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Which car trash can is best?

Few things beat driving in a clean car, but life happens — and so does garbage. Car trash cans keep the mess to a minimum so you can drive in a clean, stress-free vehicle.

Car trash cans are small receptacles that hold a fair amount of garbage, including full-size bottles, food wrappers and everything in between. Many of them have odor-trapping or leakproof designs, while others have built-in storage to hold spare trash bags. If you’re looking for a heavy-duty car trash can, the Carbage Can Premium Car Trash Can is the top choice. 

What to know before you buy a car trash can

What can I put inside a car trash can?

Car trash cans are ideal for disposing of bottles, food wrappers, tissues and even diapers. However, most of these items take on odors when left inside cars for prolonged periods. As a result, it’s a good idea to empty car trash cans often, if not daily, so neither odors nor bacteria fester inside them. 

Where to put a car trash can

Most car trash cans are designed for specific locations inside vehicles. They’re often installed somewhere close to the driver’s seat, so they’re easily reachable but still out of the way. Behind-the-seat car trash cans are among the most popular designs, followed by those that fit next to center consoles. 

Other uses for car trash cans

Some individuals invest in car trash cans and don’t use them for garbage at all. Instead, their unique designs are ideal for holding toys, auto accessories, documents and snacks. Generally speaking, they’re practical car storage options that are sometimes more affordable and useful than backseat car organizers

What to look for in a quality car trash can

Closure style

Many car trash cans have some form of closure, whether it’s a lid, magnetic edges or rubber opening. These closures seal off contents and, in turn, may prevent spills and control odors. As expected, it’s a favorite feature among buyers, including those embarking on longer drives and may not be able to empty their car trash can as often as they’d like. 

Attachment style

Most car trash cans attach to seats, center consoles or floor mats to prevent contents from spilling. These attachments are usually elastic, Velcro or drawstring, which means they offer an adjustable fit that accommodates several types of vehicles. 

However, some buyers caution that just because a car trash can is advertised as universally compatible won’t necessarily mean that is it. In fact, some of these trash cans may not fit newer vehicles with updated designs.  

Leakproof designs

It’s no secret that most people drink in their cars, which is why bottles and coffee cups are among the most common types of car trash. To keep spills and leaks to a minimum, many car trash cans have waterproof linings that catch stray liquids. Additionally, when spills do occur, these linings can be wiped or hosed down for easy cleaning. 

Bag compatibility

Many car trash cans are designed to be used with plastic bags, which makes for quick and easy emptying. Some of these have clips or bands that secure plastic bags as well. As far as bag compatibility is concerned, most car trash cans fit standard-size grocery store plastic bags. 

How much you can expect to spend on a car trash can

Smaller car trash cans start at $8, whereas more spacious options that hold a few bottles cost closer to $15. The most expensive car trash cans, including many larger styles, cost between $18-$30. 

Car trash can FAQ

Why do some people use two car trash cans?

A. Some people opt for two car trash cans so they can separate specific types of garbage, such as trash and recyclables or paper and plastic. Others have a second car trash can to dispose of specific types of trash, such as diaper-changing products or baby food containers. 

How do I clean my car trash can?

A. It depends on the materials. Some car trash cans made from waterproof materials are meant to be wiped down to clean, while others are machine-washable. Plastic trash cans can be hosed down or soaked. Most car trash cans can be sanitized with antibacterial sprays as well. 

What are the best car trash cans to buy?

Top car trash can

Carbage Can Premium Car Trash Can

Carbage Can Premium Car Trash Can

What you need to know: This open-top trash can is larger than most, making it a popular investment for carpooling and road trips. 

What you’ll love: This trash can comes with a band that secures bags to prevent spills and other mishaps. It’s equipped with floor mat clips so it won’t tilt over during high speeds or sharp turns. For even more convenience, the trash can has onboard bag storage. 

What you should consider: Because there is no lid, it’s easy for odors to permeate the cabin. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top car trash can for the money

Knodel Car Trash Can

Knodel Car Trash Can

What you need to know: Besides being affordable and practical, this car trash can has a few storage compartments. 

What you’ll love: This popular design features a rubber lid that controls spills and odors. It’s lined with waterproof materials and has a rugged Oxford polyester shell. At nearly 11 inches deep, it’s tall enough to hold full-size bottles and cans. 

What you should consider: Some buyers said the trash can was not compatible with their vehicle’s console. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best HOTOR Car Trash Can

HOTOR Car Trash Can

What you need to know: A compact option, this car trash can fits neatly in the seat pockets, in the gaps or car door.

What you’ll love: With a slender design, the trash can is ideal for smaller cars. It has secure magnetic closures that prevent contents and odors from escaping. The trash can is compatible with most grocery store plastic bags.  

What you should consider: The trash can becomes bulky and cuts into leg room when it’s filled. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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

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