It’s easy to underestimate the value of a great trash bag—that is, until you have to take out the garbage in a weak, leaky bag. Even if you're sold on the necessity of a good garbage bag, it's tough to know which to buy. As they don't come in sample sizes, trying out a new brand of trash bag could mean that you’re stuck using month’s worth of bags less than impressed with.
Fortunately, we're here to help.
After spending weeks researching and testing the most popular trash bags on the market, as well as some notable store brands, we’re confident the Glad ForceFlex Plus(available at Amazon) are the best option, for most people. They tie up easily and can accommodate large, heavy loads. If you're looking for something more budget-friendly, you'll want to check out the Solimo (available at Amazon). They're durable and you're getting a ton of bags in the box.
These are the best trash bags we tested:
Glad ForceFlex Plus Tall
Hefty Ultra Strong
Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech
Up & Up FlexGuard Tall
Great Value Tall
365 Everyday Value Tall
Glad Guaranteed Strong
Glad ForceFlexPlus Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags
The Glad ForceFlex Plus Tall trash bags are easy to use and come in a box of 68 bags.
During weight testing, the ForceFlex Plus was able to contain up to 35 pounds of dumbbells before it finally gave in and split open. The majority of the other trash bags in this guide tore open at 25 pounds or less. The bag’s ability to hold so much weight also speaks to its capacity to resist tearing when sharp-side objects are jammed into it. This resilience could mean the difference between you making it to the curb with your trash bag in one piece or, having it split open three steps out of your home, spewing garbage all over your front steps.
When the time came to take out the trash, we found these plastic drawstring trash bags pulled together in one smooth motion. Once tied, a tight seal was created which helped keep the unpleasant smell of the garbage inside of the bag from wafting through our kitchen.
Available exclusively for purchase online, Amazon’s Solimo Tall trash bags come in packages of 120: enough to keep most people from having to order more, for a good long time.
During our weight test, the Solimo was able to support 30 lbs of dumbells before tearing under its heavy load. Unlike our Best Overall pick, the Solimo bags are unscented. However, they were still able to hold in any icky smells while they were tied up to take to the curb.
I’m Georgia Kral, a journalist and professor. I’ve been testing products for Reviewed and other sites for a few years now. As a mother of two young kids, you’d be correct to assume a lot of garbage is produced in my house, including diapers! I know the importance of a good trash bag, which is why I decided to put these products through the wringer.
Kevin Oliver was the original tester and writer of this buying guide.
To find the best, we put each product in this guide through a series of practical tests. We focused our product testing on tall kitchen bags, as opposed to contractor bags or other sizes meant for lawn or heftier use.
First, we inserted each brand of bag into a 13-gallon trash can and used it as, well, a trash bag to toss garbage into, throughout the week. We specifically used 13-gallon trash bags because they're the most common size. We paid special attention to how easily each bag fit into our trash can, how difficult it was to tie while still in the can, and how hard it was to remove a full bag from the can once full and tied.
To determine durability, we turned to Reviewed’s chief scientist, David Ellerby, at our labs in Cambridge, MA. Dr. Ellerby tested the maximum weight capacity of each trash bag, by adding dumbbells to each bag in five-pound increments, until the bag finally surrendered under its load and broke. Most of the bags gave way under 30 pounds of weight. Others couldn’t hold more than 25 pounds.
What You Should Know About Buying Trash Bags
While not all trash bags are the same, you can expect certain characteristics to be present in each.
Size: If your trash bag hangs over the receptacle by four inches, it’s too long. It’s way more bag than you realistically need. Ideally, you’d want the trash bag to hug the circumference of the barrel by an inch or two. You don’t want to waste money on a bag that’s way too big.
Material: Most trash bags available today are made out of low-density polyethylene, which is a lightweight plastic that’s relatively tough and tear resistant. This type of plastic takes years to degrade, though, so it’s not very eco-friendly. If you’d rather go the biodegradable route, we’d recommend checking out reusable trash bags.
Durability: For kitchen barrels and outdoor bins, you’ll want to go with a low-density trash bag. They’re thicker and more durable than most run-of-the-mill trash bags. Not only are they able to hold heavy loads, but they can also withstand objects with sharp or pointed edges like cardboard or wood. A more durable trash bag also lends itself, potentially, fewer liquid leaks.
Other Trash Bags We Tested
Hefty Ultra Strong - 13 Gallon
The Hefty Ultra Strong trash bags are quite durable. There’s 80 bags per box and they can hold up to 35 pounds of dumbbells weight before failing, which means it can handle larger loads and bulkier items. The drawstrings also fastened tightly when we cinched the bag shut. While they performed similarly to our top pick, we preferred the ForceFlex Plus’ scented bags to the Ultra Strong’s unscented ones.
The Glad ForceFlex trash bags contains odors like a champ and there are 120 bags per box, so it should last you a while until you’ve got to hit the store again. The bag can hold up to 30 pounds of dumbbell weight, making it a reasonably durable option. The drawstrings also cinched up the bag nice and tight, and it was easy to put the bag in a trash can. They performed similarly to our top pick. However, during testing, we discovered that the ForceFlex holds less weight than its Plus variation.
Available in boxes of 200, Kirkland Signature Flex-Tech trash bags are a good option for anyone looking to buy in bulk.
During day-to-day use, these bags withstood any trash we threw at them and were able to accommodate larger items, without tearing. During weight testing, these bags proved capable of holding up to 35 pounds of weight
Unfortunately, we found that when the time came to take out the trash, its drawstrings couldn’t cinch up as tightly as other trash bags in this guide.
Up & Up FlexGuard Tall Kitchen Trash Bags - 13 Gallon
The Up & Up FlexGuard bags from Target held 25 pounds of dumbbells before finally tearing open. They might be a good choice for use in an office environment, where lighter items tend to end up getting chucked in the garbage, more often than not. However, for kitchen duty, you’ll want to consider using one of the more durable bags, found in this guide.
Additionally, there are only 25 Up & Up bags in each box, meaning that you’ll find yourself running out to buy more, a lot more often than you might like.
Great Value Tall Kitchen Drawstring Bags - 13 Gallon
Walmart’s Great Value Tall trash bags come in a box of 40. We noticed that they felt thinner than other bags we tested for this guide. Subjectively, there’s not much stretch to them and they felt a little flimsy.
During testing, they were only able to hold about 25 pounds of dumbbell weight before breaking.
In terms of everyday use, the Glad Guaranteed Strong trash bags get the job done without much fuss. Available in a box of 90 bags, they held about 30 pounds of dumbbell weight before tearing apart. Additionally, its drawstrings were sturdy and fastened tightly at the top, making it easy to lift a full bag out of the trash can.
The Hefty Strong trash bags held up to 30 pounds of weight. There are also 90 bags per box and it comes unscented. Unfortunately, we detected a small dribbling leak during daily use, which is why it got bumped down the list.
Our team is here for one purpose: to help you buy the best stuff and love what you own. Our writers, editors, and lab technicians obsess over the products we cover to make sure you're confident and satisfied. Have a different opinion about something we recommend? Email us and we'll compare notes.