Review: Simple Human Sensor Can

Just because it holds trash doesn’t mean your can should be a piece of garbage. This high-tech stainless steel refuse receptacle from Simple Human uses a motion-detecting sensor to eliminate the need to touch it with your hands, feet or any other appendage.

Several smart design elements (not the sensor, but more on that later) make this seem like a pretty nice garbage pail, at least outwardly. The smudge-proof stainless steel body is great for neat freaks and those of us concerned about leaving our prints around. With a 12-gallon capacity, it’s roomy enough to hold a lot of trash, but still compact enough to fit under most counters. The bucket park — a little shelf you rest the interior container on while you change the bag — is the kind of simple but brilliant feature that won’t be appreciated until the first time you use it.

The custom-fit liners (each can comes with three) are awesome and eliminate the annoying task of trying to twist leftover bag edges into a little knot. If you don’t want to special-order your trash bags, you can still use regular old Glads, and pull any extra baggage through the handy excess baggage hole, which hides the bag completely when the lid is shut. We hoped that this would give our friends the impression that we were bohemian and going bag-free, and not that we just paid $225 for a trashcan.

Although the touchless sensor is the can’s raison d’etre, it seemed like a solution to a problem that had already been solved more efficiently by foot pedals. While the lid did respond quickly to a wave of the hand — and stayed open when we were standing directly in front of it — as soon as we took a small step back so we could move a roommate’s disgusting leftovers (which she never eats, but always saves in case of zombie apocalypse) directly from the fridge into the can, the lid slammed shut. Conversely, when we used an off-brand bag we couldn’t get the lid shut at all because the bag’s loose edges kept blocking the sensor. Oh, and there were the phantom openings, which happened anytime we swung our hands while walking near the can’s maw. Not really a big deal, as the motor’s very quiet, but a little disconcerting. Maybe we should try an exorcism.

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