LAST UPDATED: March 21, 2019
Best Car Trash Bags: Our Top Picks to Keep Your Car Fresh
Keep your car neat and tidy with the best car trash bags
The Review Team
How We Decided
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PUBLISHED ON March 21, 2019
Keeping your car neat and tidy can be a bit of a struggle. If you’ve got friends, colleagues, and, especially, kids as frequent passengers, a messy back seat and potentially sticky floor are just some of the things you might need to deal with. Not to fear, there is a quick and easy solution in the form of a car trash can. Read on to find out everything you need to know about the best car trash bags out there.
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All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Why Buy a Car Trash Bag?
- Less mess. The biggest benefit of having a car trash bag is you’ll have a designated place for wrappers, empty bottles, and other items that need to be disposed of, so you’ll never have to deal with a messy car again.
- Neat and tidy. If you’ve ever been embarrassed to offer a ride to your mom or boss because of that fast food container you’ve got sitting in the back seat, a car trash bag can make those worries a thing of the past.
- Extra storage space. Car trash bags often come with additional pockets on the outside of the container for storing small items like water bottles, juice boxes for the kids, or even snack packs. That makes them an ideal road trip companion to keep everything organized. Plus, you have the added bonus of a trash receptacle right where it’s needed the most.
- Sleek appearance. Sure, your car trash bag needs might be met with a conventional plastic bag or even a brown paper sack, but compare the overall look of those options to a sleek black car trash bag and you’ll know the difference. Not only do specially made auto garbage bags win in the design department, but they’re also much more functional.
- Contain the trash. Simply put, car trash bags excel at keeping trash in a place where it can’t cause an additional mess. Think about a time you used a plastic bag as a trash bag in your car. Chances are stuff fell out—auto trash bags don’t have that problem. Plus, you’ll be able to attach the bag securely somewhere it won’t be in the way.
Drive Auto Products
Headquartered in Byron Center, Michigan, Drive Auto Products has made a name for itself in the last decade. Making a variety of organizational products for your car, its car bins are some of the best on the market with their innovative liners. Top sellers include The Drive Bin and The Drive Bin XL.
High Road Organizers
Based in Portland, Maine, High Road Organizers is one of the top brands in the automotive organizer business. Its innovative designs and high-quality craftsmanship have been honed since its foundation in 1990. Some of its bestsellers are the StashAway Car Trash Can and the TrashStash Leakproof Trash Can.
Founded in 2016, EPAuto is quickly taking the automotive accessory market by storm. From its Walnut, California headquarters, it has been designing and improving a number of products, from air filters to car trash bags. Its most popular products include the Waterproof Car Trash Bin and the Lidded Car Trash Can.
- Under $10: At this price point, you’ll find a variety of basic bins that may or may not be water, leak, or spill-proof. If you’ve got kids, we recommend investing in a bin that has these features so you can avoid a sticky mess.
- $10-$20: A wide variety of premium-quality car trash bags are available in this range. Most of these will have a lid, a sturdy mounting mechanism, and leakproof.
- Over $20: If you’re looking for something that also doubles as an organizer, this price range will have what you’re searching for. Most models at this price are durable, well-designed, and aesthetically pleasing, making them worth the investment.
Keep your car and the earth clean from your trash.
Waterproof and Leakproof
The best models will be both waterproof and leakproof. Depending on the type, there will be either a removable liner or a permanent one that has to be spot cleaned. We recommend getting a model with a removable liner to make cleanup quick and easy. Plus, you’ll have another layer to protect against messy spills.
Check out the type of mounting system each car trash bag option has. Some tend to attach to the middle console with a simple strap, while a few have a more sophisticated and sturdier system. Other models attach to the back of a headrest using hooks or straps, while others still rely on being jammed between the middle console and a seat.
If you’re keen on keeping messes properly contained, a car trash bag with a lid is a must-have. Not only can a lid help keep smells at bay, but it can also keep messy trash where it belongs. Another plus is that a lid can hide the garbage, making your car appear neat and tidy.
- Size: Bigger bags hold more trash and larger items like bottles or cups. If you prefer going a long time without having to empty it, or if you go on long road trips, a larger car trash bag is the way to go. Keep in mind that these will be a bit bulkier overall, so if you’re short on space, consider a smaller model instead.
- Shape: An important consideration, especially if you have a small car with a cramped back seat, is its shape. A number of models feature a basic square or rectangular design that can be quite bulky, while others are higher but flatter, saving you some width. Others still are cylindrical in shape and take up the most space.
- Material: You’ll want something that’s easy to clean, especially if your model doesn’t have a removable liner. Waterproof vinyl materials are the most user-friendly, with other plastic-based materials coming in next. Velcro attracts a lot of dirt and crumbs, so it’s best to avoid models that use this material.
- Pockets: If you want your bin to double up as a storage space, pockets are the way to go. They’re also great to hold snacks for your kids on road trips and have the added benefit of being right next to the trash bag, keeping everything neat and tidy. We recommend mesh pockets as these are easy to use for kids and adults alike, and easy to clean.
Best Car Trash Bags Reviews & Recommendations 2020
The re-designed Drive Bin XL is one of the best automotive wastebaskets on the market. Its jumbo design is big enough for even the longest road trips with a car packed full of people. With a capacity of 3 gallons, it’s plenty big for holding your empty coffee cups and food wrappers, and the attached lid is rigid and closes securely with magnets. Large mesh pockets on both sides of the bin make for easy storage—keep extra liners or other useful items in them.
A ten-pack of custom-designed liners is included when you first buy this bin, but it also has the benefit of being sized to take regular plastic grocery bags as liners. Another plus is the liner clips into place using the patented liner clips, which means you won’t have to go fishing for a lost liner again.
The walls of this trash bag are also insulated, doubling up as a great cooler for snacks and drinks when not in use. Overall, this is a great pick thanks to its versatility and large size. It does have the downside, however, of collapsing a bit when placed on the floor since the sidewalls don’t have a lot of reinforcement.
The Zone Tech Universal Portable Trash Can is compact yet functional. It is made from first-rate materials and is very sturdy and durable. Once you get it, you’ll never have to worry about food and liquid spills, as it is leak-proof. It will hold your unwanted trash, tissues, wrappers, and much more. The string hook allows you to easily attach the bag to a headrest.
The great thing about this car trash bag is that you can also use it outside of your car. Get one for your home and use it as a storage bag for clothes or toys. Its collapsible design makes it very easy to store when it's not in use. The design also allows it to hold more stuff. It will keep your car clean and tidy.
But this car trash can is not devoid of shortcomings. It is very small and fills up very quickly, especially if you have kids. The string hook is quite flimsy and the trash can will lean forward when full. We also wish the manufacturer had attached the Velcro to the side, as it would be more useful.
This covered garbage bag is a space saver that’s also leakproof. Attaching to the center console, the unique StuffTop lid keeps the 1.5-gallon car garbage can covered, even while adding new trash, keeping odors under tight control. The durable vinyl lining keeps spills and stains off your interior and is super easy to clean—simply rinse or wipe.
Added storage pockets can hold anything from wipes to tissues and hand sanitizer. It also works well even with hinged center consoles, so it’s easy to reach for all passengers. The compact size makes it ideal for small and large cars alike, and the unique shape won’t intrude on your passengers’ leg room.
This is a high-quality trash can that easily converts into a storage organizer when not in use. We only found one downside with the design: It will not work well with some center consoles. In a small number of cars, the straps used to secure the StashAway interfere with the console’s closing mechanism.
- If you’ve got a standing car trash bag, consider adding a small weight to the bottom of the bin to prevent it from tipping over. A good solution to this is a small Ziploc bag filled with sand.
- Even if your car trash bag has a permanent liner, it’s a good idea to add another trash bag over it to keep things neat. It will also make cleaning out the car trash bag a lot easier, and you won’t have to spot clean sticky messes.
- Your car trash bag can double as a small car organizer when not in use as a bin. Simply make sure it’s clean before use and go ahead and organize your back seat with this great multifunctional item.
- If you’ve got small kids, it’s a good idea to keep the trash bag out of their reach. Otherwise, you might end up with a mess in the back of your car.
A little bit of organization can help prevent messes from growing inside your car.
Q: How much trash fits into one bag?
A: That depends a lot on the size of the bag you get. Some are extra-large and will fit quite a few bottles, wrappers, and other packaging. Others are on the smaller side and are really only designed for the occasional snack bar wrapper. If you know you’ll be using it a lot, invest in a bigger bag.
Q: Do litter bags contain garbage odors?
A: Yes and no. If you’ve got a car trash bag with a lid, chances are any smells will be at least somewhat trapped. That being said, we don’t advise storing anything super smelly in your car trash bag. They’re really only meant for food packaging, snack wrappers, and empty bottles and cans.
Q: Can I use any trash bag as a liner?
A: You definitely could, but keep in mind that the dimensions of random trash bags probably won’t match up to the dimensions of the car trash bag. That could lead to some messy (and sticky) situations. If your car trash bag is designed to be used with a liner, we suggest using the liners recommended by the manufacturer.
Our top pick is the High Road TrashStash Leakproof Trash Can. Its large size and sturdy design make it an ideal option for keeping your car neat and tidy.
If you’re looking for something a little more wallet-friendly, check out the Zone Tech Universal Portable Trash Can. It will keep your trash where it belongs.