The best touchless trash can
Trying to open a trash can with your hands full is highly inconvenient, not to mention that you pick up bacteria every time you touch a trash can to open the lid. But, if you choose a touchless trash can, you'll never need to worry about any of these issues.
There's plenty to consider when picking the best touchless trash can, from the size and shape to the effectiveness of the motion sensor. Our top choice is the simplehuman Stainless Steel Semi-Round Sensor Can. This high-end model might be pricey, but it's reliable and looks great.
Considerations when choosing touchless trash cans
Touchless trash cans use motion sensors to sense when you're trying to access them and open the lid accordingly. Trash cans with upward-facing motion sensors are less likely to open in error when pets or people walk past. It's also best to choose an option with a waterproof motion sensor, so you won't damage it with spills or have to avoid it when cleaning.
Touchless trash cans are either made from metal (generally stainless steel) or plastic. Plastic models are inexpensive but aren't as durable or attractive as metal options. Mid-range options have metal bodies with plastic lids.
The standard size for a kitchen trash can is 13 gallons, but you can find touchless models with capacities from less than five gallons to over 25 gallons. Think about how much trash you generate before you buy.
Some people love the appearance of round touchless trash cans, but square or semi-round models will fit flush against the wall.
Touchless trash cans are either battery operated or powered using an AC adaptor plugged into a standard power outlet. If you choose a battery-powered option, you won't need to worry about positioning it next to a power outlet, but you will need to change the batteries every so often. Some models can be powered either way, which gives you more flexibility.
You can find touchless trash cans with carbon filters in the lid to help stop bad odors from escaping.
Some touchless trash cans let you turn off the motion sensor (effectively locking the lid) to keep pets and young kids out of mischief.
Touchless trash can prices
You can find some inexpensive plastic or plastic/metal combination touchless trash cans for as little as $30 to $50. On the other end of the price spectrum, high-end models can cost $150 to $200.
Q. Are touchless trash cans easy to keep clean?
A. Touchless trash cans are no easier or harder to clean than standard trash cans. Those with removable inner buckets make it easier to clean deep inside them where liquid can collect and smell bad. It is worth noting, however, that the outside of touchless trash cans tend to get less dirty, since you don't need to touch anywhere on the exterior to open or close them, so you ultimately spend less time wiping them down.
Q. Do you need special garbage bags to use in touchless trash cans?
A. No, you can use standard garbage bags inside touchless trash cans, just like you would in any other bin. However, since they're often smaller than other kitchen trash cans, double-check you're buying garbage bags of the correct size.
Touchless trash cans we recommend
Best of the best: simplehuman Stainless Steel Semi-Round Sensor Can
Our take: If money is no object, this model should be high up on your shortlist. The motion sensor is reliable and the semi-round shape fits nicely in most spots.
What we like: Operates around 50% quieter than its competitors. Excellent battery life. Five color options to choose from. Handy pocket for spare liners.
What we dislike: Some reports of sensor malfunction, but this seems to be in a minority of faulty units.
Best bang for your buck: Touchless 13-Gallon Stainless Steel Automatic Trash Can
Our take: It isn't the most visually appealing option out there, but its low price makes it far more attractive.
What we like: Choose between using batteries or an AC adaptor (not included). Batteries can last up to a year and a half. Odor-absorbing filter cuts out smells.
What we dislike: Plastic lid isn't as sturdy as the rest of the can.
Our take: The battery-free design means it will never run out of juice, but you do need to position it close to a power outlet.
What we like: Sleek design with fingerprint-resistant stainless steel. Its 13-gallon capacity can hold a full week's worth of trash in many households. Reliable sensor.
What we dislike: Lid closes too quickly.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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