Are Trash Compactors Worth the Money? (Pros and Cons)

When you want your home to be more environmentally friendly, one easy way to make it happen is to get a trash compactor. Although it doesn’t reduce the amount of garbage you produce, it significantly reduces the size of the waste.

Trash compactors are expensive when compared to a standard trash can. You can expect to pay anywhere from $700 to $2000 for a home hydraulic trash compactor, having a trash compactor professionally installed can run you anywhere from $150 up to $250.

What Is A Trash Compactor?

Simply put, a trash compactor is a hydraulic trashcan. It works by crushing up waste so that it takes up less room in a landfill. Once the waste has been crushed up, it is deposited into a special bag attached to the compactor.

There are only a few parts needed in order for a compactor to operate properly. Those parts are the metal ram, the bin, and the switch. The metal ram is responsible for crushing the trash placed in it. Trash is placed into the bin and the switch allows you to turn the compactor on and off.

How Much Does A Trash Compactor Cost?

The average price of a basic model trash compactor is $890. However, this can vary depending on the features a particular trash compactor has. These features often prevent leaks from occurring and mask the odors of typical household trash. This is accomplished through the use of a charcoal filter and/or an air freshener system.

Overall, the national average price for a trash compactor is approximately $1,400. While installations are usually priced between $150 and $250, as mentioned before, the price could be higher or lower depending upon the market where you live. It also varies from one retailer to the next.

For example, both Home Depot and Lowe’s currently sell compactors for anywhere from $729 to $1649. When it comes to installation, Home Depot will refer you to a professional who can install it. How much you will pay for the installation depends on the zip code you live in.

Are Trash Compactors Really Worth It?

Trash compactors are really only worth it for certain homeowners. I like to consider them a secondary appliance, meaning it is not as necessary as a dishwasher for example. For many homeowners, they are the best way to keep trash from piling up in the house. If you have the money to justify reducing the trash footprint in your home, then a trash compactor is worth it to you.

The Pros And Cons Of Trash Compactors


One pro of having a trash compactor is that it is convenient. Having one in your home means less frequent trips to your outdoor garbage can. Compactors can hold much more trash at once than the typical trashcan ever could. And if you live in an apartment building, you will likely appreciate fewer trips to the dumpster when you have a trash compactor to rely on.

Another pro is that the machine will condense trash neatly. The typical trash compactor bag can hold as many as six compressed bags of trash at once. Its ability to compress waste will even save you money if you find yourself paying for your trash to be picked up.

The installation and use of a compactor is fairly easy and straightforward. Disposing of trash is as simple as opening the door, placing the trash in the compactor, and closing the door.


Some of your trash may not be suitable for disposal in a compactor. Any item made of glass, including jars and bottles, have to be disposed of differently.

It is also important to note that compressed bags can weigh as much as 50 pounds. If this is more than you can lift, you will encounter problems with your disposal.

You may also find that a compactor takes up too much space in your counter. Generally, when you have a compactor, you have to sacrifice enough counter space to have room for it. This can be a huge drawback in a small kitchen.

In addition, the average lifespan of a compactor is only between five and 10 years. During those years you may find it needing maintenance or even repairs.

Affordable Trash Compactor Alternative?

Household Essentials Trash Krusher

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If you are searching for a trash compactor but you are on a budget then the Household Essentials Trash Krusher is a great alternative option. It is not a hydraulic compactor, it is a manual compactor. It has a handle on top that you can press down with yourself. Since it has no special hydraulic system it significantly reduces in price when compared to full-sized trash compactor options.

Trash Compactor FAQs

What can you put in a trash compactor?

A trash compactor can be used for hard plastics, most types of metal, and soft waste (household trash.) When throwing out messy foods, it helps to place part of a folded newspaper overtop them. This ensures the power ram doesn’t get as dirty as it would otherwise.

Do trash compactors need special bags?

Yes, you will need to purchase special bags for your trash compactor. This is because the bags you use must be capable of withstanding the pressure the compactor will put on them. They also must be able to support the weight of the trash in the bag. Standard bags are never strong enough for this. This is the reason why trash compactor bags have a different design.

How many types of trash compactors are there?

Trash compactors come in three different types; convertible, freestanding, and under the counter. Many homeowners prefer freestanding compactors because the top of them can also be used as counter space.

Others prefer an under-the-counter compactor because it can be installed where a dishwasher would sit. For those who want the flexibility of either of these types, a convertible trash compactor is an ideal choice.