5 Best Motion Sensor Trash Cans

Hands-free function and a lot more. Check out these picks for the best motion sensor trash can for your home.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

Fhm 5 Best Motion Sensor Trash CansTMB STUDIO

Motion sensor trash cans may seem luxurious, but they are actually quite practical. They open and close automatically, keeping germs and related schmutz off your hands. Those with mobility problems may find the automatic feature more convenient than foot-operated models. Motion sensor trash cans make using your handiest trash can tricks and hacks easier than ever before—hygienically.

Some feature enhanced odor control thanks to sealing lids that keep stinky garbage can woes at bay. Some even have filters and air-cleaning technology that eliminate garbage odor. Others operate by voice command controls. If you’re considering a motion sensor trash can for your home, here are our favorites.

1 / 5
Simplehuman Motion Sensor Trash Can Mary Henn/Family Handyman

Best Overall

Simplehuman Motion Sensor Trash Can

The Simplehuman trash can combines style and function, setting it apart from other options. It has a sleek, modern half-circle shape and it comes in two colors: Matte black and brushed stainless steel. It holds about 12 gallons of garbage.

I tested the Simplehuman trash can for myself, and while certainly stylish, it also has all the features I look for in a motion sensor can: Smooth, quiet operation, an odor eliminator and a built-in pocket that holds and dispenses your garbage bags. I love how easily activated the motion sensor is on this can, too. It makes throwing away garbage a breeze, especially after handling raw meats or fish and avoiding cross-contamination.

This sleek, hands-free option makes pull-out trash cans under kitchen sinks seem just about obsolete, and fits into any modern kitchen.

Pros

  • Stylish, modern design that seems like it belongs in a five-star hotel
  • Quiet operation
  • Available in two colors and finishes
  • Modern half-circle shape
  • Built-in garbage bag dispenser
  • Optional attachment for odor-eliminating pods
  • Batteries included

Cons

  • Expensive, though reviewers say it’s “worth the price”

2 / 5
Fhm We Tried It Itouchless Sensorcan Kitchen Trash Can TMB Studio

Best Amazon Find

iTouchless SensorCan Kitchen Trash Can

For those who looking for an Amazon option with odor-eliminating technology, the 13-gallon iTouchless SensorCan trash can has a built-in odor filter that uses activated carbon to absorb and neutralize unpleasant scents. This one comes in several colors and shapes, and it runs on batteries.

With over 65,000 ratings, this Amazon pick stands out for its reasonable price point, odor control system and overall design. And if you hate the cost and disposal of batteries, then you can get the option that comes with an adapter.

Pros

  • Activated carbon filter reduces odors
  • Opens with the wave of a hand
  • Runs on batteries or optional adapter
  • Multiple color and shape options
  • Wide opening

Cons

  • Batteries not included

3 / 5
Fhm We Tried It Mainstays Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can TMB Studio

Best Budget

Mainstays Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can

The Mainstays Motion Sensor Kitchen Trash Can is one of the least expensive options on the market. And you won’t have to sacrifice looks for the low price point, either. This one is similar in appearance to the two options above.

The Mainstays garbage can is a quality product with high ratings. Plus, it comes in four finishes and has a 13-gallon capacity. It uses infrared technology to open when you wave your hand over the lid. While it is battery-operated, you can switch it to manual opening if needed.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Multiple color options
  • Can be operated manually
  • Infrared technology helps preserve battery life

Cons

  • No odor-eliminating technology
  • Batteries not included

4 / 5
Fhm Glad Stainless Steel Trash Can With Clorox Odor Protection Via Merchant

Best Large-Capacity

Glad Stainless Steel Trash Can with Clorox Odor Protection

This Glad touchless metal trash can is another Amazon option, and it has an impressive 20-gallon capacity. The lid opens automatically with the motion of the hand above the sensor and closes automatically after five seconds. Plus, LED lights count down the seconds you have left until closing!

Clorox odor protection inhibits the growth of odor-causing bacteria within the can, and like the Simplehuman can, it has a rear bag compartment for storing and dispensing extra trash bags. While this isn’t an inexpensive option, it has nearly 5,000 ratings with a high 4.5-star average on Amazon.

Five-star reviewer Aimee H. says, “I absolutely love these trash cans to the point I refuse to live without them… They do use a lot of batteries to run so we opted to purchase rechargeable batteries and just swap them out when needed.”

Pros

  • 20-gallon capacity
  • Clorox odor protection
  • Rear bag compartment
  • Bag rings keep trash bags neatly in place

Cons

  • A little pricey

5 / 5
Fhm Elpheco 2.5 Gallon Motion Sensor Bathroom Trash Can With Lid Via Merchant

Best for Bathrooms

Elpheco Motion Sensor Bathroom Trash Can

Perhaps the most overlooked, yet practical place for a motion sensor trash can is your bathroom. Keep things ultra-hygienic with this 2-1/2-gallon motion sensor trash can that fits snuggly beside the toilet.

The Elpheco trash can comes in two colors: White and grey, and it runs on just two AA batteries. The motion sensor technology on this can is waterproof, so splashes and moisture won’t damage it. We love that this one is the perfect, slender size to squeeze between a toilet and wall, under a desk or in a dorm room. This one has a manual button feature as well, should you need it.

Pros

  • Slender, compact size
  • Waterproof motion sensor
  • Manual feature
  • Intelligent, pet-proof sensing

Cons

  • No black or stainless-steel option

What to Look for When Buying a Motion Sensor Trash Can

Choosing the right motion sensor trash can boils down to where you plan to use it, how much space you have and what your budget is. Larger models are best for busy kitchens with lots of food scraps and packaging waste. Smaller motion sensor trash cans fit neatly against bathroom vanities and in home office corners. Excellent options are available for every budget. Plus, these modern wonders are so pretty that you won’t even have to think of ways to disguise your trash bin.

Why You Should Trust Us

Quite frankly, we don’t want to recommend a $200 motion sensor trash can to our readers without testing it first, so that’s what we did. I tested the Simplehuman trash can listed as our best overall pick in my own home, with my own trash for two months before selecting it as our top choice. The other motion sensor trash cans at the top of this list were tested by other editors on our team to help strengthen the credibility of this list.

How We Found the Best Motion Sensor Trash Cans

We evaluated each motion sensor trash can based on design, the sensitivity of its motion detection mechanism and overall value. We also tested a handful of motion-sensor trash cans to see how they perform in real life. Other factors, like odor containment and mitigation, were considered as well. Those with odor-eliminating technology, smooth and quiet operation and tight lids ranked high on our list.

FAQ

Are motion sensor trash cans worth it?

Motion sensor trash cans are a hygienic, mess-free solution to traditionally messy problems. They allow home chefs to dispose of kitchen waste quickly and easily without touching potentially germ-ridden surfaces. Though sometimes more expensive than traditional trash cans, there are motion-sensor trash can options for every budget that are well worth the cost.

How do touchless trash cans work?

Touchless trash cans use motion-sensing or voice-command technology to open and close their lids. That means a simple wave of a hand or arm is usually enough to open the trash. Voice-activated models work with commands like “open” and “close” to offer a touchless experience.

How to clean a touchless trash can?

Most motion-sensor trash cans and touchless garbage options are encased in stainless steel. It’s easy to clean stainless steel with one of the best stainless steel cleaners and a soft microfiber cloth or rag. Because the motion-sensing components work with electric and mechanical parts, it’s important not to get those parts wet unless they’re waterproof. It is always best to wipe smart trash cans down rather than submerging them in water.

Mary Henn
Mary Henn, MFA is an Associate Shopping Editor at Family Handyman. She’s also a national award-winning writer and journalist. Her expertise lies in interior design, home decor, gardening and outdoor trends. When she’s not working on the latest content at FHM, you can find her reading poetry or hiking with her dog, Henry.