Updated October 11, 2018 by Sam Kraft

The 8 Best Can Crushers

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This wiki has been updated 18 times since it was first published in September of 2015. If your interest in saving the planet has you heavily invested in recycling, make your admirable passion a little bit easier with one of these can crushers. The more cans you can fit into your recycling bin, the less will end up in a landfill. Our selection features options that are ideal for home use as well as some commercial-sized models that are suitable for workplaces, gyms and more. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best can crusher on Amazon.

8. Basic Industries Multi Crush

7. Commercial Zone Can Pactor

6. Zing Industrial

5. KitchenCraft Stand

4. McKay Smasher

3. Dial Industries Easy Pull

2. Commercial Zone CanPactor

1. Basic Industries Compactor

What Differentiates One Can Crusher From Another?

The standard can crusher condenses an aluminum can into a disc, for example, whereas certain crushers can actually flatten an aluminum can into a sheet.

Every can crusher is built for a similar purpose, and yet certain models are designed to do the job a little differently than others. The standard can crusher condenses an aluminum can into a disc, for example, whereas certain crushers can actually flatten an aluminum can into a sheet. One of the advantages being that if you throw your household recyclables out in a crate (as opposed to a bag), flat sheets will be easier to stack. Flat sheets will also be less likely to overflow or spill out, which makes it easier to carry your recyclables out to the curb.

The more cans you go through, the more you may want to consider a commercial can crusher, which is essentially an average crusher that has been attached to a larger recycling bin (the cans get crushed, and then they fall right in). Another option might be a crusher with a basket holder (for stockpiling 6-10 empty cans until you're ready to condense them). Either that or a dual crusher that's capable of condensing two cans at a time.

The longer a can crusher's handle, the more torque that crusher should be able to generate. This is relevant in terms of crushing thick cans, along with aluminum containers that are made to hold 16 oz or more. If a crusher is portable, it should weigh at least 5 lbs, so that it does not shift whenever it's being operated. If a crusher needs to be mounted, its description should include phrases like "wobble-free" or "safely-anchored" that offer a certain measure of reassurance.

Who Can Benefit From Owning a Can Crusher (& Why)?

If you are a homeowner, a business owner, a superintendent, or a constant consumer of canned beverages, a can crusher can save you a significant amount of time and space. Owning a can crusher not only means fewer trash bags and fewer trips to the bin, it also makes it easier to recycle cans for money, and to transport more cans to the local depository with each trip.

Commercial crushers can condense your aluminum before dropping it directly into a disposable bin.

Parents can use an aluminum crusher to teach their children about recycling. A lot of children enjoy not only pulling the lever on a crusher, but also seeing - and then hearing - the aluminum disappear inside. Mounting a crusher on your kitchen wall will help to remind family members that they should drain their cans before disposal. That, in turn, should lead to your recyclables attracting fewer insects, including bees, and ants, and flies.

Anyone who runs a restaurant, a cafeteria, or any high-traffic business might benefit from investing in a commercial can crusher (AKA a "canpactor"). Commercial crushers can condense your aluminum before dropping it directly into a disposable bin. The convenience of a commercial crusher is likely to result in less clutter, and it may also reduce the amount of cleanup at the end of every night.

Businesses that accumulate a significant number of cans may want to consider depositing their aluminum for a small profit; either that or dropping those cans off at a local processing center as a charitable donation. Certain donations may even be considered a tax write-off.

How Are Aluminum Cans Recycled?

You may wonder what happens to all of your aluminum cans after you have crushed them. While can-crushing is a great start, it is actually the first step in a much larger process. After your aluminum cans have been placed in a recycling bin, they are picked up by a sanitation team, which, in turn, delivers those recyclables to a local processing center or a relay station. Relay stations are used as a depot for transitioning items onto a tractor trailer. The tractor trailer collects recyclables from several different relay stations, en route to a regional processing center located somewhere up the road.

Relay stations are used as a depot for transitioning items onto a tractor trailer.

After arriving at a processing center, aluminum cans are unloaded and sorted (to separate the aluminum from any misplaced trash, etc.), before being placed along a conveyor belt that sprays every item clean. The treated aluminum is then passed into a heating chamber, where it is melted at 1300 to 1400 degrees Fahrenheit, thereby removing any ink or other coating along its surface. After that, the liquid aluminum is congealed into industrial-sized blocks, which are known as ingots. Every ingot is comprised of aluminum from approximately 1.6 million cans.

Massive trailers transport the ingots to one or more development plants. Upon arrival, the ingots are broken down, with individual segments being prepped for production. One ingot could be delivered to a plant that makes aluminum siding, whereas another ingot could be delivered to a plant that makes aluminum cans. Either way, the entire process - from crushing a can in your home to having a recycled aluminum product appear on retail shelves - requires an average of six weeks.

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Sam Kraft
Last updated on October 11, 2018 by Sam Kraft

In addition to his corporate career as a marketing and communications professional in Chicago, Sam runs a popular blog that focuses on the city’s flourishing craft beer and brewery scene. He received his degree in journalism from DePaul University (which spurred his interest in freelance writing) and has since spent years developing expertise in copywriting, digital marketing and public relations. A lifetime of fishing, hiking and camping trips has left him well-versed in just about any outdoors-related topic, and over several years spent working in the trades during his youth, he accumulated a wealth of knowledge about tools and machinery. He’s a travel junkie, a health and fitness enthusiast, and an avid biker.


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