Trash Compactor

Best Freestanding Trash Compactor

Product Image of the Gladiator Freestanding Trash Compactor
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The Gladiator Freestanding Trash Compactor is industrial in appearance, but perfect for home kitchens.

The freestanding design makes it a top choice for homes that don’t have free cabinet space to store a trash compactor.

It has a rugged, textured design which is easy to clean. Being on wheels, it’s also easy to move and transport.

Why We Love It

Hands-Free

If your hands are full when you approach the compactor, don’t worry! The Touch-Toe foot pedal opens the drawer for you. The bin flies open, even if it’s nearly full. So you can drop your next load of trash inside without ever having to touch the can.

Safe

There are two prominent safety features. One to protect you and one to protect the machine. First up, there is a key to lock the device and protect children. Turn off the unit when it’s not in use, lock it then hide the key from children.

Secondly, this unit has an anti-jam feature. If the door is opened while the compactor is running, the compression ram automatically reverses to prevent the unit from jamming.

Four Times Reduction

With the Gladiator compactor, you can reduce your trash volume by four times. It uses a compression force of 2,2000 pounds per square inch to reduce trash volume by 75 percent to powerfully crush trash and give you more space.

Keep In Mind

Trash Bags

You have to use low-density heavy-duty bags for the best results. Otherwise, the high pressure can rip the bags and leave you with a big mess. Customers also find that changing the bags requires a lot of steps and isn’t an easy process.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding
Size24 x 15 x 38 inches
Reduction RatioFour
Capacity1.4 cubic feet
OdorNo odor fighting technology

4. Whirlpool Convertible Trash Compactor

Best Convertible Trash Compactor

Product Image of the Whirlpool Convertible Trash Compactor
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A convertible trash compactor can be used as a freestanding option or you can build it in underneath your cabinets to save space. The Whirlpool convertible trash compactor is a popular and high-quality option.

It’s on wheels so you can easily move it around your kitchen for ultimate versatility. It also comes in a few different color options so you can match it to your existing decor.

Why We Love It

Four Times Reduction

This unit has a four times reduction ratio, so you can save 75 percent of trash space. Reduce your trips to the dumpster and plastic bag usage by up to four times. This saves both money and time!

Safe

The hidden and removable key knob provides ultimate safety. You can control accidents by utilizing this feature, so curious kids don’t risk injury with this unit in your home.

It also has an anti-jam feature. If you open the door while it’s in use, it will automatically reverse the compression jam to protect your machine.

Quiet

Noise control is important to many customers, us included! The Whirlpool Convertible has Quiet Pack sound conditioning technology to reduce noises. Quietly run this machine, even while people are sleeping.

Keep In Mind

Unaesthetic Finish

If you decide to use this as a freestanding unit, be prepared for some ugly features. The back of the unit isn’t finished, so if it’s not against a wall, it can look unsightly. It also has some holes at the top that are intended to be screwed into your cabinet. But when used as a freestanding unit, they just look unaesthetic.

No Lock Feature

For something this pricey, customers wish that it had a lock feature. This would mean when you compress the trash, it holds it down for a while to really minimize the volume. But unfortunately, this unit doesn’t have that feature.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding
Size24 x 15 x 34 inches
Reduction RatioFour
Capacity1.4 cubic feet
OdorNo odor-fighting technology

5. Joseph Joseph 5 Gallon Titan Trash Can Compactor

Best Portable Trash Compactor

Joseph Joseph 30036 Intelligent Waste Titan Trash Can Compactor, 8 gallon/30 liter, Stone
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While it’s not on wheels, the Joseph Joseph 5 Gallon Titan Trash Can Compactor is a good choice if you want something portable.

Weighing just over 13 pounds, this is a great choice if you like to redecorate your kitchen often.

With the handle at the front and the lightweight, you can easily maneuver and transport this around.

Why We Love It

Reduces Trash by 66 Percent

Create three times more space with this trash can that compacts waste by 66 percent. That’s three times more space in the can, three times fewer trips to the dumpster and three times fewer trash bags. That means that the 5.3 gallon capacity becomes 16 gallons!

Odor Control

The integrated odor filter under the lid holds replaceable carbon filters to tackle bad odors. Kitchen smells can be a real pain, so it’s important to get a trash can with odor control if it’s within budget.

Durable

This trash compactor has been tested and built to last. The food pedal can withstand over 100,000 uses! If you use it 20 times a day, that’s at least 13 years of durability. With this trash can comes a 10-year guarantee so you know you’re getting your money’s worth.

Keep In Mind

No Lock

The lid is pretty easy to open, even without using the foot pedal. So if you have curious kids or pets who think the trash can is a play pen — this might not be for you. Especially since it’s free-standing, it’s easy for your kids and pets to access.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding manual
Size13.54 x 11.89 x 26.93 inches
Reduction RatioThree
Capacity5.3 gallons
OdorCarbon filters

6. Household Essentials TK10XL-1 Trash Krusher

Best Trash Compactor for Small Businesses

Household Essentials TK10XL-1 Trash Krusher 50L, 50 Liter
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Do you run a small business and want to reduce your trips to the dumpster? Check out the Household Essentials TK10XL-1 Trash Krusher. It can reduce your waste volume by 50 percent.

Now you can cut your trips to the dumpster and your use of plastic bags by twice as much! It’s perfect for small businesses, as larger businesses would most likely need something with higher volume.

Why We Love It

11 Gallon Capacity

With this can, you get 11 gallons of capacity which is pretty generous on its own. But combine that with the compactor function and you suddenly have 22 gallons of space! You can use low-density 13-gallon bags to provide good security and space for all your waste.

Easy to Clean

The exterior is stainless steel which means it’s simple to clean. Any stains can easily be wiped off with soap and water. The inner bin is removable so you can take it outside to hose it down when it’s dirty.

Compact

If you want something both compact and aesthetic, this is the trash can for you. Its compact size makes it easy to store in any kitchen. Put it underneath a countertop or in the corner of the room where it will look unobtrusive and classy.

Keep In Mind

Compactor Comes Loose

If you open the lid and it hits the wall behind, the compactor top can come loose and fall into the trash. This is both super inconvenient and pretty gross to fish out of a dirty trash can.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding manual
Size17.5 x 14.6 x 25.5 inches
Reduction RatioTwo
Capacity11 gallons
OdorNo odor-fighting technology

7. Joseph Joseph Titan Trash Can Compactor

Best Manual Trash Compactor

Joseph Joseph 30036 Intelligent Waste Titan Trash Can Compactor, 8 gallon/30 liter, Stone
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Manual compactors are significantly cheaper than automatic ones. So if you want to save money but still get a quality manual compactor, the Joseph Joseph Titan is a top choice.

Plus, it’s hygienic so you never have to touch the dirty trash while you’re utilizing the compacting function. Lastly, it’s a free-standing unit so you can easily replace your regular trash can with this unit.

Why We Love It

Reduces Trash by 66 Percent

The Joseph Joseph Titan trash compactor reduces trash by 66 percent so you can create up to three times more space in your trash can. The eight-gallon trash can suddenly becomes a 24 gallon!

Odor Control

We recommend odor control in every kitchen, as food waste can create yucky smells. Especially if your food waste now sits in your kitchen for three times longer, it’s a good idea.

This compactor comes with odor control. The odor filter under the lid holds replaceable carbon filters so you can minimize foul odors.

Clean

Don’t worry about mess or needing to touch dirty trash with this compactor. Only the inside of the trash bags will touch the trash when you compact the waste. Plus, the anti-tear technology won’t stretch or tear the trash bags.

We recommend using the extra-strong IW4 custom-fit liners that are available alongside this compactor.

Keep In Mind

Trash Bags

If you use normal or high-density trash bags, they can easily rip and tear with this unit. The compacting function uses high pressure to lessen the waste volume. So it can easily destroy the bags which will leave you in a precarious (and messy) situation.

Additional Specs

TypeFreestanding manual
Size15.35 x 13.54 x 26.93 inches
Reduction RatioThree
CapacityEight gallons
OdorCarbon filters

Trash Compactor Comparison Chart

ProductBestTypeSizeReduction RatioCapacityOdor Control
KitchenAid Built-In Trash CompactorUnder the CounterBuilt-in34.1 x 15 x 24″Five1.4 cu ftCharcoal filter
The Step N Sort Compacting Trash CanBudgetFreestanding manual18.5 x 15.5 x 26.7″Three11 gal.None
Gladiator Freestanding Trash CompactorFreestandingFreestanding24 x 15 x 38″Four1.4 cu ftNone
Whirlpool Convertible Trash CompactorConvertibleFreestanding24 x 15 x 34″Four1.4 cu ftNone
Joseph Joseph Titan Trash Can CompactorPortableFreestanding manual13.54 x 11.89 x 26.93″Three5.3 gal.Carbon filters
Household Essentials Trash KrusherSmall BusinessesFreestanding manual17.5 x 14.6 x 25.5″Two11 gal.None
Joseph Joseph Titan Trash Can CompactorManualFreestanding manual15.35 x 13.54 x 26.93″Three8 gal.Carbon filters
Jump to the Full Trash Compactor Reviews

Trash Compactor FAQs

Do Trash Compactors Need Special Bags?

Yes, you’ll need to look for low-density, heavy-duty trash compactor bags. We recommend getting the ones recommended for your chosen machine to avoid inconvenience.

Trash compactors use high pressure so you need a bag that’s been designed to withstand this. Compactor trash bags can carry more weight than everyday trash bags.

Can You Put Food in a Trash Compactor?

Most food can go in a trash compactor, but not raw meat, fish or tough fruit peel like that from a grapefruit. You also shouldn’t put liquid in your trash compactor. That includes juice, oil, fat, and grease.

Can Trash Compactors Crush Cans?

Most trash compactors can crush aluminum cans quickly and easily. This saves space in your trash compactor.

How Do You Clean a Trash Compactor?

We recommend cleaning your trash compactor every couple of weeks to keep it in the best condition and avoid rotting food.

  • Turn off the power: Always disconnect your trash compactor before cleaning. Unplug it if possible.
  • Remove the trash bag: Take out the trash bag and remove any bits of food that have snuck underneath the bag. Wear protective gloves while doing this. You can also use a vacuum cleaner if you’d rather.
  • Clean: Mix together warm water and a few drops of dish soap in a spray bottle. Spray the entire interior of the trash compactor and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  • Scrub: Using a clean damp cloth, scrub the inside of the trash compactor, removing dirt, buildup and stains.
  • Dry: With another cloth, thoroughly dry the interior to minimize the risk of mold and mildew buildup.

If you have drawers or rams, now’s the time to clean those, too. Just make sure not to dampen any electrical parts of your compactor.

How Do I Know If My Trash Compactor Is Full?

Visually, you can tell when it’s full. Plus, some compactors have an alert system or a sensor to tell you when it’s time to change the bag.


Tackle the Trash

A great trash compactor can minimize your waste volume. So you can go longer between trips to the dumpster and save on plastic bags.

Our top recommendation is the KitchenAid Built-In Trash Compactor. It’s especially good if you want something that’s anti-jam and quiet.

We also recommend the Step N Sort Compacting Trash Can. It’s the most affordable option on our list, but it’s still one of the best.

Lastly, check out the Gladiator Freestanding Trash Compactor if you want something you can use hands-free.

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About the Author

Beth McCallum

Beth McCallum is a 20-something freelance writer & book blogger with a degree in creative writing, journalism and English literature. Beth firmly believes that a tidy house is a tidy mind. She is always looking for new ways to sustainably clean and tidy her house, that's kind on the environment but effective in the house, too!
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