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Pros / You can cover the compactor in a custom panel that matches your cupboards.

Cons / It has a compaction ratio of only 3-to-1.

 Verdict / This affordable trash compactor is made of steel and includes lots of useful features. However, it doesn’t have an air freshening system, and it compacts garbage less than other models.

The GE Universal UCG1680LSS is a built-in trash compactor, so it must be installed next to your cabinets. However, you can choose a panel-ready version and add a custom wood panel that makes the compactor look like it’s just another cupboard. It also comes in white, black and stainless steel. This GE model is made of sturdy heavy gauge steel.

The compactor’s controls sit out of sight behind the door, so the machine looks sleek. In addition, it is easy to use – you open the door by pressing a toe pedal with your foot, which leaves your hands free to place bags of trash inside.

This garbage compactor also includes anti-jamming technology that prevents damage if something goes wrong during the compression cycle. When the compactor senses something amiss, it stops.

You empty the UCG1680LSS using its side bin release, and the drawer slides out all the way. Because of these features, you don’t have to hoist a heavy bag of compressed trash straight up and out of the machine, which can be hard on your back. You can also remove the drawer to thoroughly clean the compactor.

As a safety measure, you can lock the trash compactor by removing the on/off knob. That way, curious children can’t play with the machine and get hurt.

This garbage compactor has a 1/3-horsepower motor and hold 1.4 cubic feet of trash. In addition, it comes with a one-year warranty, which is typical for a home trash compactor.

One drawback is this model has only a 3-to-1 compaction ratio, meaning it can compress three bags of trash into one. That’s less than the other compactors we reviewed, all of which have either 4-to-1 or 5-to-1 compaction ratios. This machine also doesn’t have an air freshening system, something the best compactors include. If you want a machine with a better compaction ratio and an air freshening system, take a look at the KitchenAid KTTS505EPA.

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