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The Best Small Trash Cans

🕚 Updated February 2023

Whether you're 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. Here are some of our favorites to throw away your smaller items.

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  Top Choice Best with Lid Best with Pedal Most Compact Best Value Set
Plastic Small Trash Can
1.2-Gallon Round Trash Can
Small Metal Lidded Trash Can
Mini Trash Can with Lid
4-Pack of Plastic Wastebaskets
Our SummaryThis slim trash can fits well in small spaces like tight corners and under cabinets.This sleek stainless-steel trash makes a statement for any bathroom.This stylish compact trash can features a lid, foot pedal, and 24 color options.This miniature trash can fits perfectly on a desk or countertop for convenient waste disposal at your fingertips.Accommodate your office space with this four-pack of plastic trash cans.
Pros✓ Perfect for small spaces
✓ Built-in handles for easy transport
✓ Durable
✓ Easy to clean
✓ Removable inner bucket
✓ Back-up bucket available
✓ Nonskid base
✓ Stainless steel with a durable finish
✓ Shatter-resistant interior liner bucket
✓ Compact design
✓ Lid and step pedal
✓ Available in 24 styles and colors
✓ Tiny trash can for table or desktop
✓ Easy access convenience
✓ Hides trash bag for neater look
✓ Durable and effective
✓ Classic style
✓ Economical
✓ Multipurpose
Cons✗ May be smaller than expected✗ Very small capacity✗ Can close loudly✗ Lid clasp can break with repeated use✗ Seven-gallon capacity takes up more space
✗ Four trash cans may not be needed at once
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The Best Small Trash Cans

A small stainless steel step trash can with a lid that's in a bathroom next to the vanity.

Buying Guide for Small Trash Cans

Small white trash can in corner of room.

Why buy a small trash can?

How else will you dispose of your used tissues, dryer lint, cotton swabs, gum wrappers, and other small items in your bathroom, laundry room, office, or bedroom? It’s important to establish a clean home or work environment. A small trash can helps you keep your spaces free of clutter and waste without taking up too much space.

What should you look for in a small trash can?

  • 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 to ensure you’re buying a trash can that’s the right size. You may also want to measure to make sure the trash can isn’t too tall for you to place things inside underneath your desk.
  • 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.
  • Foot Pedal: If you get a trash can with a lid, you may want to consider choosing a model that features a foot pedal. A pedal will allow you to open the lid without touching it and any germs hanging out on it. Having a trash can with a foot pedal can also come in very handy when your hands are full at the time you need to throw something away.

Are small trash cans durable?

If your new trash can is going to sit atop your desk or be placed near a walkway, there’s a chance it’ll accidentally get knocked over 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 that it doesn’t break or dent if it falls off your desk or gets knocked over. Look for trash cans that are labeled as shatterproof or shatter-resistant or made of a material you know is reliably strong, like stainless steel.

Our Picks for the Best Small Trash Cans

Top Choice

mDesign Plastic Small Trash Can

This slim trash can fits well in small spaces like tight corners and under cabinets.

Pros: The mDesign Plastic Small Trash Can is the perfect size for storing inside cabinets, underneath counters, below sinks, and in other small spaces. Its compact size is ideal for campers, dorm rooms, studios, and small apartments. The built-in handles make it easy to transport, so this versatile trash bin can be used in any room in your home. This small trash can is made of durable plastic and is easy to clean with a damp cloth.

Cons: Some found this trash can to be smaller than they expected. 

Bottom Line: If you are looking for a compact trash can that can fit easily in small spaces, this one is a good choice. It’s available in a generous 21 colors, so you can choose one that goes well with your room decor.


Best with Lid

simplehuman 1.2-Gallon Round Trash Can

This sleek stainless-steel trash can makes a statement for any bathroom.

Pros: The bin alone 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 trash bag in place. The inner bin is removable, making it much easier to dispose of your trash, and a replacement bin is available if the original one gets gunky after a while.

Cons: In terms of overall capacity, this trash can is on the lower end, which means that you will need to dispose of your garbage a lot more frequently. This can become tedious, especially if you have a busy schedule.

Bottom Line: If you’re looking for a trash can with a lid, this step trash can is a great stainless steel and hands-free product to contain your waste. It’ll look and work great in your bathroom.


Best with Pedal

mDesign Small Metal Lidded Trash Can

This stylish compact trash can features a lid, foot pedal, and 24 color options.

Pros: This trash can makes a statement with its modern profile and 24 fashionable styles and color options. The outside is made of strong stainless steel with a durable finish, while the interior liner bucket is made of shatter-resistant plastic with a metal handle. With its slim rectangular shape and compact design, this trash can is optimal for fitting inside cabinets, under counters, discreetly in corners, and in other small spaces. The lid keeps garbage contained, and the step pedal offers hands-free operation.

Cons: Although the product description mentions the lid being soft closing, the metal lid can loudly slam shut if you don’t make a conscious effort to close it slowly.

Bottom Line: This small trash can is designed to enhance your existing decor and offer a convenient and discreet way to store and contain waste, so you can keep things neat and tidy no matter how small your space is. 


Most Compact

SUBEKYU Mini Trash Can with Lid

This miniature trash can fits perfectly on a desk or countertop for convenient waste disposal at your fingertips.

Pros: The SUBEKYU Mini Trash Can with Lid is the perfect way to tidy your desk, counter, or tabletop. This ultra-compact desktop wastebasket measures a tiny 8.6 by 4.3 by 5.1 inches and has a capacity of 0.4 gallons, so you can use it anywhere you need to throw away small items—whether it’s from your work desk, kitchen countertop, or bathroom vanity set. The trash bag sits hidden under the trash can cover for a neater look, and it opens and closes with the touch of a finger.

Cons: The lid clasp can break after repeated use, so it may be best to open and close it carefully.

Bottom Line: Whether you need to toss food wrappers, tissues, or crumpled papers, this mini desktop trash can is a convenient option for easy-to-access waste disposal.


Best Value Set

Rubbermaid 4-Pack of Plastic Wastebaskets

Accommodate your office space with this four-pack of plastic trash cans.

Pros: This four-pack of durable trash cans will allow you to save money when you buy in bulk. The plastic structure is incredibly durable and resilient, ensuring you’ll get plenty of use out of these trash cans. You can easily fit them under a standard desk, and they also work well for bathrooms. They have the classic, simple “office trash can” appearance.

Cons: With a 7-gallon capacity, these trash cans will take up a lot more space, so make sure you have enough room for them. Moreover, not everyone will need four trash cans in one purchase.

Bottom Line: This four-pack offers you the right amount of value for the money you spend. If you need small trash cans at each desk inside your commercial office, this value pack is a great option.

Final Thoughts

If you need a trash can for your workspace, bathroom, laundry room, bedroom, or another smaller space, we’ve rounded up some great compact trash cans. There are multiple styles available, so think about your needs and your space, and check out our picks!

Desiree Bradshaw
Desiree Bradshaw is a freelance content writer from Memphis, TN with experience writing about e-commerce, RVing, and mental health. She received her BA in English with a concentration in professional writing from The University of Memphis. When she's not writing, she enjoys adventures as a full-time RVer with her husband Randy and spoiled lab mix Buddy. Read Full Bio »
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