Trash Compactor or Not? Weighing the Pros and Cons

While redesigning my kitchen a few months ago, my wife and I had to make a decision to keep our trash compactor or get rid of it to make room for more cabinet space. We’ve noticed a lot of newer homes don’t have compactors installed in the kitchens anymore, so I did some quick research on the pros and cons of owning one. I hope this helps you make the same decision, too.

A trash compactor helps homeowners compress their trash so that it occupies less space. This appliance is specifically designed to fit under a kitchen’s countertop.

The device was very popular not long ago, but now there aren’t many homes in which it can be seen. Its popularity was more like a trend than a consequence of its usefulness. There is a reason for this and analyzing the pros and cons of using it could provide an answer. Homeowners surely want to know if such an appliance is worth the money.

Pros Of Owning A Trash Compactor

The first advantage of a trash compactor can be its convenience. Homeowners will make fewer trips to the garbage can because more trash will fit in a bag. If a compactor is not used, trash can rapidly pile up inside your kitchen trash can.

trash compactor internal diagram

The compression is done in a neat way and there is no mess created. Up to six compressed bags of trash can fit inside a regular bag. Taking trash outside every day will become unnecessary in this way. A lot of time and money can be saved. Fewer trash bags will have to be bought and used. Homeowners will be able to help save the environment as a consequence.

Compressed trash will not fill your trash can so fast. People who normally use two or three trash cans can now use just one. It will be enough for regular needs. A compactor is easy to install and use. All that its owners have to do is open the door, place the trash inside and then close the door. The final step is turning “on” the device from a button. There is an electric motor inside the device and this motor presses the trash. Convenience is one of the most important advantages of the appliance.

Cons Of Owning A Trash Compactor

trash compactor modern homeEven if the trash will occupy less space when people use a compactor, there are special bags needed for this type of appliance. This means that shopping for special bags will have to be considered. Another problem is that not all trash can go into the compactor. Because of this, there is a need for additional waste disposal options. Placing bottles, jars and glass items into the compactor is very dangerous. The device can be damaged if people do this.

Another drawback is the weight of a compressed trash bag. It can reach even fifty pounds, so elders and children may have difficulties carrying it. The trash can will also be heavier. A trash compactor can work for five to ten years and may require maintenance. The device also requires space in the kitchen that people may want to use for cabinets. The smell still remains an issue even if most compactors have deodorizers.


From all the pros and cons of using a trash compactor, it seems that it can be a coin toss re. whether to buy one or not. The choice is up to each homeowner and depends upon the preferences of and lifting capability of the people in the home.

typical home trash compactor

We chose not to replace ours.  I suspect the reason you don’t see compactors much in homes anymore has to do with the popularity of recycling (which requires separating your garbage into like materials), not necessarily the drawbacks of the device itself.

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