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When remodeling or revamping a kitchen, the trash can tends to get overlooked. Instead, the focus is on touch-free faucets, modern stoves and having AI assistants hooked up to everything. But no matter how high-tech the appliances around you are, you’ll still need a solid trash can. Today’s best smart trash cans bring their A-game with being sanitary easy to clean. Plus, they have smart sensor features that make them simple to use when you have your hands full.
Smart Trash Can Buying Guide
Here’s what we recommend considering before buying your new smart trash can:
Smart Technology: Whether your hands are covered in flour, batter, or you just touched raw meat, a smart trash can makes cooking and cleaning a little bit easier. An auto-opening can is more sanitary than touching the lid each time, and it can sometimes be done with a simple voice command. Sensors inside also measure the environment around it and know when you’re still standing there, so they won’t close up while you’re still using it.
Size: Smart features aside, make sure you find the right size of trash can that’s practical and proportionate to your kitchen, the number of people in your house and the amount you of trash you usually throw out. These come in a wide range, typically all the way up to 20 gallons. Keep in mind that some of the more oddly sized ones may require their own special liners.
Aesthetic: The majority of the latest smart trash cans look sleek and modern in most kitchens. Crafted from steel and aluminum, they add a high-tech touch to even an old house, with colors like silver and black that won’t distract. Design and efficiency are key considerations, too. Think about things like how it opens, its shape and if it has 90-degree edges to fit into a corner or into a cabinet. You may also want to look for certain features, including whether or not it has extras like a holder for additional trash bags on it. Some lids are designed to be a little lengthier around the perimeter to completely seal off the can when they close, making sure no nasty odors slip out.
Power Source: A trash can that plugs in has its advantages, like never worrying about a battery going dead or needing a recharge. But a battery-powered can also has its positives, like being able to put it anywhere, or even move it below the counter when you’re cooking.
What Are the Best Smart Trash Cans?
We picked four of our favorite smart trash cans to put in your kitchen right now.
1. iTouchless 13-Gallon Sensor Trash Can
We found this 13-gallon can to be the perfect fit for small apartments, while still being big enough to handle large trash items. Its infrared sensors are simple to use and leave you feeling like you have Jedi powers. To use it, simply wave your hand (or foot) across the top and watch it smoothly open up.
There are three basic modes: “Auto” keeps it open for five seconds after each wave, or “Stay Open” mode which lifts the lid as long as it senses an object in front of it. There’s a push-button manual mode, and you have the choice whether to plug this in via a power adapter, or use 4D batteries that’ll last about a year with regular usage.
A replaceable carbon filter inside helps to absorb foul odors. It’s also gentle and silent when the lid closes — no slamming or clunking. Plus, at just over 8 pounds, it’s compact and easy to move around your kitchen as you multitask.
2. hOmeLabs 13-Gallon Automatic Trash Can
This stainless steel can is instantly eye-catching with its quick-opening butterfly lid, and comes in both 13 and 21 gallon sizes.
But the butterfly lid isn’t just a cool design, it serves a purpose, opening up with a lower clearance than a regular, full-sized lid. This makes it ideal for a spot with tight space, like under the sink.
Infrared motion sensors make it easy to open up with the movement of a hand or finger from six inches away, even from the side. Power is supplied through an AC adapter or 4C batteries, and a handy LED countdown switch lets you set the amount of time the lid stays open.
3. Glad Stainless Steel Motion Sensor Can
Glad has been in the trash business, and literally inside trash cans, for almost 60 years. So it makes sense the company would enter the smart-can game with a product of its own.
A motion sensor opens when you’re close, and LED lights count down the seconds until it automatically, and gently, closes in five seconds (though there’s a “Keep Open” setting button as well).
Having a trash bag company design a trash can has its benefits, and the little details here are a big help through the process. A convenient bag storage compartment hangs off the back, and bags are easy to install and remove thanks to steel wings that rise up to hold its edges.
4. Ninestars DZT-20-1R Automatic Touchless Trash Can
The smallest of the bunch, these 3-gallon cans feature a water-resistant infrared sensor on the lid for easy opening without worry of getting it wet. The sensor luckily also isn’t overly sensitive, meaning it won’t open every time you (or a child or pet) get too close.
It’s energy efficient, with a ring liner that holds trash bags in place. Overall, it’s a nice size for any room in the house. Two C batteries let you place it anywhere far from a power source. You’ll just need to flip the power switch in back, and it’s ready to go.