The Best Trash Bags of 2018

By Kevin Oliver

It’s easy to underestimate the value of a great trash bag—that is, until you have to take out the trash with a weak, leaky bag. But even if you're sold on the necessity of a good trash bag, it's tough to know which ones are actually good. They don't come in sample sizes and it can take months to use up an entire box of whatever you bought.

Not to worry. We're here to help.

After hours of researching and testing trash bags from some of the most popular brands on the market, as well as some notable store brands, we’re confident we’ve found the best that money can buy. Our favorite Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection bags (available at Amazon for $14.98) are strong and flexible, making them perfect for hauling around a big pile of garbage. However, they're not the only option that can get the job done. These are our favorite trash bags, in order:

  1. Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection
  2. Hefty Ultra Strong
  3. Great Value Strong Flex
  4. Glad ForceFlex Plus
  5. Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech
  6. Hefty Strong
  7. Up & Up FlexGuard
  8. Glad Guaranteed Strong
  9. 365 Everyday Value
— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated May 15, 2018

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Best Overall Best Overall
Credit: Jess Rose Photography

Glad ForceFlexPlus Advanced Protection Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Glad
  • Editors' Choice

Where To Buy

$14.98 Amazon Buy

Glad ForceFlexPlus Advanced Protection Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Best Overall

The Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection has all the features that make a great trash bag, from ease of use, durability, flexibility, and pure strength.

The trash bag has a noticeably more substantial feel than most of the competition. During testing, it performed to perfection. The heavy-duty drawstrings closed with ease and made taking out the trash a piece of cake. As an added bonus, this bag was scented with Febreze, which significantly reduced the smell of the trash we placed inside.

When filled with heavy items, the Glad ForceFlex plus Advanced Protection fared the best of all of the products we compared. In one of our tests, the bag broke at 39 lbs, with a slight puncture developing after 20 large books were piled inside it. In another weight test, the bag withstood 45 lbs before giving out.

This bag also stood out clearly as our top pick because of its flexible design, useful drawstrings, and pure strength. We simply couldn’t find a better trash bag.

How We Tested

Hi, I'm Kevin Oliver. For several years, I've tested and reviewed all sorts of products for sites like Reviewed, BGR, Freshome, and TechRadar.

To find the best of the best in trash bags, we put each product through its paces in a series of practical tests. For starters, we used each trash bag in a real-life setting by putting it inside a 13-gallon trash can and using it throughout the week. We paid special attention to how easily the bag fit into the can, how it behaved when trash was piled into it, and how easy it was to tie up and take out.

How we tested trash bags
Credit: Jess Rose Photography
To test flexibility and strength, we filled trash bags with large, mostly hard-cover books.

To determine the relative strength of each bag, we designed two tests to push the limits of each bag until it broke. Our first test was to place circular weights in the base of each bag and lift the bag after every five pounds of added weight, noting how much weight we were able to add before breakage. For our second test, we put large books, many of which were hardcover, in the bag and weighed it until bag failure. This test allowed us to see how flexible each bag could be under pressure while we kept a careful lookout for any cuts or punctures caused by the books’ sharp corners.

Finally, we filled each bag with 16 ounces of water to see if it could handle a reasonable amount of liquid without leaking. All of the products on our list passed this test.


Other Trash Bags We Tested

Hefty Ultra Strong Trash Bags (Tall Kitchen Drawstring, 13 Gallon)

Hefty

Where To Buy

$12.72 Amazon Buy

Hefty Ultra Strong Trash Bags (Tall Kitchen Drawstring, 13 Gallon)

Hefty Ultra Strong is our runner-up and performed almost as well in testing as the Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection.

The Hefty Ultra Strong bag is scented with lavender and vanilla from Arm & Hammer, which prevents the odor of garbage from wafting through the house during use. It went into and out of the trash can with ease, and durable drawstrings made it easy to tie it up when full. However, although the drawstrings were strong and simple to tie, they didn’t hold weight quite as well as our top overall pick.

In our weight tests, Hefty Ultra Strong outperformed all but the overall winner. In fact, in our book test, the Hefty bag outperformed our top pick, breaking after filled with 21 books weighing a total of 41 pounds. The bag offered superb flexibility, easily rising to the challenge of the sharp book edges. In our circular weight test, it began to give at 40 pounds and broke immediately at 45, giving the slight edge to our top pick.

Although it didn’t quite match up to the Glad ForceFlex Plus Advanced Protection, it got about as close as possible and is certainly a trash bag worth trying.

Great Value Strong Flex Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, Unscented, 13 Gallon

Walmart

Where To Buy

$6.98 Walmart Buy

Great Value Strong Flex Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, Unscented, 13 Gallon

Walmart’s Great Value brand offers a thick and flexible bag that doesn't budge when filled with trash. When subjected to regular daily use, the bag held its own with our top two picks, albeit without the extra odor-guarding feature. The drawstrings are sturdy for a store brand, but they can't withstand as much weight as our top pick. The bag broke at 40 lbs when filled with circular weights and 37 lbs when filled with books.

Glad ForceFlexPlus

Glad

Where To Buy

$12.60 Amazon Buy

Glad ForceFlexPlus

Glad ForceFlex Plus trash bags are very similar to our top pick, but don't quite have the same carrying capacity. Still, these bags are among the best on the market.

Like our top pick, the Glad ForceFlex Plus offers odor protection from Febreze that traps the smell of garbage inside the bag. During regular use, this bag performed its duties perfectly and felt very similar to our overall winner. The drawstrings were strong and didn’t give under pressure of regular trash. In our weight tests, the bag broke at 38 pounds of books and 40 pounds of circular weights, making this one of the strongest bags we examined.

Glad ForceFlex Plus trash bags are slightly less durable than the winning Glad ForeceFlex Plus Advanced Protection, but they're also a little cheaper. If that’s a worthwhile trade-off for you, these bags are certainly worth trying.

Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech Kitchen Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Kirkland

Where To Buy

$16.99 Costco Buy

Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech Kitchen Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

When you shop at Costco, you’re generally buying in bulk, which means you're making a risky assumption that you'll like the product enough to own a massive supply. Costco’s store brand Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech trash bags are probably worth the risk, though. During day-to-day use, these bags withstood any trash we threw at them and had plenty of give for bulkier items. In our weight testing, they didn’t break until it contained 34 pounds of books or 35 pounds of circular weights.

Hefty Strong Trash/Garbage Bags (Kitchen Drawstring, 13 Gallon)

Hefty

Where To Buy

$12.02 Amazon Buy

Hefty Strong Trash/Garbage Bags (Kitchen Drawstring, 13 Gallon)

Hefty’s baseline product is its Strong trash bag, which performed well in testing but ultimately wasn't as good as the Hefty Ultra Strong.

The Hefty Strong bag doesn’t feel as flexible as most of the competition, but it actually has a good amount of give. When subjected to regular daily use, it was a perfectly competent bag that held trash well and fastened tightly at the drawstrings. In our weight testing, the bag broke at 32 lbs of books and 35 lbs of circular weights.

Up & Up FlexGuard Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Up and up

Where To Buy

$8.99 Target Buy

Up & Up FlexGuard Tall Kitchen Drawstring Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Target’s trash bags are sturdy, but ultimately not as impressive as some of the other store brand bags on our list. In our subjective testing, the Target bag went in and out of the trash can with ease and held trash well, though the drawstrings weren’t as strong as some of the other bags we looked at. In our weight tests, the Up & Up bags fared decently, breaking at 35 lbs in our circular weight test and 32 lbs in our book test. Although the bags are flexible, the corners of the heavy books tore right through the bags.

If you're a Target loyalist, you can grab these, but don't expect perfection.

Glad Guaranteed Strong Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Glad

Glad Guaranteed Strong Trash Bags, 13 Gallon

Glad’s baseline product is the Guaranteed Strong trash bag, which is fine but doesn’t quite offer the flexibility or strength of the other Glad products we tested.

During our practical usage, this bag got the job done without any fuss. Like most of the bags on this list, the Glad Guaranteed Strong bag includes drawstrings for easy closure. We found them sturdy, making it easy to take out the trash. However, when it came to the weight tests, this bag didn’t fare as well as the other Glad products, breaking at 30 lbs with both books and circular weights. Regardless, the Glad Guaranteed Strong bag should get the job done so long as you're not filling it with anything too heavy or sharp, and it's a bit more affordable than the other Glad bags.

365 Everyday Value Tall Drawstring Kitchen Bags, 13 Gallon

365 everyday value

Where To Buy

$2.99 Amazon Buy

365 Everyday Value Tall Drawstring Kitchen Bags, 13 Gallon

Whole Foods’ 365 Everyday Value bags didn't hold as much weight as most of the other bags we tested, breaking at 30 lbs for both books and round weights. That said, flexibility is decent, and the easy-to-handle drawstrings make for a tight top seal. Don't avoid them if you see them at Whole Foods, but don't go out of your way to pick them up.

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