Pack It Up, Pack It In! Here's How Much It Costs to Install a Trash Compactor

by Team HomeServe
Illustration of a person using a kitchen trash compactor

For health and environmental reasons, managing household trash is an important responsibility everyone shares. For some, this could mean extra effort toward recycling or reducing the amount of waste put out each week.

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Most people can agree that the amount of garbage put into landfills each year should be lowered, but installing a trash compactor in the home is an often-overlooked solution.

What Is a Trash Compactor?

Trash compactors are appliances that include a compression mechanism to squeeze trash until it's tightly compacted. There are several types to choose from, including:

  • Under-counter (built-in)
  • Portable
  • Freestanding
  • Sink models
  • Manual models

How Does It Work?

Trash compaction is often accomplished with a small hydraulic ram. It functions in the same way as when someone uses their foot to smash trash down into the bin, but it's much more powerful. Trash is put into the can like normal before flipping a switch to initiate the compaction process. Manual models often have a lever that can be used to squeeze the trash down.

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Pros and Cons of Installing a Trash Compactor

Before purchasing any major appliance, it's a good idea to weigh the pros and cons, and trash compactors are no exception. Here are a few factors to weigh before going ahead with an installation:


  • Trash takes up less space in landfills, making it more environmentally friendly
  • Trash needs to be taken out less often
  • Maintains a cleaner home with less garbage spillage


  • Requires special trash bags to handle the force used by the compactor
  • Filled trash bags are heavier to carry
  • Garbage sits longer, possibly creating an odor that is difficult to manage
  • They can be expensive

How Much Does It Cost To Install a Trash Compactor?

The expense of installing a trash compactor depends on the type of compactor. Some freestanding units simply need to be plugged into an outlet, and they're ready to go.

For built-in units that are set under the counter, the average cost of installation is between $160 to $265 (CAD 210 to CAD 345) for labor, and $1,200 to $2,600 (CAD 1,565 to CAD 3,400) overall. The overall price includes the unit price and around 2 hours of labor for installation in a prepared space. It doesn't include cabinetry modification or installation of a new electrical supply system.