Toy trucks are a childhood staple, and garbage trucks are a fun favorite that offer lots of functionality that keeps kids entertained and provides developmental skill building opportunities. There’s trucks out there for a wide range of ages, some more interactive and feature-packed than others. If you’re trying to make a decision, check out our overview of 13 awesome garbage truck toys to check out for kids in 2019 as well as key factors that might influence your buying decision.

Our Top Picks

Editor's Choice Garbage Truck

Best Overall

Bruder Mack Granite Truck

Best budget buy Garbage Truck

Best Budget Buy

Tonka Mighty Motorized Truck

How to Pick the Best Garbage Truck Toys

1. Recommended Age

Garbage trucks are a toy that can be simple or complex – some are designed for kids as old as one year, while others have more complicated features or choking hazards and are designed for older kids. Knowing a product’s intended audience is always key in protecting your child’s safety and making sure they’re gaining the intended benefits and enjoyment of the toy.

2. safety

Whenever there’s a potential safety hazard at play, it’s essential that parents be aware of it. In the case of garbage truck toys, small accessories can be choking hazards – you need to know if they’re present. An unusual example in the case of our list is Play Doh
, which is fine for most kids but can pose a big problem if your child has a wheat allergy or Celiac Disease.

3. Sounds

Whether you want a truck with all the bells and whistles or something quiet and unobtrusive, knowing if the toy makes sounds – and what they are – can influence your decision. Some of the trucks listed here are quiet, others make truck sounds, and our Upgrade Choice even has phrases, songs and jokes.

4. lights

Lights are a fun feature that makes pretend play feel more realistic for a lot of kids, so they’re something parents tend to seek out. Not all models with sound have lights, and vice versa – it’s important not to assume that one will be present just because the other is. If you don’t want them, knowing which toys have them will help you determine what to avoid.

5. Motion

To be true to function, a garbage truck should have working wheels that allow forward and reverse motion – all the entries on our list meet this qualification. Other motion features allow kids to develop fine motor control and hand eye coordination. Some trucks have only one or two motion options, while others are jam packed. Some have motorized features, and one is even a remote-controlled RC cars. You’ll want the truck you choose to have enough features to entertain your child and aid their development.

6. Accessories

The presence of accessories can vary pretty widely with garbage truck toys. Some are just a truck, while others come with a nice handful of accessories. These can make playtime more fun and offer more opportunities for creative thinking and imaginative play. If you want to skip the small parts and get back to basics, there’s lots of nice options with functionality that’s contained to the truck unit.

The Winners


editor's choice

Another 1:16 model – this time of a classic Mack garbage truck, a recognizable icon in a sturdy, kid-friendly design. The realism of this Bruder Toys Mack Garbage Truck is intense, looking like a collector’s item fresh out of the box, but it’s perfectly safe and intended for roughhousing. The opening doors, folding mirrors, rear dumping action, compactor and tailgate all offer developmental opportunities to kids while enhancing imaginative play through realism.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Cab doors open; mirrors fold; rear dumping action; trash compactor operated by side dial; tailgate opened by top knob
Accessories: 2 trash cans


Upgrade Choice

Interactivity at its silliest, Stinky The Garbage Truck is a motorized toy that provides hours of fun through jokes, phrases and music. Sensor points on the truck trigger Stinky to “stand up” by transforming in order to eat, exercise, talk and joke around with your child. The loading, eating and dumping motions the truck provides give kids opportunity for hand eye coordination development, and the music, phrases and jokes are good for learning and language development.

Recommended age: 3 – 7 years
Safety: Yes
Sounds: Yes, 4 C batteries included
Lights: Yes
Motion: Forward and reverse; motorized truck transforms; loads, eats and dumps small toys; head and front half motion
Accessories: No


Best budge buy

Parents and kids both love the Tonka Mighty Motorized Garbage Truck. It has a lot of interactive opportunities that are great for developing minds and bodies. The motorized front power arm and horn operate through the use of unique side levers, and the back door opens for garbage dumping action. There’s a lot to see and do here, and perhaps best of all, it’s on the cheaper end for toys of this type.

Recommended age: 3 – 6 years
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: Yes, 3 AA batteries included
Lights: Yes
Motion: Motorized front power arm; back door opens; side levers operate arm, horn
Accessories: Garbage bin


Ideal for the younger set, PLAYMOBIL’s sturdy green truck has a familiar recycling theme and is accompanied by two figures, some small “recyclable” objects and a blue recycling bin kids are likely to recognize. The realistic symbols and design of the truck and bin make it a great teaching tool for the preschool set and the rear lifting cab offers opportunities for motor skill development. It’s compatible with your child’s other PLAYMOBIL figures, so it’s an ideal addition if they already own that play system.

Recommended age: 4+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Forward and reverse; rear cab lifts
Accessories: 2 PLAYMOBIL figures, small “recyclables”, blue recycling bin


Safe at 18 months, the Battat Garbage Truck has soft rubber wheels and a simple design that’s easy for little hands to operate. The rear dumping action and movable cans give small children opportunities for imaginative play as well as hand eye coordination development. The moving parts are good for refining fine motor skills, and the bright colors are just the right amount of sensory stimulation for the small set.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Yes
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Forward and reverse; rear dumping motion; cab opens
Accessories: 2 garbage cans, figurine


A totally unique experience, Play-Doh’s Rowdy The Garbage Truck lets kids make fun worms, cans and bottles with the enclosed book mold which can be shoveled into the front cab and lifted and dumped into the rear. Rowdy then extrudes crazy new shapes from the rear, like bugs and fish. It’s a fun new way to play with Play Doh and a unique twist on garbage truck toys that really sets it apart, especially if the Doh is already a household favorite.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard; Allergen alert(Wheat)
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Trash can extruder makes worms, mold closes to make bottles and cans, front cab dumps to rear, rear unit produces shapes
Accessories: 4 cans of Play Doh, trash can extruder and plunger, bottle and can mold, shovel


Best Wooden Garbage Truck

Melissa and Doug are experts at making simple toys that stimulate the imagination – this simple, portable teaching toy provides opportunities for children to strengthen motor development through the rear dumping motion. The deliberately plain design encourages children to engage in creative and imaginative play with this sturdy wooden garbage truck, which is small enough to store easily and take along on adventures.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Forward and reverse; rear dumping motion
Accessories: Garbage bin, garbage bundle


Best Garbage Truck for Toddlers

The perfect size to encourage physical motion in new walkers, it’s fitting that the Green Toys Recycle Truck has a recycling theme – the company takes sustainability very seriously. The packaging and truck are 100% recycled and recyclable material, which is sturdy, safe and easy to clean. The rear lifting cab encourages developmental exploration, and the plain design encourages kids to use their imaginations.

Recommended age: 1+
Safety: Yes
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Forward and reverse, rear cab lifts
Accessories: No


Remote control cars are always fun, and the ESOffice RC Recycling Truck offers kids lots of opportunities for motorized play. Fun inside and out, the truck features a moving crane arm and opening bin to boost small motor control development. Using remote control toys is also an excellent way for children to master hand eye coordination. Additionally, because it’s an RC car, it stays interesting to kids for longer than standard truck toys.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Yes
Sounds: Yes, 2 AA batteries for remote, 4 AA for truck(not included)
Lights: Yes
Motion: Motorized forward and reverse(RC car); crane arm moves; bin opens
Accessories: Remote


This Liberty Imports Garbage Truck is a 1:16 model of a real garbage truck. It’s true to life and lots of fun. The friction-powered truck is easy to use, with unobtrusive lights and sounds triggered by the motion of the wheels against a flat surface. It offers engaging sensory play through the audio and visual features as well as motor control development opportunities through the lifting cab and opening rear. It’s a convenient take along toy, especially because it doesn’t require frequent battery replacement like some other trucks with lights and sounds.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: Yes
Lights: Yes
Motion: Forward and reverse; cab lifts; rear opens
Accessories: No


If your kids adore Paw Patrol,  Rocky’s Recycling Truck will have staying power in their play rotation. It comes with a sweet Rocky figure that they’ll love playing with, and the pivoting forklift and rear opening and closure give them important motor skill practice while they’re having tons of fun. The recognizable worldwide recycling symbol offers opportunities to teach about and explain the recycling process.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: Forward and reverse; pivoting forklift; rear opens and closes
Accessories: Rocky figurine


Modeled after German sanitation vehicles, this Bruder Orange Garbage Loading Truck has a cheerful bright orange design kids will love. It also boasts features that are ideal for improving fine motor-skill development. The folding mirrors, opening cab doors and rear loader motion are all beneficial to motor learning, and their realism makes creative play even more fun. It’s a rugged truck, and it can be made even more fun with lights and sounds through the addition of a mod pack that’s sold separately and installs easily.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: Optional with additional mod, sold separately
Lights: Optional with additional mod, sold separately
Motion: Forward and reverse; cab doors open; mirrors fold; rear loader motion
Accessories: 2 garbage cans


While not technically a truck, these fun add on accessories add an extra dimension of realism to creative play. These Bruder Garbage Cans are designed to be used with Bruder trucks, like the Mack and the Orange Loading Truck, but they can be a fun part of imaginative scenarios that get use with all kinds of figures. Using them in conjunction with Bruder trucks is developmentally beneficial, offering coordination and motor skill boosts.

Recommended age: 3+
Safety: Choking hazard
Sounds: No
Lights: No
Motion: No
Accessories: 3 small cans, 1 large can

garbage truck toy

DIY, Craft and Décor: Ideas for RC Car lovers

Need a drop off spot for your kiddo’s “recyclables”? This fun, inexpensive color sorting DIY craft by Allison at No Time For Flash Cards helps young kids to learn color identification and teaches them the way things work when items make it to the recycling plant.

Another idea Allison offers for when kids get older is a recycling sorting DIY game that teaches the actual process of sorting household items to be recycled. This is easy to set up, fun, and an important life skill. The game presents an excellent teaching tool regarding the importance of recycling and what products are made with the items we recycle.

DIY Sorting Game

Creating a fun play area for garbage trucks that stimulates the imagination is easy with this Small World Play DIY idea by Mrs. Jones at Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station. It uses small objects as trash or recycling items and designates zones for pick up and drop off, helping kids to master organization and offering creative cooperative play opportunities.

Small World DIY idea

Quick Decision

Bruder Toys Mack Garbage Truck – Best Overall
Bruder Toys Mack Garbage Truck – Winner of the Editor’s Choice award: It’s a quiet, sturdy toy with beautiful front end details and lots of developmentally stimulating features.

Matchbox Stinky the Garbage Truck – Upgrade Choice
It’s super interactive and fun, keeping kids busy for hours longer than a regular truck toy would.

Tonka Mighty Motorized Garbage Truck – Best Budget Buy
It’s a hearty motorized offering from a trusted brand that’s educational and inexpensive.


If your kiddo is into RC cars, how about discovering the tiniest working RC cars on the market. Small size, big fun!

Gary B.

Gary B.

Gary is a father of two, self-identified RC fanboy, and part-time guitar plucker. When he's not racing his collection of remote-controlled vehicles or strumming away, we bend his arm and get him to write with precision and expertise on a range of mechanical and electrical toys.

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