The Best Touchless Trash Cans for More Sanitary Garbage Disposal

Updated: May 23, 2024

Tired of touching your gross garbage bin? Upgrade your kitchen with a sleek touchless trash can.

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Whether it’s raw meat trimmings or a big batch of spoiled veggies, there are plenty of gross kitchen scraps to throw away every day. And when you have your hands full, the last thing you want to do is fumble with the trash can lid. Thankfully, touchless trash cans are here to save the day.

What exactly is a touchless trash can? Generally, these are garbage holders that rely on motion sensors or voice commands to lift the lid for you. Some options also have handles so you don’t touch the trash can itself. We researched, as well as tested and reviewed select models, to find options for every budget, need and household size.

Pros:

  • Built-in odor filter
  • Multiple shape and size options
  • Smudge-proof finish
  • Extra-wide opening

Cons:

  • Some reviewers have mixed feelings about durability

For those who can’t stand that gross trash can smell, the 13-gallon iTouchless SensorCan Kitchen Trash Can has a built-in odor filter that uses activated carbon to absorb and neutralize unpleasant scents. The can comes in several sizes and shapes, including rectangular and oval designs, and it runs on four D batteries that can last more than a year before needing replacement.

This kitchen gadget opens when it senses you in front of it, and its light blinks red to let you know when it’s about to close. Our Test Kitchen experts, who gave it a whirl, were impressed by the swiftness with which it opened and the slight lag before it closed.

The stainless steel exterior is smudge-proof for a neat appearance, and the extra-wide opening allows you to dispose of bulky items easily. With over 18,000 reviews, this Amazon pick is set apart for its odor-neutralizing abilities, sleek design and reasonable price point.

Pros:

  • Motion- and voice-activated
  • Built-in odor-absorbing technology
  • Zero bag slippage and built-in bag storage
  • Very quiet
  • Runs on power or batteries

Cons:

  • Voice feature is very sensitive
  • Batteries die very quickly if used as primary power source
  • Pricey

If you love having the best in tech, the Simplehuman Voice + Motion Rectangular Sensor Can is for you. Although pricey, this trash can looks sleek and modern. This touchless trash can comes in three smudge-proof finishes and can hold roughly 15-gallon trash bags of debris. It’s operated by AA batteries or a plug-in power cord and opens via a motion sensor and voice commands.

“I wasn’t sure this Simplehuman trash would be worth the hefty price tag,” says Katie Bandurski, our Senior Shopping Editor, who’s been testing this trash can in her home kitchen for eight months. “Well, I’m officially proven wrong. There is something so satisfying (and convenient!) about saying ‘open can’ when your hands are full of eggshells or raw chicken waste. And, thanks to the built-in odor absorber, I can take out the trash when it’s actually full rather than when it starts to smell.”

That said, the tech is far from perfect. “I find the trash can opens to general noise, not just the ‘open can’ command,” Katie says. “It’s pretty funny, actually, when I’m chatting with my husband, and it opens out of nowhere as if it wants to join the conversation. I also found that batteries die almost immediately, so you’ll need to rely on the power cord.”

Pros:

  • 23-gallon capacity
  • Odor-absorbing filter
  • Mounted on wheels
  • Smudge-proof finish
  • Air vents for easy bag removal

Cons:

  • Pricey

The iTouchless Touchless Sensor Trash Can comes in a large 23-gallon size, making it ideal for big households. Its round design has a motion-activated lid that runs on D batteries, and it’s even equipped with a natural carbon odor filter to eliminate odors.

In addition to its oversized form, this trash can is mounted on caster wheels, allowing you to push it around your home more easily. The stainless steel is fingerprint-resistant, and air vents are in the bottom of the can to make removing trash bags easier. A few reviewers have mixed opinions on this option’s longevity.

Pros:

  • Pre-assembled for easy installation
  • Includes recycle bin and trash can
  • Two sizes available: 8-gallon and 9.3-gallon
  • Easy-grip handle

Cons:

  • Largest size only holds 9.3 gallons

Even the nicest trash cans are still, well, trash cans. If you’d prefer to tuck yours away in a cupboard, the Simplehuman Pull-Out Recycling Bin and Trash Can makes it easy and convenient. More than 16,000 shoppers give this touchless trash can five stars—and it’s clear why.

This dual-compartment pull-out trash can includes a steel frame to install inside one of your cabinets. Plus, a handle on the front of the frame lets you pull the bin out via the smooth-rolling track—without touching the trash can itself. The only downside? This is one of the smaller options on our list, so it’s better suited for singles, couples or small families.


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What to Look for When Buying a Touchless Trash Can

When shopping for a touchless trash can, there are several features to consider as you compare different models:

  • Opening mechanism: Touchless trash cans typically have a motion sensor that automatically opens the lid, saving you from getting your hands dirty. However, there are a number of ways the lid might open. Most have a simple hinged design that swings upward but may also open length or width-wise. Other touchless trash cans have a “butterfly lid” with two side-by-side doors that lift open. Consider which design will work best for your kitchen, considering any clearances you might need under a counter or kitchen island, or near a wall.
  • Power source: Because they have built-in motion sensors, touchless trash cans generally need some type of power source—typically batteries or a plug-in power cord. Battery-operated models can be placed anywhere in your kitchen, but you’ll have to keep extra batteries on hand. Corded models require less maintenance, but they need to be placed close to an outlet.
  • Capacity: It’s important to find a trash can that’s an appropriate size for your needs. If you get one that’s too small, you’ll find yourself emptying it constantly. However, if it’s too big, the trash may start to smell before the bag gets full. On average, most kitchen trash cans hold around 13 gallons, but there are models that hold more than 20 gallons that may be better suited for larger households.
  • Special features: Some trash cans have additional features that make them convenient to use, in addition to a touchless opening mechanism. These might include a compartment for garbage bag storage, a built-in odor eliminator or even voice commands on high-tech models.

Why You Should Trust Us

As a group of amateur and professional cooks, the Taste of Home team has created its fair share of kitchen messes. So, it’s safe to say we know our way around a trash receptacle and would only recommend those we’d be comfortable keeping in our homes. Moreover, the Shopping Editors, specifically, test dozens of buzzy, new products monthly, so we’re well-versed in sussing out whether fancy features and high technology are actually worth it or whether a gadget is just a flash in the pan, er, can. For this article, we inspected multiple models in person to evaluate the efficacy and speed of their motion sensors and ultimately ensure our suggestions to you are super sound.

How We Found the Best Touchless Trash Cans

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We found the best touchless trash cans through a combination of in-depth internet research and in-person testing. We started with a list of models that had generated considerable buzz, as well as some overlooked underdogs. Then, we combed through their specs and reviews to assess their legitimacy and weigh their value, novelty, capacity and performance. Additionally, we tested and reviewed a few models in person to confirm they worked as advertised.

FAQs

Are touchless trash cans worth it?

Regardless of your needs, touchless trash cans are virtually always worth it. How much you want to spend, however, is up to you. Fortunately, touchless trash cans aren’t necessarily as expensive as they sound. There are kitchen models that cost as little as $55 and as much as $300, and their sizes, appearances and features are just as varied. But they all make your kitchen that much more sanitary and hassle-free, so they’re well worth it.

Are touchless trash cans better than step?

Step and touchless trash cans offer increased cleanliness, as they don’t involve touching a lid, handle or flap with dirty hands. However, touchless trash cans, many of which are “smart,” might offer more features beyond increased cleanliness that low-tech step trash cans do not, such as an odor absorber, voice sensor, liner dispenser and compost caddy.