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Blog/Opinion: Simplehuman Rectangular Sensor Trash Can (40 Liter) Review

Of the couple different brands of automatic trashcans I’ve tried, I’ve found the model made by Simplehuman is one of the best. While Simplehuman didn’t create the automatic technology, they have perfected it by addressing some of its common quirks.


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Simplehuman Trash Can
For example, one common quirk of automatic trashcans is an oversensitive sensor - opening up every time someone happens to pass by. The Simplehuman Sensor Can uses a multi-sense technology that changes its sensor sensitivity based on your actions. Its “ready mode” prevents false triggers by “learning” that when you walk by, you don’t necessarily want to open the trashcan. Another common quirk is the trashcan closing on your hand. Again, the multi-sense technology solves this problem with a “task” and “stay-open mode”. The former temporarily increases its sensor sensitivity to better detect when you are finished, while the latter defaults to keeping the trashcan open for 30 seconds to give you ample time to finish.

If there’s one thing we don’t like doing, it’s touching trashcans. Touch-free technology prevents a lot of this but some maintenance still requires touching the trashcan. The great thing about the Simplehuman Sensor Can is both the battery compartment and on/off switch are on the outside back of the trashcan, making it easier to access and less grimy. Plus, you shouldn’t have to change the batteries that often. Simplehuman states that 6 C alkaline batteries should last up to year, but even better, you can also buy a power adaptor ($29.99) so you can avoid using batteries completely. I like that idea since batteries aren’t the most sustainable choice. The trash bag is also easy to change, since the bag fits over an inner trash bin which is simple to pull out and put back in. Since the inner bin nests snugly inside the sensor can, it keeps the trash bag from falling in - another common shortcoming of trash cans.

What’s even worse than touching the trashcan though, is smelling it. The Simplehuman Sensor Can addresses this problem with an “odorsorb” filter in its lid, which is a natural charcoal filter. Perhaps, it won’t eliminate all your smelly woes, but it will sure help. (You can buy replacement filters in a 2-pack for $5.99.)
Other Perks

Durable Opener Mechanism

In my experience with automatic trashcans, the opener mechanism is often the first thing to break, due to frequent use or mishandling, i.e., guests or kids manually forcing the lid open or closing it. To reduce the risk of breaking or damaging the opener, the clutch mechanism within the Simplehuman Sensor Can temporarily disengages when someone grabs the lid and forces it one way or another.

Simplehuman Trash Can 2
Fingerprint-Proof Stainless Steel Finish
Resists smudges to keep the stainless steel looking shiny and clean.

Five Year Warranty
Simplehuman offers a 5-year warranty to guarantee the quality of their sensor can. So if the sensor stops working, they can fix it or send you replacement parts. This is reassuring since electronics often have a short lifespan.

Custom Fit Liners

These thick and durable bags are designed to fit the 40 liter rectangular can perfectly, maximizing garbage capacity. While I liked the included sample bags (quite a luxury), at twice the price of most trash bags, I personally couldn’t see myself buying special liners. I found that traditional 13 gallon trash bags fit well as a substitute.
In my opinion, there was only one small con, which was the slow, jerky way the Simplehuman Sensor Can opens and closes, not as quick and as smooth as I’d like to see. Some might gripe at the price ($200), but I think a quality product with a 5-year warranty is worth that.
The Simplehuman 40L Rectangular Sensor Can excels in all the most important tasks. It is functional, attractive, durable, and most importantly, it prevents the spread of germs. At the Healthy House Institute, we think that is a definite plus!


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Simplehuman Rectangular Sensor Trash Can (40 Liter) Review:  Created on December 12th, 2012.  Last Modified on January 30th, 2014

About Allison Rathey Kirby

Allison Rathey Kirby is Healthy House Institute's (HHI’s) Associate Editor and Director of Social Media. Formerly HHI's Tool Listing Editor, Allison has been with HHI for seven years - managing, editing, and contributing "healthy" content to the site. Allison is also the Associate Editor for HHI's sister site, The Housekeeping Channel.


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