The Best Small Trash Cans for Your Room or Office

shiny silver small trashcan with lid and step to open it hands-free; in a bathroom

Whether you are furnishing your new office or moving into your first dorm room, buying a small trash can is an essential part of keeping your space clean and organized. They won’t take up valuable floor space or legroom and allow you to keep your trash can right in your line of sight. Never again will you have to worry about tossing a piece of garbage into the trash can, missing the rim, and having to pick it up or, worse, leaving a stain behind. They’re also great options for tight spaces like RVs and campers. Like regular-sized trash cans, desktop models come in a variety of colors, sizes, shapes, and styles, so you can easily pick one that matches the rest of your desk items. Here are some great options we have picked out for you.

What to Look for in a Trash Bin:

  • Size: You’ll want to make sure your new trash is the right size for what you need. For example, a 10-gallon can isn’t going to fit under your desk, and a half-gallon one might not be large enough to hold all the trash you need. Some models will also have wider bases than others, so you may want to measure your available desk space ahead of time in order to ensure you’re buying a trash can that is the right size. You may also want to avoid a trash can that is so tall you can’t see over the edge.
  • Lid: Another important thing to consider is whether the bin is open or if it has a lid. If you plan on throwing away any expirable materials, it’s probably a good idea to buy a covered trash can. Not only do lids help with undesirable smells but they can also help to prevent rogue garbage from spilling out of the trash can and onto your desk.
  • Durability: Since your new trash can is going to sit atop your desk, there’s always a chance it’ll accidentally get knocked off and fall onto the ground. As a result, you’ll want to ensure that your trash can is made of the sturdiest and most durable materials possible so it doesn’t break or shatter or dent if it falls off your desk. Look for desktop trash cans that are labeled as shatterproof or shatter-resistant, or are made of a material you know is reliably strong, like stainless steel.

Most Durable: mDesign Shatter-Resistant Rectangular Small Trash Can with Handles

At 10.75 x 5 x 10 inches, this compact, rectangular little trash can has a 1.5-gallon capacity and will fit easily atop desks, in cabinets, or in other small spaces. The strong, quality BPA plastic material is both chlorine-free and shatter-resistant, so you don’t have to worry about it breaking if it ever falls off your desk. The built-in handles make it easy to carry over to a bigger trash can for emptying. It’s also easy to clean to get rid of lingering stains or smells; simply wipe clean with a damp cloth. Available in 21 fun solid colors to best suit your style.

Most Durable

The Best Lidded Can: simplehuman Step Trash Can

If you’re looking for a trash can with a lid, the simplehuman step trash can is a great stainless-steel, hands-free product that will be a great addition to any room. The bin can hold 1.2 gallons of waste and is about 12 inches tall. The trash can has a foot pedal that lifts the lid and an inner bin that holds the bag in place.

The Best Lid Option

simplehuman 4.5 Liter / 1.2 Gallon Round Bathroom Step Trash Can, Brushed Stainless Steel

This trash can is a great hands-free bin that can hold up to 1.2 gallons of waste.

The Budget Choice: Umbra Small Garbage Can

If you’re just looking for a cheap option to keep your room a little tidier, the Umbra Small Garbage Can is cheap and gets the job done. It has a slim, unique design, but it can still hold up to 2 gallons of waste.

The Budget Choice


This garbage can is an inexpensive option with a modern design that will hold up to 2 gallons of trash.

Best Aesthetic: simplehuman Mini Countertop Trash Can

While any small trash can will serve well as a desktop or countertop wastebasket, this model was designed specifically for this task and looks great while doing it. At only 7.4 inches tall and 5 inches in diameter, it won’t take up much space on your desk, and it has a balanced revolving lid that lifts off easily for trash removal. It might be small, but it can still hold around half a gallon of waste, so it’s great for pencil shavings, tissues, old paper clips, and other similar items. The body is durable stainless steel that won’t rust, is easy to clean, and will hold up against accidental falls. The interior is made of a smooth plastic lining that is also a breeze to wipe clean. The exterior has a smudge-proof finish so you won’t leave your fingerprints all over the shiny body for a clean, more attractive look. Available in five different shimmery metallic colors.

Best Aesthetic

simplehuman 1.5 Liter / 0.4 Gallon Mini Countertop Trash Can, Rose Gold Stainless Steel

A shiny, metallic desktop trash can with a lid that will look great atop your desk.

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