If you’re a fan of the long-haul road trip, then you know the value of stopping as infrequently as possible in order to reach your destination in good time. But spending more time on the road than in parking lots means bringing food and drink in the car with you. And while fluid consumption is most often associated with bathroom breaks, it also contributes to an accumulation of trash that you must dispose of to keep your car from turning into an awful mess before you’re even halfway to where you’re heading.
We’ve all tried the trick of stashing everything into a plastic bag, but it inevitably ends up under someone’s feet and generates complaints. And for obvious reasons, tossing your trash out the window is a major no-no. If you’re looking for a way to keep your car neat during your next long-distance drive, we’ve got great suggestions for you in the form of car trash cans. These come in all shapes and sizes, from tiny ones that are great for the odd gum or snack wrapper to larger receptacles that can hold a whole day’s worth of fast-food wrappers.
Whatever type of car trash can you need, read on for our recommendations of the best ones you can buy.
For more information on the best car trash cans, prefer to our table of contents.
Table of contents
- 1. Editor’s Pick: EPAuto Waterproof Car Trash Can
- 2. Best Floor-Mounted Car Trash Can: Carbage Can
- 3. Most Stylish: Lusso Gear Hanging Garbage Bin
- 4. Best for Small Cars: OUDEW Mini Car Trash Cans
- 5. Best on a Budget: Power Tiger Hanging Trash Can/Organizer
- 6. Best Dual-Purpose Design: Drive Auto Car Trash Can/Cooler Combo
- 7. njnj Waterproof Car Trash Can
- 8. YIOVVOM Cupholder Car Trash Can
- 9. Ryhpez Car Trash Can
- 10. Liteland Car Trash Can
- How much does size matter in a car trash can?
- What features are worth looking for in a car trash can?
- Where should I place my car trash can?
1. Editor’s Pick: EPAuto Waterproof Car Trash Can
If you’re looking for a car trash can to take along on your next road trip, put this EPAuto product on your shopping list. This trash can boasts a two-gallon capacity, so you won’t have to worry about it being full after your first snack stop. It also has a waterproof interior to keep sticky soda can leftovers from leaking onto your car’s interior. Plus, it has a lid with a cinched opening that allows easy access while also keeping items from falling out as it gets full.
Other useful design tricks are Velcro-type fasteners on the bottom to attach the trash can to your car’s floor, and stiffened sides to keep it upright. If you want to line the can with a plastic bag, you can use its side handles to fix the bag in place. There are three exterior pockets for stowing packs of tissues or hand wipes.
EPAuto says you can install this trash can in a variety of places in your vehicle, using the adjustable strap to hang the can from a front-seat headrest, glove box door, or center console.
2. Best Floor-Mounted Car Trash Can: Carbage Can
If we could give a car trash can an award for the cleverest name, the Carbage Can would win it, hands-down. But there’s more to this product than just a catchphrase. The Carbage Can is a design that’s notable for its simplicity. At first glance, it looks like any small trash can you might have at your desk or in your bathroom. But it’s what you can’t readily see that makes it stand out.
This car trash can comes with a clip that attaches to one of your car’s floor mats. You then secure the can to the clip, which uses the weight of the floor mat to keep the can from tipping over while you drive. You can also install the clip in the gap between your rear seat cushion and backrest. All that’s missing from the Carbage Can’s design is a lid to hide your trash away.
What the Carbage Can does have are storage nooks inside for more can liners, and a strap that holds your garbage bag in place so that it doesn’t slide down with the weight of what’s in it.
3. Most Stylish: Lusso Gear Hanging Garbage Bin
Lusso Gear makes our list of the best car trash cans with this attractive product, which evokes the look of a rugged hiking backpack. Not only does it appear well-made, but it also comes in an interesting range of colors to match various vehicle interiors. The solid colors available are black, grey, tan, and brown, and you can also get a black one with red stitching.
Lusso Gear says its trash can’s straps let you hang it from the usual seatback, glove box, and console locations, plus you can also mount it on the inside of a door panel. Another plus is this trash can’s large size, which allows for 2.5 gallons of interior volume—enough to keep you and your friends going a few miles longer before you need to make a pit stop.
Lusso Gear says its trash can has a removable leakproof vinyl liner, but there are also hooks to hold a plastic bag in place instead. A flip-open lid keeps your trash tucked away, and there are useful side pockets where you can stash small items.
4. Best for Small Cars: OUDEW Mini Car Trash Cans
If you drive a small vehicle and you need a compact trash can that doesn’t take up much valuable space, here’s a handy option from OUDEW. This is a set of two mini car trash cans that are designed to fit in your vehicle’s cupholders, either those in the center console or the water bottle holders in your car’s doors.
These car trash cans are tall and slim, so obviously they’re not well-suited to bulky refuse. However, it’s a great solution for stashing away gum and candy bar wrappers until the next time you have access to a larger garbage can. One of its neatest features is the spring-loaded lid: push down on it to insert your trash, and it flips back up to the closed position to keep your garbage from spilling out. Plastic construction means you can easily clean out this trash can with soap and water.
And if you only need one of these trash cans for your car, OUDEW suggests using the other as a desktop garbage receptacle or to store small items in your kitchen or bathroom.
5. Best on a Budget: Power Tiger Hanging Trash Can/Organizer
Here’s a low-priced solution from Power Tiger for keeping your car’s interior tidy. This product has a lot in common with other car trash cans we’ve included on this list, but its design differs in two ways: It’s less expensive, and for that lower price, you get a no-frills option.
Power Tiger’s car trash can has an adjustable strap you can use to hang the can from a headrest, center console, or shift lever. There’s no lower strap, however, so you can’t secure the can against swinging or sliding around as you drive. Power Tiger says its trash can is water- and leak-proof, with an easy-to-clean inner lining. However, we suggest you insert a plastic garbage bag for easier disposal and cleanup.
Despite its simplicity, you can also use this trash can as an organizer to keep supplies contained in your trunk or back seat. You could also tuck in a few drink cans or bottles with ice to keep them chilled for a road trip or picnic; just make sure you secure it against tipping over and spilling ice everywhere.
6. Best Dual-Purpose Design: Drive Auto Car Trash Can/Cooler Combo
Straight from the as-seen-on-TV files comes this Drive Auto car trash can, which has apparently become quite popular thanks to an aggressive advertising campaign. Let’s see what it has to offer that the other products on our list don’t have.
This is a two-gallon, open-top garbage can that, like many others on this list, you can hang from your seatback or center console, so it meets that basic flexibility threshold. It also has insulated sides so that you can use it as a small cooler. Drive Auto says its garbage can is waterproof—which is great when you use it for cooler duty—and it comes with pre-sized plastic bags to keep your trash from making a mess of the inside of the can.
There are clips on the side you can use to hold the plastic liner in place, too. Note that you can buy refills of the plastic bags, or you could simply use a plastic grocery bag. However, the key thing missing is a lid to keep your garbage hidden away until you can empty it into a roadside rubbish bin.
7. njnj Waterproof Car Trash Can
Next up we have an impressive-looking product for you to consider from njnj. This car trash can follows a pretty standard formula to provide a convenient way to store refuse in your vehicle until you can dispose of it properly. This is one of the largest trash cans we found when putting together this list. It measures 13-inches tall, 9.5-inches wide and about six-inches deep, a size that allows a generous 2.7 gallons (0.36 cubic feet) of interior volume to let you keep driving longer before you have to worry about finding a roadside garbage can.
As with most of the other trash cans on this list, njnj’s promises a waterproof lining, and there’s a lid to keep your trash and its odor contained. You can also use this trash can for on-the-road storage: the lid can be locked to keep passers-by from taking a peek at what’s inside.
A strap lets you hang this trash can from a headrest or secure it to the center console, and you can use the lower tether and hook to help hold it in place while your car is moving. There are numerous exterior pockets for stashing wipes and tissues, and the entire thing folds away when you’re done with it.
8. YIOVVOM Cupholder Car Trash Can
If you’re on the lookout for a compact trash can solution, here’s an option for you from YIOVVOM. Like other mini trash cans found on our list, this one is designed to fit in one of your vehicle’s cupholders or in the door-mounted bottle holder. This one stands out for its availability in different colors—black, red, blue, grey, and yellow—so you get the opportunity to add a bit of style to your car’s cabin while also keeping it tidy.
The colored cover comes off to make it easier to empty the trash can, and the cover itself has a spring-loaded flap that swings shut to help contain your trash and any unwanted smells.
If you’re a smoker, YIOVVOM says you can use its compact trash can as an ashtray if you add some water to it first. This product can also do double duty as a tiny household or desktop trash receptacle.
9. Ryhpez Car Trash Can
Here is yet another car trash can that promises ease of use and versatile placement in your vehicle. Ryhpez’s design is a boxy trash can with all the features you’ve come to expect after reading about the products higher up on this list. This car trash receptacle would have placed higher if only it brought something original to the table.
That’s not to say you won’t find this to be a perfectly useful garbage can. Its 1.85-gallon capacity is smaller than the average, but we think its square shape should accommodate more trash than that modest measurement suggests. You get a lid to keep your trash contained, and you don’t have to flip it up to deposit more refuse. The interior is waterproof and easy to clean, and there are clips on the side to secure a plastic bag if you prefer to use one.
When trash is not a concern, you can use this product as a car organizer. And if you don’t need it at all, you can fold it up and put it away until your next road trip.
10. Liteland Car Trash Can
From Liteland comes a simple, versatile product that promises a two-gallon capacity, and has a leakproof inner lining to keep liquid spills from soiling your car’s upholstery. Liteland says you can also use this container as a cooler, but we would suggest lining it with a plastic bag before you add ice.
Liteland’s design lacks fasteners on the bottom, so it won’t stay upright as reliably as some other hard-sided trash cans. However, you can use the included elastic strap to help hold the can in place if you hang it from a front-seat headrest. The adjustable top strap is also designed to let you hang this can from the rear of the center console or the glove box.
One bonus of Liteland’s design is that you can fold this trash can down for easy storage when you don’t need it. A removeable lid keeps your trash hidden away. Alternatively, you can also use this container as a car interior organizer.
How much does size matter in a car trash can?
As with so many products, we suggest you answer this by considering your specific trash collection needs. If you frequently travel with a family, you’ll obviously need a larger garbage can than if you mostly drive on your own.
Also, consider the size of your vehicle. A large trash can that initially seems quite useful becomes inconvenient if you drive a small car and have passengers riding along.
What features are worth looking for in a car trash can?
We think it’s worth choosing one that has a lid. These trash cans keep unsightly garbage hidden away until you can dispose of it, and the lid also helps contain unpleasant odors.
Look for one that has outside pockets for storing small items. If you’re buying a garbage can because you often eat on the go, it’s nice to have a convenient place to stash a few clean napkins or hand wipes.
Most car trash cans have easy-clean interiors, but if you prefer to line the can with a plastic bag, look for a container with clips on the outside to which you can fasten the bag’s handles so you don’t have to dig them out of a day’s worth of garbage.
Where should I place my car trash can?
This is a consideration that deserves your attention. Many of the options we recommend have straps that let you hang them from a front-seat headrest, the glove box, or off the back of a center console. But what if none of those places is actually convenient for you and how you use your car?
That’s why one of our recommendations is the Carbage Can. Because it clips to a floor mat, it’s really only designed to rest on your car’s floor, but we think that’s actually a clever solution, especially in a small car, where a hanging trash can may take up a lot of otherwise useful cabin space.
One final note is that in the case of many of the hanging trash cans on our list, their manufacturers suggest looping the strap over your vehicle’s shift lever so that the garbage bin rests in the front passenger footwell. We don’t think that’s a good idea as it can interfere with your operation of the transmission and distract your attention from the road.
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